Last updated on January 16th, 2019 at 08:40 pm
If you want to start a blog and grow your traffic this year, it’s not too late. Here I share my struggles of starting my own blog, finding the courage to share it with the world, how I grew my blog traffic and turned this blog into a success, once I made the decision.
2015 was a weird year.
It started off like this: I had just broken up with a guy I thought was the love of my life, I worked a job I JUST hated, got shitty money for it and was totally lost.
My life was going nowhere and I don’t mean this lightly.
The beauty in this whole shitty situation was that it finally pushed me into starting a healthy lifestyle blog.
I was always passionate about healthy living, creating new healthy recipes, fitness and natural remedies. When I talked about this, I felt like something inside me came alive.
As for starting a blog, this was an idea I had since 2012, but never found time for.
I ALWAYS came up with new, great excuses. For 3 whole years.
Now, when I say blog, in the beginning it was more of a diary and a place where I posted what I cooked and what I ate.
I didn’t join social media, Google didn’t know about my blog and nobody else did. Even my parents didn’t know where my blog was.
But it was fine. I was posting every once in a while and zero people saw what I wrote.
Then in 2016, a year and a half after I started, I decided I didn’t need to keep all those recipes to myself.
It felt scary, but also kinda exciting.
But what if people I know find my blog? What if they read what I wrote there? And what if they make fun of me?
Despite all these monologues inside my head, I decided to get out of my comfort zone of writing to nobody and start sharing my work on social media.
My writing, layout and site design weren’t perfect. They were far from perfect. I was constantly redesigning, changing fonts and colors. But I knew – none of that matters .
So I decided to just let it go and see what happens. Maybe nobody will come anyway, so it’s not worth the worries.
To my surprise, by testing out different strategies – my traffic exploded within a month from 860 to 19.000 page views. Here’s how I did it.
The Six Things I did That Exploded My Blog In One Month
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1. I uploaded my recipes to Yummly and got some initial traction.
My blog was mainly about recipes at that point, so I uploaded my recipes to Yummly and got some initial traction. Nothing huge though.
I think this contributed to the page views from the previous months.
2. Got on Pinterest
I first got on Pinterest in the beginning of June 2016 and by the end had about 150 followers.
I didn’t understand how to use Pinterest, I had never used it personally and just didn’t get it. People making boards and pinning stuff there? Why? Like what’s the point?
Now I know that it’s a place to find and organize ideas you want to try.
This sounds simple, but when you really think about it – it has a TON of potential. It’s the perfect place for people who want to try new things. People who want and need a change.
So a healthy lifestyle blog? It’s great for Pinterest.
People always look for new ideas to improve their health and lifestyle.
Things like DIY, Cleaning, Organization, Recipes, Fashion are all great topics for Pinterest. In fact if you know a way to improve someone’s life – you need to share it on Pinterest.
3. I made some pins
July was also the month when I created my first Pinterest graphs and uploaded them directly in Pinterest.
All my recipe pictures until then were horizontal and as we all know from reading a million articles about Pinterest – this is a no go.
So instead of crying my eyes out for not making vertical images when I initially photographed my recipes – I simply made multiple image collages with some text explaining what the recipe is.
After I made those pins I uploaded them directly to Pinterest using the add button and pinned that image to my own recipe board.
4. Asked for invites
I remember it was the 4th of July weekend when I first started contacting Pinterest group boards for invites, with my miserable following.
This was a SCARY, scary step for me, but I always kept reminding myself: Asking costs nothing and nobody knows who I am anyway.
The worst they can say is No and these are people I DON’T KNOW!
So I gathered all my courage and commented on pins of group board owners, politely asking for an invite (now I go the extra mile and ask via email – works better!)
To my surprise many group boards accepted me!
If you don’t have a huge following, remember: As long as your site & profile don’t look spammy – many people will let you contribute to their boards.
Even if you have a following of 150 people and most of them unfollow you within a day after you follow back (I’ll talk about that another time).
5. I got obsessed
Now, once you start using Pinterest you can’t help but get kinda obsessed.
I pinned EVERY SINGLE DAY to my boards and the group boards that July. It took me probably one hour to pin all of my pins to a different group board, every single day.
I started using a spreadsheet to track where I posted what. I didn’t want to pin the same content to the same board all the time.
So what I did to keep things kinda organized was: I would write the name of the pin/post and my boards and put the date I pinned a certain pin to a certain board.
The other thing I did after I pinned my posts to the group boards was to repin from that board. From every.single.one. Every single day.
I made sure that the pins I repinned were something that would be interesting for the people who would like my blog.
So since my focus was healthy lifestyle – I didn’t repin mouthwatering cheesecake or cupcake pins (even if they looked so delicious) – I repinned things that were healthy and mostly vegan.
Pinning and repining every day took a long time and it got messy with more boards and posts. With more and more responsibilities in my life I just couldn’t pin everywhere consistently. Therefore after a while I decided to invest in a scheduling tool and it’s been going great.
I use Tailwind to schedule the pins and it’s really awesome – I save so much time and it helps me keep track of what’s going well and what isn’t. The spreadsheet didn’t do that. If you want to try it out, here’s a link you can use for a free trial.
I still try to pin manually most days, but with a scheduling tool I’m just not worried anymore that my pins will get forgotten. (Haha this sounds so weird).
6. Things changed quickly And I Stayed Consistent
Once I started doing all these things everything changed quickly. People started coming to my blog since day one.
Then, in the first month – I had my first viral pin and from there my traffic exploded and I was so hysterical about it. I didn’t have a google analytics account back then, but here’s a screenshot from Jetpack.
I was ecstatic. I would check my stats like every hour and be so damn happy (and worried at the same time – what if my site crashes?).
I kept pinning manually and 3-4 of my other pins got traction as well. Finally! I made it.
My little illusion. Now, remember how I was afraid that people will discover my blog, make fun of me and find out I’m just a loser like everyone else?
I did, but then on the other hand I thought my blog would be a hit. I felt like my blog was what people missed in their life. Something like the blog version of an uncut diamond.
“People just didn’t know about me, and once they do, I’ll be all over the news” I thought.
Yes, I did watch Cinderella more than 40 times when I was a kid. And I did watch Pretty woman twice.
Eeeerrr. Nada. Nobody cared. People came, pinned and left.
But the important thing is: they came! That was a step in the right direction and it opened the doors to many more opportunities after.
What happened next
My traffic grew further and I started making some money. So July 2016 was an awesome month for me, in many ways it was the start of my blog.
And it might seem like it’s been a while and these tips won’t work anymore, but I apply these same strategies and they do. I don’t have a huge following (around 5000 on Pinterest), but now my page views average 100.000 every month.
The other thing that changed is that even if I’m not that active anymore (I post once-twice a week) I still make money from my blog – which has been such a big relief and something I want to work on more in the future.
I got more exposure. After getting that initial traction, my recipes got featured on Greatist, MSN and Country Living to name a few.
This was something that no shouting out on Instagram to buzzed, huffpost or feedfeed ever did for me. I was always so disappointed. Pinterest is truly the place to be if you want to grow your blog.
Google finally found me. I struggled for the longest time to pop up in the 1st page of Google search results when searching for Beauty Bites. Back in July 2016 I was on page 6.
Now I’m the first result and I come up as the first result for several other keywords (without even planning or doing SEO). I truly feel famous now that google knows my baby.
I think it’s safe to say that the traffic and back links I got from Pinterest and all the sites that found me through Pinterest have contributed to this.
I trust myself more. On a personal note – I’m not that scared anymore. I trust myself and I dare to do more things, to try new things and I’m happier and more confident overall.
I can honestly say, I don’t actually care if someone doesn’t like my content. Sure, it would suck if my post isn’t helpful for them, but I don’t feel the need to be perfect and prepared before I do something anymore. I just do it and see what happens.
For someone who’s as big of a procrastinator and perfectionist as I am – this is huge.
I realized nothing’s ever perfect even if you spend weeks on it and if you don’t do it – you’ll never be ready.
After reviewing what happened over the last 1.5 years of blogging these are my major, major takeaways:
- If you want to start a blog, but always find excuses – just start it. Blogging is truly something that has so much potential and can open so many doors for you. And something else: it’s never too late. If you’re committed and create useful content, great things will happen. You can create your own products, travel the world, make money and get even more opportunities that you never imagined.
- Join the right platform to promote your content. Pinterest has been great for me and if you follow the strategy above, are patient and consistent, it will pay off sooner than you thought.
- Manage your expectations: if you do follow the directions here, your pins will get you more traffic than you expect, but the bigger things won’t come immediately. Again, stay patient and consistent!
- Know that no matter how shitty your situation is now – nothing’s permanent and it’s going to pass. In the mean time take action on the things you want to do. Make time and work on your goals.
Alright so that was the long journey to my first traffic explosion on my healthy lifestyle blog.
I had another one probably 6 months after joining Pinterest and then another one and another one.
I know I said I don’t care, but I do hope you found the post helpful and got some new insights to help you grow your traffic and get the courage to do everything you ever wanted.
If you have any questions, please – ask!
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