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5 Lessons That I Learnt After Building a +100,000 Monthly Reader Blog cover

5 Lessons That I Learned After Building a +100,000 Monthly Reader Blog.

+100,000 Monthly Readers. Sounds cool, right? 

Surprisingly, it will sound even cooler if I say that around 18 months ago, the same blog was getting just over  133 monthly readers. And yes, I’m talking about my financial education blog, Trade Brains.

Although I’m not trying to brag, I’m pleased to share that Trade Brains’ journey so far has been phenomenal. In the period of eighteen months since launch, Trade Brains has grown its email list to +26,000 subscribers, Facebook page to +13,000 followers and Youtube channel of +3,400 subscribers. Alongside +100,000 monthly readers, the blog is getting over +190,000 monthly page views.

google analytics september 100000 visitors

Anyways, my journey with trade brains has taught me a lot of lessons in both personal and professional life.

In my personal life, this journey has evolved my mindset. Today, I stand confident that I can build more online businesses which can attract audience and traction. I’m not dependent on a 9-to-5 job, rather I prefer to give jobs to interested people through my blogs and other online startups. Moreover, this journey has taught me that building an online empire requires strategies and smart work, rather just working hard.

In my professional life, I’ve learned a lot related to blog growth hacks and digital marketing. Whether it is search engine optimization, email marketing or video marketing on Youtube, I’ve learned a lot all through practice. Besides, there one thing that I can definitely say — Reading blog posts by famous marketers and watching videos on Youtube regarding blog growth, is totally different from actually implementing the ideas on your real blog and succeeding. While working on your blog, you’ll face many major and minor difficulties which you have to solve most of them yourself.

In this post, we are going to discuss 5 such important lessons that I learned after building a +100,000 Monthly Reader Blog. Let’s get started.

5 Lessons That I Learned After Building a +100,000 Monthly Reader Blog.

1. Have a definite goal and strategy:

The path to success is defined by your goal and execution. If you do not have a goal and strategy to execute it, you will simply be wandering around and reaching nowhere.

The first step for your blogging success is to define your goal and specify the metrics to measure it. Your goals should be actionable and trackable. For example- “I will get 10,000 monthly blog readers in the next ten months”.

This goal is much actionable and trackable than just setting a dreamy goal like “I’ll grow my blog”. Without measurable metrics, you won’t be able to make a strategy and without a strategy, your blog won’t grow.

Therefore, always start with defining your goal. What’s your goal? — Do you want unique visitors,  organic traffic from the search engine, traffic from social media, big social following or a specific number of daily active users? Once you have a defined goal, you can build a strategy to execute that goal.

For our original example of “I will get 10,000 monthly blog readers in next ten months”, you can achieve this goal by using different methods like writing frequent blog posts, building an email list and sending the newsletters, search engine optimization, guest posting, sharing on social media etc. Here, you can plan the estimated numbers.

For example, To get 10k monthly visitors, you can plan 60% of your traffic by writing 60 quality blog posts. If each post has an estimated 100 average monthly visitors, they will convert 6k visitors. Next, you can plan 20% of traffic through social media. To get this much traffic, you have to figure out how many followers you’ll need and how frequently you need to share contents on the social platform. Further, you can get the remaining traffic via email marketing, youtube marketing, referrals etc. Overall, if you have a goal and strategy, you can test out things.

Please note that sometimes one execution method may work better than others. Maybe your blog will get more traffic from social compared to email marketing. Nonetheless, you can always reshape your execution in the future. But having a specific matrix which is trackable will help you to plan your progress.

2. Build really helpful contents

It is rightly said that “Content is the king”. Although these days, people also notice the blog theme and design, however, one thing that pisses everyone out is reading ‘useless’ contents.

For example- Let’s say that there’s a post with a headline– ’How to cook Chicken Tikka in 30 minutes!’. However, once you opened that post, you found that you are not really able to understand the recipe. It is not detailed and the author has just summarized the procedure without explaining the step-by-step process. What would be your reaction? Most probably, you’ll bounce back and find better contents for the same recipe.

Having bad contents hurts google ranking because Google notices the audience behavior. If Google finds out that each of your blog visitors is jumping back and looking for another blog post for the same search query, they’ll understand that your contents are not satisfactory and hence they will devote you in google search ranking.

On the other hand, if you’ve written awesome contents, not just Google will reward it by ranking higher, even the audience will appreciate your contents and share it with their friends on social media. And don’t forget, Word of mouth is the best advertisement. Writing terrific contents is the most essential ingredient for building loyal readers.

Further, the quantity of posts doesn’t matter. It’s the quality. Even if you’re writing just two really helpful blog posts per week, it is enough to drive decent traffic. For example- Here is a link to the blog of one of my favorite marketer- Brain Dean from Backlinko. His blog has hardly 50 articles. Still, it is getting millions of views per month. Why? Because his contents are excellent.

Also read: Why Your Content Is The Only Thing That Matters?

3. Rule at least one social media

If you’re the only one managing your blog, social media and everything related to your blog, it’s really difficult to maintain multiple social profiles. Yes, you can use platforms like hoot suite, buffer etc to automate the posting, but its challenging to grow all your social profiles at the same time when your focus is diverted.

A better approach would be to pick just one social media and put all your energy on that one which is most likely to give the best results. It can be Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, youtube, quora or any other platform of your choice.

For example- if you are creating entertaining contents, Facebook is a good platform for you. On the other hand, for educational niche, videos perform better and youtube channel can drive huge traffic to your blog. For building brand awareness, Instagram can provide a better reach.

In my case, I preferred Quora for promoting my blog as it was bringing the best traction. I’ve written over 650 answers on Quora which got over 2.4 million views. Initially, I started with Facebook and grew the page to over 10k followers soon. But the organic reach of Facebook was poor and even the audience was not much targeted. Most people on Facebook are on ‘Scroll’ mode i.e. to scroll the news feed looking for entertaining posts. People on facebook do not want to read the long financial contents that I used to share on my facebook page. On the other hand, people on Quora are in reading mode. And that’s why people were interested to read my financial answers and converted better.

Overall, your strategy while starting out should be to choose one right platform and rule it. Initially, it may take some time to figure out which one works out best for you. But once you’ve found the right platform, get involved in it aggressively.

Moreover, after getting a decent authority and followership on your first social platform, leverage it to cross promote your other social profiles. For example- if you’re active on Twitter and have built massive followers there, you can always ask your followers to also check out your Instagram profile and follow. Using this simple approach, you can refer your followers on different channels.

Also read: Search vs Social Content Marketing: Which One to Prefer?

4. Work Your a** off in the backend.

Publishing contents are only the one-fourth of your total work. There are many things going on in the back-end that most people are not aware of. For example- promoting your contents once published, sharing on social platforms, generating backlinks, guest posting, email marketing, influencer outreach, topic research, search engine optimization etc.

Many of these backend pieces of stuff are not visible to the general public. I mean, if you publish one post daily, this is easily noticeable to the public. They will understand that you are working hard every day to create new contents for your audience. However, if you building links, guest posting and doing other things on the backend, all these things won’t be visible to the general public.

Nevertheless, it is really important that you do not skip this back-end works in order to just produce contents. It won’t matter how many contents you produce if no one is reading it. The best approach will be to find a balance between the regular postings in the front end and other important back-end works like guest posting, sending newsletters, link building etc. Many marketers (including me) use the 80-20 principle for these processes. This simply means to use 20% of your total time in creating contents and remaining 80% in backend works like marketing.

seo

5. Be consistent

Last November 2017, I took ’30 days, 30 posts’ challenge on Trade Brains blog. I repeated the same challenge on August 2018. And can you guess the results at the end of the challenge both times? My blog traffic increased by over 28% compared to the months when I used to blog inconsistently (just two times a week).

Consistency is the key to success in whatever you’re doing. I know, writing one article every day for 30 consecutive days can be little stressful and maybe not implementable for many of you, especially who are also doing a full-time job. However, there is no alternative to being consistent if you want to grow your blog.

One of the biggest reasons for the success of Trade Brains blog is that that I’ve been consistent in producing quality contents. In the last 18 months, Trade Brains has produced over 250 high-quality articles.

Anyways, if you cannot produce one content each day, take a different challenge. For example- “3 posts per week for the next 90 days”. You can choose whichever challenge/strategy suits you the best. But if you want to see your traffic and conversions rise with time you need to be consistent.

Also read:

Closing Thoughts

Building an online empire requires a few secrets that can be learned only by practicing.

However, once you have learned those rules, it stays with you for the rest of life, no matter how many times google or facebook changes their algorithm.

Increase Blog Traffic in India Using Medium

3 Actionable Ways to Increase Blog Traffic in India Using Medium.

3 Actionable Ways to Increase Blog Traffic in India Using Medium.

Maintaining (or increasing) the traffic of a blog is always a challenge for the bloggers. Due to the consistently rising new competitions, depending on a single source of traffic can be stupid. And that’s why most bloggers or website owners are always looking for new sources or platforms which are less competitive to drive big traffic.

In this post, we are going to discuss one such new platform which Indian bloggers or website owners can leverage to increase their reader’s count. And this new platform is Medium.com.

Medium

Right now, Medium is in the same growth phase where Facebook or Quora used to be four-five years ago. The monthly active users on Medium is continuously increasing for the last many months. Although it’s still not a big trend in India to use Medium, however, in upcoming months Medium is definitely going to increase its audience from India. After all, we Indians do get attracted to the American/European trend, after a while.

Moreover, if you are blogging from India, there are not enough competitions on Medium yet. You will rarely find any of your competitor who is active on Medium. When most of the bloggers are fighting to get traffic using paid ads on Facebook, you can start building your empire on medium. By the time your competitors will realize it, you would have built an authority on the medium which will help you to drive a ton of consistent traffic on your blog.

Overall, Medium is one of the fastest-growing platforms that you can leverage today in order to increase your blog traffic in the future.

Anyways, I forgot to mention what actually is Medium?

Medium is an online publishing platform. Here you can publish your articles/blogs for free and get followers on your profile. (Even you can get paid for publishing contents on the medium by joining medium partner program.)

The best part is that people visit medium to read. In other words, they are in the ‘Read-mode’ (Not like ‘scroll down’ or ‘Pass-time’ mode when they visit facebook, twitter or any other social platforms). And that’s why you can find a targeted audience on Medium who are interested to read. And if your contents are good, you can definitely convert them into followers and your blog readers.

Also read: How I grew my blog from 0 to 133,891 monthly page views within 12 Months? [With a Day Job]

How to publish contents on Medium?

Publishing content on Medium is really simple.

All you need to get started is to create a free account using email/google/facebook/twitter etc and start publishing the contents.The platform to write posts is literally easier than MS word or any other document editor that you might have used. Here is a quick snapshot of how medium editor looks like→

medium post

Pretty clean and simple, right?

And that’s why people love publishing on Medium. You do not need any technical knowledge to start publishing your contents here. It’s really easy and fast.

Also read: 11 Insanely Easy Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Blog

3 Actionable ways to increase blog traffic in India using Medium:

Now that you have understood what is Medium and why you should start using it. Here are the three ways to leverage medium to increase your blog traffic in India:

1. Repost blog contents on medium

You do not always need to create new contents to publish on Medium.

If you have already written an awesome post earlier on your blog/website, why not to share it with millions of monthly users of Medium. Many of these people might be looking for contents like yours to read. And therefore, by reposting your same post on Medium, you are marketing your content to a bigger audience.

A Quick Tip- While reposting on Medium, post the older contents which have already been published for at least 3–4 weeks on your blog/website. This will give google enough time to index your blog post and acknowledge that the content was originally posted on your blog and not a fresh content on Medium. This will help you to avoid any competition of your original blog for google ranking against that post from the medium. Here, Google will simply understand that you are reposting the content and your original blog should be preferred in ranking. Anyways, many times, both contents (from your blog and medium) gets ranked on google, which is like a double-benefit.

2. Increase backlinks and leads using Medium posts.

Getting a backlink from authority websites by submitting a guest post takes a lot of time and efforts. Moreover, you’ve put a extra work to find and convince those authority websites’ owners/editors to publish your content. However, the medium is a very good alternative here. Medium has a very high domain authority. By publishing contents on the medium platform, you can easily create massive backlinks without many efforts.

Moreover, if your content is getting decent traffic on medium, your links will divert the audience to your blog. You can also place a lead magnet on your medium content to convert the audience into leads or subscribers.

3. Publish your contents on big publications.

There are a number of publications on Medium who have over 40–50k followers. Publications are like a specific niche — which a group of people with similar interests follows. You can publish your contents on these big publications to reach a bigger audience.

Moreover, unlike guest posting, it’s really easy to publish your contents in these big publications. The editors/owners of these publications are constantly looking for new posts/articles that they can share in their publication to keep it active and engaged. Therefore, all you need to do is to find a good publication in your niche and approach the editor/owner (the contact profile of owner/editor is available in all the publications).

medium publications

A better approach will be to first write an excellent content on Medium that you want to submit to the publication and then share the link of that post with the editor/owner. If your content is good and related to the publication’s niche, the editor will readily accept it.

Anyways, there are thousands of publications on Medium and you can publish your content in just one. Therefore, you need to be very choosy while selecting the best publication which has more audience/follower that you are targeting.

Quick Note: If you publish a good content on a big publication and are able to attract a lot of readers and get many claps (which is similar to likes/upvotes), then it will actually be amazing for you. This engagement may push your content on the first page of the medium. And if that happens, your blog will be flooded with a huge traffic.

Also read: 9 Tested Ways to Monetize Your Blog- #6 is My Favourite

Bottom line

If you are looking for an alternative method to drive traffic to your blog, which has a comparatively less competition, then Medium is a very good option. This platform is still not flooded with the marketers and hence you can leverage it to increase the audience of your blog/website.

That’s all for this post. I hope it was helpful to you. Happy Blogging.

How I grew my blog from 0 to 133,891 monthly page views within 10 Months - Trade Brains google analytics

How I grew my blog from 0 to 133,891 monthly page views within 12 Months? [With a Day Job]

HONEST DISCLAIMER: I didn’t use any paid advertisements/traffic to get these page views. Over 68% of my traffic came directly from organic search. Here’s a quick snapshot from google analytics of Trade Brains.

Trade Brains google traffic

Lessons from the past:

FailedStamp-minFirst of all, I would like to mention that Trade Brains was not my first project.

My blogging journey started back in 2014 (when I was a 19-year-old college kid). My first website, Messed Up Infinitely (MUI), an entertainer website — that I started with few of my friends in college, FAILED…!!!

 After two years of working (inconsistently) on the website, we finally decided to shut it down in the year 2016.

The website doesn’t exist anymore, however, the different social pages are still there (In fact, MUI has over 3k likes on its Facebook page).

The reasons why my first website failed- 

1. I (and my team) was not passionate about the niche. We just enjoyed building something big. But no one cared much about the value or content.

2. We tried to cover everything and hence failed to build a loyal (repetitive) audience. We started covering contents with FIFA 2014 news, then moved to TV Series like GOT, FRIENDS etc, then shifted to Harry Potter topics… The biggest problem was that even we didn’t know what was the theme of the website.

3. We focused too much on traffic and monetization instead of building a great website. With viral (clickbait) topics like “How Game of Thrones might end?’ and posting it in facebook GOT groups with over 100k members, we were even able to generate +10k pageviews in a single day from a single post. However, we lacked consistency. A GOT fan will not read FIFA posts, right? Although traffic means more revenue from ads, it doesn’t mean growth.

Nevertheless, failures are a great teacher.

I learned a lot from my first failed website and moreover, it left an etching feeling inside me. I knew that many people are able to build a successful website. But the fact that we couldn’t simply be meant that there was something wrong with our approach.

Trade Brains’ Success Story

I launched Trade Brains (https://www.tradebrains.in) in January 2017.

launch-minAt that time, I was working as a graduate engineer trainee (GET) at Tata Motors. It was my first full-time job and I’ve been working there since last six months before starting Trade Brains.

Tata Motors is a fortune 500 company which manufactures automobiles. I was working in the Quality Assurance department and it was a hectic six days -nine hours job (Only holidays was Sunday). Nevertheless, in January 2017, I decided to hustle sideways.

Initially, it was really difficult to maintain a balance between work and side project. When you work in a day job, most of your productive hours are gone. By the time you reach home, your brain will be so tired that the only thing that it will want to do is to watch TV. It was really exhausting to come back home and work on the website.

However, this time, it was something different. This time- I was passionate about my website.

Btw… I forgot to tell you what is TRADE BRAINS’ all about?

Trade brains is a financial education blog focused to teach stock market investing and personal finance to the DIY (do-it-yourself) Investors.

trade brains homepage

The best part of starting trade brains was that I enjoyed talking about and writing about INVESTING topics. That’s why it never felt like a job and I was easily able to work on my website till 2–3 AM in the night.

Phase I: Jan-March 2017— (Zero Growth)

I started Trade Brains in January 2017. However, I was hardly able to give 2–3 hours per week during first three months. Moreover, I used these 2–3 hours only to build the website and write contents (no marketing, no social sharing… nothing else). Anyways, in the first 3 months, I was able to write 8–10 articles on Trade brains.

Although I have written a few of my best articles during this phase, however, it wasn’t getting any traffic. The monthly traffic for Trade Brains for the first three months of the launch was less than 100 page views per month. (Please note that I knew SEO at that time and had done on-page SEO on all my contents).

In short, I learned a very important lesson in this phase-

“BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME… IS WRONG”.

vacany-min

Even if you build a great website with amazing contents, you will not get traffic on its own. You have to market your website.

(In the next phase of Trade Brains, the same contents that I wrote in Jan-March are going to great the most traffic. Although the content didn’t change, my strategy did.)

Phase II: April -July 2018 — (Steady traffic)

It was April 2017- when I decided to get serious with my blog.

Working 2–3 hours per week was not enough. Moreover, just working on website and writing contents wasn’t working out.

I changed my strategy. I started working +30 hours a week (alongside my day job) on Trade Brains. Further, this time I was more focused on marketing and getting TRAFFIC.

I already knew that I have written some amazing contents on my blog in the phase I. Therefore, all I needed to do was to drive the audience on those contents.

Anyways, this wasn’t really difficult.

Hard-Work-Success-Icon-Image-1400x800-862x493-minBecause of my past experience of working on my first website, I already knew many tips and strategies to get huge traffic. (Please note that although I knew the strategies, however, it required a lot of work. It wasn’t difficult, but it was time-talking).

In this phase II of trade brains, I continued writing 1–2 blog posts per week and then dedicated the majority of time in marketing those contents. Few of the common sources to drive traffic that I used was to post in facebook groups, Reddit, answering on Quora, joining the forums and actively getting involved in different threads, cross promotion etc.

During this phase, the traffic was directly proportional to the amount of hard work that I did. The traffic was not passive!!

This means that the more I promoted and marketed my content, the more traffic I was able to generate. Between April to July, I started getting a steady traffic of 18k -20k page views per month.

Phase III: Aug 17-Jan 2018 — Rapid Growth

After three months of continuous content creation and marketing, finally, I started noticing passive traffic on my website.

With time (and work), I was able to generate decent backlinks to my website and moreover, it was even growing automatically.

qualitative-growth-min(I realized this when I took a week off (no blogging or marketing) to go on a vacation with my parents. I was afraid that the traffic is going to decline and all my work from the past few months will be in vain. However, after a week, when I returned back and checked my website traffic, I was jumping on the bed with happiness. Literally no work and still I was able to generate over 8k page views that week.)

From Aug 17 to Jan 18, I noticed a rapid growth in the blog.

All the hard work of the last few months was finally showing up. My contents started getting ranked on the first page of google for many keywords. Different websites/bloggers started referring to my contents and website.

Although during this phase, I wasn’t working as hard as phase II, I was getting a consistently increasing traffic. From around 30k page views on Aug 17, trade brains grew to over 130k monthly page views by the end of January.

Reasons Why Trade Brains became a hit?

There are few lessons that I learned from my first failed website and second successful one. Moreover, I believe if my first website was a hit, I wouldn’t have learned so much. Here are the reasons why Trade Brains became a hit:

1. Writing ‘genuinely’ helpful posts.

All my contents on Trade Brains was focused to help people. I didn’t write contents just to write it. For my first website, we generally published 4-5 posts per week. However, for Trade Brains, the frequency was small: 1-2 posts per week.

But this time, the contents were genuinely helpful. I wanted the public to learn something when they are willing to spend their precious time on my blog. And once you start giving value through your contents, people (and Google) will appreciate it.

2. Consistency

Since April 2017, I’ve consistently given +30 hours per week time to Trade Brains. It wasn’t like ‘work a month’ and then ‘take a leave for the next two’.

consistency-min

I didn’t consider Trade Brains as my side project since April and was consistently working on it. Even when I was hanging out with friends or was on a vacation, I was consistently thinking of what new ideas that I can implement to improve the website. Although it seems a small journey, however, being consistent for 12 months with a day job is really tedious (but worth it).

3. 20% time on content creation and 80% on marketing

It’s good to write amazing content but if you’re not marketing it, it won’t generate traffic automatically. From the phase II of trade brains, I started giving 80% of my time to market the content. And it really gave a significant result.

Closing Thoughts

Building a successful website or blog is the dream of many online entrepreneurs. However, it’s not much difficult. All you need is a passion and a willingness to consistently work hard.

After over 18 months of launch, Trade Brains is still growing at a good pace.

That’s all. Take care. And keep hustling!!