How to be a success online: SSP and an inflated ego
When you're blogging for readers (i.e. doing more than writing about your trips to the shops) you NEED to have an inflated ego. If you don't care whether people are reading (and enjoying) your content then you simply won't make it as a serious blogger. You need KNOW your opinion matters and that whatever the feedback, everyone needs to know what you think on the topic.
This behaviour isn't normally encouraged during your childhood development which is why I found it so awkward initially. You need an inflated sense of self importance because you need to WANT people to read your content, and that's hard if you don't think your opinion matters.
"The person you are while blogging needs to be more assertive, more self focused than your parents ever taught you to be"
The ego is a massive aspect as far as I'm concerned. The chances are that you have an opinion on *something* that most people don't share - you'll one day express that and you'll need to stick to it. Succesful bloggers don't back down and they don't fear backlash. It's often been said that flame-bait brings traffic (flame-bait = being deliberately antagonistic towards a topic) and that's also something you'll do one day; on purpose or not.
There's another thing that you can't be afraid to do as well; something I refer to as SSP. Shameless Self Promotion. When you start out no one will know about your site apart from you - and that's not a good way to earn respect/money. You're unlikely to have vast amounts of money to throw at your blog to generate some buzz so you need to publicise yourself. Publicising yourself is an uncomfortable thing at the best of times. Submitting your content to social bookmarking sites on a daily basis is almost embarracing but it's actually a necessary evil.
"If you suddenly get some coverage, you'll feel that ego grow and it becomes like a drug"
Punting your content onto Digg or Reddit daily does seem slightly daft but for every 10 people you send, 1 might come back. Slowly but surely you can start to build a readership - but this is VERY hard work. If you're wondering why this is important then your answer will come the day you receive some mainstream coverage. The first time Seopher.com was frontpaged on Digg was an unusual experience. I sat refreshing the page, counting all the new Diggs I was receiving and anticipating all the extra comments and ad clicks I would get. Digg can happily send 10,000+ people in your direction in one sitting and that's quite the narcotic.
Once that's happened you have a few days of heavy traffic while thousands more people visit your site and write about what you've written about... Again inflating your ego. People might email you asking for advice, thoughts, opinions or just to send you abuse. When Seopher.com was averaging 120 visitors a day, suddenly getting 12,000 people turn up was epic. Once you've had that happen, the shame of SSP dies down a little and this is a very important part of growing your online persona. You can't be afraid of putting your site out there; this isn't like the real world; the blogging world is a VERY competitive place and the only way you'll get ahead of the others is by shouting the loudest. Shameless self promotion is the only way you'll get new readers. Even when you're sitting on top of a comfortable readership (as Seopher.com is now) - I still need to send emails and submit my own content to social bookmarking sites. It's just part of trying to get ahead.
So what I'm saying is that you need to learn to care. You need to care about your content and your readers, yet stop caring about how others might see your actions. You need to be completely shameless in the promotion of your site - adding a link to it in the signature you use on other sites, referring other people to it as a resource... Hell, submitting your own content do Digg is shameless enough yet something I do on a regular basis. If you care enough about your content and are willing to shout louder than anyone else, you'll be a success online.
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