Since updating my about page with my story of how the blog went viral, I’ve received questions from readers and friends about how to start a blog and make it go viral. It’s not an easy subject to tackle. There are lots and lots of details. Today I’ll explain how to start a blog and get tons of traffic to it with the steps I used.
In case you are wondering, I started A Modern Mom Blog in August 2016 and by January 2017 (just 6 months later) I was getting tons of traffic. In the month of January 2017 I had 144K page views. I don’t say this to brag, but to tell you this method works. Here’s a screenshot of my Jetpack Stats on WordPress:
Here’s my 10 step approach on how to start a blog and make it go viral
If you already have a blog and just want to learn how to make it go viral skip to Step 5
1. Identify Your Niche
What’s a niche and why do you need to choose one?
A niche is a topic that appeals to a small group of people.
It’s super important to choose an isolated subject that you are knowledgeable on and can create tons of great blog posts on that subject so you don’t get lost in the crowd when you first launch your blog.
A niche helps identify and attract your target audience that will keep coming back to your blog again and again.
But I want to blog about everything…….That’s fair, but by blogging about everything you won’t become the leading expert on anything. If you want to quickly become known as the go to blog, then you need to be the go to blog on a particular subject.
Bottom line: choose the subject you want to be the expert on for at least the first six months you blog and stick to that topic. Once you have steady traffic and a group of followers you can branch out to other subjects.
For steps 2, 3, and 4 I highly recommend following along with this You Tube Tutorial as you set up your website.
2. Choose a Website Domain and Name that Are the Same
Always, always, always make your domain the same as your website name! It is confusing to have them not match and will interfere with attracting repeat visitors.
Once you’ve selected your domain and website name sign up with Bluehost, which is the hosting company that’s usually recommended for beginner bloggers.
What is Bluehost? Bluehost will be the service that houses all of the files that allow your website to exist. That’s basically all you need to know about it. Honestly hosting is really confusing, and you don’t need to know much about it or how to use it other than that you need a Bluehost account and to purchase a domain.
Now that you have a Bluehost account and have bought your domain name, navigate to the C Panel in your Bluehost account and click on the button entitled “WordPress”. Go through the step by step guide that will pop up to install WordPress on your website. If you have any trouble, Bluehost has amazing customer service. Press the “chat” button in the top right hand corner and a live associate will walk you through the entire process. It’s super easy and you don’t need to know anything about HTML or websites to do this.
What is WordPress? WordPress is a website creation and management tool that’s available online. It’s the program you will use to do everything on your blog from creating your about page to adding advertisements to responding to comments.
Congrats you officially have a blog!
3. Choose a Theme and Learn How to Use It
Now you need to choose a theme. A theme is basically the design/layout of your website.
WordPress offers very simple free themes and I would recommend beginning with one of those, while you are getting things set up. Again, this You Tube tutorial will talk you through installing your theme.
If you want a fancier theme or to skip the work of installing and setting up your theme, you can hire a blog designer. Do your research because blog designs can get very expensive and are a big up front investment.
4. Create Your Pages, Categories and Posts
Again, I recommend using this You Tube Tutorial, which will show you how to set up your blog pages, categories and posts. These topics can get a bit confusing so make sure you understand what each one is.
What is a page: It’s a page with content that is the backbone of your site that you will not be changing very often such as the about page, contact page, etc.
What is a category? A category is a tool for organizing your blog posts. Each category can be added to your menu and the information under that tab will be automatically be updated with each blog post that’s put under that category. For example, my categories are parenting, life and family vacations. Each time I create a blog post I select the category I want the blog post placed under on the right sided tool bar in WordPress. This causes the post to show up in two places. It will be the first blog post shown on the homepage and it will be the top post under the category section it was selected under.
What is a blog post? A blog post is basically an article that is put on a blog. Usually bloggers post 1-5 posts a week.
How to Make Your Blog Go Viral
5. Write Evergreen Content
What is evergreen content? Evergreen content is information that is timeless and useful to people for years and years to come.
Evergreen content is important for making your blog go viral and for continuing to drive traffic to your blog day after day, even if you aren’t posting every single day. It allows for a blog post you wrote six months or even seven years ago to continue driving traffic to your blog and attracting potential long-term followers every day.
For example, Amber Fillerup, a famous beauty blogger recently wrote that her most viewed post last month was a post she did three years ago entitled “How to Make Home Made Biore Strips”. The topic of the post is one that will be relevant for years to come and one that has given her tons of traffic for years.
Another example, is a post I did several months ago entitled “How to Stop Toddler Whining with One Simple Phrase”. The post went viral a few weeks after it was posted and has been sending me at least 100 new visitors a day and one day it sent me over 10,000 visitors in a single day! Here’s the picture and pin associated with that post:
6. Research and Understand Social Media While Creating Your Accounts
Social media is confusing. There are way too many social media platforms and it is too time consuming to be on all of them. I would recommend choosing two social media platforms that you like and can easily contribute to multiple times a week. I chose Pinterest and Instagram. I started my Pinterest account immediately when I launched my blog and got serious about my Instagram account around six months into blogging.
There is tons of information about each social media platform and I recommending reading as much as you can.
Get access to my exclusive post on how to grow your Pinterest and Instagram account here.
Here’s my take on each social media platform:
Pinterst: Most important social media platform for bloggers. Be on it and be active on it.
Instagram: This is the best platform for connecting with your followers on a day to day basis.
Facebook: Other than having a basic Facebook page that is linked to automatically show your blog posts, I’d recommend basically ignoring Facebook for at least the first year of blogging.
Bloglovin’: Is falling down in popularity and is usually only used by other bloggers.
StumbleUpon: Can send you traffic if you get lucky, but usually isn’t worth the effort most days.
SnapChat: It’s fun, but it’s difficult to get traffic from your SnapChat to your blog.
7. Understand Where Blog Traffic Comes From
This is a super important concept for making your blog go viral, but it’s a difficult subject to tackle. Recently many big time, career bloggers have opened up about their traffic sources. Not surprisingly most list Pinterest as their number one traffic source, followed by a being featured on a major website or magazine, and often search engines as their third source.
Pinterest sends me more traffic than any other source and I suspect it will stay that way as my blog grows.
Bottom line: If you want to go big you need to go big on Pinterest.
8. Create Pinnable Images
For all of your evergreen posts go through and create images that are Pinterest friendly and pin them to your boards.
What’s a Pinterest friendly image? It’s a high quality photo with the blog title written on the photo.
Here’s a few examples of my Pinterest friendly images that have done well on Pinterest:
9. Identify What Your Readers Like and Need
After you’ve been blogging for a few months evaluate your traffic and pins. Determine which categories are getting the most traffic and re-pins. Create more posts on those topics.
For example, after a few months I realized most of my traffic was going to blog posts about my parenting ideas. It seemed people found what I had to say helpful, interesting or weird. For whatever the reason those posts were doing great compared to family vacation posts or family activity posts, so I started doing more parenting posts and my traffic and re-pins continued to increase.
10. Create a Realistic Schedule and Stick to It
After my blog went viral in January, I got really shy and stopped posting for awhile. It was an over-whelming feeling to know that thousands of people were going to my site each day. I took a break from the blog and from social media and sure enough my traffic started decreasing.
After taking a break, I came up with a reasonable schedule that I could stick to. This meant one high quality post a week, pinning to Pinterest once or twice a week, and posting to Instagram every other day. By keeping this schedule my page views are once again hitting high numbers for a new blog (A Modern Mom Blog is 14 months old) and my social media accounts are steadily growing.
Bottom line: Come up with a schedule you can stick to for blog posts and social media.
Get exclusive access to my blog post on growing your Pinterest and Instagram account by clicking here.