Almost everyone who starts a new website for the first time asks this question: How long does it take before you start getting traffic to your site?
I remember when I built my very first blog, I was checking my analytics everyday. Literally every single day I would log into my analytics to see if anybody had come to see my empty site.
It might seem silly to experienced bloggers, but it’s actually a common practice for people who are new to this.
Like others, I believed that once I published a site on the internet, people came to visit it.
I compared it to offline shops in the real world. If you built an ice cream store on any street, surely at least one person would walk in right? What are the chances that nobody visits your shop?
Sadly, the internet doesn’t work that way.
You can think of it more like hundreds of thousands of people opening an ice cream shop all next to each other in the middle of the desert, and hoping that someone just happens to be walking through it, and then amongst the unlimited number options, chooses yours and walks in.
Might sound brutal, but that’s actually a close analogy.
There are thousands of NEW blogs being built every single day. There are over 5 million blog posts published everyday.
The majority of them will never see a single visitor aside from themselves and friends and family.
So how long does it take?
If you’re asking this question, you’re not thinking about this in the right way. You can start getting traffic on day 1. You can theoretically get thousands of visitors to your blog within days of launching.
For example, let’s say you or someone you know has a Twitter account with millions of followers. All it takes is a tweet or two pointing them to your new blog and you’ll get a flood of traffic.
Another example: You publish your first blog post, and submit it to Reddit. Somehow, it gets voted up to the front page. You’ll get more traffic to your site than you can handle. It’ll probably crash your web server.
These all may sound great to you. But the problem is, these are short-term solutions to getting traffic. Plus, these aren’t exactly repeatable strategies you can rely on.
The best long-term solution to getting consistent traffic to your blog is SEO.
How long does SEO take?
The age-old question of SEO is, “How long does it take to get organic traffic?”
Unfortunately, the answer is not straightforward. On average, it takes anywhere from 3 to 6 months to gain traction in search engines, assuming you are publishing high-quality content, targeting the right keywords, and building backlinks.
If you are targeting low-competition keywords, you may start to see organic traffic within a few weeks. However, if you are going after more competitive keywords, it can take six months or even a year to see your traffic increase.
Again, this is assuming that you’re publishing high quality content consistently, and you’re out there building backlinks to those articles.
When it comes to backlinks, it is essential to remember that not all backlinks are created equal. High-quality backlinks from authoritative sources (think HARO backlinks) will have a greater impact on your SEO than a large number of low-quality links.
New sites take awhile before starting to rank in Google (usually 3 to 6 months, sometimes up to a year).
This delaying effect is often called “The Google Sandbox”. It’s to prevent spammers from throwing up new blogs to rank for big keywords and make a quick profit. It used to work in the past, but not today.
It doesn’t matter how skilled you are in SEO, the sandbox is consistent for every new site. You always have to go through it.
It’s frustrating for a lot of people who just want to see results right away. Imagine putting in a ton of work for 3 months straight and seeing no results.
But if you’re like me, and repeatedly build new niche sites, you come to respect and expect the sandbox. For me, I don’t mind the sandbox at all. Blogs are a long-term play for me anyways.
There’s really no need to bicker about not seeing results in the first few months because I know that eventually I can grow it to something much bigger.
What I’m trying to say is, there’s no need to fuss over your traffic and rankings. Stay motivated and just stick to your strategy and continue working, and trust that your SEO and blogging strategy is a good one.
So how long does it take to get blog traffic?
SEO is the most reliable, repeatable, and consistent traffic source for long-term growth of your blog. Just know that for new blogs, it can take up to a year before you start seeing significant traffic numbers from Google.
Other traffic methods, like social media and community sites, are essentially instant. If executed properly, you can get traffic immediately to your blog.
Unfortunately, these traffic sources are short-lived. You’ll see a spike in traffic one day, and the next day it’ll be back to zero. Plus, these are not repeatable strategies that you can do over and over again.
If you do, eventually you’re going to see your rankings and traffic start to surge and grow month after month.