How does a blogger even go from 0 to 100,000 blog visitors per month? How does one start with such a high goal? Well, when Neil Patel first started his personal blog the goal was just to get to 100,000 unique views but, he got to that goal so quick that the goal then became 100,000+ unique visitors.
Although a very obtainable goal, it sounds like a dream for some of us bloggers: “100,000 unique visitors”. Why should we study Neil’s blog? Because we all want more traffic and really want more targeted traffic. This is because traffic + conversions = sales.
By treating Neil Patel’s blog as a case study we can learn exactly what he has done (and been doing) to reach such a high amount of traffic. I’ve interviewed him myself but have also gone through the work of listening to as many podcasts and videos about him. I will share it all in this post.
Before we get into how Neil Patel reached 100,000 visitors, let’s get into his story and connect us to where he is today.
Who is Neil Patel?
Neil Patel has a very humble beginning – looking at his family background. He was born in London, England on April 24, 1985. His family moved to Orange County, California when he was just two years old.
His mother was then a volunteer teacher and his father worked for one of his uncles. He remembered having to walk with his mom and sister a few miles every day just to get to his mom’s place of work. His dad’s work, although it didn’t pay much, was a great opportunity.
Throughout his childhood, Neil was surrounded by entrepreneurs. All of his uncles on his mom’s side were successful businessmen. His mom also later started her own daycare business. Her business became a success but it was not making her more than US$100,000 a year in revenue.
So, Neil and his family did not live a “rich” lifestyle.
Neil’s Entrepreneurial Experiments
While he was growing up, Neil always thought about what he could do to change his life. It was not until he enrolled at John F. Kennedy High School that things got better.
He learned that one of his cousins was selling burned music CDs to students. He saw how his cousin was earning a few bucks. That was when he decided to do the same thing but making sure he was not selling pirated media.
So, instead, for a few dollars, he decided to make a more profitable venture by selling black boxes. He was soon popular and known as the kid in high school selling black boxes.
To make his small venture better, he also invested in cable black boxes, which he purchased in quantity from eBay. Then he sold them to classmates and their parents. His business was a success and he made a few grand out of it.
Though he was making money out of his newly found venture, he later realized that it wasn’t going to be a long term career. Selling things which he considered “illegal” made him think about having a real business that he can really consider legitimate.
Out of his passion to do something better, he started selling automotive parts. He was able to get a reseller’s permit from the State Board of Equalization that allowed him to buy car parts at lower prices and sell them to students.
The income was not stable so he decided to get a real job. At only 15 years old, one of the only places he could get a job was at Knott’s Berry Farm in their park services department. He was in charge of picking up the trash, emptying the trash bins, and cleaning restrooms as a janitor.
Although it wasn’t an amazing job with a great title, he loved it because he got paid more per hour cleaning the toilet compared to other offers he had. He eventually quit and found another job at Quality Systems. However, it still didn’t give him a stable income, but it did give him a few hundred dollars commission for every sale.
He was selling Kirby vacuums door to door, convincing homeowners to clean their carpets for free as a demonstration of the product. If they allowed him, that was his chance at selling them a vacuum.
He later realized that an average American couldn’t afford a vacuum that expensive. So, he looked for other opportunities. His sister introduced him to an Oracle consultant. He found out that an Oracle consultant charges companies for $125.00 to $250.00 per hour.
It made the entrepreneur in him come out once again. He was figuring this out while still in high school student and he came across Monster.com. Instead of looking for a job, Neil learned about the website’s business model and how they were making millions of dollars.
Neil thought that if he can make at least 1% of what they are making, he’d be rich! So he started his own job board, which he called “Advice Monkey”. He spent $5,000.00 to build it then he launched it. But then, he realized that he had to market the site in order for it to be successful.
That’s when he hired an Internet marketing firm to help him get the job done right. Within a few months, Neil realized that the Internet marketing firm was only taking his money and doing nothing valuable in exchange. He decided to learn Internet marketing and he became pretty good at it in just a few months.
The website started to become popular but it failed in another area – there was no way to make a payment transaction.
Neil went back to school and later met someone that led him to making $3,500.00 a month doing Internet marketing for companies. He realized he can start his own company and started an Internet marketing company with his brother-in-law.
Their business venture was successful and that, of course, with the help of a few people like the son of the owner of Elpac (one of the companies they worked with) who owned an ad agency. This connection led them to gaining more marketing contracts.
Neil’s story wasn’t all sunshine. The sad part was that he invested millions of dollars in a few other companies, including Vision Web Hosting, that didn’t work out in the end.
Neil took whatever was left of his money and he and his partner went on to createe another company called Crazy Egg. It made a lot of buzz when it came out. They thought of selling the site for $10 million but failed to get the asking price. So, they decided to raise venture capital since the site wasn’t turning any profit.
No one wanted to invest in the site (sad face). They couldn’t just let it go since they’ve put a lot of time, effort, and cash into it so they didn’t have a choice but to keep going with it and make it profitable.
They continued to run their marketing agency to make up for the losses they incurred in creating Crazy Egg. Although they were earning millions for the consulting company, none of them enjoyed what they were doing.
He was still studying in college while running the business working more than 60 hours a week. He was also traveling almost every week to speak at over 50 conferences per year.
As they continued working on Crazy Egg, results started to surface. Neil and his partner then realized that for their site to grow, it needed time (several years) to succeed. But Neil’s passion, and his partner’s, lied not in being consultants but in creating more software websites. So, that’s exactly what they did.
The Success That People Now See
Neil is the owner of four different companies: QuickSprout, Hello Bar, KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg.
Three of which are software companies. As of now Quicksprout is a free resource for startups and entrepreneurs. The end goal of Quicksprout is to also become a software company but seems to be on the back-burner for now.
So why would Neil make yet another website (www.neilpatel.com) if he already had all these other successful companies?
Firstly, because he wanted a personal blog with his name on to build his brand.
Second, because he wanted to prove a point that he could start an entirely new site and quickly reach 100,000 unique visitors. It was more of a marketing experiment for him. Much like the Advanced Guides across the multiple blogs he writes for.
How Neil Patel Reached 100,000 Visitors
“In fact, my typical post on Neil Patel’s blog contains over 4,000 words. And, guess what? Within 7 months, I’ve generated over 140,000 visitors — 73% of that from organic search.”
Finally, here’s how he grew his blog in less than a year…
Over the years, he taught a lot about content marketing but never really opened up and shared the rules he used. He rarely released blog posts, unless they followed key rules. His key rules are what helped him grow the Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics, and Quick Sprout blogs to over 100,000 visitors a month. Here they are:
- More is Better – That’s right! Neil believed that content is king. And so, because it is king, the more content he creates for his site, the more people will come to it. They’re curious to know what’s new on the blog.
Neil tested his posting times and took control of the amount of content he released. He tried two posts a week in one of his blogs then five posts a week on another. He noticed that the blog with the higher number of posts per week grew faster than the one that gets only two posts per week.
- Never underestimate Infographics – Neil used infographics to show results and/or make comparisons. People are visual beings so they are naturally attracted to figures and images. So, incorporating infographics when creating blog posts is a wise thing to do.
- Search Engine Friendly Posts – This is not only pertaining to proper keyword phrases but also to the traffic that each keyword phrase gets. If you want to check how much traffic a keyword is getting, use keyword tools such as keywordspy.com. Targeting keywords with high volume of traffic is good but it is also good to include low volume keywords (long tail). These two have their own strengths that are good for your blog in the long run.
- People Friendly Posts – Although you need to keep search engines in mind, your posts will be read by people, not robots. That means you need to create posts that are unique, informative, and timely. Do not try to please the search engines so much that you neglect the value that your audience deserves! This is one of Neil’s “trademarks” in running his blogs.
- What’s Hot? – To grow your blog visits to 100,000 a month or more, don’t forget to stay updated on current and trending issues. If your niche is in the entertainment industry, make sure you know what is “hot” at the moment and blog about it. Neil has used this rule to grow his websites and it’s still effective today.
- Be Personable – Readability is crucial. You don’t want to sound like you’re quoting the dictionary or encyclopedia. Using pronouns like “You” or “I” makes a post sound more conversational and friendly. Readers will feel that you’re talking to them – you’ll be making a genuine connection. If you read Neil’s posts, you’ll feel how powerful this can be. You feel that he’s written the post just for you. Imagine if you do the same for your blog, your visitors will keep coming back and refer others to it.
- Be Consistent – As Neil states, “Growing traffic is not hard. Being consistent is.” Why? Because you can grow traffic by attracting the search engines to your site. But being consistent with your content quantity and quality can’t be achieved by just attracting the search engines. Do not expect everyone to love all of your content. Some will prefer one post over another. That’s normal. People have choices; they have their own thought system and beliefs. They may not agree with what you’ve written, but that’s totally fine. Keep writing and producing content that you know has quality and depth.
That’s the list version of this post for those that are headline readers. But for those that know the way I post, which is always in long form to give as much value as possible, I’ll go more in depth below.
Today Neil’s blog is well over 100,000 visitors:
The New SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
If you’re new at SEO I’ve written a few guides on it before. Recommend you check those out.
The days of SEO where you can just ask people to link to your website and stuff keywords are long over. Search engines have algorithms that are now using artificial intelligence and get smarter by the day.
You now have to produce high quality content and network with other bloggers to make SEO work for you. Google’s algorithm has developed a mind of its own and is now pushing the best content to the top.
You’ve gotta have the technical stuff down like plugins and a speedy website but cannot forget about the reason search engines exist. People want answers to their questions, that’s why they go to Google. That’s where Neil Patel has performed the best.
He created a ton of long-form content across various blogs and they all link to each other.
Long tail keyword research was also a huge part of his strategy, especially when starting out. When you’re trying to rank for keyword phrases in the search engines, doing adequate long tail keyword research is crucial.
Content Marketing the Right Way
Writing content for people not the search engines. You can try and manipulate search engines by making a text link with the exact keyword you want your site to rank for but, if your site is not predominantly about that then you’ll get penalized by Google.
There are many many tools available to do research on what people are already searching for and how you can capitalize on that.
Or you can just go ahead and ask people yourself. Conduct surveys on platforms you may already have a substantial following on. If you don’t then use the Google Keyword Tool to look for things that are searched for the most.
Craft your content around that but make it unique. Don’t just re-create or regurgitate the same content that’s already at the top spots in the search engines.
There are a lot tools that can help in finding content that’s being shared the most, which in turn will give you an idea of what people are looking for. Buzzsumo is one where you can find content that’s being shared the most.
The goal of content marketing is positioning yourself as the authority in your niche. Giving people a reason to hire you or make a transaction on your website. Don’t just put out content without the goal of guiding people to take action.
Neil does just that.
You know why most blogs make it big? It’s sad to say but most large blogs don’t have great content. It’s the smaller more personal ones with more attention to detail that have the amazing content.
The reason this happens is because most of us, admit it or not, are headline readers. The headlines suck us in and we click. Even the term “click-bait” has become part of our vocabulary.
Consistency is another element here. You have to consistently put out great headlines, or in the case of videos great thumbnails. Think about the first thing that people see when they come across your content.
That’s going to get more people to your blog not matter what. You have to deliver though, don’t just trick people into clicking, then they’ll leave quickly.
Remember the reading/buying decision is made at the headline!
If you’re having trouble thinking about headlines you can use tools like HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator:
Using Real Data and Case studies
Neil Patel is major on this. He loves crunching numbers and most of his companies are softwares that do just that.
Overall people love proof behind what you’re saying, it builds trust. You can show this like Neil by using infographics and/or screenshots of various analytics.
Some people love to look at visual data instead of reading through blog posts so you have to leverage that.
Neil Patel is a prolific guest blogger. He consistently blogs on all the sites of the companies that he owns like CrazyEgg and KISSmetrics. He also guest blogs on a lot of other huge websites. He didn’t start on those of course but he started with whoever accepted his posts.
Networking with other bloggers and blogs is crucial for this. They all need content. No blog is too small to pitch especially at the beginning.
What You Can Do When Writing Seems Hard
Here are some of Neil Patel’s content writing tips that you can implement in your blog:
- If you can write better content, do so and stick to it. This is a vague thing to measure but it starts with making sure you are writing content that is not only for the sake of hype.
- Write longer posts than the standard 300 to 500 words posts. There is no specific length for writing website content but if you noticed, most people would keep reading if a post gives out more information than a 300-word or a 500-word article.
- Come up with a unique model for creating your blog posts. You can use the AIDA model that Neil used. AIDA is an acronym for “Awareness,” “Interest,” “Desire,” and “Action.” This model says that you should create a content that will bring awareness to your audience about you or your business. Next, create interest that will lead them to desire your offer. Then this desire, through content, should then turn into action – your visitors can sign up, purchase, or provide feedback – whatever is appropriate to your call to action.
So those are the proven strategies that show how Neil Patel reached 100,000 visitors. You can test them for yourself and see how many monthly visitors you get.
Remember there’s no overnight success to this, have to keep grinding. If you ever need to come back to this post refer to the list above and make sure you’re doing them right.
Feel free to let me know how you’re doing in the comment section below!