By success, I understand that a blog has at least tens of thousands of readers each day. And then there are tons of posts and articles about how to achieve a successful and profitable blog. Most approaches are minimalistic and doesn’t make sense on their own.
The most basic and relevant and working approach in my opinion is to think of famous (or not so famous) writers (online or offline) that you like. Why do you like them at all? Blogging is the same. You write something and some people eventually like it and want to continue to follow what you are writing. That’s all about it.
Therefore, sticking to a certain topic may make sense. I’ve always thought about Irvin Yalom as an example for this case. He has around 10 novels and many other text-books for clinical psychology. I am ready to read almost everything he is about to write because he writes very good, meaningful articles, novels, etc. For this example, a coherent context is a must because when I buy a new book (this is pretty much the same when you wait for your favorite blogger’s next post) of Yalom, I expect that book to be about psychology and then clinical psychology, and then psychotherapy, and even then about dynamic psychotherapy.
Another example where the topic is not that much important is Umberto Eco. I am waiting for his every next book. He is writing novels (I don’t take his other writing in this example but they are also worth reading, he is one of the best philosopher and semiologist alive!) in a fashion that I would love to read them. I would go and buy his books even if he has written and printed them on a toilet paper. It doesn’t make a difference for me.
People in the 21st century are following some blogs as if they are following a tv series. For some blogs, I can clearly say that they are the replacement (if not successor, but I am sure they are and continue to will be) for tv series. Dooce is an excellent example of that. Tens of thousands of people are waiting for her next post and they follow her like a tv series. Some people who know that I don’t like to watch tv may think that I am making fun of her by saying that. But I don’t. I appreciate that she achieved such a fan base.
If Dooce today had to move to blogspot, people wouldn’t stop following her. Imagine that she continues writing in some address like dooce-heather.blogspot.com . Do you think she will lose visitors? I don’t think so. Maybe that would be a criteria when she first started writing there but I am doubtful about that. If that would be true, then what about Zenhabits.com by Leo Babauta? He started his blog in blogspot and then moved to self-hosted wordpress.
What I want to tell you is to stop thinking about details like where to start. Thinking about this is like trying to prepare an unnecessary introduction for your sale, when people are already accepted to buy it. That is to say, if you believe that you have a talent which will help you write something menaingful that people would want to follow you, then begin right away.
That’s all about it. Content, content, content. And then some more content. Only then, social bookmarking, facebook, twitter, flickr or whatever would make sense to work on for distributing your content.