For the first month, since I have been blogging, I hit 25K sessions in a month.
My goal was to hit 25k in May 2018, on May 19Th I hit 25k sessions and by the end of the month, I reached over 56k!
Update: Since writing this post, the blog has continued to grow and surpassed 250k monthly page views in September of 2018, and in January of 2019 I published my 200th blog post.
A little bit of background: late last year, I hired a company to do some marketing for me, and they said you need a blog. Their argument was compelling and they set up a nice website for me and posted a few fluffy pieces of content. Reviewing the work they were doing, I wasn’t “proud of it’. So I wrote my first blog post, after a million revisions I felt I had something that reflected what made me different. I hung it out on the web and nobody showed up.
So I parked the blog for a few weeks, I didn’t know anything about blogs or social media. So I began studying. I began making connections on social media, I reached out to other bloggers, and I read anything I could get my hands on that could help me.
In February, I was ready and felt I had a plan. I was going to start posting at least once a week. I consider this the official start of my blog, its when I decided I wanted to turn the blog into a side hustle instead of just some cheesy branding effort.
It's been a steep learning curve. Looking back to February, I realize even then I didn’t have a plan for the blog. All I knew then was I needed to post at least once a week.
Luckily an opportunity presented itself, and I was able to get into a blog mentoring group with some amazing bloggers. The group has been supportive and it has really help me focus my efforts on what I need to do to grow my readership.
What I Have Learned About Blogging
The prevailing wisdom is that it takes years to grow a blog to any respectable level. These are highly respected bloggers, and they are not wrong. Posting once a week or twice a week, and hanging the post out there on the internet, hoping Google will shower you with some love, is a slow, arduous process.
I have read multiple places it can take 2 years or more before Google starts to rank your content. It helps, of course, if you are an expert in SEO or write posts specifically to rank in Google. (FYI, I am still learning about that one!)
However, I don’t want to write blog posts for Google. I want to write blog posts for real people and share some of my experience. I told my wife (who has been amazingly supportive of this process), that “I'm going to write the posts I want to write, so I am either going to succeed or fail to do what I want, but I hope I succeed.”
I do not have three years to sit around waiting for Google to find me, if ever, or some editor at some big publication to think I'm cool and link to my blog. I knew the only way to get your blog noticed is to take it to the public directly on Social Media.
How Do You Get Noticed When You're New
Social Media was the clear solution.
However, one problem remained, how do you stand out in a crowded room where everyone is trying to talk over each other? Well, you do it by amplifying your voice, and you do that by networking with other bloggers and helping them reach their goals.
So for the last few months, I have been working with fellow bloggers to not only grow my blog but also help them grow theirs.
We have experimented and cross-tested several strategies and found out what works and what doesn’t. (I could write volumes and volumes of what doesn’t work.) I formed a networking group and invited some bloggers to join. Some of the bloggers have followed our system and seen great growth. Others either didn't participate or do not put in the hustle to make it work, and as a result, are not seeing much traffic.
The reality is, if you want to grow a blog, like with any small business, you have to put the work in. There's no secret. The way to get 25k sessions is to do what you did to get 2.5k sessions ten times. If you are willing to put the work in, then there are some things that will help you grow even faster.
Think about it like working out: if you hit the gym and lift weights, you will grow your muscles. If you eat the right foods and take the right supplements, your muscles might grow faster.
How I Reached 56K Sessions
Prior to May, I was posting about once a week, and that pace was getting me nowhere fast, or was it nowhere slowly? (Hmm.) Anyway, I knew if I wanted to hit my target, I needed to post multiple times a week. I started May with the plan to post 3 or more times a week. I hit 25k sessions in early May and then got the wild Idea I could hit 50k sessions or more if I posted daily (Monday thru Friday).
I gave once-a-day posting a try, and with work, family commitments, etc., I was not able to get a daily post in. I ended up with 20 posts for the month of May. Had I realized before the start of May the necessity of once a day posting I would have planned out my schedule differently. I ended the month with just over 56k sessions.
Unfortunately, this number does not include the nearly 3k views I got from my ACA post being featured in Rockstar Finance as I pulled my site away from the branding company that had created my site, and I got locked out of my old Google analytic account.
Someday I should write a post on all the things not to do when blogging because if there was a mistake to be made, I surely did it over the last few months and paid ($) for it. However, if you have stuck with me this long, you're probably not looking for mistakes; you want to know what works! So here are the few things I did to get 50k plus sessions in May:
I have hosted a few guest posts in the past, however, guest posts were critical to my success in May. Looking back, I do not understand why many bloggers are so reluctant to host guest posts. If you are not posting once a day, a guest post is an excellent opportunity to get more content posted on your site.
I was fortunate that Accidental Fire gave me an amazing guest post about Renting vs. Buying, the post received amazing traffic and Accidental Fire worked overtime to promote the piece. The results of the post have been amazing, and I am now a guest posting advocate and convert; I got a post that’s unique and different than what I would normally do, having the extra content freed me up to work on some other projects, and I gained a highly respected colleague referring people to my site.
In total, I hosted 3 guests' posts and they have all been a resounding success.
- Rich from RichMiser.com wrote an amazing SEO optimized post about buying rental properties under an LLC.
- Dr. Linus and Woodstock did a great post about how to ensure your first home is a good investment.
Posting on Other Sites
Accidental Fire was kind enough to allow me to write a guest post for his site. This was a really fun opportunity, and because I was so thankful for his support, I really challenged myself to write a great post. I saw in a forum a blogger mentions they only do guest posts on blogs bigger than their own.
I feel this is a mistake, as every post is an avenue to your site. Some posts might be doors, some might be windows. If you want more traffic, you need as many windows and doors as possible.
Blog With Us
We have put together a networking group to share ideas and help each other on Social Media. This group isn't for people who are looking to drop link and not participate. This is for active bloggers that want to work hard and put in the effort to turn their blog in profitable business. If you are interested in joining our group, contact me here and I will explain the details to you, and we can discuss if you would be a good fit for the group.
Special thanks to the blogger ESI. He has given me amazing advice and support.