How to Get Explosive and Sticky Traffic (and a Challenge!)

In the past month, I’ve experienced some record traffic numbers for The Smart Passive Income Blog, as you can see below:

SPI Traffic Report - Overall

There are two notable differences from the previous month that I’d like to point out:

  • Visits and Pageviews are up 24%
  • Avg. Time on Site has increased by 30 seconds

Most of the other metrics are the same, but the two highlighted above are huge differences.

So what accounted for this explosive growth and stickiness?

In my last traffic report I also showed record numbers, but I credited that growth mainly to my Podcast and YouTube Videos.

This time, however, the majority of growth wasn’t a result of something I did outside of the blog – it was from something that came from within: a single blog post.

Or in other words…a pillar article.

A pillar article is a term coined and defined by Yaro Starak from Entrepreur’s Journey, where he explains:

A pillar article is usually a tutorial style article aimed to teach your audience something. Generally they are longer than 500 words and have lots of very practical tips or advice. This article you are currently reading [Yaro’s Article] could be considered a pillar article since it is very practical and a good “how-to” lesson. This style of article has long term appeal, stays current (it isn’t news or time dependent) and offers real value and insight. The more pillars you have on your blog the better.

3,343 tutorial-style words deep, THE Backlinking Strategy That Works (TBSTW) is definitely one of the many pillar articles I’ve written on the blog. I like to write one every once and a while because they do drive a lot of traffic and create a lot of buzz (and make money too), but on the flip side they do take a lot of work.

TBSTW took me about 8 hours to complete and I did this all in one sitting (from about 10pm to 6am the next morning), but the benefits are truly worth it. Obviously, I don’t spend this much time on all of my blog posts, but each time I do it really pays off.

For example:

  1. THE Blogger’s Guide to Facebook is one of the all-time most viewed posts. The videos that I created for that tutorial have generated over 100,000 views on YouTube and I’ve seen a ton of new traffic coming directly from that source. Plus, it has helped me connect with nearly 4,000 Facebook Fans.
  2. The Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Newsletter is another pillar article I created that I always refer people to who need help with starting a newsletter, which is actually quite often. And of course, there is an affiliate link in that article which helps me earn a recurring income from Aweber each and every month.
  3. My How to Publish an Ebook Series is pretty well known because that is the series of blog posts that I used as inspiration to launch eBooks the Smart Way earlier this year, which is a free eBook one receives when signing up for my newsletter. I now have over 7,200 awesome people subscribed to my newsletter.

TBSTW accounted for 4.25% of all of the pageviews on The Smart Passive Income Blog this past month, and I’ve generated quite a bit of affiliate commissions from it too. It was the top landing page on my blog, which was due to the multitudes of people who tweeted and retweeted it on Twitter and those of you who were kind enough to feature it in one of your own blog posts. (Thanks Jay!)

Also, because this post was related to the Niche Site Duel (which was linked to several times on that post), many people read on about that, which is why the Niche Site Duel Hub was the 2nd most viewed page this past month too, which more people tweeted about and wrote about on their blogs, which drove in more traffic…

Do you see how this is all working?

It’s just one huge interconnected network of related articles with tons of value that just naturally get linked to and drive traffic. The pillar article acts as the magnet which attracts new visitors to your blog so they can see how much value you provide and want to learn more.

I Challenge You

If you have a blog, I challenge you to write one pillar article between now and the end of the year. Shoot me an email with one (just one – you can write more, but just send me one) pillar article that you’ve written (after today) before the start of 2011 and I’ll compile a huge list of all the articles I receive and link to them in a blog post after the new year.

We’ll have a little public vote to see which one people like best, with a prize for the winner too. It doesn’t matter what niche you’re in – just create an awesome tutorial-style post for your readers and send me the link when it’s published. Your headline plays a major role in the vote (since that’s the text people will click on the list), so definitely think twice about your attention grabbing headline.

Good luck, and I’m looking forward to your email!


  • Sam

    Another great post Pat and great visitor numbers for the past month! I can’t believe you did that backlinking post in one sitting! Pretty cool.

  • Sam

    Forgot to mention, any thoughts on your bounce rate? Do you think 54% is decent for a blog like yours or any blog actually. How do you think it could be reduced?

    • Pat

      Bounce rate is tough to manage, although there are obvious ways to reduce it, such as making sure to include links to other posts within your posts and have attractive & attention grabbing links in the sidebar of your blog.

      The thing is, 54% is an overall bounce rate, which to me, is decent. The reason I say this is because many times people will land on a certain page (especially those who find it from search engines) who are looking for specific information and that information only, and leave without clicking elsewhere because they don’t have the desire to look for anything else. 54% for the homepage isn’t good, especially when you don’t show full content on the homepage…but when I check to see the stats of my homepage specifically, the bounce rate is significantly less, at 41%, which is much better.


      • Sam

        I agree about people coming through the search engines for a specific term and bouncing off. They may come back in the future – any stats on new vs returning visitors? Is there then a case for doing some targeted seo for your homepage? Or do you let it happen naturally?

      • Franck

        54%bounce rate is an excelent result for a blog.
        GA bounce rate is also tricky, because, all visits >= 20 sec and 1 single page, are considered as bounced, when to me it look like the blog did the pefrcet job (user search –> get the info–> read the info and goes)

        The indicator that most draw my attention is % New Visits = 34%. Repeating visitors are often buyers. It’s high time for you to launch your first infoproduct, Pat. Seriously, this is no option at this stage

    • Yassin Madwin

      If i May Pat, Hey Sam
      whilst 54 % of bounce rate is reasonable number, you can reduce it with some tips :

      work more on seo : search engines provide visitors for a good bounce rate between 30 to 40%

      Less Facebook ans surely Less StumbleUpon : these social networks gives bad visitor quality except if they are your fans , work more on getting more G+ and answers sites (yahoo ,ask ..) visitors

      Publish regularly : when i first launched my blog it has a magical bounce rate of 23 % and 19 min of time visit , later on it raised to 41% because i no longer publish excessively

  • Mike @ Blog Success Resource


    I really like this challenge. I think you write every article as pillar articles. If I have a post worthy for you, I will send it off to you.

    keep up the great work and hope you are having a great thanksgiving weekend with family.

    • Pat

      Thanks Mike – I appreciate that. I try hard to write good content each time, although I throw in the occasional post that is NOT a pillar type article. Glen from Viperchill, however, always posts great pillar articles in every single one of his posts – often over 2000 words in length.

      Hope your Thanksgiving weekend is awesome too! Cheers!

      • Mike @ Blog Success Resource


        I really believe people learn a lot here as you are honest and transparent. I agree that Glen also has a long detailed posts! I love warrior forum and still have dig through gems buried there.

  • Matthew

    Definitely something I’ll keep in mind for my niche blog. I’ll see if I feel like participating in your challenge when I’m done.

  • Vic Dorfman


    I’ve been saving an article for a while because it’s so gnarly and involves me spending a bunch of money.

    But this is a sign from Buddha.

    I’m gonna “doo it”.

    Too many people to inspire to put it off any longer.

    Thanks brother – keep inspiring.

    Talk soon.


  • Fernando

    Wow Pat! That’s a nice challenge! I better start to prepare that pillar article now!

  • MK Safi

    Thanks for informing me on the pillar article concept, Pat. And I can’t wait to get to your backlinking guide and fully crunch the information in it.

    By the way, I have some websites that I haven’t touched for an entire year and some that I’m actively working on. On all of my websites, there is a noticeable increase in “Avg. Time on Site”, i.e. 40 seconds or even up to 1 minute. I think this is a result of a change in the method that Google Analytics computes average time on site — not necessarily a change in the actual time on site.

  • Onibalusi Bamidele

    Awesome post Pat,

    I really love your TBSTW post and I’ve been referring to it several times and I’m getting results from your tips. Thanks so much!

    I will be in for the challenge and I’ll be sending you a mail once it is done.

    Thanks so much,

  • Mark | Wealthy Affiliate Revolution

    Great challenge and excellent tips. Beastly traffic numbers as well BTW. I like the idea of a pillar article. Makes sense.


  • Master Scott

    Sounds like a great challenge Pat! I am still using your TBSTW article as my traffic map and I review it a lot! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving with your family.

    -Master Scott

  • Jacob Sokol

    Dope Idea Dude. I like how you’re pushing people to get outta’ their comfort zone in a brotherly typa’ way. Next will be head-locks and head-noogies…

    • Pat

      Dude…how was the Jets game with Mr. Gary Vee? What a finish! I bet you guys were going nuts!

      • Jacob Sokol

        Haha -=).. It was BONKERS!! I’m posting an update on Tuesday talking about it. And then the following week i’ll put together the “master” post: “How Tim Ferriss Took Me To A Jets Game With Gary Vaynerchuk”.

        BTW: I sent you a lil’ something and saw it got delivered but no signature was required (Doh’!)… Just wanna’ confirm you got it.

  • Shawn |


    I’m gonna’ do it! I’ve heard from some people that it’s smart to have ten pillar articles on any authority-type site before you start promoting it. It’s not advice I followed, but it seems like the stats you’re showing might back up that method. It would certainly promote growth at a much quicker rate.

    Okay, let’s do this!

  • Steve Roy

    What a great idea to hold this type of challenge. I’m looking forward to reading all your submissions and of course, will be sending you one myself as well..

  • Eric | My 4-Hour Workweek

    Congrats on the record traffic numbers, Pat. You can count me in for the pillar article challenge too – I think that’s an awesome idea.

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

    – Eric

  • Peter | Build Muscle Fast

    Man, I wish this was up last night, just wrote one for one of my sites and I plan on staying true to the challenge and not just recycling one I already had… I’ll definitely have one up by the end of the year and send it over Pat.

    Congrats on the stats, I’m definitely one of the people driving the time on the site up as I’ve come back multiple times and probably reread the article 2 or 3 times.


  • Akil

    Great idea pat, I have been following Yaro moves for some time now and he is a great blog. I create a post on my site about his free download if anyone is interested. I couldnt put the PDF down it was that good. I am also aiming to write pillar articles for site.

    I also enjoyed your niche site dual pillars content. I am going through the others hopeful tonight.

    Thanks again

  • Moon Hussain

    This is a great idea Pat and quite a challenge for me, as I’ll be traveling in December. Perhaps I can do some damage before I leave…

  • MD

    A challenge eh? I love a challenge Pat. You’re on. I’m going to put together a one-stop financial resource for all new college grads. Watch out!

  • Contrarian

    I’m in process of writing a “pillar article” that I think will make a huge difference for allot of people.

    The thoughtful application of this elegant philosophy and simple strategy changed my life for the better. It became my personal “killer app”! It swung my life-pendulum 180 degrees, and I look forward to sharing with your readers. However, I wasn’t planning on a Dec 31st 2010 deadline, so I’d better get crackin’. Thanks for the opportunity, Pat!

  • Candi

    Your definitely an inspiration Pat. I’m going to take up your challenge for one or two of niche sites this month. Thanks!

  • Nick

    First of all, another great post. Wow, I really want to make a “pillar article”, problem is, not sure what about. Hmm… Thanks for all your help and inspiration Pat.

  • Sammy Blackstar |

    Alright Pat you’re on! I will be writing a pillar article before the end of the year. I’m going to call it:

    How To Blog 222% Faster

    I’m loving the ‘call-to-actions’ at the end of your blog posts.

    – Sammy Blackstar

  • Lyndsy Simon

    I’ve been considering doing an article on reloading ammunition for a gun review site that I operate – this sounds like the perfect motivation to stop thinking about it and actually get it done!

  • Edwin

    I think my whole blog is composed of pillar articles. I am not sure can you take a look?

    • Trever Clark | Axis of Awesome Blog

      Hey Pat – Love this idea. Count me in for sure.

  • Steven

    I think I want to focus on posting less, but when I do to make them as pillarific as possible (yes, new term I just thought up on the spot).

    My blog has suffered from too many lackluster posts that get no long-term return. However, the ones that are chock-full of information are the ones that get passed around for months/years.

    Thanks for the tips as usual Pat. Also looking forward to a new podcast within the next week or so. :)

  • Brett

    I really like this idea. Obviously, pillar or evergreen articles are what bring people to the site and keep visitors interested once they’re already there. I’m amazed that it took 8 hours for your most recent! It was incredibly useful and I will be referring back to it later for sure. I’m up for your challenge as well. Thanks!


  • Tristan

    Suh-weeeet. I try to make most of my posts pillar posts (though I realize it sounds a bit cliche to say that), but I will definitely write an especially killer one. I’m one of those people who retweeted and loved the backlink strategy post. Major props there!

  • Patrick @ Make Money Buzz

    Very good insight. I never thought of a blog being made of “pillar articles”. It makes total sense…

    I’ll be sending in my pillar article link soon! :)

  • Angela Artemis

    Pat, as usual great information! I don’t often comment – only because I don’t have a monetized blog – yet. I’ve learned the hard way though that you must have multiple streams of income, preferably passive income. I love the challenge too – I’m going to flex my pencil now to get in shape for it.

  • Richard

    This is a great challenge. I’m going to get started on a pillar article today. I’ll send it to you soon.

  • Stuart

    Hey, that’s a great idea Pat, a pillar article is something I haven’t heard of before, but it seems wonderful to think of an article as a tower of support for your blog. Thanks for bringing it to our attention :-)

  • Jeff rose

    Pat, loving the idea of the challenge. I had an article in the works and now I’ve ramped it up and added some pics. It was only about 1200 words, but now I’ll make sure it’s at least 2000. Great idea and great stats from your blog.

  • Rahul @ MazaKaro

    Very good topic ! great challenge and i will keep this in mind definitely !!*
    thank You

  • Dean Soto

    Wow, scary but I think that you are right. I know that I even tend to reapeatedly go to the same articles on a lot of my favorite bloggers sites. Especially to a place like zenhabits where you are doing the same thing over and over (e.g. creating a minimalist house).

    I’ll be joining the challenge Pat! Thanks for doing this.


  • Lisa Lively

    Thanks for the good tips about using videos. I’ve heard about Pillar articles before but I didn’t know much about them until now.

  • Anthem Salgado

    Looking forward to participating in this! Thanks Pat for all the awesome info!

  • Roumany

    Hi Pat, I’ll start working on the challenge. I really appreciate all the information and knowledge you share on a regular basis and you’ve definitely been an inspiration to me in my own blog. Keep it coming!

  • Bryan @ Free At Home Jobs

    Great challenge! I have a couple pillar articles at one of my blogs already. I shoot you over an e-mail so you can add it up to the list, and it would tie in great with the readers here (as it has to do with traffic generation techniques via article marketing, but with a small twist)!

  • Christina Crowe

    This is an awesome challenge, Pat! It will definitely help people get the ball rolling and think twice (or thrice!) before they hit “publish” on their next big article.

    I know it will help me, because then I’d be exceeding my boundaries and providing something incredibly useful for my readers to read.

    I believe I wrote one pillar article before that took me almost 7 hours to complete – but that was also a big hit (at least for me) and, as a result, I met a new comment milestone that I had never before accomplished in my earlier months of blogging. Pillar articles are definitely something to consider, and can increase your blog growth phenomenally if you spend the time to write them.

    With that said, I’m going to take part in the challenge! I’m not sure what I’ll write yet, but it should prove to be an exciting challenge to undertake. :)


  • Micah Dixon

    Awesome post. I’ve actually been working on one of these but your article makes me want to make the post even better before I post it.

  • Jeroen

    Interesting post, I actually followed a strategy of putting my (tutorial) pillar articles on static pages referencing to them on my blog so they will always show up on page 1 for people to see. Will be curious to see how the results of this strategy compare to a few of my other strategies. Anyways, keep up the interesting posts !

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  • [email protected]

    I agree with Mike. I think you write every article as pillar article, as well. Every visit to your blog is worthwhile.

    Thanks for the time you invest in producing something of such significant value!

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  • Eric | My 4-Hour Workweek

    Just sent you my submission! Excited to read what everyone has come up with…

  • Dwight

    Really good and practical advice than bloggers just posting the usual little blurbs to their blog. Really makes a difference to be able to stand out with a well written pillar article.

    Dwight Anthony
    Financially Elite Blog dot Com

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  • Christina Crowe

    I sent you my email with the pillar post, Pat. :) Can’t wait to see what others come up with!

    • johson

      Odd. Very, very odd.

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  • naturessand

    Thanks for the informative write up. Article writing and submission has always been my favorite strategy to get quality traffic on my site. Will definitely try to incorporate your ideas too. Thanks once again.

  • Lainaa

    This is very interesting article. I have to start to plan my own pillar articles for my blog. Thanks for good new ideas.

  • Neal McSpadden

    Pat, I finally got around to writing a pillar post tonight, and I have to say it feels good to have accomplished something meaningful!

    Now hopefully it will translate into traffic since I used some keyword analysis to hone in on the topic of the article.

  • Michael Thomas

    I wrote my pillar article as a “How To” for beginning runners. I am also publishing my first book soon on Amazon’s Kindle store, and I hope that this article can create some traction and create some traffic to my book. Any thoughts from Pat or the audience?

  • Jeremiah Say

    Instead of 2010. I’m currently doing it at the end of 2012. Hope I’m not late for the party 😛

  • Tatjana Medvedev

    Where are all your podcasts?

  • Andrew Peters

    Three plugins that I like to use are the Floating Social Bar for sharing, Gravity Forms (with an added class selector for even better customization), and PopUpAlly to connect my MadMimi account and capture emails.

  • gaurav vashisht

    I am also using floating social bar but I also use jetpack for sharing my post to Social media

  • someshl

    Great article and really working out strategy. These are the basic building block of a structured and static traffic on anyone’s blog

  • j

    Seek Jesus and HE will solve all of your problems, nothing else will. God Bless.

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  • Suzi Whitford

    Ah, I’ll be the first comment of this year! :) I’ve seen my pageviews quadruple with adding the right internal links into my most popular posts. Thank you for the advice Pat!