When most people and businesses start a blog they’re thinking about traffic.
Usually it’s organic search traffic from Google, but there is also some element of social media traffic.
You might get some traffic from social media if you have a following. You might also get some traffic via an email newsletter if you have a good sized email list.
As far as organic search traffic? You’re not looking at much for the first year. If your brand is very well known then it might be a different story.
But for a lot of businesses, that search traffic just won’t be there for awhile.
Google needs to see that you’re trustworthy. You might have a popular brand. As a result, they might be more likely to trust that your blog posts are good for their searchers.
But they want to see a history of good blog content. They want to see people linking to your posts, sharing your posts and that kind of thing. Signals that indicate that your content is helpful, in demand and trustworthy.
So what should you expect and what should you do?
Blogging Is Still Worth It
Neil Patel (and others) says that blogging is still very much worth it. It’s a long-term marketing effort. If you put in the effort of regular blogging (1-2x per week) for the long-term (2+ years) you’ll see a steady increase of search traffic.
Most blogs won’t last that long. They lose interest after about the first year or so. Some don’t even last that long. Those people are usually expecting too much in terms of organic search traffic. They also likely run out of things to blog about after their first 20 or so posts.
But that’s an opportunity. Those that are willing to take the long-term view can outlast the competition.
Focus On Creating
If you are in on blogging like Neil Patel and you’re wondering where your focus should be for the first year then know that you should focus on creating content for the first year.
Don’t even pay attention to the stats. If that seems odd know that long time blogger, Seth Godin, says that he doesn’t really look at his blogging stats more than once or twice a year.
The reason you don’t want to look at stats for the first year is that you need all the energy you have to identify questions your target audience is asking and then providing the best answer. Focus on improving with each post. Focus on getting more efficient at writing the blogs.
After a year you’ll be pretty good and things will be easier the second year. And you won’t have the low stats to deter you from continuing into that second year.
What About Blog Marketing and Promotion?
You can share each post on social media. You can even do it multiple times per post. You could even focus on a little guest blogging as a way to promote your new blog.
That can lead to a little boost in traffic, but if you’re going to spend energy on marketing the first year you’re probably better off spent just using that time to create more posts.
That’s more time honing your craft. Then once you get to the second year you’re likely creating better posts that will get more traction when you market them. And people will see that you have a year of experience creating posts and they’re more likely to trust that you provide good content. And they will likely dive into your archives.
Say you’re a new songwriter. You could write one song and work on promoting it right away. Or you could write one song a day for a year before you even market one of those songs. You’re much more likely to have success if you do the latter.
Or say you’re a chef. You create one dish and work to promote it. Or you work for a year creating lots of dishes and then after a year you start marketing. The latter is better.
For the first year of your blog focus on creating. Worry about the marketing after that.