How do you build a blog to 1,000 subscribers in three months? Thanks to all of you, Think Traffic crossed over the 1,000 subscriber mark exactly on its third monthly anniversary!
We’ll be talking about that, how a certain celebrity took notice of the site last week and more in the third Think Traffic monthly report.
Can you believe it’s been three months since Think Traffic launched already? Those first three months seemed like a lifetime when I launched my first blog. This three months has been more of a blur. That’s probably because I’m juggling multiple projects, including the launch of my first online product (a course on affiliate marketing for beginners – more on that later).
1,000 Subscribers in Three Months!
So the big news this month is that we crossed over the 1,000 subscriber mark yesterday (1,001 subscribers to be precise), exactly on the 3-month anniversary of the blog. Pretty cool, huh?
I’m really happy about the growth, and I take that as a sign that the blog is actually useful to people.
What does it take to reach the 1,000 subscriber milestone in a short time? I’ll probably do a longer post about this next week, but for now, here are the top five things you can do to reach your own subscriber milestone, whatever that might be:
- Focus everything you do on providing value to your readers.
Alright, this is marketing 101. If you want people to pay attention to you, keep coming back and hopefully tell friends and/or colleagues about you (or your site), you have to be valuable. You have to help people learn/do/accomplish something they want.
This is probably the #1 thing that sets apart blogs that become popular and blogs that don’t. Look at blogs that don’t become popular and you’ll notice that they all lack tangible value for the reader.
In fact, I’ve said before that studying popular blogs is a good way to learn how to make your own site popular. That’s true, but this week, pay attention to unpopular blogs instead. You can learn just as much from observing what keeps some sites from breaking through.
- Make your blog’s purpose both clear and unique.
Here’s another tip based on basic marketing. When a new visitor comes to your site, they need to understand two things right away: 1) what your site is about, and 2) how it’s different from other sites on the same topic. It’s your unique selling proposition.
Basically, you need to answer the question, “why should I care about this site vs. all the other billions of sites in existence?” And you need to answer it fast so new visitors stick around.
Don’t worry about appealing to everybody, either. You need to try to appeal to specific people. Your target audience. If you try to appeal to too broad an audience, you’ll actually appeal to no one.
Oh, and it’s totally possible that what you think is clear and unique about your site actually isn’t at all. Have a stranger look at your site and tell you what you think. You will probably be surprised.
- Create content that helps people solve a problem.
Helping your readers solve problems is a powerful way to establish a top spot in the old Google Reader.
Think about your favorite blogs. What do they do for you? How many of your favorite blogs regularly help you solve problems or learn to do something?
What about your most popular posts, how many of those helped people solve a problem? There’s a reason “how to” posts are such a popular format.
- Be inspirational, and lead your audience.
Hugh MacLeod said it much better than I could this week. He was talking about artists’ blogs specifically, but the point applies to all of us who blog.
That’s also the REAL job of any blogger: To be a leader, not fill the space with pretty “content”.
Why? Because whatever your blog is about- art, tech, politics, culture, entrepreneurship, sex, it doesn’t matter- it’s either leading people somewhere worthwhile in a meaningful, positive way, or…
Nobody’s frickin’ reading it, end of story.
No wonder Hugh runs one of the (of not the) most popular “artist’s” blogs.
- Get your content in front of new people every week.
Notice that very few of those tips focused on promotion? Promotion is important, but it’s nothing without a solid foundation and valuable content. Promotion becomes much more important once you’ve nailed the basics.
Finally, once you’ve nailed the basics, you need to get your work in front of new people every week. Potential visitors have to hear about your site somewhere else. They’re not going to appear out of thin air.
Figure out where your would-be readers hang out and how you can reach them. Social media, guest posts, advertising, interviews, there are countless options. If you want to grow, the important thing is that new people learn about your site on a regular basis.
Hmm, I guess I went a little deeper than planned. Maybe I won’t write that follow-up post I mentioned earlier. Either way, I hope this helps you in your quest for more subscribers.
Overall Monthly Traffic
Alright, back to the monthly report. If you’re new here, every month I write a detailed post on how this blog grew over the past month. If you like these posts, please let me know in the comments. I probably won’t do them forever.
Compared to last month, traffic was pretty much flat. We had 6,743 visits vs. 6,946 visits last month. There isn’t any good explanation for the flat month, other than I need to write stronger content and get the word out better. This month also lacked one of those big blockbuster posts I had in the prior two months.
It’s time to kick things up a notch for next month. I can’t write a “traffic” blog without growing traffic, right? This is a tough topic to compete in, what with the Copybloggers, ProBloggers and ViperChills out there. It takes more than mediocre stuff to stand out, so I definitely have my work cut out for me.
- New subscribers: 113
- New comments (including my replies): 161 (-22% from last month)
- Retweets of new posts: 222 (-15% from last month)
8 posts published here this month (including 1 guest post):
- How to Become an 800% Faster Writer in 12 Weeks (guest post by J. D. Bentley)
- How to Get Expert Consulting AND Killer Content for Your Site for Free
- How to Attract Enough Visitors to Your Website to Earn a Living From It
- Ask The Readers: How Do You Make Blogging Easier For Yourself?
- The Goldilocks Guide to Content Quality
- How to Spy on People’s Twitter Clicks in Real Time (or Monitor Your Own)
- 5 Signs You Could Be Getting More from Your Social Media Time
- Big Subscriber Growth, Sphinn and More: Think Traffic Monthly Report #2
Top Traffic Sources
StumbleUpon sent us a little love this month, to the post from launch day. SU has a tendency to do that, send bursts of traffic at random times. It’s still low-converting traffic, but I’ll take it.
Guest Posts and Interviews I Did For Other Blogs:
- Interview I did with BlogcastFM – not a hugely popular site yet, but Srinivas and Sid have some great interviews built up over there.
- 10 Massively Popular Websites with Plain and Simple Designs – I could write a clinic on how to screw up a potentially big guest posting opportunity after this one. Six Revisions is huge, but I only managed to get 43 visitors from the post. How is that? Well, two things.
First, I made the biggest n00b mistake possible and accidentally put .com instead of .net at the end of Think Traffic’s domain. Whoops. Jacob from Six Revisions nor I caught it until the post had been up for 12+ hours.
Second, I submitted the post with a specific title that the whole premise of the post was based on. It was supposed to be “10 Massively Popular Websites with Dull Designs” (as in with a negative connotation, but the editor changed it to “Plain and Simple Designs,” which can have positive connotations depending on how you look at it. Not surprisingly, this confused the hell out of people as to why I would consider MySpace and other sites to be “plain and simple.” I’m guessing that lessened the interest that people might have had in checking out Think Traffic. Oh well, lesson learned.
Other Promotional Efforts and Notables:
The other biggest thing to note actually happened after the end of last “month” (these review months cover the 16th to the 15th of each month). It’s pretty cool though, so I wanted to share with you right away.
Diddy himself (yes that Diddy, or P. Diddy or Puffy or whatever you know him as) tweeted a link to the guest post here by Greg Rollett. I wasn’t actually following @iamdiddy, and his tweets are protected, so I had to follow him and verify myself. He has 2.6 million followers on Twitter, so that one tweet sent quite a bit of traffic. How much? Well, you’ll have to wait until the next monthly report to find out
Top Search Terms:
- think traffic: 82
- most popular blogs: 11
- most popular blog: 10
- thinktraffic: 10
- top rank think traffic: 9
- “what problem do you solve” blog: 4
- corbett barr: 4
- high traffic websites: 4
- affiliate marketing: 3
- build high traffic website: 3
Google traffic keeps picking up slowly, and the new terms we’re ranking for are very relevant. Search traffic sticks around and tends to subscribe more often, so I’m looking forward to getting even more of it in the future. I haven’t been doing any specific SEO, but might start working on some long-term keywords soon.
The two most popular posts this month were the “How to Attract Enough Visitors to Your Website to Earn a Living From It” and the “How to Get Expert Consulting AND Killer Content for Your Site for Free” posts. It was the month of long titled “how to” posts, I guess.
One thing you’ll probably see more of here in the future are posts dedicated to the business-end of things. I’m a huge believer in the power of startups, lifestyle businesses and “side hustles,” and you all seemed to like the post that talked about earning a living from your site. Let me know if I’m off base about that.
Goals for This Month
So, I missed a couple of my goals from last month. It really all comes down to dedicating enough time to get things done. As I said, I’ve been juggling multiple projects (and working with new Think Traffic clients), so the blog wasn’t top priority this month. I need to either change my goals to align with time available, or make more time available for the blog. This month, I’ll do a little of both.
Here are my goals for this month. Again, I don’t set growth/traffic/subscriber goals. I instead focus on what I can control, and what actions I need to take to build the blog.
- Publish 2-3 high-quality posts each week that provide excellent value to you.
- Have 2 guest posts published at other blogs.
- Answer nearly every comment left here at Think Traffic.
- Run 2 high-quality guest posts at Think Traffic from up-and-coming bloggers.
- Run 2 interview posts with people we can all learn from.
Questions? Are these reports useful?
If you have any questions about this report or about growing website or blog traffic, ask me anything in the comments below. I’m happy to help!
Did you know Think Traffic is on Facebook? Click the “like” button in our right-hand sidebar, or visit our Facebook page to get some special Facebook-only tips and discussions.