How to Build a High-Traffic Blog Without Killing Yourself


The above video is one of my favorite presentations I’ve given in 2009, an opening keynote at the last San Francisco WordCamp, titled “How to Blog without Killing Yourself”. More than 700 people from 32 countries were in attendance, which made for a wonderful experience.

The original title was “Scalable Blogging Behaviors: How to Grow from 1 to 1,000,000 Readers” and the content did not change.

In the above presentation, including detailed screenshots, I cover…

– Why I blog
– How I blog and select best practices
– Frequency and tools — best times and days to post
– Blogging myths and how to harness data for better results
– Testing design and surprising findings that can be copied
– How I address comments and community building
– How I write and research for good social media response
– 20 minutes of audience Q&A on Twitter, branding, outsourcing, and much more

I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed giving it.

Related and Suggested Posts:
The Top-7 Timothy Ferriss YouTube Videos (4 million views and counting)
Timothy Ferriss Experimental Short-Form Blog
Timothy Ferriss in Inc. Magazine – The Secrets of Super-Productive CEOs

Posted on: June 29, 2009.

Watch The Tim Ferriss Experiment, the new #1-rated TV show with "the world's best human guinea pig" (Newsweek), Tim Ferriss. It's Mythbusters meets Jackass. Shot and edited by the Emmy-award winning team behind Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and Parts Unknown. Here's the trailer.

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465 comments on “How to Build a High-Traffic Blog Without Killing Yourself

  1. Tim

    Great info. Always keen to hear your thoughts on blogging and social media. As we discussed at your Sydney party, it seems social media has been key to building the success of 4HWW and your continued efforts are surely going to contribute to the success of your next book.



  2. Thanks Tim,

    I am glad you posted this, I have a blog which I have ‘played’ with for a while but am about to get really going on it. One reason I have been slow to “get serious” was the whole “quit living and start blogging” dilemma.

    Also I like the beginning where you are talking about the other currencies that blogging offers, which I had not thought of in those terms.



  3. I find that most bloggers don’t effectively use analytics data to understand traffic, user keyword search terms, bounce rates, etc. Optimising your blog around what users want to see (or don’t want to see) is a critical way of improving traffic.


  4. Yours and Matt’s talks were the best of the day in my opinion. It looked like you were enjoying it when I saw you speak, so it’s good to see that you did. Thanks for all the incredibly useful information.

    I’ve been blogging since 2000 and it’s about time I change my ways. I took some sweet notes that day… especially during your presentation! Don’t know if you’ve seen them, but they’re on flickr if you’d like to.


  5. Thanks for sharing. I just realized I don’t know when you started this blog – I assumed it was after published 4HWW, but in that case, did you really need to work hard to build this – wouldn’t the spillover traffic from the book come naturally? Looking forward to watching the video.


  6. I am going to ask after the presentation… Please could you recommend me and others interested any source or book/s about public speaking?

    Confessing, when I met you at Manhattan man I introduced myself for 1 min at least, that’s weird isn’t it? ha.

    Awesome talk, very valuable Tim.


  7. Hey Tim nice video. Thanks for all the info you share.

    I heard you reference a good friend had passed away from pancreatic cancer. I am sure you are aware of the Alkaline diet/PH water lifestyle made popular by Dr. Robert Young; but many haven’t.

    The Learning Channel did a documentary about a young woman with cancer who implemented the Alkaline Diet. Needless to say she cured herself. This alkaline lifestyle has helped a lot of people with varying health concerns. I hope you like the video. Here is the link.

    Best regards,

    Victor V.


  8. Excellent lecture. Tim confirmed a few things that had been rattling around in my brain the past few weeks. Which will ultimately lead to me taking my blog in a new direction, maybe one that will be more interesting and fun for the readers as well as me. Also It was great seeing him in a more candid setting being himself. Thanks for the great lecture.


  9. Hi Tim,

    Very instructive presentation, thanks for sharing it ! This will help me soon for sure…
    And may I too make a suggest, which could increase your (european) audience : what about proposing english subtitles for your videos (something that could be hidden or shown) ? Especially for long ones, it’s hard to keep focused, and Californian accent doesn’t help :) . I tried to find an automatic subtitle transcriber but have failed till now…

    Cyril (from France)


  10. Good ideas. I like your idea of tweaking/testing everything –including the labels and looking for changes to user behaviour. I also like the idea of moving your twitter feed down on the blog, to avoid sending your hard-won visitors away.

    It is so important to write things you’re passionate about, as you say. I think a lot of people get trapped in the pursuit of monetization on their blog and they start writing to the dollar, rather than to the idea. A blog is much more valuable as a quality of life enhancement tool –allowing you to connect with like-minded (or at least similarly-interested) people around the world and learn about the things that excite you.

    Tim Woods


  11. Hey Tim, sounds great but i can’t view the videos when i’m on the road with a crappy data plan.. How about getting one of your va’s to transcribe it and post a link to that as well? Just a thought mate, australians are a bit behind on mobile data plans! Cheers


  12. Great info for someone who has just started a new blog.

    I would like to try out CrazyEgg, but I guess it doesn’t make much sense before I actually get som readers. My blog is actually about my ventures into the 4-hour workweek experience.


  13. Signed up for Evernote but haven’t had time to play with it yet. Great talk – really enjoyed it. I’d like to Tim-Ferriss my love life too, hahaha.


  14. Thanks Tim,

    I am glad you posted this, I have a blog which I have ‘played’ with for a while but am about to get really going on it. One reason I have been slow to “get serious” was the whole “quit living and start blogging” dilemma.

    Also I like the beginning where you are talking about the other currencies that blogging offers, which I had not thought of in those terms.