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A lot of people will tell you it’s easy to become rich blogging. Post a few articles now and then, and watch the money roll in from affiliate offers, advertising, and selling your own private courses. It sounds like a dream come true, so it should come as no surprise that making money blogging is a lot more complicated than these people make it seem.
To be fair, you can earn a good income from blogging. However, gaining blog traction takes a lot of work. In this article, we’ll talk about why it’s so hard to gain blog traction. Then we’ll show you some examples of websites that took a while to get off the ground.
Let’s talk about blogging!
What Do We Mean By Gaining Traction With Your Blog?
When you launch a new blog, it’ll likely have little visibility except from maybe you and your friends. That’s normal, as it takes a while until word gets around. For most blogs, the bulk of their visitors come from search engines – otherwise known as ‘organic traffic’.
Before you start seeing decent organic traffic (or gaining blog traction), some things need to happen:
- Search engines need to crawl your website.
- You have to write and publish content targeting traffic with specific keywords.
- Repeat step two until you have a decent library of content.
- Start getting backlinks from other reputable sites.
Keep in mind – this is an oversimplification of the process of getting a blog off the ground. To succeed, you’ll also need to do things such as cultivate a social media presence, engage your users, and more. However, the underlying fact remains that gaining blog traction takes a while, which brings us to the next section.
Why Does It Take Time for a Blog to Gain Traction?
If you’ve previously worked on a new blog, you’ll know it can initially seem like slow going. Traffic can be nonexistent, and you won’t be getting comments on your posts. Many people get frustrated and end up abandoning their projects at this point.
While there are a lot of people who talk about a ‘sandbox’ that Google uses to prevent new websites from showing up in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs), its existence is denied. In fact, many experts agree that new sites are simply lacking in the required authority to compete.
Simply put, the algorithms search engines use take into account a number of criteria. We don’t know what they are specifically, since those algorithms are trade secrets. However, we have a rough idea of the factors that can prevent your blog from gaining traction:
- Not enough content. If you only have a handful of posts up, search engines won’t have enough information to understand when your content is relevant.
- A lack of analytics. There are a lot of signals search engines use to evaluate your pages. For example, users bouncing from your site at an alarming rate is a bad sign, as well as if you’re not getting any clicks.
- What niche you’re targeting. Some niches are harder to crack into than others due to a high level of competition. If you’re targeting a niche with many big players, you’re going to need a lot of patience.
- You don’t have enough backlinks. As we mentioned earlier, you need backlinks from reputable sites if you want search engines to take your blog seriously.
Building up all this data and signals takes time. In most cases, your blog just needs to outgrow its awkward teenage phase, where it still hasn’t decided what it wants to be or taken the necessary steps to get there. You can move on from here, but it takes work.
How You Can Gain Blog Traction Faster (By Studying the Competition)
For this section, we’re going to take a quick look at two blogs from different niches and discuss how long it took them to gain blog traction. We’ll also talk about how you can learn from them to try and speed up the process for your own blog.
However, we’re not promoting these sites or their products in any way. They’re simply examples to study of two very different approaches to blogging and monetization.
The Frugal Millionaire
Let’s start with a popular blog called The Frugal Millionaire. This particular website focuses on how to make money blogging (which is a very popular niche):
Nowadays, The Frugal Millionaire brings in over $2,000 per month for its owner, according to their income reports. From the launch in August 2014, however, it took eight months until it reached the $100 per month milestone. In April 2015, The Frugal Millionaire bought in $102 via Google AdSense.
If we check out the blog’s archives, we can see they published over 50 blog posts during that period, which is pretty good, and most of them got several comments. In other words, the blog got traction rather quickly thanks to a high publishing rate. However, monetizing via Google AdSense alone is not the best way to bring in a decent income.
The main takeaway is that if you keep publishing content consistently, your blog should gain traction faster. This, of course, assumes that you’re using quality keywords and your writing is good (which of course it is!). You also don’t want to rely on ads alone as a monetization method, since the income is volatile.
Happy Nifty Life
Moving on, let’s take a look at a small lifestyle blog called Happy Nifty Life, where the author writes about everything from blogging to money management and dieting tips:
Usually, we’d recommend you stick to a single niche to offer focus and clarity. However, this blog caught our attention because of its detailed (albeit sporadic) income reports and its owner’s aggressive monetization strategy.
If you look closely, you’ll notice the blog doesn’t publish new content too often, and it’s only been around since early 2017. However, at the moment of this writing, Happy Nifty Life is pulling in almost $2,000 per month in income, which is pretty darn good.
When we look at the income reports, we can see a breakdown of the strategies the author used to transform a modest blog into a decent online income, including:
- Aggressive marketing via Pinterest.
- Using social media automation tools to minimize the amount of work needed on her end.
- Looking to monetize the blog right away using AdSense and affiliate programs.
The lesson here is that if you want your blog to gain traction faster, you need to be aggressive about marketing. If you just wait for search engines to find and lead traffic to you, you’ll need a lot of patience.
However, organic traffic isn’t the only game in town. Depending on your blog’s niche, you can get a lot of out of platforms such as Pinterest. Plus, if you play your cards right and look into multiple monetization methods from the get-go, you can start making money earlier than you’d imagine (although probably not that much at first).
When you put both of these examples together, you get a pretty clear-cut strategy on what it takes to gain blog traction. First, you need to keep publishing content often and learn the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). However, you also need to market your blog aggressively at first. Once you gain some traction, you can let search engines do the heavy lifting.
Finally, sticking to a single monetization method will only delay how long it takes for your blog to start earning you a decent income. Instead, we recommend you play the field a little bit and figure out what works best for you.
Blogging is a legitimate way to make money. However, you need to understand that running a blog won’t turn you into a millionaire overnight. It might not even earn you a decent amount of money for months or years, depending on your blog’s niche. However, if you’re willing to put in the time, you stand a good chance of success.
In our experience, if you’re putting out good content and focusing on SEO, it should take around three to five months to start gaining blog traction. Anything else, and you may want to run an SEO audit to figure out what’s wrong.
How long did it take for your blog to start earning you money? Share your stories with us in the comments section below!
Article thumbnail image by Makc / shutterstock.com.