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I’ve been blogging here since late 2013. I’m pretty embarrassed to admit that, nearly 300 posts in, I don’t attract many visitors. About 14,000 page views per month. In the blogging world, that’s a pittance. I earn an average of about $65 per month on this blog through advertising.
Although blogging is fun, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that this blog isn’t earning me a LITTLE bit more money. I’d also be lying if I said that I don’t feel a twinge of jealousy when I see blogs that just launched a month ago publishing “blog traffic reports” saying they already have 30,000 page views per month. Sigh.
A lot of the low traffic and revenues is largely due to things that are my fault.
How am I clueless? Let me count the ways.
- I haven’t a clue about SEO. Is it bad to have alt image tags that are the same for multiple pictures in a post? What in the world is a “focus keyword?” Do post tags really matter?
- I don’t really make a concerted effort to post on other people’s blogs. I’ll do this in occasional fits and spurts, but I don’t do any commenting with regularity.
- I’m active on Pinterest, but that’s pretty much the only social media platform I use for the blog. I try to keep up with liking and commenting on Instagram posts, but I just find it so time consuming. It seems like as soon as I get followers on Instagram, but the next day, they’ve all unfollowed. Is that some sort of automated thing?
- I’ve had some “big” link pickups. One of my projects is featured on Huffington Post, another on Bob Vila, and I had a feature on Million Mile Secrets. I thought that those links would be golden to my traffic, when in reality, they didn’t do much beyond the day or two after the initial post. I’m not sure how to help this particular issue.
I’ve set a goal for myself to earn at least $1000 per month from my blog by June of 2018. And, if I don’t reach that goal (or at least get close to it), I may call it quits on blogging. I want to use my time effectively to support our efforts to reach financial independence and retire early.
- Get added as a collaborator to at least ten Pinterest boards. A lot of the traffic that I do get to my blog is from Pinterest. I hope that by pinning images from some of my posts to larger traffic boards could drive even more traffic to my blog.
- Create a weekly post that summarizes good articles I’ve read over the past week. This should help with “backlinking” and perhaps driving additional traffic.
- Add more pin-friendly images to my older posts. I wasn’t always great at doing this. My goal is to have a pin-friendly image on each post here on the blog to drive more traffic.
- On a related note, use more “professional” looking pin layouts. I purchased some inexpensive pin templates to help this along. I am not familiar with Photoshop, and these templates have been saving me a LOT of time. I’m not very good at Photoshop. Even trying out Canva has led to fairly mediocre looking pins. But frankly, I was always in such a hurry to post actual “posts,” that it seemed like a waste to spend so much time trying to design a pin. But, perhaps it’s not a waste. So, it’s worth the experiment.
- Mix in more “click baity” type language. This is a hard one for me. I DESPISE click-bait type language. But, when I look at the posts on blogs that have lots of traffic, commenters, and followers, I notice that, well, they use attention getting headlines. Like “10 things they don’t tell you about traveling to Disney.” Or “A few tricks to save you thousands.” My headlines here on my blog tend to be pretty bland and informational. Plus, I write mostly from the perspective of my experiences in a chronological order. When I was brainstorming ways to use existing posts to have more catchy headlines, I immediately started thinking about our trip to the 2014 Winter Olympics. It was just a travelogue. But, I can definitely create some additional content from those posts with attention-getting headlines. Like, “10 Tips for Attending Olympic Games.” and “How to secure tickets for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.” I don’t really know if those types of posts would be any more popular than my existing “travelogue” posts, but it’s worth a try!
- Continue to improve my blog layout. The vast majority (about 90%) of the daily visitors to my blog are “New Users.” Back in April, I updated my blog theme so that my more popular posts are very clearly identified at the top of my homepage. But, the vast majority of the visitors to my blog also reach it through a “landing page” that is not my home page. So, I have to rely on the user to actively want to navigate to my home page to find more of my content. I’m going to add more sidebar content that appears on EACH page that has links to other content on my site.
- Actively reach out to popular bloggers to guest post. I’m a pretty shy person (even online), so asking a prolific blogger, “Umm, hey, is it okay if I write a guest post for your blog? I know you probably get about a thousand requests a day for this, so it’s totally fine if not.” You get the idea.
- Write in a more authoritative tone. This goes in the click-bait type category. I can’t remember where I read this particular advice about driving blog traffic, but it went something like this: “People like to be told how to live their lives.” So, instead of phrasing my blog posts like, “hey, here’s what I did on our Southwest Road Trip,” say, “How to Plan an EPIC Southwest USA Road Trip.” Again, I’m always kind of torn about stuff like that because I’m afraid it might make me sound obnoxious. But, I have to remember, I’m trying to drive traffic (and money) to this site.
- Mix in a few small giveaways. But, I’m not sure how to organize these. I guess I’ll have to learn!
If all else fails?
- In six months, if I’m not seeing any increase in traffic, I might consider the following:
- Taking a few online “e-courses” about how to drive traffic to my blog. I’m always pretty skeptical of these types of courses. I’m afraid they won’t really convey any information that can’t be obtained through other, much cheaper methods. But, one or two might not hurt.
- Perhaps attempt to contact some sort of LEGITIMATE SEO company to see if it’s worth a small investment to improve, well, SEO on my blog.
Any other suggestions? What do you think? Is $1000 per month in blog revenue too much to seek in the next 10 months? Did your blog have a particular launch into the realm of big traffic? How did you get there?