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Last weekend I had the honour of speaking at Blogstock, the world’s only blogging festival. It’s a mixture between a blogging conference, with talks and workshops to help improve your blogging skills, and an actual festival with tents and live music and great food and plenty of beer.
If you’re a blogger, you’ll have to agree that this is pretty much the best way to spend a weekend. You can totally geek out, network, meet new friends, catch up with old friends and learn loads of new things about blogging. But what’s best is that it isn’t in a stuffy conference centre and it has all the fun and creativity that blogging deserves.
I’ve had a lot of my fellow bloggers email me and ask to see my PowerPoint slides from my talk. I was one of the first people to speak on the Friday so some people missed it or it clashed with another talk. Unfortunately, my slides won’t give much away so I’ve decided to just give you the whole talk in written format.
Prepare yourselves, this is going to be a biggy… (which is why I’ve split it into two parts – the second part will be coming next Sunday)
How to be a 6-figure blogger
No, unfortunately I’m not talking about making £100,000 from your blog – although once you get to the all-important 6-figures there’s nothing stopping you. I’m taking about reaching 100,000 monthly pageviews.
I chose the target of 100,000 monthly pageviews because when The Travel Hack began to reach this figure (about 1 year ago) I really started to notice things change on the blog. The ball was well and truly rolling and everything significantly increased. Everything from my income, the opportunities available and the brands that wanted to work. My social media following rose, I began to make a decent affiliate income and everything was snowballing.
I wanted to focus on the topic of reaching 100,000 monthly pageviews because many of the blogging talks I’d been to in the past seemed to omit the fact that a high readership is important on a blog.
Over the years I’ve been to lots of talks about how to make money from a blog. The speakers said things like, ‘Write an e-book’, ‘offer courses’, ‘use affiliate links’, ‘work with brands’, ‘get sponsored’. I’d leave feeling all inspired and motivated and then wonder why I wasn’t making a ton of money. The reason I wasn’t making a ton of money was because I didn’t have enough readers!
I really wish someone had told me to focus my time on growing my readership and building up lots of great content.
Let’s be honest, you’re not going to make an awful lot of money from affiliate links if you don’t have many readers!
When I said this to people they’d ask what is a ‘good number of readers’. There is no easy answer here but, for me, it was 100,000 monthly pageviews.
Note: There is an exception if you have a REALLY, REALLY niche blog. If you blog about a tiny town or a very niche style of travel then you may make a nice income with a small readership. But that’s the exception, not the rule.
Is it all about the money?
My first point was that no one should blog for the money. If you’re in it for the money then you’d be much better off trying your luck elsewhere. Yes, after years and years and years of hard work, you can make a decent income from your blog but there are MUCH easier ways to make money.
A good blog is filled with passion and enthusiasm and a genuine love for a particular topic. When a blog is built for financial reasons you can tell. There isn’t the passion or the personality there, it’s just formulaic SEO and it’s boring. It might make a bit of money but the really successful blogs have some love behind them.
Choose a niche you love
Coming back to my point about passion – you have to be SO passionate about your niche. You have to live, eat, breathe, sleep you niche. You should be able to talk about it all day, everyday and make anyone who isn’t interested in your niche as equally enthusiastic about it.
I wrote a whole blog about the importance of a niche and how to find your niche so check that out.
Listen to your audience
If you’d like to grow your blog remember that you’re blogging for your readers, not just for yourself. Listen to what they want to know and create content they’re looking for. Pay attention to what they’re commenting on, what they’re sharing via social media, what they’re reading more than once and any questions they ask. It’s equally important to pay attention to what people aren’t reading! It’s great to experiment with different types of posts so from time to time you’ll probably post something that’s a massive flop.
Answer the questions people are asking
This relates to listening to your audience but also to the wider travel community. Have a look through online forums and check out the FAQs. Chances are that if someone is in a forum asking a question they will have Googled it and not found a decent answer. Now’s the chance to make sure your blog is the decent answer!
Think of this like the opportunity to fill a gap in the market. It’s lovely to write about lovely things but if you can provide answers to people’s questions then you’ll get more readers.
Use Google Analytics
If you’re not using Google Analytics already then go on and sign up. Yes, right now. Go.
Google Analytics is the best tool to analyse what is and what isn’t working on your blog.
Just a few of the things to look out for on GA are:
- The blog posts reader’s spend a long time on
- The posts they read more than once
- The posts they bounce straight off (spend a second on and then ‘x’ out)
- The social media channels that drive the most traffic
- The days of the week where you get the most traffic
- The time of the day you get the most traffic
I’ll be posting the second half of my talk next Sunday with more info about how to be a 6-figure blogger and how I actually make money as a travel blogger.
Have a great Sunday and happy travels!