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I am a bit ashamed to admit that I was hobby blogging until three months ago, with zero strategy and no aim for what this blog meant. Luckily this coincided with my semester break and I had no excuse to slack off anymore. I upgraded from a premium WordPress account to a business WordPress account, realized just how useless that move was (Read more here) and some how managed to get a refund back a month later as it was definitely not worth the $25+/month that it was going to cost me.
In April, 2018 I moved to a self-hosted website on Siteground and got a premium theme which subsequently led to my site crashing for a bit. In just a week, I was SO happy with the way my website looked and I spent a month just learning everything I could about Blog Marketing and implementing them one by one.
I’ve just moved to a new domain after I realised the real potential blogging had and the reach I could manage if I just knew how to market the right way to the right audience. In some ways, I am starting out again (building DA, back-links, setting up updates, redirects, etc), but having already taken my blog from 2000 to 20,0000 views (screenshot below), I am confident I can do it again and by the year end hope to be sitting at 50,000 monthly views. #GoBigOrGoHome
So, what blog marketing hacks did I use to boost my page views from 2000 to 20000 in one month?
I learnt from the very best in the industry for FREE
Being a student who sustains herself with a part time job, a business school debt that hasn’t entirely been paid off and the majority of liquid savings pooled into my big move abroad to Germany ( Read here: How I saved $14000 To Travel and Move Abroad), I do not have the luxury of investing into a high end blogging course. Even investing $200 in getting a hosting plus theme plan seemed like too much of an upfront investment. Considering I spend only $7 a month on my blog, I figured whatever returns I got couldn’t be bad. I promised myself if I recovered what I invested, I’d keep re-investing that amount in tools and courses that would help me market my blog but until then I just had to growth hack my way into it.
I turned where everyone does, to Google. I searched the hell out of the best bloggers that have been at it for 5-10 years. I narrowed down my search to bloggers who specialized in blog marketing, SEO and building a solid side hustle via a blog. Here’s some bloggers that I think give advice worth thousands of dollars, generously on their blogs for free :
- Shout Me Loud by Harsh Agarwal
- Neil Patel by Neil Patel
- Smart Passive Income by Pat Flynn
- Side Hustle Nation by Nick Loper
There are many other bloggers that have inspiring tales and income reports, but I wanted to get the foundation of my blog right and for this I knew I had to learn tips and tricks from the base up! I’ll leave a link at the end to the posts that I found most helpful.
I FINALLY made my way over to Pinterest
I feel SO stupid about focusing on building a community on Facebook and Instagram first and ignoring Pinterest for all this while. During my extensive crazy-research-whatever-I-can-do-to-grow-blog-traffic phase, I no doubt stumbled upon Pinterest. Again, having no money to spend on fancy courses I just found what I could for free and started to implement them one by one. In just 1 month of using Pinterest I went up to 700+ followers and 50000 monthly unique viewers. How crazy is that? The best part, pins keep re-generating traffic by themselves. I don’t need to post fresh content everyday. Here’s what I did to get to that stage:
- Made a business account, claimed my website, joined as many group boards as I can which is a tiresome process but nevertheless pays off VERY quick.
- I followed about 50 people a day, and got about 50% to follow me back. If I spent my day doing the same on Instagram, i would be lucky if I got 10% to follow me back who would probably unfollow me the next day anyway. No seriously, this HACK is the fastest way to build a following. Mass follow the people that YOU think should follow you. Target Audience. Check. Followers. Check. Related: How To Get 1000 Pinterest Followers
- Designed 2 pins each for the best blog posts (on Canva for free) I had for the last few months and aimed at ONLY promoting those. If I spent my energy promoting all 50+ posts I had, I would quickly drain out, so I focused on building my audience on what I knew was already popular and would convert well.
- Joined Tailwind to maximise the reach of my pins. Here’s the fun part- I only promoted about 15 pins but I maximised on the tribes I joined and stuck to really focusing on this alone.
I found a Growth Hack For Facebook Traffic
I thought long and hard about the type of content I had at that point (A LOT about life in Germany and travel tips) and then I thought long and hard what was the fastest way to reach people who would RELATE to my experience, like to read it and even share it. As a result, I joined FB groups that focused on these particular target audiences which in my case were expats abroad, especially Indians. This one hack alone got me 2000+ new users and over 7000 views in one month alone. Even if this was a temporary spike, what this hack did was effectively put me in front of 40,000 people who now knew who I was, or let’s say about 2000 (5% conversion) of them knew about my blog’s existence. This, in itself, felt like such a big achievement. Cherry on top- I got a ton of comments, emails and even messages on every social media platform telling me about similar stories helping me really rank up my blog engagement. This resulted indirectly in a boost of my FB blog page from under 1000 to over 1500 followers in the same month. No guesses as to how that happened there eh?
I finally made a Lead Magnet designed exactly for the question I received in my Inbox.
It is so tempting to create a generic freebie and say – ‘hey this is for free, download this’. I wanted to do more than just that. I wanted to narrow down one specific problem and then nail it, and in the process increase my email subscribers. What did I do?
I thought about what I was asked and what people loved reading on my blog the most. It was the question- ‘How to get into a German University’? As an experiment, I made a two page document full of tips from my personal experience (which would be very hard to find elsewhere since it is a highly specific but sufficiently large problem), I casually set it up on my sidebar, created a free landing page via Mailchimp and forgot about it. Hello, hello, one month later this freebie alone led to 100+ email subscribers. That was more than what I had the whole of 2017. Even though, I suspect this didn’t lead to a huge direct spike on my monthly page views, it DID give me a solid targeted long term audience that liked what I wrote and would love to hear more on that. Most importantly, it VALIDATED the type of content I needed to create and how to drive that to increase email conversions.
I went ahead and became an authority on Quora.
I had heard of Quora a lot as it is hugely popular in India but I was never actively involved in this forum. Until, I started to ask the questions on Google that I was hoping to give answers for via my blog. It is then that I realised just how many people went on Quora to look for the exact same answers. I mean even Neil Patel answers questions on Quora, if he felt this was worth his time, it was definitely worth my time. So I took it upon myself to answer one question a day related to my blog and try to answer it the best I can and drop a link along the way.
I kid you not, these 30 questions, got me another 261 new users on my blog. This was the same as my organic traffic for the month. And what’s the best part, it CONTINUES to drive traffic to my blog on a daily basis. As you can see below, these users also spend the maximum time on my blog. No surprises there, eh?
It might not be this forum for you, and perhaps a more niche/industry specific forum might work better, but once you know where your target audience is sitting, you’ll have to focus on approaching them exactly where they are.
These are the blog marketing hacks that got me 10x views in 1 month with zero monetary investment. What are yours?
If you are looking to build your blog to make money in the future, you need to fix your SEO. Read my free SEO Tool guide here.
Related Post: Step By Step Guide to Start A Travel & Lifestyle Blog
Further Reading (as promised)
- How to Generate 20000 Monthly Visitors By Long Tail Search
- 100+ Blogging Tools For 2018
- 5 Easy On Site Changes That Will Skyrocket Your Social Media Traffic Overnight
- Side Hustle Nation Podcasts– Best Podcast on Side Hustles I have ever come across
- Passive Income 101