Sharing my thoughts about the Blogging process.
My most unusual post to date… Since 2009/10 I have spent much of my time learning and improving my WordPress and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) skills, so that I can provide these services to local businesses. These skills are my primary source of online revenue. That being said; duanereeve.com is my first truly focused, niche blog where my energy is directed to making money online with affiliate marketing. Yet, today, I am doubting my efforts about Blogging or the Blogging process itself, as it is being taught to beginner Bloggers (newbies).
Most of what you are taught about Blogging is wrong
Newbies are getting the wool pulled over their eyes in such a big way, its scary. I fell prey to the methods I’m about to reveal below and it’s a big eye opener when ‘the penny drops’. This is my opinion, based on my continued efforts and research to recover my blogs lost traffic after a Google Update penalty. The fact that I am even writing this post ‘feels’ wrong after what I have acknowledged to be a better path to follow. Yet, I promised myself I would stick to a routine and post at least one post per week on my blog, so I’ll continue; at least for now (maybe a few less posts in time to come).
These last few weeks, I have spent a lot of time doing research and looking into the cause and effect relationship between what I do to promote my blog and the results. The Google Penalty has pushed me to look at things differently and not to simply follow what the masses are doing. Like you I have come across numerous courses and advise about Blogging and Driving FREE Traffic to your blog. Some of this information is FREE, and some you need to pay good money for. There is so much information out there you would think you’ve hit the jackpot.
Now; what if I told you, as a beginner Blogger, most of what you are being taught is rubbish. It is designed to keep you running like a hamster on a training wheel. It is designed to give you a false sense of achievement and while it may help you generate a few dollars from Affiliate Commissions or Banner Clicks along the way, it is most definitely (in my opinion) not going to improve your financial well being a hell of a lot. Yes, there are exceptions to every rule, but for most Bloggers the path to riches is a long and hard one because they are being taught the wrong thing…
Writing Blog Post after Blog Post is a waste of time
Controversial; I know! After-all what is the nature of Blogging? As a Blogger you need to ‘Um’ Blog. You need to fill your Blog with quality content giving your readers something to read and hopefully something that they can benefit from. You need to build a following and a reputation, so people can like and trust you; we know that. But consider this…
You have your new Blog setup (A challenge you can be proud of) and you get a few posts published. The Blog and content is new, so within a few days, you see some organic traffic coming to your Blog, almost like magic. You’re excited, the prospects are looking good and you can’t wait to publish your next awesome post. But as the weeks go by, traffic starts dropping and the reason for this is due to the fact that Google has reassessed your site and adjusted your search rankings in accordance with other sites in your Niche. A new Blog or Website gets ranked relatively highly in the search results, when initially indexed by Google, but these rankings are short-lived. Once Google has a better idea about your Blog and it’s lack of content and links (which come with time), your rankings fall and so does that initial traffic.
Since you have been taught to post regularly and to post long 1000+ word articles (i.e. Content is King), you hit that hamster wheel and week after week you churn out brilliant articles that take hours of your time to put together and still very little happens. Here is the thing; writing post after post in the hope of pulling in free organic traffic doesn’t work. Yes, over time, it will all add up, but not when you are just starting out. Producing tons of valuable posts works great for Blogs that already have a following of 1000+ Subscribers. With that many readers commenting and sharing their posts, the domino effect generates more readers and followers to the point where it is viable for them to post new content often.
For most Newbie Bloggers, with only a handful of readers; your time could be put to better use doing something else entirely (I’ll reveal this another time). To validate what I’m saying; let’s say a Blog Post take you 6-8 hours to create (A full working day). You publish the post and you get 50 people reading that post, of which 5% share or interact. Of the 5% that share, if you’re lucky if 10% of their friends or follower take action and come to your blog. That’s a conversion of 1x Reader who may or may not come back. Go figure, 6-8 Hours of work to produce a 50/50 possibility that you’ve gained a single new follower.
I’ll disclose my source in a later post, but when I read this the reality of being a “Hamster on a training wheel” really hit home ‘HARD’.
Free Traffic Methods that are a waste of Time
Again, we know there is no such thing as FREE TRAFFIC. Time is valuable and if you are spending time doing something, it’s costing you. I have a minimum hourly rate I charge my clients for Web-Design work, so that is the value I put towards the time spent on my blog and driving traffic to my blog. Before my Google Penalty I relied heavily on FREE Traffic from Google and I would spend a little time making sure my posts had the necessary optimisation in place to bring in traffic. I didn’t do too much Keyword Research, but I would make sure the posts were reasonable well optimised for my Focus Keyword (Correct Tags & Image Optimisation etc).
Blog Hopping or Blog Commenting
After taking part in the Quick Start Challenge (QSC) earlier this year, I really started focusing on the traffic techniques taught in the QSC Training. The primary method of driving traffic is something called Blog Hopping, which involves finding Blogs in similar niches as ones own and leaving comments on these posts. These comments would then contain links back to your blog, which then helps you build up a backlink profile and exposes ‘you‘ on other Blogs. Post a clever and relevant comment and maybe a few of that Blogs readers will visit your Blog. The major advantage of this method is, supposedly, the building of backlinks to your Blog, which in turn will eventually help increase your domain authority.
Here’s the problem; you tend to get into a rut commenting on the same Blogs all the time. The owners of those Blogs may return the favour and comment on your Blog. All this is great, but you now have reciprocal links to and from your site and the other sites you comment on. Reciprocal links carry very little weight or authority, so it’s not really doing you any good.
If you are/were a member of the QSC, then you know that the QSC Team created a Blog Roll (A list of members Blogs), where you could post a link to your latest article within the QSC Private Facebook Group. Other members would then see your latest post, visit the post and leave a comment. In return you would do the same! The advantages of this; you make friends and you get to share a few posts and comments. Heck, you may even learn a thing or two pending what your fellow Bloggers are writing about.
In the beginning this all seems ‘AWESOME’ because you have some interaction on your blog posts, they come across as being very active posts, but it’s ‘BS’. Don’t comment on posts for a week. If you’re a member of any Blog Rolls, don’t post your latest posts link and see what happens…
A BIG FAT NOTHING!
I discretely tested this some time back using the 2x blog roll groups I belong to. I never posted my post link in either group and I refrained from commenting on the majority of posts added to either group too, on a particular week. I still commented on one or two posts though, as I didn’t want members of the group(s) wondering what happened to me that week (all pretence to set up my test).
The post I held back from either blog roll group got ZERO Comments. Traffic to the post was minimal too as nobody from either group bothered to visit my blog because there was no reference to it in the group(s). The reason for this, I believe, is because all these members ‘have their own agenda’. They aren’t necessarily interested in following my blog, they may enjoy what I post or they may hate it, but either way, they are too busy trying to build and maintain their own blogs to notice (no offence intended guys – you know who you are). Take away the obvious opportunity for a link and nobody comes looking for you.
So, while blog hopping can be a good thing, to get your first few links and post interaction flowing, don’t expect miracles from it. I will continue blog hopping, but I will be spending way less time doing it. If this sees interaction or commenting on my own blog drop because of it, its OK because I’ve realised there is a better way of driving traffic and building a following.
The only reason I’m not dropping Blog Hopping entirely is due to the friendships I’ve made along the way; friendships I hope to build and keep for a long time still…
Forum Signature Traffic Methods
I am done with using Forum Signatures to drive traffic. There are one or two forums where I’m genuinely active because they are great forums (Warrior Forum being one of them), but for the most part the time spent versus the value of the link gained from a forum doesn’t add up.
For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about… The Forum Signature method of driving traffic to your blog is a process where you find niche related forums that allow you to have a link in your signature. When you sign-up for a forum, these forums allow you to add a link in a signature file, which is then displayed whenever you post in the forum. Post 20x and presto, you have 20x new backlinks!
So, what’s wrong with that? It’s 20x links, from the same Forum, back to the same page on your blog. Even if you are allowed to post more than one link in your signature, (Warrior Forum allows two), it’s the same thing. It’s the same links from the same forum pointing back to the same pages. What’s worse, is the fact that most forums make these links ‘NOFOLLOW’, instructing the search engines to hold back any link juice, which means there is no authority gains for you at all.
If you have time to waste, go out and find a forum or two and use this method, but seriously your time could be better spent elsewhere. If, like me, you are active within a forum for more than just the link, well then, the link is a very small bonus.
So, where to now
If I’m to slow down on the number of posts I post to my blog, drastically reduce my blog commenting and erradicate the forum signature method of driving traffic, one would surely ask… How on earth are you going to survive? How can you build a blog, when you are in fact reducing everything you’ve done to create the blog to-date.
Also, remember that my blog was penalised by Google and my organic traffic dropped from >5000-Sessions per month to under <200-sessions per month. Surely, logic tells you (or me) that if I were to reduce or kill everything I’ve been doing to build up my blog, it would cause the demise of duanereeve.com
Hopefully it will be the opposite and only time will tell. There is a better path to follow; I’m not saying it’s necessarily going to be the easiest path, but it’s one I’m very seriously thinking of following.
FYI – I’m not going anywhere and I will still be posting on my blog. Only thing that will noticeably change is that I’ll either be posting less frequently, or I will be posting much shorter posts, to keep some momentum going. Needless to say once I have implemented one of the new methods/tasks I intend using and have seen the results (good or bad), I’ll share the news on my blog, or on my relatively new Facebook Page (please go LIKE it… It needs some Love 🙂 )
Conclusion: All the above has come from very indepth research over the last 3-4 weeks. There is a better way out there (or so I’ve been led to believe). My fellow bloggers, from my research, I firmly believe we have all been led to the hamster wheel and it’s time for me to get off. I need to escape the cage (Hamster Cage) and mingle with the bigger animals in the jungle. The metaphors being; my making light of the fact that I’m crapping myself for the path that lays ahead. It’s all trial an error from here, but the guidance I expect to be getting is top notch and hopefully I won’t come running back with my tail between my legs.
Hopefully this post sparked some interest or dismay. Maybe even total shock…
Either way, please leave a comment and share your thoughts below.
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p.s. My OCD made me go back and fix a few on-page seo things!