This marks my 100th blog post. When I launched this site four months ago, I wasn’t sure where I was going to go with it. I had always wanted to blog about SEO and web development techniques, but a full time job and other responsibilities don’t leave much free time to write. If you had asked me four months ago if I would write 100 posts over the next 120 days, I probably would have laughed at you.
In February, I launched this site after a few weeks of customizing the theme in my free time. My goal was to build a site to show off my portfolio, promote myself, write about the latest in the marketing and development industries, help others, and maybe learn a little along the way. I started out strong, writing 5+ posts a week for the first month or two. Since then I’ve pulled back the reigns and currently write 3-4 posts a week.
To mark my 100th post, I thought I was show some stats from this site.
Building Traffic Isn’t Easy
One thing that small bloggers often overlook is gaining exposure for your writing. It’s hard! You could write the best content in the world, but (especially if you’re in a competitive niche) in the beginning, very few people will actually see it.
The above chart is the traffic history of my site since I launched. As you would expect, I started out slow, and have since slowly began to gain some traction.
Search traffic is something I targeted from the beginning. Starting a brand new site and building consistent organic search traffic is a difficult thing to do. On a small scale, I feel like I’m doing ok.
Rather than attempt to compete with some very authoritative sites over high traffic keywords, I decided to focus on “long tail keywords.” By writing posts that focus on longer keywords and get used less often, I specialized my posts to cater to a smaller, more interested audience. My hope was that these posts would find individuals looking for information on a subject, and possibly producing a few backlinks.
This has allowed me to get consistent search traffic (in small numbers) from hundreds of different keywords. Rather than trying to get hundreds of visits for the keyword “wordpress” I am able to get a handful of visits from hundreds of long tail keywords containing the word “wordpress.” It’s a strategy that is widely used and highly effective.
Generating Engagement and Building Relationships is More Important Than Building Links
The ‘coup de grace’ of SEO is building links with your target keywords as anchor text, but that is actually extremely difficult to do. Search engines are getting better and better at devaluing links that bloggers and developers have control over – such as links from link directories, paid listings, guest posting, low hanging fruit, and more. A single organic backlink from a high ranking site can be more valuable than hundreds of links coming from low value sites.
While reading and contributing to several communities in my niche, I’ve met some really fantastic and intelligent people. Having a one on one conversation with others in your niche can often lead to some really good things, like added exposure if they share your content with their social media following, or even generating a backlink from their site.
I read and contribute to several communities in my niche, and the people that make up these communities are more important than whatever content resides there. Reaching out to people, and responding to those who reach out to you, are great ways to interact with like minded people – maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two, I know I have.
You Never Know What Type of Content Will Be the Most Successful
When I look through my traffic stats, and break down my visits by blog post, I always find interesting information. It’s really entertaining to me to find that my most popular posts are sometimes the ones that I legitimately put the least amount of effort into. I wouldn’t say I phoned it in…but I definitely didn’t pour blood, sweat and tears into every single one of my posts.
The most popular post I’ve written to date (based on the sum of traffic from day one) is a post I wrote about “CSS Rollover Social Media Icons. I came up with three cool examples, and gave the code (HTML and CSS) that I used to create the effects. People love this post, and I honestly never thought it would be so popular!
There are only a few hundred words in this post – definitely one of my shorter ones. It also has gained very little traction on social media. I got lucky and rank highly for some popular keywords that have to do with “social media” and “css icons”, it was the perfect storm. What is most funny to me is that the word count of the comments section of this page dwarfs the word count of the actual post!
If You’re Not a Small/Local Business – Don’t Focus on Local
Focusing on local search and optimization is great for small businesses and start-ups who have a physical location they are trying to drive foot traffic to. However, if you are an online business, or a larger scale business, you shouldn’t be focusing on such a small demographic.
The single biggest traffic-generating nation for me is the United States, but I actually generate a significant amount of visits from Europe (particularly the United Kingdom) and India. I write my content for a broad audience, and it’s a good feeling to know that I’ve reached people all over the world (260+ countries and 2600+ cities).
WordPress Comment Spam is Annoying!
If you run a WordPress site, you know what I’m talking about. For every 1 legitimate comment, there seems to be 100+ spam comments.
If it wasn’t for Akismet, I would have to spend countless hours sifting through these comments and removing the irrelevant ones, but thankfully I don’t have to do that. Akismet is a life saver.
Conclusion and Looking Forward
So in a small way, I consider my first four months a success. My writing style has evolved, I’ve learned a lot, I’ve met some great people, and I’m growing each and every day.
I’m very excited to see what the future has in store for my site, my career and my life. Thanks for reading!