How to Get More Traffic on Your New Developer Blog
It has been 6 months since I started writing every day. Since then this blog has seen tremendous growth and I've learned a few things about growing a website.
Here's everything I learned, and a guide on how you can start and grow your own developer blog.
What You Can Expect
Before you do anything, you need to set your expectations.
Expectations are the most important part of the blogging lifestyle and if you set them too high you will burn out before you get anywhere. Set them too low and you might not put in the right amount of effort and focus that a blog needs to grow and thrive.
Here are my results over the past 6 months with a combination of months where I wrote every single day, and months where I only published one or two short posts.
Starting from the beginning.
The Early Days of Your New Blog
The most challenging part of starting a new blog is getting through the early phase where you put in the work and see absolutely no impact on your site's traffic.
It's all a test.
It weeds out the people that wish they had a successful blog from those who truly want one. Those who will put in the work and do whatever it takes, even if that means seeing no results for the first 2 years.
I spent a solid year with about 10 blog posts and absolutely no traffic. I focused on everything that doesn't matter. Posted polls about the name of the blog. Redesigned the layout. Optimized my SEO and page performance.
Nothing seemed to work.
Looking back, I was procrastinating from actually building the blog itself.
A blog is not a website. It's not about the design of it or how fast it is. It's the CONTENT.
And I didn't work on the content because I figured why write if nobody will see it yet - but that is completely the wrong approach and once I corrected this EVERYTHING changed.
The First Uptick in Traffic
In late October, I decided that my quality was about as good as it gets. My site was fast. Everything was optimized. And the design of the site is slick and easy to navigate.
So I made the decision of focusing on the quantity and consistency of my content over the performance and SEO.
After just one week of publishing a new post every day, my search impressions doubled.
It was a glimmer of hope.
If my results double after just one week's effort, what would happen after 2 or 3?
And low and behold, by the middle of the next month I had already once again more than doubled the above result.
This was promising.
The more I wrote the more my content appeared in search results.
The more keywords I was ranking for.
The higher my blog was ranking for those keywords too.
Results were building and stacking on top of each other.
What was the difference between the first year or so where I almost gave up and the past month where we saw exponential growth? I made the decision to consistently blog.
It sounds silly looking back now. I was initially struggling to figure out why my blog wasn't growing, yet I wasn't even actively blogging. I was just improving SEO and working on the website itself, tricking myself into thinking that was productive and would make an impact.
If you want a successful blog, you have to actually blog.
Here is the latest snapshot of my search performance, 6 months after I made the conscious decision to write and publish posts consistently.
I'll let you in on an embarrassing truth too.
I actually stopped writing between December and April. I published only 3 more blog posts during those months, yet as you can see traffic continued to increase.
The blog continued to grow.
I think the most important takeaway here is that you have to be willing to work without being driven by results.
Based on the first screenshot, traffic was abysmal despite the nights and weekends I poured into this site.
Had I given up there I would not have been able to learn and grow this community into everything it is today.
The results eventually do catch up when you start spending your time and energy on the right things too though. As I started adding more content, I started getting more traffic. I most definitely did not expect this to happen as quickly as it did, but the feedback loop was so fast. By the end of one week of posting articles every day, traffic had doubled.
That kind of feedback is incredibly motivating and helps reinforce your decision to invest more time and energy into your work.
So if you have a similar goal of creating a blog or website, no matter the topic or niche, focus on the work and not the results. You will eventually get the results you want when you figure out and start doing the right work.