Well the first month is over and now it’s time for me to own up and tell you about what I have been doing behind the scenes.
And there is a lot…
First, if you missed the background information you can read the introductory post here. But in a nutshell, my goal is to get this website to thousands of visitors a month and I am starting from scratch.
As a quick recap, the website had zero traffic, zero links, zero authority, no one cared, it was orange and ugly.
I took the site, redesigned it, relaunched the blog and here we are.
In this post I’ll tell you about the following.
- My goals
- The strategy
- The implementation
- The people behind the scenes
- My costs
- My traffic numbers
- What I am going to do next
Sound good? OK, let’s get into it.
What are my goals and why am I doing this
I am really doing this for 3 main reasons.
- Showcase the exact strategies I use in my book to generate continued interest and drive more sales. If you don’t know, I recently wrote the book “Digital Influencer, A Guide to Achieving Influencer Status Online.” The book was named one of the best new marketing books to read on Forbes and all proceeds go to charity. In this blog, I’ll be doing a lot of the strategies I talk about in the book.
- Generate leads, awareness and grow my email list. Lead generation and email list growth is always important. So one of my main goals is to generate leads. I am CEO of Ignite Visibility, a digital marketing agency based in San Diego. We focus mostly on SEO, PPC, social media and CRO. We have had excellent growth over the last 3 years, growing from nothing to now about 25 employees and 70 clients.
- Build relationships. In business, as you probably know, relationships are everything. I want to help others, build relationships and connect with new people.
So now that we know why I am doing this, let’s talk about the strategy.
What is my strategy?
I have created a lot of blogs and have been publishing in some fashion online since 2006. So over the years I’ve learned a lot about blogging.
My main strategy here out of the gate is as follows.
Involve as many people as possible.
Strategy 1: The Influencer Awards
Personally, I find it ridiculous how much content is created online in the current marketing landscape. So I have decided to reward great content with my new concept, “The Influencer Awards.” You can read the full story here.
But basically, I will be awarding the most influential people of the week on my blog. If you wrote a story, and it got the most shares and engagement, you could win. It is going well so far.
This will allow influencers to learn about my blog and share their posts if they win. I have created a custom graphic that you can see in the post which is branded johnlincoln.marketing. I have also made a badge that they can embed that links back to my website.
Strategy 2: Rising Stars
I want to keep track of influential people in my main industries, those being SEO, social media, PPC and CRO. I am doing this for competitive analysis and I also want to build relationships with them. Due to this, I’ve decided to write a series of posts naming the rising stars.
These people truly are rising stars (or established stars) and you can see them here.
- 41 Rising Stars in SEO you Should Follow
- Conversion Rate Optimization Experts, A List to Bookmark Now
Strategy 3: Best Industry Software
Kind of along the same lines, I want to keep track of all the best software in CRO, SEO, PPC and social media. So I have created the following posts.
I want to know the people behind these businesses, as well as the people managing the blogs and social media profiles. I have ideas on how we can work together in the future, but for now, I just want to keep track of them. Also, this plays a little bit into my SEO strategy down the line.
For example, I’d like the site to rank for “CRO software” and “SEO software.” Now, the domain authority on johnlincoln.marketing is way too low, I don’t have enough links and the content could be better, but I just wanted to start somewhere. But now I know, these are my pages for those terms moving forward.
So as you can see I have started out with my content strategy of involving people. Every time I mention someone we reach out to them on Twitter or email them directly through their website. This way they know they have been mentioned and received a link to their site.
Last note on strategy, I am probably not going to be awarding people forever.
This is just to get some visibility out the gate and because I feel like these people really are that great. After this, I’ll start to get more into normal inbound marketing. But when I do that, I will have a nice list of influencers to engage when appropriate.
So now let’s talk about some of the technical strategy on the site and the user experience.
I installed software called SumoMe. If you haven’t heard of it, use it. It has a great tool set. I am using their entire suite which costs $100 a month. Let’s talk about each of the features.
I have added a smart bar to the top of the page. The main focus of the bar is to let people know about the thousands of visitors a month challenge. It says, “I am going to reveal it all!” Which I am doing right now.
I hope to capture some emails up here, and good news, I already have.
I am also using the list builder. I have it set up so that when a user tries to leave the page a popup shows. Here it is. I really need a better design here. I will work on that.
Outside of these items, I have also set up heat maps and content analytics on each page. Here you can see an example heat map.
You can see right away I need to work on the conversion rate optimization on this page. But I already know that.
I really need to work on the general conversion process on the home page. But my developer Joe is on vacation. When he gets back I’ll be totally changing it.
I plan to run a few different tests. Just the simple bio is not going to cut it for what I want to achieve.
I mean, I have 3 goals and all it does is ask you to join a list. I have a few ideas on how to get creative and have the wire-frames being worked on now.
I am also using the SumoMe share buttons. They are pretty sweet actually. Check them out on desktop (they also look really good on mobile).
I also installed a plugin by code canyon that shows the next post in a fly by box. It’s a cool feature that should help increase engagement and pageviews as I grow the blog. It was really easy to set up too. You can see it here.
Here is a checklist of some of the other things I have done.
- Added the site to Google Search Console
- Submitted all sitemaps
- Installed Yoast and configured it
- Turned on comments
- Added a menu at the top
- Added links to top pages in the footer
- Added a sidebar on the blog
- Welcome box so people know where they are
- Author bio, so people learn who I am
- Information about my book
- Social icons
- Recent tweets
The blog needs a lot of work.
The people behind the scenes
There are two other people helping me out.
Karla is a writer I have worked with for about a year now. When I am too busy to write a post, I give her references, an outline, a summary and the most important points. She writes it, I review it and then we publish. But I do still write a lot and am writing this post right now. I probably blog 1 to 5 times a week depending on what is going on.
Over the last year, I have become a writer for Entrepreneur Magazine and Inc. Magazine. I tell you how in my book. I have also written for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land for the last 5 years, and just started writing for Business 2 Community.
I also have my virtual assistant Andrea helping on the project. I have her alerting people on Twitter and via email when they have been mentioned on the site.
Outside of that I have my developer Joe and designer Theresa who help here and there.
My costs for the project
Here is a breakdown of how much everything costs.
Virtual assistant is about $150 a month, but Andrea helps me with a lot of other things as well. Also, I get a discount on that because I am part of YEC.co. I’ll allocate $100 a month of the expenses to this.
- Content writing services cost per month $400 a month. (This fluctuates depending on how much I decide to write. Ideally, I’ll be doing most the writing, not just the outlines.)
- Currently, I am on Godaddy shared hosting, but I need to move it, it is so bad. That costs $9.99 a month.
- In Facebook ads this month I spent $100 on promoted posts.
- SumoMe costs $100 a month.
- That is a total of $609.99 a month to run the site, before I make any money.
- Note, this was a half month so cut the cost in half.
My traffic numbers
Now we see the traffic numbers for the first month.
Now keep in mind, this has not been a full month. I started this whole thing on March 17, so it has only been 15 days. I came up with this entire idea and launched it in 3 days.
Overall, the first month was better than I thought it would be.
We had zero traffic until March 17th. Since then, we have seen some nice growth. It is mostly from social media.
- Overall, we did 537 sessions.
- 261 from social media.
- 215 direct
- 31 referral
- 11 from email
- 2 from other.
Outside of this, the website generated 4 leads for people looking for help or partnerships in SEO, CRO or social media. I also captured 7 emails. I have not set up goal tracking yet, but I need to do that. If one of those leads becomes a customer, it will all be worth it already.
Those numbers are not bad and better than I thought we would do in the first month.
What I am going to do next
So what is next for the site?
Well, I want to keep up with the influencer awards. I am going to run that all year. It’s a really fun thing that people will enjoy.
I’ll be involving more people in the site for the next month and then transition to normal inbound. I’ll also continue to have my assistant do outreach to people we mention.
I am going to start creating an external linking strategy for the site. We need links to rank in Google. I’m not really leading with this site as an SEO play (SEO takes some time), but eventually I want to optimize and get ranked so I’ll start planning for that.
SEO is not easy with new sites in year one. But I’ll get it ranked over time. Right now, the site ranks for zero keywords. I would guess that by the end of next month we will have a few keywords starting to show up in SEM Rush.
I want to fix up some of the conversion process and design. I’ll probably allocate a budget of another $500 to that.
Really, I need three great funnels; one for email sign ups, one for leads and one for the book. Right now the site is actually already accomplishing these goals, but our conversion rates could be a lot better. I actually cannot believe we got any emails or leads this month. That was surprising.
Keep in mind, this is just a fun side project. I always need to make sure I’m 100% focused on Ignite Visibility. But I look forward to giving everyone an update again next month.