Welcome to another Think Traffic monthly report!
If you’re new here, this is where we explain exactly what we did to grow this site over the past month and reflect on things you can do to build your own audience online.
This month I want to talk about one of the most important mindsets you can adopt when building a content-based site (like a blog, YouTube channel, etc.).
I talk with new entrepreneurs every week about their businesses. Most are at the point where they haven’t discovered their “secret sauce” yet. They don’t know exactly what makes their business stand out, and why people should really care about the content they produce.
In cases like these, there’s usually an unfortunate similarity. It’s unfortunate because it holds these entrepreneurs back, but it’s actually an easy thing to break through, with the right mindset.
These content producers decided on a brand for their site early on, and selected a topic. For this example, let’s say an entrepreneur in the making decided to set up a blog about health and wellness, and that they further focused that blog on how herbs can help with health and wellness.
In this example, the blogger decided that their mission was to help people understand how herbs can help with various health and wellness issues.
The problem with this (and other scenarios like this in various niches) is that this value proposition is weak. It’s too similar to other value propositions that exist already (I guarantee that thousands of blogs already exist on similar topics).
The value proposition is also weak because it doesn’t address the underlying problems, needs or desires that the potential audience is wrestling with. It doesn’t get people fired up.
“Herbs” maybe interesting to people who are familiar with them already, but unless you’re trying to attract massive search traffic, you won’t connect with people deeply enough with a topic like that to keep them coming back (and to share your site with other people).
Instead, you need to think about the underlying issues. If you’re talking about health, people have SERIOUS life-threatening issues, and SERIOUS problems with depression, anxiety, addiction, weight, disease and health conditions. People are fat, sick and nearly dead.
There are countless issues you could address, and there is advice and information you could be providing to dramatically change people’s lives for the better.
You could be serving impressive gourmet cuisine, but you’re serving nursing home mashed potatoes and chicken.
In this example, you shouldn’t be focused on herbs (one solution), you should be focused on the underlying problem, regardless of the solution.
Here’s the problem I see many bloggers get trapped in. They start out with a narrow topic in mind (because they heard “niching down” is a good idea). Choosing a specific niche can be a good thing, but only if you’re prepared to address that very specific niche day-in and day-out until you’re recognized as an expert by the market and by Google.
Unfortunately, most people give up long before that.
Instead of boxing yourself in to that topic, even though you don’t have the stamina or interest to really make it happen, you should give yourself the freedom to explore every nook and cranny of your mind, your interests and your audience’s problems, needs and desires (regardless of how related they are to the narrow topic you chose).
This experimentation will lead to breakthroughs. If you don’t experiment, you’ll continue down the same boring path, second-guessing yourself and producing uninspiring content that doesn’t hook anyone.
Don’t box yourself in, especially in the beginning.
You should let your content inform your branding, instead of letting your branding dictate your content. If you experiment enough and challenge yourself to write the things that scare you and make you uncomfortable, you’ll make breakthroughs. When you find those sparks in your content, you can use that to refine your branding and run in that direction.
Don’t hold back. Try writing a rant, try writing about what you see is wrong with the world, try writing for the audience you really want. Don’t be afraid to push boundaries.
You might turn some people off, but you’ll equally turn other people on. That’s how you create true fans instead of lukewarm visitors.
Alright, enough of this little rant. If you have questions feel free to ask in the comments below. I’m happy to answer as always.
Back to the monthly report for Think Traffic.
What went on here in November?
Last month we launched our new site Expert Enough. We already covered the launch, and are very happy with the results.
We saw 32,441 visits this month (versus 34,640 last month). There was a slight decline in this month’s traffic to TT, but if you look at the launch of Expert Enough (our case study site for the MDBP) we had over 54,000 visits to our two sites in November. Sometimes taking on a big project is the best way to broaden your reach online.
Now, let’s talk about some stats for the month.
This Month’s Traffic and Growth Statistics
Here are some other stats for last month:
- New Comments: 416
- Re-tweets of New Posts: 381
- New Subscribers: 430
12 total posts were published last month (vs. 10 in the prior month), including 5 guest posts:
- How The Minimalists Built an Audience of 100,000 in Just 9 Months
- What Are You Struggling With on Your Website or Blog Right Now?
- This Thursday: Join Us for a Live Class on “Incredible Blog Design”
- Expert Enough is Here!
- The Non-Designer’s Guide to WordPress Blog Design
- What Do You Do When Round-Up Posts Don’t Work? (Guest Post by Danny Iny)
- How Scott Dinsmore Re-Launched his Blog and Doubled His Readership
- Are You Forgetting One of the Most Important Factors In Your Keyword Research? (Guest Post by Tom Ewer)
- Screw Overnight Success: How to Really Build Long-Term Growth Online (Guest Post by Jason Fitzgerald)
- 11 Ways To Build A Community Around Your Google+ Page (Guest Post by Jon Cooper)
- Traffic School “Lite” Opens Today in the Biggest Entrepreneurship Sale of the Year
- Why You Need a Month-By-Month Blog Growth Action Plan (Guest Post by Danny Iny)
Have you enjoyed the guest posts and interviews we’ve published lately? If there are any special guests you’d like us to interview or ask to write for Think Traffic, we’d love to hear it in the comments.
Top Traffic Sources
Search traffic topped 10k visitors for the second month in a row. We don’t focus on SEO here, and I don’t recommend beginning bloggers worry about SEO, other than to maybe optimize post titles for popular keywords.
Search optimization goals are often at odds with your other goals of reader engagement and appealing to a social media crowd.
Top Search Terms:
- think traffic: 446
- unique selling proposition: 445
- personal introduction: 309
- thinktraffic: 303
- sales pitch: 277
- unique selling point examples: 151
- unique selling proposition examples: 129
- unique selling proposition example: 110
- million dollar blog project: 101
- best sales pitch: 82
Check this out. 5 of the top 9 posts/pages (not including the home page) are posts that were published in previous months. That’s what’s known as pillar content (epic shit, if you will). Put in the effort, and your content can bring in new visitors for months to come.
What Can We Help With?
If you have questions about our strategies, or something you’re working on for your own site, we’re always happy to answer.
Just ask in the comments below.
Thanks as always for reading! We appreciate it and are so thankful for the relationships we’ve built here over the past 20 months.
I wrote a post over at my other site yesterday that I would love your comments on as well. If you have a minute, stop by to let me know if you think marketing is the scourge of the internet.