Lessons learned while going from 0 to 555 followers and increasing traffic on my blog
It took me forever but I am finally getting to the point where there is a constant feedback on my blog posts. I believe this is what most of the people who are getting into blogging want. Like – you put your heart and soul into writing decent blog post, and then there is 0 comments. Or even worse 0 likes. 0 views. Nobody cares.
This happens a lot. Simply, there are too many blogs out there. And every day 1000s of people are starting new ones. Even if you have something valuable to say – chances are – nobody will hear it. So, outside of standard crap like "DO Search Engine Optimization (SEO)" what is it that you can do to increase views on your blog?
From my experience here is what made the biggest difference, when I look back on my journey:
Understand that people lie
This one took me forever to figure out and accept. Basically, out of 10 things you read, 8 will be false. Like – completely inapplicable to your situation. And don't get me started on all those "subscribe to $10/month package and I'll launch your blog to stratosphere" gurus. It's really kinda like that "joke book": How I Made $290,000 Selling Books…
Only you can save yourself
Tied to #1 – out of 10 things you plan, 8 will fall through or net you no result. Same with people. Basically those that have awesome blogs (or are truly making good money) are too busy to help you. Or they don't want to tell you the whole truth (why increase competition and lose income?). So again in most cases you'll be left either with people who are not truly a success (like myself, right? ;) or someone who knows even less than you. Meaning – in the long run the only person that can truly help you is yourself. Understand and accept that.
Now… occasionally you may catch lightning in the bottle. Like, let's say YOU that are reading this are EXTREMELY successful blogger and you disagree with what I wrote here. Well – damn son – send me PM, help me out and prove me wrong.
Stick to the schedule
Nothing increases organic traffic like regular posting of quality content. Then there is irregular posting of quality content (Casually Explained that goes Hot on
r/videos comes to mind). And finally something that anyone can do – regular posting. Basically, if your visitors KNOW that there will be article at Monday @ 8:00 every week (that's when I post my weekly motivational piece) – that's when they'll come. You can't post total crap… but almost anything that's OK content will start generating steady stream of traffic.
Now… again… being able to write 3+ times a week is ideal. But from my experience 90% of bloggers simply can't keep this tempo. Not to mention how much harder it gets if you want to add 2-3 pieces of media (images / videos) to your post. So, start small – 1 post per week. If you can't do even that much… then accept that you are more into journaling vs blogging.
Know your first 10 regular visitors
By "know" I mean – be at least in constant email contact with them. Know their first names. More personal details if they are willing to share. Because in reality all that one needs to start successful blog is 10 super fans – that always like, comment and share. Writing article that gets 0 comment vs the one that gets 10 comments is a HUGE difference. If you are posting articles and ALWAYS getting some kind of feedback, you'll naturally be more inspired to write and your blog will organically be getting more traffic.
Do for others what you want them to do for you
This is a big one. If you want others to like your posts… well then – like theirs. Or if you see someone's work and want to collaborate – email and let them to know. You need to make sure that you are aiming for people who are your peers – like if someone has 10,000 followers… you have 100 followers and you like his stuff – he'll probably not even notice. So, start at the same level and push forward together. Again – with 8/10 people it'll be waste of effort… but you are really looking for those 2 people who will also end up being HUGE help to you.
Well, this ended up being way shorter than I expected. But – truly – that's all there is to it. For me, as soon as I started doing these 5 things interactions on my blog exploded. Now, whenever I post something I'll end up with AT LEAST get 50+ likes and some comments. And I am truly thankful for people that provide that feedback.
With increased traffic on my blog I decided to start giving away… so every week I feature and promote 3 blogs. Here is the latest blog post on The Star Blogger Award in case you were wondering how it looks. If you have a blog and want some promotion – let me know…
That's it. Looking forward to reading comments… always willing to learn ;)
Shoutout to awesome bloggers here on Reddit: /u/bradtoday /u/themodestman /u/Alex_Sol /u/the_Behrouz … these are the types of guys you can learn a lot when it comes to blogging… just stalk there profiles and read discussions they participate in ;)
Edit: Do it your way
/u/itchy_niche wrote a great guide that focuses on completely different strategy. If you want to start a blog to earn money – I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you read what he wrote instead:
Reading what he wrote I've realized that I may have not been clear enough… I have not got into blogging to earn money (you can read About page on my blog to learn more about my motivations). I've started doing it more as a way to express myself and interact with people. In that sense – for me success is having a blog that any time I post has 30+ comments. It's not a blog that earns me $1000 / month. And while I would not shy away for cool $1K… I am not chasing that.
Also – if I ever wanted to blog primarily for money – I would most likely look to JOIN team of bloggers that are already earning great income. Meaning -> I wouldn't want to compete against guys like /u/itchy_niche. Simply – they are killing it with writing 1000+ word articles every day. They have knowledge. They have skills. They have backlinks. So instead of competing against – I would look to join them. And then when I build my skills in the arena to the point where I am earning decent income ($5K+ / month) – then I may consider doing it solo.
That said – if you are part of l33t blogging group – feel free to PM me. I'm always looking for networking ;)
when you say 555 followers… is that FB page followers (where you post your article links)? or email subscribers?
It's WordPress followers. I've found that Facebook followers are pretty much miss. You can have 1000+ Facebook followers (like I do)… they are likely worth like 10 WordPress followers.
As for emails – I intentionally went against the sound advice of collecting people's emails. Simply, I don't want to spam / email people. So many other blogs do it. And it's great strategy… it works. But… I'm not into selling stuff… so I don't value it as much. Who knows… one day I may start doing it… but for now I focus on WordPress followers and it seems to be working.
Thanks for clarifying… it connects some dots with me. I consider my blog an independent content platform that just happens to use WordPress. The WordPress network isn't really a thing for me (and maybe it should). I think the biggest reason for that tho isn't any ignorance on my part, or I am too cool (ha!)… but my blog is very regionalized, and as much news as it is my own commentary. So there is basically zero chance someone outside of my area is going to stumble on to it and read it. So for me Facebook has been my biggest driver. My stories get read by people in the area, and they share with friends and I get more FB likes/followers. the downside is I am greatly dependent on FB.
running to a meeting
Well, another thing to realize is that there is no silver bullet. Like – obviously – you are using Facebook way better than me. And what you say about your motivations makes sense.
I'm curious to see how you are do it – so if you can please send me link to your Facebook page… I can like it, follow and study what you are doing.
Hope meeting was productive ;)
ha! yeah I was in a work mode when I said heading to a meeting… a common thing said with our internal chat system.
Blog is: www.42Freeway.com
FB is: www.Facebook.com/42Freeway
Basic premise is new business news along a specific commercial region. My region of 42Freeway in Southern NJ.. every knows of it, but it was never consider a cohesive region as it crosses in and out of 2 counties and aboout 6 towns.
Some posts are driven simply by "oh there is a sign for a new Ulta" and I'll fill in details about the store and center. Others (most) I have to research and uncover in town meeting minutes (such as a post this week where at an intersection with 2 supermarkets, and a third planned… an Aldi is also planned)
I also throw in interesting finds… unique restaurants or stores. But up to that point a lot of that is just posted to FB without the accompanying web post.
So as I was saying you only care about my blog if you have a connection to my region of south jersey and I wouldnt expect to get a lot of users who just happen to be browsing WordPress sites.
unless i expand this is not a get rich blog. ha. I have some other ideas for that. I hope to get some local advertisers to make a small amount of money. I'd be happy to pay for a drone.
My stories also have some decay factor.. meaning… great traction and news when I break a story, but eventually that building gets built and the post loses value, so I only get "hits" as long as I keep churning out blog posts (as oppossed to say a poker strategy blog, where that strategy is good forever and can be constantly fed readers)
I am at 6000 FB likes and posting to FB is my main way of driving people to my site. You'll notice very little comments on the Website but on the FB page… lots of action. 95% of the likes are organic. People love to share stories of interest and that pulls others. It strange what the community likes… a post about "yes that new building is a taco bell" had something like 20,000 FB views (FB has a weird way of counting) and 200+ shares i think. the other 5% or less is I have experimented with some FB promo
I almost didn't reply, as I wonder if I should do my own new post… ha. or maybe I expand my idea and go bigger. (double ha)
Thanks for writing and reading my comment here
I've finally took time to look into what you are doing… and it's pretty awesome. Never knew people can argue that much about whether Aldi or Whole Foods is better bet for certain location.
And sure – it's not get rich blog… but it definitely can be "living well" blog. What I would do is see if any local business is interested in doing test… like how many people you can actually drive to them. Like:
See who from local businesses advertises on Groupon or some other deal site that rips them off to feature them on website… then contact and see if they are willing to do same promotion… Only with you not taking anything for test run.
Once test run is over you'll know how much power you have and how much that is worth to business (they'll probably not be 100% honest… but… you never know… and you'll get the idea).
Good luck man and feel free to PM or Contact me on my blog whenever. Keep rocking!