In the last 12 months, my blog has gone from just over 100 page views per day to over 2,000 page views a day. The numbers continue to shock me and I am constantly humbled by being able to help more and more people travel every day.
At the start of 2018, I had what I thought was a pie-in-the-sky goal of getting over 50,000 page views by the end of the year. It was one of my main focuses for the year because if I could get to that number then I would for sure be able to make enough passive income to take more time off at Christmas.
At the end of August, I hit my goal. By the end of December, I’d racked up 83,000 pageviews. I couldn’t believe. That number continued to grow through January and February, and I’m on course, all going well, to hit over 100,000 pageviews before the start of summer.
None of this happened by accident of course. When I wasn’t writing content for my blog, I was researching how to create the best type of content, how to share it, how to get more eyes on it. I spent hours reading articles in the evenings, I would sign up for email courses and even took a few paid-for courses to really amp up my learning.
Here’s how I did it.
Focusing Heavily on SEO
If you’ve been reading about blogging in the last two years, you’ll no doubt be familiar with these letters. Blogging, especially travel blogging, has become heavily focused on creating content that people are actually searching for.
While I don’t believe the days of personal posts are over (in fact, they are starting to make a comeback), I do know that more and more people are traveling the world. This means that more and more people are heading to Google to figure out the best places to visit when they head off on their travels.
I spent most of last year focusing very heavy on writing articles that I knew I could rank for on Google. I like to believe that these posts are still interesting, funny, filled with a few interesting stories, but above all, that they are helpful for people who want to travel to the place that I’m writing about.
The main tool I use to see what keywords I will rank for is Keysearch, but I’ve recently branched out to Ahrefs. It’s what Nomadic Matt uses and he seems to be doing well on Google. It’s significantly more expensive, so I’m simply testing it out month-to-month to see if it really makes a difference.
Learning Email Marking
If you’re not using an automated email system right now, then I highly suggest creating one. This was one of the best things I did for bringing people back to my blog.
This has been most effective for people who land on my blog looking for more information about either traveling around Mexico or more specifically visiting Mexico City.
For each of my blog posts, I put a sign up form that focuses on something specific to the blog post. On my Mexico City blog posts, I have a sign up form for anyone who wants to receive more information about visiting Mexico City.
When someone signs up to this email list, they receive between 8 and 10 emails over the course of two weeks offering them different information about Mexico City – where to stay, where to eat, the best sights to see, how to get around. The key is, that instead of offering all of the information in the email, I send them to all of the blog posts that relate to that topic.
I currently use Convertkit for my email system and I love their service. It’s easy to use, you can integrate the forms into your blog posts very easily, and they are pretty affordable for email lists under 10,000 people. Converkit allows you to tag your email list depending on what people click on in your emails and you can resend emails to people who haven’t opened them yet. It’s all very intelligent and has made me so much more organized and informed about who is most interested in reading my blog.
Putting a Lot Of Effort Into One Place
I once read that Google loves when you write several articles about the same topic. This makes sense to me. If I write a lot about Mexico, and lots of people are reading my Mexico articles, Google will think that I’m something of an “expert” on that topic. So they will favor my Mexico articles when I write them.
I put a lot of effort into writing about Mexico City this year. It’s where I live and it’s a place that is getting more and more press. It was ranked the #1 city to visit in 2019 by National Geographic. Lonely Planet listed it at one of the top 10 destinations to travel to in 2019. It’s in fashion.
When I write an article about Mexico City, often people spend more time on my blog because they discover that I have a lot of information about Mexico City. So instead of just reading one article, they read three or four. Thism of course, leads to more page views.
I don’t just do this with Mexico City anymore though. I make sure that I can create at least three articles on a destination every time I travel somewhere. This usually requires doing research on what you will write before you go on your trip.
Whether it’s a post about the best places to eat, where to shop for souvenirs, the best craft beer bars, a post about safety, or the best method of transportation. Get creative and think about what other people will be searching for when they are planning their trip to this destination and then check for how those keywords rank.
Learning the Power of Pinterest
I only really started focusing on Pinterest in the last six months and I kick myself for not focusing on it sooner. Pinterest, like Google, is a search engine. More and more people head here to research for their travels.
Thanks to my amazing social media guru (more on that below), I now create at least four very beautiful pins for every new post. I use Tailwind which schedules pins throughout the week. I have descriptions for all of my boards and I’ve joined more group boards so that my pins have more impact.
I now have something like over 400,000 monthly impressions on Pinterest and over 45,000 monthly interactions with my pins. That’s more than double what it was in October.
With all the work that is being put into Pinterest now, I’m certain that number will continue to grow over the coming months.
Creating a Product (That Proved My Expertise)
When I first created my Mexico City Guidebook, I was certain that it would be a great way to earn passive income. That proved to be right.
What I didn’t know was that it would draw people to my blog who wouldn’t otherwise have read my blog.
Since publishing my book on Amazon earlier this year, I have massively increased the number of people that read my blog, email me, follow me on social media, and who watch my YouTube videos. Many tell me they found me after buying my book on Amazon!
Finally Getting Help
It took me a while to really see the value in re-investing my earnings back into my business. That sounds crazy when I write it down. What business doesn’t re-invest in making their business better?
I don’t just mean paying someone in fiverr to throw hashtags around on Twitter and other random tasks (I did this in 2016 and it was a terrible waste of money). I mean, I made a list of all of the things that I needed help with and then I went to task to figure out how to get help with those things.
In 2018, I hired a part-time staff member. She has changed the game for me. She does a ton of work with my Pinterest, she helps with keywords, she writes content, she knows how to use Tailwind way better than I do. Having someone share the weight of all of the tasks that are involved in running a blog has allowed me to spend more time on writing and building my streams of revenue in other ways.
Last year, I also invested in a few courses, in better software, and better camera equipment. By spending a little bit more money, I’m spending way less time on the little things like editing and way more time on creating better content.
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