How to Build a High Traffic Blog Without Going Crazy: Secrets From Tim Ferriss

A few years ago at the Inc500 conference, I had an opportunity to meet Tim Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Work Week,” “4-Hour Body,” and “4-Hour Chef” (all three are New York Times and WSJ best-sellers). Tim has a great blog at fourhourworkweek.com/blog/, and has built a successful empire around his content.

Around the same time as the Inc500 event, Tim spoke at the WordPress Conference about how to build and optimize a high traffic blog.

Even though it was a few years ago, some of the lessons are still helpful and relevant. Here’s a summary of some of the interesting points:

  • Uses CrazyEgg for heat map analysis, to show him where the most valuable clicks are (and why they’re happening); one finding was that simply changing the WordPress default label of “Categories” to “Topics” increased clicks dramatically. CrazyEgg starts around $99 p/mo.
  • Displays dates at the bottom of posts (not at top), as he found that readers look for the most recent material and tend to ignore older items
  • Found that with longer posts, inserting a “Total read time: xx minutes” within the post helps attract viewers
  • Includes videos in some of his posts; has found that there is no correlation between the length of time invested in the video and the number of views! Gives an example of a quickly shot video that generated millions of views
  • Feels that StumbleUpon is a cheap form of advertising; it provides him a slow trickle of high value traffic
  • One of his goals is to get comments to his posts that are of such quality that they’re able to be a post themselves
  • Speaking of goals: his blog’s goal is not monetization; rather, it is to learn from his readers and experiment with various content
  • Spends 25 minutes to 6 hours per post, depending on the topic and a variety of other factors. He strives to remove 10-20% of the post with each revision (which he does from a printed version of the post)
  • Uses Media Temple for hosting his high traffic blog, specifically the Nitro package ($2,500 p/mo)

If you have some time, the video is worth viewing (there’s some entertaining Q&A at the end). You can also see Tim’s post on this video here.

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About David Rosendahl
Husband, father, co-founder of MindFireInc, two-time Inc500 software company. I love building things.

3 Responses to How to Build a High Traffic Blog Without Going Crazy: Secrets From Tim Ferriss

  1. Pingback: Case Study: Building a Blog That Generates $500,000 Yearly « Akathisia: A Life In Motion — David Rosendahl

  2. Pingback: ROI of a New Blog With Frequent Content « Akathisia: A Life In Motion — David Rosendahl

  3. Pingback: Blog Traffic Monthly Report: January 2013 « Akathisia: Life In Motion — David Rosendahl

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