Tag Archives: SEO

End of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge

For the first thirty days of August, I did a blogging challenge where I was going to aim for 1000 unique visitors by blogging two to three times a week plus using as many blog traffic generating ideas as I could. In the three areas of evaluation (sorry, I’m writing my class and the marketing professor side of me is very close to the surface) how did I do; namely results, effort and learning.

How did I do in terms of results? My intended results was generating enough blog traffic to raise my normal 30 to 50 unique visitors to 1000 visitors. I missed by goal. I did hit 745. That is an increase of around 20 times. I’m pretty pleased with a 2000% increase in one month. According to my Google Adwords dashboard, 600 of those visitors were from SEM (Search Engine Marketing) that I started about half way through. Because cents per click is so low in India and there are so many English speaking people in India, the majority of my SEM visitors came from India. In fact, 70% of my total traffic came from India.

I don’t know if many of my new Indian friends will become repeat readers. I hope they do. If anyone from India is reading this, leave a comment. I’d love to make a connection. I’m concerned that a lot of that traffic was one and done though. I say this because I also picked up around 30 followers over the month. In WordPress, I’m able to see who followed me and who liked my posts…….at least, I can see WordPress people who have done either of those. I did go visit their sites if they had one. Based on their names, pictures and content, I don’t think the fellow bloggers who followed my site were from India. There is one new follower from Ghana, which is great.

I think I may have recently been reevaluated by the spiders (programs that “crawl” around the internet, evaluating websites). I’ve read that it takes up to a month for a spider to visit or revisit your site. A week ago, I had one visitor that the WordPress stats said came from Search Engines. I’ve had 20 visitors from search engines today alone and 64 this week. Definitely something has changed. Assuming I’m correct, that will pay blog traffic dividends for a long time. As long as I don’t slack off with my posting again, I should be able to maintain a better page rank in SERP (Search Engine Page Rank).

I did earn 3 cents for my efforts. I had never turned on advertising on my blog. The blog really wasn’t about making money. About a week ago, I set up paypal, turned on advertising and boy the copper came rolling in…….three times. I did set up affiliate marketing for my blog as well and even posted once about a WordPress 20% off offer. It’s over now I think. Setting up both advertising and affiliate marketing (at least, setting up WordPress affiliate marketing within WordPress) was very easy. I made no efforts to work either of them. I was just evaluating the process.

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How did I do in terms of effort? My goal was 15 posts and I hit 14 during my 30 days. This post will make it 15……..that’s kind of cheating a little bit but I’m ok with it. Overall, the amount of effort to write a blog post every other day is not something sustainable for me……I think. There is something very therapeutic about writing, even though I’m not writing about anything personal. It does feel really good to get words on a “page” though, especially now that more people are actually reading those words.

I also spent time nearly every day trying to engage with other bloggers. I commented on their blogs. I liked their posts. I even tried sharing some of their posts. I definitely have something wrong with my set up of WordPress. When I tried sharing another person’s blog posts directly, it came up blank in my blog. Going forward, I can work around that simply by writing a very short post and encouraging people to go visit the other blog. Not a terrible work around and probably a little more intellectually honest. That effort isn’t sustainable for me. I do enjoy reading other blogs and I have learned a lot from them but, for me, continuing to engage with other bloggers will have to be more on a “as the content demands” basis. That is, I won’t go surfing for the sake of surfing. When I’m interested in learning about something, I’ll go find someone who’s been there already and has something to say.

One thing I did not do was to try to get other bloggers to backlink to me. Backlinking is simply having another blogger or website link to something on your blog or website. There are a number of tools out there that will help you evaluate another website’s authority and traffic. Your page rank goes up when higher authority sites link to you, driving more blog traffic through search engines. I don’t know. It felt kind of off to me for this project. I do plan on continuing with the blog now but I wasn’t sure about it even two weeks ago. If you are looking at your blog as an ongoing concern and want to truly drive traffic, do seek out backlinks. The process is pretty simple. Search for other websites, blogs in your area by simply searching your key words. Those that are near the top of SERP are the ones you want. Reach out the blogger or website administer, telling them how much you enjoyed their content and how your content is relevant to theirs. Ask for them to link to something specific on your site……..and repeat.

How did I do in terms of learning? Here I can say that this challenge was an unqualified success. I learned a lot of very useful SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tactics that are easy to use. For example, the way I think is to start with the category and then clarify with more detail. Therefore, my blog posts were in the form of “30 Day Blogging Challenge – Three Things I Learned About SEM”. That format doesn’t do anything for most readers or for the internet spiders. Now, my blog post titles are in the form of “Three Things I Learned About SEM – 30 Day Blogging Challenge.” Both human and bot prefer that layout.

I also have modified my writing a bit. It is very natural for me to speak in a little bit of a short hand. For example, when once I state in the blog post that this post is about generating blog traffic, I then simply say “traffic” for most of the rest of the post. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work very well for SEO. Now, I work very hard to cut out a lot of pronouns and to be more precise in my writing. If I am talking about generating blog traffic, I’m going to say generating blog traffic……not just traffic or even generating traffic. It is a good idea to mix up those terms a bit, so I can say generating traffic for a blog or blogging to generate traffic, but you want to use all the key words as frequently as you can without making it a boring read.

I’m still torn about length of posts. I think my natural writing and reading style prefers posts under a 1000 words. 90% of what I read suggests that word counts over 2000 words is more friendly for SEO. I’m trying. I think we are at around 1300 words right now. We’ll hit, maybe, 1500 words before I’m done. My issue is that if I have to hit 2000 to 3000 words every post, I’m likely to post less. I’m concerned that maintaining a higher frequency is also important. Therefore, I make an effort to expand my posts without making them annoying to write or unpleasant to read. Hey, if you are still reading 1300 words in, leave a comment. Let me know.

The point of this entire challenge wasn’t to generate blog traffic……that was just a numerical goal to aim towards. The point was to understand if this was a good assignment for my students. I think it is……just not over 30 days. As an assignment over the course of a semester, I think it would be a good learning exercise. I can work in a lot of traditional marketing topics as well as digital marketing. I’m not going to assign it for this fall though. Maybe in the spring.

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Apparently I’m huge in Ghana – 30 Day Blogging Challenge

Ghana is a land of 30 million people on the ivory coast in Africa. They have a growing blended digital and industrial based economy. They’ve launched a satellite in 2017 and apparently they are huge fans of my blog. Here’s a shout out to my Ghanaian readers…….OK, I had to lookup “Ghanaian.” At least, that’s what happened after I started using Adwords in an attempt to drive blog traffic.

I’ve been watching the region my traffic has been coming from. Last year, the majority of my traffic came from the US and Canada. Makes sense. I’m in the US, writing in English and most of my contacts are either US or Canadian. When I assigned myself this challenge to generate more blog traffic, I started seeing a spike in traffic from India. OK, I thought. I have my blogged linked directly with my Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. I have friends and associates from India. Huge population. Lots of English speakers…..ok, maybe I was picking up readers from their contacts. If so, welcome. Happy to have you. Everyone, whether you are from Ghana or India or U.S.A. or anywhere else, leave a comment with your country name. It would be very interesting to see whether your comments match with the blog statistics.

I started using Adwords to drive traffic, suddenly Ghana became a top source of traffic for me. On my ad, I did specifically include U.S. and Canada as my target regions. Unfortunately, I only have the “premium” WordPress account and can’t install Google Analytics. Therefore, I can’t tell specifically if my Ghanaian traffic is coming from the ad or not but the coincidence is pretty significant. Now that I’m putting my words down in the blog, I’m not sure why I limited advertising to just US and Canada. If there is an English speaker in the middle of Asia who wants to read my blog, please do.

Just to see what happens to my blog traffic, I just went into Adwords and added United Kingdom, Australia and India. Just in case the U.S. does buy it, I added Greenland too. Having your country sold out from under you can be a bit disconcerting, so I want to be especially welcoming to any Greenlanders reading.

I’ll report back in a few days to if any insights. Oh, I almost forgot. My adwords budgets was only $5 a day for a month. I’ve increased that to $20 a day. I figure I’ll leave it there for a few days. I’m still trying to get as many unique visitors within my 30 day challenge, although at this point to hit my 1000 visitor target, I’m going to need 700 people to suddenly find me on the last day. Hey, please help out, if you can. Hit the like and share buttons. Who knows, maybe you know someone in Ghana who has not yet discovered my blog.

30 Day blogging Challenge Update: This has been a great experience already and I still have a week to go. I’ve had over 200 unique visitors this month already…..not bad considering that I only averaged 50 or so a month for the last year. Admittedly, I think I only posted two or three times this calendar year before I started the challenge. Actually, I just checked. I only posted once this year. It was a nice little post that got a little spike in traffic and a lot (for me) of likes. Please check it out if you are interested. It has been a lot of effort, just for an additional 150 people but I do think it will have a lasting impact, should I choose to continue posting.

At this point, I think once the challenge is over, I’ll keep posting around one post a week. My new niche, as wide as it is, will be posting about the content I’m presenting to my Foundations of Marketing class. I have to prepare for them each week anyway, so I can put together a few hundred words about the topic of the week pretty easily.

I’ve read a lot about SEO this month and I’m still unsure. Is it better to post frequently with smaller posts or to post less frequently but with longer posts? For example, if you are going to write 2000 words a week, then are you better off writing once a week a 2000 word post or writing four times a week with 500 word posts? I’ve read that the SEO spiders like the longer posts better and you can get a better SERP page ranking for your post with a post of, at least, 2000 words. On the other hand, the smaller posts are quick reads. Easier to maintain a regular schedule and each post has a chance to connect with your followers. If you already have a 1000 followers, pinging them every other day with an enjoyable quick read might be just the thing to keep them coming back. I guess the biggest factor is what will you actually do. If writing something, anything, every other day is daunting, then try to make a longer post weekly. If the idea of a massive post scares the heck out of you, then focus on smaller posts but more frequently. For the record, including this sentence, this post is right about 900 words. It is not going to dominate any SERP positions I guess but I feel like it is long enough. Trying to double my word count here seems like it would be a very long read. Hopefully, you enjoyed it and will give a like and a share and even leave a comment, even if it is just telling me where you are from.

Generating Blog Traffic With Adwords – 30 Day Blogging Challenge

Update: Day 15 and Post 5 of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge. I’m averaging a post every 3 days. My original goal was every other day…..I’ll have to up the effort a bit. That is especially important considering how blog traffic generation is tied to the days I post. See here:

Those unique visitor traffic spikes on August 3rd, 5th, 9th and 13th are the days that I posted on my blog. Those days with one to three unique visitors are the days that I didn’t generate a blog post. Two things come to mind looking at this. First, I need to post more regularly to generate traffic. Every other day isn’t sustainable during the school year as I go into professor mode but I can sustain that for the rest of August. Second, my blog traffic is coming from very short term sources. My blog is linked into my LinkedIn account and Facebook. The majority of my blog traffic is being generated from these sites. WordPress reader is a distant third. Notice how my blog traffic isn’t being generated by search terms…..yet? My traffic is coming largely from my network with a few supporting shares from readers…..(thank you and please continue to like and share.) Getting traction on search engines take time. Coral Ouellette suggests it takes three to six months before search engines will notice all the hard work you have done on your blog. This suggests that the work I’m doing now will really start to pay off in the fourth quarter in terms of generating blog traffic. Therefore, since my challenge is generating unique visitors in August, I need to take other actions……i.e. Google Adwords.

Paid search, in my opinion, works best for websites and blogs that earn their income directly. That is, instead of relying on blog traffic generating ad income, the website is selling something – whether or product or a service. Figure each unique visitor will cost you in the neighborhood of $2 to $3 each. Unless you are converting people with a sale in excess of that, the ROI just isn’t there. In the long run, search engines is the best source of new traffic…..of course, you need to stay on top of your current readership and provide content and communication so that they continue to come back. I just don’t have 3 to 6 months to wait in a 30 day challenge to generate traffic.

My blog is on wordpress. WordPress offers business and premium subscribers a $125 Google adwords credit when you chip in $25 of your own. I’m taking advantage of that. Setting up an adwords ad is really rather easy. Once you put in your website, the tool starts making recommendations. I didn’t go with very many of them….I’m just that kind of guy…but it was nice to have a starting point. It took about five minutes and I don’t think it looks too bad. What do you think?

If you tried to click the picture above……the ad text is motivating enough but you don’t need to click the add because you are already here. Since this month is all about the blogging challenge, I focused my ad on that. Google helped suggest words to use. They are all around blogging and generating traffic and I’ve directed the traffic to all go to my main page.

The ad should kick off within the hour. The spend of $150 over a month is really only expected to get me 2 to 3 incremental visitors a day. If I was going to try and pick up 900 unique visitors over the course of the rest of the challenge, I would need to spend something like $120 a day. Yeah. I’m not doing that. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. Check back often and, of course, like, share and follow please.