For years I have put a lot of content onto The Social Media Hat that has to do with more than just Social Media. I blogged about email marketing and search engine marketing. I wrote about business technology and pop-ups. I wrote about advertising and even business cards. And I wrote a lot about Blogging.
Over 100 articles in fact.
I believed that, despite the name, I owed it to you to write about more than just social media. Because you see, social media without meaningful content is usualy just fluff, and you can’t grow your business putting out fluff.
So I published article after article designed to help people start blogs and grow blogs and use blog content to generate traffic, leads and sales. And in many respects, it worked!
I got asked to teach at the University of Missouri St. Louis and speak at conferences. I appeared on Facebook Lives and on podcasts, and have developed a reputation as a Blogging authority.
But despite all of that, I noticed something else was happening.
Articles that I would write about blogging, no matter how good, would go to The Social Media Hat to die.
5,000 word pillar posts that should rank on the first page of Google for terms like, “How To Start A Blog” would be inexplicably relegated to page 4 or 5.
Despite having a site that was really about Content Marketing overall, as far as search engines were concerned, The Social Media Hat is about Social Media and nothing else matters.
This is something that I’d suspected since mid-2017, but came into stark clarity during the summer of 2018 when I started looking at the traffic for just my blog content that had to do with blogging.
It was pathetic.
While my overall site gets more than 60,000 pageviews a month, my Blogging content – remember, more than 100 articles – was getting less than 100 pageviews a month.
I was faced with some interesting choices.
I know that when I publish social media content here – particularly about Facebook and Instagram – it performs exceedingly well. My guide on Facebook Mentions rocketed to the #1 spot in Google and continues to get more and more organic traffic daily. That’s not something I want to disrupt.
On the other hand, I love teaching people how to be great bloggers. I can speak for hours and hours on that topic (and in fact, I’ll be giving both a presentation and a 3-hour workshop at this year’s Midwest Digital Marketing Conference here in St. Louis).
So it occurred to me… what if I built a new, second blog, and migrated all of my blogging content to that site? Would it work? Would that site and the content there perform better? Would there be a negative impact on The Social Media Hat?
Why yes, you lunatic, it is crazy. But I did it ayways.
I spent some time in late 2018 building the new site. I came up with a name – Blogging Brute – and an overall style that I love. I should also point out that I built the site using WordPress on a Bluehost account, which was completely new to me. For years my site has been built using Drupal on a dedicated server, but that’s just not needed anymore. WordPress can do everything I want to do and more.
I created new pages and set up my blogging planner products. I tried using a plugin that advertised being able to migrate content from a Drupal site to a WordPress site, but that didn’t work, sadly. Unfortunately it only works if the installations are on the exact same server which isn’t possible for me due to the age of The Social Media Hat. So I migrated every post manually. One. Post. At. A. Time. Tedious work!
I work full-time for Agorapulse so this took weeks of late nights and long weekends, copying and pasting and fixing links and details. Fortunately most posts only took a few minutes to do. After each post had been recreated within Blogging Brute, I opened the .htaccess file for The Social Media Hat on my server and added a line to permanently redirect the old URL to the new URL. I also used the Social Warfare plugin to pull some of the social media share counts from the old URL and apply them to the new URL, which was awesome.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of this part of the process for me was deciding on Featured Images. My new blog has space for a gorgeous image across the top of every blog post, and I wanted those images to reflect me. My journey, and the places I’ve been blessed to visit as a result of being a blogger. So I took the time to pull dozens of images from Apple Photos, rename them, and upload them in bulk. As you sift through the migrated posts, you’ll now be treated to imagery from France, Hawaii, San Diego, and around here in St. Louis.
I love The Social Media Hat and will continue to publish here, but Blogging Brute is my new virtual “home.” I’ve even adjusted some of my social handles like Pinterest and Instagram to reflect that. I’m now “The Blogging Brute” everywhere. (Another risky decision… we’ll see if it pays off.)
By mid-December, 2018, all of my blogging content (as well as a few articles on email marketing, landing pages, and search engine marketing) had been fully migrated and BloggingBrute.com was in full swing.
I changed-up how I was scheduling and queuing content within Agorapulse. WordPress was able to give me a custom CSV download of all the blog posts that gave me not just titles, but excerpts too, making for a much better Bulk Upload. Soon enough, my Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and even Google+ profiles were sharing the reborn evergreen articles.
So what happened?
My blogging content went from 250 combined pageviews from July – September, 2018, to OVER EIGHT THOUSAND pageviews the past 45 days. With the exception of the last Sunday of the year, the blog is now getting 400-500 views a day.
That blows my mind.
Now, admitedly, that’s not all organic. In addition to the refreshed shares, I’ve since published some brand new content (like, “19 Bloggers To Follow In 2019”), and I’ve also launched a contest that I want to talk to you about.
To celebrate the launch and early success of Blogging Brute, I’m giving away a $100 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky winner! You can enter the contest here and start creating entries for yourself.
So that’s one of the major projects I’ve been working on recently, in addition to building the private mastermind group 360 Marketing Squad. (Which you can join for just $5, remember, and learn from Jenn Herman, Stephanie Liu, Amanda Robinson and myself.) This quarter I will be rebuilding The Social Media Hat on a new WordPress platform so there might not be quite as much new content published here, simply because I know the migration process is going to be just as long and tedious (longer, actually, since there’s over 300 articles to migrate.) I’ll also be getting 360’s podcast up and running which is a new, fun experience for me.
If you have questions about any of this, leave a comment below! Many people had asked what I was up to, and more importantly, why. And they thought others would be interested in what was going on behind the scenes with this transition.
I hope you enjoy Blogging Brute as much as I do! Not only will you find an amazing collection of articles on blogging, you’ll find that all of the information and resources have been organized and structured much better, giving you easy access to content, resources, planners and guides. If you or someone you know wants to start blogging or improve their blogging, this site is for you.
P.S. Wondering why “Blogging Brute” was the chosen name? That’s the nickname Jeff Sieh gave me. One day, years ago, we were doing his regular Manly Pinterest Tips show with a few other guys. During one particular episode I’d been taking notes while we were talking and interviewing someone, and within a short while after the broadcast ended, I had a blog post published and promoted. Since then, I’ve often been accused of blogging no matter what else is going on at the moment, but I wouldn’t know anything about that…