I started writing this post in mid-2019 when this blog launched to track my progress to 100k clicks. The goal was to give a month-by-month breakdown of everything I did until I hit 100k.
Well… It took me much longer to hit 100k clicks than I anticipated and the post got long. I’ve since adjusted the post to give a big picture breakdown every 6 months of my journey. I hope this gives you some idea of what to expect as you begin your blogging journey. Enjoy!
The First 6 Months (December 2019)
The first six months of my journey I only wrote 16 posts!
Looking back, it’s shocking how unsuccessful I was out of the gate. How did I not write more posts than this in six months? I think I had some common problems these first 6 months that I struggled to overcome.
- It was much harder to start a writing habit than I anticipated.
- I was obsessing over how to construct my posts (Grammar, formatting, etc.).
- Researching how to do everything (pick topics, construct posts, market posts) paralyzed me.
- I coded my own theme. Long-term I like it but short-term it was a disaster.
- My full-time job was (and continued to be) a constant struggle because my career is dog-shit.
If you’re experiencing these problems your first six months, hopefully you’ll be encouraged to learn that I have better months in the future. And with 2 lousy clicks in my first 6 months, how could you do any worse?
The First Year (June 2020)
I think three major things happened in this six month period.
- I finally got out of my own head and started writing articles at an OK pace.
- I got out of the Google sandbox! (2.6K clicks a month!)
- A global pandemic came out of nowhere and screwed up all of my life plans. So yeah.
I also started taking site speed really seriously around this time. I coded my own theme and coded it to be super fast. In addition to that I moved my website over to the Google Cloud Platform and equipped it with a load balancer to deal with latency. It was dramatic overkill for a blog getting this little traffic, but I didn’t want speed to be the reason I was failing. Particularly when I’m a software engineer by trade and could easily fix that.
I also want to say how invigorating it felt to finally see real people visiting my website. I think if I was still seeing 2 clicks a month at this time I might have given up and walked away.
A Year and a Half! (December 2020)
Over the next 6 months my traffic 5x’d which felt incredibly encouraging. I also started a YouTube channel! And that was hard for me because it really felt like putting myself out there.
However, things weren’t all roses. My pace of blogging dropped back down to next to nothing these six months. My job decided it’d be fun if I worked an onsite project at the height of the global pandemic (at the time) when there was no vaccine. It was quite stressful doing that every day and then attempting to blog. So I slowed down.
December is also memorable because I changed the domain name of the site from FailureMountain.com to ShaunPoore.com. I decided I wanted to create a personal brand that would match my YouTube channel in the closing days of 2020. New Year new me!
Two Full Years (June 2021)
I entered 2021 with a renewed vigor. Enraged at my job for how they treated me during the pandemic, I tripled down on content-creation!
I created more content in a six month period than ever before. But, the results did not follow. I only saw a 30% increase in clicks despite nearly doubling my content over six months.
This felt defeating! My goal was 100k clicks a month from Google in 3 years. I was still 10x away.
And 10x felt really far given that I’d just thrown everything I had at this problem. I created more content in six months than I thought I could. I even added website improvements during this period (added JSON-LD schema, dark mode, passed Core Web Vitals, etc.). Nothing was working.
That said, I kept going…
Two and a Half YEARS (December 2021)
My traffic remained completely flat over almost the entirety of the next 6 months despite me continuing to grind out a lot of blog posts. That is, until Christmas day 2021 when I got a pretty large spike in traffic. Only time will tell if this was a minor spike or the start of my blog’s ascension into relevancy.
Either way, I’d already decided to cut back on blogging in 2022. 5 posts a month is the new target (as opposed to two a week in 2021). After writing 100+ posts and barely seeing any traffic from them I’m now feeling like there might be better ways to grow the blog than jamming out another 100+ posts next year.
I hope to focus more on website fixes, web stories, YouTube videos, monetization, etc. than a sheer volume of posts going forward.
Three Years! (June 2022)
First, I have to take a second and point out that I failed to complete my initial goal. I wanted to get to around 100k clicks a month from Google by this date and it simply didn’t happen. I got over 1/5th of the way there, and I’m currently debating how big an accomplishment or failure that is. I think it depends on if I ever see the rapid growth you hear about from other bloggers or not. Only time will tell.
These 6 months was interesting. At first blush it appears like I only wrote 6 posts. But, I actually tried deleting 25-ish of my worst posts (content pruning). So far I haven’t noticed any real impact on my site’s traffic but I did this in late May and Google hasn’t even realized I deleted some of these posts yet (that’s how much Google hated them). If nothing major happens, I don’t plan to do much content deletion ever again.
Beyond that I did most of what I set out to do these 6 months.
- Published 5 posts a month.
- Added a blogroll, careers page, tools page, and web stories page.
- Paid for Screaming Frog and did an SEO audit for technical issues.
- Adding comments back and wrote code to eliminate the spam.
- Adding my email signup back (although I still have a lot of work to do on this)
- Was accepted by Google Adsense and Ezoic. Currently experimenting with Ezoic ads until I quality for Adthrive/MediaVine.
The only thing I didn’t get done these 6 months that I intended to was more web story and YouTube content. And I am once again a little frustrated that I’m accomplishing all of my goals and still failing to see the traffic increase.
Three and a Half Years! (December 2022)
OK, the plan for the next 6 months.
- Continue publishing 5 posts a month (with a lot of that being affiliate content).
- Create Web Story and YouTube content.
- Build a product I can sell to my audience.
- Revamp the mailing list (give people a reason to sign up).
I think I can realistically do this by December. I think the problem is I almost doubt that Google will respond at this point (they’re in my head). Like will I ever get to 30k or 50k clicks a month? Not at the rate I’ve been going the past year or two.
That said, this blog is making $1,000+ a month. We’re getting to the point where it’s not a joke amount of money anymore. It still pales in comparison to my day job, but, if I ever did get to 100k+ clicks a month it’d be bringing in a substantial amount of money. So that keeps me motivated.
Plus, the overall economy has dark clouds on the horizon right now. Who knows when I may need this blog to do more than it’s doing.