5 Strategy Cycles of a Successful Blogger

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  • September 29, 2009

Last week in an article entitled Your Guide to a Powerful & Profitable Blog, I introduced the concept of the total package.

The law of the total package is simply means that it’s no longer enough to be very strong in only one area of your blog.

Content is no longer king.  SEO is no longer king.  Design is no longer king.  Influence and Engagement is no longer king.

You have to find a way to be the best in all of these areas…then you can start to think about being king.

But here’s the shocking truth that nobody likes to hear and surprisingly it was actually brought up in the comments section of that article.  Are you ready for it?  It take a lot of work to become top-notch in every single category necessary to clinch the win.

That’s the shocking truth…It’s hard work.

Every day, I’m blasted with direct messages on Twitter, spam emails in my inbox, and spam comments on this site telling me that I can make hundreds of dollars per day starting tomorrow.  That sounds great.  I’m just going to start taking every single one of them up on their offers and then I’ll really have a lot money coming in!

But the cold, hard truth is that they are all bogus.  You don’t get rich or make it big overnight.  When it happens like that it happens as an exception to the rule so don’t chase those get-rich-quick pipe dreams.

The problem that most people don’t want to face, however, is that it’s hard work.  It’s hard work to apply yourself to every area of your site that you need to focus on.  But it can be done…even if you work a full time job.  I do.

Here’s the solution that works for me.  Take it and use it yourself and enjoy the success that I have.  Find a way to accomplish all these daunting tasks without killing yourself.

5 Strategy Cycles of a Successful Blogger

I go through cycles of focus throughout the month.  I spend a few days in each category of focus and then I move on to the next area and don’t look back.  I specifically hone in on each important factor on my site and worry very little about the others.  I rotate through all areas and then start over again.

Each time I make the site as a whole better and better and I work to improve on the adjustments that I made during the last cycle.

  1. Usability: How easy is it for your users to navigate your site and interact with your content?
  2. Profitability: Are you making the maximum amount of money that you can at your site?  What can you improve?
  3. Online Presence: Are you exposing yourself and your site to as many potential sources of traffic as possible?
  4. Great Content: Are you learning new writing techniques, finding new material and generating new, fresh ideas?
  5. Search Engine Optimization: Are you studying Google Webmaster tools and actively making adjustments to reflect their suggestions?

I like the idea of cycling through these because some of them require a few weeks to gauge whether you’ve done it right or not.  Google Webmaster tools, for example, doesn’t update daily.  It updates over time.  So by giving yourself a few weeks in between your visiting that stage of the cycle you are giving Google time to update and reflect your changes.  It’s the same with most of the other categories.

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About Nicholas Cardot

It's my personal quest to enable every person that I can to unlock that dormant potential concerning their online influence. Also, I'm a geek.

90 Comments

  • Ron Boracay says:

    User or online interaction is also a part of my cycle. Just like commenting to other blogs.

    Great summary of your post Nick. Kudos!

  • Javs says:

    The cycles are fine and I really appreciate #4. Learning new things to improve your writing techniques and give the readers good content so that they visit your site often which can make #3 to increase and there getting more profits(#2).

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Javs –> They definitely all build on each other. And of course you don’t stop creating content during the other stages of the cycle. It’s just that during the content stage you focus on ways to improve or expand your writing styles.

  • Eric B. says:

    Interesting post. While some things may be more important than others (Personally, I think that content is the most important), it is important to put some effort into other areas as well. The content may be good, and the design should help to show which content is more important. Good content should be optimized for search engines, but not so much that it interferes with usability.

    I also like the idea of having a cycle. I’m currently in the usability phase of the cycle, having redesigned my blog not too long ago.

    • Ron Boracay says:

      It depends on your blog or how your blog should be presented. Of course, it must consist all of the above said elements to be able to be on top of other or be one of the most reputable bloggers.

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Eric B. –> Many people do believe that content is the most important. And in a way, I do also. But I think that content is useless if it is supported by strength in all areas of your blog. Especially if you want to see fast growth.

  • Dave Doolin says:

    An incredibly timely article.

    I had a long talk with a friend of mine over the phone about hour ago about this very thing.

    Frankly, I’d like to think my content blows everyone else’s away. It doesn’t of course. Not yet. But I have it in me, I’ve got the background and drive to make that happen.

    But content isn’t the only piece of the puzzle, and what I have now is probably good enough, by far.

    The other pieces of the puzzle… not real good at even finding them, yet, much less snapping them into place.

    My next cycle is promotion. I want average 200 hits per day. Cycle after that will be list building with a vengeance.

    • Andrew says:

      Dave you sound to me like someone who is destined for success.

      May I offer a suggestion though? List building becomes far easier when you have traffic, and lots of it. Spend more time and effort on your traffic, just as you’ve planned to, because the list takes very little time and/or effort once the form is designed and placed.

      • Dave Doolin says:

        Andrew, thanks for the encouragement! I believe I’m suffering through that first 20 years of “overnight success.” Heh…

        Self-promotion is emotionally tough for me. I could list out all kinds of reasons, in the end, all moot. So it’s what I’m going to work on for building traffic over the next few weeks.

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Dave Doolin –> I think it’s good that you have friends that you can chat with about this kind of stuff. That seems to help a lot.

      And I like that attitude. I think that most people do have it in them to create great websites and blogs and I’m sure that you do to. If you ever have any questions or need help with anything, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

  • Andrew says:

    Very timely indeed Nick.

    I’ve (kind of) been performing this routine, though in a much less structured way. In fact, what I’ve been doing is reviewing different areas each morning and working on whatever seemed most important on the day.

    Perhaps it’s time for a new approach.

  • Bruce Teague says:

    I find myself trying to focus on all 5 all the time and feel overwhelmed and unsuccessful. What a great idea to rotate through them. I believe that will really help with my time management.

    • ZXT says:

      Bruce: Don’t sweat it out with SEO. Don’t try to learn everything in one sitting. Take it one a time. Seay try to study keywords today, then content tomorrow.

      Try to check seomoz.org, maybe it will help. I’m not saying I know a lot about SEO but I’m coping with it so far.

      • Bruce Teague says:

        Oh, I’ve already been studying it for months. I also have a friend who has an seo business on the side that I bug a lot.

      • Ron Boracay says:

        Oh, Zee, I am an avid fan of SEO, we have a forum here in the Philippines that maybe, you wanna join.

        On topic, I think your right. Just take it one at a time. sooner or later, you can be great at all of those aspects.

        • ZXT says:

          Thanks for the invite, I will gladly join you guys there. I think I need to learn more SEO specially SEO that can be use in our part of the world.

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Bruce Teague –> Good. I’m glad to hear that. I hope that it does help you out with it.

  • ZXT says:

    It think I’m doing good so far for #3 and #5 and I’m okay (I think) with #1

    I’m working with #4 and maybe #2 will follow next.

    Thanks for this article Nick.

  • 5 Strategy Cycles Of A Successful Blogger | Blog Mixer says:

    [...] Site Sketch 101 Presents 5 Strategy Cycles Of A Successful Blogger [...]

  • Arisu says:

    Thanks for letting us know how you manage your time to keep improving in each area.

    I think that when you´re excited about something is easy to forget everything else that matters. And content, design, SEO, usability and profitability are parts of the whole, you can´t forget one of them if you want to make it right.

    Also, blogging is about what you have to say to the world, but in order to deliver that message, you need a total package to make it stand out.

    • ZXT says:

      Yes you are absolutely correct. Whenever I’m excited about something, the other things just go to the background. Like if I wanted to tinker with car, I can be outside all day.

      So I guess the answer once again is time management especially if you have a family of your own.

      • Arisu says:

        Zee>> It happens to me when I work on my blog and when I design, when I find something new or learn something I want to practice right away… but I try to keep in mind the things that matter the most.

        Luckily I don´t have that problem with my personal life, I know that people comes first than anything else.

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Arisu –> You’re exactly right. If you want to stand out in the sea of blogs then you’ve got to do something to set yourself apart from the crowd. You can’t do that by neglecting 4 out of 5 of these categories.

      • Ron Boracay says:

        Really true buddy. There are so many bloggers out there, all sharing the same niche, but make sure, you stand out for you to be able to gain good readers and right followers.

    • Ron Boracay says:

      Agree, it is the total package that really makes your blog or yourself, as a blogger to stand out.

      You can do better if you are doing good on one of those areas, but, try to great at all of them, then definitely, success will come into place.

  • King Sidharth says:

    Nice Nick! I you are really making an army of awesome bloggers…. I am one of them. Guide us more!

  • Digigirl says:

    This is a great reminder of how to be organized in ALL aspects of your life. It is so easy (at least for me) to get totally focused on one thing to the exclusion of all else. Then I look up and everything around me is in a shambles.

    Building this method into a habit will ensure that everything gets done and stays up to date. I’m implementing this today!

    Now, if I could just get myself motivated to implement this type of thing for housework….

    • Arisu says:

      Now, that´s something I´d love to acomplish myself.
      Get to organize house chores as well as my work and blogging agenda.

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Digigirl –> Ha ha. You’ll have to check with my wife on that because she manages to take care of two kids (me and our daughter) and somehow she still manages to keep our house looking like we have a professional made. She has my total respect and admiration.

      • Ron Boracay says:

        I don’t know why but, same with my wife, she managed to take good care of my daughter and the same time, have time to do some household chores.

        I think, we must learn those proper time management tru our wives?

  • Elena says:

    Hi Nick. I totally agree with you about blogs being hard work. I put lots of mental energy into writing the best posts I know. I know online presence is important, but then again there are some bloggers who do this for enjoyment and not so much financial success, so online presence may not be as crucial. I think consistency with posting is also very important.

    I think this is very valuable for those who want to see their blog grow and flourish.

    Great job!

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Elena –> I think that even if your not in it to make any profits, it’s still very enjoyable to have people come by your site and interact with you and for them to enjoy your work. So go promote your site just to make friends and don’t worry about the money. It’s still fun!

    • Ron Boracay says:

      Nick’s suggestion is right, I mean, by having friends and followers that usually visits your site, you may even not notice that, your blogging income tends to goes up.

  • Blake @ Props Blog Ideas says:

    Nick,
    As always, great post. I really like this concept of cycling through the various areas of site improvement. Sometimes I feel like a Chicken with my head lopped off trying to manage those 5 things you mentioned.
    I’m definitely going to try this method of cycling focus and hopefully be more productive in each area.
    Keep making me proud ;-)

    • ZXT says:

      Blake I just visited your site and I guess you only need little practive about the 5 aspects mentioned above. Seems like you are doing okay already with your blog.

      • Blake @ Props Blog Ideas says:

        Thanks! I think if I just focus on each task one at a time i’ll get where I want faster. I spend a little too much time promoting my site and commenting, and not enough time optimizing my site for usability and monetizing.
        I’m especially concerned with my theme/design. I really want to get a more custom theme and have a logo/banner designed to give my site a more professional feel. What do you think?

        • Arisu says:

          Blake>>

          I think you´re doing fine with content and titles, but you need a better theme – you can search for themes for color, number of columns and features like custom headers right at your Appearence Menu.

          And I wouldn´t use text adds – but that it´s up to you-

          • Blake @ Props Blog Ideas says:

            Good to know the titles/content solid. I’ve tried a few times to search for themes I like, but I’ve had a hard time getting what I want. I’m strongly considering joining the Theme ring that Nick is in.. I think getting a professional theme and logo will make my blog look infinitely more credible.

        • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

          Blake @ Props Blog Ideas –> People say that content is king. And over the long term they are right. But if you want to grow quick, as you mentioned you want to get their faster, you’ve really got to find a way to powerhouse in every possible category I mentioned above.

        • Ron Boracay says:

          Yes Blake! That’s the right thing to do. Focus your time and effort on one of those category at a time. Time management is also essential.

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Blake @ Props Blog Ideas –> I’ll try to keep make you proud and I sure appreciate all of your support and feedback. I know that Chicken with the head lopped off feeling and it can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s so important to break your site down into manageable pieces and to tackle each one at one time.

      • Blake @ Props Blog Ideas says:

        I agree. I hadn’t really thought about breaking it down into those parts. Part of the problems I sometimes have is tweeking on something i’m not going to keep more than a few weeks. This doing them one at a time lets me get a better look at the big picture.

        • ZXT says:

          Yeah one at a time, one at a time. This is also my problem sometimes I’d like to do it all at the same time and in the end I ended up doing nothing.

          • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

            ZXT –> It’s hard to tackle everything at once. But one at a time and you’ll be able to accomplish wonders.

  • Brian Lee says:

    Great point that it can be a lot harder than people make it seem. Just like any business, it takes a lot of hard work; and even then you might fail.

    It’s the alignment of hard work (in the right areas) with a good product, and the right marketing.

    What is that statistic: 90% of new businesses fail in the 1st year or something like that?… I’d like to see the stats on blogs. I’ll bet it’s even worse.

    • Arisu says:

      Brian Lee>>

      That´s for sure! I remember clearly a great conference by Carlos Kasuga -President of Yakult, Mexico- he says that the main reason why many businesses fail in their first years (1 to 4) is because they are like your children, you have to take good care of them and invest a lot of time and money for them to grow up.

      When the business is an adult, you can live out of it. But don´t even think of asking your new born baby to pay the bills or buy you a car -the profit (or most of it) should be reinvested for at least those first years, or “he” could die -.

      I don´t know how people expects to live out of this “babies” if they don´t want to invest in them.

      • Bruce Teague says:

        I know this is off topic, but I also know I’m not the only one interested in the answer. A few weeks ago I asked when your blog was going to launch and you said in a week or two… I think that time has passed. I like your comments and I’m interested in seeing what you produce. So.. When’s the launch date :)

        • Arisu says:

          I know, I know I´m a horrible blogger XD

          First of all, the Independence Day parties got me out of schedule – quoting myself “damn pozole and tequila”-

          Then I had a failure with the blog – no matter wich theme I installed all I got was a blank page – so I had to reinstall it.

          But hopefully, I´ll be FINALLY done this weekend (I need to upload the articles, put the Google translator and check that all works one more time – you don´t want to visit an empty blog, right?).

      • ZXT says:

        Wow I like that, great Analogy by the president of Yakult Mexico. I will remember this.

    • Ron Boracay says:

      Preparedness and proper planning is the key for you to overcome those failures. And failures are a great way of a brand new start right?

    • Ron Boracay says:

      Love that analogy Brian,

      WOrking hard ( in a right way) is a must. There is a big difference with working hard and working smart.

      • Arisu says:

        You need to work both hard and smart, if you want to achieve your goals. Of course, mistakes are going to happen, and you need to learn about them, but that´s no excuse to be reckless.

        • Ron Boracay says:

          Thanks mate for the advice. Oh, I think, you may start blogging and focus on giving advices and nice encouraging words or story that can help me and other bloggers to improve more. Seems you will be a great success coach!.

  • Tom Harvey says:

    Nicholas

    Great post identifying the cycles. I also like the way that they are questions that you ask of yourself and can review on an on-going basis to ensure that your style and blog evolves.
    Look forward to undertaking the process myself.
    All the best

    Tom

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Tom Harvey –> I’m looking forward to seeing your style and your blog evolve also. It’s so much fun to keep growing and learning.

  • George Serradinho says:

    Nice pointers. at this stage I’m trying to find the best possible ways to generate more income via placing ads in critical areas, but at the same time not over doing it.

    • ZXT says:

      George, I can see some ads in your blog but I don’t see adsense. You don’t like adsense? The only adsense I saw was your post about fake adsense income generator :)

    • Ron Boracay says:

      Nice thinking George, Oh, by the way, you have a great blog ha,? Seems like you are really into affiliate marketing or alike.

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      George Serradinho –> That’s important and difficult. You want to maximize your income potential while at the same time you don’t want to take away from your users experience. One thing that I always recommend is to chat with someone and ask their honest opinion of your ad placements.

  • Reza Winandar says:

    I agree with you, there is no such method called “Make Money Online today and get $1000 a day! Just sign up and we’ll send you a FREE ebook that will make you rich!”

    That’s just scam ( or semi-scam?).

    • Arisu says:

      Most of them are scams, because they try to make you think is an easy game. Truth is that making money takes a lot of hard work, passion and talent; even those that made huge fortunes fast -like so many social media creators- spend years learning and working in order to be who they are today.

    • Ron Boracay says:

      Sometimes, its just a scam or over hype ebook. Or for the worst, it might even tell you how to scam others.

      If that thing can get you that kind of money, why do the seller sell that idea? He can keep it so he could be the only one that really knows that technique.

    • ZXT says:

      I don’t think there’s a semi scam. It’s a pure scam because of this statement alone “1k day”

  • Evan Kline says:

    Thanks Nick. I think you summarized the key areas we need to invest in. The one thing all of this takes is time, which I find I’m short on, like most people. At some point, I guess bloggers need to decide what priority they want to place on their blogs, and possibly even cut other things out of their lives. I wouldn’t advocate letting it affect family and friends, but I’m in the process of reevaluating some of the other hobbies that suck up my time, and deciding whether there are any I could live without.

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Evan Kline –> That’s a good concept to think about. Often times I think that we sacrifice the wrong things. Sitting back and thinking about it and assessing your priorities is very smart.

    • ZXT says:

      To tell you the truth, I have the same exact problem. Ever since I’ve started blogging and visiting other blogs and making comments I’ve sacrifice other things in life. I don’t watch too much TV now, I hardly play computer games (which makes me relax after work) and sometimes even sacrificed playing with my kid :(

  • HelpfulAdvisor says:

    Nick, this is a fantastic post once again! I think that most websites/blogs fail for two reasons:

    1. The authors don’t give it enough time to succeed.
    2. Many don’t plan ahead as to how to approach building and growing their site.

    Is it any wonder? We’ve all been conditioned to believe that building a website is easy (if you buy their tools for hundreds of dollars), and you can get on page 1 of Google by this time tomorrow (if you buys some more tools for hundreds of dollars).

    I think Nick is absolutely right on with this total package concept. Give your readers what they want, and in a way that is pleasing, and you’ll build your brand along with loyalty.

    The thing is, you can’t do it without some kind of structure or plan. Nick is very disciplined in his approach, and it works. Every person who I’ve talked to whose website has failed, had no plan or blueprint to work from, and didn’t give their site nearly enough time to succeed.

    Success on the web won’t happen overnight, but the proof is in the numbers. Watch your numbers grow, and take each uptick in your traffic as a positive sign that your site is catching on.

    Speaking first hand, when my site would go many days with zero hits… when you’re down that low, you have nowhere to go but up. Now my site is marching up the ranks of Alexa and my hits are steadily increasing to nearly 100 hits a day. It CAN be done.

    Sorry to seem preachy, but I want everyone on here to succeed, and if you plan your site, and work your plan, you will plan for success.

    Good luck everyone!

    • Arisu says:

      I agree with every one of your points.

      It caught my attention in particular that you mentioned the hundred dollar tools, that at the end of the day don´t work – I´ve had so many problems upgrading sites made on webbuilders and expensive hosts that give an awful service, cause people doesn´t know any better and they think that they get what they paid, sometimes they don´t.

    • Ron Boracay says:

      Totally Agree with you Sir, specially on the second part:

      “2. Many don’t plan ahead as to how to approach building and growing their site.”

      I have a favorite quote about this, that I mentioned I think, on some other comments of mine. Its:

      “Failing to plan is planning to fail”

      SO planning is really an essential factor if you want the REAL success.

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      HelpfulAdvisor –> Thank so much. It really does take a lot of planning and a lot of discipline. It doesn’t happen overnight and I think that a lot of people get discouraged because of that.

  • ZXT says:

    Even a $100/day sounds like a scam. It’s possible but it will take time, persistent and yes hard work.

    • Ron Boracay says:

      oh, $100 a day is attainable, other bloggers I know even reach more than that a day. But its not overnight, it takes time, hardwork and patience.

      And just like what Mr. HelpfulAdvisor said;

      “when you’re down that low, you have nowhere to go but up”

      It will be just a matter of time.

  • Ruchi says:

    I really like the 4th one … great content is always helpful.

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Ruchi –> Content is incredibly important. Perhaps it is the most important, but you really need all of them if you want to accelerate the growth of your site.

  • Gabe | freebloghelp.com says:

    Excellent top 5 list there. I helped build some of the top sites in the world and when it comes to my own sites, including my blog, I can get tunnel vision. Basically, it’s so easy to spot the weak area and become way too micro-focused. As a result, the other moving parts suffer.

    Anyway, this article a good reminder for everyone to constantly look at all the tentacles. If only I had more than a one-man army!

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Gabe | freebloghelp.com –> Thanks, Gabe. It’s always important to sit back and try to see the big picture.

  • Don Gilbert says:

    Those are all great things to consider when improving a blog – but it is better to consider them when starting a blog. New bloggers who want to utilize a blog for monetary purposes will be sadly disappointed if they think just generating enough indexable content will bring in the dough.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Top 10 Tips to Dominate Your Niche for SEO =-.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Don Gilbert » It’s true. But I’ve found that many bloggers who have been blogging for a long time are really only just begin when it comes to the learning curve involved in becoming truly successful. And that is what this site is all about. Empowering people with the knowledge and skills necessary to make it big in the blogging world.

  • Self Improvement says:

    Are you exposing yourself and your site to as many potential sources of traffic as possible? That’s a good question to ask myself. And the answer is NO. There’s so much more I could be doing, but if I don’t ask myself that, then I will never find the ways I can do it.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: How To Get More From Life This Instant =-.

  • Blake @ Online Marketing Review says:

    This is such an awesome post. You need to find a way to reference it more often because I think so few bloggers follow it.

    I know that it’s easy to get caught up either paying too much attention to just one thing and not addressing it…. or trying to do too many things at once and never getting around to finishing anything.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Don’t Judge A Blog By It’s Homepage: At Online Marketing Blog Content is King =-.

  • Michael Newman says:

    I like the sequential,one at a time approach you suggest and apply.There are so many things to learn,and I hope the learning will not get in the way of doing.Your suggestion is practical,but where is the place of outsourcing?Is it practical to learn and apply everything on one’s own?
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: When a little knowledge is a good thing =-.

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