How to Build a High-Traffic Blog Without Killing Yourself

The above video is one of my favorite presentations I’ve given in 2009, an opening keynote at the last San Francisco WordCamp, titled “How to Blog without Killing Yourself”. More than 700 people from 32 countries were in attendance, which made for a wonderful experience.

The original title was “Scalable Blogging Behaviors: How to Grow from 1 to 1,000,000 Readers” and the content did not change.

In the above presentation, including detailed screenshots, I cover…

  • Why I blog
  • How I blog and select best practices
  • Frequency and tools — best times and days to post
  • Blogging myths and how to harness data for better results
  • Testing design and surprising findings that can be copied
  • How I address comments and community building
  • How I write and research for good social media response
  • 20 minutes of audience Q&A on Twitter, branding, outsourcing, and much more

I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed giving it.

Related and Suggested Posts:

The Top-7 Timothy Ferriss YouTube Videos (4 million views and counting)

Timothy Ferriss Experimental Short-Form Blog

Timothy Ferriss in Inc. Magazine – The Secrets of Super-Productive CEOs

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 800 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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494 Replies to “How to Build a High-Traffic Blog Without Killing Yourself”

  1. Hi Tim!

    Like all of your blogs this one is particlary helpful. I have read this over a number of times and keep learning more.

    Thanks for your great content!

    John

  2. I was hesitant to read/listen to 4 Hour Work Week until it was up for free on audible.com recently.

    I’m now a super fan! I’ve been trolling your blog for most of the afternoon now. Watched this whole video and skimmed over so many of your posts.

    Thanks! ;j

  3. Tim, Just started following your blog a few weeks ago and what an interesting ride. You remind me of a very good friend that I met late in life.

    The world is changing around us at a rapid rate and I believe you provide a very good example of being adaptable to the ever changing environment.

    Happy Trails.

    Scott S.

  4. Tim this is great information. This is some good info that I can use to bring more visitors to my site.

    Thanks for the help!

  5. I was thinking about starting a blog. I just made my first homepage and I will use these ideas. thanks!

    🙂

  6. It does take time to get your traffic up but you just have to be consistent inn you marketing of your blog. Content is king and they will come!

  7. This is a really great idea and nice video great information. This is some good info High-Traffic Blog that I can use to bring more visitors

  8. I have been using social media a lot lately, and have been getting a lot of hits from it lately. I will tell you all how it is working out in the future.

  9. I have read your blog and I really liked it very much.I noticed the popular posts plugin at the right side of the page. I would like to know what is the name of the plugin if you don’t mind.Thank you very much.

  10. Excellent video Tim! Really enjoyed it and other useful tips you always seem to provide. Thanks again.

    P.S. Love your book 4HWW. Everyone should own a copy!

  11. Thanks for the video. Your keynotes are awesome. I’m just starting a blog of my own. You should do a speech at Buffalo State College.

  12. Hi Tim:

    Can you give any guidance to the non-technical? Where do we go to learn? It is very difficult to run a successful blog if you don’t know how to write code — and I haven’t a clue how to write it. I am sure I could learn, but I have no idea where to start.

    Thanks!

  13. Hi Tim,

    I just started blogging 2 weeks ago but before that, I spent a month researching the best strategies out there. A colleague sent me this link to your video on building high blog traffic. Thank you for sharing your strategies. It’s helped me slowly yet steadily grow my readership.

    Esther

  14. This is honestly one of the first time I’ve spent the time to sit down to listen to one of your talks and can say that I appreciate your views. Not ones that are filled with hopes and possibilities, but precise and very analytical thoughts/ideas that can be tested and applied on our own end. We don’t get a lot of the *factual* nowadays online, so thanks for that.

  15. The content of your blog is exactly what I needed, I like your blog, I sincerely hope that your blog a rapid increase in traffic density, which help promote your blog and we hope that your blog is being updated and placed can always be richer and more colorful.

  16. Great post and I love the tip on the tool for the heatmarks, but I can’t seem to find it, does anyone have any info on that or similar heatmark tools. Google analytics tells me where the clicks are, but this tool Tim briefly speaks about seems more robust.

    Note: With the “killing yourself” in the blog title the AdSense ads are pretty scary and mainly about suicide prevention.

  17. Hi Tim,

    I had heard a lot about you but I had never really read your book. But somehow I came across your blog, have no idea how I got to this place.

    You are right, your blog sells the book and not the other way around.

    I also believe you’ve got to write about what you are passionate about rather than for search engines. Never saw logic in writing for search engines.

    Thanks for this video, it’s was really helpful and simple to implement.

  18. I enjoyed this video alot, you´re a great speaker,Tim! Thank you!

    Best regards,

    Herren Bekleidung

  19. I have to say that video is one of the more informative things I’ve seen so far, and I’ve been at this for 5 years. You really give some valuable information that can be tweaked and used for different niches and situations. I think I have been lacking a concrete direction, and have been trying to write about what I think everyone wants to read, not what I love.

    Thanks again for setting me on the right path!

  20. what advice do you have for people who work as programmers or similar job descriptions where something needs to be built…how can they workless and do more or work from home when you need to be in a team or leading the team?

    Alot of tasks cannot be outsourced people need to be onsite and do the work and work late too if the project requires

    how can one apply the 4hour thingy in the mentioned senarios?

  21. well mate, you got me in. It does sound like you spend more than 4 hours a week on this stuff… keep it up.

  22. Can’t wait to put some of these ideas to test on my own new blog. Love you’re thinking outside the box! Thanks

  23. Personality in content. Simply summarized. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am now going off to develop my voice more. Thank you for the EverNote mention too.

  24. Thanks for another great post. This is definitely relevant information the thousands out here in the cloud trying to create some value for others. At first I wanted my humorous stories to get published but now I have moved towards a blog platform

  25. Amazing how you are always leading the latest technologies. This post is over a year old. Now (a year later) there are hundreds of ” gurus” selling how to market yourself with videos online.

  26. Was lost for ideas on my site, then got your book, about to outsource webdesign for my wordpress blog, this post is going to be so helpful.

    I just bought my dad the audio book, he works from home, hopefully he can get his on VA like I did!

    Tim, Mind if mention you on my blog, and I would like to discuss putting up an ad on my site for your stuff. ( you obviously will get a special discount 😉

  27. Ever since readings Tims book when it first came out I found his ideas cutting edge always running ahead of the pack. I have also in the last year taken to other projects and trying to find ways to automate what can be automated and learn to let go of tasks that really dont require me to do them. This advice towards blogging is great I have implemented some of the ideas already into a few of my blogs and picked up a few new ideas today. Thanks Tim and keep it coming.

  28. This video is one of the most honest, usable and informative i have seen yet. , and I’ve been at this for 5 years. I love the info that you divulge here, it’d great.

    I like your approach to internet marketing, it is refreshing, keep it up dude.

    Joel

  29. Tim, I watched this post in August right after I launched my blog; it was a god-send; your advice has been spot on – Thank you! I am now in the process of building my readership through links and reviews – a long process but fun. I would adore your thoughts and completely understand that you are overloaded .. but maybe late one night, you may be inclined to treat yourself to a little bit of Aussie storytelling!

  30. Excellent post! Thanks everyone for sharing your ideas… you all are making me unproductive 🙂

    I do have a question.

    I want to create a blog for my website. However, my company page is also a squeeze page. Therefore, I prefer not to have any distracting links or buttons on my page. I do see the value of creating a blog for my site. So my question is: Should I create a blog as a subdomain, i.e. blog.mycompany.com? or should I do something else?

    I look forward to your ideas.

    Kindly,

    Bastre

    1. You can do it as a sub-domain blog.yoursite.com or a a sub-directory (like on this site) yoursite.com/blog. Either way gets the job done and the conversations flowing!

      Good luck!

  31. Hi Tim,

    I appreciate your video on youtube and this blog.

    Gratulation aus good old austria.

    How much time do you spend at the moment for this blog ?

    Nice time!

    Anna

  32. I just wanted to thank you. It is a really interesting presentation. I enjoyed it very much and it will help me a lot.

    Greetings from Germany. 🙂

  33. nice video and presentation..

    the way that you have presented how to build high traffic is an eye-opening for me.

    actually, to blog successfully, i think the first to first is to put yourself in the reader view. keep emphasizing on tips, trip that can solve the problem will definitely engage the readership. (that’s my test)

    hope to come back for more!

    cheers

    Ivy

  34. Thanks. This is an interesting video clip.

    I wish my blog can be as successful as yours one day.

    Greetings from Sydney

  35. This is a good idea, but I have to say sometimes something just too good to be true. I did not mean it is a lie. It is just a way for marketing.

  36. Humor is great for creativity and I enjoyed your “dating tips.” Is that the next book?? I am sure it would be hit like the rest of your work.

    The story does highlight an interesting shift where the corporate and social sphere are copying and borrowing from each other – the boundaries have gone. Speed dating to speed networking, online B2B portals to online dating services, matchmakers and business brokers. I guess relationships are still fundamental, be they personal, business, face to face or virtual.

    As an academic I am going to put 4 Hour on the reading list for my innovation unit and your blog on the unit’s website.

    Cheers from Perth, Australia

  37. hello my names kc and i see you as an inspiration to the same way Indians saw Gandhi… I think that i want to start blogging, not to be overly competent but i do believe i am one of the most innovative people i know! you are like a glass of iced water in the desert, giving me hope that i can actually make $ online contrary to what all my friends and family tells me i should do and what i cant do.. i’m 20 years old and have literally the crappiest car ever made 1994 subaru justy Google it ..ha i’m pretty sure it will make you feel better about Ur self..ha

    now i’m not saying all this for you to say to your self damn that sucks for that guy i want you to acknowledge that you have brought maby only a glimpse of light to a seemingly impossible feat!

    Now I know i’m probably wasting my time due to the fact that you will probably never even read this but, if you do all I respectfully ask is for motivation i know your probably thinking well why the hell would i help you, because someday when i am inevitably somebody! i will return the favor!

    Am i wasting my time trying to make money online i hope not is are all of my dreams just a pastel motivation to continue through life, maby.. but even so i would rather risk all i have and find out its impossible then to risk nothing and find out it was only a step away!

    when a bum approaches people on the street propositioning them for money the natural response is to walk away and pretend you didn’t hear anything, they figure thats what he deserves or someone else will help him, and i know i must seem as a bum on the street but i really do want you two cents!

  38. The most important factor that i have noticed really works while building my website for celebrities all around the world: LINK building with other sites

    its greatly increases your page rank.

    I have a lot celebrity pictures in my site, so second thing is when you add pictures to your website you should always give them “ALT” tag so search engines would know that does your pictures describe.

    It greatly affected my google search engine traffic, right now i have almost 54% traffic from search engines

    This is very interesting post for newbies to get touch of seo for their websites

    GOOD LUCK everybody!

  39. Hey,

    I am a really big fan of your blog and I read all your books. Please keep on motivating me and stay as awesome as you are!

    Cheers,

    Chris Wilhelm

  40. Hi Tim

    Straight to the point – you mentioned really briefly in the video that “people can be poor about predicting what they would want” (or something to that extent) and that it was a topic for another time.

    have you or do you know others who have posted on this? – it would be so useful to me as a young music composer for film whose clients struggle to know exactly what they want in music for their picture.

    your post as usual is gold dust

    thank you

  41. Hi Tim,

    I have read both the 4hour workweek and now the 4 hour body and what can I say…I love them! Especially 4 hour workweek. WIth 4 hour body I like the un-biased and innovative approach. In some cases I have been shaking my head in disagreement but still overall a great book with some fascinating tips.

    Keep up the good work and I am awaiting more in your 4 hour book series..;)

  42. The story does highlight an interesting shift where the corporate and social sphere are copying and borrowing from each other – the boundaries have gone. Speed dating to speed networking, online B2B portals to online dating services, matchmakers and business brokers. I guess relationships are still fundamental, be they personal, business, face to face or virtual.

    As an academic I am going to put 4 Hour on the reading list for my innovation unit and your blog on the unit’s website

  43. Hi Tim,

    I realized only after paying attention to when you recorded this that it a few years old. The fact that it is relevant even today is remarkable. Thanks for the enlightenment.

  44. It is a very inspirational video and it is really very helping for people like me who have just started blogging.

    Thanks 🙂

  45. I’m only half way through because unlike you I normally don’t stay up until 5 am LOL. I still need to pick up your 4 hr workweek book. But I’m a busy girl. HMM maybe I need to read it so I can only work for four hours. Ok we’ll see if you read your comments. And Cash is my real name ( since you made a point to tell people to put their real name)

    I’ll watch you again in the morning-This is very cool though so thank you-

  46. Tim, my great friend Laurent Boghossian, who talked about your books & philosophy to me almost 3 years ago, forwarded me on this post.

    I enjoyed to listen to you and it will help me to improve my own websites, probably.

    I’m both technology engineer freelance & digital artist (named protofuse)

    I chose to quit my job to redesign my life and it works.

    But, as usual, I’m eroding each days the things that are too much, trying to sharp the stuff.

    I have actually 2 websites : one for my artistic side & one for my company.

    I have only one blog on the company one but IT SUCKS a lot .

    Sounds complicated everyday. SO… I have to change something because I’m just Julien Bayle & not one day the artist and the other day the program designer (even applied to art)

    I use 3 domains:

    – 1 for a global entry point ( a former domain with my name & surname ; forwarding through links to the 2 other domains)

    – 1 for my artistic way

    – 1 for my

    I only have a blog on the company one because I need to improve the traffic on it.

    I thought about an ONLY ONE blog on the former domain, creating automatically post in the other websites. But even that sounds complicated.

    What would be your best advice?

  47. Just want to say your article is as tonishing. The lucidity in your post is simply spectacular and i can assume you are an expert on this field. Well with your permission allow me to grab your rss feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the ac complished work.

  48. That’s a really innovative and cool looking window they designed to show off! It’s amazing at what you can come up with when you partner with another powerhouse company. I bet it helped keep the sales up even though the economy isn’t back in full-swing yet.

  49. Hello, Tim

    Your Article is like no other! I’m very new to online blogging and you breaks it down to a Fine Science. Because of all your expert advice I’ve thought about starting my own blog and possibly sharing your for other novice bloggers.

    Thanks!!!

  50. My coder is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the costs. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on a variety of websites for about a year and am worried about switching to another platform. I have heard excellent things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can import all my wordpress content into it? Any help would be really appreciated!

  51. AJ XI is one of the essences of the historical precipitate. The born with king temperament and the gorgeous looks are not any other shoes can imitate. Although the technology of the shoes’ body is readily available now, the combination of these shoes must be the peak level of the shoes which should be perfect. The one fit to Jordon well and best embodies the king temperament of the Michael Jordan, it must be the Air Jordan XI. They are both vested with the inherent king temperament. The Michael Jordan would be the god among the numerous outstanding athletes in basketball. Just the same, the Air Jordan XI would be the crown of pearls among the numerous brilliant basketball shoes. AJ 11 must be the classic of classics among the Air Jordon shoes so that Air Jordan Retro 11 Concord must be the retro of the classic. The white and black color scheme is the color at home and always has been the favorite color scheme of the fans.

  52. I have been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  53. I listened to 4 hour work week audio book(I purchased from audible.com). I feel like I need to read it again. There was so much great content and questions to ask myself. Do I need to listen again and take notes?

    In the spirit of 4 Hour Work Week, is there any way I can get a cliff notes, or cheat sheet, or worksheets on the book?

    Great stuff on here,

    Thank you.

    AK

  54. Hey Tim, good day! I watched your video presentation. I learned a lot from you. Thank you for sharing this useful information. Keep it up and keep helping other people and sharing your success. 🙂

  55. Thanks for the video Tim. I took 2 pages of notes on the tips you offer in the talk. I am especially interested in the tool you used to track clicks and see how people interact with your site. It was all very helpful.

  56. I am so glad I took the time to watch this, it took me almost 2 hours as I was taking notes and visiting the websites you mentioned and I will be ‘stealing’ most of your recommendations for my redesigned blog! Especially the part about the Flickr photos saved me a lot of precious time as I had no clue I could find so many awesome photos there, I was just about to turn into online databases and start buying photos as my blog traffic is rising.

    Please share more of these talks for those of us who have not been able to be to your live events! Thank you

  57. Great video, loved the answer to how to Tim Ferris your love life as well, haha.

    I’ve been blogging for a few months now, and recently it’s getting bigger and bigger. I’m 100% going for indirect currency, finding work. The traditional methods don’t work at all, but I’m hoping to get the attention of some recruiters and translate that into work.

    However, along the way it’s become a tonne of fun and now I spend a tonne of time tweaking. Promotion is everything as well, and I will use some of your ideas moving forward.

    Thanks Tim!

  58. Hi Tim! 🙂 your video offered tips and info that I’m *most* grateful for.

    Some background…I’ve been blogging so long, I can’t even remember when I started! (ha!). I never thought I’d be able to do it professionally or on a platform that’ll allow me to make money from it. It was only in the last few months that the interest was slowly developing into a feasible plan.

    I’ve had domain names that I’ve purchased, but that I never did anything with until just recently. They’re all literally in the beginning phases of development, so I’m feeling that initial rush you get when you take on a new project 🙂 (e.g. the one I listed for this comment)

    There’s a lot of books out there touting the supposed “in’s and out’s” of successful blogging, but I feel like I’ve finally gotten the permission, if you will, to kind of break a few of the rules…or bend them just a little.

    I have a note-pad of all the key points you mentioned to be aware of when maintaining the blog. But honestly, the biggest take home message from your video was blog what you love.

    I was a little fearful of getting into it, since writing and blogging, which is therapeutic at best, was also something i rarely, if ever, shared (my blogs were, more often than not, set to private, which rendered them useless I guess…a diary of sorts). However, the suggestion you made in conveying personality, more so than conveying excellent writing skills, gave me a little bit of hope 🙂

    I’m excited to see what I can implement, and experiment with in the coming future, and will definitely reference back to this post, and probably others to gain inspiration, info, or maybe a little wisdom 😉

  59. Great post! This post goes really well with Seth Godin’s, Who’s There. Together, they make a great case for creating content that matters to people, and specifically to engineering posts based on what people’s interests are: filling demand versus creating demand.

    Thanks Tim!

  60. Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could

    locate a captcha plugin for my comment form?

    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding

    one? Thanks a lot!

  61. Great lecture full of helpful tips for bloggers like myself. I often wonder how anyone gets so many dedicated readers and comments on a regular basis without being famous to begin with, and yet you and others show its possible with great content time and time again. I’m going to try to raise the bar for my blogs by implementing some of your tips and fine-tuning my writing voice. Thanks from Japan.

    Jarrett

  62. I think this is a superb info.

    Content is always king when it comes to blogging.

    It is sometime sad to see people copy or spin duplicate articles and content and adding it on their blog.

    That is really one last thing you do.

    Provide real and solid content and you will be on your way to real blogging 🙂

  63. I can’t believe it took me 3 years to find this post. Inspiring video that just raised my bar to yet another level. Thank you!

  64. Hi there would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using? I’m

    looking to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a difficult time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.

    P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

    1. Hopefully, Tim “The Man” will reply.

      But if not, I woud suggest WordPress. It has a huge following, it is easy to install (if you get a host that uses cPanel or another big name hosting company you can install it in minutes…I would suggest looking at a youtube video). Then you can apply a theme to get a really cool look instantly (google elegant themes). Plus you can quickly and easily install plugins on the fly.

      Most important thing is that you can start right away blogging without burning too much time setting things up.

      But if you do plan on making it exactly how you want it, I would suggest the _s WordPress theme which is made to be customized.

      Hope that helps!

  65. Thanks Tim,

    I am glad you posted this, I have a blog which I have ‘played’ with for a while but am about to get really going on it. One reason I have been slow to “get serious” was the whole “quit living and start blogging” dilemma.

    Also I like the beginning where you are talking about the other currencies that blogging offers, which I had not thought of in those terms.

    Thanks,

  66. I have several blogs and write content for them on alternating days. I can find it to be much easier to find new ideas on what it is I am going to write about this way.

  67. Thanks, Tim, for sharing your e-biz experiences. You’re kind of like a lighthouse for me. Keep up the great work. You’re one of a kind.

  68. I’m watching this almost 4 years after it was originally posted, and it’s still great advice. Funny story about how to Tim Ferris your love life. 🙂

  69. Hmm it appears like your website ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I

    guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your

    blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any suggestions for novice blog writers? I’d

    definitely appreciate it. Michaela

  70. Great stuff, especially now that WordPress has become some prominent! Will be implementing several of these strategies into my site to get the blogging more active!

  71. I’m utterly tired. Finding ways to build traffic, without annoying my facebook friends, is something I’ve been doing tirelessly for a few days now. I don’t even know why. I’ll give this a watch tomorrow.

    Thanks Tim! For your book and your legitimate ways of marketing truth!

  72. Totally agree about omitting dates on blog posts… so logical. Thank you for this presentation, very valuable stuff.

  73. Great video I watched it last night. I have thought about starting a blog for awhile and will use this as a reference to get started. I very much like your rule about not attacking anyone and making sure you get the right kind of traffic on your blog. Great tip after great tip, I will take to heart and put into practice. I see myself watching this video many times. Thanks again.

  74. To try to improve my Writer’s Platform and attract sales , I created my blog site and blogged my first book, The Grumpy Old Withered of Oz, in it’s entirety as it was a comedic autobiography about unexpectedly becoming a carer for my wife who suffered a devastating stroke, our subsequent restrictions and the frustrations of aging in the zzzzzzz generation. I blogged the entire book in episodes for the readers to become familiar with my style and background. It attracted only a couple of thousand hits in the first few weeks but the comments were very positive. I am now blogging sample weekly chapters of my 7 other print and ebooks books attempting to attract sales but with little response in sales so far. Am I doing the right thing and what can you suggest I do to attract paying customers. I publish through Kindle and Smashwords.

  75. Great to see that some of your learnings are still reflected in the functionality of this blog. And, of course, very helpful presentation overall. Had to grin a bit that you couldn’t find RSS useful back then in 2009 and now Google is shutting down Google Reader – interesting!