How to Grow a Blog (updated for 2021)

If you have an interest in writing, research and marketing, then growing a blog might be your calling.

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Blog » Make » How to Grow a Blog (updated for 2021)

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As someone who grew up living in books and writing stories of my own, I’ve always enjoyed writing. A few years ago, in 2017, I started a blog as a way to express my thoughts and emotions.

If you’re here, you’re curious about what it takes to grow blog traffic quickly – and maybe even on a budget.

Here’s what I’m going to do to grow this blog, Reroute Lifestyle, as quickly as I can.

I’m Growing a Blog to End 2020… and Why I’m Doing It

One of the reasons I haven’t been able to keep up with a blog is I enjoy writing what I’m interested in or reading about at the time. Sometimes that’s articles about freelancing. Other times that’s writing a research piece on a government’s covid response.

To be honest, recently I was at a place where I felt slightly unstimulated by freelance website design. When deciding which project I should pursue in addition to my freelance website design business, I wrote down two options:

  1. Revive Reroute Lifestyle, with the goal of writing affiliate content and growing the website traffic.
  2. Publish more content on Medium related to my current interests of history, sustainability, the environment and energy. 

Ultimately, I decided to revive the blog – primarily because writing about my current interests may not be fruitful immediately.

One compromise I made with myself was to write about these interests when possible, and donate 10% of all ad revenue and affiliate revenue to Pacific + social nonprofits. You can read more about that here.

Another reason I’m doing this is because whilst growing a blog, I think I will learn more about digital marketing, SEO, and blog design – which will ultimately help me in my career as a designer.

But I’m Not Starting the Blog From Scratch

I’d like to acknowledge that I am not entirely starting this blog from scratch. I do have a little bit of a head start.

Whilst that might seem unfair on the surface, I would also argue my previous experience blogging (which leads to the advantages I’ll outline below) will help me write better case studies. If you continue to follow along, those lessons will help you!

For example, this domain already has an existing domain authority of 31. It also ranks for 61 keywords, according to Moz.

I think that with time and intention, anyone could bring their domain authority to 20+. Things like writing guest posts, being featured on podcasts, or doing interviews help build the internal links that go to your website.

My blog also still receives incoming traffic from sources like Pinterest despite being abandoned for over a year.

According to Google Analytics, this blog received 820 pageviews in September 2020.

There are also some blog posts I’ve written before I’m using in this next iteration of the blog. I’m starting this blog with 6 posts I’d written before.

Still, because I want to hold each post to a high standard of quality, I took the time to read and update each post before going live. 

Goals

  • Reach 10,000 page views per month without spending any money on ads or marketing. This will be a completely bootstrapped project.
  • Get paid $1,000 from affiliate marketing and advertisements before 2021. With blogging you can expect payments 30-60+ days after you make the commission, so this might not be realistic.
  • Promote women and women of color who are doing incredible work through case studies and interviews. I would like to publish 4 interviews of women from a variety of backgrounds who live an unconventional life.

How to Grow from 0 – 10,000 Page Views

Honestly, this project gives me so much joy. I think I process it in an unhealthy way – I’ve been staying up so late thinking about how excited I am to reach my goals. This is how I plan to grow the blog traffic to receive 10,000 monthly page views before the end of the year!

1. Plan Website Niche, Blog Categories and Articles

You’ve likely heard, or read, it before: the solution is in the niche.

I know what it’s like to want to write about everything. Starting with a niche, or at least a specific audience you will be writing for, will help you focus and grow.

  • The people who visit your website will be interested in the topic you’re writing about
  • They will be more likely to binge-read your articles and build a relationship with you
  • The relationship built will inspire them to share your blog with friends

And those are just growth benefits you’ll notice as a result of niching down.

It’s all in the niche.

Reroute Lifestyle’s niche can be explained in its mission:

We exist as a resource for those who want to live an unconventional life.

Then, break your niche into several distinct categories that explain how you help people. These categories can be used on your blog!

Reroute Lifestyle Blog Categories

  • Make – tutorials related to online business and freelancing
  • Learn – interviews and book reviews related to living an unconventional life
  • Live – articles related to lifestyle design, minimalism and digital nomad travel

2. Set Up and Design the Website

After I decided on the general niche of the website and its blog categories, I started the website design and development process. By trade, I am a freelance website designer, so this process was extra fun for me.

As an Elementor Designer, I used the Elementor Pro plugin to design and develop the theme for this blog.

Related Reading: How to Use Elementor for WordPress

My goal for the website was to keep everything as simple as possible and keep the blog posts as the primary focus. I wanted a solid foundation to launch the blog as quickly as possible, with room to grow in the future.

3. Keyword Research

Because I am familiar with SEO, I did do keyword research. Overall, it’s good to know a few key words that you want connected with your website, and how you would rank for them. The goal of keyword research would be that your website ranks higher under those keywords.

SEO is a long-term strategy and not something that just happens overnight. It’s also not something you get to control. There are many small ways to improve your website SEO. 

  • Use SEMRush to find trending topics and keywords. Look for keywords that have high searches and low competition.
  • Consider how those keywords relate to your overall website structure. Do those keywords belong in any meta descriptions, on-page website copy, blog posts?
  • Keep track of your website domain health overall. With better domain health, your individual articles can be more likely to rank higher on search engines.

You’ll learn that SEO isn’t just something that gets done – it’s looking at the bigger, more holistic picture. 

4. Write Blog Content

The next sensible step would be to write blog content based on keywords you found.

Everyone has a different opinion of what constitutes “good blog content.”  When I write, my goal is to publish semi-conversational, yet informative, blog posts. Because I love to write, I enjoy weaving personal stories into my blog posts.

There are a few rules I recommend keeping in mind:

  • Use Headings (H2, H3, H4) to break up content.
  • Use line breaks frequently.
  • Bold important ideas.
  • Add photos to keep readers engaged.
  • Break up ideas with lists, when possible.

You might notice, these rules are in place because with a blog, you are writing for skimming readers. Following the rules above breaks up large blocks of text in an easy-to-read, digestible format.

🤓 Nerd Alert: Planning Blog Content

How will you plan your blog content?

In the past, I’ve used Google Sheets to stay up-to-date with the status of each blog post. I use ClickUp (pictured above) to organize my freelance business. This is a table on ClickUp that organizes each blog post idea, its category, and the status.

Long term, I’ll be able to track the last time each post was updated. As the Internet evolves, so does information. Search engines want to show the most up-to-date information – so it’s important to go back and update blog content every once in a while!

In addition to writing the blog content, you’ll need to do things like: 

  • Prepare a featured image (suggested dimensions). You can find free stock photos on Unsplash and Pexels.
  • Write a 140-160 character meta description. This will appear in search results and when your post is shared on social media feeds.
  • Create a Pinterest image. You can create beautiful images for free using Canva!

At first, I recommend keeping this housekeeping list as simple as possible. It’s easy to burn yourself out, even with all the excitement!

Related Reading: If You Feel Burnt Out, Take These 5 Steps (Medium)

5. Promote Your Website

Unless you have previous clout, people aren’t going to magically flock to your website on launch day. Once your website is live, you need to actively promote it – and give people a reason to visit.

As you promote your website, constantly ask yourself:

  • How easy will this be?
  • How many eyes will this get in front of?
Sure, posting on Facebook or Instagram is easy. But how many eyes will that post attract?

Here are a few ways I’m going to promote this blog:

  1. Reach out and send interview requests. I will be interviewing folks who have done unique things to live an unconventional life.
  2. Publish at least one post on Medium and mention Reroute Lifestyle. I will write a post for Medium and submit it to a publication of people who may be interested in Reroute Lifestyle.
  3. Promote the website and articles on Pinterest, Facebook and LinkedIn. You know how people tell you to dress like the amount you want to be making (“look like money”)? I’ll take this approach, except I’ll act like Reroute Lifestyle is the next Thought Catalog when I share posts.  

As I promote the website, I will regularly check in with myself and choose the lowest hanging fruit to get the blog in front of as many eyes as possible.

Final Thoughts

Are you as excited as I am? The past few nights I’ve had trouble sleeping because all I can think about is this project.

I’m very interested in tracking what does and does not work for this project. If you’re also growing a blog, here are three simple reminders to keep in mind:

  • Track progress daily or weekly
  • Keep in mind ease of promotion + how many eyes you will get in front of
  • Stay accountable to someone other than yourself

How are you going to reach 10,000 page views? Is there something specific you want me to track or try? Let me know in the comments below!

KEEP READING

About the Author

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