In today’s post, I want to share my blogging success story with you…
In that interview, I shared the growth of this blog over the first three to four years. I thought I would take some of that data and share it with you today, and give you even more information and insights.
I do NONE of this to brag. There are many blogs out there much bigger and more successful than this one. I don’t claim to be the biggest or the best. However, I easily have one of the top five most popular blogs in the world in my NICHE, and I am in a VERY competitive niche. I’m proud of that.
How did I become successful? People ask me that question at least 10 times a day.
I can tell you right now it wasn’t luck! It didn’t happen by chance either. The “blog fairy” didn’t sprinkle magic dust on me while I was sleeping (although that would have been nice).
Instead, I had a plan, worked hard, remained persistent and consistent, and stayed the course for several YEARS. I did what most people aren’t willing to do!
If you get nothing else out of this article, that is my best advice if you want to build a successful blog in any niche.
You must have a plan, work hard, remain persistent and consistent, and stay the course for several years (or more) if you want to build a successful and profitable blog. This is a LONG TERM project, not the lottery.
Building a successful blog really is a minimum five year project, assuming your are blogging four to six times a week. If you’re blogging less than that, I think 10 YEARS is a more realistic time-frame.
Don’t worry about that though. The time will go by anyway. If you stick with it you will be glad that you did. You will make money and have something you can be proud of.
Once you have a successful blog, it’s very easy to maintain. However, building a successful, high traffic, money making blog will take tons of hard work, and probably much longer than you expect. No one ever tells you that upfront, but it’s the truth.
That’s why you see so many abandoned blogs online. People start out excited for a few months and then they realize there is actually work involved, and they won’t get rich overnight, so they throw in the towel and quit. According to some internet stats, nearly 90% of all blogs haven’t been updated in at least three months. These blogs have been abandoned! The blogger QUIT!
Keep in mind folks, there is no such thing as fast, free or easy. You only see crap promising things like that in cheap internet ads or in Las Vegas. Building a successful business, or blog, is not fast, free or easy. BUT IT IS WORTH IT!
There is nothing like working from home in your pajamas. No boss. No commute. No office politics. Just you, your favorite pajamas, your laptop, and all of those exciting ideas in your head.
Best of all, you get to help people, express yourself and write about something you love. It’s like a dream come true.
I should also tell you that when I first started blogging, I didn’t really like to write. However, by writing every day, I eventually fell in love with writing. Now, I can’t wait to wake up and write about what is on my mind.
Weird? I don’t think so.
My blog didn’t get off to a fast start either. If I would have based my future success on what I accomplished in the first couple years, I would have quit blogging a long time ago. However, I had a vision and stuck with it. I knew I could make it work. Food for thought.
All businesses, even blogs take a few years to succeed. Sometimes it can even take five years or longer to get a business really profitable and efficient. Don’t believe me? Just ask any entrepreneur.
Five years is nothing. Well, to most people it is a LOT of time, because they expect instant gratification. However, the real world doesn’t work that way; especially entrepreneurship.
Anything worth accomplishing takes time, effort, hard work, money and persistence. And you know what’s funny? The harder I work the luckier I get.
Before I share my stats with you, I would like to take a minute or two and tell you the story behind the story. All successful people have a story behind the story, although they seldom tell you about it.
Way back in 2009, I became intrigued with internet marketing. I knew the internet would continue to grow, and I wanted to make money from it.
I also believed the internet created a level playing field for anyone. It didn’t matter who you are, where you lived, your experience, or what level of education you had; you could build a successful, global business while working from home in your pajamas.
My first little website was CharlesHolmes.net. I just shared a few ideas about how to make money online. I used web.com to build that website. I kept that website for a couple of years, but never really made any money with it. It was a small website, about 10-20 pages.
What I do remember about that website is making my first sale. I sold an affiliate product and made $48.50 in commissions from that one sale. I will never forget that day. I knew that if I could figure out how to make one sale, I would eventually make hundreds of sales.
In October 2010, on Halloween, I got started with Site Build It. I used their software program to build a huge website, more than TWO THOUSAND pages.
Unfortunately, I did some shady link building strategies with that website. I was making decent money (couple thousand per month) and getting good traffic. Unfortunately, with the Panda and Penguin updates, Google turned off my traffic overnight and I went from making good money to making NOTHING.
It hurt…. really, really bad. My pride was damaged and my bank account destroyed. I wasn’t making a lot of money at the time, but I REALLY REALLY needed that money.
I knew that my website would never rebound from that. I could either throw in the towel and go back to a day job, or I could start over from scratch and do things right this time around.
I decided to start over. I took all the knowledge of what to do, and what not to do, and launched this blog back in April 2013.
From day one, I worked around the clock, normally 12+ hours per day. I did that for the first 2.5 years, without seeing much of a return on my investment, financially. I got frustrated, burnt out and angry.
One day, something switched and my website started to get a lot of traffic and make money. It has continued to grow ever since. You will see some of the stats below.
Had I judged this website based on the first few years’ performance, I would have quit. Once again, I had a vision and I am now reaping the rewards of my hard work.
To succeed in blogging, you will have to do the same thing. You have to pay your dues! You have to learn from your mistakes! You have to persist when everything inside of you, and all of your friends, tell you that you are crazy.
I’ve since learned that the people who call you crazy will one day ask you “if you are hiring” if you stick with what you are doing and succeed.
So, let’s get into the stats and share what happened each year of my blog.
Year 1 Results (2013) Blogging
I launched this blog on April 8, 2013. Here are my stats for the first year.
- We had 66,982 total visitors in 2013
- We had 54,118 unique visitors in 2013
- We had 147,165 page views in 2013
- We averaged 250.9 visitors per day in 2013
- We averaged 202.7 unique visitors per day in 2013
- We averaged 551.2 page views per day in 2013
*** These stats are based off the 267 days we were in business in 2013, since we started on April 8th. All stats come from Google Analytics.
- We received 2,836 blog comments in 2013
- We published 414 pieces of content (34 pages and 380 new blog posts) in 2013
Year 2 Results (2014) Blogging
We saw some great success in 2014. Here are a few of our big achievements:
- We had 191,342 total visitors in 2014 compared to 66,982 in 2013 (286% growth)
- We had 150,165 unique visitors in 2014 compared to 54,118 in 2013 (277% growth)
- We had 278,807 page views in 2014 compared to 147,165 in 2013 (89% growth)
- We averaged 524.2 visitors per day in 2014 compared to 250.9 visitors per day in 2013 (209% growth)
- We averaged 411.4 unique visitors per day in 2014 compared to 202.7 in 2013 (203% growth)
- We averaged 763.9 page views per day in 2014 compared to 551.2 in 2013 (39% growth)
- We started our own podcast and published 30 podcasts
- We received 3,006 blog comments in 2014 compared to 2,836 in 2013
- I generated 4,111 leads, which consists of 2,974 leads for my MLM Boot Camp, 317 weight loss leads, 624 leads for my business opportunity and and 196 leads for my mailing list
- We started a private MLM Mastermind Group of Facebook and added 296 new members
- We added approximately 34 videos to our YouTube Channel
- We created 6 pages and 365 blog posts for a total of 371 new pages of content
- I joined a new business opportunity in May 2014 and personally sponsored 33 people between May and December
Year 3 Results (2015) Blogging
- We had 322,211 total visitors in 2015 compared to 191,342 in 2014 (59% growth)
- We had 250,339 unique visitors in 2015 compared to 150,165 in 2014 (60% growth)
- We had 458,373 page views in 2015 compared to 278,807 in 2014 (61% growth)
- We averaged 882.8 visitors per day in 2015 compared to 524.2 visitors per day in 2014 (59% growth)
- We averaged 685.9 unique visitors per day in 2015 compared to 411.4 in 2014 (60% growth)
- We averaged 1,255.8 page views per day in 2015 compared to 763.9 in 2014 (61% growth)
- We published 285 podcasts and had 26,393 total views/downloads
- We received 3,076 blog comments in 2015 compared to 3,006 in 2014
- We grew our private MLM Mastermind Group of Facebook from 296 new members in 2014 to 677 members in 2015
- We generated 4,815 leads, which consists of 3,871 leads for my MLM Boot Camp (previous year: 2,974) and 944 leads for my MLM Company (previous year: 624)
- We generated 894 leads for Elite Marketing Pro
- We published 365 pages of new content in 2015 (10 pages and 355 posts) compared to 371 pages of content in 2014
Year 4 Results (2016) Blogging
- We had 486,035 total visitors in 2016 compared to 322,211 in 2015 (51% growth)
- We had 385,449 unique visitors in 2016 compared to 250,339 in 2015 (54% growth)
- We had 668,951 page views in 2016 compared to 458,373 in 2015 (46% growth)
- We averaged 1,331.6 visitors per day in 2016 compared to 882.8 visitors per day in 2015 (51% growth)
- We averaged 1,056 unique visitors per day in 2016 compared to 685.9 in 2015 (54% growth)
- We averaged 1,832.7 page views per day in 2016 compared to 1,255.8 in 2015 (46% growth)
These stats are from my Google Analytics account and can easily be verified. About 98% of my traffic was free traffic from social media and the search engines.
2016 Year in Review Misc. Stats
- We published 297 podcasts and had 60,694 total views/downloads
- We grew our private MLM Mastermind Group of Facebook from 677 new members in 2015 to 1,298 members in 2016
- We generated 5,436 leads, which consists of 4,219 leads for my MLM Boot Camp and 1,217 leads for my MLM Company
- We generated 3,454 leads for Elite Marketing Pro
- We published 286 pages of new content in 2016 compared to 365 pages of content in 2015
What I Have Planned for 2017
2017 should be an epic year for me. I would like to have 750,000 visitors, 600,000 unique visitors and 1 million page views. I will launch some new products and probably even do a redesign to convert more visitors into subscribers and customers.
My Blogging Mistakes
My blogging success story is not all roses, bunnies and fu-fu dust. I’ve been fortunate to do a few things right, although I did many things wrong. Here are some of the worst mistakes I made blogging, especially during the first few years.
# 1 Picked a Big Niche: First off, let me clarify that I love the subject of my blog. It’s my passion. I love network marketing. That being said, this is a VERY competitive niche with millions of blogs in it. That means I have tons of competition online I have to compete with for the same keyword searches. This makes ranking a website high in the search engines quite challenging. It would have been much better off to pick one aspect of network marketing, such as lead generation, and just focus on that. When your niche is too big, and too broad, you compete with the big boys, who have deep marketing pockets. It’s much better to pick a smaller niche. Remember this, the internet is all about NICHES: groups of people interested in a certain topic. Ideally, you want to to be a big fish in a small pond.
# 3 My Writing Style Was Boring: When it comes to blogging, you need to “find your voice.” This is your own unique writing style. It took me a few years of writing to find my voice. The mistake I made was trying to make my posts read like everyone else’s posts. I have since learned that people prefer writing that is conversational in nature, not dull and boring. You need to educate and entertain your readers at the same time. You want them to “hold on to” every word you write, so they keep coming back to your blog, and they share your posts with others. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, my writing style is “No B.S” with a twist of humor.
# 4 I Focused on Making Money First: The biggest mistake I see bloggers make is trying to make money right way. As a result, their blog is bombarded with ads and affiliate links. Yes, your blog is a business, and you need to make money. I get that. However, your blog won’t make money until you build an audience first. This is a group of people who like you, know you, and trust you, and keep returning to your blog to see what information you share next. Your only purpose during your first few years of blogging should be to build your audience. Once you have an audience, making money with your blog is pretty easy. Without an audience, you won’t make any money.
My Blogging Success Tips
Like I mentioned in the previous section, I did a few things right. Here are a few of my best success tips, so you can learn from them.
# 1 Pick a Topic You Are Overly Passionate About: Passion trumps money. If you don’t love what you write about, you will NEVER stick with it during the difficult times. That’s why so many bloggers give up: they’re just chasing money. You want to pick a topic where you will NEVER run out of fresh ideas to write about. You want a topic that you are 100% passionate about, so you wake up everyday excited to write your next post. Because I love network marketing, it’s easy for me to remain excited about the topic. I never feel like I am working. I always have something to write about. You want something you feel the same way about.
# 2 Have a Business Plan. A blog is a business. To succeed in a business of any type, you need a game plan. You can’t wing it. If you want your blog to succeed, you need a WRITTEN business plan. This will clearly identify your goals, strategy, what you will write about, how often you will publish new content, and how you will promote your blog. You should have a one year and five-year plan for your blog. You should have specific monthly goals. In addition to your business plan, you should have a written marketing plan. In other words, how will other people find out about your blog? Like they say in the Army, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Take the time to come up with a written plan. Review it daily and make adjustments when necessary.
# 3 Associate with Successful Bloggers. If you have kids you understand the power of association. You don’t want your kids to hang around “bad kids” because you don’t want them negatively influenced. When it comes to blogging, it makes sense to find a few blogging friends (you can do this online). You can learn from each other and encourage each other. These people know what you are going through as you build your blog. While everyone you know will think you are crazy, these folks will be your biggest cheerleaders.
# 4 Track Your Blog’s Growth and Metrics. Two of my favorite words are “continuous improvement.” Nothing is perfect. No one is perfect. We can all improve. I highly suggest you track the growth and key metrics of your blog each month, so you can see the growth, even if it’s small growth. It won’t be huge growth overnight, but I believe that when you can physically see progress, it’s much easier to stay committed. I simply made an Excel Spreadsheet with a few key metrics to track each month, such as total visitors, unique visitors, page views, income earned, etc. I update my spreadsheet once a month and compare it to the previous month, and with the same month from the year before.
# 5 Post New Content Regularly: From day one with my blog, I have published tons of new content. At a minimum, I tried to average one new blog post a day for the first few years. After that, I cut back to a few times per week, which is what I maintain now. I suggest you come up with a posting schedule and stick to it. Let your readers know what to expect and be consistent. Google seems to reward blogs that post new content frequently. At a minimum, blog three times per week. If you can’t/won’t do that, you are wasting your time blogging.
# 6 Build a List: From day one, I started building an email subscriber list via my blog. I added a popover and form on my blog to capture visitor’s names and emails. This has made a HUGE difference building repeat visitors and visitor loyalty. If you aren’t collecting names and emails you are WAY behind the power curve. You can use a service like Aweber to do this. That is who I use.
# 7 Be a Student of Your Industry: Be a student of your business and niche. Subscribe to magazines and other blogs in your niche. Learn everything you can about your niche. Learn everything you can about blogging. Read books, find a mentor, listen to tapes and CDs, watch helpful YouTube videos, and subscribe to publications that can teach you skills about blogging and your niche. This will sharpen your skills and make you a better blogger.
# 8 Outsource. One of the best things you can do to succeed is outsource. No one is good at everything. You don’t even have to be the person who writes for your blog. You can hire writers, editors, graphic designers, social media experts, marketers and countless other people to help you. This might sound expensive, but it isn’t. Trying to do everything yourself is a waste of time, money and energy. Utilize sites such as upwork.com and fiverr.com to help you. One of my biggest mistakes is not outsourcing sooner. Trust me, you can’t afford not to outsource.
I hope these success tips help you on your blogging journey.
My Vision for My Blog
My long-term goal is to create the # 1 MLM Blog in the world, and eventually sell it for several million dollars. This is my 10-20 year goal. I consider it a valuable asset and I hope to cash out at some point in time.
As you can see, good things take time. I really have a 10 year vision with my blog. It currently provides a full-time, livable income for my family. I own another highly successful blog as well, but this one is my real passion.
What do you think about my blogging success story? Are you a blogger? What has your experience been like with your own blog? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.