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YES YOU CAN.
Don’t believe all those people that say you need to spend 20% of your time writing your articles and 80% of your time promoting them.
I am a writer. This whole website is for writers. We want to write. Not promote.
Thousands of people and companies have had a lot of success leveraging social media, but either they’re far more of a hustler than I am, or they can afford to outsource their social media.
I’m a naturally lazy person. It took me a long time to get into the habit of sitting at my desk and creating content, and I ENJOY doing that. I’m never going to find motivation for doing stuff that:
- I hate
- That as soon as I figure out the algorithm and get some traction, it changes
I don’t hate social media. I love it and I use it. A lot. Just not to drive traffic to my blog.
Can you drive traffic to your blog without sharing on social media?
The only place I share my blog posts is on Pinterest. But out of every 10K page views I get, fewer than 5% of them come from Pinterest. The only reason I go to the trouble of creating Pinterest pins is that they’re kind of fun to make and, more importantly, if Pinterest changes its algorithm to be more like Google’s I’ll be laughing.
Currently, Pinterest only shows your content to people if you play along with its weird, self-indulgent algorithm. I literally don’t have time for that. I have articles to write.
How I drive traffic to my website without using social media
- I picked my niche and stuck to it. I only write about one topic on my website, so Google doesn’t get confused. This is why I have a separate blogging website, rather than just adding blogging posts to my existing site.
- I used Google to figure out what people in my niche were typing into Google – keyword research
- I found keywords that yielded results that were either not quite answering the search query, answering it badly or incorrectly, or answered it in a passing paragraph.
- I wrote a better article than the previous #1 ranked article. It answered the search query perfectly. I made the answer clear and succinct but added my own personal experiences to build a bit of trust
- I waited. For literally months. Whilst I’m waiting I write more articles.
The benefits of using social media to drive traffic to your blog
I wrote my first articles for one of my sites in July of 2019. In January 2020 I had 896 page views in that month. And that was an exciting month for me.
If I had gone to the trouble of leveraging social media and Pinterest in a strategic way, I could have had multiple thousands of page views. But I would have been tired, frustrated, and bored.
Social media can be an instant way to get success. Using SEO is incredibly slow to start, so if you don’t know what to expect, it can be tempting to give up before it starts getting good.
The problems that come from using social media to drive traffic to your blog
It’s time consuming
I’m currently on 30K pageviews this month (a couple of months after the 896 views debacle) and I haven’t done anything. I have written some articles, but they haven’t ranked yet. All the views I’m getting are from articles I write months ago.
With social media, you have to constantly keep promoting, every day. Even if you get a scheduler, you have to waste time filling it up. You either hustle forever or you have to pay to hire a VA.
There’s no end goal with using social media as a promotion strategy. If you don’t keep promoting people will forget about you and someone else will take your place.
It can disappear
Just ask anyone that relied on Vine for income.
You can’t control how long Facebook or Twitter are going to last. If you rely on one of those for income, it can cause big headaches in the future.
Search engines are a mainstay of the internet. They all work in broadly the same way and have the same goal in mind – to provide the best result for their user.
Whilst search engines like Google are being increasingly money-oriented, new ones crop up all the time, like Ecosia and Duck Duck Go.
If you learn to write for search, you’re effectively putting your traffic-driving strategy on autopilot, without having to stay loyal to one particular company. In the unlikely event that Google disappears, another search engine will rise up and take its place.
Social media is fickle
Social media companies use algorithms – not to benefit their users, but to make money. Facebook, and increasingly Instagram, is pay to play. Unless you pay for ads, your followers won’t see your content.
The algorithm can change overnight, with no warning. Every morning you could wake up and see that all your traffic – and revenue – has been ripped away from under you.
How much does social media affect SEO?
Social media tends to generate nofollow links, which usually mean you’re not getting a quality backlink from posting on social media, or forums like Reddit and Quora.
What I’m saying is that there’s no benefit to having a social media presence from a purely SEO perspective. There are benefits in terms of branding, but not much else.
How to decide whether you should use social media to drive traffic to your blog
If you want to pursue a social media strategy – for example if you already have the skill and experience to do so – then go for it.
But if you’re like me, and you don’t really want to waste time learning all about strategy, then don’t
It’s perfectly fine to create a profile, add your branding, and nothing else. You don’t even have to do that, it depends on your niche and your interests.
I have a plant Instagram account linked to my plant website because I love sharing pictures of my plants. I don’t have an Instagram account for this site, because what would I take photos of?
Most blogging accounts are glossy, #girlboss accounts. Me sitting at my desk in my dressing gown and joker-esque coffee stains on my face isn’t exactly an aesthetic anyone’s looking to emulate.
How to pick a which social media platform to target
I cannot stress enough that you should pick the social media platforms you enjoy using. Aim to get most of your traffic from search, post as and when you want to. Enjoy it. Create an authentic account. Don’t force it.
If you like using all of them, but can’t decide which one you should be most active on, then follow the lead of others in your niche. Age, gender, and political orientation all affect which social media platforms your audience are likely to be on, but it’s mainly a case of trying to find your tribe.
I mean, I like Twitter, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a planty presence, so I don’t really make an effort. I just scroll and lurk!
It’s not worth your time UNLESS you want to become a social media influencer.
The social media strategy I use to drive traffic to my blog
I don’t use one. Almost all of my views come from search engines, so I can spend 95% of my time writing, and 5% doing research.
I post frequently on Instagram, but more because I like the plant community there. I only have a few hundred followers and that’s fine by me. I just post my pictures and comment on other ones that I like – you know, actually enjoy the experience of finding likeminded people.
Final thoughts on blogging without social media
I promise that social media promotion is just the cherry on the top of the cake. You don’t need it, and it can even harm your growth if you get marked as being spammy.
Just use your social media (if you want to) to grow your network and learn about your niche.