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How I Doubled My Blog Traffic & Hit 600K Monthly Visitors Last Year

This past year has been a crazy ride. It was fun, stressful, hectic and packed full of changes. I learned a lot from my own personal successes and failures. 

I celebrated a lot of milestones and reached new levels with my blogging journey.

Before I share how I doubled my blog traffic and hit over 600K monthly visitors this past year I wanted to say thank you to all of my readers. I have two completely different blogs and two completely different audiences.

Both, are supportive and provide me with the motivation to do what I do. All of you are the reason why I am here right now - thank you!

You can also download a copy of cheatsheet that will help you to double your traffic in 30 days.

 

If I had a word of the year last year it probably would have been intentional.

Doubling my traffic did not happen by accident. I used strategic steps and analyzed what I did along the way.

Although it is nice to continue to grow it is not all about the numbers. Please keep in mind that it is not a numbers game. It is more important to foster the relationship with your current audience than just focusing on building a larger audience.

In order to be transparent and share with you everything I did to double my traffic and also blow my goals out of the water I wanted t quickly walk you through my year. When I am referencing my traffic goals I am talking about my other blog, Frugal Fanatic. 

I have been blogging for 4 years and my first blog, Frugal Fanatic, was created as a hobby. To give you a little background about it, I had been blogging for about 2 years before I realized that it was time to commit to my blog and start make changes.

Up until that point I was inconsistent and had no idea what I was doing. One day I decided to make a commitment to build my blog to see where it would take me. I thank myself everyday that I gave myself that push otherwise I would not have my own business that brings in six-figures a year and allows me to be at home with my three boys.

Here are some of the highlights and milestones for 2015:

  • I launched my book
  • I started a new blog called Simply Blogging Along which is now AddiGanley.com
  • I hired a few part-time VA's
  • I created a TON of free content upgrades and free email courses (<-- best decision ever)
  • I created a free e-course
  • I made 5x the amount as I did in 2014

In January of 2015, my monthly traffic on Frugal Fanatic was hovering right around 300K monthly visitors. I made a stupid decision to use an ad company that actually inflated my page views otherwise I would be able to show you a screenshot of my stats from Google Analytics.

At the beginning of 2015 I knew I wanted to make some big changes. I felt like I was kind of stuck. Although I was passionate about Frugal Fanatic I knew I was missing something. I wanted to have a place to share my blogging journey and help other bloggers.

When I started my blog I was clueless. I had no idea what I was doing or even how to do it. This is one of the reasons it took me so long to commit myself to it.

Want to increase your audience and double your traffic? Find out the strategies I applied to learn how I doubled my blog traffic last year and reach 600K monthly visitors.

This post may contain affiliate links.

At that time, there was a lack of resources for bloggers, or maybe I was just looking in the wrong places? Either way I felt lost and I did not want other new bloggers to go through what I did.

This was like a bolt of lightning. I realized that one of the reasons why I felt like I was at a standstill was because I wanted to be blogging about other topics.

{Related: Finding Your Blog’s Focus}

I am embarrassed to say that it took me so long to realize what I needed to be focusing on. This is when the idea of Simply Blogging Along started. With the start of this new idea I realized that I had a lot I wanted to write about.

This was when I started writing Breakthrough: The Complete Guide to Growing Your Platform & Blogging Your Way to a Full-Time Income. About 40,000 words later and the book was complete.

The process took me months, but I wanted to give you a little bit of a behind the scenes look since I was doing this along with starting to create my new blog and consistently maintaining Frugal Fanatic.

While I started shifting my focus I was still working on Frugal Fanatic. At that time, some of my goals were to:

  • Increase my traffic by 5% each month
  • Double my income from the previous year
  • Increase my email subscribers by more than 50%

I knew it would be difficult to achieve these goals since my time would now be split between two blogs, but I was determined to make it work.

Now that I had a lot of my major goals mapped out I started to focus on how I was going to accomplish those goals.

{Related: My 4-Step Action Plan to Accomplish Your Goals}

Here is how I doubled my blog traffic and reach 600K monthly visitors:

#1 Update Old Content

The first few months of the year were spent writing new content and going back to update old content. I made sure that my top posts had pin-worthy images and were optimized for search engines.

Then, I began to promote those posts as much as possible. It is actually hard to remember everything that I did last year.

I started to realize how valuable my time was and began hiring VA’s to help me schedule and do smaller tasks that would save me time. Some of those included:

Pinning Posting to Facebook Participating in Share groups

It was really hard finding people to work with that I could trust. To tell you the truth, I struggled. At first I was afraid to share details about my blogs and trust someone to do work for me.

Like anything else, I learned a lot through the process. I should not have waited so long because I feel like this really delayed my growth and doubling my blog traffic. You need to find the right people.

I probably hired about 5 people last year that it just did not work out. I am happy to say that I did find a wonderful VA towards the end of the year who is still working with me now.

The point is, you may be holding yourself back. Maybe you are worried to hire someone and trust them? Maybe you feel like you cannot afford to pay someone?

I found that I was able to focus my time on other tasks that helped me to not only increase my income, but also increase my audience. One of those was having the time to go back into my archives and spend time on old content.

I began reading some of the posts that I created from the previous year all the way back to when I started. It made me cringe. I did not want someone new to land on this post because it did not accurately represent my brand or my writing.

After working on updating my old posts I then began working on my new content. I had a problem with Pinterest in January that caused me to lose traffic for a few months. Although I started the year off good I was not seeing much of an increase in my traffic because of my Pinterest account. You can read more about that here.

I continued to make more changes that I knew would have long-term benefits on building my blog traffic.

 

#2 Created more meaningful posts with longer content

One thing that my blog was lacking was awesome content. At the time, I felt like my posts were good, but I knew that I was not giving it my all.

I started to step-up my content throughout the year and wrote more meaningful posts that would actually provide value to my readers. When it comes to saving money you can find a million and one different articles on the Internet.

I knew I needed to provide my readers with more. I did not want them to just come to my site and skim the article to find generic information that they could have found anywhere else.

I began writing longer posts that had more value. My average length of a post on Frugal Fanatic is about 1,000 words. On this site I normally write about 2,000 - 3,000 word posts but have gone upwards of 4,000.

I then added more information by providing my readers with content upgrades like my budget binder, monthly budget template or any of my other printables that I have on that site. This was my way of giving them something of value that they could print and use.

Also, I added a new topic on Frugal Fanatic. Instead of only providing posts about saving money I began including making money as well. This came about because I started paying more attention to what my readers wanted.

I was receiving consistent emails from my readers about how they could not save money because they needed to have more income. Light bulb!

They needed me to provide ways to make money on my blog too. This really helped me to increase my traffic because my readers were more interested in my posts and began to engage more and more with my content.

They would comment and even share the posts on their social media accounts. Here are the main changes I made to my content this last year:

  • Longer posts
  • Valuable information
  • Content my audience needed
  • Pay attention to reader’s needs
  • ‘How to’ or list type posts

#3 Stop wasting time on stuff that was not working

Last year I spent a lot of time looking at what was and was not working with my blog. I cut out tasks that did not help me to bring in traffic to my blog.

When I began blogging in 2011, Facebook was my #1 source for traffic. Once they started making changes that quickly died off and I lost a lot of traffic from Facebook. Now, it is pretty far down my list for referral traffic.

But, for some reason I was wasting time and money on trying to get that traffic back. I saw a lot of bloggers having success with Facebook and wanted to do the same, but it just was not happening for me.

At the time, I did not even know why I was focusing so much time there. My readers were not spending their time on Facebook.

I think I was afraid of cutting it out. I still felt the need to do everything and was worried about what would happen if I took a step back from Facebook. At first, I tried to hire it out. I had a VA posting between 10-15 times per day. This was a complete waste of time and money.

I was not getting any kind of ROI and ended it in April. I realized that I needed to stop wasting so much time and effort on Facebook. It was just not working for me at that time. I would still like to get it going again, but for right now it is towards the bottom of the list.

There were several other tasks that I re-evaluated throughout the year and realized that I needed to stop wasting my time. This also applied for topics on my blog. Some topics do much better with my audience while others do now. 2015 was the year to cut out everything that was not working.

Once I was able to put my efforts towards things that were working I immediately saw a HUGE difference. I will go into more detail below but Pinterest was yet again a game-changer for me in 2015.

 

#4 Began focusing on my own progress not everyone else’s 

During my first few years of blogging I really struggled seeing everyone else’s success. I was constantly comparing my blog to theirs and wanted to be in the same position that they were in.

Not only should I have never compared my blog to other websites, but it prevented me from my own success. I would worry about what every other blog was doing and not spending enough time on my own goals and plans for the year.

Although it is nice to watch my friends succeed I now understand that my main focus is on my business and my own goals for the year. Instead of wasting time focusing on everyone else’s progress and what they were doing on their blog’s I began to just narrow in on my own.

This helped me to celebrate my own milestones to stay on track rather than getting defeated because another blogger was creating awesome products or making more money.

By focusing on my milestones and monthly goals I was motivated to keep going without worrying about all the other distractions online.

#5 Email

Since one of my goals was to increase my email subscribers to help me to build a larger audience I began making small changes to accomplish this goal.

I wish I would have focused a lot more on my email list when I first started blogging. During the first two years it was not even a priority of mine. Now, I realize that it is the backbone of my site.

Not only is email the easiest way to stay in contact with my readers, but it helps me to build a relationship with my audience.

At the beginning of the year I was using Mad Mimi and then switched to Aweber in April. Although I liked it better than Mad Mimi I was not too impressed. There were a lot of features that I wanted to have since I had a bunch of different email lists. At the time I had weekly newsletters for both of my blogs, email lists for the products that I sold and then a few others for different email opt-ins and courses.

So, yet again I switched. Between August and September of last year I switched from Aweber to (this is my affiliate link) Convertkit. I could not be happier.

Convertkit setup everything for me. They did all of my forms, lists, courses, subscribers, etc. It was such an easy process and now I am able to do so much more with my different lists.

Another thing that I invested in last year was LeadPages. Although it is pricey it is definitely worth it. Both of these combined helped me to increase my email list.

Throughout the year I started to see that I was getting more and more reoccurring traffic. By gaining my reader’s email addresses I am able to stay connected so that they will come back over and over again to read my new content or to download my free worksheets.

#6 Pinterest

I could talk for days about Pinterest. I have said this numerous times before, but Pinterest was a game-changer for me.

In 2014, Pinterest became my #1 source of traffic. I was able to double my traffic that year because of the amount of visitors I was getting from Pinterest alone. I went from 140K monthly visitors to 280K monthly visitors.

Like most bloggers I quickly realized that Pinterest was where I needed to be spending my time. I began making better pictures and writing better descriptions to get Pinterest users to click over to my blog.

By August of 2015 my traffic had already went up to 490K monthly visitors because I became much more strategic with my pinning.

I began utilizing Pinterest analytics to see what my audience liked and what their interests were on that social platform. Then I started to pin more of that content.

I also, utilized my Google Analytics stats and began pinning my top posts from Pinterest to several group boards throughout the month.

If you want to see which of your pins bring in the most traffic you can follow these steps:

Google Analytics:

  • Acquisition
  • All traffic
  • Referrals
  • Click Pinterest and it will pull up individual pins

This helped me to see which pins I should be pinning more frequently. By October I was over the 600K monthly visitors mark. More than 200K of those were just from Pinterest.

I also keep a spreadsheet with my top 50 posts and I pin each of those posts at least once or twice a month to different group boards. Another thing that I started to do more of was pin other content to group boards instead of my own.

I was worried about doing this in the beginning because some boards only let you pin to them once or twice a day and I wanted it to be my pin. But, I have found that it is better to pin other content to those boards instead of only pinning my own.

Here were some of the strategies I used to double my traffic:

  • Pinned my best pins to several group boards throughout the month
  • Focused on better pictures and better description
  • Used my Pinterest Analytics to see what my audience liked
  • Pinned more of other people’s content to my group boards

Although Pinterest has been a game-changer and has brought me a lot of traffic I had to take action to keep that traffic.

If Pinterest would be gone tomorrow so would a lot of my traffic. That is one of the reasons why it is so important to capture those email addresses when someone new comes to your blog. You never know when it will lose traction.

Want to increase your audience and double your traffic? Find out the strategies I used to double my blog traffic last year and reach 600K monthly visitors.

#7 Focused on SEO

I mentioned above that I went back into my old content to make some updates. One of the things I did was make sure that posts were optimized for search engines.

I am sure you know the importance of SEO. Last year I spent a lot of time updating old posts to make sure I was using good keyword phrases and taking all of the necessary steps to help my posts rank higher.

This included a lot of on-page SEO changes. By the end of the year I was a 30% increase in my search traffic and it continues to increase every month.

Other things that I did to increase traffic included:

  • Guest posting
  • Better share buttons on my blog
  • Frequently added my links to bigger Facebook pages to share
  • Consistently commented on other blogs

2015 was definitely a big year for my business. My goals this year are going to be focusing on maintaining what I have and giving more and more to my current audience. Like I mentioned above it is not a numbers game. I wanted to share my stats with you see that you could see my process.

I hope me sharing how I doubled my blog traffic this year will help you to apply new strategies to your blog to help you build a more engaged audience this year.

I am excited to see what 2016 will bring!