Last updated on June 1st, 2018 at 10:42 am
This past weekend I sat down and really thought about the things that I want to accomplish in my second year blogging. I decided that it was time to buckle down and figure out how to grow a blog.
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As you know I started this blog to leave my freelancing business.
I’m tired of trading hours for dollars. I thought if my clients were willing to pay me to help them with their WordPress issues, why not share them with you.
Related articles to help you improve your blogging:
- Understanding the WordPress Dashboard – Let Me Show You Around
- How to Set Up Google Analytics In Genesis WordPress Theme
- Affiliate Marketing Tips That Will Increase the Conversions On Your Blog
In turn, I can get paid by using affiliate links, digital products, ads and eventually sponsored posts.
As you know, last month I completed my first year blogging. I didn’t reach my goal of turning this into a full-time blog. In fact, I wasn’t able to walk away from my freelancing business.
I did make the decision to leave one of my clients. But I won’t consider this blog a success until I am able to walk away completely from my freelancing business.
The great thing is that it won’t take that long. As I don’t really make a lot of money with my freelancing business.
In a hurry? Want to Save This Tutorial?</strong
Mistakes I Made The First Year
One of the biggest mistakes that I made in my first year blogging was waiting 5 months before I started promoting this blog.
Although, I don’t think that I would’ve reached a full-time income even if I had started promoting my blog right out of the gate.
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Why don’t I think that my blog would’ve allowed me to be a full-time blogger in my first year?
Well, the truth is that I was so scattered. At least once a week I would get on my iPad while I was sitting on the couch and I would search “how to grow blog traffic.”
As bloggers, we know that without blog traffic, our blogs won’t become successful. Yes, I know we all want targeted traffic.
Nonetheless, we need traffic. We crave it and we work our ass off for it. (I know I do)
No one wants to continue writing articles on their blog that don’t get shares or comments. Most people say that comments don’t matter.
But I don’t know about you, but I love getting comments on my blog. The interaction on my blog makes me feel like people actually like my blog.
How Many Page Views Do You Need To Make A Full-Time Income
While I don’t know for sure how many page views a blog needs to make a full-time income. I can tell you that this book How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup has the answer.
Ruth interviews many blogging friends in the book and asks them how many page views their blog has. She then compares their page views to their annual income.
Based on the blogger’s answers, the bloggers with over 100,000 page views per month were earning about $25,000 per year.
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Thankfully, I only have one freelance client left. If I can get this blog up to $25,000 per year, I can easily walk away from my last freelancing client. I guess that’s the best part about not making a lot with my freelancing business.
I’ve already decided to let one of my clients go in September.
How to Grow a Blog
If you’re new to blogging, one of the first things that you’ll probably do is Google “get blog traffic.”
When you do, you’ll be bombarded with 1,000’s of articles promising to show you how to increase your blog traffic.
You’ll probably do what I did. I clicked through all the articles that had a great headline. You know those articles that were titled 50 Things to Increase Your Blog Traffic In 24 Hours and 1001 Things No One Tells You About Getting Blog Traffic.
Both those articles are made up, but you get the drift.
I spent hours reading those types of articles. In fact, I wasted so much time during my first year trying to read about how to increase my blog traffic.
Guess what, I should’ve just made a plan and stuck with it. I even purchased some e-courses. (Although I don’t mind spending money on my education)
I finally decided that I tend to overcomplicate things. During my second year blogging, I am going to focus on these 3 things:
- Social Media
While there are tons of other areas I can focus on to help me increase my traffic. The truth is that I’ve been focusing on these three areas for a few months.
Now that I’m starting my second year blogging, my blogging strategies won’t change.
We’ve all heard the saying that “Content is King.” Since I’ve published over 100 blog posts, I can definitely say that’s one of the things that has helped me grow my blog.
However, if you take a look at my blog, you’ll notice that pretty much all of my content is meant to help new bloggers. I give away so much great content that gets a lot of shares and likes.
If you take the time to provide helpful content that helps people solve problems. You’ll be rewarded with shares and repeat visitors, which are the key to building blog traffic.
Related: Social Warfare Plugin Review
My content strategy? If you take a look around my blog, you’ll notice that most of my articles are around 1500 words long. Some of my posts are over 3000 words long.
I’m not keyword stuffing my articles or making them fluffy. I have personally seen that my long-form content tends to do better than my shorter content.
What Is Long Form Content
To tell you the truth, I don’t think that there is a clear definition. Some content marketers say that anything over 700 words is long-form content.
While others will say that an article doesn’t qualify for long-form content until it reaches 3,000 words. Honestly, I think it all boils down the niche and your blog.
Not only that, but I think it also boils down to the blogger themselves. Here on my blog, I consider long-form content to be anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500 words long.
If you’ve read my blog growth stats posts, those articles are over 3,000 words long. Those posts are only that long because I try to share as much as possible with you about what I’m doing to grow this blog.
Benefits Of Long Form Content
I am not an expert content marketer. I can only share what I’ve learned from writing these long blog posts.
When I log into my Google Analytics I can definitely see the blog posts that are in upwards of 1,500 words long get the most traffic. Maybe it’s because they are the ones that cover the topic in depth?
Maybe it’s because people prefer long-form content better than shorter content? Honestly, I don’t really know. All I know that I have seen great results with my long-form content. Therefore I’ll be writing more of that.
Another thing that I’ve noticed is that my long-form content tends to rank better on Google.
If you don’t believe me or want to take my word for it whether long-form content does better, read these articles:
- Search Engine Land reveals user science behind the long-form content.
- Most reveals says we should be focused on the right content.
Honestly, I am not one for stats and what other people say. I totally understand what works for one person may not work for another.
The only way to see if something works for you is to test things out for yourself.
How I Fit Long Form Content In My Blog
If you take a look around my blog, you’ll see that I write a lot of tutorials. It’s easy to write long-form content when you’re showing someone how to do something.
Not to mention, I also create a lot of step-by-step tutorials. This means that it takes me a long time to create these types of articles.
These types of articles cater very well to long-form content. When I am writing a blog post, I want to give as much detailed information as possible so someone can follow my tutorials without any issues.
I don’t want to the reader to leave my blog and not understand what they should do next. My goal is to give them all the necessary information they can use to follow along.
If you’re blogging in a niche that doesn’t require a lot of content. It may be a challenge to write in excess of 700 words.
The takeaway is if your audience will benefit from the long-form content, use it. As you continue writing blog posts, you’ll start to get more Google traffic.
I’ve never been good at social media. In fact, I just started using it when I started this blog. Everything I learned I learned through trial and error.
So, what worked and what didn’t work?
Spreading Myself Thin
One of the biggest mistakes I made was that I spread myself too thin by trying to be on all the social media sites. It wasn’t until maybe the last 2 months of my first year blogging that I decided to stop focusing on all the social media sites.
It’s so easy for new bloggers to fall into the trap that they need to be on all the social media networks. The truth is that you won’t ever learn anything if you don’t buckle down and learn one of the social platforms inside and out.
This is the network that brings me the least amount of traffic. Honestly, I still don’t really know what I’m doing when I spend time on it.
Since it doesn’t bring me a lot of traffic, I don’t spend a lot of time on it. I am still present on the social platform, but I use Smarter Queue to help me automate things on it.
Am I missing the boat on increasing my Twitter traffic? Probably, but I am not going to waste my second year blogging trying to be everywhere and Twitter just isn’t worth a lot of my time.
At one point I invested in this Facebook Strategies course to help me grow my Facebook page. The course would’ve probably worked, but the truth is that I just gave up on it.
I found myself spend hours trying to find content to share with my 22 followers. I wasn’t getting anywhere.
Whenever I did post something on my Facebook page, my reach was pathetic. So I threw in the towel and decided that I would go back to growing my Facebook page later.
Using Facebook groups to help me grow my blog. If you ask most new bloggers they will tell you that Facebook groups are the answer to blog traffic.
When I first started my blog, I would share my new blog posts on Facebook share days. You may have heard about Facebook share days.
There are certain days of the week where you can share your blog posts with the community of that Facebook group. If you share something worth reading, you’ll get blog readers and maybe even some subscribers.
The downside is that sometimes so many people are sharing their blog posts that yours gets buried quickly.
However, since you’ve shared your post, now you need to spend time sharing and commenting on other people’s blog posts. It’s a way to help each other grow.
That’s not a bad thing, after all, I’ve realized that the more I share other people’s content, mine gets shared as well.
I found myself spending at least 2 hours per day sharing other people’s content. What I discovered is that I was following the Facebook Group rules and no one was sharing my blog posts.
Basically, I was promoting other people’s content instead of my own.
Now I would’ve been alright with that if everyone followed the rules. But the truth is that most people just drop their link in those Facebook Group share days and run.
They won’t share your content. So you’ll end up wasting time promoting their content without getting any love in return. (that’s my own personal experience with the groups)
So I’ve stopped using Facebook Group share days to help me grow this blog.
I’ve heard so many bloggers talk about how Pinterest is their bread and butter to help them grow their blog. I haven’t been able to crack the Pinterest code yet.
To be completely honest, I am still trying to learn how to grow a blog using Pinterest.
I seem to be struggling to crack the Pinterest code (not sure if that’s real, but I feel like I am missing something)
For about 2 months, I’ve been trying to learn the ins and outs of Pinterest. Finally, in October, I started realizing what I was doing wrong.
Oh and this blog post helped me get a better understanding of how to use Pinterest for beginners.
So many bloggers will tell you that group boards are where it’s at when it comes to Pinterest traffic. At the time of this writing, I belong to 12 group boards.
That’s not that many when I hear so many bloggers say that they belong to upwards of 50 or more. Honestly, I don’t know how they joined that many.
I’ve sent several emails asking to join some groups. After a few days, I don’t receive any replies. It’s so hard to get people to let me join their group boards.
I know, I know, I just need to keep sending out those emails and tracking down the group board owner.
It’s definitely taken me some time to understand and gain traction on Pinterest. The only thing that I can say is that I am glad that I didn’t give up.
The traffic is starting to come and I am now understanding how to use Pinterest a little bit better. There’s still a lot to learn, but it is now my biggest traffic referrer.
Related: Blog Growth Stats for October
Honestly, there is no way that I would be able to use Pinterest without automating my pinning. I personally use both Board Booster and Tailwind to help me out.
I know that most bloggers don’t want to spend money on automation tools. However, if I had to choose just one, I would go with Tailwind. You can get your free trial here.
Personally, I love scheduling my pins a month in advance in Tailwind. This helps me continue learning and spending my time on other areas of my blog.
Pinterest For Business
If you’re blogging on WordPress, you’ll need to know how to make your WordPress blog Pinterest friendly. This means that you’ll need to know how to confirm your blog on Pinterest.
After setting up your Business account, you’ll be able to set up rich pins. Not to mention, you’ll be able to start using the Pinterest Analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t.
I actually didn’t start paying attention to my Pinterest Analytics until about a month ago. Why?
Well, I wasn’t sure how to use it and what to do with that information. Now I keep track of all the important Pinterest statistics that will help me determine if my blog is growing or not.
For the past month, I’ve decided to finally start paying attention to my Analytics. I created a spreadsheet on Google Drive that helps me keep track of my Pinterest growth every month.
If you’re trying to turn your blog into a full-time business, then you have to pay attention to your Analytics. It’s important to know what’s working for your blog and what isn’t.
Otherwise, you’ll spend months on tactics that aren’t helping you out.
Now, I don’t go crazy with my Analytics. I’ll only check them once a month. I’ll jot down the important numbers on my spreadsheet.
As long as I see continual growth, that means what I am doing is working. If I don’t see growth, then it’s time to tweak my strategy.
I started my YouTube channel about 2-3 months after starting my blog. I love creating videos and even though my YouTube channel is not responsible for a lot of the traffic that my blog gets.
This is something that I will continue doing in my second year blogging. Just like the content for my blog, I batch record all my videos in advance.
As of this writing, I have the videos recorded through November.
How Do I Do It?
I am not a YouTube expert. I think you kind of see a trend here, I am actually learning how to grow this blog and sharing everything with you.
Learning how to grow this blog is completely new to me.
The takeaway, well I don’t let that stop me. Everything is a learning curve, but the only way we learn is through daily practice.
On Friday’s, I’ll pull out my Blue Yeti microphone and take the time to record 2-3 videos. (Depending on the time I have)
Once I have those videos recorded, I’ll edit them in Camtasia and Final Cut Pro. Maybe one day when I have more time, I’ll write a post to share how I edit my videos?
Then I’ll add my upcoming videos to my YouTube spreadsheet on Google Drive. Just like my blog posts, I have a content editorial calendar for my YouTube channel.
This makes it easy for me to know which videos need to be recorded and which ones I’ll be uploading every Wednesday. If you haven’t joined my YouTube channel, you can do so here.
I’m not new to guest posting, in fact, I heard about it when I had my last blogs. The only difference is that this time, I am actually using it to help me grow this blog.
Why didn’t I use it for my last blog?
Honestly, I think it was because back in the days I felt like a fraud. I was in niches that I didn’t know anything about. I had just started blogs in those niches for the money.
Yes, I was chasing the money.
This blog is different. I share my WordPress experience with you. Plus I am also sharing what I am doing to grow my blog. In turn, I am hoping that my tutorials and personal experience can help you start, grow and monetize your own blog.
I am completely honest with you when it comes to sharing my tips on how to monetize and grow your blog. I am sharing what I am learning and you’ll hear me say that I am not an expert several times.
That’s because I’m not. I can only share what’s working for me. Hopefully, by being transparent about what I’m doing will help you with your blog.
I use affiliate links in my blog posts and right now that’s how I am making money with this blog.
Plus I am now using Grammarly which has helped me improve my writing. If you think that your writing sucks and it’s holding you back from guest blogging, I suggest signing up for it.
As a blogger, I can honestly tell you that guest blogging is worth your time. As long as you don’t go into it thinking it’s a great way to build backlinks.
Instead, approach guest posting as a way to network and get your name out there. That’s how I’ve chosen to approach it.
Can Guest Posting Bring Me A Log of Traffic?
You’ll hear some bloggers say that guest posting has brought them a lot of traffic. While others will say that they don’t get any traffic.
While I have to admit, not all guest posts are the same. I’ve noticed that some guest posts bring me quite a bit of traffic and subscribers.
Then I’ve also guest posted on blogs where I didn’t get anything in return. No subscribers or traffic. Take a look at one of the guest posts that I wrote in October that actually brought me traffic and subscribers.
Something that I’ve learned is that not all guest posting is the same. Your results will vary depending on the blog that you choose.
Maybe I’ll write a blog post on how I am using guest blogging to help learn how to grow my blog?
Remember, you just need to get out there and start doing it. That’s the only way you’ll be able to tell if it will help you grow your blog.
I Still Feel Like A Fraud
If I’m being honest with you, yes there are times that I still feel like a fraud. I still have to fight that little voice inside of my head that tells me I’m not good enough.
I’m no different than you. I’ve just found ways to deal with this little voice and I refuse to let it stop me from reaching my goals.
Google Organic Traffic
Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second. That’s a ton of traffic searches every day.
Even if you can get just a small sliver of all those search queries, you’d be on your way to more blog traffic. Heck, it wouldn’t be long until you were able to reach 100,000 page views per month.
Then if you remember from the book above, you should be able to become a full-time blogger with 100,000 page views per month. Of course, this depends on the monetization methods you’re using for your blog.
So how can you get your site to come up when someone Googles a search term?
Well, of course, taking the time to SEO optimize your blog.
However, if you’re a new blogger you may not know how to make your content search engine friendly. You might not even know how to find relevant keywords to use for your blog. By the way, I use and recommend Long Tail Pro.
What I Recommend
You’ve probably read my blogging mistakes that I’ve made in the past. If not, I’ll quickly share what I did.
I focused 100% on SEO and when Google made their algorithm updates, my sites crashed and burned. My income literally disappeared overnight.
Well because I spent all my time building backlinks. With this blog, I am no longer focused on building backlinks. Instead, I choose to spend my time creating great content and using the three methods that I discuss on this post.
So word of warning, don’t try to build a bunch of links to your posts in hopes of ranking quickly. You’ll only end up regretting it later when Google catches up to your tactics.
Plus SEO has changed so much, I am not sure if that would even work anymore?
If you don’t know anything about SEO or just need to learn about it. I recommend downloading the Kindle App. Sign up for Kindle Unlimited and read everything you can about the subject.
Yes, It’s going to cost you a little bit of money. But the truth is that it’ll save you from having to buy a bunch of courses on SEO. Don’t forget to spend some time reading the Moz blog.
I am a huge fan of this plugin, I even upgraded to the premium version because it makes it so easy for me to interlink my content. Now that my blog has over 110 published blog posts, I want to make sure that I am linking to relevant content.
If you can’t afford to upgrade, the free version works just as well. In fact, I used the free version for my first full year.
The cool thing about this plugin is that it will tell you whether your blog is properly optimized. While you won’t see traffic right away, you can rest assured that you’ve done everything on your part to optimize your blog posts.
Personally, I don’t spend a lot of time searching for keywords. I do have access to the Long Tail Pro keyword search tool. However, I was lucky enough to get in before they started charging monthly subscription prices.
So basically I get to use this tool for free every month. As long as I have credits available, which I have 10,000 credits every month. I can quickly do some keyword research.
If you’re not ready to invest in a keyword tool yet, you can just turn to Google to help you out.
What Do I Mean?
When you go to Google to type in a search phrase, you’ll notice that Google tries to help you out. It will suggest terms for you and these suggestions are based on search phrases that people are actually Googling.
This means that you can use the information that Google is giving you and write blog posts based on those search phrases.
As you can see, I typed in “make money with a blog” which is something that I write about on this blog. Google showed me several long tail keywords that people are actually looking for.
This method takes all the guesswork out of what to write about. So if you’ve ever struggled with what to write about, start using this method to find keywords.
Eventually, over time you’ll be amazed that Google will start ranking your blog.
Every blogger needs to keep track of their blog metrics. I know, I know, you’re not a marketing expert. The last thing you want to do is dig into your Analytics and try to figure out what they mean.
You’re not alone, I don’t really understand everything inside of Google Analytics. I do, however, know which blog metrics are important to see the growth of my blog.
Unfortunately, if you want to grow your blog into a full-time income, you’re going to have to start liking Analytics. This doesn’t mean you have to love it.
But you do at least need to become familiar with it. If you haven’t yet installed Google Analytics, I’ve written a step-by-step tutorial that will help you out.
You Don’t Have to Be A Traffic Expert
The great thing about starting a blog is that you don’t have to be a traffic expert. Sure it’s going to take a while to figure out how to grow a blog.
The one thing that I’ve figured out is that as long as you’re consistent with your blogging tasks, you will see growth. It may take longer than you want, but you can’t expect to grow a blog overnight.
If you’re starting a blog without any experience, be kind to yourself. Understand that it’s going to take you longer than someone who has more time, more success and more connections to create a full-time income.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It just means that it’s going to take you longer to do it. So don’t let the fact that you’re not a traffic expert keep you from learning how to grow your blog.
Final Take Away
We live and learn through blogging. Most of have never had any online experience. Heck most of us are employees trying to make that transition to entrepreneurs.
It’s not an easy transition. In fact, you’re going to work very hard on your blog. You’ll read a ton of success stories from other bloggers who will make it seem like blogging is easy.
The truth is that most successful bloggers take years to see true success with their blogs. Sure some might reach their blog goals in a year or two.
The truth is that it doesn’t matter how long it takes someone to reach their blog goals. It only matters how long it takes you to reach them.
If you need a step-by-step guide to start your WordPress self-hosted blog. You’ll be able to use this as your checklist to see everything that needs to be done.
The best part is that you can work through all the steps at your own pace.
So if you’ve really started your blog in hopes of turning it into a full-time income. Be prepared to work and don’t let others keep you from reaching your online goals.
Hand Picked Articles for You
- Lessons I’ve Learned In My First Year Blogging
- Daily Blogging Tasks That Are Growing My Blog
- Day In The Life Of A Part-Time Blogger
Have a question or want to share a blog traffic tip? Please leave it in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you’re using to grow your blog.