1000 Subscribers, Celebrity Tweets and More: Think Traffic Monthly Report #3

  • June 17, 2010 by Corbett Barr
  • 27 Comments

Think Traffic Monthly Report #3

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

Other Stats:

  • 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):

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:

  1. think traffic: 82
  2. most popular blogs: 11
  3. most popular blog: 10
  4. thinktraffic: 10
  5. top rank think traffic: 9
  6. “what problem do you solve” blog: 4
  7. corbett barr: 4
  8. high traffic websites: 4
  9. affiliate marketing: 3
  10. 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.

Top Content

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.

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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Hear Mum Roar June 17, 2010 at 7:03 pm

OMG, well done!

Corbett Barr June 17, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Thanks!

Melissa Gorzelanczyk June 17, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Congrats, Corbett!

Hey, how do you define “unpopular?” Either way, if everyone checks out my blog this week, I’ll have some stats to prove otherwise. ;-)

Much love,
Melissa Gorzelanczyk

Corbett Barr June 17, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Ha ha, lol (seriously, that made me laugh out loud)! I dunno, I didn’t define it on purpose. People can make that distinction on their own. Hey, you have comments and tweets and conversations on every post. Looks like a success-in-the-making to me!

Mars Dorian June 18, 2010 at 12:14 am

Hey Corbett,

Sounds like a kick-ass strategy, and off you go ;)

I’m soaking it all up because I want to learn as much as possible. You are providing awe-some value, and I appreciate that. Keep rocking, and you will find a way to get better, and better, and…super-awesome.

CU

Corbett Barr June 18, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Thanks, Mars, I like that path to becoming “super-awesome” ;)

Srinivas Rao June 18, 2010 at 6:02 am

Corbett,

Thanks for sharing such a detailed review of everything you have worked on. Also thanks for the shout out on the interview. We’re faced with the unique challenging of an audio based site where we have to keep people’s attention span longer or think about the fact that they download our podcasts for later use. As we interview more people, obviously our network gets substantially larger and more influential. I like that you have broken this down into a few specific steps for how to really grow. I’ve been getting alot of value from everything you share here.

Corbett Barr June 18, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Hey Srini, glad you’re getting value here. Yeah, I agree about the audio format, it does present its own challenges. You guys are definitely providing value, you just have to make it accessible as well.

Betsy Talbot June 18, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Hey, Corbett. Thanks for being so transparent here. I learn just as much from your “n00b” mistakes as I do your rockstar successes, so I’d love to see you continue this series, if not monthly at least quarterly.

Though now that you’re rolling with Diddy you may not have the time…

Corbett Barr June 18, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Alright, I’ll count that as one vote for the series (and one vote for someone who read the entire article ;) ).

Diddy hasn’t returned my calls, so we may just be Twitter friends for now.

Mel June 18, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Hi Corbett
I find the reports very useful. I see that you had 195 visits from the Mail Chimp email campaigns. What are your thoughts about sending the whole article in the body of the email versus sending a snippet and getting people to click through to your website to read more, so that they increase your web traffic.
Thanks
Mel

Corbett Barr June 20, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Hi Mel, that’s a really great question. I offer the full content of each post in my subscriber emails. By offering only partial content over email, you could very well increase click-through rates, but you might decrease subscribers and decrease the overall number of people who read your content.

My goal is to build a community around Think Traffic, whether that occurs on the site, in email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. If your goal was purely to increase page views in the short term (to attract advertisers or something), you might consider experimenting with offering only partial content. As a reader, I would think of that as a reason not to subscriber over email though.

Vishal Sanjay @ Dumb Little Blogger June 19, 2010 at 6:38 am

Thanks for such a wonderful post Corbett!! Your blog is growing very fast and I’m sure you’ll become a top blogger in a few days. I see you as a great inspiration, do keep up with these posts.

Corbett Barr June 20, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Thanks, Vishal. I appreciate the comment.

Tony Ruiz June 19, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Sweet Corbett! I love the site, will be visiting often.

Corbett Barr June 20, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Awesome, Tony! Welcome.

tricks tips July 21, 2010 at 12:01 am

well done bro…

You are good in social media, as you are getting more traffic from SU and twitter….

All d best for your future success….

Corbett Barr July 21, 2010 at 9:34 am

Thanks man, you too.

Matt August 1, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Corbett: Just found you, so I’m doing my tiny part to add to your subscription totals. Anyway, an inspirational and informative post. I also give you credit for being so up front about stats that most of us keep “close to the vest” for whatever reason. Thanks!

Corbett Barr August 1, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Awesome, Matt! Glad you liked learning about the stats. I don’t know why everyone is so “close to the vest” with them as you say. Hopefully the transparency here is helpful.

Jackie Lee October 5, 2010 at 3:52 pm

I notice you’ve got “publish interviews” under your goals for the month. Have you done that? I don’t see a way to find them? Also ~ you don’t have categories on your blog. Is there a specific reason you did that? Do you find the posts you don’t have highlighted in the sidebar are still getting traffic? Thanks for your great content, and I’m really enjoying these “monthly reports”.

Corbett Barr October 6, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Ah, great question about the interviews, Jackie. I do have a couple of them up, but they’re certainly not easy to find. Perhaps it’s time to create a sub-navigation or category list to help readers find things. Here are a few of the interviews until I take care of the navigation:

http://thinktraffic.net/how-to-convert-traffic-into-buyers-with-dave-navarro

http://thinktraffic.net/naomi-dunford-build-an-audience-with-personality

http://thinktraffic.net/how-one-tiny-buddha-created-one-huge-social-media-following

http://thinktraffic.net/build-a-50000-subscriber-blog-in-two-years-with-jacob-gube

Cheers,

-Corbett

Shashi Prakash Agarwal November 26, 2011 at 5:40 am

Your posts are awesome at ThinkTraffic.net . It’s really interesting to know how you made this site a grand success from a nutshell.

Mel June 22, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Thanks for your reply Corbett. Can I also ask what program or plugin you use for your “comments”? I like how I can add a reply to your reply rather than at the end of the comments.
Mel

Corbett Barr June 22, 2010 at 9:05 pm

That ability to reply to comments directly is known as “threaded comments,” and it is a built-in feature of WordPress. Just look under Settings –> Discussion in your WordPress administration screen, and check the “enable threaded comments…” box.

Jackie Lee October 6, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Thanks Corbett,
I look forward to listening to them.

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