How I got 100k+ views in my first year blogging (and how I retain my traffic!)

Here’s how I gained 100k views in my first year blogging and how I kept that traffic coming back. 

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On the first of January, I had a bit of a brainwave. I was thinking about what I want to put out in to the internet world this year and which direction I want to move forward with my blog. There is always a whirl of thoughts about ideas and my mind runs at a million miles an hour with all of these bright ideas and inspirations but I don’t always know what people really want. Well, according to Twitter (which you should totally follow me on because apparently I’m okay at it), you want this. 

Sure, I love writing a review. Who wouldn’t love a holiday or a product in exchange for sharing your opinion with the world? I love going on holidays as much as the next person and writing them, albeit isn’t as fun, is some of my best content. Trying out restaurants and practical tourist information is my most popular content, but, I don’t always enjoy writing it. Don’t get me wrong, I love knowing it’s helped. But, there certainly is a relief when it’s done.

Everything I publish tends to tap into the non-blogging community, the only comparison I can think of is there being a muggle and wizarding community. Tapping into the muggle community is difficult. It can look easy sharing a blog post with a few photos, but it’s only the wizards, the content creators, who get it. So, why is it so hard to tap into each other and get one other to click our content?

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Maybe, we are trying our hardest to tap into the muggle community that tapping into the wizarding community becomes ever harder. If we’re targetting our content at non-bloggers, but it’s bloggers who follow one another on Twitter, we are limiting ourselves. We almost have to appeal to everyone. A seemingly impossible task.

I’m sitting here altering how I write this, because the last thing I want to do is come across as a pompous or patronising know it all. Because, let’s face it. I don’t know a lot about the blogging space. I get questions about DA and SEO all the time, and I just don’t know a lot. This is purely what worked for me in 2018, there’s no saying that it will work for me in 2019. Please, don’t compare your view count to somebody elses and think that makes you not good enough. Numbers don’t define people. 

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But, a lot of people wanted to know my, “secrets”, so here they are.

Here’s how I gained 100k views in my first year blogging and how I kept that traffic coming back. 

It’s been no secret that 2018 was a whirlwind of a year for my blog. On my first month, I had already pulled in over 2,000 views for that month. Sure, it might not sound much, but for somebody who had only put out four blog posts, it wasn’t bad. Flash forward to summer and my blog was starting to hit 15,000 views for the month. It’s like a natural high. You hit one target and then you’re already reaching for the next. Nothing was ever enough. Hitting 20,000 late autumn is where I sat back and realised. That’s a lot of people.

Blogging is difficult, yet somehow I’m doing it… and people are coming back. People are coming up to me in the street saying they read every blog post. People are telling me they have a countdown for my blog posts. People are telling my family they love my blog. So, what exactly was I doing?

People tell me it was luck. But, when I felt like every day was a working day and I was setting alarms to get blog posts out, it didn’t feel very lucky to me. The more successful I got, the seemingly luckier I got. It didn’t feel like luck when I was working so hard.

How I Kept My Traffic Coming Back

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Now, I am going to have to state the obvious here. I had to keep making content. Regular content that people wanted to read. I researched. I asked. I engaged. Your audience knows what they want more than you do. Ask them.

I’m in a very fortunate position to do blogging on the side. I don’t have to take up a blog opportunity just because it pays. I don’t have to rely on my traffic to bring an income. Because, if it did, I would faze out very quickly.

But maybe they’re right. Maybe I am lucky.

I’m very lucky to be in a job where I work in the evenings and to have built a pattern that works for me. Blogging in the morning, when I’m at my most productive creatively. Work in the evening.

I’m lucky to be in a position where people are interested in the surroundings. Summer is all year around and it makes for some beautiful photos. I’m lucky to be in a place where I am the only blogger. I’m the only one sharing the positives to what goes on here. Trust me, there are so many. But, all we see is the negative sides to Benidorm, I’m lucky that people want to see the positives here and people are thankful and supportive for me sharing that. 

People tell me my blog is a bit of everything. It is. I created my own niche. I took myself away from a saturated market. I didn’t want to limit myself creatively. If you are in the position to allow your creativity to flow wherever, go with it.

Sometimes, I’ll post a blog and it’ll get 2,000 views in the hour. Sometimes on another, I’ll get 10. I post what I want to post. Allow yourself to be creative. It might just appeal to somebody else.

Ask your audience

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It seems simple, but a lot of us are afraid to, I guess ask for help. Communication is key. If you are writing for an audience as opposed to ourselves, which both are perfectly okay!,  you have to keep your audience in mind. If you’re writing for the purpose of the audience, there’s no point working hard on a piece that simply doesn’t interest them.

Spark conversation. Build a friendly community. Share ideas. Ask your audience what they are looking for. 

Build a community

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Some of the kindest and warmest people will be people you meet through your blog. I can tell you the names of most of my followers on Facebook. I can tell you the names of the people who regularly engage with me on Twitter, I know the names of the people who always comment on my Instagram comments. Get to know them.

Don’t be that person who has a small amount of success and starts to think they’re too busy or important to reply to a message or comment. Don’t ever use the excuse that you don’t have time to reply to people and only have time to buffer blog posts on a cycle. If you don’t have the time to say thank you or even reply with an emoji, then you’re going to lose that support very quickly. If you can make time to create a buffer cycle of tweets, you’ve got time to log in to Twitter and say thank you. 

To give an insight, I published 200 blog posts in 2018. An aesthetically pleasing number that wasn’t actually planned! I know full well that at least 30 of my followers have read every single blog post. Doesn’t sound a lot? Well, those 30 make up for 6,000 of my views. Let’s not forget that sometimes they click on my blog to make sure that they haven’t missed a post. If they all did that twice a month, that’s nearly another 1,000 views over the course of the year. If you are supportive and kind to your audience, they will be supportive and kind to you. Simple.

The Importance of SEO 

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When I first started my blog I had no idea that I had to get to know what on earth SEO was or how I could even begin to implement it in my blog. Don’t even get me started on DA [domain authority], because it was all foreign to me.

Alex and I spent a good week when I first started getting my head around things and by no means am I an expert. But, what I’m doing seems to work, so let’s throw away the technical rule book for one minute and just hear me out.

It’s much more complex than scattering a few keywords like glitter and writing “enough” that the word count hits over four digits. It’s not that simple. It’s not about making sure the headers are equally spread and that you have enough H1’s and H2’s and H3’s. It’s not enough to spread your work out into easy digestable chunks. It’s not even about adding the right hashtags and categories. It’s much more than that. 

It’s about creating content that isn’t saturated in the internet world. It’s about writing a title that you’re likely to google. It’s about writing as naturally and freely as you can. Computers sure are intelligent. They know when you’re trying to bash the system and jump your way up. Natural content is key. 

Some of my best posts are the ones that nobody else has put out there before. One evening, I was bored and created “My Top 5 Disney Quotes in Spanish” just because I thought it was so me. I wanted Disney content on my blog, but I needed to relate it to Spanish. That page one post now pulls in around 600 views a month. It related to my blog, I didn’t spend hours formating. I just created natural, original content.

I still don’t get hold time. I still don’t really know how to increase my DA, other than adding back links, but I don’t care. That’s not why I blog.

Consistency

how i gained 100k traffic to my blog and how i retained that traffic

Posting each week on a set timetable helped me retain the traffic. People knew when to come back and there was something fresh to read each week. Blogtober and Blogmas helped too. The more I posted in a week, the more views I got.

It pays off to plan ahead, rewriting the same popular blog posts over and over may attract to your audience, or may be what you think you need to put out there because it worked for somebody else, but it’s not necessarily going to attract to a new audience, or show your audience that you’re the real deal. Why go for a replic of something that is already out there?

Try and bring something new to the webspace, or be ahead of the game.

I posted my 2019 Travel Bucket List back in September 2018, it was one of the first blog posts to be added for that topic, so it jumped to page one. That post is currently pulling in around 30 views a day now that people are googling it.

Be a leader not a follower. Hate it or love it – you have to plan. 

Don’t Over Do it

Remember, less is more. It’s the same with your blog. I see so many blogs that are just cluttered. Ads popping up, widgets on the side, every time I scroll there’s a hold on one moment, don’t leave the page before you leave your email address, I promise I won’t clog up your emails like I’m doing now!!!! It’s not user friendly. From somebody on the outside, it’s annoying.

When you speak to people, they say blogs don’t have worth and are not user friendly to read. Because, the majority of time, they can’t actually access them.

There are many times when I click onto a blog post and at the side they have a pop up ad that covers the writing or a widget they’ve added that covers a portion of their blog post. What’s the next step? Closing the page.

If it’s unaccessible, people don’t want to spend time on the page. Check your website as an outsider and see how they view it. If you’re unable to read any of the blog posts through a widget or an ad, it needs to go or be modified.

The same with content. I was once told: you’re only as good as the last thing you put out there. If you are not happy with what’s going out. Don’t put it out there. If you’re not convinced that it’s a reflection of your best work, don’t put it out there. Work on it. Make it until you’re happy with it. Make it something you’re proud of.

It helps to ask a friend to go through and read your blog post before you publish it and get them to view your site and give you any pointers. When I first started, I refused to click publish until Alex had read it for spelling mistakes, things that didn’t make sense or just general aesthetic. It always helps to have a separate pair of eyes. Sometimes, we spend so long reading it and we know what we meant to put, but if somebody on the outside can’t follow it, it needs editing.

Alt tags

The thing I hate the most and the thing that I’ve only just recently started doing is adding alt tags. Adding alt text, although a boring job, on photos is incredibly important. Your blog post might not make page one, but your photo certainly could for the same search term in Google images.

Let’s not forget that Google always pushes images near to the top as Google wants a longer retention time too.

Some of my blog posts aren’t page one of websites, but the image is page one of Google images. Some images pull in 20+ views a day. It pays off to spend a little time to add a description about your photo. It all adds value.

Social Media

how i gained 100k traffic in my first year blogging

Of course, I had to finish on the most important one. Social Media. Before I started blogging, I had a social media following which was a major pull to already having an engaged audience. I already had people messaging me to start a blog. I was part of a group that already had a lot of people asking me questions about life here. I had about 2,000 followers on Twitter [here comes the plugs!] and I already had about 4,000 followers on Instagram. It helped to already have that support from the very beginning.

I’m not sure what else I can say about Social Media other than be active and be present. I’m not one of those who constantly cycles my blog posts around.

I know the rule book tells you to pull blog posts from the archive and intermittently share them. But, truth be told, I hate that. I hate seeing a Twitter timeline of blog posts circling round and round. It just doesn’t feel… social, to me.

I know a lot of people will urge you to invest so much time in Pinterest. But, although I share my blog photos and create pins for Pinterest, I’m never convinced that it actually works for retention. Sure, the odd post might pop from a really successful pin, but it seems a lot of time to invest on a gamble.

If you’re choosing between investing time in hopes to have a pin pop on Pinterest or build and engage with your audience and more people on Twitter and Facebook, then do the latter.

Whenever I have clicked a Pinterest pin to a website, it’s usually as a mistake when I’ve gone to swipe to the next pin and it has opened the site. I then automatically close it and I’m not convinced the same doesn’t happen to me.

I have had pins have 50k impressions and 1000’s of saves on Pinterest, yet when you check the web clicks, there were 15. The chances that those 15 would come back again are very slim.

I have found using Facebook Ads is a great way to boost your following. Once every few months I run a campaign on Facebook, targetting it to people who I think will be interested in my blog. I will run this as either a photo that they’re likely to like, so I can invite them to my Facebook page. Or, a blog post that I think will gain attraction. Spending £4, I can reach around 3,000 people. My last Ad campaign on Facebook pulled in 1700 views to my blog and 200 new Facebook likes, in one day.

If you take anything from this, take this: You are defined by your own limits. Keep working and moving forward. Keep planning. Keep getting inspiration from the world around you. Build a community. Put your voice out there. This is the year you make it happen. This time last year, I didn’t even have a blog. Take this as inspiration that you can do it too. 

If you are somebody who has stopped by my blog, or if you’re brand new, thank you. Whether I get 10 views or 10,000 in a month, I am grateful for every one who stops by my little corner on the internet.

Hasta luego,

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Pinterest:

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What is Blogmas?

Blogmas is a Christmas gift from me to you.

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I just wanted to check in and say – Hola! It’s Monday and I’m posting, what is this all about?! Well, let me explain to you that this year, I’m participating in blogmas. I posted Saturday and Sunday as usual so I had to save the announcement for today!

What Is Blogmas?

Blogmas is a Christmas gift from me to you, haha! I know you all love a good read so I thought whilst the dark nights are here, it would give you something to do as opposed to scrolling through Facebook – we’re all guilty of it.

I thought it would be nice to brighten your timeline with a little bit of Benidorm blueness. It’s going to be a blue Christmas.

Blogmas is something I’d never heard of until recently. Similarly to Blogtober, you post a new post every day from the beginning of December right up until Christmas Day. As this is my first year of blogging, I thought it would be great to get involved.

I decided that as I’d taken part in Blogtober and really enjoyed it, I thought it would be a good idea to get involved with Blogmas. I can give myself a kick to post some extra Christmas pieces alongside ones that were already planned anyway!

Will this affect the other posts?

Just the same as Blogtober, the post schedule will stay exactly the same. I’ll still post my Saturday post at 19:00. I have one more Learn Spanish post to go up and the Day in the Life in… will also be posted on the designated Sundays at 19:00GMT.

The only difference is, every day I’ll post a publication at 18:00GMT so you’ll know which ones are regular schedule and which ones are part of Blogmas. I decided to push it to an hour later than blogtober as 17:00 was a little early and some of you missed them!

Let’s get the fire on, turn on some Christmas music and get into the festive spirit as you countdown to Christmas with me. Think of me as your little Benidorm advent Calendar.

I’m a Blogger – What can I write about in Blogmas?

Well, I’ll be writing about different travel locations during Blogmas, what it’s like in my local city, Benidorm, during December, Christmas Shopping, Christmas Gift ideas, the weather here in December and much, much more.

If you’re stuck for ideas for Blogmas, follow along with my blog and you might get some ideas of what you can do for your own blog.

I think a lot of us forget to explore our own cities, so I love that I’m able to inspire some of you to open your eyes to what’s around you and that you can blog without being in a huge, “blogging” city. You don’t need to go far to write a blog post. Sometimes, the information people are searching for, you have the answers on your doorstep. Get it out there. Get it published.

Blogmas is a perfect time to get some blog posts up and step out of your comfort zone.

I’m excited to bring Blogmas to you!

Hasta luego,

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Ways to improve engagement on Instagram, Twitter and other Social Media

Tips to reach your audience on social media.

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If you’re here, you’re probably wondering how exactly you can improve engagement on social media. I can’t offer you a quick fix. It doesn’t work like that. But, I can give you some tips to reach your audience on social media.

Have you ever felt so disheartened with your social media that it brings you down? You’re creating content, putting your heart and soul into trying to reach your audience and beyond and nothing seems to work?

I know I felt like it.

We start to blame the social media channel for our woes. We blame algorithms, we blame timings, we blame ourselves. Don’t bring yourself down yet, because it doesn’t have to be like that. There are ways you can boost and improve your engagement. Let’s explore.

It’s annoying, isn’t it? Instagram wants you to pay to reach your own audience. How is that fair? It segregates who has certain features, like the swipe up for 10k+ only, it’s easy to want to quick fix your way up there.

Don’t look for quick fixes

The first thing you need to make sure you don’t do is look for a quick fix. Spending £30 for 5,000 followers might seem tempting, after all, that would get you nearly there! But, here’s why you shouldn’t.

  • They will not interact. They are bots. That’s it, nothing more, nothing less. They’ll be driven to your site and do nothing else than sit there adding a number. A nobody. So, you might reach that swipe up feature, but who are swiping up? They won’t like, they won’t comment. You’ll be busted pretty quickly when you’re at 10k followers and 20 likes. Very professional. Not.
  • They hinder your current engagement. Social media recognises who has ‘relevant content’. Who they think wants to see your post. If you have thousands of followers and no engagement, they’ll assume if those people didn’t want to see it, then nobody else will either. You’ll drop down.

Check your current engagement. It might be higher than average!

You’re probably thinking your engagement isn’t great. But, here’s a fun part. It might be better than what you think.  A good level of engagement is currently set at around 3% [Sourceinfluencer marketing hub] for Instagram. If you have 100 followers, anything over 3 likes is considered good engagement. I currently have 7,000 followers so a good engagement would be around 210 likes. I currently reach around 750, which automatically makes me feel better. Take a look at your stats, you might surprise yourself.

Twitter is a fun one because I guarantee you’re above the game already. A high engagement rate on Twitter sits at 0.33% [source: itpliveme]. Let’s check that with my Twitter. I currently have 3,709 followers, a high engagement rate would be 12 reactions, whether that be likes, replies or retweets. My most recent tweet is on 86 likes, 9 replies and 6 retweets. That means I’m sitting on a 3% engagement rate. That maths is looking pretty good.

Remove ghost followers

I know a lot of you have already started doing this, which is great. Not only does it create better fluidity in the business, but it’s helping brands and businesses recognise that follower count isn’t important. 

For some context, on Twitter, I have had 1.9 million impressions these past 28 days and 79.9k profile views. Imagine how many people would have seen a product I was pushing. Not bad for someone with 3k followers. This only works if the followers are real and engaging. 

It’s the same with Instagram, the fewer people who view your stuff, the fewer people it will show it to. If all 4,000 of your followers didn’t want to see it, why would anybody else? That’s the way social media is designed. Designed to show you what it thinks you want to see, instead of what you might actually want to see. Following somebody should be enough, but it’s not.

You can remove ghost followers on Instagram by using the app I have been recommending on Twitter, called Cleaner for IG. You can download it on iOS here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cleaner-for-ig/ [not affiliate]. Use advanced settings to automatically highlight everyone it thinks you should clear out. Check before you schedule them to go. Sometimes, there will be the odd normal people, who haven’t seen your stuff. Engage with them, encourage them to engage back and all will be resumed to normal.

After using Cleaner for IG, my Instagram stories average views went up by over triple. Even though I had removed 4,000 followers. It’s better if you can remove ghost followers, as soon as they appear. It’s much easier for me to keep control of now the originals have gone. For someone who has had the same Instagram for 8 years, I had a lot of second accounts that friends had created, bots, spam and people who had just deleted the app. I now check every follower, it helps to see who I want to follow back or block!

It’s also important to check your actual followers’ list. Similar to Twitter, Instagram doesn’t show you every notification. I sometimes find spam and bots in my recent followers, but Instagram doesn’t show me the notification because it sees it as a pointless notification. Every so often, I go through or check the app to make sure there isn’t an account that has slipped through the notification net.

Switch between Business and Personal

The most annoying thing about business is Instagram sees you as somebody willing to pay. You’re a business, you don’t have time to engage, you just want your content pushed and shown, so you’re willing to pay the price.

Well, for bloggers and influencers, that’s not always the case.

If you’ve had a business account for a long time, it’s worth switching to personal for a while. With personal, there is no option to pay to promote. You can then switch back to business later on for the analytics and Instagram will recognise you as a new business as opposed to a fully-established one.

Engage with audience

This one should go without saying. If you see somebody’s post you like, like it. If you see a tweet that you want to engage with, reply.

The same goes for when people reply to you. Always engage with a reply. Whether it’s a reply or a like. It’s not only common courtesy, but it means your content stays higher. If you reply to somebody, your tweet jumps to the top. If your Instagram post has a lot of comments, it jumps to the top of somebody opening their app.

There is a new craze of people replying to spam accounts with something rude or sarcastic. Here’s why you shouldn’t do it. Not all of your audience will recognise that it’s a spam comment, so what impression does that give of you? Not a very good one. You might get a few likes on Twitter when you screenshot, but I guarantee you, you’ll lose some respect.

So, what should you do instead? I delete them. If it’s a photo of a cafe and the reply says “Love your clothes” then I can guarantee it’s a spam comment. Everybody else knows it’s a spam comment. So, I delete. It doesn’t clog my photo with irrelevant comments and I don’t reply and look mean to others. Some people do comment on photos that aren’t matching to my photo, I get it on Facebook, a lot. So, if it’s an unwanted comment, just remove it. To people who do comment to talk to you, it looks rude to tear somebody down. Not everybody understands spam and bot comments. Be aware of the image you’re setting for yourself.

Create engaging content

This is something I’m sure we’re all doing. But, if we’re not completing the other stuff around it, it’s something that gets lost. How can the engaging content be engaging if it isn’t shown?

Ask questions, create polls, create posts people want to see, share photos. They’re all ways people will engage.

Keep your content relevant. Depending on how much you want to be seen, depends on if you want to take this one on board. After all, it’s your own social media. If you want it done seriously, then take it on board. I’m not massively bothered, so I stray away from this one myself.

Social media should give your audience an idea of you. Why they want to follow you. Why they should engage with you and support you. If you’re dragging somebody down and subtweeting about somebody you know, is that relevant? Is that the impression you want to give? If you’re a mental health blogger and you’re tweeting about how annoying somebody is for showing mental health traits, is that appropriate?

Try to keep the content relevant to your audience. If they followed you because you’re a travel blogger, try to keep tweets surrounding that. Whether it’s your travel plans, places you recommend, travel photos. If you’re a movie blogger, post about movie reviews, upcoming movies announcements, news surrounding Hollywood. If you’re a Disney blogger, keep it to Disney.

I’m not one for doing that myself, but, it’s a known way to boost your engagement.

These are tips. In no way do you have to follow them. No way does it determine who is a better blogger. At the end of the day, if you have a blog, you’re a blogger. But, sometimes, when you’re creating amazing content and it’s just not being seen, it can be disheartening.

I see people leaving blogging because their content isn’t being seen. Don’t let that be the case. Don’t bring yourself down. I guarantee you’re doing better than you think you are. Recognise your successes. Make friends in the blogging community, be kind and be approachable. Other bloggers are not your competition. There are enough opportunities for everybody. I promise you, brands would rather work with approachable and kind bloggers than bloggers who belittle others.

If you see somebody post their achievement, maybe they’ve hit a goal, or they’ve secured a collab. Congratulate them, wish them well. Do not tear them down, don’t ask them “why you, though?“. It doesn’t look good. Your time will come.

I’ll add a few more posts soon, talking about how I gained 50,000+ followers across my sites over 5 months, how to approach brands and what exactly you should be saying in a proposal. Make sure you’re following my site by leaving your email in the black box, or clicking follow if you’re a WordPress user.

Hasta luego,

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