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How I Built a Himalayan Mountain of Blog Success

Carol Tice

Man exults at Himalayan summitHave you wondered how to get your blog noticed? There are millions of blogs out there, all fighting for attention on the Internet.

The easy way: Boost your blog up to a higher level than all the others.

That’s why the Himalayas stand so tall. The base of the mountain range rests on a high plateau.

In other words, the mountains start from a high place, instead of sea level.

Mountains that are based on a high plateau have an easier time reaching the sky.

There’s a reason blogging is so much like building mountains.

Once you do something on your blog that grabs you more traffic, it tends to stick around.

Your following posts build on the buzz of that previous event. Things naturally build upward from there, rather than returning to your previous lower level.

For instance, take a look at what happened to traffic on this blog over the past year:

Google analytics 2013

Interesting, huh?

You can see that prior to summer 2012, my blog couldn’t get 1,000 pageviews in a day for love or money. Then there were three inflection points — in midsummer 2012, fall 2012, and January 2013 — that boosted blog traffic up a notch and kept it there.

Guest post-a-rama

In midsummer 2012 — when I did several guest posts on popular blogs like Write to Done and Freelance Switch that all went up around the same time period — I attracted some new readers.

Once I hit 1,000, it wasn’t a one-time thing. I continued to hit that level routinely.

Getting featured

Then, in fall 2012, I did several Q&A interviews where I was the subject of posts on popular blogs.

That had an even better effect — you can see the blog more frequently hits 1,000 views, and starts to exceed that level.

Big win

In January 2013, Write to Done announced its Top 10 Blogs for Writers, and this blog made the winners list for the second time.

Sha-wow! All of a sudden, nearly every post is well over 1,000 views, and the two weekdays when I don’t post anything new stay fairly high, too. The only days that dip below 1,000 now are the weekends.

As you can see from the hard numbers on my traffic, once you build a bigger audience, you’re on a higher plateau and it’s easier to hit a higher traffic level routinely on your blog.

The gains are incremental, but you can see traffic is now nearly double what it was back in spring 2012.

In terms of the big guys, this is still bitty traffic. But for me, twice as much traffic still makes a huge difference in my business.

And of course, more visitors means more subscribers, and ultimately, more income from your blog.

How can you create a plateau like this for your blog?

Here’s a quick guide to the techniques I’ve found most successful:

  • Guest posts. It takes some experimentation to find the popular blogs that will send you the best traffic, but appearing on bigger blogs is a key strategy for rising to a new plateau. For best results, create a custom landing page for visitors from the big blog, and time your guest posts to all go in a short time frame. This makes you seem to be everywhere and builds your authority like wild.
  • Controversy. Heat and energy get things happening. The Himalayas were formed when the Asian continent struck India. Ask yourself what the hot topics are in your industry — what do people have strong opinions about? Then, write more about those. For this blog, content mills, bid sites, and revenue-share platforms seem to be the hot buttons, so you may have noticed you’re seeing more coverage of these topics. Including more posts on these topics has driven my typical number of comments through the roof.
  • Networking. Besides just guest posting for big blogs, try to form relationships. Get out to conferences and meet people in person. For instance, I went to NMX mostly to meet my mentor Jon Morrow from Copyblogger and Boost Blog Traffic, and I’m traveling to World Domination Summit in Portland this July mostly so I can try to meet Darren Rowse from Problogger. These sort of connections tend to help you end up mentioned in posts about other great blogs to follow.
  • Be different. One of the things I did about 18 months ago was I started paying for blog posts. That immediately set this blog apart — and got it mentioned on dozens of posts on other blogs about paying blog markets. Result: Strong links that help search results for this blog, and new readers who follow my link to check me out because I pay. Look at what everyone else is doing in your niche and see what you could do that’s newsworthy.
  • Viral posts. There are certain types of posts that tend to get more traffic. A great example is “best of,” roundup, mashup, or “Top 10” type posts that mention successful people with large audiences of their own. You’ll often see those top bloggers share your post and it’ll bring you new readers.
  • Get interviewed. If guest posting is good, being the subject of a post on a popular blog is way better. You’re presented as an expert, and you don’t have to work as hard as when you write a guest post. If you get asked to do a Q&A, never say no.
  • Enter contests. Two of my biggest traffic spikes ever on this blog come from the two Top 10 Blogs wins. And I’ll let you in on a secret — I got a pretty decent traffic jump just from being listed as a finalist in a post prior to the one announcing the winners! Contests are a great, fairly easy source of exposure that allow new readers to discover you.

Every blogger has to choose the ways to grow traffic that work for their blog. Not every approach will be right for you.

For instance, one I haven’t done is sending partial posts on email to force readers to visit the blog to read the full post. I know that would get me more traffic…and many big bloggers do it…but I also know many readers hate partial-post emails. For now, I’m sticking with full posts on email.

What are you doing to take your blog to the next level? Leave a comment and tell us your approach.