On December 24, 2011, this website attracted a measly 66 page views. The site was about four months old but lacked direction. The numbers reflected it.
I say this because I know I’m not alone. Many people would have given up. I had no choice. I had to push forward because it was my livelihood. So know that no matter how bad it may seem to you now, there is a way up.
Both September and October resulted in fewer than 4,000 total page views (admittedly, this is pretty good for some sites). Even these modest results were inflated by a single viral blog post, so the numbers felt empty. My blog was going nowhere fast.
Then I made a New Years Resolution.
I decided to make some drastic changes to the way I managed my blog. The results showed up almost immediately.
During 2012, this same website has attracted over 275,000 page views. My “bad” month was February when pages were seen “only” 40,000 times, more than 10X the months of October and November. Otherwise, I’m now averaging 2,500 per day and views have dipped below 1,000 only once since February 28.
A big part of this is Google. Search engines sent me 2,500 people today. I love Google, and Google seems to love me.
How did it happen? It’s not a secret. There’s nothing shady. And I’ve barely spent a thing.
Here are the six keys to making this website into a consistent traffic hog. It’s not rocket science. You can do it, too…
Before my low point in December, my shining month was September. It was no coincidence that I also published 24 blog posts that month. I published a total of 47 from October through December, dropping only eight new entries in November.
In 2012, I’ve been a blogging machine. The consistent results keep me focused. I published 112 pieces of content in 121 days, never writing fewer than 22 entries in a month.
Google loves fresh content, and it shows.
Blogging Tip: I know what you’re thinking. There’s no way that I can write 112 blog posts in 121 days! Maybe not. It’s not necessarily as difficult as it sounds either. If you are writing from strength, the words should come effortlessly. I spend some nights writing for only 15 minutes, others for a few hours. But don’t feel like you need to write 2,000 words. A few hundred will often suffice. Just keep it fresh.
My biggest issue early was that I didn’t know the purpose of this site. It was originally a way to showcase my experiences so that someone would hire me. It wasn’t until late 2011 that I began using it to educate mostly about using Facebook. And it wasn’t until this year that I shifted my focus further almost exclusively to business use of Facebook.
I still write an occasional post about Twitter, blogging or SEO (and this is an example of that). But I only do that because I see these things as being important to your overall digital strategy. A strategy to which Facebook is central.
I wrote 41 blog posts in March; all but eight had a significant Facebook marketing slant.
This is important because bloggers need a niche. I’ve suddenly become The Facebook Marketing Guy. When your subject matter is too broad, you won’t be known for anything. I now have a specialty.
Blogging Tip: I’m of the belief that you can’t be too niche. The smaller the audience, the stronger your standing. Instead of swimming in an ocean of sharks, sit in a kiddy pool by yourself. It’s how you will be discovered.
Before having some downtime during April to attend to the redesign of this site, I was obsessive about keeping a consistent Monday through Friday publishing routine. I would write and publish the night before or schedule for the following morning. Before the redesign, I missed one weekday during a four-month span.
Having that consistent routine didn’t prevent me from publishing more. One post each day was part of the routine. If something else came up, I’d write again. And it seemed the extra posts came easily since I wrote so much. I’d spit those out in a few minutes.
The consistency is as much for me as it is my audience. It is important that my readers have an expectation. They know that each morning they can come here to read a new blog post, and it will probably be about Facebook marketing. They know that they’ll be getting an email newsletter from me every Tuesday morning.
But it’s also important for me to remain consistent because I’m a creature of habit. I need that routine. Every night, I know what I’m doing after 8:00. It keeps me going strong.
Going forward, I also plan to take this consistency a step further. I’ve been wanting to assign themes for specific days for some time now, but my fear was not having the content to keep it interesting. More to come on this soon!
Blogging Tip: Do not over commit. Don’t feel like you have to write every day. If your schedule won’t permit it, don’t set the expectations with your audience that you can. Start realistically and consistently. If it’s two times per week, do it. Write on the same two days each week and even attempt to keep a consistent time and theme. Your readers will appreciate it, but it will also make you a more productive writer.
This may actually be the most important key to my success. The goal of nearly every blog post I write is to answer a question or solve a problem.
While talking to clients or reading comments on this website and my Facebook Page, I’ll make note of common questions that people have. Document these questions. You’ll be grateful you did when you’re staring at your computer screen at midnight, trying to decide what to write.
This is the secret of SEO: When people type something into Google, they are looking for answers. They want to solve a problem. Think like them.
That’s why I try to not only craft my subject matter around these questions, but I also try to think about how they ask those questions when typing them into Google. Then I’ll use that as my title.
This also relates to Focus. One mistake I made early was that I wouldn’t know when to stop writing. I’d cover multiple topics in one blog post. But when people search Google for answers, they only want that specific answer. I’m making my life difficult by combining multiple blog posts into one.
So now I always attempt to focus a blog post on a single answer to a problem and I exhaust it. This method also makes it much easier to maintain a running list of blog topics for a later date.
Blogging Tip: Always think about your audience. Understand that many of these people have a much more basic understanding of the topic than you do. So be descriptive in your answers. Provide images and videos if you can. Make sure that you aren’t writing the way you and your contemporaries talk. Explain simply, but in detail.
Facebook is my focus, but I am everywhere. I share on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Reddit, LinkedIn, Pinterest and a few others I can’t even think of right now. I share the work of others and I also share my own. Do your part to help push your content out to the masses.
Of course, it’s absolutely imperative that you have prominent social buttons on your site. Make sure that if a reader loves what you write that they can easily share it to their networks.
A critical piece of my social strategy is YouTube, and to a lesser extent Vimeo. Many of my tutorials require visuals. Sometimes a picture isn’t enough. So I’ve created a YouTube channel that steps through exactly what I’m writing about. Under the video on YouTube, I’ll always say something like, For more information, read my blog post at http://jonloomer.com/… or like my Page on Facebook at Facebook.com/JonLoomerDigital.
This drives considerable traffic. But it also provides value. I then embed these videos at the top of the related blog post to add perspective. Sometimes people would simply rather watch than read.
Blogging Tip: Think about what each audience on the different social networks wants. Cater the content you share accordingly, and use the appropriate tone. Make sure you do so uniquely and don’t mass publish across multiple networks. Take the time to reach out to each audience.
I put this one off for far too long. I never realized how much my failure to start an email newsletter was holding me back.
My first newsletter was sent in February. I don’t have an enormous subscriber base, but it is approaching 1,000. I send out a newsletter each Tuesday morning and I’ll also sprinkle in communications for special events. Execution of a newsletter guarantees a couple hundred page views each time it’s sent that I otherwise would not have received.
It’s idiotic that I wasn’t doing this before. A major missed opportunity. And it really isn’t all that hard.
I use AWeber and highly recommend the service. It’s easy to run a single broadcast, a drip campaign or target individual lists. Having an active email newsletter — or at least an email list — is an absolute must for anyone with a blog or website.
Blogging Tip: I keep my newsletters very casual. Always think about how you respond to newsletters. When I get a flashy marketing newsletter with banners and images in it, I delete it without reading. I strip all of the unnecessary stuff away and just write as if it’s an email. Tease a blog post and send them there with a link.
You Can Do It
I know that the obstacles seem insurmountable. It’s frustrating when it seems like no one is reading. And sometimes, no one is actually reading. That’s a terrible feeling and it makes your efforts seem like a complete waste of time.
Don’t quit. Create structure and purpose. Follow these tips. While commitment is necessary, you should see results quickly. I am evidence of that.
What’s your success story? Share it below!