How Launching a Product Can Explode Your Site’s Traffic

  • March 17, 2011 by Corbett Barr
  • 25 Comments

Welcome to another Think Traffic monthly report! I can hardly believe it, but this is the 12th monthly report since I launched this blog back on March 16, 2010.

The last year has been an amazing journey for me and Think Traffic. I’ll be summarizing everything that’s happened along with my plans for the future next week, and you won’t want to miss it.

If you were following along with me over the past month, you probably know that I launched a new premium course called Traffic School. We’ll talk about how the launch went more in the annual report coming up, but for now I want to explain how the launch boosted the traffic to this site in a major way.

This monthly report covers the period from February 16 to March 15, 2011.

When you launch a big product like Traffic School, months of preparation and development typically go into it. I first conceived traffic school well over a year ago, and started actively working on developing it last November. When it finally comes time to launch, you definitely don’t want that hard work to go to waste. A little planning and a lot of resourcefulness is what it takes to make the most of your effort.

One of the best strategies you can use to sell more of a product you release is to offer an affiliate program. Basically, an affiliate program is a way for other people to earn a commission for selling your product. It really creates a win-win situation because you get a sale you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise and the seller earns a commission for each sale.

For digital products, commissions on affiliate programs typically fall between 25% and 75%. I generally offer a 51% commission to people who sell my products as affiliates, like with my Affiliate Marketing for Beginners course.

This time around for Traffic School, I decided to only open the affiliate program to the 15 rock star special guest instructors who contributed lessons to the course. Next time I’ll open it up to a slightly wider group.

Several of the special guests promoted the course casually and a few of them dedicated blog posts or sections of blog posts to the launch. These three in particular ended up sending thousands of visitors over to check out Traffic School: Pat Flynn, Karol Gajda and Leo Babauta (thanks guys for making this launch a big success).

Just how much traffic did we generate as part of the Traffic School launch? More on that in a second, but first let’s do the numbers:

This Month’s Traffic Report

Here are the overall metrics for this month:

I tracked the Traffic School visits under a separate Google Analytics account, so that I could easily separate out the blog stats for comparison to prior months.

Without the Traffic School stats, last month was the second most visited month here at Think Traffic. The site saw 17,530 visits last month, vs. 19,982 in the month before. Keep in mind also that being February, last month was short a couple of days.

Not a bad month in the overall scheme of things.

However, when you add the Traffic School stats in, the picture gets a whole lot brighter. Including Traffic School visitors, this site overall entertained 30,382 total visitors.

How’s that for explosive growth?

Of course, not all of those visitors will keep coming back because they were here for Traffic School and didn’t necessarily check out the blog. But still, it gave us some great exposure and we were able to capture hundreds and hundreds of new email addresses on the Traffic School interest list for next time.

Let’s look at some other stats as well:

  • New subscribers: 208 (-56% month-over-month)
  • New comments (including my replies): 437 (-10% month-over-month)
  • Retweets of new posts: 303 (-51% month-over-month)

The content I published here this month wasn’t the kind of epic stuff that tends to get shared (an entire week was dedicated just to explaining Traffic School), and so we didn’t pick up as many new blog subscribers or retweets as last month. Overall however, we added well over 1,300 total email subscribers in the month.

8 total posts were published over the past two months (vs. 5 in the prior month), including no guest posts:

Top Traffic Sources

Again, keep in mind these numbers don’t include the Traffic School numbers. With Traffic School numbers, the #1 referrer last month was Zen Habits thanks to Leo Babauta.

Top Search Terms:

  1. think traffic: 443
  2. unique selling proposition examples: 351
  3. website traffic: 168
  4. personal introduction: 155
  5. unique selling proposition: 151
  6. unique selling point examples: 136
  7. thinktraffic: 80
  8. best sales pitch: 55
  9. unique selling point: 31
  10. traffic buy: 30

Not many changes to the top keyword rankings this month.

Top Content

One thing I was happy to see last month – the monthly report for last month was the top most visited content (aside from the home page). It’s nice to know you all still appreciate these reports. I’m happy to keep sharing as long as these are valuable.

Questions? I’m here to help!

One of the things I enjoy most about running this site are the conversations we have in the comments and on Twitter, Facebook or email.

As always, if I can help answer any questions you have about what I’m doing here, or about your own site, please don’t hesitate to ask. Public conversations are preferred over email so everyone can benefit, but feel free to ask in whatever way you prefer.

If I haven’t said it lately, thanks again for being part of what we’re doing here. I really appreciate it.

Here’s to another kick-ass month ahead!

What has your experience been with launching products? Have you gotten a big traffic boost? Did that traffic stick around? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

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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Perfect Dad March 17, 2011 at 6:53 am

Hey, thanks a lot for all your advice.

I’m trying to start a new site, with potential for products on parenting, parenting styles, teaching your children, child safety, that kind of thing. It’s in a fairly crowded field (like your site) but I think I can provide some uniquely valuable content (like your site).

I am putting in to play some of the suggestions that you and others have given me, but yet to go down a product direction. I’m sure it’s better to start with developing a larger audience right? Do you recommend a product sooner rather than later? I’m definitely starting some experiments on small free products to see what people want.

Corbett March 17, 2011 at 9:21 pm

I recommend asking your audience what you can help them with before creating a product. You can do that via surveys, asking for comments on a particular post, trying out different topics within posts to see what sticks, or through offering consulting as a way to do market research.

Don’t wait too long to create a product. It’s not unreasonable to launch your first product within a few months of starting your site. Waiting a year or more is too long because you won’t know if your general direction has “legs” or not when it comes to monetization.

Hector Cuevas March 17, 2011 at 7:18 am

Grea stuff Corbett.

One thing I wish I would’ve done differently with my podcasting for bloggers launch was spend more time recruiting affiliates. Plus I picked up some really cool things from watching you do yours, mainly the fact that u had it on a sub domain.

Genius bro… Even if the business didn’t stick around, they still got exposed to your main blogs domain, which some I assume would check out anyway. Not to mention the fact fact that the spike in traffic would help your Alexa rank which gives you more authority in the search engines.

Keep these reports coming man.. Always enjoy them
Talk soon
Hector

Hector Cuevas March 17, 2011 at 7:23 am

Sorry. Stupid iPhone keeps messing up my spelling.. I meant “even if the visitors**” not business.

And while I’m here, let me just add one more thing. I noticed you went in a completely opposite direction than “traditional” online product launches. You didn’t use not one video in the process. Was that intentional?

Jia Jun March 17, 2011 at 9:35 am

It’s great progress Corbett. Especially with the recent launch of Traffic School, Think Traffic grows faster and faster now.
I wish I could come out with my own products which can help people out, and people actually thanks me for the content. Perhaps for now I’ll find suitable products and go for affiliate marketing. :D

Corbett March 17, 2011 at 9:23 pm

What’s stopping you from creating your own product?

David Krug March 17, 2011 at 11:21 am

Great to hear Corbett. Always learning from you man!

Corbett March 17, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Cheers David.

Matthew Needham March 17, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Interesting Corbett how you’ve not written as much Epic sh*t but still gained subscribers and huge traffic. It just demonstrates that by meeting the needs of your customers you’ll get the traffic whatever.

Great work Corbett, keep it up!

Corbett March 17, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Epic stuff takes a lot of time and creative energy to produce. It’s hard to do it consistently, but also I don’t think everything has to be 100% epic to keep your audience engaged and growing.

John March 18, 2011 at 9:05 am

Corbett – this is truly awesome stuff. I’ve been following you and Pat Flynn for the past month at the suggestion of my friend Sarah Peck, and my own site has seen a massive transformation in traffic, exposure, and conversions. And it’s a niche urban ag site! You two helped me get my goals down on paper, and I actually achieved 2 of them in only 2 weeks (first published e-book and first interactive map tool, which has become my most popular page!) I will DEFINITELY be following you in the future for ideas as my site grows.

Keep up the good work!

Corbett March 18, 2011 at 9:51 am

Fantastic, John! Congrats on the success. I’m super happy to help with ideas or motivation in some small way. Thanks so much for sharing and please do let us know about future breakthroughs.

marianney | A Life Set Free March 18, 2011 at 10:11 am

Corbett, I’m glad you mentioned that it took you about 7-8 months to get started on developing your project. I just realized I am at 7 months into my blog and I have just begun to write out the outline of my project. Makes me feel like I’m not too late! :) Although, mine is more a project than a product, but I do plan that it will eventually provide some income. Would you be willing to discuss the process of how you got started on your Traffic School project, or point me to past posts on that?

@John, good for you! I just took a look at your site and it looks great! My fiance is really getting into urban gardening and I have forwarded him your site.

John March 18, 2011 at 10:50 am

Thanks, Marianne – I also checked out your blog and I, too, want to live “a life set free!” Great goals. (And BTW – urban gardening is a great way to save on the food bill, get exercise, and save on recreation costs…ha!)

jules March 20, 2011 at 5:54 am

Great stats re. traffic school.

I see you launched TS on a subdomain, so people I guess are more likely to browse around and find the blog.

A a lot of marketers advise setting up a product on a separate domain altogether, what’s your take on that?

jules

Corbett March 21, 2011 at 8:52 am

Hey Jules, I’m not completely familiar with the arguments about putting products on separate domains. I suppose it’s 1) to increase conversions and 2) so that you could sell the product as a separate business? If you’ve heard other arguments, let me know.

Regarding Traffic School, I launched that as a “flagship” product that is very related to the blog itself. I want it to be something I open up a couple of times a year and that lasts for years to come. It’s more along the lines of SEOBook in that regard, as opposed to a standalone product.

Sarah Russell March 21, 2011 at 6:59 am

Corbett – Congrats on the launch and all the success you’ve had this month! It’s well deserved for sure :)

It’s interesting to hear that you’ve put 7-8 months into developing Traffic School. I’m usually guilty of rushing products to market and not making them as valuable as they could be for people. My current product, though, is probably still at least 3-4 months out, so it’ll be interesting to see how this one goes.

Best of luck with Traffic School!

Corbett March 21, 2011 at 8:50 am

I wish I was guilty of rushing things a little bit more ;) I think there’s a happy medium there.

Corbett March 17, 2011 at 9:23 pm

I did use one video, on the final sales page, but other than that it was primarily text-based. I put so much effort into the product content that I was a little pressed for time on the launch. Video takes me more time to produce at this point, so I opted against it. Next time I might use more.

John March 18, 2011 at 10:49 am

Thanks, Corbett! I will do.

marianney | A Life Set Free March 18, 2011 at 11:30 am

oh i whole-heartedly agree John. we are taking steps to reduce our impact on the environment, eat better, cut costs, and live a simpler, freer life!
thanks for the compliments :)

Jia Jun March 19, 2011 at 8:23 am

Hrm…. idea. What problems I should solve for my readers.
And I need time to write the ebook, or creating my product.
Currently still studying, final year. :p Time constrain. :p
Perhaps these are excuses, anyway, will keep improving.

jules March 21, 2011 at 9:10 am

Hi Corbett,

I’m no expert but yes I think those are 2 points, plus if a server goes down, or viruses attack, or the domain gets slapped then it doesn’t all get effected.

Also for people relying on affiliates it’s kind of cleaner if they refer people to a home page domain, there’s also no diversions for people they send who might leave the sales page to take a peek to see what’s on the main domain.

Having said that I like the way you’ve done it because it feels like less of a leap from blog to school, definitely something psychological, because you feel like if you read the blog then you want to be part of the integrated school and that feels really close if it’s on the same domain.

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