The main reason why most blogs fail.

Every online business wants to have a successful blog, but the problem is, most companies have absolutely no clue how to run a blog. And this is why it is so common that you stumble upon a company blog that is regularly updated with new articles every single month. But the number of comments and shares on these articles are in single digits at best. Which means that no one is actually reading these articles. This means that these articles aren’t bringing new customers. This means that all the work invested in these articles is wasted. And I’ve totally been there. 

Just a few years ago I had absolutely no clue how to run a successful blog. So I just copied what other successful bloggers were doing and tried to follow their advice. Other bloggers said that I should publish more often in order to get more traffic, so I published every day; They said list posts are the best, so I published list posts; Then everyone started writing expert roundups and I followed; Then they said that posting your content to niche communities was a key to success, so let’s do it; Then they said that the actual key to success is to regularly submit your content to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and every other social network there is, no problem; I was doing everything that “guru” bloggers were teaching. And I did indeed see some results. But did I get traction with my blog? No, I didn’t. Actually, each individual tactic worked like a charm. My listicles generated quite a buzz on social media; My detailed guides got tons of engagement in comments; My guest articles were published at the most popular blogs in my niche. But all of that didn’t translate into any traction with the blogs that I was trying to grow at that time. The traffic was plateauing, the sales weren’t coming in.

I even purchased a bunch of quite expensive blogging courses, thinking that I was missing something important that bloggers were unwilling to share for free. And these courses were quite good actually, they taught me some new exciting strategies. But they didn’t help me to get that traction that I was looking for. I was getting better and better at executing different content marketing tactics, but I couldn’t figure out how all these tactics come together into a single strategy that would grow my blog and drive customers to our business. This is how traffic to every article that I published on my blog looked like: Shortly after publishing an article you see the so-called “spike of hope.” This spike happens because you send this new article to your email list and share it with your Twitter followers. You may also post this article on Reddit and share it with a bunch of relevant communities on Facebook or Slack.

Other than that, you may send a bunch of outreach emails to famous people in your industry so that they would share your article with their audience. And if your article is truly worthy, the word of mouth will multiply the outcome of all your efforts. So at times that “spike of hope” might get rather big, making you feel happy and accomplished. But then all this traffic quickly fades to nothing as soon as you pull the plug on your content promotion machine. And what you get as a result is the so-called “flatline of nope.” By the way, the credit for these funny terms goes to Rand Fishkin. So if you rely on such spikes of hope, here’s how the total traffic to your blog will look like: As long as you invest your time and effort into publishing new articles and promoting them in

every way you can, your traffic seems to be growing. This is where the popular “you should publish new content regularly” advice comes from. But as soon as you stop publishing new content, the results that you have achieved so far will start fading almost instantly. But it shouldn’t be this way. Because this is not how growth looks like.  I can only call this kind of performance “survival.” Here’s something very important that I want you to take away from this first lesson:

If your content marketing efforts don’t add up over time, you’re doing it wrong. So here is how this graph should look, if you make your efforts add up. As you can see, the traffic to each newly published article fades to nothing. Even the opposite, it slowly grows over time, till it reaches a certain point. This way every single article that you publish adds up to the total traffic of your blog. So even if you stop publishing new articles for a while, all your progress won’t immediately fade to nothing. It will stay exactly where you left it. Or maybe even grow a bit on its own. This is called “the compound effect of content marketing.” It may sound super-simple, and in fact, it is, but somehow I was overlooking that simple principle for quite a few years. And I see way too many bloggers overlooking it today. This is why I wanted to make sure that you understand this general concept before we go deep into the actual blogging tactics and strategies. Because all of them will be focused on driving passive consistent traffic to every article that you have on your blog. As opposed to teaching you how to get an immediate spike of traffic to your newly published article, which will soon fade to nothing. So let’s go back to the Ahrefs Blog, which I will often use as an example for many tactics and strategies in this course.

Two years ago, when I joined the team, they were publishing 2-3 articles per week, and the traffic didn’t show any signs of growth. It was basically a flatline despite all the effort. Today we publish 2-3 new articles per month and our traffic is growing steadily and consistently, as you can tell. But most importantly, our blog is driving thousands of customers to our platform every single month, and the more we grow our blog traffic, the more customers we get from it. But we’ll talk more about customer acquisition with content later in this course. For now, I just want to stress the importance of making every article that you publish bring you consistent traffic every single month. Because growth happens when the traffic to your articles doesn’t fade over time.  So the main strategy behind growing Ahrefs blog from 15,000 to 150,000 visitors per month, is in making every single article we publish perform exactly like this one. Passive consistent traffic that doesn’t fade over time is the key.

Again, it may sound super simple and super obvious, but somehow most people only focus on making their spike of hope bigger and wonder why their traffic isn’t growing over time despite all the hard work.

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