As a blogger, you don't always know which topics your audience will respond to the most. And then there's Google. What topics are your readers and potential clients searching for?
By checking your stats regularly, you can see which search terms people look up to find your website and blog. (On a side note this can be a little creepy when you find out your dad has googled “My dad” with your name to see if you've written anything about him! True story. Parents like to stalk us on the internet sometimes).
More importantly, though, you will start to see that one or two of your blogs probably stands out among the rest, getting the most hits from Google by far. This is especially true in the beginning, or if you blog without a clear search engine strategy.
I blogged for years just for the thrill and joy of it, before I knew much about SEO, and even before I had a full on business. I've written hundreds of blogs on my own site and as guest blogs. Then, about 6 years into blogging, I hit a goldmine with one of my blogs completely by accident.
I wrote this blog about Lamictal withdrawal, which I didn't even know a ton about specifically (though I knew a lot about psychiatric medication withdrawal in general), because one of my closest friends was given inaccurate information about it by her doctor. She had never taken any medications before (like ANY, she was brought up with Christian Science), but was going through a hard patch after having her 4th child and her doctor told her not only that Lamictal, a mood stabilizer, was easy to get off of, but that it was safe for breastfeeding.
I knew it wasn't easy to get off of because I had numerous clients who had struggled for years, unable to handle the withdrawal symptoms or get off. A current client, in fact, was having a terrible time getting off Lamictal.
As for whether it is a safe drug to take while breastfeeding, I wasn't confident it was, so I did some quick research for my friend and the results were mixed. It certainly wasn't entirely safe, based on the articles I found.
So I wrote up a quick blog about Lamictal withdrawal and my concerns about its safety during breastfeeding. I put in all of the best links I could find to information about Lamictal withdrawal and whether it gets passed on to the infant via breast milk. I also asked my readers to chime in with their own experiences.
My friend was admittedly angry at me at first. Not because of the blog, and I obviously didn't identify her in any way, but she was angry because she wanted to feel confident in taking Lamictal. She didn't want to have to reconsider her decision. She had only recently started taking it though, and was able to get off of it safely without any problems and start trying some alternatives.
I won't say everything in her life has been smooth sailing ever since, or that I would tell her or anyone else what to do, but she is very grateful now that I wrote that blog. She goes back to it from time to time and reads all of the new comments from people testifying about how much they are struggling to get off of Lamictal and she is very glad about her decision.
A few months later, I realized this blog was getting about 60 hits per day, mostly from Google. My blog itself gets about 190 page views per day these days, so that's a significant boost. Currently on my analytics the most searched for terms that go to my site are: lamictal withdrawal symptoms, going off lamictal slowly, best way to wean off lamictal, and getting off lamictal.
The other day at a networking event, I was chatting with a colleague about this. It occurred to me that people search for how to get off of the specific drugs they are on, not “psychiatric medications” in general or even classes of drugs as much. So I got the idea to write a whole bunch of blogs, each one about getting off of specific drugs, with all of the best links and info I can find on that drug.
I'll write a follow up in a few months to let you know how this strategy worked, but I feel confident it will dramatically increase my traffic, the way this blog did.
This is a template for how you can watch your stats, watch which blogs are most popular and why, and then repeat those blogs with a variety of similar yet unique topics.
My list blogs such as 111 Things to Try Before Taking Psychiatric Drugs and 84 Capacities That Returned to Me When I Got Off Psychiatric Drugs are also very popular, and easy to write. They get shared on social media the most. But they don't show up too high in Google searches and aren't triggered by any popular google searches the way the Lamictal one is. If you google search “Coming off Lamictal”, my blog comes up first, and this is a popular search.
Sometimes you blog for years before you stumble upon a goldmine. Of course there are also strategies to get there faster, such as keyword research. This always seemed so complicated to me and I couldn't quite get to my goldmine that way.
How have you found ways to get readers to your blog? Have you stumbled upon any secrets or “Aha” moments? Have you found repeatable strategies for blogging? I'd love to know.
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THE GUEST BLOGGER: CHAYA GROSSBERG
Chaya is the owner of Med Free Solutions and blogs over at chayagrossberg.com and madinamerica.com about alternatives ways of looking at and coping with trauma and sensitivity. Chaya has been working as an activist for change in the mental health system and professionally provided holistic mental health alternatives for the past 15 years, starting as a Freedom Center organizer for six years in Northampton, Massachusetts. She has consulted for the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community, Massachusetts Protection and Advocacy council, Windhorse Associates, and Alternative to Meds Center. She was the community organizer of the Mental Health Association of Portland, assistant director of Portland Hearing Voices and a Warm Line specialist at the Mental Health Association of San Francisco, helping to launch their Warm Line. She is a graduate of Hampshire College, and a Kripalu certified yoga instructor.