Taking a Blogging Break – 30 Day Blogging Challenge

Update – Day 5 of Challenge and 3’rd post: I think I may have a done a little bad math in my last post. By “may have,” I mean I totally messed up the math. Forgot to carry the two or some such thing. Basically, I correctly stated that I was looking at two days of traffic but then when I then went to compute my average run rate, I assumed the cumulative traffic was daily traffic, instead of two days worth of traffic. That is, I doubled the traffic in my calculations. And they call me analytical. You can see my mathematical blunder here: https://wolskisuccesspartners.com/2019/08/03/30-day-blogging-challenge-pictures/

Updating the math…….and doing it correctly this time…..in five days, we have had 31 unique visitors….I might be two of those, so let’s call it 29 unique visitors. That’s an average of 5 a day (I’m intentionally rounding this time, so the math is still good)…..up from the old reliable one to two unique visitors a day but no where near the 30+ we would need a day to hit a 1000 unique visitor target. Worse yet, five days have already passed with us fairly massively underperforming our target. As any good sales or marketing professional knows, when you underperform your quota in the beginning of the month, you have to over drive it for the rest of the month. We need a daily average of almost 40 unique visitors for the rest of the month to hit our target……..the plot thickens and the challenge becomes…..challengier??

oh no

Doing my research for posting today, I got a little humbled by another blogger, Cristian Mihai. Cristian writes a blog about blogging. Today he wrote about the purpose of blogging; namely “people.” People connecting. People discussing. People sharing. Etc. And I’m dedicating a month all about gaining and growing blog traffic. Yes, people are at the heart of it but I’m being pretty mercantile about it. Read about it on his blog here https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/79658252/posts/3019. He definitely has a point…….and now back to total commercial motivation.

Two things I have done in this post that helps build traffic are first, I linked to my own article at the end of the first paragraph. Some readers will be interested in more reading or background material. By linking to your own posts, assuming you are providing some interesting content, the unique visitors you do gain are of higher value as they are spending more time on your blog and clicking on links.

The second thing I did was to link out to another (higher traffic) blog. Cristian Mihai is a blogger (mentioned above) with a blog on wordpress. As I’m also using wordpress, I know that he will get a pingback that I linked to his blog. This is a passive way of gaining some interest from blogs that have a higher traffic. I’m putting together a post on how to more actively build links from other higher authority blogs but for now, we will stick with passive.

One thing I will do today that is active is to ask for you to like this post and share it. Please click any of the buttons that look like below:

Well except these buttons. They are only for demonstration but click any of the other buttons to share on your own social media. Thank you

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Where to get Pictures for your Blog – 30 Day Blogging Challenge

We are about 48 hours and one blog post into the 30 day blogging challenge with a goal of turning my blog, which was getting around 50 unique visitors a month, into a high traffic blog with 1000 unique visitors in one month. You can read about our launch of the challenge here: https://wolskisuccesspartners.com/2019/08/01/30-day-blogging-challenge/.

In our case the month of August. How are we tracking so far you ask? I’m glad you did. Normally, in 2 days, this blog would have seen 3 to 5 unique visitors……in other words, a ghost town. In the last 48 hours, we received 14 unique visitors. That’s 3X to 4X the traffic. Not bad for one post. Now, to reach 1000 a month, we have to average over 30 unique visitors a day. Therefore, we seem to be on track. If we can now double the daily traffic and maintain that for the entire month of August, we will hit our target. Full disclosure……I might accidently be one or two of those unique visitors. I was looking for links and content on a couple of different devices and ended up on my blog……Let’s shoot for 1002!

One mistake I did make is that when I changed up the look of this blog to make it appropriate for the 30 Day Blogging Challenge, I accidently removed the share buttons. I believe I fixed that now. One bit of advice for getting any of your blogs or other online content shared as far as possible is to ask YOU, the reader to share the content. For example, my son watches a lot of YouTube, specifically DanTDM and EightBitRyan. In every video, they each ask the viewer to like and share their content. Think of the liking and sharing as the price you pay for free content. With all of that in mind, I added back the sharing buttons and I will now officially ask: If you support this effort, liked any of what you’ve read or simply support the concept please like and share this post……please!!!!

I did find an interesting post, “10 Keys to Make Millions Blogging”: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/272517. I’m not out to make millions blogging, although it would be nice. I imagine if I made even a paltry million dollars on this blog, I would have hit at least the 1000 unique readers target……..I assume. You are more than welcome to go read the making millions blog written by Timothy Sykes. I didn’t previously know anything about him. I read this blog and a couple others of his on the http://Entrepreneur.com website. He seems pretty informed, although I’m not a fan of how he implies how easy it is to become a millionaire blogging. Of course, if I earn a million off of this blog, I will apologize…..in a blog post. Seems only appropriate. I can summarize his ten key steps pretty succinctly: Post interesting and well written articles frequently and market your posts through social media…….It does look better in a list form but that is pretty much what he said. Take a look for yourself if you wish.

One point Timothy Sykes made in his millionaire blog that is not part of my summary is to invest in high-quality pictures. I totally agree. It is actually easier to get decent images than you might think. As with many online issues, google is your friend. For example, I found the Don’t Give Up image at the top on google. It led me to Flicker on the account of dahon. She appears to be a yoga enthusiast. This image is attached to her 30 Day Yoga challenge.

Finding free, usable and appropriate images is pretty easy on google. First, search for a relevant key term. For the 30 Day Challenge, I googled “30 Day Challenge.” Not terribly creative but it got the job done. Then switch your results to images. Then select the settings filter:

Under settings, select “advanced search.” You should see this screen.

scroll down to the bottom and select “Usage Rights”.

Then you can select either “free to use or share, even commercially” or “free to use, share or modify, even commercially”. These images are free for you to use. It is appropriate to give credit to whomever you are borrowing the images from. For example, you can celebrate with fireworks below from pxhere.com. Well, you can celebrate immediately after you hit like and share to your favorite social media.

Testing a 30 Day Blogging Challenge Before I assign to my Students

I’m planning my class for Marketing Foundations at Bryant University.  One of my thoughts was to assign the students a semester long challenge to creating a blog and building a sustainable amount of daily traffic.  In planning out what the actual objective would be and, therefore, what the assignments would be, I realized that I never built a high traffic blog.  Now, I have maintained this blog for a number of years but I really only did it as a side interest, almost a hobby.  Even though I’ve only posted here a couple of times in the last year, I still get a residual traffic of a few people a day.  When I was more of a regular poster, I did maintain traffic closer to a hundred people a day.  Nothing impressive but since it was never my objective to increase blog traffic, I was always ok with it.  I spoke to my wife about this potential assignment, who is vastly wiser than I am, and she suggested that I attempt to build a consistent traffic for this blog as a challenge before I assign it to anyone else.  The effort to do so would really teach the teacher as to whether this is a good homework assignment or not.

Now, I am cheating a little bit since I’m not starting with a new blog. I don’t believe that will make too much of a difference in the challenge. My goal will be to take the current traffic, which is less than 50 people a month to a 1000 unique visitors in August.

The assignment is to search for advice on how to build traffic on the web. Yes, I am planning on providing suggestions as well but anything I teach will be outdated by the time they graduate. I’m less interested in teaching students what is best practice today and more interested in teaching students to figure out current best practices. Google is your friend in that.

One of the first suggestions is to post frequently. Well that is pretty obvious. My assignment to the students is making a weekly post. Over a semester, that would be approximately 15 posts. Therefore, I’ll try to make 15 posts over August.

The second suggestion I found is to write posts that are 4000 to 8000 words long. The logic is that the more you write, the more likely you will leave a trail of key words that will help you rank higher in google search results. This is important since 90% of people click on the results from the first page only.

https://www.protofuse.com/blog/details/first-page-of-google-by-the-numbers/

I’m not a fan of 4000 word posts. I don’t believe I ever read one……I’ve started reading several of them but never finished one. I believe by focusing on what you want to say, you can include a significant number of key words that will help rank your blog higher in the search results. One of way of doing this is to realize that it will be very difficult getting on the first page with generic terms. For example, “blog” and “blog traffic” are probably written in hundreds of posts every day. “Growing blog traffic for school” is a search term that is much less likely to be used but it is also much less likely to show up in competitive blogs.

One way of finding these more specific terms is to google your more generic term and look for related searches recommended at the bottom of the page. For example, at the bottom of a search of “growing blog traffic” shows:

Related searches for growing blog traffic

A search for “blog traffic” has the following recommendations”

Related searches for blog traffic

To have a higher ranking blog, work these terms into the regular blog post. I’m going to close this post and will be back in a couple of days after researching a few more recommendations. There are a lot of other ways to grow traffic and I’ll report on as many as makes sense to me.

And it was sweet

In High school English, our teacher had us read dozens of Indian Animal Parables. You have probably heard the one about the blind men and the elephant. That’s a classic. There is another one I’ve always remembered that was more meaningful to me. It goes:

A man was walking in the wilderness and realized he was being stalked by a tiger. He was near a cliff with a vine hanging down to the ground, so he starting climbing down the vine, knowing the tiger could not follow. He was about halfway down with the tiger staring at him hungrily when a lion at the bottom of the cliff noticed him. The man was trapped dangling on the vine, a lion below and a tiger above. Two mice, one black and one white, started to crew through the vine above him. There was nothing else for him to hang onto. It was then that he noticed a strawberry plant growing on the cliff with one ripe strawberry on it. The man picked it and ate it and it was sweet.

Yes. That is the end of the parable. We leave the man hanging from a cliff over a lion with strawberry juice dripping down his chin. I always assumed he died shortly after the story ends but that isn’t the point of the parable. The man, even in the midst of a calamity not of his own making took the time to stop and enjoy that which was sweet. The strawberry was probably even sweeter to him knowing the doom that awaited him. While we may not find ourselves dangling from a vine with two predatory cats looking to make a meal out of us, at least not twice, we all find ourselves obligated to times and places we don’t want to be and doing things we don’t want to do. We should pull as much joy, learning and growth from those situations as we can.

I told this parable to my class the other day. My course (marketing foundations) is a required course and the majority of students aren’t marketing majors. If it were up to them, they wouldn’t take ANY marketing classes. Unfortunately for them, it is required. While I try to make it as interesting and valuable for them, I encourage them to taste the strawberry while they are there.

So that’s what you learned?

After larger projects I try to pause and ask myself two questions; 1) what do I (we) do right and want to be sure I (we) do again? 2) what would I (we) like to do differently?

These two questions can be summarized as, “what did I learn?” I was speaking with a friend recently. She’s had chronic issues with her shoulder, which led her to going to a physical therapist twice a week and doing exercises twice a day. The intensive effort really helped and her shoulder started to feel better.

Eventually, life got in the way. Her shoulder had largely stopped hurting as well. She cut back on the exercises and stopped going to the therapist altogether. After a few weeks her shoulder started hurting again. She told me she learned that she shouldn’t have done all those exercises because her shoulder hurt again.

I’m glad she asked herself the learning question but I’m not sure she came away with the best possible answer. Perhaps a better answer was that the exercises made her shoulder feel better, so keep doing the exercises.

Questions are powerful but be sure to spend a little time checking if you answer is as good as it can be.

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