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How to Grow Readership for Your New Blog


How to Grow Readership for Your New BlogThis post is for the budding bloggers who need help growing their readership. Last year, I posted – How to Start a Blog and Why You Should. It is a good guide and I’m proud of it. However, that’s not quite enough for new bloggers. A few people told me they needed more help. My guide helped with setting up a blog, but that’s just the first step. Blogging is only fun if you have readers. That’s why I’m posting this follow up on how to get more readers for your new blog.

Set a schedule and stick to it

One big problem with blogging is that a lot of people quit after a few months. It’s not easy because life is already busy. Blogging takes a lot of time and blogging is not much fun in the beginning. To be successful, you need to keep going for at least a year. It takes time to build an audience.

During the first year, set up a blogging schedule and stick with it religiously. You need to build a new habit and get rid of some old ones, like watching TV. Once you’ve done it for a year, blogging should be routine. When I first started, my goal was to blog 3 times per week. There were times when it felt impossible, but I pushed through it. Quantity is just as important as quality at this point. I was still finding my voice anyway so some articles weren’t that good. While you should aim for excellence with every post, but some subpar posts are okay in the beginning. Fake it until you make it.

You’ll have to figure out your own optimal blogging frequency. I think 3 times per week is good, but that might be too much for most people. Once or twice per week would be okay too. Whatever frequency you pick, stick with it.

*Technical stuff – You will need to do some technical stuff. I will list the things you need to do below, but I can’t write an extensive tutorial for each step. You should be able to find detailed instructions for each step on the internet.

Google Analytics

I assume everyone has a Gmail account. You can use it to sign up for Google Analytics. This will let you track how many visitors you have, what led them to your site, etc. You will need to add tracking code to your site for Google Analytics to work properly. This can be done via a plugin, your blog’s theme, or manually. You should be able to find a free plugin for this step.

Google Analytics will help you figure out if you’re getting more readers. Don’t get too obsessed with the numbers, though. They should improve in time.

Get your blog indexed on the search engines

Next, you need to get your blog listed on the search engines. Once you do this, it will help readers find your site. Most of our traffic is from search engines so this step is crucial for organic growth. You can use a plugin for this. I’ll give a quick overview first.

Helpful plugin – Yoast SEO is a pretty good free plugin. Here is a tutorial from Yoast.

Social Media

Social media drives about 5% of our traffic. It’s not a huge amount, but anything helps. You should sign up for these accounts with your blog name.

  • Twitter – I like Twitter. It doesn’t take up a lot of time and you can connect to other bloggers and readers.
  • Pinterest – I just do the minimum for Pinterest. It’s a big traffic driver for some sites, but not us. I haven’t figured out Pinterest yet.
  • Facebook – Facebook seems to drive less traffic these days.
  • Instagram – If you’re a visual person, Instagram is a nice addition.
  • Google+ and LinkedIn – These might help. It depends on your audience.

I suggest signing up for at least Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook. Once you’ve done so, then you need a plugin to broadcast your new posts to these social media outlets. There are many free plugins you can use, but I highly recommend the Social Warfare plugin. Social Warfare costs $29/year. That’s what I use and I’m very happy with it. You can see it in action by sharing this post with the social media sharing bar at the bottom. If you don’t want to spend money, then use a free plugin for now.

Get listed in directories

This one depends on your niche. For personal finance, you should get listed on these free directories.

  • Rockstar Finance Directory – This is the best directory for personal finance blogs.
  • WiseBread – This one used to be good, but it hasn’t been updated in a long time. Probably not worth your time now.

If you’re in a different niche, then you’ll need to find a good directory on your own. Don’t pay money to get listed on site like EatonWeb. I don’t think it is worth the money.


Networking is very time consuming, but you need to do it especially when you’re new. Currently, I spend about 50% of my time on my blog and the rest networking. That’s probably too little time on the networking side.

  • Comment on blogs in your niche. This is a great way to gain readers when you’re starting out. Find popular blogs in your niche and leave comments there. These are like breadcrumbs that will lead readers to your site. Do it consistently and you’ll build a relationship with your favorite bloggers. This is a good way to network and make new friends.
  • Join forums. You can join forums and other platforms to network and get help. For personal finance, the Rockstar Finace Forums is a great place to start. I think reddit is good too, but it’s a time suck.
  • Be active in social media. Pick one or two social media network and become active on those. Follow influential people in your niche. You have to be interactive to build a following.
  • Find some blogging buddies. When you’re new, you need some blogging buddies. This can be done by finding a newish blog you like and build a relationship with the blogger. You can contact them and see if you can support each other somehow. Bloggers exchange guest posts, promote their friends’ content, and help each other through technical issues. It helps a lot to have someone who is going through the same journey in your corner.
  • Go to meet ups and conferences – For personal finance, I highly recommend attending FinCon. It’s a great way to meet bloggers and you’ll learn a ton. You can also should seek out local meet ups and network in person.

Optional – build an email list

This one probably could wait, but building an email list is crucial if you plan to sell a product (ebook, course, consulting,…) in the future. This is the best way to connect with your reader on a 1 on 1 basis. Many successful bloggers regret not building an email list from day one. Unfortunately, this is an expensive proposition for new bloggers. I use Aweber and it starts at $19/month. Personally, I think you can wait a bit on this one. Concentrate on blogging for a year and then start building an email list after that. If you have an ebook or something, then it’d be worth it to start right away.

Alternatively, you can use MailChimp. It’s free for up to 2,000 subscribers. However, it is a pain to move the list over to Aweber or ConvertKit. If you’re serious about building an email list, I’d go with Aweber or ConvertKit from the start.

Keep going for a year

Blogging is more difficult than you think. It’s not just writing and posting it on the internet. You need to setup some technical stuff, be active in social media, and network. It takes a ton of time to do all these things. Don’t quit after just a few months. Blogging is most difficult in the beginning. Once you’ve done it for a year, it gets easier. You need to gut it out for a year and see where it takes you.

Here a great inspirational talk from Ira Glass. Listen to this, it is so true.

Here is the summary

  • Set a blogging schedule and stick to it
  • Sign up for Google Analytics
  • Get your site indexed by Google and other search engines
  • Get active on social media
  • Get listed in relevant directories
  • Network, network, and network – This is the most important piece.

I hope this post helped some new bloggers. Let me know if I miss anything and I’ll add it to the article. Good luck!

If you need more help check out Jillian’s two week course – JetFuel. She is a great coach and she’ll help you start off on the right foot. Jillian’s site is Montana Money Adventures.

My tutorial – How to Start a Blog and Why You Should.

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 86 comments… add one }
  • Mr. Tako January 15, 2018, 12:24 am

    Great tips Joe! I’ve been blogging for two years now, and I still learned something from this post!

    Here’s a question Joe — Let’s say you’ve started a new blog but after a year (or two) you haven’t found an audience. What should a blogger do? Give up? Change their blog? Or struggle on?

    • retirebyforty January 15, 2018, 7:26 am

      After a year, I would focus on writing more in dept posts.
      I don’t really know if you haven’t found an audience in two years. I would just do it for yourself at that point. Fit by 40 is like that. I don’t put enough time into it so there aren’t many readers. I use it to track my fitness goals and don’t expect to gain many readers.

  • Lily | The Frugal Gene January 15, 2018, 1:30 am

    Ack, Joe where was this piece 6 months! Haha just kidding ^^ thank you for writing this. Everything you say is very true. I did stop to think about “quantity vs quality” at this point. It is sometimes darn impossible to write but settling for a quantity post always makes me feel…dirty? Yeah, dirty is the word. Nice to hear that quantity does matter though.

    • Chris @ Duke of Dollars January 15, 2018, 3:24 am

      Same here!!

    • Accidental FIRE January 15, 2018, 3:42 am

      I agree Lily! I can’t bring myself to write a cheesy “listicle” post or something like that. Like –
      “6 reasons I wrote this post anyway when I don’t have anything to say”.
      I don’t see how those work but I guess people do click on them

    • retirebyforty January 15, 2018, 7:29 am

      Quality is good, but you need more posts so they’ll get indexed, IMO. This was easier in 2010 because short posts were okay. I could write short 500 words posts and it was fine. Now, it’s a different story. Google wants longer posts.
      Anyway, I think short posts are okay at the beginning. You just need to get into the habit of writing. Your writing will improve as you write more. So quantity is important at the beginning especially for bad writers like me.

      • Lily | The Frugal Gene January 15, 2018, 9:55 pm

        Super helpful Joe, I do need to work on building my habit.

        You’re not a bad writer Joe! I find your writing more comforting, different from Sam’s where Sam comes in sounding like the CEO but you come in sounding like the nice president’s uncle.

  • Ms99to1percent January 15, 2018, 2:52 am

    Glad to hear it gets better over time 🙂 Thanks for the tips.

    • retirebyforty January 15, 2018, 7:29 am

      Once it becomes routine, then it’s a bit easier. It’s always toughest at the beginning when you need to make big changes.

  • Chris Urbaniak @ deliberatechange.ca January 15, 2018, 3:10 am

    Thanks Joe – A very nice summary with enough details and links to allow readers to dive deeper where they need to!

    I’m probably following about half of the main points you mentioned, so thanks for the encouragement and additional suggestions. You also make a great point about the time. I just kicked off my fledgling blog less than 2 months ago, and I can certainly attest to this.

    One suggestion that might be worth looking into for other new bloggers: MailChimp has a good free mailing list plan, where they offer almost their entire platform as long as your list falls below a certain threshold (I think 2000 readers and 12,000 emails/mo, if I recall correctly). I’ve been happy with it so far. I guess the only catch is, what will the cost be if/when I grow out of the free plan? That’s a can I decided to kick down the road for now. Hopefully it won’t bite me later 🙂

    • retirebyforty January 15, 2018, 7:33 am

      I used MailChimp when I first started too. I’ll put that on the list. The issue is that Aweber is so much better. If you really want to build an email list, might as well start off with the right app.
      I heard that ConvertKit is good too.
      Converting to Aweber was a pain, but I got it done.

      • Chris Urbaniak January 15, 2018, 5:10 pm

        Good points, Joe. I read that it was important to start a list early, but that it was also a pain (as you’ve experienced!) to convert to a better platform after you grow. I considered both of those and chose the same as you did at the start. Glad to know I wasn’t alone 🙂

    • Mrs Frugalcrib January 15, 2018, 11:25 am

      @Chris (and others who recently started out and mentioned Mailchimp), how do you deal with the address requirement? As per the US CAN-SPAM Act, Mailchimp (and other mailing services) require an actual address to be listed. That address will automatically be added to all emails you send out. I don’t feel comfortable listing our actual address and won’t have the readership to justify paying for a PO box for at least a lotttt of years from now.

      Curious to hear how others deal with it!

      • Chris Urbaniak January 15, 2018, 5:14 pm

        Mrs Frugalcrib – That was a tough decision for me, too. The no-PO Box decision was easy given the infinite payback period (like you). I think in general it depends in part on whether you’re anonymously or not, and what your long term plans are.

        Remember the white pages telephone book? (411.ca or 411.com, etc.?) I don’t really believe that anything is truly anonymous online unless you take great strides. In other words, if you’re blogging under your real identity, then your basic personal info is already most likely available pretty easily to anyone who really wants it, so what’s the harm in including it for the people who like to read your writing? That’s what I do.

        I think the only issue truly comes when you advertise that you’re away, but that’s a no-no with anything online, not just blogging.

        As an alternative, you could consider using your 9-5 workplace if your boss is OK with it, or a friend/neighbour/parent that’s not directly connected to your blog. I’m also curious on how other people handle it.

        • retirebyforty January 16, 2018, 12:55 pm

          That’s a tough one. I use a PO box, but I understand that it’s somewhat expensive for a new blog. I’m paying about $100/year. That’s not too bad. A po box is great when you start working with more companies. They can send your checks there.
          There are also online PO box that you can use. I think they’re cheaper, but I’m not exactly sure how much.

          • Mrs Frugalcrib January 17, 2018, 6:55 am

            Thanks Joe and Chris!

            For someone like me, with basically no (personal) online presence (e.g. Facebook), going public with my address feels a bit too invasive. I’ll have to look into the online PO box options at some point!

  • Caroline January 15, 2018, 3:18 am

    Thanks for the post Joe! New bloggers need to be aware it takes a lot of time to blog and not just writing post. Before I started I never realized how much work was required because none of the “how to start a blog” mention it.

    • retirebyforty January 15, 2018, 7:33 am

      I added that warning in the How to Start a Blog guide. Blogging takes up a ton of time.

      • Caroline January 16, 2018, 11:47 am

        Glad you did:) Wish all bloggers would do the same.

  • Chris @ Duke of Dollars January 15, 2018, 3:24 am

    Thanks for writing this up.

    I would recommend Mailchimp to those just starting out for email lists – it is free for up to 2,000 subscribers!

    Quantity has been one of the most interesting pieces of blogging for me to decide on. You see the Mad Fientist who didn’t post regularly in terms of week intervals and he’s very successful. Is he abnormal? Probably 😀 jk!

    • retirebyforty January 15, 2018, 7:36 am

      Some people are very successful with less posts. I think they are the exception to the rule, though.
      Mad Fientist has an edge because of his software background. His site has very cool tools.
      Root of Good and Go Curry Cracker don’t post that often and they’re successful too. More posts is usually better, though. Especially for the first year.

  • Mrs. Adventure Rich January 15, 2018, 3:37 am

    Hey Joe, thanks for the tips! Haha- I am about 8 months in and blogging has had its ups and downs, but I’m really enjoying the community overall 🙂

    • retirebyforty January 15, 2018, 9:03 am

      It’s fun to find your tribe. Locally would be better, but online is good too. Enjoy!

  • WealthyDoc January 15, 2018, 3:40 am

    Useful post. This will help the newbies for sure. I wish I had this when I started: it would have saved me learning from trial and error and the school of hard knocks!

    • retirebyforty January 15, 2018, 9:04 am

      I spent a ton of time at the beginning with all these stuff too. There are a ton of good information now.

  • Accidental FIRE January 15, 2018, 3:45 am

    I also use Mailchimp because it’s free and it’s been working fine for me. At the pace I’m going I don’t see me growing out of it anytime soon.

    And thanks Joe for the Bing Webmasters tip, I didn’t know about that one. Also, I’m getting different metrics than you as social media is driving way more than 5% of my traffic. Maybe that’s because my SEO isn’t very good, not sure.

    Anyway, these tips are great, especially coming from you since you’ve been in the game so long.

  • David @iretiredyoung January 15, 2018, 4:02 am

    12 months ago I started my blogging journey by signing up to your blog and reading your post about how to start a blog, so it’s good to read this follow up now. I count you as a bit of a mentor. I’m hitting some of the things that you mentioned but not all, so I’ll have a look at those.
    Blogging takes way more time than I expected, partly because I’m slow, and partly because there is more to it that I realized. But so far I’m enjoying it. I think the challenge after this first year is thinking of things to write about that feel worthwhile – back to the quantity versus quality question that a number have already commented on.
    Thanks again for the tips Joe.

    • Chris Urbaniak January 15, 2018, 5:21 pm

      Hi David,

      Before I started writing, I also worried about whether I would have enough things to say. So I started a list of potential topics long before I even wrote anything. Whenever I have an idea, I jot it down with the hopes of having enough variety and content over the long term. Even if I’m not home, I’ll put a quick note in my phone and add it to the list later.

      Some ideas will be duplicates, some will be garbage, but collectively the list is growing faster than I’m writing. (My schedule is just one post per week.) Regardless, you’d be surprised at when and where inspiration comes from. HTH 🙂

  • [email protected] January 15, 2018, 4:19 am

    Nice post! I wish I’d read this when I started. Rockstar is amazing for new PF bloggers. I already have my FinCon ticket and can’t wait to meet everybody. Will you be there?

  • Mrs. Groovy January 15, 2018, 4:31 am

    Thanks for laying it out so nicely, Joe.
    “Keep going for a year” is key. You WILL feel like giving up before then (and after too).

    Also, prioritizing actions and fitting them into your schedule (and mental bandwidth) is important. There are so many directions you can take, and you can’t take them all.

  • Tom @ Dividends Diversify January 15, 2018, 4:39 am

    Thanks Joe. Very helpful. You confirmed things I have learned and guided on some of my open questions (ie. email list). I did not know I need to take action on getting indexed on Google and Bing. I will put that on my long blogging to do list. Tom

  • Nicoleandmaggie January 15, 2018, 4:40 am

    I should comment on more blogs….
    We’ve been losing clicks over the years, though we have been gaining subscribers who just read via email or other service.

  • adumbby January 15, 2018, 5:05 am

    I think the commenting on other bloggers looks to be important. Most comments I see are other bloggers. Not many without a PF blog

    • RetireJapan January 15, 2018, 10:13 pm

      This is often a bit much though, isn’t it? It seems most posts on PF blogs are by other bloggers trying to get links/views. Not always the most useful of comments.

      I almost feel like this is semi-spam at times 😛

  • Bob January 15, 2018, 5:20 am

    Great post Joe! It’s good to see some helpful insight & information when you just get started.

  • Dividend Portfolio January 15, 2018, 5:39 am

    Great article RB40. I’ll throw in my support for Yoast SEO. It definitely helps the blogger right more posts that are SEO friendly. I’m still working on the social media aspect of my blog, as I don’t have twitter as of yet. However, consistently blogging, and engaging your niche community, I think are important, especially for beginners. Thanks for the insight.

  • MissSaraBee January 15, 2018, 5:56 am

    Yep, all these points are how I started out.

    I’d even add that design is a major factor in blogging. Make sure the site runs well, everything works, and everything is easy to read as well as easy on the eyes. If a blog looks messy or is difficult to read, people aren’t going to stay for the content, even if it is great content.

  • Jim @ Route To Retire January 15, 2018, 6:00 am

    Good info, Joe!

    A lot of folks start out thinking that blogging will involve typing a couple quick posts every month and then just sitting back and collecting some good income on it. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a lot of work – and writing is only part of it.

    I’ve been doing it since 2015 and really enjoy it. But if you’re in it to try to just make a quick buck, it’s the wrong path to take. That’s why so many people bail on their blogs within their first year.

    — Jim

  • Young FIRE Knight January 15, 2018, 6:14 am

    Thanks for the awesome tips!

    About to celebrate my one month blogoversary so I’m very much in the startup phase where I’m looking to find my way in the community and grow my readership.

    There were a few things you listed that I haven’t been doing yet so I’m going to make that a priority! Thanks again!

  • Retiring On My Terms January 15, 2018, 6:37 am

    Thanks for sharing this advice Joe. As a new blogger, there are definitely things in here I can put to use immediately. I think one of the reasons you are so successful is your willingness to share useful information with your readers!

  • Steve @ familyonfire.org January 15, 2018, 7:35 am

    Good tips. I’ve only been writing for 3 or 4 months and am still at the point where most of my posts are read by friends and family. Hopefully it will grow wider, as one of the reasons I’m writing is to be part of a community and would love to be part of a new bloggers group or similar.

  • Ms. Frugal Asian Finance January 15, 2018, 7:44 am

    Great tips! I just signed up for Bing Webmaster. I don’t get lots of traffic from search engines other than Google. Hope this will change soon. I’m approaching my 1 year mark in 2 months. Time flies!

  • timeinthemarket January 15, 2018, 7:47 am

    I think the key part is just producing more high quality content and being active in general. It takes a while to build a following and get higher on google searches which is what eventually ends up driving traffic naturally. Talking to others in the community certainly helps as well as you learn from them and figure out what works for you and what doesn’t.

  • Millionaire Doc January 15, 2018, 10:18 am

    Great tips. I’m just starting out and building readership. At some point when blogs take off and start monetizing with affiliate links and sponsors, do bloggers incorporate? Like an LLC?
    Thanks for the post.

    • retirebyforty January 16, 2018, 12:50 pm

      That will be part 3 of this series. Sometime next year. 😉
      I’d start with Adsense. It’s not great, but you have to start somewhere.
      As for affiliates, I’d start with Amazon.
      You should incorporate if the blog generate income.

  • JoeHx January 15, 2018, 12:47 pm

    I try to do one post a week (I actually have two blogs, so that’s two posts a week). I recently added my main blog to Rockstar Finance, but haven’t participated much in the forums yet. I’ll have to work on that.

    And for whatever reason, I’m just not interested in building an email list. I know it seems every blogger out there seems to insist it’s a must-do, but I just don’t see the point. Plus sending out emails just feels spammy.

    • retirebyforty January 16, 2018, 12:52 pm

      One per week is pretty good. Just keep it steady.
      You can wait on the email list. If you have something to sell, then it’s another story.

  • [email protected] January 15, 2018, 1:54 pm

    Thanks Joe – A very nice summary, It’s good to see some helpful information on blogging.

  • [email protected] January 15, 2018, 1:57 pm

    Excellent post. Bookmarked so I can read it again.
    Thanks for the tips. I’m trying to do 3 posts per week. The problem is I’m “only” one week ahead. I want to be at least 2 months. So…a lof of work. uff!

    • retirebyforty January 16, 2018, 12:53 pm

      Confession – I’m 0 post ahead. I write and post the latest. That’s all I can keep up with. 🙂

  • [email protected] January 15, 2018, 4:00 pm

    Great tips for budding bloggers. I find that early on getting the traffic can be really tough and that’s where networking with others go a long way. Plugging away at it despite early setbacks or disappointments is a great strategy!

  • Angela January 15, 2018, 5:22 pm

    Jeez, right when I feel awesome about hitting the six month mark, you tell me the year is the big one 😉

    Honestly though, having a schedule was seriously a pain for the first few months, but it definitely gets easier (and so does writing in general).

    Thanks again for the nudge to get my blog off the ground!

  • Buy, Hold Long January 15, 2018, 7:38 pm

    Great advice overall, I have been trying to do that over the 2017 year and I think it has paid off for such a new blog like mine. Looking forward to big things for 2018. Hoping for a large increase in viewers. Cheers

  • Foreign BornMD January 15, 2018, 8:04 pm

    Helpful post especially for new websites like mine. I am following some of your ideas to hopefully grow my site. Thanks for sharing Joe!

  • GYM January 15, 2018, 8:12 pm

    I agree with Angela I thought the recommended “give it a try” mark was 6 months- but it makes sense that it is 1 year now.

    I didn’t know that Google liked longer posts until I restarted a blog this year. I used to think 700 words was a long post in 2010! Lol.

    I also am using mail chimp this time around and it’s fun and even signed up for a PO Box to be professional!

    Thanks for these tips Joe!

    • retirebyforty January 16, 2018, 12:57 pm

      Back in the good old days, I could write 500 words and call it a day. That’s how I was able to write 3 posts/week in the first year. It became much more difficult once Google wants longer posts. Now I can only do 2 per week.

  • Dividend FIREman January 16, 2018, 7:12 am

    Thanks RB40 for this list. As a brand new blogger it is a bit overwhelming to do anything other than create content, and it is helpful to have these tips all in one place. Plus it is always good to get a kick in the pants about regular writing ?. Happy investing and keep up the great work!

  • CJ January 16, 2018, 1:15 pm

    Hi Joe,
    I started reading your blog during xmas and I was absolutely hooked. This article just proved my point: concise, actionable and personable. Thank you!
    You are providing the strength to me to keep blogging about PF for the UK audience! I will be sure to re-read this whenever I feel like giving up.

  • AA40 January 16, 2018, 6:11 pm

    Great tips !! I didn’t know about Rockstar directory. Thanks for that!

  • The Optimal Choice January 16, 2018, 8:47 pm

    Thanks for the tips Joe. I literally just started my blog yesterday and had I not been busy working on it I would have commented on your last two posts sooner! I owe a lot to the FIRE community for giving me giving me financial purpose. Just so you know, you were the first FI blog I stumbled on and my life hasn’t been the same since. Thanks for all the blogging advice! Looks like I got more to do!

    Mr. Toc

  • Chad January 17, 2018, 7:21 am

    Hi Joe,
    Is it good to go with only guest post articles? (Considering I am getting enough number of guest posts to post 3/4 articles every week)
    Please suggest..

  • Mike Ingram January 17, 2018, 1:29 pm

    Great tips. I have been sitting on the sidelines for years, always saying I am going to start blogging. This year, I decided to go for it. I think my biggest struggle is the fact that I am writing and fell like no one is reading. I know I have to be patient but it’s super frustrating feeling like I am writing into darkness or a black hole.

    • Roseanne January 18, 2018, 7:22 am

      Hi Mike,
      I know exactly what you mean about talking to yourself!! I even said that in one post – HAHAHA. I’ll check out your website, and even leave a comment so you know I’ve read it. ~smile~ Roseanne

  • Income Master January 17, 2018, 1:52 pm

    Some great tips for new-starters. A lot of people assume that you can get stacks of traffic and money quickly, but it’s a very slow grind. But if you stay consistent and provide good content, the rewards will come. Domain age also plays a big part in SEO. Once you hit that 2 year mark, you’ll find you will be ranking much better in search engines.

    • retirebyforty January 17, 2018, 5:05 pm

      Some site takes off very quickly, but that’s rare. It’s better to plan for the long haul.
      You’re right about the 2 year mark.

  • Tangent Life January 18, 2018, 3:58 am

    Yeah must say from my experience also a minimum 1 year commitment is needed to start seeing any progress. Just purely because search engines take so long to give you some attention.

    • retirebyforty January 18, 2018, 8:51 am

      Good point about the search engines. I heard that it gets much better after 2 years, but 1 year is a good threshold. Fit by 40 shows up on Google now if I put in the right words…

  • Roseanne January 18, 2018, 7:21 am

    Hi Joe,
    I am just approaching the end of my first year after being encouraged to start a blog by your post. Thank you! February 11th is the official anniversary, and last Monday I just posted my 300th post. I have found that I love blogging. All of it. Somehow I have managed to find something to say 6-7 times per week about quilting – not finance. I have around 80 followers on WordPress, a dozen or so on Bloglovin’ and I forget to check Google Analytics. I don’t know if that’s good or not, but I am happy with it. I have found networking to be most crucial and I have made some good friends this way. Anyway, great follow up article! Thank you again, Joe! ~smile~ Roseanne

    • retirebyforty January 18, 2018, 9:06 am

      That’s great to hear. You’re doing it the right way. Blogging is a social outlet and you can make new friends through your site. Great job!

  • Jeff January 18, 2018, 12:20 pm

    Thank you for this article! It was well timed since I am planning to launch a blog officially next month over at fintechfreedom.com.

  • Drew | FIIntrovert January 18, 2018, 6:56 pm

    I appreciate the post. It confirms that online or offline, building relationships is key. Introverts like me need to remember that and make genuine connections with people. That takes time and energy, just like any worthwhile endeavor.

  • Smart Money And Travel January 19, 2018, 7:38 pm

    Very good post.

    FWIW I use MailChimp and it seems fine. I was a bit freaked out when I saw my actual address going out in emails and dual opt-in confirms. I was able to edit the emails and deleted it. I think that solved it for me? Anyone else try that?

  • MySmartMoneyblog January 19, 2018, 11:47 pm

    This is something I’m still working on as a beginning blogger. I’ve done all of the steps, but I haven’t been consistent. Thank you for reenforcing the networking tip! I will spend more time on this. My blog, mysmartmoneyblog.com just got listed in the Rockstar directory so I’m off to a good start 🙂

  • Mike @ Ninja Budgeter January 20, 2018, 4:40 am

    “Keep going for a year”

    This. As you said, way too many bloggers give up before they have an opportunity to build any real traction. I’ve been at it for 14 months now and I’m just starting to see some good, steady levels of daily traffic.

  • Sean @ Frugal Money Man January 20, 2018, 5:53 pm

    Awesome insights!

    Pinterest is definitely a goal of mine to tackle in 2018. I am completely foreign to pinterest and have no idea how it works, but I have heard it is a great traffic driver from multiple sources.

    I also plan on connecting with fellow new bloggers so that we can help get our names out there through guest postings.

    Thank you for sharing this list!

  • Ryan January 21, 2018, 1:47 pm

    Hey Joe,

    I am a new reader, as well as a new blogger, and I look forward to implementing these tips. Your comments on setting up the technical side and networking definitely resonate with me. I’ve been blogging for a few weeks now and have found that both of those really take more time than the blogging itself, which I find pretty funny. Look forward to keep up with your posts and thank you for sharing!


  • KC January 27, 2018, 9:01 pm

    Good evening. I wanted to drop a line and say thank you. I found your blog from the reddit FIRE community, and its provided motivation on more than one occasion. Outside of an interest in perso nal finance, I decided to launch a blog/travel site after some consideration. (www.gypsyprofessor.com)

    I quite enjoy your writing style and the flow of your posts.

    Thanks again!

  • Art January 28, 2018, 12:24 pm

    Mr. Udo,

    I had a question about “Comment on blogs in your niche. This is a great way to gain readers when you’re starting out. Find popular blogs in your niche and leave comments there. These are like breadcrumbs that will lead readers to your site. Do it consistently and you’ll build a relationship with your favorite bloggers. This is a good way to network and make new friends”

    How exactly are bread crumbs left behind when leaving comments in other blogs or articles. Am I suppose to be leaving my website name somewhere in the comment itself? Thanks for your posts! I successfully managed to start a blog on a topic I really like and I am one week in with 3 posts so far. Trying to increase readership now. Thanks in advance for the advice.

    – ART

    • retirebyforty January 28, 2018, 3:03 pm

      You should get a logo for your site. You can see the images next to the comments here. They are gravatars.
      You shouldn’t put links in the comment itself. Bloggers don’t like irrelevant links. Good luck.

  • Peter Koch February 5, 2018, 3:40 am

    You are right about networking. Networking is 50% of success in any business actually. But it seems like many people don’t have a clue what that even means. It doesn’t mean spam your link on people’s articles, messages, or where ever people generally get annoyed to see a blog link. It doesn’t mean backlink 4 backlink. Networking means TALKING TO PEOPLE!

    Few months ago and despite the lack of knowledge about blogging, as I said, I managed to drove 150k+ readers to my blog, get 700 subscribers and with only 20 posts.

    My traffic is from the following sources:


    Writing long form answers on I went from from 0 followers and less than 1k views to more than 1M views and over 1k followers in 6 months.

    Answers are shortened version of my main blog post, with a read more link to my blog.

    For those interested in promoting on Quora:

    Choose relevant topics with lots of followers.

    Inside a particular popular topic, you want to choose questions that also have lots of followers. It doesn’t matter how many other people have answered the question.

    Capture attention with first lines of your answer.

    Write 200-250 words answers and include pictures.

    Provide unique value.

    Call to action. Include link with more rad to your blog.


    2 separate Reddit posts that hit the #1 spot on /r/entrepreneur

    Google (I don’t know how I made it but Google is now main source of traffic to my blog).

    Networking (Facebook groups and various forums)

    I didn’t do any guest posting, run any ads, build backlinks or even SEO optimize my page. Like I said, I have no clue what I’m doing and I’m not a good writer, so I try and make my posts as useful as possible. People don’t care about grammar and bad spelling if they get some value out of the post.

    Next steps:


    Started few days ago and already I can see some traction (5-9 blog visits/day)

    Collaboration (networking with other bloggers in the niche)


    • retirebyforty February 5, 2018, 9:47 am

      Thanks for the tips. I’ll check out Quora. I looked before, but didn’t understand how to follow a certain topic or drive traffic.

      • Peter Koch February 6, 2018, 1:18 am

        Quora’s algorithm does not make it easy to find good questions to answer. Read Quora digest (mainly end up in social tab of gmail). Use search bar and browse related questions. If a question was asked yesterday and already has 5,000 views, you can expect a lot of exposure on your answer. Spy on your “competitors” and see what questions they answered etc… In general: Quora likes new content and trendy content. Two month ago, everybody feed was flooded with crypto. Hope this helps

  • Financial Orchid February 11, 2018, 6:14 pm

    Ah, timely post for the newbie here. Thank you so much for sharing this. Would you mind giving some informal feedback on how I can improve my current site?

    Thank you!

  • Jessie April 15, 2018, 5:40 pm

    Thank you very much for this article. I’ve been blogging for about a year or so, but only sporadically and never really committing to a schedule until recently. Last month I got myself a fresh URL, and did a full overhaul of my site. Since then I’ve committed to becoming a full time blogger and look forward to learning a lot. This article is an awesome start. It’s also an awesome motivator. Thanks again. 🙂

  • Steve June 7, 2018, 9:12 pm

    Hey Joe, thanks for the tips! I recently just started doing a personal FI blog and this is super helpful! Especially the Rockstar Finance directory piece. I had no idea. I can appreciate your motivation to all of the FI goers out there!


  • Max Paul August 28, 2018, 3:13 am

    Joe, I stumbled onto your blog and love it. I just started out (3months ago) on my first blog and love the journey (so far) …who knows what the future holds ?
    It’s nice to read what others go through when they started so thanks for sharing.

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