Nearly all bloggers, vloggers, authors, and web publishers I know want to make a living from their websites or work. It’s natural to want to do what you enjoy for a living.
What better way than to study what other successful people have done and accomplished? Today, we are going to be studying Molly Wizenberg’s story of her blog “Orangette.”
If you’re a new blogger, or Webpreneur, then you should read this article through-and-through. You’ll see many similarities between your blog now, and what this successful Webpreneur‘s blog looked like. This should help give you the confidence to continue moving forward!
Table of Contents
Web Address: http://orangette.blogspot.com
Google PageRank: 6/10 (as of this writing)
Alexa Rank: ~120,000
Website Started: July 29, 2004
Website Age: ~7 Years
Traffic: 350,000 visits/month (according to New York Times)
The Beginning of Orangette
Orangette was started on July 29, 2004 with your basic “hello world” style post titled “Oh goodness here we go.” The post addresses some of the more important questions that a Webpreneur should consider, such as:
- Why do I want to blog?
- What is my mission?
- What will my attitude be?
Molly answered these questions (you’ll have to read her post to see the answers!) and set out on a path that led to her success. We’re getting ahead of ourselves, let’s continue studying the beginning of her blog.
What Did Orangette’s Beginning Look Like?
She started out doing what many bloggers do, posting every single day. There’s nothing wrong at all with doing this, but it’s extremely hard to sustain, and you end up writing many small posts, rather than longer more in-depth posts. The first few posts more of a musing style, but as soon as August 2004 came around, she got down to business.
She continued writing daily until about the middle of August, then she changed to a post every 2-3 days which is far more manageable. Now, it looks like she posts about 2 – 4 times a month.
Did Her Comments Look Like Mine?
Many bloggers become discouraged when they don’t have any visitors and no comments. Don’t fret, Orangette went through the same growing pains. If you look at some of her older posts, you’ll see that many have only a few comments. But why does your blog have none? Look at the dates. Few, if any of the comments on Orangette’s older posts are from the date (or close to the date) that the post was published.
Many of her comments came in year’s later. This indicates that another site linked to an older post after her blog became more successful, or a major marketing event may have occurred such as being featured in a news story. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s look at a timeline of events.
Orangette’s Blogging Success Timeline
- 07/29/2004 – Orangette’s First Post.
- 02/01/2008 – Molly Landed a column in Bon Appetit (you’ll notice an influx of comments on Orangette after this).
- 11/24/2008 – Orangette announces opening a pizzeria called Delancey with her husband.
- 12/03/2008 – Feature in SeriousEats.com Mentioning their pizzeria.
- 03/03/2009 – Molly’s Book “A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table” is published.
- 05/26/2009 – Interview Featured on TimesOnline.co.uk
- 09/17/2009 – Orangette mentioned on NPR.org.
- 10/07/2009 – Featured in Seattle Weekly.
- 12/31/2009 – FoodBuzz Blog Award winner 2009.
- 07/14/2010 – Mention on PBS.org.
- 05/25/2011 – Mention in New York Times.
A little research into the blog shows many great accomplishments. Most notably, Molly managed to attract a publisher’s attention in only 5 years! She has also managed to garner mentions in many notable publications.
What Does All of This Amount To?
Without trying to sound too cliché, her story echos the story of many other successful Webpreneurs: do something you love well enough, long enough, and whole-heartedly enough and you can succeed. You’ll find many abandoned blogs that didn’t make it past their first month, but if Molly had done that, she would have missed out on so many things (including meeting her husband!).
I’ve learned some things during my research into this great story:
- You don’t need a top-level domain to be successful.
- Despite my bias for the WordPress Platform, Molly made the blogger platform work.
- Molly has reinforced my belief that perseverance is one of the most important qualities in blogging.
What About You?
- Did you learn anything knew from this case study?
- What similarities and differences have you experienced in your own journey?
- Do you want to succeed, or have you already succeeded at being a Webpreneur?