How I Quadrupled My Business in Less Than 10 Months by Blogging

  • September 20, 2012 by Guest Writer
  • 35 Comments

This post is by Peep Laja of ConversionXL.

My last post here was about the strategies I used for getting 50k visits to my blog during my first month of blogging. My blog is now almost 11 months old, and it’s loyal audience is growing each month.

Meanwhile, my company has grown from 2 people to 8, and our time is constantly sold out several months in advance + I get around 5 consulting gigs a month. I don’t do any advertising nor sales calls – all the clients come through the blog.

How exactly did this happen? I’ll show you.

Your Blog is Your Salesperson

The best kind of marketing is inbound marketing. Content marketing works – if you do it well.

There’s an abundance of mediocrity on the internet. Most blogs suck. If you want your blog to bring you business, you cannot afford mediocre posts. Sure, not all of your blog posts will be smashing hits – but all of them can be quality.

Consistency is key. Everybody can write at least one epic post, but most will remain one hit wonders. The challenge is to do it all the time. People follow and recommend blogs that they know will produce excellent content on regular basis.

Of course, you shouldn’t let perfectionism stop you from posting. Regular posting matters too. You should get a blog post out at least once a week. If the content you published wasn’t all that amazing, you learn from it and do better the next time.

If you constantly put serious effort into your blogs posts, it will pay off. The more you do it, the sooner you’re going to enjoy the results.

Whatever your blog is about (unless you blog purely for fun), you need to have a defined business objective. If its to get customers, your blog needs to:

  • prove that you know what you’re talking about
  • instill confidence in you (and in your company)
  • build a relationship

Nothing will do it better than writing epic shit, all the time.

Another Advantage of Epic Content

Here’s my traffic for last month, August 2012:

The month starts out with 800 visits per day after I had just taken a break from blogging for a month. Notice the 2 bumps?

First one is when somebody submitted my blog post on pricing experiments to Hacker News, and it became a top post for a couple of days. The funny thing is that I had submitted this post to Hacker News myself when I wrote it, but it didn’t take off then. Timing and x-factor matter.

The second bump is when Tim Ferriss tweeted the same post (probably he saw it either on HN himself, or through somebody who found it there):

Tweets by influencers really do work, as he sent 16 000 visitors to the post the same day (even took my site offline for a few minutes). I got many serious leads from this surge of traffic.

My point is this: writing epic content really pays off, and your posts might get a second (and probably a third) coming. Focus on high quality, thorough blog posts. No 500 word how-to blog post will go viral (unless you’re Seth Godin or feature naked people).

Have A Skill that People Value

I remember reading a story a few years ago that I never forgot for some reason. The guy telling the story went to a party in the Playboy mansion. There he met a famous millionaire, and used the chance to ask him the question, “What’s the most single important thing for becoming successful?” The millionaire replied: “Young man, have a skill that people value.”

There are way too many bloggers out there who do just one thing – they blog. That might be enough for the select few that make money selling pageviews, but for the rest, the biggest gains come from selling their expertise (be it consultation or full service).

I’m a conversion guy. I help businesses drive more sales online. I do consulting + my agency builds conversion optimized sites for our customers. It’s a very specific skill, and one that people value.

“You can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pocket.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger

The recipe for never running out of work is to be the best. If you’re among the very best (and people know it), there will be a line outside your door.

Sure, nobody starts out the best – you have to *strive* to become one, by working hard. As Malcolm Gladwell points out in his excellent book “Outliers“, studies suggest that the key to success in any field has nothing to do with talent. It’s simply practice, and 10,000 hours of it — 20 hours a week for 10 years.

Tim Ferriss has said that he’s learned to become really good at something in one year or less (and the incremental improvements after that are not worth it to him). Maybe you can too.

Do you have to just pick one thing? Not at all, but one at a time for sure. The more you divide your attention between competing subjects, the slower you are to grow. Ask yourself: “what am I becoming the best in the world at right now?” If you don’t know the answer to this, you’re doing it wrong.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of my role models. The determination this guy has is incredible. He managed to achieve huge success in many highly competitive fields – bodybuilding, film, business and politics.

Need a (huge and positive) kick in the ass? Watch Arnie talk about his philosophy (less than 4 minutes, highly recommended):

Tell Them What You Offer, but Don’t Force It

People aren’t gonna buy your stuff just because you shout at every opportunity “buy, buy, buy”. I don’t have any banners on ConversionXL. I don’t push my services at all.

If they’re impressed by your content, they will want to learn more about you themselves. Your job is to make it easy to do that if they want to.

I have a couple of lines about myself and a link to my company on my sidebar and I have a ‘Services’ link in the menu. That’s enough. You don’t need to stick banners everywhere. Your content is your salesperson, after all.

You just make sure that your product or services are in an obvious place: one click away in your main menu.

Focus on Engagement

People rarely fall in love at first sight. Instead of selling them something on their first visit, engage them to come back and stick around.

I’ve experimented with a bunch of things to get people following my blog – from popups to calls-to-action at the bottom of the post. I work to get people to join my list, subscribe to my RSS or posts over email and/or follow me on Twitter.

Tech savvy people will know how to find the rss feed, don’t worry about them. Mainly, you need to worry about getting people to join your email list as your #1 priority. My experiments so far have one clear winner: lead magnet + scroll triggered boxes (boxes that pop up when people scroll down enough).

I use Qoate Scroll Triggered Box, but it doesn’t seem to work with all themes / plugins. A great alternative is Dreamgrow Scroll Triggered Box.

You want people to read your stuff not once, but all the time. This way they get to know you better (i.e. stronger relationship), get more value from your content, and in the end what goes around, comes around (if you know what I mean).

Conclusion

Here’s the formula in steps:

  1. Have high standards for the quality and thoroughness of your posts.
  2. Focus on engagement and keeping up with your content.
  3. Be really good at what you do. Aim to become the best.
  4. Don’t force sales, but make your products / services easy to find when they’re ready.

Peep Laja (@peeplaja) is a serial entrepreneur who helps businesses boost conversions. He blogs over at ConversionXL, and runs a web agency called Markitekt.

Fizzle Charter Members

Hey, just a special follow-up to last week’s announcement from Corbett here.

Next week, we’re going to open our latest project Fizzle up to a limited number of charter members.

As I mentioned in the announcement post last week, we’re working to develop Fizzle into the long-term platform and essential library of training and resources and a community that every online entrepreneur should be a part of.

But we need help from a dedicated group of early adopters (“charter members”) to help us shape the platform with feedback and participation and testing.

So we’re going to open things up early, while everything is fresh, and raw and shapeable.

Charter members in Fizzle will be critical to the platform’s overall success — you’ll get in early, have a huge say about what features and training we build in the next few months, get some time with Chase, Caleb and me, and ultimately be a part of shaping the early stages of a killer community.

We really value your feedback, so we’re also going to give you discounted pricing for life in exchange for your commitment to helping us make Fizzle better suit your needs.

So next Wednesday, September 26, some of you will have a chance to join us as charter members. We’ll send you full details as we get closer.

To get your chance to join Fizzle as a charter member, complete our simple survey and you’ll be added to the insiders’ priority list.


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John Lee Dumas September 20, 2012 at 6:14 am

I just got shivers Peep, from the A.S. video and from your article. Loved both. Thanks so much for sharing!

Peep Laja September 20, 2012 at 7:37 am

Thanks John! The video gives me shivers every time

Troy Broussard September 20, 2012 at 6:34 am

Great post. I especially appreciate how you say that if you really put forth the effort to create a value based blog that it will pay off in time. Too many people just aren’t willing to put in that effort…

Troy

Peep Laja September 20, 2012 at 10:10 am

Exactly. Do what others are not willing to do, and eventually you’ll prevail

Mike Yasieniuk September 20, 2012 at 6:44 am

Best post i’ve read in a long time. When you said, ‘Ask yourself: “what am I becoming the best in the world at right now?”’, this really kicked me in the butt. I’ve been quite scattered lately and need to focus on one thing at a time.

Your inspiring Peep. Your complete honesty to share exactly how you’re rocking it is awesome. Keep up the great work.

Peep Laja September 20, 2012 at 7:36 am

Thanks Mike! Im happy about the effective kick in your butt.

Marios September 20, 2012 at 6:45 am

“Young man, have a skill that people value.”, this one is so true…

If you do what everyone else is doing then whats the point..Do something amazing, unique and spectacular..and you win

Peep Laja September 20, 2012 at 7:37 am

Yup. LeBron is not complaining about unemployment, is he. It pays to be the best.

Clare J Fitzgerald September 20, 2012 at 7:02 am

Great reminders of the core things that every successful blog I’ve seen gets right on a consistent basis.

Loved the idea of aiming to be the best. There’s lots of great competition out there so you need to constantly up your game

Thanks Peep

Peep Laja September 20, 2012 at 7:39 am

Indeed – huge amount of blogs out there. Having a strategy to set you apart from the rest is imperative imho.

JamesW September 20, 2012 at 7:18 am

I think that the video with Arnold helped me to understand the article a bit more better.
Don’t force the sales, but be the best and sales will come :)
Thanks for sharing this amazing post.

Peep Laja September 20, 2012 at 7:38 am

Be the best and tell the world about it by showing your work and sharing your expertise. No good being the best if you’re the only one who knows that :)

Lauryn Doll September 20, 2012 at 7:49 am

Great points, and like Clare said, it echoes the very things successful blogs have done correctly.

I’m of the belief a great product – whether it’s a service, a website, or a website about services – will sell itself on the basis of consistency, activity and quality. You can’t be a great website designer with a basic blog, nor a great product pitchmen who doesn’t understand why those products you’re pitching are great.

And like it’s so clearly stated here and elsewhere, you need to GET EXPERIENCE. Get experience in your field or niche and learn about the products, services, industry or profession you’re blogging about… and you can’t do it by spending your time behind a computer screen rehashing what everyone else is doing!

Peep Laja September 20, 2012 at 8:21 am

Amen! You need to be doing stuff, not just writing about stuff!

Fred Pennic September 20, 2012 at 8:01 am

Great post! Another key post to add to my blogging bible! Your site has helped me tremendously in elevating the traffic and engagement to my site.

Peep Laja September 20, 2012 at 10:11 am

Im so glad, Fred

Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon September 20, 2012 at 8:05 am

Love the concept in this post – don’t follow the money. Find a way to give legitimate value first, then let the money come. Too many people are into blogging to make a quick buck, but luckily once they realize that it’s legitimate work, they quit. It’s all about taking action every day.

Thomas

Peep Laja September 20, 2012 at 10:12 am

There are not shortcuts. The sooner you realize it…

Henri September 20, 2012 at 8:06 am

Great stuff as always, Peep.

I’m just beginning to discover the power of content marketing, or it’s something I’ve started focusing on more and more.

The more comprehensive my posts, the more clients and customers I attract. It takes work, but it’s worth it.

Now off to watch that Arnold video. He’s one of my role models as well. Still remember watching most of his movies when I was a kid ;)

Peep Laja September 20, 2012 at 10:12 am

Thanks Henri. Hope you enjoyed the video

puya September 20, 2012 at 10:03 am

Thanks for sharing Peep. Yes, creating content that is actually good is really hard. I’ve read all your posts and they’re great. I am really going to mold my blog posts into something like what you have.

Again, great article. It gives us new folks in the game more to count on.

Cheers mate,

Jeff Bronson September 20, 2012 at 10:08 am

Other than a little bit of luck (which hopefully happens the harder you work), you put out great content that others found valuable, based on real data. A winning strategy.

Moe September 20, 2012 at 11:28 pm

I agree with the putting longer better content out once or twice a week as opposed to rushed 300-600 word posts every day.

Jeff @ MissionPLR September 21, 2012 at 7:13 am

Thanks so much – this is really convicting stuff! I know I’m going to be looking at my blog posts a lot differently now. You truly have to give a lot of yourself and have a teacher mindset to be successful in content marketing.

Mena Jo September 24, 2012 at 6:02 am

Ya know when I first started my blog, which really wasn’t all that long ago, I was clear about one thing. I didn’t want it to be yet another boring, drab not fab blog.

Still figuring it all out, but I aim to write in my voice and tell little stories about the stuff I’ve experienced in starting and developing my business. It just makes it more interesting for my readers (and myself) and allows me to relate to them on their level.

I used to be worried about not sounding ‘professional’ enough, but seriously… professional does not have to be synonymous with dull. So now I just have fun with it. I’m like, yeah whatever.

Kenny Fabre September 24, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Peep

blogging is powerful, I have come to have a great passion for blogging, but most importantly I see the power of blogging through the connections that I make and all the money I’m making through it.

Definitely cool how you get all these consulting gigs through your blog keep it up

Ayaz September 25, 2012 at 12:03 am

Hello Peep!

Excellent post and certainly blogging is a very power full tool to generating new leads but reaching to that point takes lots of effort and producing great content consistently.

Brendan Baker September 25, 2012 at 5:02 am

EPIC POST! Absolutely loved this… I’ve just recently added the scroll triggered box and I love how it works. Your stats seem amazing and you’ve got some awesome tips… keep the posts coming!

Brendan

Emmanuel Uduezue September 25, 2012 at 3:48 pm

You have really stirred up a new passion in me to become unique in my blogging niche. You really presented a nice and quality information in your post. Keep up the good work.

Vincent October 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Finally someone tells it like it is! When it comes down to it, if you’re boring or dull, people are not going to listen to you.

I particularly liked your advice about having a specific skill to offer. This can really help your credibility as a blogger and I definitely need to improve on improving and showing a unique skill to my readers! Thanks for the tips :)

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