New Blogs are being launched every day online nowadays, but exactly how long does it take for a new blog to start seeing traffic? Some new bloggers may naively start a new website thinking they’ll have traffic almost right away, but unfortunately there are barriers to entry, and that’s not how search engines work when ranking new websites.
As a general rule, it takes 6-9 months before a new blog starts to get significant traffic, dependent on producing a good amount of high quality content and targeting suitably low competition keywords. However, in some cases, it can take 12-18 months before a blog really starts to gain traffic.
Therefore, there is a significant waiting period that new blog owners have to endure, even if they do everything right, before their blog really starts to gain good traffic. It can be tough during these early days when you are really putting a lot of work in, but not seeing immediate results.
It’s also because some new bloggers are NOT aware that this waiting period for a new blog to get traffic is very typical and normal that they either give up on their project a few months in, or even worse, sell their website right before the traffic and earnings really start to take off, after having put all the work in.
This is a really sad situation, so I wanted to produce a thorough guide on exactly how long new bloggers can expect to wait before their website starts getting traffic, plus what to do to ensure their blog does get traffic, and what to do during this typical waiting period of 6-12 months. That way it’ll be easier to stay motivated and wait out this initial “Ghost Town” phase to see your hard work pay off down the line.
The Different Time Ranges For A New Blog To Start Gaining Traffic
In general, 6-9 months is a good average time that one can expect to wait before the content on a new blog starts to gain traffic, assuming you have produced enough of it and targeted keywords you can reasonably expect to rank for on a new blog with low authority.
However, as with most things, averages are just that, and this “ghost town” phase of a blog can be longer or shorter depending on many factors. Some new blog owners have got sites to take off sooner than that, and others have had to wait longer (a year or more) for their blog to really take off in terms of traffic.
Therefore, let’s break it down into some different possible scenarios:
Shorter – Some blogs can take off even within the first few months, especially if you’ve found a niche that has super low competition, with a real scarcity of relevant, quality content for many keywords in that niche. Therefore you are filling in important gaps in the search results, and search engines like Google may be willing to rank your content sooner. See here for an example of a new blog owner who had significant traffic and earnings just a few months into his blog, because he just found the perfect niche with very little competition. Also, if you have a large, ready made social media audience you can send to your new content, this can also speed up the traffic growth on a new blog, but it’s rare that this is the case.
Average – With most new blogs, assuming you do everything right and produce enough high quality content, you can expect the normal time-frame of 6-9 months before your initial batch of content starts to rank on search engines and really start driving some traffic. This is what’s most commonly seen on new blogs, though my own blogs have typically followed longer growth curves (see below).
Longer – It’s hard to figure out why sometimes, but some new blogs just take longer for the traffic to really take off, even if the owner does everything right. Sometimes, it can take 12-18 months before a new blog starts to really see significant traffic. For whatever reason, Google takes longer to trust some websites and some content. Perhaps the owner’s rate of publishing was a bit slower or more erratic, or the content topic was of a more sensitive YMYL (Your Money Your Life) topic that Google was more cautious in testing. But sometimes there doesn’t even seem to be a reason why, so new bloggers do need to be prepared to be patient and trust in the outcome if they’ve done everything right at the front end in terms of quality content creation. Sometimes it can take longer then expected to see real traffic growth.
How Long To Rank on Google?
Good video quote: “The most common number I saw for new websites, is that it will take 35 weeks for the articles to reach the point that they are bringing in 90% of the traffic that they ever will”
What Does Traffic Growth Look Like On a New Blog
In terms of what traffic growth on a new blog looks like on a new blog, it’ll usually become pretty obvious on Google Analytics once your content has started to really take off.
Assuming you published a decent batch of it when launching your blog, and it’s good quality content targeting the right keywords, then you’ll often a see a “hockey stick” style growth graph on the traffic analytics, where your traffic suddenly shoots up some time in the 6-9 month mark as all your content starts to “hit” at once, and Google has tested your content for long enough that it begins to really trust it in the rankings.
Here’s a traffic growth graph from the first 18 months of one of my blogs, launched in May 2019. See how traffic is dead for the first few months, then really starts to pick around the 12-18 month mark:
I’ve checked the analytics for all my blogs, and they actually all follow this longer growth curve of 12-18 months before traffic really starts to pick up. The main reason for this is I got my keyword research wrong, and wrote about topics that were too small in terms of search volume initially. It’s usually taken me a while to get this correct, after which traffic really starts to pick up on my blogs.
However, here’s a more complete breakdown of what to expect on a new blog in terms of traffic levels within the first year, assuming you’ve produced a good batch of initial content (30-50 articles):
- 0-3 months – Zero or almost zero traffic, even if you’ve published a good batch of content. Google waits for a long time on a new website to test content, so nothing much will be happening, even if you do everything right. Be prepared to wait through this “ghost town” phase – it’s normal.
- 3-6 months – Little bit of traffic – Google is starting to test and trust a little bit of your content, trying it out in the rankings some of the time to see how readers engage with the content. Maybe a couple of thousand page-views a month at the 6 month mark.
- 6-9 months – Hockey stick – This is when new blogs can really start to take off, as long as you wrote a good initial batch of high quality content in a short time when you started the blog. It can suddenly all start to hit at once within the 3rd quarter time-frame, and you can start to see traffic really shoot up. You can be at 10,000-30,000+ pageviews a month at this point, depending on how much content you published, how good the keywords were that you picked, and general search volume in your niche.
- 9-12 months – More growth – Sometimes the hockey stick growth can happen in this stage instead, or your hockey stick growth either continues if you carried on publishing more content, or perhaps starts to level off if you didn’t add more content. Traffic often still growing though. Can be at 30,000-50,000 page-views a month at this point, with good content and good keyword research.
- 12-18 months – Leveling off – Some blogs can be “late bloomers” and only start to take off in this stage, but what happens here depends a lot on whether you’ve kept adding more content or just left your initial batch up from the first 2-3 months. If you’ve kept publishing continuously the whole time, you traffic will just keep growing and can be well over 100,000+ page-views a month at this point. If you’re keeping the site more passive and just relying on your initial content batch, growth will really start to flat-line here at 30,000-50,000 page-views a month, and will vary widely across different blogs depending on search volume and content.
However, reaching these milestones is conditional on the new blog owner doing everything right in terms of content quality and quantity, as well as keyword research. There are a lot of caveats to those numbers, and there are a lot of things a new blogger can do wrong that can make these traffic estimates never come to fruition. It’s safe to say a majority of new bloggers never reach these traffic levels on new sites they launch.
Therefore let’s cover in the next few sections some of the most important things that someone starting a new blog MUST ensure they do in order to ensure they get significant traffic to their site and that their significant efforts they often put in on the front end don’t go to waste.
Producing Quality Content Is Vital To Get Traffic On a New Blog
To get the traffic growth curve you want on a new blog, then you need to produce good content to draw that traffic in. The phrase “content is king” is as true now in blogging as it ever has been.
Let’s break the topic down into both the quality and quantity of new content as well, because BOTH are important on a new blog:
Content Quantity – You really need to produce a good amount of content – aim for at least 50-100 articles in the first batch of content, and aim to do this in the first 3 months. Some articles will do well, but others will be “duds” and not bring in the expected traffic, especially on a new blog where you’re doing everything for the first time. Therefore you need a good batch of content, to cover any dud articles, and also to signal to search engines that something’s happening on your blog that needs paying attention to. Search engines like to see link velocity on a new website – new links being created that just shows something is happening in that corner of the internet that’s worth paying attention to. Effectively interlinking between your different articles is also a good way of doing this. Also, look to group together articles about the same general topic, rather than writing random ones all over the place about different topics, since this allows you to develop authority with search engines which will help content rank faster in the future.
Targeting The Correct Keywords Is Vital To Get Traffic On a New Blog
It is a very common mistake among new bloggers to immediately go after the really competitive keywords and search terms, thinking this is where the real traffic and therefore “big bucks” are in terms of monetization.
Whilst this is true, if you just write articles targeting these super-competitive keywords right off the bat, without first having proven yourself with some wins on lower competition searches, then Google will not rank the content, because it has no reason to trust your site over all the others.
Building up authority and therefore driving significant traffic to a new (or existing) blog requires that you write your content in a very specific order. Here is Income School’s concept of the Content Mix required to build authority and draw traffic on a new blog:
- Low competition keywords – Super specific, low competition, lower volume searches with average or poor search results. Short, quick, response posts.
- Medium competition keywords – More broad, moderately competitive topics with some results from other sites. Needs more meaty content.
- High competition keywords – Very broad, short tail keyword searches in your niche, very high volume and very high competition, with lots of high quality results from well known sites. Requires very long, detailed content to compete. Only go for these terms after you’ve written some articles in the first two categories.
See our article where we go into this in more detail, including breaking down exactly what each type of keyword is and how to write content for each one.
Getting Backlinks To Your Content For Traffic Growth
A factor which can sometimes speed up the growth curve on a new blog is getting external links to it from social media or other platforms. This can act as a “positive vote” for your content and speed up the process of search engines ranking it.
Here are some different ways you can organically develop back-links to your content:
Social Media – If you already have a ready made social media audience to send to your new blog content, for sure this can speed up ranking and that traffic growth curve. However, it’s rare this is the case. Driving engagement with your content via social media posting can be valuable, but also be a serious time drain if you get too drawn into it. For new bloggers, focus primarily on content creation if you don’t have a ready made social media following.
Quotable Statistics – One great way to draw organic back-links to your content is to include quotable, useful statistics in them, so that people want to link to your post to quote and provide a reference for that statistic. For example, “73% of X do Y on average” type stats. These are perfect for drawing back-links to your content, without forcing them, and can speed up ranking. See here for more on this.
General Usefulness – Just making your content really useful, helpful and complete also encourages people to share it, especially if you’ve created “the ultimate guide” to something, where you really cover all the bases and make a great introductory resource for someone just getting into the topic.
Shareable Content – If your blog niche lends itself well to it, also creating real shareable type content (eg. “6 tips for…..”, “7 best ways to…..” is also great for attracting social media shares on Pinterest and Facebook especially.
However, all of these strategies are about getting organic back-links, not forcing them by paying for them or using some other trickery. See our post where we cover the difference between the two, and encourage focusing on organic back-links only.
Mistakes That Will Cause a New Blog To Fail
We’re really just covering here the inverse of what we’ve already mentioned above, but it’s really important to point out what NOT to do if you want your new blog to get traffic.
Here are some common rookie mistakes that can prevent you ever getting traffic to a new blog:
Writing poor quality content – This is something I believe is getting more important each year, with the internet becoming more and more competitive now. Don’t just throw out poor quality, short form, lazily written content, even for low competition keywords. You used to be able to get away with that sometimes, but not anymore. I’ve seen how Google’s standards for indexing and ranking content have become stricter even in the 4 years I’ve been blogging. ALL your content needs to be high quality now. Short, incomplete content that’s not adding anything new or original and is just copying what other blog posts have already written, won’t cut it anymore, especially with the growth of AI writing tools. And increasingly, Google is sometimes not even indexing really short, mediocre content that’s adding nothing new to the current search results, so you’re wasting your time even writing it. Make sure your content is relevant, thorough, useful and well written, providing more value than what the current top search results are for that query, as well as a personable, relatable style that elevates it above the dry content that AI tools can produce.
Not writing enough content – Pretty obvious. Just dribbling out a few articles, even if you believe they are high traffic keywords, won’t cut it. You need to publish a decent batch of initial content (30-50 posts) to get the attention to search engines and get your content indexed and ranked within a decent time-frame. Make sure you have enough undisturbed free time set aside to really publish a good amount of content on a new blog. If you give up or get distracted after a few articles, your blog won’t go anywhere.
Targeting the wrong keywords – This is a crucial rookie mistake that can stop a blog gaining any traffic despite having a huge amount of content. Do not target overly competitive keywords – where there are already lots of articles from big sites on the first page – right away on a new blog. Even if you write great articles, Google will not rank them, because your site hasn’t gained any traction or authority yet. Start off a new blog writing content for smaller, lower competition keywords, where the search results are much poorer, with forums and thin content. See here for a great guide on this. This is crucial to ensure a blog takes off, otherwise you can spend hours writing great content that never gets traffic, because you’re going after keywords that are too competitive for a new blog. Also see here for understanding Domain Authority, a crucial metric that measures how much credibility and authority a website has with search engines. New blogs need to build this up before targeting competitive keywords.
No topical authority – A new key factor since the Google updates of 2022. Blogs need to demonstrate topical authority on topics, and sub-topics, they cover on their site. In other words, a clustering of content all centered around a specific topic or sub-topic within niche. Blogs that just have a scattering of content broadly related to the niche in question, but still not really closely related, are doing less and less well now (eg. 2 posts on topic A, 3 on topic B, 2 on topic C, 3 on topic D, and so on). Aim for at least 10 articles all clustered together closely on each specific sub-topic you cover on a new blog to demonstrate proper topical authority. See here for a good video on this.
Picking the wrong niche – Links to the above point on competition. If you pick a niche that’s too competitive, it can be really heard to break in, because there are so few keywords that aren’t already covered by established sites. It’s really hard find those low competition topics to gain traction with. Recipes, finance and fitness are 3 well known niches that are considered high competition, but this niche (blogging/making money online) is also really hard to break into. This blog hasn’t followed the normal growth curve because the niche is too competitive, but my other blogs have after a slightly longer than normal wait. If you’re in a really competitive niche, you need a great strategy and good keyword research to break in and get good traffic within the 1 year time-frame.
YMYL Spaces – If you start a blog that is in a niche that is heavily YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) (eg. finances, health) and you have no credentials you can show in that topic that can be algorithmically measured, it can be really hard to break into that space with a new blog. Make sure you really have some good qualifications and credentials and take some extra steps if you launch a new blog in one of these spaces that Google requires more authority and trust in to give traffic to websites.
Advice vs Information – One of my blogs has been slow to take off because of this. In general, it’s much harder to rank content that’s giving advice and opinion versus content that’s purely giving useful information and facts, for the same reason as the YMYL point above. Google is more nervous about sending traffic to content that seems to be more opinion than fact based. Focus on purely informational content if you want to get traffic faster. However, this now needs to balanced against the growth of AI produced content – see here for our post on this. Balance these two aspects out by mixing in factual information with your own subjective experiential knowledge that an AI tool can’t know.
Not writing your content quickly enough – If you just dribble out one or two posts a week in the early stages, it can be difficult for the blog to gain traction with search engines. Try to really keep up a good pace of content publishing until you have at least your first 30-50 articles published. Try to get to this milestone in the first two months. Blog traffic can really hit that “hockey stick” growth if you publish a lot of content at once. If you publish slower, your growth will also be slower.
What To Do During The Ghost Town Phase Of Your Blog
Given that it takes so long to see traffic on new blogs, here’s some thing you can be doing whilst waiting for traffic to really grow on a newly create website:
- Sort out monetization of your content – look for and join affiliate programs (such as Amazon) add affiliate links to your content where relevant.
- Make sure you’ve got several batches of content clustered around specific topics within your niche. It helps to build up authority.
- Go back over and interlink between your content – this can help it get indexed and ranked faster, so Google can also see when users click through to and read an article from another one on your blog. It’s a good way of giving it some early testing.
- Look to build up EAT (Authority) on your blog – build an About Me/Us page, do some industry outreach etc.
- Add even more content if you like, so the growth curve will be even steeper when the traffic does come!
Right on time for me writing this post, Income School have also released another video covering just this topic – what to do during the Ghost Town phase of a blog, when there’s no traffic. Be sure to check it out here for some great tips on how to make it through this phase, plus some tips on how to make best use of this waiting time.
We’ve covered a lot in this article, so let’s boil it down to a few simple points about how long to expect to have to wait before a new blog gets traffic, plus what to do to ensure this wait pays off:
- Make sure you are in a niche where it’s not too competitive and there is still space for you to break in.
- Produce a good amount of high quality, relevant, extra-useful content about a couple of specific topics in your niche. Be sure to interlink between this content where relevant.
- Be sure to write your content in the correct order, going after low competition keywords first, before competing for more competitive search phrases.
- Be prepared to wait 6-9 months on average (possibly longer in some cases) for your blog traffic to really take off.
- Don’t give up and be patient – your blog will take off eventually if you follow the right process and keep going through the “Ghost Town” phase.