How to build your blog’s traffic the easy way

54 thoughts on “How to build your blog’s traffic the easy way”

  1. I should not be surprised, but I am SUPER impressed that you stay five to 10 posts ahead! These days I’m basically writing every post the night before, though I have at times been one or two posts ahead. Dang — way to rock the scheduling! 🙂 I couldn’t agree more on #2 — just saying “Hey, great job” doesn’t tell anyone anything about you or give them a reason to link back to your blog, but actually putting some of yourself or your view out there gives a sense of who you are and lets people get interested in you — but I also agree with you that as a blog gets more popular, it becomes so much tougher to keep up with commenting on other blogs! Oh well… something for the list once we retire. 🙂 As for social media, I’d add that it magnifies your effect to do more than just post scheduled tweets and such on Buffer, but actually to spend time on the platforms interacting, especially on Twitter. We’re now considered top influencers in minimalism (ha!) and personal finance according to Klout and a few other sources, not because we just blast our our own posts, but because of the interaction itself (replies, conversations, retweets, etc.) — so that stuff helps a lot too!

    1. Good call, ONL – the interactions through social media are incredibly important too, and I’m impressed by the level of interaction that you maintain with your social media profiles and your blog. Your blog posts tend to get more comments than mine, and for good reason. You have a natural ability to start (and continue) conversations, and that’s an important element in this community.

  2. As a new blogger this is incredibly helpful Steve! I can’t imagine ever running more than one blog – but I guess there are many people who do it successfully. I find it takes many hours each day to keep up with just one! I would be interested in finding out more about your other blogs if you share them. I find the social media piece to be incredibly fun but also a bit of a challenge to keep up with . I have Facebook just about ready to start but I have actually (gasp) never logged on to Pinterest for anything. It’s time to get started looking at that – but I also want to get more ahead with my writing as you so strongly suggest. And as for pop-ups, the only time I will stay with a site that has pop-ups is if it is a writer I have followed for years. And I am not sure why they use those either – they are incredibly annoying. I’m thinking the Baja trip is over soon?

    1. Thanks Vicki, appreciate you taking the time to read. You’re right, taking the time to maintain more than one blog can be a LOT of work. Right now, I only maintain two blogs – but TSR is definitely the most active. FullTimeExplorers.com is my other blog and I help a lot with the video work over on my wife’s blog at AStreaminLife.com.

        1. I haven’t looked too deeply into it, but I would imagine it’s when the majority of readers have spare time and are actively looking at their social media profiles and browsing around the Internet for juicy content – even at work. Maybe it’s after the initial morning rush when things are trickling along at a more normal speed right before lunch. Just a guess, but seems like it makes sense to me. 🙂

          1. That’s what I was thinking too – back to work and taking a break. I also wondered if the FIRE crowd has the “Monday morning” reading/responding thing similar to when they used to work. Just a thought!

          2. Good question, Vicki. I’ll find out soon enough next year. Something tells me that early retirees probably don’t know what day of the week it is…primarily because they don’t need to! 🙂

  3. I would like to echo Steve that some sites are so jammed with ads and pop- ups, you can’t even sift through to the content. Which may actually be very good.!!

    I also want to commend bloggers like you for taking the great deal of time to reply to each and every commenter. It is highly professional, courteous and feels right. We try to take the lead and example set by yourselves and folks like ONL to model our blogging behavior. There are a number of PF bloggers who are barely getting going and appear to pick and choose who they respond to and interact with. Not sure exactly why. There may well be something I am missing here.

    And being included in your Friday feast was an enormous motivation and inspiration for us to do more. Can’t tell you how much that got us excited about our little blog. Cheers.

    1. Thanks Mr. PIE. Yup, responding to comments takes time, but I think it’s time well spent. You get to know your readers a lot more that way, and I’ve found that picking and choosing the comments that you respond to, while being well within the right of the blogger, probably makes those commenters who don’t get a response less likely to comment again. Haven’t conducted a study on this point, though! 🙂

      I’m thoroughly happy that my Friday Feast was motivational for you guys. If I can positively reach even a single blogger through those Feast articles, it’s well worth the effort to put them together. Thanks for the positive feedback!

  4. I’m blown away by your generosity in the blogosphere, Steve. That’s one of the first things that stuck out to me about you and your blog, and it continues to shine through in a big way.

  5. All of these aren’t ideas are something that almost everyone can do which is great. Basically if you care and are consistent, you’re giving yourself an opportunity to eventually become “successful.” I really enjoy the Friday Feasts because I get to find out about other interesting bloggers. It’s also great to be featured in there too! You open up some doors for us through that. The one that I REALLY struggle with is having articles ready ahead of schedule. I think the most I had at one time was 2 or 3. This has really bitten me in the butt especially lately 🙁 Good thing I’m setting today aside to get some articles written up!

    1. Hey Marc! It’s true, caring and being consistent is the absolutely best technique a blogger needs to maintain throughout their blogging “career”. The more consistent you are with your posts, the better the foundation for success! 🙂

  6. I used to host a weekly roundup post linking to my favorite posts, similar to your Friday Feast, but didn’t feel it added much value to my readers. I transitioned to an interview series to highlight fellow bloggers, which I think spreads the love and gives us an opportunity to get to know one another a little better.

    I try and comment on other blogs often, but really think it’s most important to reply to comments on my own blog. If someone has taken the time to read and comment I should show them the courtesy of replying.

    1. I like your attitude, Brian, about replying to comments. It’s true, if someone takes the time to comment, it’s probably worth your time to reply…unless you’re getting hundreds of comments to each post, where replying to each individual comment might take hours. 🙂

      Yeah, I don’t exactly have that problem yet!

  7. I think passion and being personal are the key. You need to be able to show your passion in your posts. After all it’s called “personal” finance blog. 🙂

    While I try to publish my posts regularly, I haven’t been sticking to a regular publishing schedule. This is something I should adopt. Also staying ahead with a few posts scheduled will certainly help too.

    Totally agree with on popups. I absolutely hate those and ranted on Twitter a few weeks ago. If I want to follow your site I either add your site to Feedly or I’d sign up the newsletter by myself. Having a popup just puts me off in signing up anything from your site.

    Kudos to some great tips, some I certainly can use.

    1. True that, Tawcan – it’s “personal” finance for a reason. People love to follow other people, and personalizing a blog is an awesome way to keep people interested in what’s going on.

    1. Ooo! Yeah, that doesn’t sound like much fun. I usually verify during the sign-up process, but only because it seemed like I should. Now I have even more of a reason to make sure everything is on the up-and-up with my social media accounts.

  8. Great post, thank you for sharing this! My blog is still relatively new, I’ll be coming up to three months soon, and while I get some consistent traffic, I certainly wouldn’t describe it as high, or even medium if I’m honest haha!
    I also use Buffer, and I feel like this is doing me well on Twitter, but my Facebook page for example hasn’t even taken off. I don’t feel like I understand how Pinterest works enough to use that yet, but I will do seeing as most bloggers comment on the amount of traffic they get from it! I’m also looking into getting an email service going too so everyone knows when I write something new.
    I hadn’t really thought about publishing on the same day each week, so maybe I’ll have to give that a try.
    I’m just hoping that if I continue to publish good posts, over time traffic will start increasing. Just going to have to keep plugging, or should I say typing away!

    1. That’s the way to do it, Elliot – just keep typing away and filling the digital airwaves with quality content, commenting on other blogs and getting as involved as you can into this community. I feel like organic growth is definitely the best kind. 🙂

  9. As a new blogger as well as someone who is technologically challenged, it can be extremely overwhelming at first. One thing you didn’t mention and I struggle with is the whole SEO thing. Any chance you have any good book recommendations on this?

    1. I should probably write a blog post or two about SEO – it’s a huge topic, actually, and it’s tough to put any kind of detail into a comment. Long story short, though – a large part of SEO comes down to keywords, titles and sub-headings within your content. Blog articles should discuss a specific and identifiable topic, and that topic’s keyword should be within your blog’s title and repeated in sub-headings (the “h2”) within the post itself.

      Again, huge topic, and this is just the million-foot level of what SEO truly entails. I need to schedule an SEO blog post for the very near future! 🙂

  10. Wow, great list! So glad you put ‘Care about your blog’ at the top. Clearly, that’s the most important thing to get right. If you don’t care, none of the rest of it matters.

    While I’m doing a lot of these things, I’ve completely ignored social media. I need to get something going there!

    Thinksaveretire.com might be more popular than my blog, but it’s one of my favorites. A lot of blogs come across as pretty fake. There just for monetization, and if I could possibly add to your wonderful list it would be about that — limit the commercialization of your blog. It can be a giant turn-off to readers.

    1. Thanks Mr. Tako. Yup, actually giving a shit about your blog needs to come first. Like you said, if you don’t have that, nothing else matters.

      And thank you for your kind words regarding the blog – I very much appreciate it. I really do pour my heart and soul into this thing, so it’s always nice when I get comments like yours. It’s awesome that you appreciate my style of writing!

  11. I totally agree with adding comments on other sites. I also click over to other blogs when they add something I connect with. That’s led me to at least 5 blogs I follow now, and that’s just the few I can think of immediately. I try to add good comments or just none at all, because you’re right, you can definitely tell when a coment is just trying to get traffic.
    I joined twitter reluctantly, and have yet to try Facebook for the blog or Pinterest. I am anemically active on Twitter, and still have managed a few hundred follows. I just can’t get it trained my brain to pay attention to tweets, reposting, and that stuff currently. I’ll think, “Oh yeah twitter!” and like and retweet some things and then it may be 3-10 days before I do it again, D’oh! On the flip side, I’ve turned off notifications for some people I follow because they tweet, and tweet, and tweet, and tweet…
    Nice job on staying ahead of articles too, that’s tough. Even back in the day I had a hard time getting more than 2-3 articles ahead, and currently, it’s a thought that ruminates, gets on paper/screen then gets more rumination prior to last edits and posting it. I find if i don’t give it a 1-3 day soak, I ahve lots of other things I wanted to say or say better than I did the first time around. Except for my April Fools Day posts, those things get banged out in a half an hr and are a blast to write – like my “Monte Carlo simulation for betting on horses” retirement strategy, lol.

    1. We are very much alike on the “soaking period” technique. I often will write posts one day, then come back to them the next day (or week) only to realize that something I wrote wasn’t very clear. I’ve improved my writing a LOT by increasing the length of time between when I initially write the post and when it gets published.

  12. Great advice, Steve! I agree with everything you said. Haha! I do, really!

    Caring about one’s audience and usability are critical. If you have a lot of mobile users, check usability and page load time. Slow-loading, non-responsive websites are frustrating for users and search engines alike. 🙂

    1. Hehe, thanks Claudia! Yup, load times (especially mobile) is big business with Google these days. Speed matters, and the faster your site is, the more likely you’ll build traffic through major search engines.

  13. All great tips.

    Balancing a regular posting schedule with two tiny sons is my biggest challenge. I too rely heavily on scheduling posts in advance, even if it’s just a few days, not the several weeks I’m aiming for.

    One thing I’ve been experimenting with to increase my reader engagement on Enwealthen is dofollow links. I’m currently using CommentLuv with dofollow enabled as well as the Top Commenters module to give my most active commenters some link juice. Most would say I should keep all the SEO weight for myself, but I prefer to share it with my fellow bloggers.

    1. Hey Jack – yup, I do the same thing with CommentLuv. I figure that if people actually take the time to comment on my site, it’s the least I can do to return some of that love. After all, I feel like we’re all in this together, and we all succeed when one of us succeeds.

  14. Good advice Steve. Can’t say how much I appreciate that this was real actionable points and not a “click and bait” attempt at selling some weird service that promises more twitter followers or whatnot. Thanks!

  15. Thanks for sharing your tips so generously. I wonder how many of us bloggers are introverts and fairly private in our normal lives. It’s so completely foreign to me to post something as “public” on Facebook on my blog page and to post on twitter because I’m used to only responding to others or offering my opinion when asked.
    The community has been very gracious and welcoming, and I’m trying to see it as offering something valuable rather than spamming, but it’s still hard to click “share” or “tweet.”

    1. Thanks for the comment, Julie, and interesting question! I agree with your impression of the community. It is one of the most welcoming communities that I’ve ever been a part of. We’re all dealing with a lot of the same things, and support of one another is definitely what this community has going for it.

  16. I’ve read a lot of similarly-themed posts in the last month, but yours contains the most applicable advice, Steve. I’m glad that you shared data on the ‘best time’ to post, as I’ve been conducting my own experiment lately. I don’t have a large enough sample size to share data quite yet, but I’ll be interested to see if my results mesh with the data you shared.

    1. Thanks FinanceSuperhero. The post timing is a real interesting subject and definitely deserves more research, I think. For example, does it matter what type of content gets shared, or the subject? Do sports blog posts do better earlier in the day, or later? Does personal finance material get read more after work, or during people’s lunch breaks?

      So many questions. I don’t get worked up too much over these numbers. I just like to post my material earlier enough in the day where it allows people the entire day to view it. It seems to work okay for me. 🙂

  17. Maintaining a consistent posting schedule has been something I’ve had issues with implementing. I’ve been trying to stick with a two day a week Monday/Thursday schedule and for the most part it has been going good. Every now and them I miss on scheduling a post.

    A big blog inspiration of mine is Melyssa Griffin (formerly The Nectar Collective). Everything about what she does is great. She’s got a great site design, does a killer job of interacting and building community, and posts great content consistently. She isn’t in the personal finance niche but I still draw a lot of inspiration and parallels from her.

    I’ve always wondered why Tuesday is such a popular time to read blogs. It happens on my site as well. Not too sure why.

    What are your thoughts on Pinterest? I’ve been getting more into that with my blog!

    1. Hey Colin! Pinterest is a hotbed of potential traffic, but only if you do it right. It takes time. I primarily outsource my Pinterest material to my wife who enjoys that stuff, but the key is to get onto as many different “boards” on Pinterest as you can and post regularly. The more regularly you post (including material that’s not on your own blog), the better following you tend to get. On the bigger days, bloggers can easily see thousands, or tens of thousands, of hits from Pinterest alone. If your pin gets shared on a highly-visible board, get ready.

      But like with anything else, it takes time. Just like Twitter, building your following is the first step, which increases the likelihood that your stuff will be shared with others. It’s image-based, so you’ll need to be okay with creating Pinterest images.

      Thanks for writing!

  18. Thanks so much for your great advice. We just started our blog in May of this year and one of the most frustrating things is trying to get somebody out there to read what you wrote and are passionate about. Some of these tips will certainly help us in the months and years to come. I must say I am impressed that you are 5-10 posts ahead at all time. Honestly that never even crossed my mind. Something I need to work towards. Thanks for being so open and sharing your advice.

  19. Great post Steve, lots of valuable tips in here! What has always stood out most to me about your blog is the authenticity and community. I noticed right away how you take the time to respond to every comment, and as a reader that is very refreshing and make the person feel like a valued contributor. Your blog was one of the first financial blogs I began following on an every post basis. The Friday Feasts are such a great idea and I discover new blogs every week that I may never have found out about. Also, I definitely agree about the pop-ups. I hate them too and I don’t think I’ve ever submitted my email to one of those.

    1. Thanks Matt! I’m honored that my blog was one of the first that you began to follow, and I’m even more thankful that my authenticity really does come across in my writing. That’s great to hear! As always, thanks for being a valued follower!

  20. I’ve been busy with house projects and haven’t devoted the necessary time to blog commenting, but this post is a good reminder to get to it. One other action that I like for blog building is attending conferences. Find the big conference in your blog’s niche, and go. The big conference for personal finance bloggers is FinCon, and I thought it was very interesting – and a way to do a lot of networking at once.

    1. Hi Amanda – yup, attending conferences and other get togethers are always a fun way to network with your fellow bloggers. I haven’t made it to a FinCon yet (to include this year), but maybe one day I will. Thanks for your comment!

  21. This is sooo helpful! I am seriously impressed with how far ahead you are with your blog content. I started at the end of April so I’m still working at setting everything up and then I want to focus on getting my content ahead of schedule.
    Really good tips here that I am definitely going to use, thank you 🙂

  22. Great tips, all of them. I would add an 8th ingredient: have patience. Lots of it. It can take a long while before you can generate a significant revenue from your blog.

Leave a Reply