Back in 2005, I got excited about getting 10 visitors per day to my first blog. I had no idea how to start a successful blog or what that term even meant. I wanted to know who those visitors were, what they thought about it, and how they got there.
Perhaps someone told them to visit my website during conversation? Maybe someone liked it so much that they emailed someone else about it?
Nope. Not even close.
People searching through the depths of Google happened to stumble upon my website. I searched for my own articles, and even if I typed up the titles word for word into the search query, my article didn’t pop up until after page 10. If I was getting a few clicks here and there, how many visitors were the websites on the first page of Google getting?
How did Google decide who went first and who ended up in the first page? That’s where SEO (search engine optimization) comes in: making your website stand out for search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Because of that, I’ve been seeing my traffic increase without even typing up any new content on one of my blogs:
Google has bots doing all the work. They check for relevant content, number of other websites referring to your blog, the types of websites that refer others to you and a bunch of other things like how long someone stays in your website.
These are part of the system that decides if you deserve a spot on the first page of Google.
Why do we even want blog traffic?
Blog traffic is essentially a direct measure of how many people we’re reaching, and it is vital that we keep track of it and work to improve it every single day.
Imagine a business in the middle of nowhere, out in the desert where nobody is around. It will be bankrupt as soon as it opens, right?
Now imagine you open up a business in Times Square in New York City where millions of people pass by every single day. Way better stuff.
The web is somewhat similar; you want to be in an area where people visit every day in order to maximize your influence and provide value to your readers.
Reaching more people can open up many doors like:
- New relationships
- Reliable income
- Business ideas
- A way to give value to your audience
The Plan to Get to 100 Daily Visitors
- Prepare: Set/commit to your goals, check yourself and check your website.
- Research: Who reads your stuff and what do they want.
- Promote: Social media, to your friends and family and in person.
- Track: What your most popular posts are and where visitors come from.
Here is the plan I’ve come up with to put my formulas in action.
- Commit. Find out your current visitor stats, and send them to me. Shoot me an email at edwin [at] journeyfeed.com or screenshot and tweet it to me at @edwincov. If you don’t want to share, hold yourself accountable in some other way. Time and time again I’ve seen the power of community make some incredible changes! You don’t have to go at it alone.
- Don’t know how? Your CMS or hosted service should offer your stats on your dashboard. I use WordPress and I installed a Google Analytics plugin to check my stats.
- If you’re looking for a blogging community to join, feel free to check out the Journey Feed Blogging Community with me, on Facebook. Join thousands of other members right now.
- Check your current content. Are you writing to the best of your ability? If writing isn’t one of your strong points and you’ve tried over and over to get better at it but you just can’t seem to get it right, perhaps you need some more practice. Write and then write some more. Medium.com offers a great platform to write articles and start your own following… but most of all, it gets you to write.
- Improve your blog design. Now this one went last because it isn’t as important as the two previous steps but it still deserves a spot as something important. Design depends on the audience you’re serving. If it’s an information-centered blog, be sure to make it readable with white background, normal size fonts. Or not. If you don’t know much about design, let’s focus on the meat of this and forget about this for now, we have more important things to worry about. For a reference, check out this clean blog layout from Buffer:
I think it would work well for an information site, but it’s way too plain for a magazine-style blog like BuzzFeed.com or an online store.
- I’m going to introduce to you the concept of a keyword. There are two types: keywords and long-tail keywords. These are the things that your readers enter into the search query of Google (the search/text box right under the huge Google logo), and you want to know these words because it is what Google uses to match your website to the person who is searching. There are many guides on there on how to do keyword research, but for tools right now I highly recommend the Google Keyword Planner, and for our purposes right now we’re going to use it with UberSuggest.com.Suppose you have a blog on ice fishing, and you’re thinking about a blog post to write. What you want to do is to find the right words that are going to let a person searching for your topic on Google actually find you. To do that, you have to find a keyword that your blog post will include in the title of your blog post, in the link, and mentioned in your blog post.[Disclaimer: There are many more details in the study of advanced SEO, but we’re just getting started! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. But if you’re truly interested in advanced SEO, check out this post from QuickSprout.com and this Guide to Backlinking from Smart Passive Income.]Head on over there and type “Ice fishing” and you’ll get something like this at the top:
Select those keywords and right-click and then copy.Then head on over to the Google Keyword Planner and enter those words (there are many more than just the ones in the screenshot, but we’ll work with them for now).
And then click “Get Search Volume” and you’ll see something like this:
That tells you that (mostly) 1,000 to 10,000 people are searching for those topics every single month! For now, let’s look at the “Low” competition keywords which are “ice fishing” and “ice fishing games.” The second one looks more doable to me, so then I’ll enter it on Google.
And hmm.. these aren’t blog posts. These are websites advertising ice fishing games, probably online gaming websites. Maybe this isn’t the best keyword to go with, though you could write an “ice fishing games review” blog post and expect some traffic if you can knock out any of the sites listed on the first page of Google with that search keyword.
Remember, you want people to find you easily on Google, so why not use the words they’re using on Google when they’re searching for you? Win-win.
Congrats, you just got through a very basic keyword analysis process, and trust me, there are a thousand more out there. Just choose what works for you and go with it.
- Your Readers: Who are you writing for? Some examples I’m looking for are: single mothers living in California, miniature golf enthusiasts, competitive ice fishermen, jewelry handcrafters in the United States, and things like that. Even if you think that you don’t write for anyone in particular, check again. Even journal bloggers have ideal readers and they’re usually people who share their interests, whether in perspective or even just the love of journaling.There are a few ways to figure out who your readers are, but I’ll mention the two you should look at today:
- Your comments section – Who is commenting? Male, or female? Age group? Hobbies?
- Your stats – What do your referring sites show? For me, it shows a bunch of search engines so that’s not helping at all.
But if your referrers show pages like “Online Poker Forum” or “Scientists International” then you can get a pretty good idea of who your readers are.But suppose you’re at zero traffic.What now? Well just make up your own ideal reader and write for them. You’ll notice a change in perspective right away after knowing that you’re not trying to write for everyone. It’ll also help ease some writer’s block.
- What do your readers want? Are they coming to your website for advice or entertainment? Do you give out food recipes or computer help? This is extremely important to know, because you want to keep giving readers what they want all the time. Building a loyal following is what will keep your blog in business in the future. If your readers are coming to your blog to find out how to make chocolate chip cookies, offer other recipes.. but don’t throw a blog post out there about how to create computer software and expect them to come back.
- Social media: What if I told you there’s a way to promote your stuff for free? Some of the exploding ways to advertise are right on social media. Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are dominating in this space right now. I’m not saying to go randomly tweet links or spam your friends on Facebook. I’m saying get a real strategy going. We won’t go into too much social media marketing right now, but if approached correctly, this will be enough to get you started.
- Go where the water is – If I want people to buy my handcrafted notebooks, I’m not going to just post stuff about my notebooks. Instead, I might go to a page where students go to or a website that offers math help and advertise there. I’d start a social media channel that resonates with the fountain pen community and throw in a few posts about my notebooks every once in a while. After all, what good would it do to advertise a paper product to a person that has no interest in ever purchasing one online?
- Share all of your content – Does your website or blog have its own Facebook or Twitter page? Wait! Before you start one, do you think your audience is there? You can go ahead and share your content with your friends and family directly from your personal account while you’re getting started.
- Friends and family: Your friends and family are your biggest fans. You may not think they’re interested in what you’re offering, but they may know someone who does and your content will get shared. Oh yeah, don’t forget to ask them to share the content for you.
- Remember that stats plugin on your admin site or Google Analytics? Here is where it comes into play. If you write a post and it drives a lot of traffic to your website, write content surrounding that one. Give people more of what they want, all the time. Focus on what works. The way you find out what’s working is by checking your top pages on your websites, and the ones that get the most clicks.
- Your analytics tool will also let you know (for free, of course), where your visitors are coming from. Are they coming from Twitter? From another blog? Find out! It will give you more information about who your readers are that will eventually help you gain a bigger voice in the blogosphere.
What we want to do is focus on your content and make it relevant to what people are searching for. Once you get the ball rolling on using keywords and on promoting your blog, you can start developing your own strategy to develop referrers (backlinks) and increase your likelihood of ending up on Google’s first page.
Found any of this content useful? Let me know in the comments!