How I Took My Blog From 0 to 100,000 Pageviews A Month In 9 Months
Okay, before I tell you how I went from a brand new blog to 100,000 hits a month, I want to let you know that I’m not just some other internet marketer out there who’s full of s*** – so here’s the screenshot of the stats:
Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about the fun part – how I did it.
First of all, I started blogging back in 2008 with a free blogger blog. After making $30 a month from AdSense ads in the first 2-3 months, my blog got shut down – why? Duplicate content.
First blogging lesson!
Then, I got smart – switched to a free WordPress blog. And that blog, despite having hundreds of thousands of views over the years, still continues to languish and not make any money – because it’s VERY hard to monetize a blog that you don’t own and host yourself.
Second blogging lesson!
So, I got discouraged with blogging and quit for a few years. Then, last year, I decided I’m going to give it another try – but this time I’m going to actually do some research (like reading John Chow’s blog!) and figure out how the heck to make some money doing this.
So, after reading and studying for a few months, I finally set up my first self-hosted blog – http://www.tomcorsonknowles.
When I started it, my first goal was to get 1,000 hits a day on the site. I figured, if I could do that, then I could really start making some decent money. So, I started writing high quality posts myself. No more skimping by just writing junk articles or posting news stories with a few lines of commentary. No, this time, I was going to write for ME – what I really wanted to share. And I would make damn sure that it was good, useful content that would be helpful for people who read it.
Next, I started guest blogging – A LOT. There was a time there in the first few months where I would be sending out emails to 200-300 bloggers a week and writing 10-15 guest posts a week.
I made sure though that I didn’t waste my time contacting spam blogs – you know, those Made-For-Adsense (MFA) blogs, those scraper blogs, those blogs with no real content… yeah, I avoided those like the plague. I always looked for bloggers who had high quality content in my niche or a related one and who were real people – with their real pictures on their blogs.
After studying SEO for so long, I finally figured out that if a REAL human being is writing REAL content on a site, then it’s probably going to be valuable to get a link from that site.
I also focused heavily on Social Media – mostly Twitter and Facebook. For Facebook, I built a fan page, used Facebook ads to build a following and started posting high quality content – a lot.
For Twitter, I finally broke down and bought TweetAdder. I set it up, wrote hundreds of high quality Tweets and set them to go out automatically. Then I just logged in every to respond to any mentions. Simple but effective.
Along the way, I learned some lessons…
- Whenever you contact a blogger, you better not just copy/paste some spammy message and hope they respond – make it personal. Let them know you actually might have read one of their blog posts.
- When you contact a blogger, let them know how you can help them (I can write a guest post for you, I can promote you on my fan page, or whatever).
- When you start a new blog and start building links and traffic, success doesn’t come overnight – it takes time. The work I did 9 months ago is still paying off – more so now than it did at first!
- Don’t get discouraged by no results, poor results, or dream stealers. Others will try to tell you you’re stupid, you shouldn’t do it, who are you to start a blog? Screw those people! You can do anything you put your mind to and work your ass off at to achieve.
So where did all the traffic come?
Since I didn’t install Google Analytics until several months after I started the site, the figures aren’t perfect but they’re good enough:
Google: 93,000 hits – mostly from Google Images (For some strange reason that boggles my mind, this post one of my writers wrote for me on Chris Hemsworth’s workout has gotten over 150,000 views so far)
Facebook: 16,000 hits – about half from my Fan Page, the other half from the Facebook Comments system. One of my posts about a Doctor who reversed her Multiple Sclerosis went viral on Facebook after I used Paint to take her before/after photos and put them into 1 photo – making it a lot easier for readers to see the huge changes in just one look. So if you want more traffic from Facebook and Social Media, make sure your images tell your story well because that’s what people will be seeing when the post is shared on Facebook – the image in the post.
Direct Traffic: 11,000 hits – I’m assuming a lot of this was from Twitter. Using bit.ly, I’ve been tracking about 100 hits a day from Twitter for quite some time but it never seems to show up in my analytics – I’m guessing because most people use a 3rd party software when checking Twitter now.
Twitter: 2,000 hits
Reddit: 1,800 hits – I got banned from posting to Reddit after I posted most of my blog articles there. So – learn from me! Only post your own articles to reddit once a week or less and make sure you’re posting other useful content too. Also, make sure you post in the RIGHT subsections – if you post unrelated articles in the economy section, for instance, you will get reported as a spammer.
Craigslist: 1,000 hits – I posted an ad that I was hiring a writer for my blog… and was surprised to wake up the next day with a huge spike in my site’s traffic. I only recommend using this strategy if you’re actually hiring a writer, and you can handle 50+ emails from potential applicants.
There hundreds of other sites that contributed to the traffic, many of them sites I posted my guest articles on and niche sites in my own industry like ChowStalker and TheFoodee. The key is to research your own niche and see what cool/fun/unique/interesting sites there are out there that you can connect with and potentially get traffic from down the road.
My Most Important Takeaways
If I had to do it all over again, I’d focus on:
1. Writing high quality content for my blog
2. Hiring a good writer for cheap ($10 or less an article for ~600 words) – I’d probably go through at least 30-40 applicants before finding the right one
3. Guest Posting on other high quality blogs
4. My Facebook Fan Page – posting at least 3 times a day with good content
5. Twitter – mostly automating it with TweetAdder
6. I’d work my ass off. I wouldn’t buy any stupid SEO software or training products unless I REALLY REALLY needed them. I’d focus on the basics of building a good blog and wouldn’t let some shiny new product distract me from what’s really important – Good Content + Good Relationships.
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