The title “Stop following. Start Exploring.” is the slogan for a popular Indian educational portal Shiksha (means education), but it also holds true for bloggers. As a newbie bloggers, most of us start with choosing a niche for our blogs. Some of us don’t even know what niche we should choose. Whether, it should be a multi-niche blog or a single niche blog, etc. Now even if you somehow figure out the niche you are interested in and created a blog with related domain name, the next step is to curate contents for the blog.
The old saying in the blogging world is “content is the king”. But, how true is that? I would say very true and content is the only thing, which differentiate your blog from the millions of blogs on the internet. Now to create contents for your blog, the popular method is to bookmark popular websites related to your niche and try to figure out what is working for them and what is not. For example, if you are interested in gadget niche you may follow something like GSMArena, Anandtech, Phonecurrent and create a similar website.
Bookmarking popular websites isn’t a bad idea nor analyzing them. However, following them extensively to the core where you start focusing on only a few popular blogs and trying to be like them will not take you anywhere. After a year of blogging, you will find yourself nowhere in the crowd and you may ultimately quit blogging. And the popular blogs which you were following will continue to shine.
Why? Because, you chose to follow them, and they chose to explore.
No popular websites on any niche became popular overnight. There are various factors, which have contributed to their success. They have started early, they chose a niche which wasn’t populated by that time and most of them are godfathers of their niche. They started from the scratch and were really passionate about what they are doing.
Now among all these factors, there is one more thing which has made them what they are now. Now, before I spill the beans, let me ask you one thing.
Which popular blogs, those bloggers used to follow? Note that there weren’t many popular blogs that time and almost everyone was a beginner.
The answer is none. Instead of following anything, they choose to explore things, which were related to their niche. They still do the same and we still do the same as well. That is following them.
I began my blogging journey with the same attitude of following some of the most popular blogs related to technology niche. I started as a writer for tech blogs, which helped in learning about blogging. Later, I created my own blog in the technology niche. Fortunately, after 6 months of blogging I was in better position than most of the tech bloggers in the same field who started even before a year than my blog went live.
You may call it a luck or just coincidence, I was able to choose topics, which were low competitive as well as had high search volume without using any SEO software. I did apply some basic SEO techniques, which worked perfectly well with the blog. After 8 months of blogging, the blog was getting around 300K pageviews a month, among which 90% of the traffic was organic, 2% from social media and 8% from referral.
Woohoo, happy ending, right? Nope.
Now after 2 years of starting the blog, the blog is still in a strong position, but couldn’t bring the satisfaction a genuine blogger will look from his blog. If I ask myself how exactly is my blog different from thousands of other technology blogs on the internet? How many topics I started before anyone in the web world and found solutions for them? well, I barely could answer anything. Except the fact that it has grown large, brings good revenue and I never applied any Black hack techniques. Is that enough? Well, at least not for me.
Since I keep creating new blogs every now and then, this time I thought of building a blog, which purely contains solutions or topics discovered by me (mostly). The blog is Technicalnotes and as the name indicates, it is a tech blog and technology is the niche I love.
For this blog, I stopped following and started exploring. I also did not use any off page SEO tactics to make it achieve good rankings in search results. It wasn’t necessary because the contents in the blog were first to be published in any blog on the internet. As far as link building is concerned, if you are the first one to publish anything important, the links will flow automatically as the popular tech blogs will pick your contents and link back to them as reference or source. Basically, you are making them follow you, instead of following them.
Now talking about the result so far (though, it’s too early), in last few months the blog has grown much faster than I thought and the results are impressive. It has quality and unique posts. The links coming to the blog are natural and at the end of the day you will have something original, which you have created by exploring things instead of following.
If you are a newbie, have started blogging in 2015-2016 and looking for a long-term goal, I would recommend you to start exploring things on your own than simply following the footsteps of the popular. Try to create your own contents, do extensive research and then publish your post. It may look difficult in the beginning, but you will grow to be a much experienced and mature blogger with an opinion over the years.
Blogging is a crowded place with more number of spammers coming with new tactics to trick the Google algorithm every day. Now if you don’t create a unique blog with unique contents, then there is no reason for Google to rank your blog higher than the blogs which has contents similar to your blog and have published it before you could. And the possibility is that Google may just destroy all your hard work by penalizing it for the crime you didn’t commit while targetting the spammy blogs. Now it’s completely your choice to create something which is worth having and boosting about or just follow the masses.