The insane guide to rapid blog growth

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Here it is, the keys to the blog-growth castle…

It’s not uber-networking, commenting on every high-traffic blog you can find, sucking up to big bloggers to get links, befriending social-medialites, installing plug-ins to get people to subscribe or thank them once they do or building your profile and family of friends.

Do those things help? Yes, but…

Only if you do one much more important thing really, really well. What’s that one thing?

Be insane.

  • Insanely interesting
  • Insanely entertaining
  • Insanely informative
  • Insanely useful
  • Insanely provocative
  • Insanely kind/compassionate
  • Insanely friendly
  • Insanely opinionated
  • Insanely graphic
  • Insanely therapeutic
  • Insanely innovative
  • Insanely creative
  • Insanely uplifting
  • Insanely funny
  • Insanely, um…insane

Being any of these things on a “moderately,” “very” or “highly” level is not good enough. It’s got to be insane.

My highest traffic posts have been the ones that have been insanely something.

I can tell you before they ever go up if they are going to hit big or not. And, I am in heaven when I have the time to create them. As a blogger, it’s a gift to be able to give to your readers on this level. It’s a gift to be given a platform to share your voice with zest. It feels amazing. And people respond by reading, sharing, evangelizing.

Can you sustain posting at the insanely something level every time?

Doubtful, at least I know I can’t. But, the more I can be insanely something, the faster my blog grows. When I get too deep into other projects to be able to do the work needed to be insanely something, things slow down.

This, by the way, is why you’ve seen a number of top bloggers pulling back on their posting frequency, lately, and taking more time to make a smaller number of posts insanely something. In doing so, they’ve found no slow-down in the growth of their blogs. In fact, this approach often accelerates growth even of a more mature blog.

So, stop trying to put pretty flowers on the cake…

And start learning to bake a cake that’s so friggin’ good it’ll have your great aunt Tillie knocking over flower-girls to get the recipe.

Last week, the fabulous Shama Hyder wrote here first insanely something post at After The Launch. The thing that pushed it over the edge wasn’t the information, she usually provides great info, it was her emotion, for the first time on her blog, she let it rip, she added a bit of rant to her information. She got personal.

And, in doing so, she connected with her readers on a different level. Her comments for that post spiked dramatically, speaking to the power of emotion in getting your community of readers to participate in the conversation more (FYI – Shama just got proposed to and she said yes, everyone say woohoo!).

It really all comes back to Seth.

Stop asking how to promote your blog and spend more time being not just good, but butterflies in the belly remarkable, then just let a few of Malcom Gladwell’s sneezers know you’re there. Insane first, promote a distant second.

Funny thing is, I just realized…I wrote this post for me.

Time to get back on the insane horse.

Are you with me?

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28 responses

28 responses to “The insane guide to rapid blog growth”

  1. Insane is the only way to be. For God’s sake, I just wrote a post about how to be a woman. But can’t insane be bad too? Don’t people sometimes misjudge whether a post will be received as insanely opinionated vs. insanely offensive? Maybe the insane are forgiven for occasionally using misguided insanity.

  2. LMAO, none of your commenters suck up to you! Your commenters remind me of the ones on the Dilbert/Scott Adams blog. Very smart and pretty contentious.

    Oh and congrats on the Manival!

  3. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Hunter – great point, taking a strong stance on anything can be a double-edged sword, it can polarize people, but that’s not a bad thing. Inspiring emotion can lead to great conversation.

    Trick is, if you’re going to be insanely something, BELIEVE in what you are saying, be ready to take the praise and the heat. Rare is the popular post I’ve had where someone didn’t strongly disagree with what I’ve said.

    I remember one humorous post that got a ton of traffic and comments, all very supportive, everyone got the joke, at least I thought, then someone on a social network said something about wanting to kill me because of the post.

    Freaked me out for a second, but that’s just part of having a voice and being willing to engage in conversation on a level that’ll get people talking about what’s going down over at X blog.

    @ Hayden – Tell me about it! Where are MY suck-ups? Hmmm, I guess I’m not popular enough yet, hehehe! That’s what I love about you guys, my readers, they’re not afraid to dive in, take me one and often hash it out with each other.

    And, thanks for the manival props, I have future plans for that post.

  4. Rhea says:

    I love this concept. I love insanity in all its forms. I do try to do quirky, weird stuff on my blog, but not truly INSANE. I must pursue this insane idea!!

  5. natasha says:

    What’s mostly INSANE is that you still haven’t done “Ask Jonathan!” Erg. I thought it was going to be every Friday, but you did it once and then never again.

  6. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Rhea – So nice to see you here! Funny, I was just thinking of you this morning as I worked on another business concept

    @ Natasha – Thanks for your thoughts, actually, this post is the single best answer I can give to the question you asked. Just because it’s not labeled Ask Jonathan doesn’t mean I am not answering questions all the time. If it’s not enough, c’est la vie. Enjoy the day!

  7. Yes I guess you’re right – spending time to provide a really excellent service to the community has got to be more successful than sprinkling glitter on a mediocre production. Bravo!

  8. Great one.
    Trick is how to make an insane post, that takes practice and lot of trial and error. Not in the way of writing, composing, choosing words, but in the state of the mind before and while writing.

  9. RubiaLala says:

    I AM with you! It’s nice to have an outlet where my craziness and insanity is looked upon favorably!

  10. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ dandellion Kimban – agreed, being remarkable never is, but that’s why it works.

  11. I almost didn’t comment on this post, because well, it seems a little — insane. Doesn’t it?

    But I couldn’t help myself. I feel strangely triggered somehow. I can’t explain it. It feels weird! 🙂

  12. Can you imagine a bunch of suits sitting around a conference table saying, “What’s our strategy?” and one guy says, “I know, LET’S GO INSANE!”

    See, this is why blogging rocks, and it’s a different game now. As Seth says, it isn’t safe to not be risky anymore (I paraphrase).

    Insanity does get people’s attention.

    So yeah, I’m with you.

    Oh, and I want one of those cardboard boxes. Those are cool!

  13. @ Michael:

    Can you imagine a bunch of suits sitting around a conference table saying, “What’s our strategy?” and one guy says, “I know, LET’S GO INSANE!”

    Well, it happens to me all the time. But I work on the radio and nobody wears the suit. It’s the strategy that works for us.

  14. Meredith says:

    I’m about as restrained a blogger as you could find. (But hey, that’s me in public, too)

    I think you’ve inspired me to let down my hair. We’ll see what happens!


  15. Jonathan:

    Oh, I’m definitely with you! From time to time I write what I think are insane articles like the recent one I did earlier this week about “Little White Lies We Tell Ourselves.” It was meant to share some of the self defeating lies I’ve told myself but it generated more traffic to one article than I’ve ever seen.

    Of course, it helped that Chris Brogan told his followers about it.

    Anyway, great advice – just be INSANE! I’ll keep that in mind the next time I write a post or two. Thanks.

  16. @Stephen I second that. I tore off my anonymous mask last week and like you I got a huge reaction. Not only that, but it felt GOOD!

    I’m all for going insane. Crazy as I wanna be!

    Great post, Jonathan!

  17. NJ WebGuy says:

    I believe you’ve hit the nail on the head. I notice that after reading groups of similar blogs for a while, I start seeing a lot of the same ideas come across in different words.

    While I understand and appreciate how this necessarily happens, I find myself skimming past a lot of articles over time as a result. I mean, how many techniques can I possibly need to get to everything on my to-do list?

    I have managed to figure out that it often takes something different to breach my shortening attention span. Thinking about it now, the more insane the better.

  18. Josephine says:

    i agree to a certain extent, but i think there is also some truth in the fact that readers kind of like drama…on some of the blogs i’ve written on, the minute someone starts cussing someone or something out in a big way, whoosh, the traffic goes up big time, people start sharing the drama links across cyberspace, readers comment like crazy, lots of ‘anonymous’ commenters start cussing out the blogger’s family. it can get real messy.

    it’s like the internet equivalent of a fight in the school playground where everyone runs over and starts shouting ‘fight! fight!’, egging the fighters on and then even when the fight is over (nobody died, thankfully), people keep talking about it just to keep the drama alive.

    yes, that’s exactly what it’s like.

  19. […] what what would happen if you allocated part of your SEO budget to paying someone else to “create insanely-something content” that was ready made for human evangelism, then spent a solid chunk of your time getting to […]

  20. Jonathan,

    After failed attempts to understand and implement SEO tricks, I’m exhausted. Writing about what moves, upsets and excites me is my speed. Thanks for confirming that I’m on the right track.

    Of course when you write what you call insane posts some people will get upset. That’s okay. It may be the only mental exercise they’ve had all week.

  21. Jeff Flowers says:


    You make some pretty convincing points. The one thing on my blog that seems to do well, is when I teach someone how to do something. For example, I have a few Photoshop Tutorial posts. They rank high and they have been submitted to many different Tutorial Database’s, as well as StumbleUpon. It’s definitely my #1 most visited & highest ranked post I’ve done so far.

    However, I do think that implementing a few SEO tactics is wise. Especially if you are posting something with competitive keywords.

  22. […] friend Jonathan Fields wrote a post once about how the road to blogging success is paved with insanity. Being a conventional blogger is not only boring, as Jonathan noted, but it also fails to lead to […]

  23. Laurie says:

    Hey Jonathan ~ I’m new to blogging and appreciate your advice on being insane. I think it may take me a bit of time to reach the ‘insane’ level…I have to figure out what that means for me. I’m glad you included “kind/compassionate” as an insane opportunity because I usually associate insane as confrontational or negative dramas (as Josephine points out), which I’m not interested in. You’ve given me something to think about today – thanks!

  24. […] Marketing For Writers: Excellent video discussing the best ways to promote your writing online. The Insane Guide To Rapid Blog Growth: Jonathan Fields explains why insanity might be your best weapon when it comes to marketing your […]

  25. Abstractmind says:

    I guess I’ll have to start becoming insane with every article I make for my blog. Although, I feel good about my style of blogging, I cannot say that my post are in the INSANE level already. But, yeah I agree with you and with the rest INSANITY is the way to do it! I’m actually developing a new blog, it’s and I hope it’s just fine with you if I also relay the idea of creating contents with an ‘insane’ level to my future readers.

    Anyway, I really like the thought. Great post! Really INSANE!!!!!!

  26. […] The Insane Guide to Rapid Blog Growth-Jonathon Fields: Awake at the Wheel As many bloggers wish to direct the maximum amount of traffic to their blog as possible, this article gives a bit of insight on how to do so…..By being insane! […]

  27. celil says:

    Trick is how to make an insane post, that takes practice and lot of trial and error. Not in the way of writing, composing, choosing words, but in the state of the mind before and while writing.

  28. […] Be insane. Be insanely useful, insanely creative, insanely helpful, or insanely controversial. Whatever you do, make it extremely remarkable. Kind of insane, or pretty good is not enough. You have to be insanely something. […]