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 900 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. Tim – in this video you covered two concepts that have really focused my attention back to the reasons why I started my own blog. 1) to have fun while doing interesting things and 2) to get access and meet people in scenes where I never thought possible. But the most important point that you made was that you also have to have a voice and infuse your personality into the blog!

    This has been my fatal error since I started my blog in January. I was trying to “out Fox News, Fox News” by trying to keep up with and report EVERY news item related to my blogs topic, when there is no way I could possibly keep up with the vast networks of information that other blogs have spent years establishing.

    Now I’ll focus my energy where it counts to generate quality posts to attract quality readers.

    Thank you; this is exactly what I needed to revitalize my blogging spirit!

  2. Thanks for the post, im finding it very difficult to get followers on my blog. Im sure this will help.

  3. Hey Tim,

    Just simply – thank you!

    Its so great to see people like yourself putting this out to the world that is full of gold information.

    I have read the 4 hour workweek which starting my transition for focusing on what i love – the hospitality industry. I have a blog and its started well, but what you have offered will truly help me to take it to another level. Basically your book inspired me to go into a new industry of hospitality coaching and mentoring (basically it means i assist and provide resources for anyone who owns a cafe bar or restaurant who are a little stuck with money, staff issues or management dramas).


    This video really hits mark with me – outstanding work!

    Thanks again Tim from a very loyal follower down here in Australia


  4. Thanks for this Tim…I’m just about to start my own blog and this was really informative.



  5. Hi Tim,

    Looks like this video is not available.

    Kindly see, if there is any way to access the same.

    Thanks, Ravi

  6. Hi Tim, the link to the video on this page is not working. Can you or your team fix it? Thank you!

    1. Hi Humberto,

      I’ll take a look. Thanks for the heads up. In the meantime, you might want to Google it. The video was from Wordcamp in SF.



  7. It’s tough to get traffic to your web page if you don’t have type in. However, if you follow all the rules and find your self some decent ad networks than you start increasing the numbers but it takes time.

  8. Government Universities provides dedicated team and space for Research and Development while private universities do not focus on providing such dedicated team and space for Research and Development

  9. Hi there! This is kind of off topic but I need

    some help from an established blog. Is it difficult to set up your own blog?

    I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking

    about creating my own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? With thanks

  10. Great content as always, I’m really looking forward to implementing this into my blog! It took me a while to realize that certain topics were generating huge numbers of hits, and others were getting next to nothing, but with this info it will be much easier to target my blog posts better.

    Thanks Tim!


  11. This sounds encouraging but I guess time is also a great determinant. I have come to understand that Google will only take a blog serous after 6 or so months. Anyway thanks alot the eye opener.

  12. Hi Tim,

    I’m a jazz musician and cartoonist and I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog. I have found your posts to be fun to read, helpful and logical. I particularly like the cheekiness of some of your experiments. I’ve told a few other creative mates of mine about your site as I’ve had some success applying a few of your strategies to my practice. Bebop scales no more! lol.

    Cheers muchly!


  13. For all these good tips you give, I wonder if anyone can achieve a high traffic blog using these methods. You know is it based on theory more than reality? Just my thoughts.

  14. I am working hard to get my traffic to my site and hoping for some conversions. For some reason this video is not showing up and I would love to watch it because I think I could be spinning my wheels with all my efforts on my blog.

    Thank you!

  15. This was great. Just great, Tim.

    Firstly, because I see from your video you like to know where your traffic comes from: picture Melbourne, Australia 🙂

    I started a blog [Moderator: link removed] after coming out of hospital (where I literally near died) August 2011, and I wanted to reach people with my story, wanted to change the world so much, by my story. It slowly gathered, & yes, people did write me sincerely and in earnest, called me inspiring, my writing magnificent, so amazing and so on – and here’s where we get to “How to Blog Without Killing Yourself?” Well, I closed the blog February 2014 because of just that. I’m entrapped in full-time office work, dying within it, actually, but felt I had to commit to the day job to raise my son (single-handedly), and with the mere 2 days a week I had – the weekend – I found that instead of turning on the PC to write, I turned on the PC and was responding to comments, responding, responding – and more, then out of courtesy, visiting people’s blogs back. I thought it was normal courtesy (still do think so – but then, what if you don’t feel much about what you’re visiting, and they’ve written you all heart about yours, what you mean to them and so on, you know?).

    So I pulled it because I was not able to WRITE THE BOOK, get it done (my blog was chapter by chapter, the unfolding of the novel in first draft). The book really spoke to people, Tim, but I pulled the blog because I just couldn’t keep up with comments.

    So I can’t tell you enough: your site is very interesting to me (as I intend to resurface but with more form about what I do, more awareness of what I’m getting into etc), and I am at the moment just formulating “how will I do this?…” AND how the 4 hour week. OH MERCY, a 4 hour week…

    I only had 800 subscribers, mind, not amazing millions, but they were ALL genuine, they were ALL supportive, they ALL commented sincere and earnestly about chapter upon chapter, & even as I’ve pulled the blog I’ve had some people contact me through email and say please tell them when I do publish it as they want to read it.

    But see how stuck I got. I’ve lost my mojo since, and life seems all office duty, shopping & cooking… but the good news is my son’s just turned 18 and so it is high time I can, after 18 years of surrendering my own life and dreams in order to serve my son’s needs in the absence of paternal loyalty, it seems just the right time to do this now. Yet I’m still pondering how, how will I do this…

    So thanks, Tim, great video. I valued it heaps (in this my research time before launch).

    Sincere regards, & kudos to you – & absolutely that quote about finding yourself amongst the majority & rethinking.



  16. This is an incredible post. Currently studying off of your techniques and I appreciate these resources.

    Much love from Tampa, Fl

    McKenzie 🙂

  17. Glad I bookmarked this link a while ago….just got to it and wished I had watched the video before. Three pages of notes later, I am ready to take on the world. Thanks!

  18. on a technical note your blog is very mobile UNFRIENDLY. I’m here on either my HP Slatebook (runs on Android) or my Samsung Galaxy SIII, researchig how to promote my internal martial arts business, and the experience on either is pretty sub-par. This post is a classic example; the embedded video is not supported on either device.

    Vimeo has some pretty good functionality for embedded video, yet retaining a high degree of access control, and it’s supported by most mobile browers.

    I’m surprised WordPress doesn’t offer mobile freindly themes that degrade more elegantly.

  19. I haven’t read all the previous comments, but for those interested in watching the video on mobile, has the video in a format that plays well -

  20. I’m a big fan of your 4-Hour Workweek book and have bought it twice (the first one got soaked when I loaned it to a friend and he dumped coffee on it). I’m just getting into blogging and am curious if it is worth it? Do you make more from book sales or through the monetization of your blog? Thanks for all of your awesome tips!

  21. Sweet video Tim, I’m a huge fan! Love the tricks for hiding the date and total read time, I’ll be sure to exercise these on my blog as posts pick up in age.

    All the best,

    ~ Pavel

  22. Hi Tim, this video seems to have a something broken at minutes 13ish. I am using firefox and it just skips to the end. I have tried this about 3 times now. thanks.

  23. I watched this video a while back when I was first thinking of starting a blog. I am so glad you posted this as it has proved very helpful in growing my blog to 400+ views a month in less than 4 months.

  24. Hi Tim,

    Thanx for sharing, even the vid. Doesn’t show up on my iPhone … coming from FB. It is amazingly fascinating that just yesterday I had a conversation on FB, about how to increase my blog traffic and …Boom, your post shows up! Some people might feel scary about this…. Well at least my Granny believes the Internet must be evil :-).

    Since I came around a bit, already saw pretty creepy stuff. So I consider Mark Z. Is just doing his job right 🙂 … Well yeah it might sound a little sarcastic but that’s my way to digest such amazing coincidences.

    Once he said (Mark) privacy is a thing of the past. At the same time the governments force us against punishment to ad yet another code into our websites to inform about cookies. In the name of a what again? Yammi 🙂 I love this planet and the fascinating controversies of us the people on it.

    Have a tremendously great weekend Tim and thanx again for giving me a life changing inspiration. Well that happend after I stumbled over 4HWW for the first time.



  25. Helpful post, Tim. You said that compared to blogging, there are easier ways to generate income. What are examples? If I’m trying to sell an e-publication based on the 4-Hour Work Week, don’t I need a blog to build an audience that will buy my product? Thanks.

  26. This is a great post. I learned a lot from this video/post. One of the main things I learned is, putting “Topics” instead of “Categories”. I am going to implement it as soon as I can.

  27. Based on this video, I am trying Crazy Egg, and I am disappointed that it does not use any of my previous Google Analytics data.

    Are their other website traffic analytics software that can leverage the years of Google Analytics data I have and create easy to understand reports?



  28. This is still a great post/video to go through. Quick question: you refer to which doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Do you use any other comparable tool now?

  29. As someone who’s new to blogging, you just made me remember why I started in the first place.

    I’ve started taking it too seriously and am so glad I watched this video. I’m going to always refer back to this whenever I start to get too serious and forget to have FUN.

    Thanks for this!

  30. I’m starting my own blog and would love to view this video. I’m not able to view it. Can you please help 🙂

  31. I love your philosophy that “Trying to please every stranger in the world is a sure path to misery”

  32. Tim, I keep getting prompted to enter my email to access the additional content when I’m reading through posts, even though I’ve been a subscriber for many moons. When I enter my email it says “contact already added to target campaign.” Can fix? Can login? Can stop the extra clicks??

    All the Best,


  33. This is still one of the best blogging presentations I’ve ever seen.

    The common advice nowadays is that length is the most important measure — “you need over 1,000 words.”

    Glad to see you proved that wrong years ago.

  34. Blogging is the most successful career option nowadays. It unlocks several opportunities like exploring new horizons of knowledge, building relationship etc.

    These tips are very helpful for anyone who want to join the field. Excellent write-up.

    Take care,

  35. It says “Plugin Not Supported”. May I suggest a shift to HTML Video or YouTube/Vimeo?

    Hope you get to fix it…

  36. great insights about blogging marketing. nowadays many use social media to get traffic to their blog page. social media helps more for blogging marketing.

  37. Hi there, you mention slinkset as a good way to test blog ideas; following its acquisition and the demise of its acquirer, would you have any recommendations for a worthy successor? I’m looking for ways to test blog topics before investing too much time in them…

    Thanks for any help.


  38. Tim-

    Just a word of thanks. Since around 2010 you’ve been a virtual mentor. Godspeed on continuing to create excellent content. As someone who has also battled what Churchill referred to as “the black cloud” it’s incredibly encouraging someone who is an overachiever with much to be grateful for can also have moments of “less than.” Thanks for the transparency–Jason Wright