How to Build a Blog With 20,000 Followers

Robert Bruce.

Robert Bruce is a virtual friend I met a few years ago while we both blogged about golf. Now Robert is the blogger extraordinaire behind 101 Books, a blog that chronicles his reading journey through Time Magazine’s 100 Greatest Novels Since 1923. Plus Ulysses.

Robert’s blog is terrific, and after a few years and several hundred posts he has attracted more than 20,000 followers.

Recently, Robert was interviewed by The Daily Post at His story is a great primer on starting and building a popular, highly read blog. I enthusiastically recommend it.

[Read the interview: 101 Books’ Robert Bruce on Growing Your Blog and Building a Readership]

Interview excerpts

Following are a couple of things that stood out for me. They might benefit your blogging efforts.


He offered this nugget:

There’s really no secret. It’s just steady, consistent posting over a long period of time. 101 Books is more than three years old now, and I’ve had more than 700 posts. When you post that often, people are bound to find you. Then, the key is to just write content that relates to them. Most people don’t care about what you had for breakfast, but if you can help them learn something new, then they’ll keep coming back.

That’s enormously useful, and perhaps a bit sobering for some. But there it is.

Lastly, one of his closing tips:

I think it’s also important to forget about being perfect. Sometimes you’ve just got to push the publish button because an almost-perfect blog post is better than no post at all. Don’t pass over the great in search of the perfect.

More good advice. Please excuse me while I click the publish button.

Q&A: Robert Bruce, 101 Books

Robert Bruce is a full-time writer who lives in Nashville and works for Dave Ramsey, a personal finance guru with a nationally syndicated radio show. I met Robert (virtually) several years ago while we were both blogging about golf. In 2010, Robert, “a former English major who loves to read,” launched 101 Books. The blog took off and has thousands of avid readers and followers. This Q&A is excerpted from 101 Books, with Robert’s permission.

Q: What’s the point of 101 Books?

ROBERT BRUCE: Other than reading through 101 books, all on Time Magazine’s list of ALL-TIME novels published since 1923? I like to read. I like lists. I like big projects. I like blogging. Why not? When I started the blog, I thought I’d simply write a “review” of each book, with a related post here and there, maybe once a week. But the blog slowly morphed into a 5-day-a-week deal, and I’m loving it.

Q: If the Time Magazine list is 100 Books, why is the name of your blog 101 Books?

ROBERT BRUCE: I explain this a little more in my first post, but basically the list only includes books published since 1923, which was the year Time Magazine started. Ulysses just missed the cut because it was published in 1922. Since it’s widely regarded as the greatest novel in the history of the history, I decided to include it.

Q: How do you have time to read that many books?

ROBERT BRUCE: Great question. I don’t necessarily have time, but I make time. I read during my lunch break, for about 30 minutes, and I read at night after my wife and kid have gone to bed, for about an hour. Reading and running are my two hobbies right now. I think everyone needs a little breather, a little downtime, to re-engergize the batteries. Reading is one of the ways I do that. Continue reading “Q&A: Robert Bruce, 101 Books”