So you finally decided to start a blog and you’ve been working your butt of trying to get it going. It’s not easy is it? You’ve probably got 100 things running through your brain and it’s hard to keep it all in order.
We felt the exact same way when we started this blog. It took us a very long time to start growing our audience, but luckily we learned from our mistakes and today Goats On The Road is one of the most trafficked travel blogs online. We figured out some extremely useful strategies and methods that helped us to boost our traffic exponentially.
Becoming a successful blog is all about being efficient with your time. A travel blog is more than a full-time job, it can potentially be a full-time job for 10 people! We currently have 7 people working on this blog and it’s side businesses and there’s still a lot of work to be done.
But when you’re just starting out, you’re not going to hire people to help you, so it’s important that you learn efficiency in the early days and put yourself on a calendar. In this post I’m going to break down what you can do every day of the week, to make sure that you’re growing your audience and building your blog as fast as possible.
Of course nobody should work 7 days a week, so give yourself a day off. For the purpose of this calendar I made this day Sunday, but the beauty of working for yourself is that you can take any day off you like.
These proven methods have helped us to grow our social media to over 120,000 followers, our blog to over 150,000 monthly visitors and our income to a point that allows us to travel full time and put money in the bank. We didn’t manage to get this far by having previous experience in blogging, degrees or webmaster skills. We did it by following a schedule to success.
Today I’m going to share that schedule with you and if you follow it day after day, and repeat it week after week for the first few months of your blog’s life, you’ll grow it much faster than you ever thought possible.
Let’s get started.
I’m going to write this post in a calendar form at the bottom, which will show you exactly what you should do on each day of the week, but first it’s important that I explain each point so that when you’re reading the calendar, you’ll be able to understand what I mean by each task listed.
Rather than writing out repetitive steps in the calendar, I’ll explain them all here. Once you understand them properly, you can read (or print out) the calendar to get started.
Guest Post Reach Out
I’ve said it many times on this blog, the absolute best way to grow your audience when you’re starting out is to guest post for other blogs. If you’re not sure what guest posting is, or how you can go about asking bloggers to guest post, check out this post. It has everything you’ll need to know about how to (and not to) guest post.
Reaching out to bloggers should be an integral part of your weekly schedule for success. Even if they deny your request to guest post, you can still form an email relationship with them that could prove valuable down the road.
Write an Article
Of course, in order to have content, you’ll have to write it first. As sometimes it takes a long time to write an article, I’ve separated your writing and publishing into 2 tasks. This will also give you the opportunity to properly go over each article before publishing.
You’ll notice that there are more “Write an article” tasks than “Publish an Article” listed in the calendar. That’s because you’ll also be writing for other publications, so some of the time you’ll be writing guest posts. If you’re doing everything right, you should be writing an article – start to finish – nearly every day.
Publish an Article
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Of course, if you’re trying to grow a blog, you’ll have to have some blog posts. It’s important that you publish articles on your blog on a specific schedule. Google likes your blog to be a reliable source of content, like a newspaper, and will reward you for posting on a schedule.
Go into your Google Analytics, look at your monthly overview and click “Hours” so that the graph shows your visitors by hour. Now look for any peaks in the graph, if these peaks happen day after day at the same time of day, that’s the busiest time on your website and that’s the hour you should publish new content.
Publish A Resource
I’ve talked about it before, content is king. Sure you can write articles about your recent trip or about how you went snorkelling with whale sharks, but your readers are also going to want to learn from your blog.
Every successful blog has its own resources. These are typically “epic” posts, upwards of 8 – 10,000 words with screenshots, pictures, maps etc. These are also known as your pillar content, as they typically make up for a considerable amount of your traffic.
An example of pillar content on our blog would be our Travel Guides. They’re a lot of work, sometimes taking days to complete, but in a strange Field of Dreams kind of way “If you write it… they will come”.
Great articles will get shared and will help you to grow an audience. You should publish a resource once a week (if possible) when you’re first starting out.
Another great way to get your name out there is to comment on other blogs, forums, websites and videos. Make sure that you always add your website to the comment form, but never add a URL into the comment itself. Simply type your name and the name of your blog, then your blog URL under where it says “website”, and your comment below in text-only format.
Some good places to comment are on any blogs on this list or Lonely Planet Forum, Quara, Boots’nAll blog or forums, NomadicMatt forums, TravelPulse.com, WiseBread.com, YouTube Videos.
Reply To Comments
As you’re publishing articles, your readers are likely to comment on them. Make sure you take time to reply so that you can build a community around your blog.
Reply To Emails
Similarly, emails are a great way to connect with your readers and followers. But don’t waste your time reading emails 9 times per day. Quickly read and reply all at once every 3 – 5 days.
If you haven’t started an email newsletter yet, you’re already behind. Every single blog should begin building an email newsletter list as soon as possible. We currently have 16,000 subscribers in our newsletter, which is great, but we didn’t start our email list until we had already been blogging for nearly a year!
Start your newsletter with MailChimp for free and start building your email list. You should send an email to your subscribers on a schedule (just like publishing posts) so that they know when they can expect your updates in their inbox. Generally once a week, or once every two weeks is a great start.
Big Media Application
This is similar to a guest post reach out, but it’s actually contacting big media sites like MSN, Travel & Leisure, Lonely Planet etc. With my schedule to success, you’re going to spend a lot of time reaching out to big media publications and most likely, much of this time will be wasted.
While bloggers may accept guest posts quite frequently, you’re likely to get a lot of no’s from big media. But if you can land a guest post on a big site like Business Insider or Forbes, the payoffs can be enormous, so it’s worth the time pitching.
Don’t get discouraged, learn from your mistakes, hone your pitching skills and keep at it. If you can get a hit on big media, it’ll likely be a home run for your blog traffic and audience.
Work On SEO
It’s important that every blog has a good foundation in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so that Google can properly read, index and rank your website. Make sure you download the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress and use it to maximize your on page SEO.
The plugin itself does a great job of explaining how to optimize your posts step by step, but basically you want each article on your blog to have a green light.
“Working on SEO” includes going back in old posts and adding keywords and fixing the readability so every post has a green light in Yoast. It also involves interlinking older posts with new ones and visa versa, as well as emailing bloggers to ask them to link to you if you have a resource that’s relevant to a post that they have on their blog.
Be warned, you shouldn’t reach out to bloggers to ask for links until you already know them.
You should think of building your blog like you’re in a university. You’re basically home schooling yourself and you have to teach yourself all of the ins and outs of the trade. The interesting thing about this university is that there’s no degree at the end.
You’ll literally continue to learn and grow for as long as you have your blog. It’s important that you research and learn about everything to do with blogging on a regular basis.
Social Media Basics
Just as with the blog basics, here is a breakdown of the most important things you should be doing on social media. Social media basics are relatively easy once you get the hang of them, but they do take time. Every single day you should be doing all of the following.
Create Pinterest Images
Head over to Canva.com, join for free and learn how to create Pinterest images there. These images are long and narrow (Canva has a template with exact dimensions) and have been proven to be the most clicked.
Pinterest is likely to be one of your top traffic earners down the road, so spend a lot of time on it. Create a Pinterest image for every article you do and upload it to the bottom of your posts with text that says something like: “Like this article? Pin it!”
Apply For Pinterest Group Boards
In order to have your Pins seen and to grow your Pinterest traffic, you’ll have to get your account accepted in group boards. Search around Pinterest for popular group boards in your niche and apply for them. Once you have joined a few, you can start posting in them.
Pin and Repin in Group Boards
Now that you have access to some group boards, you should pin (and repin) your articles inside of the boards.
Social Share – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.
This is pretty self-explanatory as well, but there are different types of social shares like live videos, photos posts, one liners and article shares. Every time I say “Social Share” in the calendar, which is every single day, it means you should do one share on every account you have (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) as well as one live video on Facebook and a few stories on Instagram throughout the day.
At first, it’ll seem like a lot, but when you’re first starting out you really need your followers to get to know you, so live videos, videos and daily shares (with or without photos) are all important. To engage your readers and save time, twice a week on Twitter and Facebook, you can count one of your shares as a simple one line question like “What’s your favourite beach in the world?”
Reply To Comments
Just like on your blog, it’s important that you keep communication with your followers on social media.
Follow / Unfollow
This is a controversial tactic for growing your social media following, but for new bloggers who don’t have money to pay for advertising, it’s the absolute best way. Basically what you do is head to your Instagram & Twitter account, find people in your niche and follow them. I’m not going to get too into it hear, but I think Neil Patel puts it best:
“Here’s the rationale. If these 69.6k people chose to follow @successfield, then they might choose to follow me, too. I’m in the same niche, same industry, and am providing just as much value (if not more!).”
Neil has an incredible blog & social media following so he must be doing something right.
By when you follow people on Twitter or Instagram, they’ll get a notification to follow you back. If they like your account, you’ll likely get a follow back.
This is a great way to blow up your Instagram and Twitter by thousands of people each week, but their are limitations. Don’t follow more than 50 people per hour on either platform, and make sure you go back a week later and unfollow any people who didn’t follow you back so that your follow to unfollow ration isn’t too high.
For Twitter: Use ManageFlitter for free to unfollow people who aren’t following you back and keep track of your account. ManageFlitter also helps you weed out potential spam followers and keep a healthy Twitter account.
For Instagram: Use the unfollow app to similarily unfollow people on Instagram and keep your account healthy.
6 Day Schedule For Success
Are You Ready?
It may look like a lot of work, and it is, but if you’re highly focused and spend 5 – 6 hours on your blog, 6 days a week and follow these basics, you will see exponential growth in just a few short weeks.
If you’d like to download this calendar to print out or to use offline, Click Here for a PDF version.
Of course there is much more involved with building a blog and an online business, but these are the basics of building your blog traffic and social media following. For more about how to grow a travel blog, check out Our Travel Blogging Section.
If you’ve already been using our 6-Day Success Calendar and have found it useful or have some actual growth, go ahead and comment below. We’d love to hear about it!