How to Build a High Traffic Blog Without Going Crazy: Secrets From Tim Ferriss
January 7, 2013 3 Comments
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.