7 Lessons and 3 New Strategies I Learned From Launching My 5th Blog

total traffic

I’ve been blogging for around 10 years, so you would think that it’s easy for me to start a blog and gain traction. Although it’s true to some extent, it’s still difficult for me to start a blog from scratch.

A few months ago, I started my 5th blog on NeilPatel.com as an experiment to see how quickly I could get to 100,000 visitors a month.

Download this cheat sheet of 7 lessons and 3 new strategies I learned from launching my 5th blog.

Although I’m only at 28,109 visitors and 51,746 pageviews a month, I’ve been learning a lot. Here’s what I learned:

Lesson #1: Great content isn’t enough

If you look at a few of the content pieces on NeilPatel.com, you’ll notice that they are extremely high in quality. On average, I am spending 6 hours per post… but then again, they are extremely long.

Because of this, the content should gain traction by itself, right? It doesn’t, of course. Even though the blog was getting 3,194 visitors a month before I even published my first piece of content, it wasn’t enough to get the blog rolling (the traffic came from referrals and direct traffic).

Each time I published a post, I didn’t share it on any of the social networks or blast it out to the Quick Sprout list. This caused the blog to go nowhere and receive zero comments.

Eventually, I shared the posts on my social profiles, and I had a few friends do the same thing. This is what’s helped the blog grow and get up to 100 comments per post.

If you are starting a blog, spend half of your time promoting the content. From building up your Twitter profile to spending money on Facebook ads, use social media as it is the easiest channel to leverage when it comes to getting more blog traffic.

Lesson #2: It’s all about the list

I haven’t done much email collecting on NeilPatel.com. For this reason, I am not sending out any emails when I release a new blog post.

After releasing 11 posts, I have to say the biggest mistake I’ve been making is not collecting emails. I’ve already known this, but I haven’t had the time to create an opt-in offer such as a really good ebook.

Emails are so powerful that Quick Sprout can get more traffic in one day because of my email list than NeilPatel.com receives in a whole month.

Although you may see email marketing as a boring channel, it is by far the best channel for blog promotion.

If you aren’t going to focus on list building, you shouldn’t blog at all. It’s the biggest mistake you’ll make, and it’s rare for a blog to get to 100,000 visitors a month without an email list.

Lesson #3: More content equals more search traffic

This may seem like common sense, but it’s hard to see it when you’ve been running large blogs for years.

At NeilPatel.com, I started with zero blog posts, and as of now, I am on my 11th. What’s interesting is that every time I release a new blog post, I’m instantly seeing my search traffic increase.

search traffic

Every time I add a new blog post, I get around 300 extra search visitors to my blog each week. It really is a numbers game… assuming you can maintain the quality of your writing.

Writing a dozen or two dozen posts isn’t enough. You’ll need to write hundreds before you see your search traffic skyrocket.

Lesson #4: Facebook is my highest performing social network

Facebook may not make up the majority of my social shares or even traffic, but it is creating the most engagement.

Let’s look at the stats…

  • For every 500 Twitter visitors, I am receiving 3 comments.
  • For every 500 LinkedIn visitors, I am receiving 5 comments.
  • For every 500 Facebook visitors, I am receiving 8 comments.

Facebook is providing the most engaged users. They are more likely to comment, and Facebook visitors’ time on-site is 38% longer than that of visitors from any other social channel.

When you are choosing which social channels to focus on, don’t just look at visitor count. Analyze the quality of the traffic by looking at metrics such as time on-site or pageviews per visitor.

Lesson #5: Using LinkedIn Groups is better than sharing on LinkedIn

If you want to promote your content on LinkedIn, where do you share it? On your timeline, right?

And although that will bring more visitors to your blog, it won’t bring as many as LinkedIn Groups will.

I wasn’t even receiving 5 visitors a day to my blog from LinkedIn, and I have over 10,000 connections. The moment I started submitting my content to at least 10 LinkedIn groups, I hit 918 visitors within 30 days.

linkedin traffic

The thing with LinkedIn Groups is that it is a hit or miss. Some of your content will do well, while other pieces won’t. Nonetheless, you should submit your content to LinkedIn Groups.

Lesson #6: Time-based content works

I’ve never been a fan of writing time-based content, which talks about trends or refers to a specific time period. For example, here is a post that breaks down how to be a productive blogger in 2015.

Although the post doesn’t have as many social shares as some of my other content, it is the most popular blog post I have written on NeilPatel.com. It’s so popular that it has received 294% more traffic than any other blog post.

The one I wrote on Quick Sprout on marketing trends for 2015 also did well.

From this I’ve learned that writing time-based content is a great way to gain more visitors. Sure, you can’t leverage this approach on a daily basis, but you can do it at the end/beginning of a year or during holidays or major news events.

Lesson #7: People prefer bigger text and white space

People prefer bigger text and wider content areas. When I compare individual posts on my other blogs to the posts on the NeilPatel.com blog, I see that people spend 18 seconds longer on the NeilPatel.com blog posts.

To make things fair, when doing this analysis, I only compared posts that were 3,000 words or longer as I don’t write short posts on my new blog.

This has shown me that design can have a huge impact on the length of time people stay on your blog. From white space to text size, including the content area and even the color of the font, you have to think of all these elements because they affect readability.

If you want to increase the number of people who read your blog, take a few design lessons from the NeilPatel.com blog. Heck, if you want to copy my design, you can. 🙂

Now that we got those 7 lessons out of the way, let’s go over 3 new strategies I’ve been using on my new blog.

Strategy #1: Be transparent

I’ve been running an A/B test on my new blog, showing my stats to 20% of my readers.

showing traffic

On a monthly basis, I’m sharing my traffic numbers so that you can follow along and learn from my journey.

It’s still early, but the results are looking good. Being transparent creates more loyal fans and encourages people to come back more often.

I actually took this technique from Smart Passive Income and Timothy Sykes. Both of them reveal their financial numbers, and it’s what caused their blogs to grow.

Groove did the same thing, and it worked well for them too.

Now, the blog doesn’t share any financial numbers, but by sharing traffic numbers, I’ve been able to gain more of a loyal following, so much so that I am averaging 1 to 2 emails a day from the readers of my new blog asking me how they can get similar results.

Strategy #2: Write extremely long and thorough content

This not only helps with search traffic as you have more long tail keywords on the page, but it helps with overall traffic. I took this strategy from Brian Dean who shared his numbers with me 6 months ago and mentioned that his longer posts generate the most traffic.

For this reason, all of my posts on NeilPatel.com are at least 3,000 words in length, if not 5,000. Plus, having pages over 2,000 words or longer will help you with your rankings.

It takes a lot more time to produce thorough content, but it has been working well. Just look at the search traffic numbers I shared in Lesson #3. As you can see, every time I release a long blog post, my search traffic goes up.

Strategy #3: Make your readers want more

My return readership is really high, especially if you consider that I don’t have a list that I am marketing to.

By only blogging once a week and keeping the post quality extremely high, I’m getting 2 to 3 requests a day to blog more often on my new blog. Publishing only once a week keeps people wanting more and gets them hooked.

This is what has helped get people to come back and become loyal. I would have never imagined that a blog this new would get 36.2% returning readers.

loyal traffic

When I started my other blogs, I was lucky if I got 20% of my readers to come back within the first year.

I will probably keep blogging only once a week as it will help keep my readers wanting more… Plus, I don’t have the time to blog twice a week on NeilPatel.com.

Conclusion

Although I’ve been blogging for 10 years, I am still making mistakes and learning a lot. As time goes on and the blogging landscape changes, I will continue to learn more.

Hopefully, my lessons and strategies can help kick-start your blogging journey and make things a bit easier for you.

What blogging lessons and strategies have you learned from your experience?

P.S. If you are struggling to get traffic to your blog you should check outthis tool.

Did you know Quick Sprout has software to optimize your website for search engines?

There are important changes on your website that will grow your traffic. Quick Sprout tells you how to make those changes.

Comments

  1. Hey Neil,
    I am a big fan of your blog and I use to read every content you write and follow every instruction you gave. Everything was great but unfortunately from last few month my blog is suffering from SEO disaster (I did change in my UI). All the organic traffic is gone. Few of my contents were on the front page of google and they all gone. Don’t know what to do.

  2. Thanks a lot for sharing ..
    Can you please help me telling which font is best for article body and title.
    Also your posts are quite useful and Information stuffed

    • Laura @ Raise Your Garden :

      I’d like to know the font too, I think it makes a big difference! Agreed that bigger font size is nice, don’t particularly like squinting to read a post.

      Ditto on the email marketing, we just switched email providers and can’t believe the hits we get once we send that email. It was a huge DUH moment. People check their email still. Fact!

      We are also learning to put all the $$ we earn on the blog back into the blog instead of going to Chipotle. Especially FB $$, those are bucks well spent!

    • Steve Estimable :

      Hi Rachit,

      Take a look at theses 2 infographics by Quicksprout:

      1.How Typography Affects Conversions
      2.The Blueprint of an Optimal Blog Design

      I think you will have informations that can help you with your questions.

      Have a good read!

      • Steve, thanks for sharing those posts. I was just going to share the same. I would really suggest everyone look at those two blog posts as they are full of gems that I have learned from others over the years.

  3. well, that was really helpful.nim doing the same with my new blog by making extremely long content.

  4. This is really interesting, and some of your points and action tips are definitely valid and can be copied.

    However, I can’t help but feel like your already-established popularity has been the main contributor to the success of your newest blog.

    What I’d like to see, is you start a new blog under a pseudonym – with NO reference to your real self or any of your other blogs. That would be a truer way to see if your tactics really do work.

    (Plus, it would make a really good case study for your other blogs when you do the evaluation afterwards)

    • Louise, that would definitely be an interesting experiment. Maybe something i’ll try one day when there is less at stake 😉

    • Hi Neil/Louise:

      I have to admit, I had exactly the same thought Louise. Neil has an incredible reputation, so no doubt diehard readers would follow him.

      A “fresh start blog” with no reference to yourself (or someone who truly commits to performance standards that mimic Neil’s process) would be the true “proof in the pudding. 😉

      cm

    • Hi Neil and Louise,
      Firstly I would like to say a big thank you to Neil for all of his help. I subscribe to his newsletter and have been following his tips for the past 9 days. I started an entirely new blog on January 20th and I am already seeing encouraging results. If you would like to track the progress of a nobody who is only following his advice, my site may just be a good control subject.
      Best of luck to everyone,
      Anthony

  5. Hello Sir,

    Really a very nice and awesome post. Your all post are very informative thanks for it…

  6. Steve Estimable :

    Great article Neil as usual!

    I like strategy number 2, as it is time consuming. I feel when you aiming for top quality on time consuming task these are area where you can outperform a good % in your market.

    Q:What blogging lessons and strategies have you learned from your experience?

    A: I did not start blogging yet but I certainly learn writing like your article was the #1 ressources for the target topics/keyword is a solid foundation to help generate more content distribution.

    • Steve, great point. I really wanted to make the blog very high quality — much like this blog. There really was no room for error or fluff.

  7. Hi Neil,
    I look forward to reading through each new post every day like reading the newspaper. To have someone that is an authority in blogging and driving traffic is extremely valuable to me. I am very excited to try #7 on using a larger text and bigger white space. Thank you Mr. Patel.

  8. Awesome big bro 😀 and I will keep these tips into my mind.

  9. Great post Neil, I like that your posts are long, you’re right, it keeps me here for longer. It’s great content, so I think they go hand in hand. Thanks again, many points to think about. 🙂

  10. Hi Neil,
    I love your stuff. I totally agree with your methods here and am grateful that you did this case study. Learned a couple new things :D. We were in Vegas the same week lol, next time would love to meet up. Question, can you put a snapshot of your FB ad which brought you the viewers to your blog? I’m assuming it was a landing page which helped build your list immediately as well.
    Thanks love and appreciate your work.
    Warmest Regards,
    Linda

    • Linda, landing pages do help. A lot of things work in conjunction — which leads to the traffic growth. Hence, growth hacking 😉

  11. But I think you missed one important issue here.

    That blog’s name is Neil Patel. That name in itself is popular.

    How does these rules actually translate for a new upcoming blog with an obscure name?

    Ron

    • Ron, it’s less about the name and more about the tactics. You’d be surprised how low the name is on the totem pole compared to celebrities and public officials.

  12. Great post bro…
    I hav been noticing that u have started using new technique to draw visitors attention. The submit button is shaking 😀

  13. Hey Neil,

    I’m so happy to see you have started this journey. This is so valuable! Applying what works for big blogs almost never works for small blogs.

    I’ve known your NeilPatel.com website for a while, but didn’t know that there was a blog until now. Subscribed to your mailing list and hoping you will mail soon whenever you’ve posted something new. My endorphin level always rises when I get a QuickSprout email. I can double that dosage with the NeilPatel.com alerts 😉

    I know you love trying new things. Why don’t you use Google+ more often? It’s great for seo and you can write your lessons learnt. I’m sure a lot of people will love them, since Google+ is getting bigger. I will also play a role in distributing your content on G+ and commenting. It’s the least I can do after everything you’ve thought me.

    In short: Love it!

    • Raul, thanks for the kind words of support. I think at the end of the day what matters is providing quality content — which is why I opened this other avenue for content generation.

      Please let me know if you need help with anything else.

  14. Andy Calloway :

    Like someone else said, it would be good to see this technique used on a brand-new blog.

  15. Thanks for sharing these lessons and strategies. I would have to say that the look and design of this site compared to your Neil Patel site is more engaging. My approach for email marketing has always been to share more information and build an engaged community so I don’t find it boring:) This year I decided to blog on one of my other business sites that I want more traffic to. I’ve prepared a number of different opt-in offers because when a blog post has a specific topic I want to be able to offer more value with a report of some kind if possible. My focus right now is bringing more traffic to that site and building my email list. I will be utilizing social media for that.

    • Toni, thanks for the feedback. I definitely have had a lot more time to work on this site which is probably why it’s a lot more visually appealing. Thanks for the feedback — I look forward to hearing much more from you.

  16. Hi Neil

    I had no idea you were writing another blog – I’m regularly here but didn’t know about the new one.

    Your work ethic is incredible 🙂

    The first thing that struck me about your latest site is the design is very accessible as you say. It really draws you in as a reader because the white space gives the words and sparing use of images more definition and clarity.

    The Pope (yes the Pope, please bear with me!), recently made a great comment about the importance of silence within the process of communication – and I think white space has the same effect in terms of creating clarity in design.

    The quote is: “Silence is an integral element of communication; in its absence, words rich in content cannot exist.”

    Basically, what I’m trying to say is that the minimalism of your new design serves to add more gravitas to the words on the page.

    Great stuff!

    Cheers

    Loz

    • Loz, love the story. I agree — sometimes I go on silent binges and just write. This is a time where my creativity really flourishes.

  17. Thanks Neil, your post is encouraging when talking about 100K visitors from scratch 🙂

    Yes, getting good traction when just starting blogging is not easy at all. And even if you have a huge background, as you say, it’s still not a simple task to make a blog successful very quickly.

    I think blog is not just a mix of great content, promotion and design. It’s also a spirit and brand. And these two things need to take time to bring in the results. But when they come into play finally, I believe, they become a huge additional factor of success.

    • Michael, great points. I think personal as well as corporate branding play a big role in how well a blog will do. That’s why social and PR are channels people need to focus on.

  18. Randy Kauffman :

    Thanks for the nice blog. I really liked the part about Linked In. I am a member of several groups. My regular posts haven’t been doing very well, so I am anxious to try the group posting.

  19. Apple Language Courses :

    Hi Neil, another great post!

    I think more than anything #5 is helped by LinkedIn constantly sharing group content to its members through their newsletters. It’s the only way I find myself logging back on there. I need to now work more on my profile and connections…

    BTW:
    I met you at a conference years ago and again on the flight from San Jose to LA. With your 10,000 connections you probably don’t remember, but I’m 6’9″ and we got upgraded to a poolside room (and therefore party) at Hollywood Roosevelt. I think you were able to join us. 2007 maybe?

    Keep up the incredible content, posts and newsletters!

  20. Historically on other blogs, this has been my problem; I spend hours writing good content. Share it on social media and hope for the best.

    This has given me some things to think about.

    I have subbed to your neilpatel.com blog – (respect to a fellow Patel for making it big!)

  21. If I had 51,746 a month I was very happy, but I understand what are you trying to do with “Neil Patel” brand and please keep the excellent work and give us more feedback. Your words are a wonderful guide for success.

  22. Another great post Neil. I will be creating a new microsite with the team for much of our content, so I am having to completely rethink our current blog ( I don’t want the two to compete for attention) so this is very timely.

    Making use of email will also be high on the list!

    Cheers!

  23. Seems like you will definitely increase time on site with this post! SO many great ideas in one place. I am just starting out with my new blog. Still so much to try out and find what works for me. Thanks.

  24. This is great of Neil to share this with us, plenty of things to learn from this article for any writer out there, including my self. Thanks for sharing your experiences and wisdom Neil.

  25. I appreciate your being candid and admitting that even you, an experienced and successful businessman and blogger occasionally, make a mistake.

    Thank you for that, the remedies and for the reasoning. It makes me – a nitwit – feel just a tad better.

    • Zarayna, you’re definitely not a nitwit if you are candid enough to share this. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  26. Metropolis Media :

    Wow, thanks for the insight into what has worked for you! I’m impressed that you are able to write such long posts, I find it hard to get over 1,500 words.

  27. Pierre Lechelle :

    Great post, as always!

    One thing that worked pretty well for me in terms of audience & list building is guest posting on blogs who have the audience I’m seeking for.

    Building an audience from scratch is very tough and I wish I started guest posting even before blogging on my own website.

  28. Trevor, I definitely think there is an opportunity for balance. You should avoid things that would be deemed as clickbait. Focus on solving problems for them that are easily digestible.

  29. Amit, glad I could help. Let me know if you need help with anything else.

  30. This is exactly I was telling you in your last post, but the comment was deleted like in the rest of your recent posts…sadly.

    Anyways, I’m gonna start writing on lessons that I learned during my nutritional journey. I’m more convince now than ever that it will increase traffic and it will help people learn fro my mistakes..as I’ve done quite a few

    Keep these posts coming!

    • Chris, glad you find them helpful. The comment may have went to spam — let me know if I can answer any questions for you.

  31. I also have started writing long and insightful posts on my blog because by writing long posts, you not only provide the best to your readers but you also get the attention of search engines and the traffic increases.
    Thanks Neil for yet another awesome post!

    • Arbaz, glad you found the article helpful. I always try to provide long insightful posts — as they tend to do better. Let me know if you need help with anything else.

  32. Though I’ve been blogging sporadically since 2010, I’ve just started being serious about blogging late last month. I’m now learning as much as I can about SEO and headline writing. I also just created a mailing list last month.

    Thanks for the tips, Neil!

  33. Hi Neil.

    I have become a religious visitor to your website hehe I think the reason that everybody is coming back, the authenticity of the contents. I will try to incorporate the stuff here on my move to open a blog.

  34. Hey Neil,

    I’ve read a ton of your posts and I’m in the University program also. When you say “The moment I started submitting my content to at least 10 LinkedIn groups, I hit 918 visitors within 30 days.”…

    …does that mean you submit the same piece to all 10 groups or 10 different pieces of content to each group?

    Thanks!

  35. Great article as usual. I have following your blog for a long. I have also created a blog http:/www.techinfobest.com . I have written over 20 articles myself during 11 months but ttraffic is still low.most of them are very technical and based on my practical experience . I am wonder how you write so many quality articles within short period.

  36. William Zimmerman :

    Neil,

    Simply wanted to Thank You so much for all the Blogging, SEO, Entrepreneur guidance over the last year.

    I am starting my own company within the next 2-5 months and I am confident all of the overflowing value from your posts/videos will help me immensely.

    Thanks so much again, You are the man! Enjoy the rest of your week!

    Will Z

  37. Saad @ Walk Of Life :

    I have started my 2nd blog and currently I till now have only been focusing on producing content but I can see how that is not enough now. Neil I am trying to promote my content on social media as well but how do you suggest I promote my posts on social media when my page has not many likes ?

    • Saad, the same suggestions apply. Just make sure your headlines are on point and are catchy — that will ultimately determine how many people visit your site.

  38. Interesting note on the engagement of Facebook users versus other social sources. Are these organic post engagements, sponsored stories, posts to your fan page, etc…?Given the sheer number of ways to engage with people on FB I’m curious if you’ve found success in any particular options.

  39. Hello NEIL PATEL
    Thank you for this good article, and most attracted me tips for writing a longer article on blogs that we do. greeting

  40. Edvin Löfgren :

    List building is super important to any online business, it’s pretty much free marketing and if you know what they signed up for it’s also super targeted traffic.
    Great post!

  41. Hey Neil,

    You have given us some great tips. Ive been looking for more ways to generate more traffic, shares and engagement.

    I have been using Facebook and I do a lot of commenting. But since I don’t have a lot of time I want to use more convenient ways to get more traffic. I’ve use Facebook boost feature and I comment a lot on kingged.com. I’ve seen an increase but it could be better.

    I also notice that when I started writing longer content it made a difference in traffic for the better. So far my longest has been 2200 words. That’s not too bad but I could write longer.

    I will start posting in LinkedIn groups ad well as use Facebook ads. I’ve almost reached one of my goals as far as monthly traffic and I hope adding these tasks would help push my content past the threshold!

    Thanks for sharing Neil! Have a great week!

  42. Neil,

    With LinkedIn groups, you discovered what I like to call “The Law of Engaged Communities” It works very well on both LinkedIn and Google+. On either platform, sharing works, but sharing in an engaged groups kills it.

    How much does your having a huge platform play into growing your blog, despite the fact you held off mailing your list?

    Thanks for the fantastic post (again)

    Steve

    • Steve, I would be lying if I said it didn’t matter. I started from scratch though. So anyone can achieve the same results.

  43. Thank you for this great article! One question do, how did you come up with a income goal of $100k/month. I mean in this number just take out of the blue or have you calculated this number?

    Thanks for sharing!

    Best regards
    J-P

    • Neil Patel :

      JP, it’s a mixture of things. I have helped others achieve similar results and it’s often a benchmark people strive for — so I did the same.

  44. Appreciating the hard work you put into your blog and detailed
    information you present. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the
    same unwanted rehashed material. Great read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’madding yur RSS feeds to my Google account.

  45. thanks Neil for sharing with us this informations

  46. Hey Neil,
    Yes, its really a good experience what you had. As you have friends circle who share your content on all reachable platform you can get more traffic. But I have small question that what if I start new blog & I do not have such circle. Do I get more traffic if I follow the methods you mentioned here??
    Looking for your reply!

    Thanks
    Simons

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