The 3 Stages of Blog Growth: What to do, and When

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New bloggers every day get frustrated with their progress.

It’s tough to get your first 100 subscribers.

Your first 500? That’s no easy task either.

It takes a lot of hard work, blood sweat and tears to get started. But where I see new bloggers make a huge mistake, is that they get discouraged by this.

Good News: It’s not always going to be this hard!

The fact of the matter is, the early stage of a blog, is the absolute hardest time that you will ever have. You will experience the most resistance in this stage, and often feel like a failure because you’re not getting a ton of traffic.

But here is the good news, you are not going to be in this stage forever. Once you get to a certain point, your strategy will begin to change and you can begin to take part in strategies that grow your blog quicker than you can imagine. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to start getting 100 new subscribers with just 20 minutes of work.

Or 400 new subscribers by writing an easy guest post.

How is this possible?

By understanding the 3 stages of blog growth.

1. The Early Traction Stage: Your First 1000 Subscribers

This is where most bloggers get stuck. The key to getting out of the early traction stage is to keep your head down and continue to do what works, until you reach the mid sized blogger stage. Once you do, your life will become way easier.

In this stage you have to focus.

Often your options for growing here are as follows:

  • Guest posting
  • Social Media
  • Being a part of your niche communities and distributing your content there (FB groups, Forums, Reddit, etc.)
  • Optimizing your site for conversions to build your email list
  • Paid promotion to your lead magnets and landing pages
  • Syndicating your content to where it will get more exposure (Medium, LinkedIn, Forums)
  • Influencer outreach

Things like SEO and small partnerships are possible in this stage, but usually mid sized bloggers take on these roles because they have more resources and time.

Once you start to reach the around 1000 subscriber stage, begin to shift your focus to marketing activities that mid sized bloggers do, and you’ll start growing much faster.

2. The Mid Sized Blogger Stage – Your First 10,000 Subscribers

For the mid sized blogger, things are finally starting to click. You’ve been blogging for a little while now, and have started to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. You have relationships with other bloggers out there, and have a lot more confidence that you are going to succeed.

This is also where it become possible for bloggers that want to monetize, to do so. Which will contribute to your growth in HUGE ways.

Often bloggers at this stage focus on the following activities to grow, while focusing a little less on many of the actions small bloggers have to take:

  • Focusing on their email list a lot more – publishing frequency might increase since you have a decent sized email list to read your content
  • Ad Swaps – This will become huge for your blog’s growth. A simple ad swap email between 2 bloggers lists can results in 3 figure subscriber growth for both bloggers just by sending a quick email
    Webinars – Serious bloggers that want to monetize will start focusing on webinars with their list, since they can actually get people to show up now. This will build a loyal readership and help out a ton of people in a process
  • Guest Webinars – One of the best way to get super engaged subscribers is to host a webinar for someone else’s audience. This will become an option for you now.
  • High profile guest posts – You are making a name for yourself, so guest posting opportunities aren’t so hard to get any more, and you’ve become much more effective at them
  • Guest Hosting – The opposite of guest posts, you can now start to accept guest posts on your own site. When you do this, whoever posts on your site will bring their audience with them, resulting in your audience growing even more
  • SEO – You now have the time to focus on doing some real SEO work. You’re no longer struggling to just get a few people to read your content, so you can focus on scaling your exposure
  • Moderate paid ads – Bloggers this size usually have products to sell, so they can now begin to create scalable paid ads. If you can tweak your funnel so for every $1 you put in to ads, you get $2 back, you can grow this channel resulting in thousands of new subscribers and revenue

Again, not all of these activities are limited to a mid sized blogger, but this is just an example of what becomes available to you at this stage. Another HUGE benefit of being in this stage is that many bloggers who make it here, find a way to generate enough money so they can quit their day job, giving them much more time to focus on their blog, making high quality content, and promoting it.

Can you see why it becomes 10X easier to grow once you get here, as compared to the early traction stage?

3. The Influencer Stage – 10,000+

Bloggers at this stage are the people who everyone in your niche looks up to. They are the people that bloggers in the early traction stage say “I want to grow up to be just like them.”

These bloggers can focus on super high value activities, and often hire a team to increase their efforts and brand quality.

Their growth activities often consist of most things that mid sized blogger do, plus:

  • Large webinars
  • Giveaways
  • Product Launches
  • Joint Ventures
  • Paid Ads (Big Leagues)
  • Podcast hosting
  • Podcast interviews
  • Speaking at events

These activities are all things that become much easier when you have a team working for you, and work wonders for growing a subscriber base. After doing this for a couple of years, many bloggers will reach the territory of close to 100,00K+ subscribers, and the sky becomes the limit for things that they want to do.


Understanding these 3 levels of blogging will help you to set goals for yourself and where you want to end up. This will also serve you as a roadmap of actions to take depending on which stage you are in.

So that just leaves the question, what stage do you want to be in, and how fast do you want to get there? This will determine how much work you need to put in and what actions you should be taking.

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  • Great post, Travis! Thanks for the insights and encouragement. Keeping my head down now, and not gonna look up every 5 minutes to evaluate my progress. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Travis Levell

      Hey Dekera,

      Yep that’s the key! There are very few numbers that you should be looking at to gauge your progress. Just as long as your subscribers number is going up, you are doing the right things!

  • Travis,

    I greatly appreciate you breaking this down in such a way that was understandable. I’m just starting a blog myself and I’m trying to create a buzz and get some movement going and I’m right in that tough beginning stage. If possible would love to talk to you. I hope your having a blessed day.


    Matt fields

    • Travis Levell

      Hey Matt,

      It is really tough in the beginning stage, but if you know some of the right things to do, you can get through it 5X faster! Sure would love to talk! Will send you an email.


  • Hi thanks and love reading your blog. Do you have any specific help for the very early stage and how to grow my first 100 subscribers into 1000+ You mention blogs etc., but would really like a more specific and detailed approach

    • Travis Levell

      Hey Marielle,

      I think the best thing you could focus on at this stage is conversions on your site, and guest posting.

      Assuming that you distribute whatever content that you create in your niche communities already, you’ll probably want to focus on landing some expanded guest post opportunities.

      This can result in anywhere between 50-400 new subscribers every time to get one.

      Here’s a detailed write up on how to execute.

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