We have a great guest post for you today! Peter Koch of DollarSanity.com tells his story about how he grew his blog rapidly, without relying on Pinterest as his primary traffic source. This is a fascinating post that has given us some ideas to pursue for additional traffic sources!
Everyone keeps asking me how I got involved with the world of blogging, and what was the thing that helped separate me from the competition. Well, here is what I did. I simply decided to stick with the niche I was already familiar with. The topic of my choice was selling on Amazon, and thus, Dollarsanity was born.
Truth be told, I always looked at blogging as a chance to make money on the side. That’s not to say that I haven’t tried my hardest in order to get there, because I did. The point is that I had enough time to study my niche and create a tactic that worked out just fine in the end, without feeling the need to grab every penny along the way.
How to start a blog
Some people write as a way to relieve stress. Others do it to find a creative outlet where they can let go of their ideas. My path was a bit different. To put it bluntly, I knew that I had a certain amount of knowledge and I wanted to share it with the world.
The ultimate goal, however, was to make cash. Yep, I’ve said it. What’s the point of having a side-hustle if it doesn’t generate a steady source of passive income?
Most importantly, I knew that I had something going for me, so I decided to act fast, and push things to the limit as quickly as possible.
First invest a year of my time and only then expect to see a slight return of investment? I was not into that, in the slightest. Here’s what I did instead.
To start, I wrote one cornerstone post, as well as about 15 other supporting ones, which helped generate as much content as possible. Naturally, the cornerstone post targeted a keyword which was relevant to my topic.
In this case, it was “sell on Amazon”, which had about 100K monthly searches. Almost all posts which contained that keyword were mainly focusing on other, less important ones, such as “How to promote products on Amazon?”
So, how can this tactic be applied to other blogs that don’t deal with the topic of Amazon?
For example, in the case of travel bloggers, I would first choose one specific city, then write another mega guide about that place, followed by 10 smaller posts. They would cover topics such as: Things to do during the summer/winter time, places you have to visit, festivals you should attend etc.
Do not neglect the importance of SEO
Most of us know a thing or two about SEO, or at least we can proudly claim that we’ve heard of it, but when it comes down to it, would you consider yourself to be an expert on the topic? The good news is, that you don’t need to be one, at least not in the very beginning.
However, I would happily claim that if you give yourself some time to learn the more advanced stuff, you’ll double your chances of success. I’m not even kidding here.
Don’t get me wrong, covering all the keywords is massively important, but it’s also crucial to do so in a proper way, as Google algorithms are getting more sophisticated by the day. That means that having a decently written article is more important now than it’s ever been.
- Related: How we made serious money blogging
Instead of focusing on mass production, invest all of your efforts into creating content that brings true value to your readers. That way, you have the best chances to capture their attention and always leave them hungry to keep coming back for more. I’m sure I don’t even have to explain how vital it is to have a steady base of users flocking to your blog, especially at the very beginning.
What were the results of implementing my strategy?
The authority regarding my niche. Since I decided to promote only one niche, or specifically, one article, I went to Quora to find as many questions regarding the topic and tried to provide the answer to each and every one.
Pretty soon, Quora algorithm, as well as many Quora users, recognized me as a person of trust regarding the topic. Several times, Quora has included some of my answers to a mailing list that has over 2 million people.
That brought a huge number of new visitors to my blog. Even today, 2 years after sending those Quora answers, I still get plenty of traffic from that source.
The most important thing is to capture the attention of people reading your blog, thus turning them into quality visits. Those people are trying to find the answer to the question that’s been bothering them for a long time.
Now that they’ve read the summed up, the short answer on Quora, they decided to visit my blog in order to find further information regarding the topic.
What is the deal with Pinterest?
Pinterest is rather different. People who come from that platform usually do so because a certain photo or a clickbait title captured their attention.
Understandably, they usually don’t tend to stick around for extended periods of time on any particular website, thus resulting in a very high bounce rate.
Here is a quick example that perfectly illustrates that point. Check out the data regarding traffic coming from Quora, as opposed to that from Pinterest.
In my mind, the decision not to focus on using Pinterest as a platform came pretty easily. All I had to do was extract all the data, take a quick peak at the numbers, and do what was best for me.
Thereby, I chose Reddit and Quora as my primary advertising platforms. I should mention that I haven’t written a single answer on Quora this entire year. All the traffic you’re seeing came from answers that were provided quite some time ago.
Facebook and Reddit
I also went to Facebook to give answers to questions that were puzzling a lot of people (but I never posted links while doing so.) Still, people kept coming to my profile all the time. Once there, they usually clicked the links I provided, and even shared many of the posts on their profiles. They might have felt obligated to help me in a way because I helped them in a moment of need.
Many of the same tactics mentioned above worked on Reddit as well. A lot of people try to avoid this platform like a plague, but I think that it can be a great source to gather high-quality visits. Of course, plenty of time and effort needs to be put in place before that can actually happen.
The thing about Reddit is that you have to be a frequent user first, and only then can you post some of the backlinks to your content. At the beginning, you have to constantly search for topics that don’t have any quality comments and gain authority by writing the most complete answer. Sure, it’s not an easy thing to do, and it definitely requires some time, but in the end, it’s more than worth it!
Forums and guest postings
Let’s put it this way, if you weren’t around when forums played a huge role in website ranking, you were missing out! Nowadays, things are fairly watered down, and forums aren’t as important, so I rarely, if ever, get to use them anymore.
The great thing about forums is that some people might post backlinks to your content, and this simple post can result in thousands of people coming to your website, and you didn’t even have to move a finger in order to do so.
When it comes to guest blogging, however, I have to say that I didn’t use it as much as I should have, at least at the beginning stages, but I’m trying to correct that wrong now. In the past year, I’ve been approached multiple times by bloggers, and I’ve done the same thing to others.
Let me just say this, it gave me a chance to meet some really cool people, form a couple of friendships, and create some truly awesome collaborations as well.
How my blog started to gain recognition and what good did it bring
Ultimately, people started to recognize me as a person who has authority on the topic, and even better, taking me as a reference point for their posts. Out of nowhere, I even ended up with a link from SEOjournal!
A man was covering the topic of search engines, and as a reference to Amazon search engine, he decided to take my post.
Another guy referenced my post on Wikipedia regarding Amazon marketplace, as he placed a link to my content there.
The same deal happened with Lifehacker, only this time, I ended up getting an exclusive interview for Yahoo finance out of the whole ordeal! It happened by accident, as one of their journalists contacted me after reading through my posts on Reddit.
All of the stuff mentioned above leads me to believe that Google algorithms also work in a similar way. By recognizing your website as authoritative, your posts start to get ranked. Ultimately, it led to a situation where Google became the biggest source of traffic on my blog.
Judging from a personal experience, I can say that the story of Google sandbox is not necessarily true.
As you can see from my example, plenty of hard, but smart work can bring you some truly awesome results. In case you have a ready idea on your hands, stop procrastinating and get after it right away. You’ll never know what great things lie ahead of you if you don’t dare to try!