A few years ago, I set a goal to hit 100,000 pageviews. I’d been blogging at I Heart Vegetables since 2010, but I didn’t really take it seriously until 2016. In order to hit my goal, I focused on a few key areas that I knew would drive long-term, sustainable traffic. I hit my 100K goal in January of 2018!
If 100,000 pageviews feels totally out of reach, that’s ok! These tips can still apply whether your goal is to hit your first 100, 1,000, or 10,000. The good news is, I’ve found that once you get the ball rolling, it gets easier to grow. I’ve heard from a lot of other bloggers that once they hit 100,000 pageviews, it was easier to keep growing. Here’s a snapshot of my pageviews from November 2017 to November 2019.
I wanted to walk you through some of the strategy shifts I made over the past few years, to really grow my site.
1. I started learning about SEO
I know SEO can feel technical and scary but it was the #1 thing that helped me grow my blog. Over 50% of my traffic comes from Google searches and that’s really good. Google search traffic is high-quality traffic because it’s people searching for what you have. So what did I actually do to take SEO seriously? I worked with an SEO expert to do an audit of my site. I invested $800 (which felt like a huge amount of money at the time) and he gave me dozens of updates and changes that I needed to make on my site.
It took me months to update old content, remove expired content, fix a URL issue, add alt tags, add headers, and fix a number of other problems. It wasn’t an immediate return on investment. I waited for months to see a real shift, but it worked. And as I fixed old content, I learned how to effectively create content moving forward.
2. I wrote about content people were searching for
One thing I learned in my SEO research was that I needed to create content people were searching for. It might be fun to make a “quinoa and feta with edamame bowl” but if no one is searching for that, the recipe won’t create any traffic. On the flip side, if I know people are searching for a “watermelon mojito smoothie” and there aren’t a lot of recipes out there that fit the bill, that’s a good recipe for me to invest my time in. It shifted my overall content strategy and forced me to plan ahead. I can’t just throw together what I have in my pantry and make a new recipe. I really have to think about what types of recipes people are looking for.
3. I cut out tasks that weren’t driving traffic
I took a look at how I was spending my time and realized things like Instagram were a total time suck. I still invest time in Instagram but I’ve significantly cut back on the time I spend on the platform. I don’t spend much time on Twitter and I’ve hired someone to handle basic social media scheduling so that I can focus my time on other things. Since Google and Pinterest were my two biggest traffic drivers, I focused my time on SEO and Pinterest.
4. I stepped up my Pinterest strategy
Pinterest is a great traffic driver for me as a food blogger, so I really focused on a pinning strategy. I signed up for Tailwind so I could easily schedule my pins and I joined a number of Tailwind Communities to find content to share and to get other people to re-pin my content. This helped me grow my Pinterest traffic, which has led to 30K-50K pageviews per month. (P.S. If you want to try Tailwind, you can use my affiliate link to join Tailwind Communities for free!)
5. I updated old content instead of creating new content
I didn’t stop creating new content entirely but I spent a significant amount of time updating old posts. I went back through every piece of content and either spruced it up or no-indexed it from my site so that Google would no longer take the post into consideration. When updating old posts, I took new photos. added more information into the content, and refreshed the recipe, if necessary. I updated the format of the post to use proper post headings and subheadings, and I make sure my recipe card was completely filled out with things like prep time, nutritional information, and serving sizes.
A lot of the work I had to do wasn’t glamourous or interesting, but the work paid off. And once I hit 100,000, it felt like it was easier to keep the ball rolling.
Here’s what my traffic looks like from November 2017 to November 2020.
I hope this helps inspired you no matter where you are on your blogging journey! If you have questions, let me know in the comments!