If you have a blog or have even considered starting a blog, I’m sure that you’ve read something or other about traffic. How much blog traffic do you need? How do you get traffic to your site? What in the heck does blog traffic even mean? Put quite simply, traffic is eyeballs on your site. It’s the number of real life people that are interested and reading what you have to say. Now, traffic isn’t everything, but it’s one of the easiest metrics to track, and it’s fun to know how many people are reading your blog!
The best part? Building your blog traffic doesn’t have to be overwhelming and crazy. If you’re anything like me, you read traffic and income reports from huge bloggers and you either get crazy inspired or crazy bummed out. It’s hard to figure out exactly what to do when the only bloggers sharing info are already huge. I am by no means a huge blogger.
I’ve been blogging just over a year, and I get a bit over 3,000 page views a month. Now, depending on where you’re at in your blogging journey, you might think I’m insane for giving blogging tips when I’m still so tiny, or you might want to slap me for saying I’m a small blogger with 3,000 page views. Either way, I’m doing it.
This last month I had three different people ask me about starting a blog, growing their blog traffic, or growing their blogging income. I would never have thought I was “big enough” to help anyone out with their blog, but since people are asking I figured I could help. I remember how overwhelmed I was reading about women who had been blogging 6 months and “only” had 30,000 page views. I would have loved someone with a smaller blog to give more practical tips than “post on facebook every 18 minutes” and “hire a VA”.
So, if you’re interested in starting a blog, growing your blog, or using your blog to grow your work at home income, I’ll be sharing more tips about it as time goes along! If you’re totally uninterested, I’m not offended in the slightest. I’ll catch you in a few days with a post about special needs or homeschooling!
Growing Your Blog Traffic When You’re Tiny
Get Self Hosted
Okay, I know. When you’re a teeny tiny blogger you likely have only a teeny tiny budget, and your husband may think you’re absolutely insane for thinking that you should spend money on a blog that no one reads yet. Here’s the thing. If you’re blogging on a free platform like blogger or wordpress (.com not .org, they’re different), it will really limit your options.
You can’t customize as much with a free site, and your blog will look much less professional. The free platforms have a time and a place, this blog was started on blogger, but I didn’t really see a spike in my traffic until I switched to self-hosted wordpress with bluehost. I did have to change hosts to Tech Surgeons when I had a post go viral and bluehost couldn’t help me keep my site up, but for smaller beginner bloggers it’s plenty.
This gives you your own domain, (autisticmama.com rather than thisoutnumberedmama.blogspot.com) allows you to fully customize your site, and opens up more options for monitizing your blog down the road. If you’re really new and growing your pageviews, I recommend bluehost with the understanding that you’ll likely have to upgrade to Tech Surgeons.
Join Blogging Groups and Networks
This is probably the biggest way that I grew my blog traffic in my first year blogging. There are tons of Facebook groups for bloggers that help you to get to know other bloggers in your niche and reach people you may otherwise never have met. In the past year I’ve grown so many friendships through these groups, it would be worth it for that alone.
However I also have grown new readers, connected with bloggers who I never thought would give me the time of day, and my blog traffic has grown a ton! Aside from Facebook groups, I’ve also joined the iHomeschool Network and the Kid Blogger Network.
These networks help to connect bloggers in similar niches. We help to promote each other, answer questions, and provide support and feedback for each other on our blogging journeys. The best part is that everyone in these networks is in a different place, so whether you’re huge or tiny, you’ll be able to use these groups to grow your blog traffic.
Find Relevant Linky Parties
If you don’t know what a linky party is, it’s basically a blog post on someone’s site that will feature many different links to many different bloggers’ posts. Usually the linky party will have a theme, like frugal living or homeschooling. The advice out there about linky parties is really hit and miss. Many bloggers will tell you they aren’t worth the time and effort, while others will say they are the easiest way to grow traffic when you’re small. My opinion is somewhere in the middle.
Linky parties can eat up a lot of time, and sometimes you don’t get much return for that time. That said, when you find a highly relevant linky party with a highly engaged audience, it can grow your blog traffic easily! For me, that linky was the special needs weekend link up at Love That Max.
I recommend trying out different linkies when you’re a smaller blogger (let’s say, 1000 page views or less) because even if you only get a few page views, it is still a boost to your traffic. Play around with different linky parties, watch your google analytics, and continue to post at parties that consistently bring you in the most traffic. Then once you’re bigger and making an income, you can pay a VA to do this for you!
Make Social Media Work for You
As a new blogger, social media can be extremely overwhelming. It feels like you need to be everywhere all the time, and if you really posted on social media as much as “the experts” tell you to, you would never post anything to your blog. Trust me, I’ve been there, and the overwhelm is real.
When you are a smaller blogger just starting to try and grow your blog traffic, my suggestion is to pick two social media platforms. Grow your following, post consistently, gain some traffic, and rock whatever two platforms you choose. Once you have those two going strong, add in one more.
The pyramids weren’t built in a day, and your social media stats won’t be either, sorry darlin!
Now which two to choose? That depends on your audience. Where do they hang out? If you’re targeting moms, you should probably start with Facebook and Pinterest. Aiming at millennials? Maybe you need to be all over twitter and Instagram. You know your audience, so post where they’re already hanging out to naturally grow your blog traffic.
Keep Perspective and Don’t Give Up
Growing your blog traffic is going to take time. Yes, there are bloggers out there who have a post go viral really early on in their blogging journey, and they capitalize on that, but these cases are rare. For every blogger earning $10,000 her first year, there’s another blogger who’s been at it for years and makes just pennies on adsense.
Try to keep in mind that every single page view you get is someone who read your words. I remember being so excited when I got 200 page views. I called my best friend and we both flipped because how often are 200 people listening to your opinion about something?
The first month I hit 3,000 page views I remember feeling bummed that I wasn’t at 5,000 yet, so I decided to look at how many page views I had the same month the previous year. I had 255. In one year going from 255 to 3,000 is a pretty big deal to me.
When you start feeling discouraged because “so and so has x page views and you only have y”, take a look at where your blog has come from. Honey, if more than your mom and your best friend are reading your blog, you’re well on your way. Keep writing awesome content. Keep sharing it with anyone who will read it. Soon, your blog traffic will grow and you’ll be getting asked how you’re doing it!