I used to think it was hard to grow a blog – really hard. If you’d asked me back in 2019 how to grow a blog to 100K monthly visitors, starting from scratch, I would have told you it wasn’t worth it. Try making money from a small niche blog instead was my answer.
I’d fallen into the trap of most blogs about blogging. I’m in a small niche with huge competition where everyone is an expert at SEO. No wonder so many posts about how to grow your blog make it sound so hard!
Yet at the back of my mind, I knew something wasn’t right. I’ve been making money online since 2006 and one of my sites reached a 7-Figure turnover. The traffic came from lots of low-competitive long-tail keywords. This had to be the solution to growing your blog…
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This Is How I Grew A Blog To 100K Monthly Visitors
I started a lifestyle blog, Love Life Be Fit, from scratch as a summer challenge in 2019. You can read all about how I got on in these posts:
- How To Start A Lifestyle Blog (Plus Tips For Success)
- Can You Make Money With A Lifestyle Blog? The Results Are In!
It was a tremendous success. Not an overnight success, but after 18 months I hit 120,000K monthly visitors.
Of course, I did have to put in some hard work but most of that was in the first 3 or 4 months. After that I left the blog to fester for 3 whole months before writing some more long form posts targeting slightly harder keywords.
I didn’t do any of the things most blogging websites suggest:
- No excessively long posts, (when my blog really started to grow my longest post was 1000 words).
- I didn’t write any guest posts or bombard people with cold emails demanding guest posts (yuch).
- I still don’t have an editorial calendar.
- My posting is definitely not frequent or regular.
- I make no effort to collect email subscribers for my lifestyle blog and have no lead magnets. (My list is still less than 150 subscribers).
- I have yet to write to the list for my lifestyle blog so zero email marketing.
- My lifestyle blog doesn’t have any content pillars, (or at least not intentionally).
- I don’t use paid advertising at all for my lifestyle blog. Its growth is 100% organic. The only things I do pay for are Quuu Promote, (not essential it’s just that I’m lazy about promotion), and Tailwind Communities.
- Never used Quora to promote my lifestyle blog.
- Expert round-ups, where you mention influencers in your field and get them to contribute to a blog post, do seem like a great idea but I’ve never tried them.
- I’ve never co-hosted webinars, launched virtual summits, or been interviewed on podcasts. My lifestyle blog was used as the topic of a talk at the Blogging Mums Conference but there wasn’t any spike in traffic.
- I have mentioned other brands on my blog but I’ve never got round to notifying them or asking influencers to share my content.
- My lifestyle blog relies purely on the written word. A few posts share other people’s YouTube videos. There are no separate YouTube channels, videos, or podcasts. One day I might get around to them.
- I have no idea what Slideshare is and my only networking is through Tailwind Communities. My lifestyle blog doesn’t have its own Twitter account and I’m hopeless at monitoring mentions of my brand on social media.
- My blog has zero social proof but it never seems to stop my readers from asking for advice.
- I have never carried out A/B testing.
Phew! That’s a long list. To tick off those ideas you’d have to be either super human, have a support team or never actually get around to writing blog posts.
Yet these are the ideas touted by more than one blogging site.
Instead, this is what I did…
Easy Steps To Grow Your Blog From Scratch
Blogging is essentially about pleasing your audience and sending out ripples across the internet. Small ripples start to build momentum and get your blog noticed by Google.
The first few months of a brand new blog are about creating those ripples.
How To Grow Your Blog To 10K Monthly Visitors
#1 Start With Easy, Popular Topics
If you avoid blogging about blogging, SEO and probably personal finance, you can find topics where your competitors will not be experts at SEO. (SEO is search engine optimization – ranking your posts on the 1st page of Google search results).
An easy topic doesn’t mean there isn’t any traffic or potential for making money. Sewing, gardening, parenting, beauty, fashion… are examples of topics with a high level of interest and endless scope for growing your blog.
There are some more examples of good topics for blogs in my post:
I started with far too many topics – fitness, running, hiking, yoga, mindfulness, healthy living, outdoor lifestyle, and travel. Two to three topics are best. I get most of my traffic from my running topics and fitness topics. I’ve dropped travel, (and added weight loss), but should really lose a few more.
These are all high volume, popular topics with lots of scope for finding blog post ideas.
#2 Write A Lot Of Posts
So many people seem to start a blog and get distracted by all the things I didn’t do, (see the list above). They worry about lead magnets and email lists and forget to get down to writing content.
It’s possibly because they’re desperate to start making money straightaway. While I’ll acknowledge a few talented bloggers manage to pull this off after only a few months, it’s incredibly hard to do. If you need money from the word go, start freelancing. Getting paid to write posts for other blogs is good writing practice.
To grow a blog you need to write – a lot. I read somewhere that 100,000 words is the size of a good blog. While I can’t remember where I read this but it seems a good figure to aim for.
Before I launched my blog in June 2019, I wrote 30 posts. These were short posts, just 300 to 500 words in length. They had catchy titles and easy to digest lists. All targeted at social media.
#3 Write For Social Media And Google
Google can take 3 to 6 months or even over a year to start sending real traffic to your blog. You can wait or go and find some traffic on social media.
From my experience Google will sit up and take notice of the traffic you’re getting on social media. I’ve found posts that get a lot of shares also do well with Google.
The only problem is it’s hard to write posts for both task masters. Social media wants lots of new material. Google wants more in-depth considered posts. I find it’s best to have a mixture.
#4 Promote, Promote, Promote
When you first start a blog, promotion is just as important as writing posts. Spend as much time promoting as you do working on your blog.
Avoid spreading yourself too thinly, (I’ve heard this called the spray and pray approach). Instead pick one social media platform and do it well.
The heydays of anyone and everyone exploding their traffic on Pinterest are long gone but it’s still a really good platform for so many topics. Crafting, parenting, fitness, budgeting, recipes and just some of the topics get good results on this platform.
My lifestyle blog is proof you can still use Pinterest to grow your blog. At a time when most pinners were complaining about alarming drops in traffic I hit 20,000 monthly pageviews, all from Pinterest in my second month of blogging.
Not bad hey! So how did I do this?
Pinterest, just like any other social media channel, loves new content. I launched my blog with those 30 short posts with catchy titles.
For each post I create 3 different pins. That’s 90 new pins to promote on Pinterest. No wonder Pinterest loved me! New pins all linking to fresh new content.
My Pinterest board titles and descriptions all matched my blog topics and I made sure the wording on my pins was easy to read and enticing.
#6 Shared Content
Pinterest likes shared content. If other people are sharing your pins, Pinterest knows they’re popular and will start adding your pins to their feeds. I get far more engagement on pins shared by other people.
But how do you get people to share your content?
Pinterest Group Boards, where pinners jointly contribute to a board and share each others pins, used to be the answer but over the last couple of years Pinterest has given Group Boards lower priority.
Instead I’ve had a lot of success with Tailwind Communities. Tailwind is primarily a scheduling tool which can save a heap of time when you’re posting your pins to Pinterest. It also has the option to join Tailwind Communities.
These are groups you can join where you interact with other pinners. You share your pins with the community and in return share the pins of other members.
It was Tailwind that exploded my blog traffic in my second month of blogging. Of course you still need good pin design, lots of new pins and new content, but I found Tailwind made a big difference:
For me, Tailwind has been a good investment. It can also help if you’re struggling with pin design. To help you continually create new pins they’ve recently launched a new feature called Tailwind Create.
✅ I’ve negotiated a $30 credit for Simply Hatch readers towards your first Tailwind subscription. You can claim your credit via this link.
How To Grow Your Blog To 100K Monthly Visitors
When it comes to growing your blog to 100K monthly visitors you have a choice. I think it depends on what kind of life you want. If you’re happy to spend the rest of your blogging life as a slave to social media, carry on feeding your favorite platform and maybe add in one or two more just because these platforms come and go.
(Don’t believe me? Does anyone here remember MySpace, Google+ or even Vine?)
Social media channels also tend to have frequent and unpredictable algorithm changes. These will directly affect eyeballs on your most popular content.
Worst still, you don’t own your social media space. Your account can be frozen or even deleted anytime with little recourse. (With a previous business I had 10,000 followers wiped from a FaceBook account overnight. There was nothing I could do about it).
The alternative is growing your blog with Google organic traffic. Of course Google also has algorithm changes and you will be hit from time to time but on the whole these are more predictable and rational. Google goes to great lengths to explain what it’s looking for from the material at the top of it’s search results.
Unfortunately Google does favour reliable established blogs but it’s increasingly putting more emphasis on new material. Your trick as a new blogger is to find the parts of the internet larger sites have overlooked.
If you want to grow your blog to 100K monthly visitors the easy way you do need to learn some SEO.
#7 Write For Your Audience
If you have any lingering believes that blogging is about self-promotion, drop them now. Take this post for example. It’s not really about me and how I grew my blog to 100K monthly visitors, it’s written purely for people putting the search term into Google “How to grow a blog”.
Blogging is all about providing the answers people are looking for. You’re generously providing a free service to your readers. Of course, you can use those eyeballs to make money, but that’s not the reason for slaving over a blog post.
Instead you’re informing, inspiring, entertaining and providing solutions to your readers pressing needs. Get it right and you’ll be rewarded by readers getting to the bottom of your blog post and coming back for more.
#8 Choose Keywords Wisely
Think of the keyword as the blog topic. Unless you’re in a tiny niche, it’s never going to be just one word. Your keyword will be 3 to 5 words long, known as a long-tail keyword. For this post mine is “How to grow a blog”. I’m sure you guessed that.
I’d love to be able to rank for the keyword “blog” but that’s highly unlikely. Instead I have to aim for the low hanging fruit – the easier 3 to 5 word keyword phrases with substantially less traffic.
Take a look at Ubersuggest. It’s a free app by the SEO guru Neil Patel and it’s the only keyword tool I’ve used to grow my lifestyle blog. There is a paid version but that’s still a fraction of the cost of most SEO tools.
(There are critics out there who question the accuracy of Ubersuggest. Just remember that all keyword tools are estimates. I’ve found dodgy information in other way more expensive tools. I just back up the information in Ubersuggest with my own searches on Google).
Search for keywords relevant to your niche. As a brand new blogger, you need to be aware that you have zero credibility. Even easy keywords will be difficult to rank for.
Ubersuggest gives an estimated SD (SEO difficulty). You need to be looking for keywords with an SD of less than 10. Yes really! Search volume will be really low but you’ll benefit from picking searches for related keywords.
For example this post may also rank for “How to grow your blog audience” or “How to grow blog traffic”. These small searches can start to add up to significant traffic.
#9 Install The Yoast SEO Plugin
There may be other SEO plugins for WordPress which are just as good but I’ve always used Yoast – it works for me. (If your blog isn’t on WordPress the same on-page SEO tips apply, you just don’t have the handy prompt of using Yoast.
Yoast has a beginner’s guide which is a good place to start getting the most out of your plugin. There’s a lot more to SEO than just following Yoast’s list of actions but it’s a good starting point.
#10 Write 1000+ Word Posts Optimised For SEO
Switching from short posts to long form 1000+ posts optimised for SEO made a big difference to my blog traffic. I still needed to share these posts on social media to get some backlinks to my posts.
Backlinks are when another site links back to your site. When you share a post on social media you get a backlink. When people share your social media posts, you get more backlinks. Backlinks tell Google a post is important. The more backlinks to a post, the more chance a well-written post will climb the Google rankings.
These are low-quality “nofollow” backlinks. Social media sites are telling Google to disregard the link and not follow the links with their bots. In 2020, Google stated it would still be following some of these “nofollow” links.
Confused? all you need to know is your social media sharing is now important for ranking posts and getting that top spot on Google.
#11 Use Topic Clusters
A lot of blogs look like a jumble of different topics to the Google bot. It can make it very hard for Google to know what your blog is about. Think about it this way. My lifestyle blog has posts about running, yoga, healthy eating etc and if they’re all jumbled together, you’re not clearly signalling to Google that you have some authority on these different topics.
By sorting out my posts into different topics, it’s easier for Google to note that I have lots of posts about running, several about yoga and about healthy eating.
I used internal linking to make sure all posts on one topic were grouped together. The hub for each topic was the category page.
Category pages can be difficult to edit so I set up a page with the same name and redirected my category page to the new page. For example, https://lovelifebefit.com/category/running became https://lovelifebefit.com/running. This was a page I could edit easily and I could build it out with at least 300+ words of text.
Make sure each post is only assigned to one category.
I now added internal links from all posts in this category back to my new category page. I put a link somewhere in the opening paragraphs of each post linking back to the category page, (my pillar post). I also added internal links in a natural way between different running posts, adding as many internal links as possible.
As far as possible, I avoided linking from a running post to a post in another category such as yoga. Lastly I made sure my categories (or pillars) were added to my header menu for my blog. This is possibly the most important area on your site for signaling the key topics of your blog to Google.
The aim was to send a clear message to Google about the topic of each category. It seemed to work. About a month after adding these internal links I saw another hike in blog traffic.
#12 Get The Most Out Of Google Search Console
Setting up Google Analytics and Google Search Console are some of the first things you should do after setting up a blog. There are plugins to help you with setting up Google Analytics on a WordPress blog. To set up Google Search Console, it’s best to follow Google’s own guide.
When your blogs been running for a few months, go into Overview and look at Search Results. Here you can find out which pages and posts from your blog have organic Google traffic.
Better still, you can look at queries for a specific post and check the ranking position for those queries. If your post is ranking in the 11 to 30 range, you have a massive opportunity to rank on the first search engine results page (SERPs) on Google.
All you need to do is go back to the post and improve it!
For example if this post starts to rank for “How to grow blog traffic”, I could add this query as a heading and add in a few paragraphs to boost the relevance of my post.
Conclusion – How To Grow A Blog To 100K Monthly Visitors
Growing your blog to 100K monthly visitors doesn’t have to be difficult and you don’t need to be superhuman. I managed to hit this level for my lifestyle blog by simple writing posts my audience wanted to read, sharing them on Pinterest and using on-site SEO.
If you’re blogging about popular topics, it’s relatively easy to generate a lot of traffic. I now have about 100 posts on my lifestyle blog and I’ve probably hit about 100,000 words.
All my traffic comes from posts aimed at low difficult, (and low volume), keywords that were easy to rank. Again and again I’ve managed to hit the number 1 position on Google. This leads to ranking for lots of equally low volume related keywords and eventually for some higher volume related keywords.
Key to success is choosing your topics wisely. Blog about topics where not everyone’s an expert at SEO and use one main social media platform to promote and share your posts. I’d love to get some feedback on your attempts at how to grow your blog.
Frequently Asked Questions
Realistically it takes about 12 months to get significant traffic to a blog. Most blogs will see some organic traffic from Google in around 3 to 6 months, but it depends on your topics and your skill at optimizing for search engines (SEO). Some topics will take longer, especially money or health related blogs. Social media can be a much faster way to grow a blog but expect to take 12 months to get high levels of traffic.
Learn SEO (search engine optimization) and make sure your posts are targeting really easy keywords a new blog has a chance of ranking for. Share your posts on social media concentrating on one main platform. Structure your blog using topic clusters.
Target your posts to specific easy to rank keywords. Write the best relevant content you can answering your readers questions. Promote your posts on social media. Learn on-page SEO (search engine optimization) and build internal between related blog posts. Add YouTube videos to your posts.