So yes… you read the title of this post right. This is the story of how, not only did I lose all my site traffic that I had been building up for over 6 years, but how I managed to get all of that blog traffic back (and then some) again in less than 3 months with Tailwind. In some ways, my blog traffic is still feeling the effects of this mistake, not necessarily in numbers but maybe in terms of SEO (eg.broken links/a higher bounce rate.)
Keep reading so you don’t make the same stupid mistake I did.
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Bit Of Background Information:
I have been blogging since 2013 and was a complete beginner when I started. I had absolutely no idea how to build traffic for my site. Actually, my main source of traffic for my blog for the first few years was the amount clicks I would get from Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) which wasn’t very much. I spent the majority of my “blog time” in those days writing blog posts and growing those social media accounts slowly but surely.
But this brought very little (if barely any) blog traffic to my site.
Over time, I tried other things to get traffic; none of them made any significant impact on their own but I think they did help to make a difference when combined.
I changed my blog design to be more appealing and easier to read, so people might stay on the site longer and that might help SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). I eventually ended up migrating from the free Blogger site I was using to a Self-hosted WordPress Site (hosted by SiteGround), so I would have more control over my blog, it might load faster, and also might be taken a bit more seriously.
I also ended up changing domains once or twice in this whole blogging process which made extra work for me. All this combined made me feel like I was spending so much time working on my blog but the stats weren’t reflecting all this effort.
I was spending hours taking care of all this stressful stuff, swapping domains, setting up emails, writing blog posts every week and growing social media accounts yet I was still only getting like 30 pageviews a day (on a good day).
Then I found Tailwind. If you don’t know, Tailwind is a Pinterest Scheduling Tool that helps you get loads of traffic to your blog through Pinterest. (more on this later)
I had a Pinterest account which had some pinned blog posts of mine on it (that I wasn’t really using to grow blog traffic.) Eventually, I ended up doing a full-time day course in something completely unrelated to blogging and in that course, we were sat on the front of a computer all day (This is related to the story I promise).
During this time, at different breaks throughout the day, I started pinning manually out of boredom. I did this every day that the course was on (5 days a week). Not even pinning anything from my blog. Just pinning pins with nice quotes or posts other people had written about growing a blog, trying to learn as much as I could.
This is when I first heard about Tailwind. People were saying it helped them grow their page views on their blog, sometimes even to 1 million page views. I was intrigued but I thought to myself “Is it really that easy to get this much site traffic on Pinterest?”
I didn’t think much more about it but after a few weeks passed in the course, I realised I had grown to over 100,000 Pinterest impressions in that time. This was just manually pinning and not even pinning from my blog. This led me to think, “If I can get that many Pinterest impressions in such a short space of time by just manually pinning and not even trying, what would happen if I got a scheduler like Tailwind and started making more pins for my blog?”
Long Story Short: I bought Tailwind in August that year and spent some time figuring it out, creating new pins and learning about tailwind communities (where you and other members of Tailwind help share each others content). Then, in December, I had a good amount of pins created for a certain amount of my blog posts so I put my full efforts into using Tailwind to grow my blog traffic.
These were the results:
I went from 543 pageviews in December to 4,102 pageviews in August and believe me, 4000 pageviews in a month was not a regular occurrence for my blog (in any way) back then. I was finally seeing some progress with my blog after all this time and I was feeling relieved. All that work wasn’t for nothing.
Then I did something really dumb..
Losing All The Site Traffic I Had Worked So Hard To Get
So over the years, I have always been messing around with random parts of my blog, changing plugins, updating the appearance, that sort of thing, nothing crazy involving code unless I have an exact step by step tutorial at hand. For some reason, that day I wandered into the “Permalinks” tab under settings. This is what it looks like:
As you can see above, the permalink setting I now have is the “Post name” one, which means each post will have my site address and then a portion of the blog post title after it. Before this mistake, I had the “Custom Structure” one that had stuff like the title and the full date in each post URL.
Anyway, I found this tab in my settings and I stupidly assumed that it was the settings for the default permalink. Basically, I thought that if I changed it, it would change the URL structure for future blog posts. I figured if each new post only had the post title in the URL, then the URL would be shorter, the focus keywords for my post would be nearer the start of the URL and it would probably be better for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
So I changed the “default” permalink setting, went about my day, and completely forgot about it…
Everything was fine for a while. I don’t know how long it was until I noticed.
But I don’t think it would have been more than a day or two because I would have noticed my pageviews plummeting.
But that isn’t how I noticed I’d messed up. I noticed when I clicked on one of my Pinterest Pins for my blog and it didn’t lead to the post it said. It lead to my blog homepage.
I was confused. I checked the link the pin lead to and it looked like it was the right link. Then I noticed that other pins were doing the same thing. Not just some pins, ALL OF MY PINS. They were all leading to the homepage of my blog and not the blog posts they were about.
But when I went to the homepage of my blog and clicked on the posts, they were there and they were fine. I was very confused because I had completely forgotten about that permalink settings thing and had no reason to think it would have affected anything because I thought it was the default permalink structure for future blog posts that I had changed.
I would never have clicked it if the thought had even crossed my mind that it would change any other URLs. The reason being I’ve always read that you NEVER CHANGE THE URLS OF YOUR EXISTING BLOG POSTS because it really negatively affects you for SEO. (which I was about to find out)
I couldn’t figure out what was going on so I contacted SiteGround (my blog’s hosting provider aka the people to go to if it’s broken). Their support service has a live chat feature so you can chat with someone in real-time, and hopefully get your problem sorted as soon as possible. I explained the problem to SiteGround support and they tried to figure out what happened on the back end so we could fix it.
They asked me if I had changed anything recently, and because I had been doing so much at that time period, I completely forgot about the change to the permalink so I said no. Looking back, it must have been so annoying for the poor SiteGround support to deal with the likes of me who not only, had a problem they need to be fixed ASAP, but also left out half the information as they explained it.
Long story short: they eventually told me that those links were heading to the homepage because they did not exist. (and I have a redirect set up on my blog so that all broken links are redirected to the homepage)
After being told this. I eventually realised my mistake (the permalink settings change) and told the SiteGround support that I figured it out, everything was okay now and thanked them for their help. Looking back on it now, I probably should have asked the SiteGround support to help to fix the permalinks back to the way they were, or even try to change them back myself by messing with the “Custom Structure” Permalink setting until I got it back to where it was, but I was in a state of panic and wasn’t making the best decisions.
What I did do was start deleting pins and changing the links in some of the existing pins I had. (I had a ridiculous amount of this done before I realised that I probably could have just switched back the permalink structure. I ended up deciding to leave it as the new permalink structure as I had done so much work already when I came to the realisation that I could probably find a way to change it back).
The worst thing about changing and deleting the pins is that some of the pins for my blog posts were starting to rank high in Pinterest search for certain terms at the time, and now that was all gone. I had to start from scratch.
I was devastated. All my hard work down the drain.
It started to feel like a joke, like every time I went one step forward with my blog I went two steps back. There were so many other instants in my whole blogging story that I haven’t even mentioned where that same thing would happen. I felt as if I was being blocked at all turns.
I couldn’t face starting over again after such a knock so I took the entire month of October off (blog/youtube and social media that is). I tried to focus on the things that made me happy and doing fun stuff, instead of stressing over a blog where I felt like I was Homer Simpson in that episode where he is trying to drag a massive boulder along by his neck.
Massive long story short: I started back pinning, using Tailwind and writing posts again in November after a months break and the site traffic for my blog started to grow again. I was used to Tailwind this time around so I was able to grow my blog traffic much quicker than I had the first time around.
This was the result:
My pageviews were at 4,102 for August 2019 when I made the mistake and lost all my traffic. 3 months after I went back to blogging, at the end of January 2020 I had hit 4,203 pageviews for January.
I know this isn’t crazy amounts of traffic, but I was just starting to finally grow my pageviews after all these years, and then to lose it all was horrible. But now I’m back where I started when I lost it all, and can now start to focus on how high I can build my pageviews from this day on.
I wouldn’t have been able to do this without Tailwind. I am so grateful for this tool because, without it, I’d still be back at 30 pageviews a day. Full disclosure, I am an affiliate of Tailwind so any purchases you make through the Tailwind links I post help me to make a commission at no extra cost to you. But whether I was an affiliate or not, I would still be using this tool.
One of the best things about Tailwind is that it is an Official Pinterest Partner. This means Tailwind follows all Pinterest’s rules so you don’t have to worry about your profile getting in trouble with Pinterest for using Tailwind.
Actually, probably the best thing about Tailwind is that you can try out Tailwind for yourself for FREE and that your free trial does not have a time limit. It has a pin limit. You have a limit of 100 Scheduled pins and you can take as long as you like to pin them. So you can pin those 100 scheduled pins in 1 day, 6 months or even longer if you like.
These are my Pinterest Stats for the last 30 days (while using Tailwind):
The statistics above are my personal results, but Tailwind also publishes the Typical Results of Tailwind for Pinterest every year, so you can see exactly what the average growth rate looks like for their members:
If you want to find out more about Tailwind’s Pinterest Plan such as pricing etc, then click here.
I don’t mean to go on and on but Tailwind has helped my blog so much and has even helped to change the way I feel about my blog. I now feel like I’m able to make some progress, instead of nothing happening or taking one step forward and two steps back.
I still have a few things to sort out after the mistake I made like updating a lot of the internal links on my blog (links from one of my blog posts to another one of my blog posts) but I feel like I’m on the right track now at least. I’m excited again to see what happens for my blog in the future, and more excited each time I publish a new post because more people might actually read it now.
Anyway, I hope you liked this post. If you did, then please pin it on Pinterest below. It would mean the world to me. Have a great day, and I’ll talk to you soon.
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