guest post by Kelly Diels
In November, I rebranded and relaunched my blog. I screwed up, I suffered, I sniffled, I refuted the advances of a pervy tech wizard. And I thought: I’d better track my results to see if this was worth it. This better have been worth it.
On November 10, my Alexa rank was 1,082,076.
Two months and one day later, it is 173,556.
So, in just two short months (and one day), I raised my Alexa rank by almost one million places.
In three months (in the screen shot above, look at the bottom right figure of 1,766,896), my Alexa rank increased by almost two million places.
How’d I do it? I’m so glad you asked.
Once you get past the first set of ingredients – have a seriously small and unpopular blog – the recipe is simple. It simply requires a ridiculous amount of work and a bit of creativity.
Still, I’ve itemized and analyzed what I did differently in the last two months just so I could whisper sexy blog secrets in your ear.
Here is a list of my torrid confessions.
1. Write unique stuff
Yes, this is just another way of saying “write great content! great content! great content!”. There’s a reason everyone says it, repeatedly: because it works.
I admit it. When I started blogging, I was a wannabe. I wanted to be Steve Pavlina, Darren Rowse or Yaro Starak.
Now, I just wannabe myself. I’m lit-on-fire for the written word, I have big, ballsy opinions, I’m in bed with surprise, and I love to love. That all shines through in my transparent and sometimes pulpy posts. I know the blogging and business-writing rules and alternate between obeying them and breaking them with abandon. It is roller coaster writing, to be sure, but it seems to be a ride with an lengthening line up.
The lesson: be you, write you, and write wild and free.
2. Get your great stuff out there
In two words: guest post.
I don’t have a commenting strategy – or maybe I do, but it goes like this: don’t really do it, unless profoundly moved or delighted by the post or am crushin’ on the writer and you know who you are – so guest posts are almost exclusively how I get in front of new audiences.
Guest posts bump up my traffic significantly. In the last two months, the single greatest driver of my traffic was, you guessed it, ProBlogger. There was even one day when I had two guest posts up on both ProBlogger and Write to Done.
That day was a good day.
(That day was the day I started making money – but that’s another post, entirely.)
You know who I blame for my promiscuous guest-posting?
Josh Hanagarne, World’s Strongest Librarian. He encouraged/pushed/nagged me to guest post, but I was too timid. (Really. I was scared. What if people said no? Rejection is not my thing.) When coaxing me to approach other bloggers failed, spectacularly, he took a new approach.
He demanded a guest post from me for his site. So I sent him one and his people loved me up. It was like rolling around in a meadow full of daisies and puppies and then a unicorn slid down a rainbow and gave me a cupcake. Magic.
Then, after more encouraging/pushing/nagging from Josh, I wrote a guest post for Darren Rowse at ProBlogger. Of course, I didn’t submit it for ten days until I got exasperated by my own cowardice, cursed myself out and straight-up courted that fearsome dragon – Rejection – by pressing send.
Darren accepted it in something like 15 minutes and made nice virtual noises. Later, he said he’d publish as much as I could send him. That was all I need to hear. I sent him A LOT.
Suddenly I had confidence and started sending pieces all over the place.
And my blog grew. So did my traffic.
The lesson? Guest posts work predictable magic on your blog. Go forth, guest post, bewitch and bedazzle.
And have big, strong, nagging friends.
3. Write more, more often
I used to post new pieces 1-3 times a week. Now I post 5-7 times a week. I’ve simply developed a habit of writing every night. It is sometimes painful, almost always exhausting, I’m wasting money on cable I never watch, Facebook misses me something fierce, and I have very nearly stopped dating.
(Very nearly. Not entirely. If I stopped dating, what would I write about? I romance in the name of research. THAT’S HOW MUCH I LOVE ALL OF YOU.)
And then there’s Twitter. I’ve written 322,560 words on Twitter, which is basically a novel in Tweets.
Oh. That just made me a little sad.
But other than that twinge – I could have written a novel in the time I spent Tweeting, oh yes that stings - I’m ecstatic. I’m having so much fun. I’m seeing results.
And my blog is growing.
The lesson? Don’t worry about statistics. Worry about quality.
I didn’t set out explicitly to raise my Alexa rank. I set out to improve my blog, light my writing on fire, and make a lil’ love to my people (and find more of them). And, as a result, my blog took off and took my Alexa rank with it.
You can do it, too. Please do.
And then tell me all about it on Twitter, where I still won’t be writing my novel.
Kelly Diels is a wildly hireable freelance writer and the creator of Cleavage, a blog about three things we all want more of: sex, money and meaning.