Three months after I had first started my blogging experiment I wrote what has been by far my most successful blog post. It was an account of everything I had learnt during my first three months, and crucially, it was honest. I had many people comment underneath telling me how they knew something strange was going on but didn’t know exactly what it was until I pointed it out.
I have written 73 posts this year with a total of 20,000 views, the three-month review post has 1800 of these views which makes it responsible for roughly 10% of my total views. If I had set myself a goal when I started blogging, I am sure I would be happy with where I have got to.
I am going to talk about what a lot of people will be thinking about when they start blogging: money. So, how much money did I make with 20,000 views? I lost about £30. I paid this money to remove adverts from my blog, and I also got to choose my URL. So, I have no adverts and no other source of revenue, and therefore I only lose money. If I paid for the premium account where I can place adverts in my blog, I think I would have lost around £70. If you’re not selling something from your site, and you’re getting fewer than 100,000 views I would not recommend paying for any upgrades, you will only lose money.
If you have to decide to start blogging to make some passive income, I would argue that you have been sold a lie. There are professional writers, who are much better than you or I, who make no money doing this, so why should you expect to? If you want to make money from your blog, you need 100’s of thousands of views per month, and to create enough high-quality content to achieve that you will need to work an awful lot. Most certainly a full-time job. As with any media-related job, it is only really the top 1% that make anything close to a living from their blogs.
Most of the people who make money from their blogs are usually using the blog as one of many ways to generate traffic towards their product; making money from merely writing blog posts is extremely rare.
I hope you other reasons as to why you would like to blog; perhaps you just enjoy writing and would like an outlet for it, or like me, you wanted to improve your writing skills, blogging is great.
Playing the blogging game
Aside from improving your writing/communication skills, you probably will want people to read your posts. To achieve this, you just cannot rely on posting and leaving the posts to spread by their own merit. If this were the case, marketing and advertising wouldn’t be the monolithic industries that they are.
So, how do you get the views that you may or may not deserve?
First of all, I want to show you my stats, not because I want to brag, but so I can illustrate my points. If I zoom out far enough, you can see my views for the year.
You can clearly see,
that I discovered how to play the game much better in April. In
February I published 9 posts and got 42 views; In November I
published 4 posts and got over 700. The difference is that In
February I had 10 followers and in November I had 2500. So more
followers do equal more views; however, I started gaming the system
in April and stopped in September, and in those months I had between
2.5 and 3.7 thousand views a month. These are tiny numbers in the big
scheme of things but are a still an 8769% Increase over February.
In this post, I explained exactly how I achieved this, and the moral quandary I found myself in, but in short.
On WordPress, as of 2018, you can:
Like up to 120 posts per hour – doing this usually notifies the recipient and prompts them to check out your site. I have found that roughly 5% of posts you like return a view to your site.
Follow up to 60 people per hour – I have not done this other than to find out the limit, so I do not know what kind of returns you can get.
I have not done the research to see how many comments you can leave as I cannot be bothered, if you wanted to do this legitimately you would have to bother reading peoples content and then tailor the comment. Which I doubt anyone would do.
All the above, apply to other social media platforms, with slight differences, but the underlying principle is the same. It’s the ‘hey, come and look at this idea’; if you say this enough, some people will come.
Use this information as you see fit.
I suspect some people are making some money selling scripts to automate all this, but I have not found any with an extremely short search. Maybe there is an opportunity for you if you know how to code!
More advice to new bloggers based on what I have gleamed from a year of blogging.
Below is my stats for the year.
The ‘About this blog’ page is the first page someone will land on if they enter my site. This made up 25% of my views so I would recommend you try and make this your best page!
After that, it is ‘Homepage / Archives’, which is exactly the same thing, so I am unsure as to why it is categorised twice. Perhaps the ‘About this blog’, page was not the home page at one stage.
My blog posts only made up 60% of my views.
Looking at ‘Referrers’ it is apparent where most of the people who came to my site came from, and that is the WordPress Reader. All other sources have fewer than 100 referrals. What should I make of this?
Well, I had 0 following on any other site when I started, and I still have next to none, which is why all my referrals came from WordPress. If you have a well connected social media platform, that you would like to leverage, then you can expect much more views from outside the platform.
Whereas I am trying to grow my followers on other platforms, add me here. You will have a much better starting point if you have a following somewhere else.
That is all I have learnt so far.
I am sure there are ways that you can game the system even more.
One mystery I am yet to figure out is the re-blogging of your own posts. There is one person whom I am always seeing appear in my feed, and the likes on the posts are always around 350. If it was posted 5 minutes or 5 months ago, the likes are always the same. What on earth is going on?
It seems as if he is reposting his own posts every few hours, and they look as if they are new. I am not sure how this is happening, if you know, please post below.
Well, this wasn’t quite as much of an epic as my 3-month review, but I hope there was some useful insight in here. I am still learning so bear that in mind.
My advice for successful blogging based on a miniscule amount of experience (1 year):
- Be consistent – this goes without saying to be honest. People cannot read what is not there and people do not normally read the same thing more than once. So you need to keep it coming. I have found writing a few months worth of posts in advance a great fail-safe for when I don’t feel like writing as I can still post regularly.
- Don’t expect people will read your work just because you have posted it online, there are billions of blog posts online, how many of them have you read? You need to find a way for people to come to your site.
- There is nothing wrong with thinking big, but be smart and understand that blogging is not a get rich quick scheme.
- Don’t rely in on motivation as it comes and goes; discipline is the best way to reach your goals. Especially when they will take a long time to achieve.
I wish you all a great 2019 and hope you achieve everything you have planned.