Note About The Author

Ludvig Sunström is rising through the blogging world fast. It’s no accident. The guy executes on everything you know you should do but don’t. The scary thing – he executes the stuff  you don’t know about with the same tenacity. It’s absurd. And it’s inspiring.

The first time he reached out (you’ll see the email below) he struck a perfect balance of professionalism and being human. Anyway – he knows what he’s doing.

Will and I have used a lot the techniques he’s mentioned in building StartupBros. They work. You’ll want to bookmark this.



Here’s What We’re Covering:

Are you an entrepreneur struggling with getting traction in the online world?

Are you a person who has something important to say to the world, but don’t yet know how to reach out with that message?

Fear not, friend.

It’s possible for you to blast out of online obscurity quicker than you might expect.

This is a lengthy, but practical article. I know that I would have benefited greatly if I’d read it when I first started.

Here’s a summary of what you’ll learn:

  • Two very harmful mistakes that most people do online.
  • How to get clear on exactly what you’ll do.
  • A practical strategy for building your lists.
  • How to network online the simple way.
  • How to do basic email pitching.
  • How to grow your blog by getting traffic and exposure.
  • The “viral mindset”.
  • How to speed up the process of doing these things with a couple of helpful programs and websites

Knowing these things in advance will save you much time and help you focus your effort on the few most important things that generate the most results.

Why should you listen to me?

Because I’ve grown my niche blog about practical self-development from a few visits per day, to 1000+ visits/day in less than six months. And I have done this while being a full-time master’s student, reading a book a week, hitting the gym four times a week, and being on the board of Toastmasters.

Point being, I’ve had to find ways of leveraging the very limited amount of time that I’ve had at my disposal for working on my blog and learning online entrepreneurship.

And if I can this, so can you.

However, to do this:

  • You need to be motivated and feel strongly about your idea and message.
  • You need to be patient and understand that this is a long-term learning process.
  • You need to understand what the 80/20-activities behind growing your site are. And you need to be consistent in executing them.

I know that you fulfill these prerequisites seeing as how you are a reader of StartupBros.

Before I get into how to blast out of online obscurity, I must first tell you about two things that you must not do. These two things are a waste of your time and an incompetent way of doing things.

1.     Using novice blogging platforms.

You need to get it right from the get-go and go for

It doesn’t cost you more than $20-$100 buying a .com-domain, hosting your site, and buying a theme. If you are the least bit serious you will do this without hesitation.

If you don’t, the credibility of your site goes out the window – and you won’t be taken seriously.

For example, in terms of online networking purposes, I don’t consider people who don’t have their own sites to be worth spending my time on. I filter these people out immediately.

The reason I do this is because it signals to me that these people are:

a)     Uninformed or incompetent at the “online game”.

b)    Not serious enough to pay for their own site, hosting, etc.

And both of these things leave an equally bad first impression. I’m not going to waste precious time networking with deadbeats. Most of the serious people that I know online would say the same thing.

The second thing you must not do is to…

2.     Waste time promoting yourself unintelligently.

A year ago when I was just blogging for fun on, I saw a ton of people like myself who didn’t understand rule #1.

But these people still considered themselves to be serious bloggers/entrepreneurs/marketers.

When I say serious, what I mean is that these people clearly showed ambition one way or another. Some of them were trying to grow their blogs and others were trying to sell products. But the way they did this was haphazard.

Many of them used a promotion strategy that relied almost completely on leaving unintelligent comments that added zero value, and on liking other people’s posts/pages in hopes of getting a like back.

This is one of the most stupid and inefficient ways of accumulating social proof I have seen. Many suckers on do this.

The reason why this is a sucker-strategy is because it doesn’t bring any sustained increase in traffic to the site.

I kid you not when I tell you that I saw people who had thousands of likes and comments on their about pages. All the comments said:

Hey, thanks for liking my post. Great blog. Bye.”

Can you even imagine how much time they must have wasted in racking up all those likes and comments?

So, these people were obviously consistent in what they were doing – but they were doing the wrong things!

Now, let’s get into the correct way of blasting out of obscurity and establishing your presence online.

Get Clear about What You Will Accomplish

Success consists of 10 % planning and 90 % execution.

You will be going out on a limb if you don’t know exactly what it is that you’re aiming for. That’s why the planning comes first.

There are two reasons why you must get clear on exactly what it is you’re setting out to do:

  1. If you set a specific target to reach, your brain will start filtering all incoming information and make you conscious of information that’s relevant for you to reach the target.
  2. It’s highly unlikely that you will ever have more success than the amount you set out to achieve. Human beings are inherently lazy and the brain will try to save energy any way it can. By setting a specific target you will override this laziness of the brain.

Compile a List.

This is very important. And it is a part of the planning that never stops.

No matter what your online aspirations are, you’re going to need the help of others to blast out of obscurity. You’ll need shares, comments, referrals, and any kind of social proof you can get.

To get this, the first thing you need to do is to create a list.

A list of what?

list of how to get traffic

You will include these three things in your list:

In the image above you see one of the lists inside of my digital commonplace. This list contains websites that I want to contact for pitching guest posts. The program I’m using is Windows OneNote. If you are a Windows user there’s a high likelihood that you already have this program on your computer. I really recommend using it.

And how do you grow the list?

Simple. Whenever you see an interesting site you will locate the relevant section – usually the contact page –and copy paste the URL to your list.

The list will get big if you add a few items every day while browsing the web.

And this is excellent, because it means you will never run out of leads. When you take action every day by contacting a few people from this list, your results will become staggering over time.

Grow the Skill Set: Online Marketing

There are a bunch of things you need to learn in order to reach out to people and get your message out there.  But you need to learn these things one by one.

The conscious mind can process only 5-9 bits of information per second, and short-term memory is limited to about 30 seconds.  Point being: you can’t do too many things at once.

When you’re learning these things, know that it is online marketing you’re learning. It’s a useful skill set and it is worth the hassle.

Here’s the first thing you need to do:

  • Define a target audience and figure out exactly who you are in a conversation with.

A practical tip for doing this is to picture your ideal reader/customer/viewer, and speak as if you are speaking only to this person.

Never speak to many people – only one person.  Always use “you” over “we” when speaking to your target audience.

When you write your blog posts, sales copy, or online ads, you need to make it all about the reader. Keep it benefit-oriented.

Here’s a tool to help you with this. It’ll measure the use of “you” versus “we” versus “I” in a text document.

  • Wewe Calculator.

Become Patient: Learning a Skill is a Long-Term Process

It’s easy to get a domain and to start a blog or a website – you can do that overnight. But to make the site popular, to spread your message, or to build your brand – those things take longer.

The difference between the people who succeed online and those who don’t is usually not that the latter lack persistence and motivation.

There are a lot of motivated people out there.

The guys I told you about over at are motivated, but their approach sucks. And as I am writing this post, I have revisited some of those blogs – and they show no signs of growth. They are still doing the same damn thing.

So, what is the difference between those who succeed online and those who don’t?

It’s the mindset.

The guys who aren’t succeeding – like those on novice blogger platforms – don’t see blogging or online entrepreneurship as a long-term process. They aren’t putting any effort into learning how to generate traffic or how to make their website look better.

–And yes, the design aspect does matter!

People do judge the book by its cover. The packaging matters. Just ask any Apple employee.

The only people who can get away with having a really ugly website and still get traffic are celebrities.

And you’re not a celebrity, are you?

Quick Tip on Web Design

Learning all of this stuff can get frustrating at times. Trust me, I know.

If you decide to do web design yourself I would really recommend that you start using the free software Firebug. It lets you inspect the CSS and HTML code of any website. This makes it easy for you to replicate elegant design features of other people’s sites.

In the image below I’ve highlighted a paragraph from StartupBros and I’m looking at the HTML code. On the right side you have the CSS code.

screenshot of HTML and CSS code

Grow the Site and Get Traffic

With your list finished you are good to go. Now it’s time to start the process of gaining traffic and exposure.

After creating great content, the two most important things you need to do consistently are networking and guest posting.

The simplest and most common way of networking is by reaching out to people and commenting on sites in your niche.

It’s all about building relationships, and you’d be surprised at how quickly you can enter into relationships and bond with people online – in particular people in your niche.

Here are two great examples of how you can take the first step and start an interaction that will quickly turn into a relationship:

screenshot of an email interaction

In this email I have attached a plugin that sets up a favicon (tiny browser icon).

This is a very easy way of providing value and it is much appreciated by the other person. Who doesn’t like a person that comes out of nowhere and does you a small favor without asking for anything in return?

Here’s another example of what you can do:

Hey Mark,

I’m Neal Anderson and I run the personal sales site Always Be Closing. I saw your contribution to Sales Magazine and thought it was a great piece. What you said about brokers having to wear green ties to boost their success rate really got me thinking. What is your opinion on wearing black ties? Do you think it could work?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,


Your messages need to be friendly and provide some sort of value. Try to start a conversation and keep it going. And always follow-up. Every. Single. Time.

If you send 3 of these emails and leave comments every day you will quickly create a network of friends.

(In the end of the post I’ll show you two softwares that dominate list-building and following up on contacts.)

And what about guest posting – is it necessary?

— You don’t “have to” do guest posts, but you need to get featured on other sites somehow to get attention.  It’s a good idea to become a regular contributor to a big site in your niche – at least in the beginning when you are establishing your presence online. It helps build credibility and social proof.

And you need to start small when you build social proof or referrals.

You do this by first pitching smaller sites and building your track record. You will then use this as leverage to pitch bigger sites.

This is not something that you do once or twice. This is an ongoing process that exponentially adds to your exposure, traffic, and social proof.  You should always use the things you’ve done to leverage yourself into a higher position.

And how do you do a guest post pitch?

Take a look at the intro of the email I sent to Kyle and Will for this post.

email pitch for guest posting pitch

How to Decide Where to Guest Post

Do you know how Tim Ferriss, Ryan Holiday, and many other successful online authors and entrepreneurs have promoted their books/products?

–By doing guest posts on popular niche sites.

How did they decide which sites to posts on?

–By limiting the selection of sites. They did it by setting a limit for traffic and website ranking required to do the guest post.

You can do this too.

To find out which sites are worth your time to pitch, use the Alexa Toolbar. It’s free.

alexa toolbar screenshot

StartupBros currently has a Global Alexa ranking of 64864 and an American ranking of 29523. That’s pretty good for a blog. Normal – personal – blogs are either not ranked at all, or they are ranked in the high millions.

This number doesn’t give you any specific details about the traffic or your possible conversion rate, but it still says a lot about the popularity of the site. The ranking is mostly based on traffic and backlinks.

Can You Predict Virality?

You will blast out of online obscurity if you are consistent in following the tips in this article. But you will probably not be able to predict in advance which specific actions are going to be the most efficient for you in terms of generating traffic and conversions – at least in the beginning.

For example, most of the posts I’ve published on LifeHack have not generated much traffic to my own blog, with the exception of 1-2 posts that got popular.

However, those posts have been good in boosting Alexa rank – making it easier for my blog to pop up in the search engines. In the long-term that will bring me a lot of organic traffic.

But what is the fastest and most powerful way of getting traffic?

–Having one of your posts go viral.

The problem is that it’s very hard to predict what content is going to go viral.

Your best bet is to create great content and hope that people will share it. But you can also take a more proactive approach.

There are a couple of things you can do to improve your chances of going viral. Here’s the basic psychology behind virality:

  • Create content that provokes a reaction. Be polarizing. Your content should be shocking. It should make people angry enough to tell their friends what a dick you are. (I don’t do this nearly enough.)

There are plenty of smart people on the web who create great content, but still get zero attention. Are you one of them?

If so, chances are that you’re not being polarizing enough – and that you’re not appealing to the emotions of the reader.

I’m guilty of doing the same thing myself.

I appeal way too much to people’s logic. But, I’m lucky in having gathered an intelligent readership –proving that it can be done. It’s just harder.

  • Your content must be remarkable in some way. This comes close to “provoking a reaction”. This means that your content must make people want to talk about it to friends or strangers. It must be worth remarking on.
  • If you write about things that are politically incorrect, it’s going to be more challenging to go viral. Most people aren’t comfortable sharing such content, even if they secretly would like to. Remember, when people share content on social media they are risking their social status.

Anyway, you can never know in advance if your content will go viral.

Do you think that Tim Ferris expected his video about BOILING A GODDAMN EGG to become his most shared and popular piece of content ever produced?

However, you can make an educated guess whether or not your content is going to go viral. A while back I wrote an article about useful programs and websites over at LifeHack that got shared 1100+ times. I wrote it because:

a)     I wanted to share some good tips.

b)     I wanted to mimic a similar post that had gone viral one month previously to see what happened.

My post didn’t go viral, but it was still a success.

What I learned from that post is that people like sharing easy-to-read and actionable technology-based content. (This post is not going viral, it’s technology-based, but it’s way too long).

Then recently I wrote an article about the wisdom hidden beneath the debauchery of the Wolf of Wall Street. It got shared 3500+ times in its first two days. I believe there were two reasons why that article went well:

a)     It was timely. And I was the first to do it as far as I know of. At least at that specific site.

b)     There’d been a ton of content about the Wolf of Wall Street — but it was all the same, it was bland. This one was different, and without clichés.

Case Studies of Virality

You should study the following YouTube videos and see if you can find a pattern:

  • Gangnam Style.
  • What does the fox say?
  • Harlem Shake

What do they have in common?

–These videos all have their own special dances that are easy for people to imitate. Plus they are entertaining and remarkable.

That pattern wasn’t very tricky to find, was it?

But what about awful YouTube “comedy” video makers – like Ray William Johnson? What has he done to go viral?

What did I do just now?

Think about it…

I just remarked on him – I didn’t share a link though. (Sorry RWJ, I am not supporting you online).

I don’t like that guy, but he is remarkable – in a negative way.  And that gets people to talk about him and share his stuff, even if it’s just for laughing at him.

A Blog post that went viral:

As of writing this, the post has been shared 733k times.

The woman who wrote that post was a completely normal (mediocre) blogger. Then for some reason, this very bland post went massively viral.

Why do you think this is? Please let me know in the comment section.

–What you can learn from studying that post is that if you want to achieve massive virality you must appeal to the masses and you must provoke a reaction.

But it’s highly unlikely that you will ever succeed in doing this.

Massive virality is mostly about luck.

The better strategy is to aim for “mini-virality”.

Your best bet is to create content for your target audience, gauge their interest, interact with them, get feedback, and keep learning interesting things to share with them.

You could look at it this way:

  • Massive virality = playing the lottery
  • Mini-virality = long-term investing

The thing here is that Amy Morin, who wrote the post about mentally strong people, is one of those lottery winners.

This is one of those cases where the availability bias is playing tricks on you. You only see the “winners”, but never the losers. Thousands of posts go completely unnoticed. You only see the massively viral content, and this is giving you an inaccurate understanding about the probabilities of going viral.

Don’t make the mistake in thinking that:

Just because she could do it, so can I. She’s a terrible writer with shitty content, whereas I have talent!

What happened there was completely outside of her control. It had very little to do with her talent. It was in the hands of the unthinking masses.

Never leave your fate in the hands of anyone else – especially not the unthinking masses.

Don’t rely on luck. Take matters into your own hands. Take responsibility for your own success and do whatever is within your power to ensure victory.

Your best strategy to blast out of online obscurity is not in trying to please the masses. The masses are large and unpredictable. Your target audience is easier to figure out.

Online success is achieved by consistently sticking to a set of principles:

  • Creating interesting content.
  • Building your list and automatize the process.
  • Doing guest posts or getting yourself featured on relevant sites for social proof and traffic.
  • Leaving comments and networking with other people.
  • Designing a beautiful site.
  • Striving for consistent “mini-virality”.

Wrapping This Up…

You can follow the advice I’ve given you in this post and have a lot of success – if you’re consistent. Or you can take a shortcut.

What do I mean by this?

All of the advice I’ve given you above work, I am living proof of that. But there is a time-efficient way of accomplishing the same results. Instead of doing these things manually, you can use a smart combination of two softwares to save you time by automatically giving you leads and then easily following up on them.

I have set up a gift for StartupBros readers:

  • 30 days extra free trial of InkyBee – which is a powerful online outreach program for finding and contacting websites, bloggers and influencers. Use this tool to speed up the process of building your list. It’ll automatically give you their social media contacts.
  • Exclusive Invite-only beta-testing of Polite Persistence – which is like the program Boomerang for gmail, but on steroids. Use this program to flawlessly follow up on the contacts via email. It comes with numerous useful functions for contacting people online.

Just check out this page of Start Gaining Momentum for more info and sign up for free.

But there’s more:

  • As a bonus you will also get my 136-page eBook containing loads of practical advice that you can immediately apply to improve your brain and body.

This set of resources is currently unique and I have set it up specifically for StartupBros readers.  Head over to Start Gaining Momentum and check out the resources.

Good luck!


Avatar for Ludvig Sunström
Ludvig Sunström

Ludvig Sunström runs Start Gaining Momentum, where he writes about practical self-development and gives no-nonsense tips for becoming more efficient.

He is also the author of Breaking out of Homeostasis, a book about reclaiming control over your life by overcoming the brain's innate mechanism of staying the same.

62 comments add your comment

  1. Nice article! We just started our blog and it’s been a bit daunting driving traffic to the site. I feel most of the tips on this article will be helpful and I’m happy to apply it on my blog too.

  2. Nice article! We just started an online clothing company and it’s been a bit daunting driving traffic to the site.
    I feel most of the points you highlighted also apply to not just blogs but any online business so, I will try and put some into use.

  3. Great post, Ludvig. I’m a total novice to blogging beyond hobbyist level, and I learned a lot from reading this.

    The other comments about why readers think the 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do post went viral were great. I wonder if another component is that the topic plays on a very common fear. I think that a lot (maybe most) people harbor some sort of fear around being weak. No one wants to be viewed that way. So perhaps it triggered a mass neurosis, where everyone had to check to be sure she wasn’t talking about them. 😉

    Thanks again for all of the great information. I look forward to reading more of your writing!


  4. Very, very depthful post, Ludvig! Most of this was common sense to me but it was a great reminder!


  5. I’d add since I’ve been trying a tool for a couple of months now:
    is a must-have.

    Why? Here is why I think why
    • You gather all your social place in one dashboard. No need to log in there and that, copy/paste the posts; etc…. from the dashboard you can bulk-post on all your social boards. I have 2 Facebook pages and 2 G+ pages, and this tool saved me hours literally.

    • You can…schedule messages! Remember my concern about matching my readers timezone (Europe/US); now, I just prepare all my posts, and schedule the adequate time for posting.

    • You can create “groups” so I have a groupe “France” and a groups “US” – and it’s damn easy to dispatch my messages now.

    • It doesn’t just manage the “walls” it manages the private messages per page as well, so there no need to connect to check…

    •…. and it means, no need to procrastinate on Facebook for hours while you were suppose to check your FB page 🙂

    • You can add your private feeds too; like your twitter page.

    • Finally; it has routines, for instance, extracting a RSS feed and post it to the pages. I extract my Q&A platform questions and auto post them on Facebook.

    The free version supports up to 5 social medias, which is quite good.

    • Hey Raz! Thanks for sending this along. I believe Facebook punishes any posts made by third-party software… I think that IFTTT ( gets around this but I’m not 100%. Just something to keep in mind.
      I do love me some hootsuite though!

    • Thanks for the great tips, aZr!

      I’ve used Hootsuite, but i never really loved it. I’m not that big on social media yet. I had to really FORCE myself to even use Twitter. The same is true for Facebook.

  6. Great post, Ludvig. I would like to add one more point — “Write epic posts, all the time”. It is hard but with passion and practice we will get there. Blogging does take time and hard work but momentum is key. Once we get the ball rolling, it’ll be extremely hard to back out of it.

  7. Hey Naomi,


    You’re right about blogging not being an overnight solution, but when putting in some intelligent effort the progress is quicker than expected.

    Of course, there’s many reasons to be blogging. Very few people have ambitions of becoming “full time pro bloggers”. I would guess that most serious bloggers do it to promote themselvers, their products/companies, or network with people online.

  8. Hi Ludvig,

    Well done for achieving such a great post on StartupBros. I really do love the way you’re not afraid to “toot your own horn”. But I guess credit, wheres credit due. So toot away! Your work backs up your word.

    Thanks for the great advice in regards to aiming for “mini-virality”. Also making it clear throughout this post that serious online blogging is no overnight solution. Think and act often!



  9. Great post great headline. The part on writing more controversial posts is so true, but so hard. No one wants to ruin their rep by being a jerk, but like you said, if you want viral, its a good tactic.


    • Haha, thanks a lot Rob!
      I really like the image of the article as well. Good job on that one, Kyle 😉

      The headline part can be tricky (if you want to be controversial), because the benefit you’re selling isn’t corresponding to the copy, the reader will get angry. Newspapers always do this, and I HATE it. That’s why I’ve stopped reading them.

  10. Great post Ludvig 🙂
    It gave me extra insights to move forward; especially the part about guest posting. I’lll build my list just after I’ve finished this comment.

    I’d add myself since I’m running my own website for almost a year now that:
    1- Talk about the things you know/ passionate about or willing to learn about. Otherwise your content won’t be of good quality and it’ll fall into oblivion.

    2- Plans, plans plans…have a solid vision of what you want to accomplish. There is no room for “oh maybe…and what if…should I”. Planning is a call to action
    3- Make it a habit. I know smart people who lack the proper commitment. Years have passed and nothing really moved. For instance my habit is to check the stats on a daily basis; and push a big article on a weekly basis.

    4- You want to be a “pro”, think like a pro, adopt the lifestyle of a pro and plan like a pro

    I’d say I’m with you on the schedule, I’m “busy” somewhere else, but keep my website as a priority. So this “business” is not an hindrance at all.

    By the way, the “wewe calculator” link doesn’t work, but I cannot seem to find another version online.

      • Hi Kyle,
        there are couple of things I check. Usually the line goes like this:
        • If the number of daily users is steady, then I start to check for this day what were the most viewed pages. I compare this days to the same one of the previous week, and try to see the difference; this is where patterns often emerge. In my niche, people hit the internet in the morning (before hitting the gym or simply working) and on Sunday. This is why now for my audience in France, I do my best to push something around 10 PST (07.00 in Europe), and I see it leads to more optin and more visitors.
        As for the Sunday, (my “biggest” day), this is why I push my “weekly articles” that I talked about. It’s usually 3 to 4 times longer than a classical articles, it has pictures, explanations and is usually presented to people in a way I call “just do it”; here is a good example: where I teach them how to “cut” in bobyduilding.

        • When it increases all of a sudden, 90% of the times is because I’ve prepared it; started to participate online about a given topic, and usually when I come up later with an article, for 2 days, stats increase. It’s something more touchy, because in the context of the discussion, many are too serious, and you must show yourself to be a figure of authority; otherwise you just missed the point 🙂

        Let me give you a practical example. 3 days ago, there was a polemic about plant-based proteins VS animal-based proteins, comment were fusing; so I just published a piece:

        These are my “mini buzz” where I’m juggling with long and interesting (boring) content and small piece of news that keep my website fresh (for instance latest discoveries about vitamin).

        But, I’m new to this. I think it works because in not even 3 months I’ve been able to do +300% on the number of daily pages.

        I have a hard time though to get the users to subscribe to the newsletter, so this is where I’m focusing lately 🙂

        Being a technical consultant is a advantage, because site performance, availability, etc… are things I’m expert in, so I can focus 200% of a quality content rather than trying to understand why my website is slow for instance.

        • Thanks for the extended answer! I love the ideas you’ve put down… and I even learned something about cutting 🙂

          Godspeed! There’s money in that list

    • Hey Raz,

      Good stuff.

      Regarding the “wewe calculator” you’re right. It seems they’ve suddenly removed the website. Maybe it just became commercialized. That’s a real pity!

      “I know smart people who lack the proper commitment”

      — Yes. Me too. It’s a real waste of talent…

  11. Great post, Ludvig. This stuff is now must read/absorb/practice for anyone setting out in business. It’s not just digital marketing. It is fundamental to business development and is how the internet is brilliant in enabling opportunities for small “Davids” to compete with Goliath. You are on an exciting journey, so enjoy it, and thanks for sharing your learnings.

    • Thank you, Hugh.

      I agree. Doing these things have truly changed my life in the last couple of months, and put me in touch with a ton of intelligent people I wouldn’t know otherwise.

  12. Man, I swear some of our core ideas are very aligned. Like for example I feel exactly the same way about using a free service as compared to hosting on your own domain name, it just screams “This is not a serious endeavor for me. I’m not even willing to fork out 20 bucks for a more professional image.”

    And I love how you took note of that post too. It seemed bland enough, and even missed the most important part about the ability to grow past one’s current limitations, and yet it blew up. I studied it and was going to model a post after it, but I thought about the kind of people I want to attract to my blog, and they are unlikely to appreciate run of t

    I just checked and my most successful post on lifehack is a generic formulaic list post that I wrote about websites that make you healthier. At 9.9k shares it’s my most successful post of all time, and it’s easily one of the ones I was least happy with. I did try to fit some good advice in there, but man it’s not 100% my cup of tea. I think it’s important to appeal to the audience of the website first, and your own wishes later if you want to go viral on a specific website.

    I have written some helpful, comprehensive well researched articles for Lifehack that went basically nowhere, and it’s probably because I didn’t respect the formula of content that gets shared on Lifehack. But then again, in terms of traffic return for time investment, Lifehack has by far been the worst platform for me. Maybe my author bio isn’t compelling enough.. but I feel like it’s because people are more concerned with the articles and very little with the writers because there are so many of them. At pick the brain and other sites I’ve guest posted, I’ve seen a much higher traffic return from much fewer shares.

    If you’re operating on the same platform, you can manufacture virality by emulating a tested formula. The one I chose was the “x websites that make you x” And spun it for health. And it worked, I didn’t think it had, because I saw nothing in terms of traffic, but it did work. But it doesn’t matter if it’s not aligned with what you’re trying to do with your own site. If the overlap between the audience your post reaches, and your target audience is too small then it’s basically a waste of traffic. Which I have effectively proven with my own guest posting efforts so far, haha.

    Great post man. I really need to get back in the saddle.

    • One of biggest tragedies in making art (or anything I guess) is that what you want people to want is rarely what they want. Joseph Heller thought that Catch 22 was one of his lesser works… but it’s the only one we know. The balancing act between core honesty and mass appeal is one of the most difficult things in the world.

      • I love that. “What you want people to want is rarely what you want.” I need to put that on a wall or something. I’m trying to find the golden spot, but so far I’ve found it easier to write content that gets shared for other websites. Maybe because there are clear precedents for what makes it and what doesn’t. On my own blog I’m probably still a bit unclear on exactly where my core audience lies, and what they care about, so getting through is definitely a balancing act I have yet to master.

    • Great comment, Ragnar 😉

      You are back in the saddle, I saw the marketing post you did a few days ago. Great thoughts in that one, I wasn’t expecting you to be THAT well-read on the topic!

      Didn’t know about your 9000+ shares post. That’s cool, too bad about the conversion.

      I definitely agree with what you’re saying about LifeHack. Here’s why:

      1. It’s a site with a large readership, but incredibly low engagement. Your single post is not going to change the nature of the site.

      2. Because of its nature, people instinctively throw all the content on the site into one big mental association, they don’t distinguish between it as you or I would. They don’t understand the creation process like you or I do. They only see the articles and think “Oh, another one of those..”, and the fact that 90% of the content over there is very generic will make people instinctively think that way about your post BEFORE they even read about it. The battle is lost before it even begun.

  13. Hey Ludvig,

    thanks for this great post. This is pure value and to the point. As a blogger, who is just starting out and trying to manage this while working fulltime, this is very inspiring advice!

    And thanks to Sebastian for recommending this post.


    • I appreciate it, Tolga. That’s exactly why I wrote the post.

      I was very frustrated when I first started, there were so many things to learn. Then when you look back you realize that most of it is unnecessary (I don’t do any SEO at all for example). But those are things you can only know when you’ve gone through enough trial and error, without giving up.

      And indeed, thanks Sebastian for spreading the word!

  14. Ludvig,

    This is a remarkable article!

    I think the article from Amy went viral, because she only listed don`ts. Most people are lazy. A list with don`ts is far more appealing than a list with exhausting things to do. It doesn`t take so much effort. At least it seems this way while reading.

    • That’s an interesting point! I’ve found it more effective to remove from life than add. Warren Buffet’s philosophy in investing was focused on avoiding dumb decisions… we can benefit in big ways from being slightly less stupid.

      • Kyle,
        Speaking of Buffet (and Munger), I would recommend everyone interested in that to read the book “Seeking Wisdom”, by Peter Bevelin. It’s about many of the dumb (heuristic) decisions we are prone to make as humans.

    • That’s an interesting observation. I think you’re right.

      And as you say, a lot of people are lazy. It boost their ego for a brief period of time to read stuff that they don’t have to do. Then they can just sit and think “oh, I don’t do any of this stuff!” and get that quick fix of good emotions, instead of focusing on what can be improved; and placing their energy on improving it.

  15. Super helpful post, Ludvig!

    “The guys who aren’t succeeding – like those on novice blogger platforms – don’t see blogging or online entrepreneurship as a long-term process.” ==> The key here is seeing blogging / online entrepreneurship as a long-term process. If people did, people wouldn’t be doing so much of mutual like / comment exchanges. It can even harm your site at times.

    When I started my blog about 3 months ago, I decided to use LoA in the way you described in your recent blog post at Start Gaining Momentum. I knew I wanted to accomplish big things and actually get seen, so I naturally looked for ways to do that proactively, and the things I’ve learnt on getting what I want is actually just by observing the little things fast-growing bloggers are doing. And you’re DEFINITELY one of them, Ludvig!

    A side note on Amy Morin. I don’t have anything against her, but you’re very right about her being a very “normal” blogger. I’ve seen her articles, and I was really wondering… Really struck the lottery on that one, haha.

    Totally sharing this! 🙂

    • Great to hear, Jeremy. I’m glad it was helpful.

      “If people did, people wouldn’t be doing so much of mutual like / comment exchanges. It can even harm your site at times.”

      — Yeah. It’s important to network, comment, etc… But it comes AFTER the process of learning and creating content.

      Thanks for sharing!

  16. Great post, Ludvig. I really like your style. Bold and straight to the point.
    It is obvious that technology make us limitless. There is no limit if you work hard and you prove that with your 6-months boom. However, the only limit that cannot be broken by technology is time. I would like to ask you, how is your daily routine to get such a huge result?

    • Yo Davide!

      You’re definitely right about time being the limiting factor. I don’t have enough time to do all the things I want to do. But I think the fact that I am constantly feeling “hungry” is great motivation. Even when I work at stuff all day and just fast throughout the day (as I am now), I still have more things to do!

      Here’s my daily routine in a gist:
      — Wake up early. Read & write a few hours. (I am most creative in the morning.)
      — Go to work on something (school/blog/career related).
      — Go to the gym. Eat my first and usually ONLY meal of the day at a buffet, so I eat a lot. That saves much time.
      — Continue working/reading/writing.
      –Come home, do a quick powernap or meditation (max 30 min).
      — Do blog related things. Answer emails, etc.
      –Read a book, meditate, go to sleep.

    • Daily routine? Haha! I have it in my written interview with him which should be published soon! 🙂 I’m sure you’ll like it.

  17. Hey Ludvig. Thanks for taking the time to write down all this advice. I am a college student in the situation you describe in the post, very impressive that you have found time to learn this on the side of your studies.

    I currently don’t yet have a blog, I’ve been afraid/procrastinated starting it. I have some questions about doing that. Could I send you an email perhaps?

    I really like the hands-on advice, like the pitch to Kyle & Will. And as for that viral article you mentioned, I read it a few months back in Forbes and thought: “WTF? Why is this a big deal?”


    • Hey Drilon!

      “I currently don’t yet have a blog, I’ve been afraid/procrastinated starting it.”

      — Haha. Don’t I know that feeling…

      Send me an email at [email protected] I’d love to help out if possible. If I can’t help you, I can probably put you in touch with someone who can.

      Thanks for reading!

    • The more afraid you are, the more you know you gotta do it, so get down to it man!!

      There are lots of friendly people in the blogosphere who are willing to help, so don’t be afraid to shoot emails in any of their contact pages if you think you like what they’re doing on their site.

      Good luck.

    • Hi Dirlon, after I read your comment I thought I would send you two quotes that helped me when I was feeling like you.

      “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure” Bill Cosby
      Don’t fear success and don’t fear failure. Failure shows your trying and learning at the same time.

      “The secret of getting ahead is getting started”
      Mark Twain
      You will never get where you want to be without taking that first step. Go for it. Do something today that puts you in the direction you want.

      I hope these help and good luck


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