Are you in the top 10% of bloggers who can survive six months?

You've been thinking about starting a blog for a while now, but you finally decide to get over your paralysis, set aside a few hours, and commit to starting it. So, you set up a blog and begin writing on your niche topic of choice. Within the first week, you average about a daily post and feel pretty good. Then you realize no one really knows that your blog exists. In the coming weeks, you learn there's more to blogging than just posting articles and get the sinking feeling that it's more than you signed up for. You don't want to give up on your blog, but since you are your only regular reader, you start posting only two or three times a week. After a month, your posts have already diminished to once a week, then once a month, and eventually, you abandon your blog entirely.

More than half of my readers already have blogs in one form or another. If you haven't started a blog, I'm sure current bloggers can attest to the scenario I just described. Regardless, either you've been through it or know someone who has. Only a handful of the 100 million plus blogs out there survive. If only they knew what blogging really entails before they started.

The truth is, I don't have hard stats to prove that only 10% of bloggers make it past six months. Based on personal experience, it's probably closer to 5%. What can you do to make it in that elite group?

Here's what I recommend to put yourself on a path to success.

Set a goal on posting frequency and stick to it no matter what.

Top bloggers post daily, but that may not be feasible, depending on your topic and time. Just be realistic and consistent. I suggest at least three times a week and keep it up for at least three months. Then, re-evaluate and see if you need to increase frequency. Whatever you do, don't skimp on quality just to meet your quantity goal.

Find others in your niche and work together.

The blog world is different from many other realms. Even within the same niche, blog communities are often close-knit and can offer an excellent support system. Your best bet is to find blogs around the same maturity stage and read each other's articles. Leave comments along the way, and hope to receive some in return. This should motivate you since you now have an audience other than yourself.

On non-post days or extra free time, learn about SEO and slowly apply some techniques.

In the long run, this will be key for your blog. It may grow organically because your content is good, but a little SEO could double your following. Anra, a few minutes a week spent on SEO could be the difference between a blog read by 10 visitors daily or one read by 100 visitors daily. I'm not sure what will happen if a more extensive audience doesn't drive you to chug away.

Find a mentor.

Many bloggers who have made it past the six-month threshold must have learned a lot. These folks can offer a lot of advice specific to your needs, which is a huge benefit, especially during the first few weeks of your blog. They should motivate you to post regularly, help you manage your time effectively, and fine-tune your blog. Having an idea of what to do next and having someone kick you in the butt once in a while is a great way to keep that momentum going.

Of course, there are a ton of other things you could do.

In fact, the longer your blog exists, the more there is to do. I didn't mention social bookmarking, directory submissions, social networking, advertising, affiliate marketing, email blasting, theme updates, design and usability considerations, plugins, and blog analytics.

The important thing is to just keep moving along at a pace that works for you. Blogging is like exercise or investing; consistency is the key to getting great results. Instead of running for 45 minutes 3 times a week, you do it once a month. Running once a month is about the same as not running at all. The same goes for blogging.

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