In episode 415, Ryan Allen teaches us how to monetize our sites and get 100k page views in 30 days.
We cover information on the importance of objectively looking at your content, quick ways to implement growth, how Facebook can help you grow, remain consistent to achieve success, and things to know about how to select content to publish.
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Bio Ryan has been a food blogger for just under a year. Ryan knew when he started blogging, he wanted to be able to monetize as quickly as possible. So he planned to leverage Facebook and Facebook groups to reach 100K page views in my first 30 days.
- Nicheing down is important
- Connect with FB groups in your specific niche. Be active in the groups.
- Reciprocate commenting on other food bloggers’ content within groups if they take the time to comment on yours.
- You gain friendships and a community that can support your business and vice versa.
- Track your activity in the FB groups to avoid sharing the same content over and over. Post sporadically, sprinkled throughout the day.
- The tighter the shot, the close-up shots do better on FB.
- Look for a pattern in your postings in FB groups that do well and repeat.
- Use a scheduler to help keep up the pace you need for consistency.
Click for full script.
EBT415 – Ryan Allen
Intro: Food bloggers, hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate their blog’s growth and ultimately help them to achieve their freedom, whether that’s financial, personal, or professional.
I’m Megan Porta and I’ve been a food blogger for over 12 years. I understand how isolating food blogging can be at times. I’m on a mission to motivate, inspire, and most importantly, let each and every food blogger, including you, know that you are heard and supported.
Hold on to your seats, people, or whatever you have nearby because you’re going to need to hold on to something before you listen to this episode. It is a little bit mind-blowing. Ryan Allen joins me from Slow Cooker Meals, and he talks about how he monetized his blog and got 100,000 page views in 45 days. I’m not kidding. He uses a strategy, or a handful of strategies, but one of the main ones he uses has to do with Facebook groups and posting consistently in those to get traction and traffic. That’s all I’m gonna say. You have to listen to the episode to get all the gold. This is episode number 415 sponsored by RankIQ.
Sponsor: Hello, my favorite people. Let’s chat quickly about some ways Eat BlogTalk can help you ditch the overwhelm, manage your time, feel connected, and prioritize that seemingly never-ending stream of tasks, platforms, and algorithm changes we’re faced with.
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To get information about all Eat Blog Talk services, go to eatblogtalk.com/services. eatblogtalk.com/services. Now back to the episode.
Megan Porta: Ryan has been a food blogger for just under a year. He knew when he started blogging, he wanted to be able to monetize as quickly as possible, so he planned to leverage Facebook and Facebook groups to reach 100k page views in only 30 days. Hey, Ryan. How are you today? Thanks so much for joining me on Eat Blog Talk.
Ryan Allen: Thanks, Megan. Thanks for having me here.
Megan Porta: Yeah, it’s good to have you. We have a super fun conversation coming up. But first, we want to know if you have a fun fact to share with us.
Ryan Allen: My fun fact would be I love doing woodwork. It’s been a passion my whole life. Me and my wife just recently remodeled our kitchen, and I built all the cabinets for it. It was super fun to go through the whole transformation.
Megan Porta: That’s awesome. So do you have a favorite type of, I don’t know, final piece or something that you enjoy doing?
Ryan Allen: I love building furniture. There’s something so relaxing and kind of stress relieving about it that it’s just fun to see something that you start with and end up with and have in the end.
Megan Porta: I feel like everyone needs that sort of, maybe not woodworking necessarily, but having an idea and putting it into use and action and then seeing it. That’s like food blogging. You have an idea about this creative project that can become a business. It’s the same thing in a way, twisted it there.
Ryan Allen: It really is. It’s fun to come up with new things and create stuff. So yeah, that’s probably why I like both.
Megan Porta: Yeah, absolutely. I think a lot of us can relate to that too and why we’re creative people and some of us are artists and woodworkers. There are so many different routes you can go. So let’s talk about this amazing title, which is How to Get 100, 000 Page Views in 30 Days. A lot of people will probably read that and hear that and be like, what are you talking about, Ryan? So you have a backstory with this that I would love for you to talk through. So how did you get to the point where you were like, I need to do this to make this happen?
Ryan Allen: So how it started was from a job that I currently did, or used to do, I used to go to a lot of social media conferences, things like that, learn up on the latest trends and all that. I went to a seminar. Rachel Farnsworth was teaching it. I don’t know if anybody knows her. She runs the blog The Stay At Home Chef. She was talking about Facebook. The industry I was in was lighting and we have that attitude of how do you get people interested in lighting? So we were really trying to learn about it and try to learn the best thing to do and the best practices. She gave a talk and she said, if your content isn’t doing well, you have to be able to look at yourself and say, my content sucks. I really thought, man, that’s harsh. But you really laid it out on the line. So I got talking with her. This was probably five years ago. So it was long before I ever got into the food blogging world and started picking her brain. I was like, you just can’t make lighting fun. You can’t make home decor fun. She gave me a weird look and was like, yes, you can. She ended up pulling up several sites. One was a police department. She said they have millions of followers. If they can do it, you can do it. So that always stuck with me and we grew from there. So then when I decided I wanted to get into food blogging, I started really diving into the numbers of who’s doing well, why are they doing well, what are they doing, how many followers do they have, what practices are they doing. Tried to replicate what they were doing. So I looked at other food bloggers that had millions of followers on Facebook and they were getting very little traction. So I dove into what they were doing and I decided, okay, I need to not do what they’re doing because what they’re doing is not working, which went back into you have to be able to look at your content and realize it sucks.
Megan Porta: Oh, it’s harsh, right? It’s so true. Sometimes we just have to be able to say that to ourselves, even though we put so much heart and energy, and love into our content. Sometimes it just isn’t what we need to be doing, right?
Ryan Allen: Yeah. One thing I realized is that it might not be that your content is not good, it’s just how you’re promoting your content. It might not be the right direction for what stage you’re in. So when I started, I decided if I’m going to do this food blog, I need to figure out how to monetize this the fastest way I can and grow it the fastest way I can. With my background in marketing, doing the lighting and stuff, I knew that Google was going to be a long, hard road and it wasn’t going to be an instant traffic boost. I knew Instagram would be the same way. From talking to other people, they don’t get a huge amount of traffic from Instagram to their site. So I really focused on Facebook and what I could do there. So when I started my site, I decided to really niche down my site and look at, okay, how can I push this and how can I grow this the fastest? So diving into all of the other food bloggers’ pages and all that, I realized most of them were growing if not a lot, getting a lot of traffic from Facebook groups. So I dove into different Facebook groups and looked at okay, this niche will do well if I post content in this niche. Found every group that I could and started putting my name in there and interacting with all of the people that are in this group before I ever posted.
So people knew who I was, and had an idea of what I was doing, and all that. So I started putting my site together. I realized that I needed to get enough content that I could post every day in these groups and not repeat the content. So I spent the first two weeks building up 20 different recipes and I felt like, okay, that was enough. Then from that point on, I could fill in the recipes from there and keep posting. So then I started posting in these Facebook groups and interacting with other food bloggers and people that were in these groups and it just blew up exponentially. So from the day one that I started, I went from basically zero traffic on my site to within 30 days, I had reached about 120, 000 page views. That was completely all Facebook group driven. So it’s just been a crazy ride from there.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. How long ago was this?
Ryan Allen: So I started in April of last year. So my site’s been going for almost a year now, the end of this month, it’ll be a year.
Megan Porta: Has that traffic sustained itself or has it gone up or down?
Ryan Allen: It’s gone up.
Megan Porta: Wow. So are you finding traction through Google or Pinterest or is it mostly through Facebook?
Ryan Allen: So currently right now, Google is my number one page view driver, followed by Facebook. Right now I’m getting in the high 300, 000 page views a month from Facebook.
Megan Porta: Wow. Just from Facebook alone?
Ryan Allen: Just from Facebook alone.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh.
Ryan Allen: That’s participating in groups, and now my Facebook page is really starting to take off because I’m implementing some strategies in there that I’ve worked with other food bloggers on what they’re doing and it’s really helped a lot. Just talking to other food bloggers, I’ve found a group of people that we really work with each other and help each other out and bounce ideas off each other and really promote each other, I guess is the best way to put it. I found that the best way in those groups is Facebook is a social network and you have to be social. So the more you are helping other food bloggers, the more they’re helping you and it just helps you grow in those groups and you’ll gain relationships. I think that one of the biggest things that I’ve learned in this industry is everybody so willing to help each other and help each other grow. Because we all kind of benefit from each other.
Megan Porta: So true. So when you talk about helping others within Facebook, what are you referring to? Are you referring to just sharing other people’s links?
Ryan Allen: So in the groups that I found that helps the most is I will post my post on Facebook and then I will comment on everybody else’s posts and then they’ll come to comment on my posts and it will help the algorithm kick in where it’s helping other people see or push your post in that group, and it will go viral. I’ve had several posts go very viral where it’s had thousands of shares, but that’s rare in a group.
Megan Porta: Okay, I have a few questions about the groups. Okay, first of all, amazing, Ryan, as it’s an anomaly story. Most stories do not unfold like this. So hats off to you for figuring this out and yeah, just that super high five. How many groups are you in? How many do you manage and do you track what you do in each group?
Ryan Allen: So yeah, I do track what I do. I have basically a giant spreadsheet of I’m going to share this recipe in this group and I stagger my recipes so I’m not posting the same recipe over and all the same groups so it doesn’t become redundant. So I break it down. I found that if I post one into one or two groups an hour, Facebook likes that a little bit more. Because if I just do them all at once, it suppresses my post. So I like I will do it throughout the day and I found about 12 different groups that are really good groups. There are a lot of them that don’t give me a lot of traffic. Most of them are because they’re more of a niche group, for either a type of cooking or a type of food, things like that. Those seem to do the best plus groups that there is a lot of interaction in. One tip that I would give people is when you join the group, a lot of the really good groups will have rules that you can’t spam and by that, they ask you to give more than you put into the group. So you’re commenting and interacting with other posts. Those groups are the ones that seem to do really well. The groups that don’t do well are groups where a lot of food bloggers just come in, drop their posts and run, and don’t interact with anybody.
Megan Porta: So you have to invest time and energy.
Ryan Allen: I invest a lot of time every day in these groups, but it pays off.
Megan Porta: I was going to ask that. How much time? Can you give us an estimate?
Ryan Allen: I would say I probably, throughout the day, invest three to four hours.
Megan Porta: Okay. Yeah. That’s significant. Yeah.
Ryan Allen: But it’s worth it. One of the biggest things that I ever heard was on The Top Hat Rank podcast they mentioned, I can’t remember the exact number, but they talked about how if you spend three hours putting your posts together and doing your pictures, you should do three times that marketing your content. So that stuck with me and it’s been a good strategy for me.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that’s a good ratio. I feel like I certainly don’t do that, I never have. But I should probably take note there. So how do you know which groups do well? Do you track with UTM parameters or any link tracking or how do you determine that?
Ryan Allen: Yes. So I will every day go in and track it with Google Analytics. Depending on the recipe, I’ll put a UTM on it and sometimes I won’t. But I will back the traffic and where it came from within Google Analytics. So then I will track recipes that do really well. I kind of highlight those and I will push those more often.
Megan Porta: Because basically what I do is I run down all of my recipes and go through all of them. But if I have one, that’s like a superstar, I will throw that in the mix every 30 days or whatever and highlight that more.
Ryan Allen: Yeah. I found that too on other platforms. If something does really well on Pinterest, for example, then maybe keep posting that on Pinterest. That’s a strategy that one of my mastermind members started noticing. One of her recipes always went viral on Pinterest. So okay, that worked well. So then she just takes it, maybe resizes the image or something in the pin or the static pin or whatever, and then repurposes it, and it still always does well. So just finding those things that consistently do well on a certain platform, and just, Focusing on those over and over. Yeah, definitely. One of the other things that I’ve learned on Facebook, the tighter the shot, the closer up of the picture gives detail seems to do better than more of a set shot.
Megan Porta: Okay, that’s interesting because I think the same for Pinterest. And I’ve never been a big scene-setting person. I always have tried to get in on the drip that’s coming down or the texture in the cake or, really close-up things like that, I find that people think are really mouthwatering and attractive. So that’s interesting.
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Ryan Allen: I think the way I think of it is, you have to catch somebody’s attention pretty fast on Facebook because they’re scrolling through. If it’s not a closeup shot, you’re not getting that, wow moment of, I need that. They just scroll past it. But if you have that kind of tight shot, you can grab their attention better.
Megan Porta: Yes. That’s such a good perspective. Then you mentioned your own Facebook page has grown pretty quickly as well. What types of content do you put there and how often do you post there?
Ryan Allen: So I recently changed my strategy on my personal Facebook page, or I guess my site’s personal page. I’ve started posting pictures every three hours or new posts every three hours. I will start posting other people’s posts there. I will find a post that’s gone either viral or semi-viral that has 500 shares or more. Then I will try to post a piece of content every day that doesn’t take people away from Facebook to keep the algorithm happy, whether that’s I ask a question or I put a meme in there or something like that. Those are what have really grown my personal page on there. I’ll get thousands of likes and comments on just a little meme and once that goes viral, my next piece of content does better. Then you’ll see it slow down as the day goes on and then the next day I’ll post another one and it’ll really pick up from there.
Megan Porta: Oh, interesting. So you’re really just tuning in and seeing patterns and what works and just repeating those.
Ryan Allen: Yeah.
Megan Porta: That’s super smart. I think now in the time we’re in where things are hard to figure out I think sometimes and there’s so much saturation, that this is what we need to do. We just need to pay attention, maybe do one or two things, and just really focus on what is working and what’s not. So it sounds so simple, right? But then to actually follow through with that is not simple in my head.
Ryan Allen: I think the hardest part, like from talking to other food bloggers, is it’s hard being consistent. So I would highly recommend using the Facebook scheduling tool or, a third-party app to do that and batch content, your stuff. So if you do get busy during the day, or if you’re going to go away on vacation or you have plans, that content’s always there. You’re not missing a day and you’re consistent. I found that one of the biggest things that has helped have helped my page is just being consistent. When I’m not consistent, I can definitely see, and it hurts for a few days my traction growing it.
Megan Porta: I actually like hearing this because that is the theme of so many food bloggers that I talk to. That’s the theme of their year, is consistency because we’re seeing more and more that the more consistent you are with, fill in the blank, the more success you’re going to have. I think that’s only going to get more and more true. Facebook or otherwise everywhere, every platform, every strategy, consistency is where it’s at.
Ryan Allen: Yeah. I’ve seen the most growth across all of the platforms from that. My Pinterest is not huge, but it’s consistently growing cause I’m consistent on there. Same thing with Instagram, all across the board. So it definitely works.
Megan Porta: It does. But you said it earlier, it’s hard for a lot of people to be consistent because we get into it and we lose sight. Maybe it’s not working right away or whatever and we’re just like, Oh, I’m going to give up. It’s so much easier just to abandon a strategy than it is to just keep doing it with the faith that it’s going to eventually pan out, right?
Ryan Allen: Yeah, definitely. I think that the advantage of using groups on Facebook is that you already have a built-in audience and some of these large groups. So as long as you’re consistent you have the audience. Where on your own page that you’re building up you don’t have the audience and it’s gonna be slower on your own page because you’re slowly building the audience. Facebook isn’t gonna show all of that content to every person and so you can get rapid growth in those groups because you have active members in those groups.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that is such a good point. It’s a built-in audience that you don’t have to work super hard to bring in. I have a question about your content. So you just started a year ago. How in the world do you have enough content to circulate through all of these groups so often?
Ryan Allen: So that was part of my strategy and it’s been rough. I’m not going to lie. So I made a goal of, I was going to post four pieces of new content every week. So it’s a struggle, but to reach my goal where I wanted to get, I knew that I’d have to do that. There are some weeks where I’ve only done three, but that’s part of I knew I needed to be consistent so I had that content and to reach that goal.
Megan Porta: Yeah. That’s a lot. I was doing the math in my head. But honestly, if you have the focus for it, you have the time for it, and you’re not really paying attention much to Instagram or other platforms, then I can see where that would be doable. There is a time in my life when that would have been feasible for me. So you’ve prioritized this and you’re committed and you’re consistent.
Ryan Allen: Yeah, definitely. There are some weeks where it’s really rough, but my ultimate strategy is I wanted to be, make this a full-time job and do that as fast as I could. I just wrote my goals down and I look at it every week. There are some weeks when me and my wife talk and this is super hard, but once I get rid of my other job, this is going to be amazing and it’s just going to be normal.
Megan Porta: Yeah, yes. Things will shift for the better for sure. So ad network, did you get into an ad network pretty quickly?
Ryan Allen: I did. Within the first 30 days. I ran into the problem was, my site wasn’t 90 days old. That was my first trouble. So the only ad company that would overlook that was AdThrive. So within 45 days, I had ads running from AdThrive. I met their threshold and they’ve been amazing.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Good. I love AdThrive too. So we always hear if you have a lot of social traffic that the ad networks don’t necessarily like that. Did you find that was the case?
Ryan Allen: It was a little slower at first, my RPM wasn’t super high. But over time it has grown where it’s pretty comparable to a lot of the other bloggers that I’ve talked to, that are bigger bloggers. So I think a lot of it has to just do with the trust on your site with the ad network and stuff like that. So I definitely, after about three months, saw a huge jump in RPM.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that’s awesome. Because I know that’s always a concern when I chat with people who say, this Facebook group strategy sounds really good, but I want it to be quality traffic. I’m getting the most out of my RPMs and all of that. So it’s really good to hear your story.
Ryan Allen: I think the biggest thing that I found that affects my RPM within Facebook groups is If I’m in a group that has a lot of international people in it, say in Europe or Australia. When I post in those groups, I do see my RPM go down because it’s not showing the same type of ads because of the whole cookie issue and all of that stuff over there. But that’s when I see the biggest dip and I’ve really stayed out of those groups now. So if you find quality groups that are US based, which most of them are, I don’t think you’re going to see that dip in RPM.
Megan Porta: Okay. Then do you have any tips for people as far as how much to interact inside the group? So you mentioned giving a fair amount of time to the group so that people trust you and all of that. But do you reply to every comment? How extensive is that part of it?
Ryan Allen: So I try to reply to every comment if somebody comments on my post. If it’s another food blogger that comments on my post, I will go to their post and comment on their post. I found that really helps kick in the algorithm with them pushing your stuff when everybody’s interacting with everybody. I don’t always get to everybody, but I try to make it to everybody. Especially in probably five groups that do really well that are the best groups that I’m in. But I would highly recommend interacting. You can tell like other food bloggers that come in and just drop their posts and then don’t ever interact. They don’t get a ton of traffic on their posts. But the food bloggers that are interacting with other food bloggers and interacting with people that are in that group are the ones that do really well in them.
Megan Porta: Give love to get love, right?
Ryan Allen: Yep. That’s right.
Megan Porta: It applies everywhere. Then your descriptions, I’ve just been looking through your Facebook page and noticed that you do pretty quick, succinct descriptions. Is that kind of your standard?
Ryan Allen: That’s one kind of test that I’m doing right now that I’ve noticed. It varies because, in some of the Facebook groups I’m in if you do a longer description, it seems to do well, but I’ve come to the conclusion that if you put the link first and then do a description, you will get a lot more traffic from that. So then I’m testing shorter descriptions because I’ve seen some pretty large bloggers that are doing that and seeing that. I’m mixing it up with, sometimes I’ll just do an image, or another time I’ll do like a graphic with lots of text and it’ll say what it is on the picture and put the ingredients in it. So I’m getting mixed results with that, but it seems the tight picture is the best one that draws people in.
Megan Porta: Okay, so yeah, more experimentation and just seeing what’s working. Then I noticed you have, you mentioned this earlier, but you have other people’s content. So you have the Recipe Rebels image and then you link to her URL. How do you decide which images and URLs to link to from other people?
Ryan Allen: It goes back to that, I try to find recipes that have gone viral. So say, for example, the Recipe Rebel, I’ll go to her page and look for recipes that have 500 plus shares or more. And that’s like my Starting point of like things that I share and then you’ll see it take off from that and then it goes back to if you show love, you get love back. So the biggest thing that I found of if you’re sharing larger bloggers’ posts, sometimes they’ll come back and comment on your post, and then it’ll blow up from there. It shows your traffic to their readers if that makes sense. It’s hit and miss, and the other thing I would highly recommend is, really network with other food bloggers. I shoot for the moon sometimes, I’m not a huge food blogger. I don’t have a huge following on Facebook on my own Facebook page. But I try to find people that are similar in size to me. And really interact with those people and they always come interact on my page. That really helps it and then when you get that, huge moonshot of like you get one of these million follower food bloggers that come in and they’ll comment on your thing, it really seems to take off.
Megan Porta: A couple of themes are happening. They give love, get love. That’s a big one. Just do more of what’s working and stop doing what’s not working. Are there any other details that we’re missing either about the Facebook groups or posting on your own Facebook page that you think would be helpful for other food bloggers to know?
Ryan Allen: Those have been the biggest help and then just be consistent. I would just pound in, and be consistent. I know on my own page, I got very discouraged because I’d post and post and I’d get one or two likes. Then I changed my strategy. I went back to Okay, this isn’t working. What can I do differently on my own page? That’s when it really kicked in. Then I started getting lots of likes and lots of shares. You’re going to run through times on Facebook when Facebook does not like you for some reason, and I don’t know why. But it goes through spurts. You’ll do really well for two weeks and then all of a sudden, your traffic will really drop off and I don’t know if that’s because I’m interacting too much and I’m getting hit with a spam filter or it’s just not showing my stuff. But as long as I’m consistent, I still get traffic, and then all of a sudden that traffic will come back.
Megan Porta: Or Facebook is just moody, right? I feel like every platform has its mood swings that we just have to deal with. What’s going on with Instagram this week? I don’t know. Having a bad week.
Ryan Allen: Yeah, it’s definitely that. Something.
Megan Porta: Yeah, something moody-wise is going on. This is so great, Ryan. I think that people are going to hear this and be like, first of all, what? Are you sure this is right? Listen to the interview and be inspired by this. We just really appreciate you digging in and taking the time to figure out all of this stuff. Thank you for sharing this I know a lot of people who learn little tips, and can be the anomaly are afraid to share it because they just want to be the only ones to know that. So thank you for sharing this. Seriously. I come across that quite often. It’s no, I’m going to hold this to my chest and you are willing to open up and share your best advice. So we really appreciate that.
Ryan Allen: No problem. I would just recommend reaching out to other food bloggers. I had a hard time finding anything on Facebook about how to grow Facebook. There’s not a lot out there. But you’ve reached out to some of them and some of them won’t do anything, but there’s a lot of them are like, yeah, try this. This is what works for me. Then just be consistent.
Megan Porta: It doesn’t hurt to ask. I’ve noticed. As you said earlier, food bloggers generally are very open and willing to share and just share what works. So it doesn’t hurt to just reach out and say, Hey, what works for you? The worst that can happen is they ignore you.
Ryan Allen: That’s right.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Thank you so much. This has been such a great and inspiring conversation. We really appreciate you, Ryan. Do you have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with today?
Ryan Allen: Just keep on grinding. It’ll pay off. That’s all I can say. It’s just been consistent and grind and you’ll make it.
Megan Porta: Yes. Love it. No matter where you’re at, Facebook or otherwise.
Ryan Allen: That’s right.
Megan Porta: We’ll put together show notes for you. If you want to look at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/slowcookermeals. Tell everyone where they can find you, Ryan.
Ryan Allen: You can find my Facebook at Ryan Slowcooker Meals or on Instagram, which is Ryan Slowcooker Meals as well. Yeah.
Megan Porta: Awesome. Thanks again for being here. Thank you for listening, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. If you enjoyed this episode, I’d be so grateful if you posted it to your social media feed and stories. I will see you next time.
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✍️ Reach out to connect with Heather Eberle, a copywriter for food bloggers. As much as you enjoy your business, maybe writing or marketing isn’t your cup of tea. Maybe you’d rather spend more time in the kitchen and less time on your laptop. Heather is here to clear your plate!