Hello! Today, I have a great article to share from a reader, Madeline, on how she grew her blog to 100,000 monthly pageviews. Enjoy!
Is blogging really worth it? Can you actually make good money blogging? Can you get lots of pageviews without paying for ads?
These are all questions I used to search on Google a few years ago, in my attempt to grow that successful blog I had been dreaming of.
Hi, I’m Madeline, a toddler mum based in the UK, and I run the blog CappuccinoandFashion.com. I write about blogging strategies and social media tips on my blog, as well as fashion inspiration on my Instagram page.
I never knew blogging could be a full-time job when I first started. I simply had a passion for it and I really loved reading other people’s blogs, so I decided to give it a go myself.
I started my blog over 8 years ago as a simple hobby and back then it was more of a personal style diary type of blog. Needless to say, it didn’t really grow at first at all because I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t really know about any strategies that would get me traffic or rank my posts in Google search.
Related content on growing a blog:
How I started blogging
I started my blog on the Blogger platform 8 years ago, which is not something I recommend today.
My first blog posts were just a couple of pictures of my outfits and a few words here and there, but it wasn’t anything serious. And because the posts were so short, they didn’t really rank in Google or got me any traffic for that matter.
I spent years on this hamster wheel where I kept pushing out content every week and every month without seeing much result in return for my efforts and time investment.
Where I was 3 years ago
Once I decided to get serious about blogging, I made the switch to a self-hosted WordPress blog. It’s the best platform to start your blog on these days if you’re looking to turn it into a proper business.
At that point, I had recently become a mum and I knew I didn’t want to go back to a regular 9 to 5 job after my maternity leave. I kept trying to think of ideas on how I could use blogging to replace my previous income, so that I could hopefully stay home with my son more.
Looking back, had I not had that pivotal moment when I finally decided I wanted to turn this into a full time job and that the drive that comes from becoming a mother and not wanting to leave your baby to go to work all day, I’m not sure if I would have had the motivation to make this happen.
Which is why I think having a goal or a vision board of how you want your life to look like is so important if you want to stick to blogging and turn it into a full-time business.
Where I am now
After I made the decision to turn my blog into my job, I started researching and reading all the information and resources I could find on the subject.
I spent so long testing different strategies to see what will work for my blog, to see how I could grow my traffic and my income from it.
After I stumbled upon a few other big bloggers’ income reports, I realised that this could definitely be a full-time job, as long as I could get my blog traffic up and start being strategic with the ways in which I monetize my blog.
Also bearing in mind the fact that 3 years ago I didn’t even have my Google Analytics installed, so I barely had any idea on what real traffic I was getting to my blog.
From the moment I decided to make this change and grow my blog, I finally installed Google Analytics and I grew my blog from 0 to 100,000 monthly page views in just 8 months of applying these strategies.
I share the steps you should take if you want to grow your blog as well in my free 12 month blog plan.
Blogging is now my full-time job and it is absolutely the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in terms of career. I have now surpassed my previous 9 to 5 job income, whilst working way less hours than I used to before.
The reason why I love blogging so much is because it has allowed me to spend more time watching my son grow and being there and present for all the major milestones in his life. I am so grateful for this blogging thing that has allowed me to live this kind of life.
I had decided to start a blog and focus on it because I enjoyed the blogging community so much, and I also loved writing a lot.
It is so rewarding to know that you are helping other people through your content and through the words that you write in your articles.
Having a blog is amazing because, unlike any other social media platform out there, you own your blog and you have full control over it. Obviously, you don’t control any other social media platform and you have no input on how the algorithm works there.
Also, you could lose a social media account at any point because you simply don’t own it. We often hear people who got blocked by Instagram for some reason or they simply lost access to their account.
A blog is a much more stable and reliable platform.
It also has a lot more monetising options than just social media platforms. Sure, you can make money on Instagram through sponsored posts from brand deals. But on your blog, there are a lot more ways in which you can make money even if you don’t have huge traffic yet.
The 7 steps I took to reach 100,000 monthly views in 8 months
Growing your blog traffic doesn’t have to be hard, as long as you put in place the right strategies and you focus your efforts in the right areas.
For example, spending a full week on designing and redesigning your blog logo again and again is an absolute waste of time. Which, trust me, I have done before in my very early years of blogging.
Your blog design and look is not as important as it might seem. As long as your blog is functional and it’s not super slow to load, you do not need any fancy graphics or designs on it to start making good money from it.
Looking back at the roadmap I took to get to full-time blogging, there are 7 steps that have really helped me achieve this.
Step 1: Figure out my niche
Most people cringe when they hear this phrase, that they should figure out their niche.
However, having somewhat of a niche will help your blog grow in multiple ways.
For one, Google will know where to place your blog and it will help you rank higher in Google search.
This will also help you grow on any other social media platform that you use in connection to your blog, because the more niched down your account is, the better it will do.
Figuring out your niche doesn’t have to be so daunting.
Your niche could be the main 2-3 topics that you talk about on your blog. Or you could narrow it down by the type of audience that you’re trying to attract. Or you can even start more broadly to see what works for your blog and then narrow down your main topics in time.
Step 2: Create a solid Pinterest strategy
Pinterest can be really great at growing your blog traffic, especially as a beginner blogger.
Ranking in Google search, for example, is more of a long-term kind of game. However, you could rank in Pinterest search and get your pins seen by thousands or millions of people much more easily.
This is why a solid Pinterest strategy works so well. It has helped me grow my blog traffic so much especially in the beginning months.
One thing that helped my Pinterest account a lot is having it optimised, so that people know exactly what your Pinterest account is about and what they can expect from it, as well as making it more discoverable.
Here are a few ways to optimise your Pinterest profile:
- Clear profile picture – Your profile should ideally include either a picture of you or your logo icon. Keep in mind that this profile picture needs to be visible on small devices as well, since a majority of Pinterest users actually browse on their mobile phones.
- Descriptive display name – Your display name should include, aside from your name or your blog name, 3-5 words that describe the main topics you talk about. This helps your account become more discoverable.
- Optimised profile description – In your profile description, make sure to include keywords that are relevant to your niche. You can also mention here one of the freebie opt-ins you have on your blog, in order to convert more people onto an email list.
You will also need to create boards that are specific to the topics that you talk about on your blog.
Eye-catching pin designs are super important in order to make your pins stand out in a feed of images. This combined with a valuable or intriguing topic will lead to lots of people saving your pins and clicking on them to go through to read your blog.
Step 3: Learn the SEO basics behind a great blog
There are so many things that go behind creating a good blog that has a chance to rank in Google search.
The great thing about Google search is that it is a much more stable type of traffic in comparison to the traffic that comes from social media platforms.
Having a good structure to your blog, knowing the type of pillar posts that you need to have on your blog, as well as how you interlink between each post will help your blog SEO a lot.
Another thing that’s very important for SEO purposes is to have a site that is optimised for speed.
It doesn’t need to be the fastest blog ever, but it does need to load decently because otherwise a lot of people will just click away and not wait for it to load.
The more you can keep people on your blog reading through an article and then clicking through to other articles on your blog, the higher chance you have of ranking in Google search.
Here are a few actionable steps you can take right away to improve your blog’s SEO:
- Make sure your theme is SEO friendly – Your theme does not have to be anything fancy, most of the times the simpler the theme, the better. Always check what your theme looks like on a mobile device as well, because having a mobile friendly website is really important for SEO these days.
- Alt tags to your images – When you add images to your blog, you will have the option to add an alt tag to them. This will be a snippet of text that describes the image and also includes the main keywords that you want to rank for.
- Optimise your images – Images are one of the main things that can slow down a website. In order to optimise them, make sure you resize and save them in a smaller size, as well as optimise them after you upload them to your blog with an image optimiser plugin, such as Shortpixel.
Step 4: Learn how to do keyword research to rank in Google search
Aside from optimising your overall blog for SEO, learning how to do keyword research for each and every one of your blog posts is really important.
Because having an optimised blog will do nothing for you if you write on topics that no one is actually searching for on Google.
On top of that, if the keywords that you are trying to rank for are really saturated and very competitive, your blog will have a very low chance of ranking, especially if it’s a new blog.
What you will need to learn here is how to find good keywords that people are searching for a lot on Google, but keywords that don’t have a high competition rate.
Finding that golden nugget of a keyboard that’s highly searched for, but that not a lot of people are writing blog posts on yet will help your post get tons of traffic from Google.
Making this keyword research process easy and accessible for new bloggers is something we dive into a lot in the Blogging Secrets course.
Step 5: Connect with other bloggers
Connecting with other Bloggers in your niche or in a niche that’s relevant or connected to yours will really help you grow your blog, especially in the very beginning.
Being active in the blogger community will help you not only with networking, creating good connections with people who can help you or getting traffic from each other’s blogs, but it will also keep you motivated to carry on blogging.
It’s nice to talk to people who are in the same boat as you, trying to grow their blogs, and bounce ideas off each other.
You can also get really valuable information and tips from other people who are doing the same thing that you are and why maybe a few steps ahead of you. This is why connecting with other bloggers can really help you out.
Here are a few ways in which you can find and connect with other bloggers:
- Find blogs related to your niche and comment on their posts.
- Join relevant Facebook groups and have conversations with like-minded people.
- Join their email list and reply back to their emails.
- Find bloggers on Instagram through relevant hashtags and connect with them through comments or DMs.
- Join bloggers networking events (online or in person).
Step 6: Focus on quality, long-form content
One of the things that has really changed since I first started blogging 8 years ago is the fact that blogging is no longer just a personal diary type of website.
Nowadays, the blog posts that really do well are those really quality articles that contain lots of tips and are super valuable to someone who’s trying to solve a problem that they’re searching for on Google or on Pinterest.
Because of this, writing a 300 word blog post will get your blog nowhere.
Instead, what we need to do is write long form content, which means at the very least 1,000 words per blog post.
This will help your blog post not only rank in Google search, but it will keep people on your platform longer and it will also make you provide more tips and valuable information in a long form post.
Step 7: Double down on what’s working
One thing that has really helped my blog grow, especially in the very beginning months, is to double down on what is already working for my blog.
What I mean by this is when you notice a blog post is doing well, you make more content like that.
The way you find out what blog posts are doing well is you look at your Google Analytics or your Pinterest analytics for example.
Finding out your top 10 to 20 blog posts that get the most traffic will really help you narrow down your strategy and see what is currently working for your blog.
After you know what your top blog posts are, you can go ahead and create more content on that.
I do not mean rewriting the same content over and over again. But what you can do is create additional content on that topic, create a spin-off of that first blog post that’s doing well or create a whole in-depth series on that topic.
This is how you double down on a topic or a blog post that is working for you, and you will likely see that second blog post start performing well too.
This strategy of doubling down on the content that’s working on my blog has really helped me boost my traffic growth from month to month easily.
How to grow your own blog audience
Starting and growing my blog has really changed my life and I am so happy that I made the decision to start taking it seriously a few years ago.
If you really want to grow a blog, you need to start treating it like a proper business, dedicate time to it and fit it in your schedule.
Growing your blog traffic is absolutely possible and it is not as difficult of a task as it might seem at first, as long as you focus on the right things and keep going.
And to go along with that, turning your blog into a good revenue stream is absolutely achievable if you really put in the time and effort.
It is truly amazing that we can work from home, sometimes from our pyjamas, on these blogs of ours and actually make an income that gives us more financial freedom than we ever thought possible before.
Currently trying to grow your own blog?
Comment below with any questions you might have, I would love to help you out as much as I can.
Author bio: I’m Madeline, the UK blogger behind CappuccinoandFashion.com. I help content creators start a successful blog and grow their income through blogging and social media.