How I got 221 Subscribers off a Single Post within 3 Months of Blogging

A Case Study

It’s very hard to start a blog when you dont know anybody online – when you don’t have any online presence.

It was no different for me.

I started writing my blog – first about the things I love: books, food, perfumes, my kids – all very general. Then I quickly found a purpose to it.

I was lucky in that regard, I quickly figured out what I wanted to do; to create a safe place for bloggers to hang out, to talk about all things blogging.

I had found that there are hundreds and thousands of bloggers who are just as clueless as me, just as desperate, for some much needed help and advice. They follow any type of advice they are given, they are so grateful.

Post daily? I am just exhausted just thinking about it.

Comment on other blogs? I spent endless hours doing this without any exciting results.

You will get a Break with Hard Work – Eventually

When I first started blogging at maryawrites on my free wordpress.com blog, my first goal was to appear on Freshly Pressed.

Freshly Pressed, on my last visit to their page, claim to be the best of 354,008 bloggers and 363, 650 posts.This was posted on WordPress on that day alone  … the odds of landing on it are, well, not very encouraging. They are downright frightening.

Who in their right mind could write and hope to have a post on FP? Winning lottery seems more realistic at this point.

I kept writing, hoping against hope, that one day one of my posts will make it to FP.

And low and behold, one did, within a few short months of starting my blog.

I had just finished reading a book Blogging Heroes by Micheal A Banks  and I was bursting to talk about it, but had no friends even remotely interested in hearing anything to do with blogging.

It took me two days to finish the 300 page book, cover to cover, (I am weird like that) and four days to actually write the post.

I took out all the best bits of advice, that made sense to me at that time, and compiled it. Like I said, it took four days to actually write that post.

At that time, it seemed too long, so I decided to do two posts ‘What I learnt from Blogging Heroes:Top Blogging Tips Part 1 and Part 2. I hit publish and then hit the sheets.

Next morning I woke up, logged in, and nearly fell out of my chair.

My post was on the first page of FP, in all its glory.

There were initially 70 odd comments waiting to be approved. My inbox was flowing with emails. People were commenting, people were liking, people were subscribing. It felt unreal.

I got 331 comments on part 1. (Probably 30% of mine were my responses and many were trackbacks as.) 339 bloggers liked the post – I still can’t quite believe it.

I got 154 comments on part 2. 103 bloggers also liked this post.

This went on for THREE days -all day long. It was insane.

Best of all, I got 221 subscribers from that single post. I can never forget that moment - ever.

Now I will admit to the number of subscribers I had before this extraordinary turn of events happened, a grand total of 12. Mostly consisting of family and friends or others made to join at gun point.

I met so many wonderful people through this exposure. They provided with me such loving support and kind words through the initial tough days. Sandra, Tom (AquaTom), Ava, Joy, Ken, Knot2share to name a few. Some of you have been out of action for a while. Make yourselves known, I have been thinking of you. :)

This can happen to you as well.

Maybe not Freshly Pressed, especially when you don’t even use a free wordpress.com blog, but maybe your post can go viral some other way. You can get hundreds of tweets, facebook shares and heaps of comments.

Just realize this, it won’t happen if you don’t continue to write your best posts, posts you believe in, posts you are proud to acknowledge as yours. Remember, you have to be in it to win it.

Life After Freshly Pressed

Like all bubbles, this one burst as well. I had my 15 minutes of fame and then everybody moved on, including myself.

Come of think of it, 221 is not that big a number anyway. But it is huge to a new blogger who desperately wants to know if there is somebody out there who actually cares.

To me, that what was all I needed in that point in time. That gave me the initial boost. It said to me, if given an audience, some people will like me. :) That was exactly what the doctor prescribed.

And things have not been all roses and peaches after that let me tell you. I have had to work my tail off to keep at it, to keep myself motivated.

And when I moved from maryawrites to my own site Writing Happiness, about half the people did not even follow me here. Oh well …

What would have happened if I didnt get published on Freshly Pressed so early on? Who knows, but there is a good chance that I wouldn’t have the confidence to go on. I might have actually given up altogether.

It’s very hard to keep going when you are not seeing results of any kind. We all need small wins – desperately.

An Encouraging Hand will make all the Difference.

If you ever had the pleasure of teaching a grade full of young children, you know encouragement is soooo important.

The child brings their work to you, again and again, to ask ‘is this ok?’, ‘is that how you wanted it?’. Even the brightest child would do this. They need the reassurance that they are working in the right direction, their path is correct, all of their hard work and effort won’t be wasted.

Bloggers, especially new ones need this badly.

I can’t tell you how many times I just wanted a blogger – somebody who has been in my shoes before - to come over to my blog and say to me  – you know Marya, you are doing a great job, but maybe you need to rethink this, maybe you need to work on that …

So many times. Guess how many times I actually got it? Zero. That’s why I need to write this blog, so others like me don’t feel so lost and alone.

I am Creating my Tribe – Do Join

When I started, I couldn’t find a place I was looking for.

Problogger seemed too advanced, copyblogger was aimed at copywriters and marketing individuals. Writing blogs seemed too literary, SEO blogs too technical. Personal development blogs were way too too general for my liking.

I wanted a blog that combines blogging and personal development – a personal coach for bloggers, if I may.

Have you heard that saying? if you can’t find the book you are looking for, write it.

Well, I can’t find the blog I am looking for, so I am writing it.

I am going to create that space for bloggers, where people could bounce ideas off each other. I am going to create a tribe of my own. If you want to be a part of it, join and share your story of blogging. I am all ears. :)

image: Seth

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61 Responses to How I got 221 Subscribers off a Single Post within 3 Months of Blogging
  1. Vishnu

    Thanks for this post Marya. I plan to start a blog in the next couple of months and this post is already encouraging. Appreciate the easy to read posts on your blog.

    • marya

      Thank you Vishnu. Glad to be of help :)

  2. Great job Marya! This is the same way I felt and I suppose still feel myself. I love blogging and I am working on it quite hard! I totally identify with your post above!

    • marya

      Thanks Agatha, I hope to strike a chord of many bloggers who are in the same boat. Just feel in the first six months, we are just groping in the dark – blind leading the blind. Reckon this might help ease the pain. Cheers

  3. I think Your Tribe Idea is great. Let me in on all the details. I am happy you got freshly pressed. I hope to one day. Jackie :)
    jackie paulson recently posted..Topic #127 I am ruled by Nothing or No One

    • marya

      Jackie, you can be a part of my tribe be simply being a part of Writing Happiness. Subscribe and hang out with all of us. Would love to hear from you in future on an ongoing basis. Thanks :)

  4. knot2share

    Hey there!
    And I have never forgotten you. I am one among the subscribers of this site and have the luxury of getting notified of your new posts in my inbox…something that I was not a big fan of, remember? :-) .

    I remember the freshly pressed day of your post too! From a feedback point of view, I sincerely feel you are heading in the right direction. You have that ability to talk to bloggers about their frustrations as a beginner. We are able to relate to it so well. You express your points quite well and I have found myself musing over some of them over time. You are helping beginners like us, but one thing you have not shared is how to actually write like you!

    Keep up the good work. I love your idea of creating Your Tribe. I hope to read and learn from the stories that everyone share here.

    Take care and keep warm.

    • marya

      Heyyy, so good to see you. :) )

      How is it going? Glad to know that people who are subscribed actually read my posts – I sometimes wonder you know. :) And I do remember your reservations against subscribing, glad you did though.

      I can talk like a beginner, because I still am one, in so many ways. Its hard to believe that maryawrites would be almost one year old by now, if I hadn’t shifted to WH, this site is actually 2 months I think.

      Remember how once we all got into a dicussion where people kept on saying I should have a page where bloggers could talk about all things blogging? Well, consider my blog to be that page.

      And many thanks for dropping by. It means a lot to hear your kind words – again. Cheers

  5. What a gratifying moment that must have been! I’ve often wondered about Freshly Pressed and how one gets “pressed.” Guess it’s totally random luck (and writing excellent content of course!) Is it only the free hosted blogs that get freshly pressed? If so, guess I will have to keep using other methods to get the word out on my newish blog, Wellness the Natural Way. But I still have Grownup Mom over on the free hosted site, so who knows? Thanks for the inspiration! Glad to be part of the Tribe as a subscriber.
    Sarah O recently posted..Enjoy Epic Dreams And A Healthier Liver With Mugwort

    • marya

      Hey Sarah – yes it was totally exhilarating – mind blowing actually.

      I think its only the free blogs, I remember reading that info somewhere while I was moving to wordpress.org.

      I also sometimes think, mostly out of desperation, to post a really, really good one on maryawrites and maybe leave a link for people to follow me here.
      a. There is no guarantee that it would actually get Freshly Pressed
      b. Don’t know if linking to another site of my own might even disqualify me from being considered in the first place.
      Something to think about eh?
      Thanks so much being a part of WH. Have a good day. :)

  6. Gabriella

    Oh wow!!! Congratulations! That is insane! I have a similar story but it was on Twitter and I tweetd an image…. the response was crazy. But that is just Twitter and just followers and views, but I somewhat know what you mean. :) How exciting!You give newbies hope :D

    • marya

      Yes, I know what you mean, its exciting while it lasts. Cheers for dropping by.

  7. Hi Marya,

    I actually saw your comment on problogger and was drawn to your blog. This blog post is such an encouragement for me. I quit my job recently for health reasons to take a year long sabbatical and I am using the time to discover my voice and passions via blogging. This is now my second month and progress has been slow.

    You highlighted an area I need to work on – writing guest blog posts. It’s nice to see a real case study to model off.

    Thanks,

    Danny
    Danny | Excited By Life recently posted..Manifesting Change by Mike Dooley

  8. marya

    Hi Danny, yes, that was the whole point of that post at probloggers, to let the word out about my blog. ;)

    I love your blog’s name, it has such an inviting feel to it, so lively too. Two months into blogging? Wow, your blog looks very impressive. Have you approached any blogs in your niche with guest post pitches? If you are happy with your design, and content then guest blogging should definitely be your next goal – that’s the way you start getting the word out about your brand. Best of luck. Hope to see you again. :)

  9. Maruj

    It’s great to know about your experience.. i really learned something from you! and i would want to apply what i have learned with this in real life..

    • marya

      Thanks very much for that. Glad it helped. :)

  10. HI Marya,
    I love the new site and raison d’être! And you’re right, us younglings have to stick together because it’s mighty lonely sometimes knocking yourself out trying all the time. You’re doing a jealousy-inspiring job girlie….keep up the awesome work :) Di
    Di Mace | Word Swords recently posted..Have you left space to think: is negative space positive?

    • marya

      Thank you Di. Its indeed a jungle out there – I believe I said this already – what the heck, its true isn’t it? We need to form an inner circle of our own – circle of people trying our best just not to give up. Thanks for dropping by and best of luck with your guest posts. I love your ‘voice’. :)

  11. Kate Eden

    I have been reading a lot of tips on how to benefit from blogging lately. Tips like guest blogging, bloggers’ collaboration and Google + interaction. Your tips are a huge addition. I hope I get the same result that you had. It is a wonderful feeling for every blogger to know that a lot of people like their post.

    • marya

      Thanks Kate. It’s essential to have some people rooting for you, otherwise one day you will wake up wondering if there is any point to this madness. Glad to be of help. Cheers

  12. I really enjoyed reading this. Part of me thinks that it doesn’t matter how many subsribers I have. Another part of me wants as many people to read my words as possible. Either way, I’m really enjoying the freedom of creating my own food blog. If you’re not enjoying yourself, what’s the point, right?
    Dimitri recently posted..6000 miles and a ferry ride to chocolate heaven.

    • marya

      I agree 100%. The first reason for writing should always be your passion for it. Doesn’t hurt to have some susbcribers – I mean lets be frank – we blog for readers, no readers, no blog. If anyone disagrees, maybe they should be journaling instead? Blogging is public and we do it because we want to share, explore and connect with other PEOPLE. Bring on the subscribers I say. :)

  13. Hi Marya,
    Thanks for sharing the post. I, too am writing a blog on personal development, with an emphasis on engaging in behavior and habits that help to make each day full. I write at the intersection of social media and my professional background in funeral service, usually. Sometimes I merely speak my mind. Your positiveness is inspiring and I’m happy to be part of the tribe.
    Barry R. Silver recently posted..5 Great Blogging Tips, In Use.

    • marya

      Hi Barry, its a pleasure to have on on my blog. I always enjoy your comments over at FBBB. Good to know that you approve. Have a great day. :) Cheers.

  14. Claire Moody

    Hi Marya,

    This post is very encouraging especially to the newbies. Joining into blogger’s world is hard at the beginning but this reminds me to never give up. Thanks!

    • marya

      No worries. :) Glad to be of help. Cheers

  15. Marya – that was an awesome post about how you can make it big in this blogging world. It is really encouraging and motivating for us bloggers. FP is really elite and congratulations on being a part of it. One day….hopefully
    Praveen Rajarao recently posted..New Bloggers Are As Good As ProBloggers

    • marya

      Thank you very much Parveen. If it hadn’t been for FP in my early days, I probably wouldn’t have the confidence to go on, so I owe much to these guys – even if they don’t know it. Hope to see you soon again. Cheers :)

  16. This is an interesting post, and it is always good to see someone share their story in such great detail. I will always remember the first few weeks/months of my blogging – everything was so uncertain! I think it is a great post for the beginners. Good work!
    Penny recently posted..Collecting Bids at Penny Auctions

    • marya

      Thanks Penny. To help and inspire the newbies – or even the ones who have been here for a while but struggling to see any results, that was the whole idea behind this post. Cheers for appreciating it. :)

  17. I am so happy, finally I found you. I was wondering why there is no post in my subscriptions’ posts since so many days from “Writing Happiness”. And here I came to know the reason.

    Anyways, as always, I loved your best-reason being-the inspiration you induce in your readers, the hope you generate, the message that “You can do it”. I started my blog 8 months back and as you said, “devote 70% time in the beginning educating yourself”, I did that, that’s how I came across your blog too. And slowly and steadily started understanding the basics. I am still learning a lot. But somehow, I am not getting many blogs of my liking, or those who can interest or educate me. Hence I liked your sentence “I can’t find the blog I am looking for, so I am writing it”. Yes, I am trying to create that one-a blog where people can resort to, to find some pleasure, some hideout and go out feeling fresh and happy. But since a few months, I find I am not even getting any views. You expect feedback (like or dislike), when people visit at least. Earlier it was not so. May be in the New year, people visit blogs more often, coming up with their reading resolutions. I don’t know-that’s a wild guess.
    I am also loosing hope, but still I actuate myself somehow to write better posts every time, so as to create a legacy for myself only, if not anybody else. After all, I find it refreshing-reading those posts.

    Anyways, thanks for posting such motivating posts. I am happy, I’ll get more of them, to read now on…

    • marya

      Hi Rashmi, I was just about to log off when I saw your comment – good thing I did.

      You know, it always gets very depressing when you don’t achieve the results you hope for, especially when you have put everything into it. I know the feeling very well, and I believe that almost 90% of new – newish bloggers feel like that until the day they throw in the towel and say their goodbyes. I just want to help those people, to let them know that with a bit of advice, they too can have some audience for their blog. Most people who have a personal blog, are happy to have even hundred like-minded people reading theirs regularly. But the thing is, you still have to do everything right and put in tons of effort to get even 100 subscribers – any blogger will vouch for that.

      I am so glad I inspire you – you as a reader inspire me – honestly. Don’t lose hope, hang in there. Remember you have the passion, you are a learner, all you need is persistence – bucketloads of. Don’t give up! Cheers :) Marya

  18. Great minds think alike as this is the very same logic that I used to start AmaBlogger.com. I wanted to leave bread crumbs for those just starting out as well as leave documentation of my journey for myself.

    When I changed domains, I just changed the information on my feedburner and my 100+ readers (no clue how I got them. lol.) followed right along with me. HTH.

    Anyway, I am pleased to hitch my tribe to yours and you now have a new follower. And since I followed you over from your guest post on Famous Blogger, I know I need to get off my romp and start doing those too.
    MsKatrina recently posted..Little Ferry, NJ: Available $850 1 Bedroom, 1 Month Security (Little Ferry NJ)

    • marya

      Hi Katrina, thanks so much for your lovely comment. Can I suggest that you have a look at my 18 action steps to a path of blogging success post? You might want to add more information to your about me page. Hope this helps and welcome. :)

      • Sure thing. Can you post a direct link to the post? I don’t see it in your sidebar.

        I’m in the process of moving from one domain to another so things are a bit of a mess.

        • marya

          Hi, I have now added the link on the sidebar under popular posts, you can check it out from there. Hope it would help you out. Thanks.

  19. Hi Marya,
    Having just started my own blog on a rather crowded topic, writing, I have been searching for blog information. Thank goodness I found your blog through a click-fest of following click-throughs. You can sure lose your entire life looking, can’t you? I’m hoping to do what you have done and write a down-to-earth blog to inspire others to write. Most of the blogs I found were by writers talking about themselves or their books and I wanted to read about the writing. So, good to find someone who thinks ‘inspiration’ before thinking, now what I can tell them about me today. You deserve success.
    Susan Randazzo recently posted..When is a story a story?

    • marya

      Hi Susan.
      I had a little look at your blog and I can see your passion shining through – gongrats on accomplishing that. :)

      I really enjoyed reading your about me page too. Has anyone suggested you write it in first person? That’s the general advice that I give out as well. Yours is probably the only one that actually works in this format. :)

      Love King’s On writing as well. I don’t own many books, but one of my goals is to collect as many books on writing as I possibly can. Care to share other favourites? I have many.

      OMG I just noticed you’ve got me in your beloved blogs as well – you have made my day Susan. Looking forward to getting to know better. Cheers.

      • Marya, thank you for your kind words. That bio was written as an accompaniment for some short stories published in some anthologies. Thanks for the compliments. I feel like I have made a friend. And you have made my day too.
        Susan May recently posted..When is a story a story?

  20. Hello Marya,

    Thanks for the post – and congratulations on your success. I’ve had a number of websites for a long time now – but I am a recent convert to the wonderful world of WordPress.

    It’s very different to running static sites and, despite the fact that I’ve been online for years, I feel like I’m on a bit of a steep learning curve right now. So thanks for the tips!
    Hamish recently posted..New Nook Color On The Way

    • marya

      Hey Hamish, welcome! :)
      I had a quick peek at your blog – I am assuming it is a blog since you are using wordpress. If so, you might want to put up a kick-a$$ ‘about me’ page telling your readers about yourself, your story, experiences, what makes you qualified to write this blog etc etc. It is very important to develop a bond with your readers if you wanna run a blog properly. A friendly picture won’t hurt either. :)

      May I suggest reading my post ’18 action steps to a path of blogging success ..’, if you haven’t already. Let me know if I can help out in any way. Cheers.
      Marya

  21. Good job on this post Marya. I loved your story about being on Freshly Pressed. It really did change your life in blogging, didn’t it?
    Josh Sarz recently posted..Stepping up and moving out of our comfort zone

    • marya

      Hey Josh. It absolutely did. It just gave me that confidence that there are people out there who are interested in reading what I have to say so it was a big deal for me. After that one big break though, it has been a slow and steady kinda thing for me. And I am loving it. :)

      Marya

  22. Hey Marya..
    thanks for the encouraging post… actually i have been reading your posts since last sunday and i learnt alot from your posts specially i loved the “3 secrets of success that bloggers will not tell you”.
    I am new to blogging and i have plan to launch a new blog after my inter exams inshALLah.
    I will contact you on Facebook for some more advices and i know you will be a perfect guide for me.
    Have nice day…
    Ateeb Malik recently posted..The Status Of Two Who Love One Another For The Sake Of Allah

    • marya

      Thanks Ateeb, let me know if you need help in regards to blogging or writing. Cheers

  23. Khuyen (@GKhuyen)

    “I am going to create that space for bloggers, where people could bounce ideas off each other. I am going to create a tribe of my own. If you want to be a part of it, join and share your story of blogging. I am all ears”

    Nothing feels more reassuring than this Marya. It resonates with me so well – I want to blog to share and learn, to inspire and get inspired. I told myself to be productive this morning but ended up devouring your blog posts! Well, at least I’m researching on how to do something from an expert. I’ll love to stay connected :)

    Khuyen from Vietnam

    • marya

      Thanks Khuyen. Hope to hear from you again soon. Cheers.

  24. Michele

    I’m so glad I stumbled upon this post! I created my WordPress blog about a year and a half ago and have been writing posts ever since then — one or two a day, in fact. I don’t have a single subscriber. My problem is that I “write” these posts in my head throughout the day and have never actually posted a single one. Regardless, I daydream about my blog and all of its loyal followers. :) I think it’s time. Thanks for the motivation!

    • Thanks, Michele. I am glad that this was useful. It’s time to get those posts out of your head and onto the screen .. publish! :)

      Cheers,
      Marya

  25. I always get excited when I read your blog posts, and others bloggers’ posts like yours.. but oh, what a pitty I can’t use the spirits that my blog is in my m/t Turkish.. And in Turkiye there are not many professional / helpful blogs like yours which I could get practical advices..

    Though I feel all the butterflies in my stomach sometimes, I can’t knock the first domino..

    Thank you very much for your great posts anyway.. Loves, Yahya.

  26. [...] my personal blog. Within first two months, I was starting to get really frustrated. However my first success came from being published on WordPress.com Freshly Pressed. That was a HUGE deal for me – or [...]

  27. I have over 500 subscribers to my newsletter. But only one person actually reads it. The rest are spambots or people (like myself) who sign up for newsletters with good intentions/ good faith but never get around to reading all the stuff in their email inbox.
    Laura recently posted..Writers of Old Books Don’t Have Twitter Accounts

    • Laura, either you are attracting the wrong audience or sending out content that is not very relevant to subscriber needs. Fix that and you should see your open and click-through rates improve.

  28. This is encouraging Marya, thanks for sharing. By the way, I laughed out loud when I read “I nearly fell out of my chair”. I was in a quiet pubic place (slightly flushed in embarrassment).

  29. *public

  30. You described exactly what I feel. I also started a blog and a youtube channel a couple of months ago and all I want is feedback, to know what I’m doing right or wrong. It is so easy to get demotivated, but oh well… I’m just trying to have fun with it. :) But great post
    Vanessa recently posted..My Boyfriend Does My Makeup TAG

  31. Mayra thank you so much for your site and all of the helpful links and articles! I have loved creatively writing out my sassy vents all my life and finally found time and inspiration to start a blog. It is no easy feat and getting followers is even less easy but your information is so pure and full I believe it will truly help me in this blogging journey so thank you!

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