One year is both a really long time and a really short time in the world of blogging.
It’s long, in that most people give up within the first six months of launching their website and blog. Because, well… it’s a lot of work!
It’s short, in that there are bloggers out there that have been doing this for three, five or even 10 years already. But don’t let their tenure stop you from building and launching your own!
Because there is room for us all and contrary to popular belief, blogging is not dead.
And since transparency in my income and business happens to be my M.O., I thought it’d be fun to share with you some stats and traffic numbers from both 2014 and 2015. I’ll also explain what I think helped me to get these traffic results (hint: it’s partially from one year of active blogging).
2014 Traffic Results
In 2014, (and per Google Analytics) Horkey HandBook had:
- 11,275 pageviews
- 4,397 users
- 6,251 sessions
To put that in perspective, in the last 30 days, Horkey HandBook has had over 40,000 pageviews alone. Crazy, right?
I started this site in May, 2014 and blogged consistently at least once every week. I wanted to to commit to an achievable goal and knew that being consistent and putting out really great content was where it was at.
Here’s the thing, it all also takes time. It takes time to network and build relationships online. It takes time for Google’s algorithms to notice you’re alive.
And it takes time to get good at blogging.
2015 Traffic Results
In 2015, Horkey HandBook saw:
- 146,624 pageviews
- 48,002 users
- 82,130 sessions
That’s like 12x’s 2014’s numbers! (Granted, 2014 also wasn’t a full blogging year.)
How’d I Get Those Results?
Here are six things that I did that I think contributed to my results in the last year.
1. Consistently Posting Quality Content
Here’s the thing, I wasn’t the absolute best writer when I started blogging. Luckily, I had been doing it socially for years (but truthfully never grew that big of a following) and picked up some tricks along the way.
Most importantly though, social blogging helped me exercise my writing muscles more often than not. And writing often, is one of the best ways to improve.
I also listened to my audience. Without fail, I would have at least one new blog post per week and I’d often incorporate their questions or comments. Currently, I post three times most weeks.
I don’t think you need to post everyday, but you should choose a schedule and stick with it. Why? It’s too easy not to do (especially when you’re balancing it with paying client work). But if you ever want to build a platform, you have to be consistently putting out quality content.
Want to know one of my secrets? Write what you’re currently learning about. You don’t have to be the expert at every topic you write about. Other people find it interesting and helpful to read what you’re learning about and how it’s working (or not working) out for you.
2. Promoting My Content via Social Media
One of the things I also did from the beginning was to promote each of my posts at least once via social media.
I started with Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. That hasn’t changed too much.
The social sharing buttons on my site (free through SumoMe) make it super easy to do too. Any time a new post of mine is published, I just go to the blog page and click to share.
My girl Mickey also helps me a lot with this now too. She uses Buffer to pre-schedule social media updates and does a pretty badass job at it.
I also hired my friend Kristin to help me do Pinterest marketing. I love when others have really specialized knowledge that I can tap into, pay a small fee for and reap the benefits of when our strategy pans out.
3. Measuring My Progress
I’ve found that it’s helpful to check in on a regular basis on certain metrics like traffic results.
But you can’t get obsessive about it. I.e. clicking refresh in Google Analytics 12 times per day to see how many people have visited (or are currently viewing) your site doesn’t help anything.
Instead, I take a monthly “temperature check.” I’ll have to go into the exact metrics (or maybe the reasons behind why) I measure them in another post, but here’s the high-level view:
- Average monthly pageviews
- Average monthly unique visitors
- Email subscribers
- Alexa rating (global and US)
- Total sites linking in
- Percent of traffic from referrals
- Percent of direct traffic
- Percent of traffic from social
- Percent of traffic from search engines
- Percent of traffic from email
- Percent of traffic from other
- Facebook likes
- Twitter followers
- Pinterest followers
- Google+ followers
- LinkedIn followers
- Annual goal progress
- Income sources
- Service/product income breakdown
4. Launching Courses
People are checking out my sales pages. And affiliates are sending people to my site.
I’ve talked about it before, but launching courses (and a corresponding affiliate program) was one of the best decisions I ever made! (If you’re thinking of launching your own course, you should hop on The Course Course’s waitlist to be notified when our 25 very reduced price beta spots go on sale.)
5. Guest Posting
Between guest posts and podcast interviews, I appeared on at least 40 different sites in 2015.
That doesn’t include my byline on client’s sites. Or affiliates linking back to me (unless it was an interview or guest post that I did for their site). Or other random people that I didn’t know.
Those 40 posts and podcasts are through effort I put out on my own accord (for free). Of course I want to get my name, brand and products out there. And guest posting is still a great way to do that!
6. I Didn’t Quit!
This is both the most simple and hardest one.
Like I said earlier, most bloggers throw in the towel in the first six months. So that’s the first goal you should set for yourself as a new blogger. But while a lot of bloggers don’t necessarily quit, they also aren’t putting out new content regularly. And that’s almost as bad, because active blogging is where it’s at!
You first have to start. Then commit for the long haul (i.e. give yourself at least two years). And over time, I bet your traffic will increase, your writing will improve and you’ll be making progress towards your goals.
Today I have two resources to leave you with:
- If you haven’t started a blog and website yet, but you want to, I really urge you to check out 7 Days or Less to Branded Website Success. I commissioned my good friend, Daryn Collier (a WordPress guru) to help me put it together to help other technologically challenged folks build their own sites (it seems harder than it is, trust me!). And if you go through it, make sure to email me your site at the end – I really do want to see the finished product and celebrate with you!
- I’ve taken a fair amount of courses in the last two years and each has taught me something impactful. Elite Blogging Academy, which is available for enrollment on 2/22/16 (<affiliate link), is one of the courses that I went through that helped me achieve Horkey HandBook’s traffic growth (I started it in December, 2014) over the last 12 months. Ruth and her team care as much about putting out quality content as I do, so if monetizing your blog is one of your goals for 2016, I urge you to check it out.
Starting a blog is exciting.
But growing your platform can seem overwhelming and impossible at times. It’s not and consistently posting quality content, promoting your content socially, measuring your progress, launching products, guest posting and not giving up will help you to get there.
Remember, it takes time. You don’t want to be a flash in a pan or an overnight success. It can go away as fast as it comes!
Look, to spend money you have to make money. I get that. That’s why I’ve come up with 7 ways you can start earning money online today. It’s easy to get to overwhelmed by all the choices out there. Just pick one from the list and give it a shot! You never know what it might lead to. Click here to download the list now.
What’s been most impactful (or challenging) about growing your own website’s reach?