4x the Website Traffic Doing Nothing

A strange thing happened to a website I manage.

Reason for Success is a personal productivity website that attempts to integrate philosophy and science to the art of personal productivity.  For over a year, between the fall of 2012 and the summer of 2014, I built the site, regularly adding blog posts, recruiting guest posters, creating an ebook, establishing an email list, and attempting to learn about web marketing.

But after that year of work, I was burned out.  My excitement was gone.  So I quit.  I did nothing for the site.  Well, I did post 2 more blog posts at long intervals, but I did nothing to promote them.

When I quit, traffic at Reason for Success was hovering at around 1000 visitors per month.  It had plateaued at that level for over 6 months.

And then something amazing happened.

While I stopped promoting the site, traffic soared.  By January of this year (2015), it broke 4000 visitors for the month. And it’s still growing.

How?  Why?

As I started reviewing the site analytics, I found that one blog post is responsible for almost half the traffic.  It was a tutorial on how to use Getting Things Done with OneNote 2013.  This post was published near the end of my active management.  Fortunately, it had a beautiful combination of qualities.

First, the blog post contained useful and well written content. Okay, I admit I am not the best writer in the world.  But the tutorial started with a brief story about how I got to where I am and contained practical advice filled with useful pictures and explanations on how to setup OneNote.  It was good enough that an automatic tweet sent out when posted was picked up by OneNote’s Community and retweetedOneNote Community TweetHow cool is that?  Free promotion of my blog post. Granted, the Community twitter account did not have a huge following, but it added authenticity to my little old blog.

Second, I built the post from the ground up to be optimized for search engines.  This includes focusing on specific keywords in the title, headers, content, alt image descriptions, and meta descriptions.  Today, 95% of all website traffic to the site comes from organic search.

Third, Getting Things Done was and still is a hot topic. As Microsoft keeps improving OneNote, more and more people are using it.  Over time, the two topics converge often enough when people search for a solution.  My blog posts hits that sweet spot.  It’s not the only blog post on how to use OneNote with Getting Things Done, but it is near the top of searches when those two search terms are combined.

It’s the combination of good writing, good SEO, and a topic often searched for but with little competition, that allowed it to do so awesome.  Detailed tutorials can do that for you. And now I’m basking in 4 fold increase in visitors while I did nothing.

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