How to grow your blog fast? Everybody and they mama has different advice.
Write this style of content. Do X, Y and Z. Get links. Become a guest posting slut. Research keywords. Suck off Google. Make YouTube videos. Blah, blah, blah.
In fact, all of that stuff helps, sans the whole fondling big daddy Google thing. But the fact of the matter is these things alone won’t ensure your blog sees explosive growth.
The Exponential Nature of Blogging
Blogging, like nearly every form of online business, is exponential. You type away for months on end with little results.
Then you see things pick up. One month you make a few extra sales. The next month traffic nearly doubles. Before you know it, your little blog starts bringing in some cash due to solid traffic.
But it’s never linear. You may publish 30-40 articles over a few months and then see traffic skyrocket six months down the road. It just doesn’t happen immediately.
You need time and consistent effort. But what’s the secret sauce? Well…
What Happened to Nomadic Hustle?
Why listen to me? In February of 2017, this little site was getting absolutely no love, traffic, or attention. None.
The whole month Nomadic Hustle saw 1,605 visitors. A little over 50 sets of eyes grazed this site each day. Not much, especially when you consider billions of people have access to the Internet.
I was discouraged. I had published roughly 70-80 articles by then. Maybe my writing blew. Maybe my voice wasn’t strong. Maybe I wasn’t connecting.
Doubts filled my head. I began thinking about giving up on the site. Maybe I should move on to niche sites or YouTube.
Nomadic Hustle exponential growth. July will make it curve upwards.
I almost did. But I decided to give the site a true effort one last time. In April of 2017, I published 11 articles. In May, I kicked things up a notch. I told myself that if July rolls around and the site still isn’t doing much, I’d move on. But for the next few months, I’d give a great effort.
If you’re ready to publish like a mad man, then there’s still a few more things to consider, including:
Don’t think you can just scribble some text on your site and Google will dig it. You have to play the SEO game, too.
You must do keyword research and optimize your site for the search engines. Without a little SEO, you’re leaving views on the table – and lots of them!.
Now, I’m not going to get into the details of keyword research in this piece. To start, make sure you have the Yoast plugin installed on your site. Next, check out Keyword Eye – it’s a great free keyword research tool.
And yes, backlinks lives matter. You need to get more backlinks to your site. This means two things. First, write content people actually like. If your writing connects with someone, then there’s a solid chance they’ll find a way to link to it sometime.
Next, you’ll end up having to do some guest posting. This is a good thing. Guest posting not only gives you some link juice, but you get to build a relationship with a fellow writer and expose your ideas to a new fan base. A true win-win.
How to Grow Your Blog Fast
If you came here looking for a “hack” or some other Internet marketing bullshit, then you’ll be disappointed. That’s fine. I’m here to tell you how to grow your blog quickly and honestly.
Do SEO. Write More. Publish Every Day. Have Patience.
If you follow that plan, your blog will grow quickly – eventually. Point. Blank. Period.
Life is filled with choices. Do this and you can’t do that. Every choice you make comes with consequences. Some are good others are bad. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
With regards to blogging, many a blogger finds themselves at a crossroad. Do you write money making posts or do you grow your audience?
While product reviews can pay the bills, most aren’t created with an audience in mind. The majority of reviews are created with big daddy Google in mind. You hit the right buying keywords and people looking to spend money end up on your site. Then you earn some affiliate bucks.
The Blogger’s Dilemma
Using buying keywords, product reviews, and a few other tactics – you can start to make money from your blog or niche site rather quickly. In theory, this is a great thing. However, it’s still not the perfect situation for bloggers…
The issue revolves around building a brand, growing your audience, and making money in the long term. Your “fans” or audience doesn’t give a flying fuck about some ebook you read and reviewed – if the product doesn’t pertain to their current situation.
So, the vast majority of any regular readers you have aren’t going to read, retweet, like, or comment on a product review article.
On the other hand, when you write content that readers can relate to, you’ll end up with an engaged audience who comments, retweets, and genuinely enjoys the content you put out.
Sounds great, right? Hold on a second. The issue comes down to monetization. When you’re writing for your audience, the content is typically hard to monetize. Hell, sometimes it’s hard to even find a keyword that fits your article.
So you have content that people enjoy and engage with, but big daddy Google gives it no love and you’re unlikely to make any money from it.
What’s a Blogger to Do?
To illustrate this point, let’s look at a few of my articles. I have articles that make money on this site, but there’s a number of pieces that’ll never make more than a dollar or two – no matter the traffic.
Let’s start with a piece that won’t make me any cash:
This article talks about the pitfalls of having too much fun while traveling, why freelancing isn’t something you want to do for the rest of your life, and why I’m focusing on my own websites.
People found the content engaging. Over 150 people have viewed the article within 24 hours, which is a lot for me. There were tons of retweets for the piece and I got three comments immediately after release.
While the article helped me relate to an audience, it didn’t bring in a single penny. I doubt it will make any cash in the future, either. There’s not much SEO going on in the piece.
Now, let’s take a look at an article that makes money and will continue doing so:
There are zero comments on this article. I don’t think a single person retweeted it when I published. The people who like my travel and digital nomad content typically don’t give a flying fuck about supplement reviews. And that’s fine.
Still, the article makes me money. I sold 10 bottles of cherry juice since the piece has been released, along with a number of other items.
Realistically, this one article that took me two hours to write will make me $20-30 every month for the next year or two. SEO is on point and the product solves a problem for many people.
Can You Combine the Two?
Now, some bloggers out there have found the balance. They’ve learned how to engage with an audience, solve people’s problems, hit buying keywords, and earn more money.
If you can do this on a consistent basis, you’ll end up making a decent amount of cash from your blog.
The issue with this style of content? Well, first off – it’s competitive. The best bloggers and websites have typically found these keywords and problems. They solved problems for people already.
For example, I wrote this piece in an attempt to help people and make money. I thought the content was engaging, useful, and potentially profitable:
I got a few comments, a retweet here and there, along with a few sales trickling in. The issue? The piece may never get any Google love. Men’s Health, WikiHow, and a plethora of other publications have targeted similar keywords. Unless my site gets authority from Google, this piece is bound to get little organic traffic.
Some people go to one extreme or the other. For example, my friends Kyle and Dylan both strive to write engaging content that their fans love with nearly every post.
On the other hand, my boy James writes killer product reviews that make a lot of cash. His content is 85% reviews written for Google.
Personally, I’m going a different route. I’m striving to hit things 50/50. I write one post for an audience I’m striving to build and then the next one will be a post I’ll make money from for months on end.
That’s the short-term strategy I’m going with…
Once my site is big enough and I’m making decent cash, I plan to focus on building my audience and brand while offering solutions that help people.
But until my income is where I want it to be, I’ll write product reviews and focus on making money.
Don’t let your blogging ego get in the way of building a profitable brand. Focus on building your brand and your income at the same time. It’s possible with a proper content strategy and consistent work.
Are you a blogger? How are you growing your audience while making more money?
When you first start traveling, everything is new and exciting. You enjoy the rush of being somewhere new. You experience new cultures, see new cities, and enjoy life in a way you’d never experienced before.
Each night out you try a new beer or liquor. Each week your off to hike some mountain or splash around at a new beach. Every city is a new adventure. Hell, you even meet a few girls along the way, too.
The highs keep coming and coming. Spending a week frolicking around a nearly deserted island with your best friend while Euro chicks sunbath topless next door? Check. Learning how to surf in a tropical paradise while partying your balls off with new friends from all over? Check.
Mandatory Machu Pichu trip with the bros? Check. Spending a week in one of the best beach towns in Latin America with your girl and the boys? Check and check. Making a mockery of salsa dancing in Cali, Colombia? Check.
Life has been good. I can’t really complain. But the human mind works in mysterious ways. The highs never last. We’re always left craving more and more. We want better adventures, more danger, hotter women, and all the spoils that come along with them.
I started freelancing as a means to an end. I wanted to travel. I was ready to hit the road. I just needed a way to finance the whole ordeal. Freelancing was the quickest way to cash.
If you’re just starting out online, freelancing is where you should start. Sure, work on niche sites or build a blog. Hell, do both. Just know the cash that’ll cover your bills will come from freelancing for a while.
That’s perfectly fine. I’ve been freelancing for over three years now. And that’s the issue. That’s not perfectly fine. What does that mean?
I fell into the “freelancing trap.” I enjoyed the fruits of my labor without actually putting in too much labor. I realized making $1,500 a month was easily doable and I settled. I hit the road and enjoyed more adventures than any freelancer not making $5,000 a month or more should.
It’s taken awhile, but I realized the mistakes I’ve made. I’ve put fun before the grind for way too long. I hate that I’m saying this, but it’s time to make a drastic change.
Put In Your Grind Time
I pulled the trigger. A combination of factors led me to book a ticket home. I wasn’t planning to head home until Christmas, but my travel enjoyment had dwindled.
I just wasn’t feeling the same on the road. I was spending all my days behind a computer screen. I was building sites and doing freelance work for 6-10 hours every day.
I’m all for hard work, but I didn’t start traveling to make $2,400 a month while working 60 hours a week in a third-world country – all from my studio apartment. I was a living definition of falling into the “freelancers’ trap.”
So I’m headed home. Changes will be made. I won’t leave until my passive income more than sustains me each and every month. That could take a few months. It could take nearly a year.
The only plan is to grind. I’ll put in the 4-12 months it takes to build sustainable websites that will fuel the lifestyle of adventure I desire.
I won’t leave the United States for a long trip until I have over $2,000 in “passive” income from affiliates and advertisers.
My goal for the end of 2017 is to make $3,000 per month or roughly $100 every day from affiliate sales.
Some say that’s small numbers. That’s fine. I know if I can hit those figures my income will continue to grow exponentially through continuing to follow the process.
What You’ll See From Nomadic Hustle in the Coming Months
I have tons of old travel content that I haven’t released yet, so you’ll still see some entertaining travel stuff here. But things will change for a few months.
I’m going to show you how to make money publishing articles online every single day. Reaching my goal will become your crash course to increasing your online income each and every month.
And once my income is where I want it to be, we’re going to have some real adventures together. No more of the cookie cutter travel experiences that everybody and their mama has blogged about.
Fuck that! We’ll be getting off the beaten path and going to places no one else does. I’m talking places like Paraguay, Venezuela, Honduras, Guatemala, and Northern Brazil.
So here’s to changing it up, putting in the grind time, and the real adventures to come. Hasta luegooo!
So, you want to be a digital nomad? You want to work from the beach sipping iced coffees while the waves roll in and the bikini-clad babes stroll by.
L.O.L. The reality of the situation is a little different…
Right now, I’m typing this article from an Airbnb apartment in Cartagena, Colombia. My place is ocean front with a solid view. There’s a rooftop pool on the 17th floor with sweeping views of the beach and city.
Sounds great, right? Not so fast. I’m currently sitting on a twin bed. My buddy is beside me on a different bed. We’re forced to work in the one room of the apartment that has air conditioning. There’s no desk or table in here.
The AC in my room broke down the night before. I sweated through the night tossing and turning. Hard to sleep in an 80-degree room.
Cartagena is not ugly.
Now, we’re deciding if we should pack our things up and move to a different spot for a few days. Our confidence in the landlord to fix the broken AC promptly is not high.
But we don’t want to pack up our things and move to a new spot – for the third time this week.
On top of that, I’ve been ill for the past few weeks. A throat issue that simply won’t go away has me spending more time in third world doctor’s offices than I’d ever like to.
Oh, and don’t forget the sunburn. Your third-world doctor forgets to tell you that antibiotics make you susceptible to sunburns. You spent a few hours at the beach and now resemble a gringo lobster.
Bad Things That Happen While Working From the Road
A lot of shit can happen when you travel around working on your laptop. I’m not going to talk about why you should become a location independent traveler or not.
I’m just going to talk about a few things that have happened to me:
When Exercising Goes Wrong
Traveling through a third-world shithole can be a lot of fun, but it’s also dangerous. I found that out the hard way.
My friend and I decided we needed to work out after hitting the booze a little too hard the night before. So we went to the park around 5 PM. The sun was just setting, and we wanted to hit some pushups, pullups, lunges, and abs.
We didn’t know the park was “gang” territory. After finishing our first sets of pullups, five young men sprinted down. We were surrounded. A chain-link fence surrounded the whole park. We didn’t have a way out.
They confronted us using kitchen utensils as weapons. At first, we laughed. Then three of them attacked my boy, shoved him to the ground, punched him, and stole his shorts and shoes off his body.
They weren’t fucking around. Next, they came to me. Five on one didn’t seem like good odds. One of the was looking away, and I took my chance. I shoved him to the side and made a break for the fence.
My friend saw what I was doing and took off, too. He had a free exit, as they had all came to me.
We got out before they could catch us. A little roughed up, my friend lost his shoes and workout clothes. I was fine, but shaking with adrenaline.
Life on the road isn’t all bad.
Fuck. The elevator dropped from under us. We were free falling. There was nothing we could do. I tried to clutch the handrail and remain calm, but it wasn’t working.
My boy and I started yelling. Then it stopped. The floor was shaking, almost bouncing. The lights started flickering. It felt like we were on a ride at an amusement park, but this was in our apartment building.
What the hell just happened? The lights turned off completely. We pulled out our phones and shined some light while trying to remain calm.
We pressed the emergency button, but it’s the third-world. No one was coming to help us anytime soon.
It was easy to remain calm for 10 or so minutes, but being stuck in a tiny elevator that could plummet to the bottom of the building at any minute isn’t comforting.
We started to panic about 15 minutes in. We punched the ceiling looking for a way out. We kicked the door. We yanked any lever we could get our hands on.
Finally, after 10 minutes of freaking the fuck out. I found a crease and was able to pry the doors open with my bare hands.
We saw a little light but not much. We were stuck between the fourth and fifth floors. I look down. We could crawl out, but it would be a bit dangerous.
Fuck it. We crawled through a few wires, and our feet set foot on the fourth floor.
We walked down the stairs, and the doorman was cracking up. He pointed at me and said, “Superman!” Then he laughed, again.
Apparently, he had watched the whole thing on camera and found it amusing how I pried the door open with my hands.
Mobile Internet For $300 a Night
Airbnb rentals sometimes are amazing. Other times, they blow.
My friends and I decided to splurge for three nights in Colombia. We rented a penthouse with an ocean view for $300 a night. It was baller.
Rooftop pool, modern design, huge balcony, private gym – the whole nine yards. Every room had a 42″ flat screen TV, working AC, and a private bath with hot water. Luxuries in this part of the world.
But, it’s still the third-world…
We arrived and quickly found one major issue. The apartment didn’t have an Internet router. The only WiFi came from a mobile router that offered just enough connection to open up emails. You couldn’t even play a damn YouTube video with this thing.
For $300 a night! No Internet. It was awful. We complained and got a small refund, but still. How do you charge $300 a night and not offer decent WiFi?
What $300 a night gets you.
Is the Digital Nomad Lifestyle For You?
Some are made to live life on the road. Others aren’t. I can see why the life of a digital nomad has gotten some bad press lately. Hell, some people even claim the term “digital nomad” is uber gay – which is hard to argue.
That’s fine. While life on the road isn’t the fairytale those dipshit “gurus” try to sell you, it’s not that bad, either. There’s a lot to love about traveling while working. And there’s only one way to find out if it’s for you…
It’s the easiest way to do things. Plus, Bluehost does a great job through every part of the process. How to start a blog? Bluehost makes it easy.
You can buy a hosting one Bluehost that will allow you to host as many domains as your heart desires. I recommend this. As any online hustler will tell you, there’s a high probability you’ll be building more than one site in the future.
Go With WordPress
If you’re blogging, you’ll immediately want to upload WordPress through Bluehost. This is step number two. No ifs, ands, or buts. Bloggers need WordPress.org.
Just do it. Bluehost makes it easy. This is legit all you have to do:
They guide you step-by-step. There’s no guesswork here. Installing WordPress is easy.
Once you have WordPress installed, your site will be live and ready to go. But we’re not done yet. There’s still a number of steps before you actually start making cash. So let’s dive in.
Installing a Theme
The nest step is to install a WordPress theme. When you initially open your WordPress dashboard, they install a free theme from the jump. Right now, this free theme is called “Twenty Seventeen” – and it’s not that bad.
But I would NOT recommend using this theme to start your blog. Your site will look like every other brand new blog, there aren’t many features, and it’s fairly bland.
If you plan to make money from your blog, then you’ll want to buy a premium, responsive WordPress theme.
While responsive themes aren’t cheap, they’re worth the investment. By the way, responsive means the theme works on all screens – from mobile to desktops to iPads.
I won’t dive too deep here. You’ll quickly learn about plugins as you start pumping content. To start, you’ll want to download a few main WordPress Plugins:
Akismet – This blocks spam on comments.
Yoast SEO – Plugin designed to help you rank better in Google.
Easy Social – Allows people to share your content on social media.
Contact form – Helps people get in touch.
Disqus – Makes commenting on your blog easier than ever.
These five plugins are ideal for beginning bloggers. They’ll all help you get things going quickly and correctly.
How to Start a Blog: Content Creation
At this point in the game, you have a functioning website. You’ve bought a domain and hosting, you’ve installed WordPress, and now you have a premium theme installed, too.
What’s next? It’s time to create some content and make some cash. It’s time to watch those blogging dollars roll in.
Well, kind of. You’re going to have to show “Big Daddy” Google some love to get that far. You need to play the game the right way to start making some cash.
To make money blogging, you’ll need a plan, some keyword research, a ton of content, and some patience. Let’s take a look.
Your Blogging Plan
Unless you’re some world-class Hank Moody-type of writer, you can’t just aimlessly write words and expect your traffic and cash flow to skyrocket. You need a plan, and a good one.
You need to think through what you’re going to blog about and how you’re going to make that straight cash, homie.
First, start off by thinking about the topics you’ll write about. I write about travel and lifestyle here at Nomadic Hustle. Anything that’s about traveling and building an ideal lifestyle is fair game for me.
Pick one or two broad topics to base your blog around. Then start to think how you can make money with these topics.
Open up an Excel spreadsheet and let the ideas flow. Type up any ideas for articles, topics, anything really. You’ll always want to keep a working document of ideas.
No matter the blog topic, there’s only a few ways to make money. Basically, there are three ways to make cash from your website:
Advertising & Sponsorships
Often, the best blogs use a mix of two or three monetization methods. Take my friend Kyle for example. While he doesn’t do any advertising on his site, he does make cash through his own products and affiliate marketing.
Personally, I’ve stuck to affiliate marketing for the last few years. Eventually, I’ll create my own products, but for now – affiliate marketing it is.
For most beginners, affiliate marketing is the best way to make money from your blog. Just. Trust. Me.
You don’t have enough traffic to make a dollar from advertising when you start out. Brands only sponsor people with a decent readership. And creating a product takes time and effort. Plus, you won’t have a clue about the market for awhile, so building a product could be a huge waste.
So what is affiliate marketing? Basically, you write about other people’s products that you’ve used. You send traffic to their products and when traffic you sent makes a sale, you receive a percentage of said sale.
For example, I affiliate for Woolly Clothing Company through Amazon Associates Program. I’ve written about their Merino Wool Henley and their Merino Wool Tank Top – both great products for travelers.
Keyword Research Matters
So now you know how you’ll make money from your blog and have a vague idea what you’ll write about. It’s time to get into the nitty gritty. We’re talking details now.
The difference between a blog that gets hundreds of thousands of hits a month and one that gets 2-3K of traffic is often keyword research and optimization.
You can be a great writer with incredible content, but if Google can’t find the content – then most people won’t, either.
Many a new blogger frowns at the thought of using their platform to write product reviews.
You see it all over. People legitimately believe that writing a well thought out review for a product they’ve used or read is below them. People talk about it on Twitter every now and then.
They want to write about personal experiences. They want to talk about adventure. They want to inspire. They want to dive deep into the political sphere. Whatever it is, they don’t want to review products.
Writing a product review with the intention to make cash? They’re too good for that. No, only digital nomads making $1,200 a month would need to steep so low to write product reviews.
It Happened to Me, Too
I’m the same damn way. When I first started this site, I didn’t plan to do a ton of product reviews. I wanted to talk about travel and adventure. I wanted to share stories and make cool videos. Hell, I still do.
I genuinely believed writing reviews was below me. My passive income was under $200 USD a month at one point, yet I was “too good” to waste my time and platform on a review.
My ego as a writer and blogger wouldn’t allow me to make that straight cash, homie. I’ve purposely tried to not post too many reviews here at Nomadic Hustle.
Now, I see the faulty logic behind such ideals. Until you’re making more than $30,000 USD a year in passive income minimum, you should ignore the hell out of your blogging ego.
I plan to become a review writing slut in the next few months. I’ve already begun the process:
Combined with the travel and lifestyle content I actually enjoy producing, I’m positive my income will skyrocket.
But who gives a damn about me? If you’re a blogger, you need to decide if you’ll publish product reviews or not. Will your ego allow you to make money?
Have the “Pros” Done It?
Before I made the decision to consistently review products with the idea to make money from them, I wanted to know if world-famous bloggers had written reviews when they were coming up in the game.
So I did my research. I dug into the archives of famous bloggers from around the web and looked through the first things they produced.
And guess what? Nearly every single blogger that makes a full-time income online also reviewed products. They write product reviews just like you and me. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at a few examples:
Victor Pride of BoldandDetermined.com has many reviews on his site, including:
But creating products is a completely different business model that takes a significant amount of time to build up. Kyle’s been doing this for 3-4 years.
For bloggers just starting out, you won’t have the audience needed to make a solid profit off creating products. You’d need a hefty ad spend to begin making money from any product before you’re getting nearly 1,000 page views a day.
Should You Write Product Reviews On Your New Blog?
While there are other ways to make money with a blog, your best bet starting off is to whore yourself out there and write product reviews until the cows come home.
Be ethical about it. Be an ethical whore. Only write about products you use and love. If you can swallow your blogging ego and write product reviews fro a year or so, you’ll soon have enough passive income to live a nice lifestyle in many a third-world country.
And at that point, you can focus on creating whatever type of content your heart desires. Once the passive income is created, you can live how you want and do what you want with your platform. Until then, start writing those reviews.