How I Got Over 23 Million Visits in Just 18 Months
I’ve had a lot of successful blogs in the past and I’ve used social media to drive tens of millions of visits to them, though I realized conversions were much more important than the number of visitors so I started focusing more on SEO. In the past, I was setting up blogs just for selling them. I was doing a lot of promotion on many social media platforms, like Digg, StumbleUpon, and Reddit and then flipping the blogs. It’s been a good business for me, because I was able to cash in $20-30,000 and I had just turned 18 then.
After that, the social media had changed a lot and it wasn’t so easy anymore to continue my business like that, so I had to think about another business model. Also I wanted to earn more, so I started to learn, research and test a lot, because I really didn’t want to go bankrupt and get a 9 to 5 job. I have to tell you that my parents weren’t able to support me with very much money, as they were earning about $8-9,000 a year, which was much less than me. So I started working a lot more and I have had over 500 websites just to test everything, from social media to SEO and even blackhat. And the reason I always advise you to do the same is because it worked like a charm for me.
There are a lot of steps I’ve followed, while my blog was increasing and I will structure this post so you can easily understand exactly what I did to achieve this level.
I’ve done a lot of research when I started the blog. It’s a technology blog and I’ve had a lot of experience in this niche, so it wasn’t a very hard job, though getting a lot of organic traffic on a blog was something new for me. I’ve had a lot of experience with SEO until then, but I didn’t use it as a primary source of traffic for a blog yet.
So I started finding subjects to write about, I’ve checked hundreds of related blogs and noted everything. I’ve marked all the articles that got much more comments than the usual, because this is a sign of high traffic. After that, I tried to find out what drove the traffic to that article. Was the article very interesting to the subscribers, did it contain keywords that trigged a lot of search traffic or were they offering anything that could become viral ? So I started categorizing all the high-traffic articles I found in the 3 categories, along with some notes next to them, like “a lot of traffic from the keyword x, low competition.”
Of course this didn’t take me a few hours, but I still keep doing this today, because you can always find excellent subjects to write about that can drive a lot of traffic.
This wasn’t the sole research I did, because there are a lot of factors you need to know about, even related to the keywords. I also tried to find out what stories are people interested in the most when they appear. Are they interested in new Samsung smartphones, new Apple OS updates, antivirus signatures ( these are just pure examples ) ? So I started checking out what others were writing about and which of these news stories worked the best. Of course I couldn’t be 100% sure just from checking out their blogs, but this is a part of the “Test” chapter and I will tell you more about it when we will get there.
After I started making an idea on what works the best on search engines, I had to figure out how to write viral posts, so I could start a powerful link building campaign. So I subscribed to literally hundreds of RSS feeds and began the research on what viral articles worked the best. Virtually every blog tries to write viral articles, though I wanted to see which one of them works the best, so I did a lot of research.
I also made profit of a lot of trends at the moment. There were 2 very important, Windows 7, which was going to be released and the Swine Flu. So I wrote a few really comprehensive articles about Windows 7 with tips, tricks and other interesting things, that brought me a lot of quality backlinks. I also made profit of the Swine Flu and I made a lot of pages with the Swine Flu Maps so people were able to see how many are infected in every state in the United States and in a few more countries around the world. After doing this, my traffic spiked to over 60,000 visits / day at that time and my search engine ranking sky-rocketed.
After the blog became what I wanted, I started doing some research on increasing subscribers, though I will tell you more about in that chapter.
I kept doing this for over 8 hours a day for weeks and I’ve ensured that I have enough subjects to blog that can guarantee the traffic would maintain at that level. Unfortunately the traffic went down after a while, but I was still in the loop and this is very important.
So I’ve given you a few examples of the research I did, now it’s the time to let you know how I did the tests. I’ve had a few more blogs along with the main one, so I could test better. Also I’ve had a small team of writers who helped me with the articles.
After I figured out how it was with the keywords, interesting articles and virals, I started testing with them. So I started watching the trends and technology news websites to be sure I don’t miss anything. Whenever I saw an article according to the ones in my checklist, I’ve had it sent to my writers along with some instructions on how to write the titles and what to concentrate on. After each article, I was checking the Google Analytics to see if it worked and also the search engines for my ranks. If I had no traffic and also no rank, then it was the time to try better or forget about the idea for the moment.
I’ve also done a lot of split tests with the on-page SEO, so I’ve used the headers ( H1, H2 etc. ) in different combinations, I tried different keyword densities, internal linking and blog structure until I got the best results. Of course I still do tests, because perfection can never be achieved, though I rarely do any major changes right now. Also I have to tell you that I’ve never “written for the robots,” meaning I never tried to artificially increase the keyword density just so it can be good for the robots. All I did is ask the writers to try and use some words a little more, without any exaggeration and I’ve also used the title on more parts of the page. For example, instead of the classic “x comments” at the end of the articles, I tried using “x comments on <<the title>>,” which was a rather more natural increase in keyword density than just forcing the use of some specific keywords in the articles.
Doing tests usually seems like a real time waster, though it isn’t at all. I’ve achieve a lot by doing tests on different blogs and platforms and I couldn’t have done it without. Like I’ve already told you, I have a lot of blogs in the same niche, because one simply wasn’t enough for all the tests I had to do. I have been doing a lot of tests simultaneously and having more platforms can help a lot, especially if you have a deadline and need to get to a specific goal in a short time. For example, I don’t have other test platforms for this blog, though I’ve set a deadline for myself, but I will work my ass off and make sure I reach it. On the other side, this blog can’t get me bankrupt, while the other one could and very easily, so I really had to succeed with it.
About 9 months after I launched the blog I still had only a few subscribers and I realized people don’t usually subscribe on those kind of blogs, so I had to try a different approach. I really wasn’t happy because I had about 1,000 subscribers after 9 months and the traffic was rocking.
This is when I started thinking about new method of convincing users to subscribe. I knew that I had to offer them something free, though I didn’t know what, because I’m pretty sure an ebook wouldn’t be interesting for them. So I started doing some research again and I’ve found a few things I could offer them.
I’ve talked to a writer of mine and he contacted some video game producers who offered us a few thousand beta keys for their games. This idea has come to us because there were a lot of blogs who gave beta keys to everyone who commented on their blog. And this has been the best news for me, because I was really stressed with finding a way of gaining more subscribers. I’ve set up a system and asked people to subscribe in order to receive a beta key and guess what…they’ve signed up like crazy. We’ve had to contact those companies again a few times to give us more beta keys because we were giving them like crazy.
This strategy increased my subscribers by 17,000 in just 6 weeks, which made me really happy and I am currently thinking of more ways of increasing the subscribers, that I will test in the following weeks. Of course I will share them with you, if they prove to be successful.
Having a blog with such a high traffic requires a big team behind it so it can take a lot of time to manage them all. Time I didn’t have, because I was eager to get working on new projects, as this one was rocking and growing by itself. So I though I should have spent a few weeks with training some of my writers, so I won’t have to give them article ideas daily and notes on how to write them. I did this for a few weeks and after that they started having even better ideas than me, which also helped increase the traffic. In the meantime I had rented an office space and brought them to work full-time, so I could be with my eyes on them. But this didn’t work for me either, because I can’t stick to a daily schedule very good, sometimes I have some amazing ideas and I stay up until 9 a.m. in the morning putting them on paper, researching or testing them, so I wasn’t able to go to the office daily. So I’ve got one of my best friends and also a writer on the blog to manage them and it’s great. He’s always had a daily schedule, so a 9 to 5 job is perfect for him, while I can do my work from home at my best.
Now I still train some of the writers and they usually get the best results. I pay them all on a fixed rate + much bigger bonuses, so they are always motivated. And I choose the ones who seem to do their best for the training lessons to be sure they get the best results.
In the meantime I managed to launch a few more blogs along with this one and I’ve followed the same steps which worked like a charm. I’ve done the same research and tests, though in different niches and I have people to manage the whole team there, while I can work on more and more projects. Of course it’s quite hard to find a person who can manage your team, but not impossible. And to keep them motivated, their payment is based on the company’s earnings.
Until now, this kind of management has worked extremely good for me and I will always try to motivate my employees and let them understand that their earnings depend solely on mine.