Blog traffic builds overtime. Some sites are able to build traffic extremely fast, but those are rare. Typically those sites are managed by someone who can put forth the effort of a full time job into it, others are lucky, and then there are the select few who are also very strategic about what they do. My blog did not build traffic really fast. There are several blogs out there that have hit the same traffic marks I have right now after only 3 months of blogging.
This doesn’t take away from what I have done. It is REALLY easy to look at traffic reports from other blogs and get discouraged. I did that recently when I looked at a friends traffic report who had about 10 times the traffic I currently have. Instead of comparing myself to him I need to compare myself to my past traffic. This past year has been amazing for my blog. In May of 2015 I had 738 Organic sessions. In May of 2016 I had increased organic traffic to 6,564 sessions. This growth can be attributed to a myriad of factors: Guest Posts, increased website age, increased total blog posts, and 1 really popular post.
Increased Organic Traffic From Guest Posts:
Between May of 2015 and now I wrote 3 guest posts, one for Root Of Good, one for Credit Sesame, and one for Modest Money. These guest posts built quality back links and also introduced my website to new audiences. The more backlinks you have from more established blogs the better you will do in search engines. Guest posting is one of the best ways to increase blog traffic over the long term. I need to set aside some for effort for guest posting over the next year in order to continue my growth.
Increased Organic Traffic From Website Age:
I started Action Economics in September of 2013. In May of 2015 my site was just under 2 years old, in May of 16 it is coming up on 3 years of age. I think in Google’s algorithm domain age is a significant factor. I also increased the total amount of posts substantially since May of 2015. In May of 2015 I had 146 posts, in May of 2016 I had 206 posts.
1 Really Popular Post:
My best performing post in Organic Search is “How To Build Monkey Bars: My $100 Design“. This article accounts for around 45% of my organic traffic. I published this article in June of 2015. Within a few months it had become the number one result on google for anything Monkey Bar related. What I love about this post is that it encourages other people to not only build something at a much lower cost than they can buy something equivalent, but that it is also encouraging people to build something fun for their kids. Over the last year my kids have gotten a ton of use out of the monkey bars and this set should easily last for many many years.
My Blogs Journey:
Here is the data since the beginning of Action Economics. I did not sign up for Google analytics until my site was over 6 months old, but it looks like I didn’t miss much, the first full month recorded was April of 2014 where I had 9 visits.
1st 6 Months: Blogging In The Dark:
When I first started blogging I launched the site with about a half dozen posts. Most of them were short and gave a brief overview of a topic. I didn’t know ANYTHING about blogging. When my work schedule increased I dropped to one post a month, and then when my sister in law passed I didn’t post for about 6 weeks. My blog had been live for 6 months when I started using google analytics and the first month I had a total of 9 visits from search engines.
2nd 6 months:
I decided to take blogging seriously and while I was working out of town I ended up having a decent amount of down time. I spent all the free time I had working on the blog and for those few months I was publishing around 12 posts per month. One of my articles The $70 Million Paycheck was picked up by J$ and shared on Rockstar Finance in April of 2014. I was thrilled that someone else had noticed my site and that I was getting way more traffic in one day than I normally got in an entire month. Rockstar Finance has also grown a lot in this time period; On the day my article was featured I received 138 referral visits. When my recent article Stack Your Money And Act Broke was featured, I received 1,503 visits. At the 1 year mark I had increased organic traffic from 9 visits in April to 454 in September.
During this time period I felt like I was ‘behind’ because I had written down a list of article ideas that had reached well over 100, and even posting 3 articles a week, it would take a year to write everything. I’ve slowly made my way through this list, while adding and subtracting some along the way.
I also commented on every personal finance blog I could find in order engage in the community and bring new audiences to my site.
During the second year of blogging I started to focus more on writing longer content. I also spent a ton of time working on the design of my website and experimenting with monetization. I didn’t expect to make any serious money from monetization, but long term I wanted the website to at least pay for itself.
I signed up for HARO (Help A Reporter Out) and got a few decent media mentions. This is a great way to get some really strong exposure for a blog. I haven’t put nearly as much effort into this recently. I highly recommend using HARO for anyone launching a blog. From September of 2014 to September of 2015 I had increased organic traffic from 454 sessions to 1,952 sessions.
So fat this year has been really good for my blog, despite dropping to a 1 post a week schedule. Between a few guest posts and increased search traffic I’m at well over 10,000 page views per month now and my website is starting to make a little bit of money. Nothing too serious, but a couple hundred bucks a month is far more than I thought I would see when I first started this thing. For May of 2016 I increased organic traffic to 6,564 sessions.
Tips For Running A Blog:
- Don’t compare your progress with others: There are so many factors that go into building a successful blog. Every blog will hit growth points and tipping points at different times, keep that in mind and just focus on increasing your writing skill and total amount of articles as time goes on.
- Talk to other bloggers frequently. If other bloggers know you they are more likely to read your blog. If they read your blog, they are more likely to link to an article you have written. If they link to an article you have written other people are more likely to find your page and google is more likely to rank your pages higher.
- Seek out guest posts: Guest posts are a great way to get in front of new audiences and to get your blog out there.
- Don’t worry just about money; there are many FAR quicker ways to make money than blogging.
- Start collecting email addresses from the beginning: I didn’t start collecting email addresses until my second year of blogging. Setting up an email list is really easy and is free until you have a really big subscriber list. I use Mailchimp for my email list.
- Post on a schedule: Even if people don’t subscribe to your site they will know over time when to expect new content. My posting schedule has fluctuated a lot. For the better part of a year I have been posting new articles on Sunday mornings. Earlier in the summer I was also posting on Wednesdays but I was no able to keep up with this tempo. Find a publishing schedule you can stick to that allows you to not feel like you are under pressure. I personally only feel comfortable if I have at least a half dozen completed posts ready to go. This keeps me from feeling any deadline pressure.
Do you have a blog? How has your blog grown in the last year?