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

In 2010, the website traffic for the Smart Passive Income blog skyrocketed. So how was I able to achieve such sticky traffic? A single blog post.

[Editor’s Note, 2014: This article refers to The Backlinking Strategy that Works post. We have since updated this post, and so all links point to the newer article. Given the ever-changing nature of SEO advice, we don’t want to link you to outdated information, which is why we’ve chosen to link to the newer post.]

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

Traffic for November 2010 shows 73,769 visits and 180,305 pageviews.

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

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

So what accounted for this explosive growth and sticky traffic?

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.

Yaro Starak

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!


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  • Pat Flynn

    Hi, I’m Pat, founder of SPI and host of the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Let’s continue the conversation over in our communities.

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