John Lincoln

Become a Digital Influencer (Episode 2, April) @johnelincoln

The first full month is over an it’s time for me to tell you what has been going on. I am happy to report that the numbers are really good, but everything did not go according to plan. Digital Influencer (Episode 2 - April) First, if you are new to this live case study you should read episode 1. But as a quick recap, I’m on a mission to take this website from nothing to thousands of visitors a month. In episode 1, I told you about the first 15 days of the project. How I created a new site, did a quick design, my strategies, goals, traffic, costs and more. In this post, I’ll let you know what happened in the next 30 days in April. I’ve been working on the site for 45 days now total. Ready?! Let’s jump into it.

My goals

My goals are still the same. I am trying to get to thousands of visitors a month, generate new business, grow brand presence, collect emails and sell copies of my new book, “Digital Influencer, A Guide to Achieving Influencer Status Online.” I am happy to say, things are paying off.

The strategy

My strategy this month has been to continue to involve people in the blog. It feels good to be able to recognize people and loop them in. People do not get recognized enough for their hard work in this world. 2 times a week I write a post involving other people. The final day of the week, I run the influencer awards. The influencer awards is where I keep track of all the people who won one of the top 10 more influential articles of the week, as determined by shares and post quality. It is going well. Each week I award 10 people and have my assistant Andrea let them know via email and on Twitter. I have also been tagging them on LinkedIn. LinkedIn was surprisingly effective. People are now emailing me each week to try to get their articles listed in the weekly influencer awards. They want a chance to win the grand prize, which is being featured as one of the most influential bloggers of the year in my Inc. Magazine column. It is a cool prize; I would want to win it! I also have had 6 requests from people who want to post a guest blog on the site. This is great. I am happy to let anyone post who gives me high quality content. I’ll probably make another template on the blog for this purpose.

The implementation

I did a lot of stuff in April behind the scenes. But I did not accomplish everything I said I was going to do in episode 1. Not because I didn’t want to, just because I didn’t really have time. Let’s start with what I didn’t do. I did not set up my funnel with Click Funnels and I did not get the home page redesigned. With Click Funnels I just couldn’t find the time to get it done the way I wanted to with all the things I have going on at Ignite Visibility. Ignite Visibility has been growing so I always need to be 100% focused on the business first. I’ll be looking to get my funnel in place this month, though. But I also won’t be entirely upset if it doesn’t happen right away. Not a major rush, but on the to-do list. Right now, I just want to have fun building traffic. The home page redesign setback was due to designs I wasn’t happy with. The designs just were not there, so I kick the project to side for the moment. I want something clean, simple, with a basic and elegant color scheme that will convert. What I got back was not that. So now we know what I didn’t get done. Let’s talk about all the things I did get done.
  • Tested 3 different versions of welcome matt popup on the home page
  • Create a new exit popup
  • Fix up the sidebar on the blog
  • Created a new table layout for the Influence awards page
  • Integrated all the email signups with mailchimp
  • Migrated the hosting from Godaddy to Wpengine (the site is so much faster now)
  • Moved the website from HTTP to HTTPS (and everything that goes along with a HTTPS transfer)
All of this needed to be done. The site was so slow on GoDaddy, you couldn’t even use it. By just migrating the hosting, the site is now scoring 62/100 on mobile and 82/100 on desktop. This is fine for now. PageSpeed Insights On the promotion side, I did the following.
  • Had 3 blogs published a week
  • Launched an infographic (this post went viral and got thousands of shares, but the share count reset when I switched to HTTPS. So it only looks like hundreds. This happened on all the posts…)
  • Emailed everyone mentioned
  • Let everyone know via Twitter and tested letting people know on LinkedIn
  • Added all the people I interacted with to Twitter lists
  • Answered a few questions related to post on Quora
  • Posted all the blogs to LinkedIn (in groups and as an update), Twitter and Pinterest
  • Posted a few blogs to StumbleUpon, Reddit and Growth Hackers
  • Did a LinkedIn post on the Digital Influencer Episode 1 Post
  • Ran Facebook promoted post for most the blogs
  • Set up an automated email newsletter that goes to all email subscribers each time a post goes live
I now have a traffic generation machine in place. If I keep doing this, my traffic will keep continue to grow. The next step will be to do a little search engine optimization and to start building our content hubs. I have not done this yet, but I have been keeping track of where everything is and have the strategy worked out in my head for when I am ready.

My costs

My costs didn’t change too much.
  • Content writing services cost per month $400 a month.
  • Moved the site to WPengine hosting. I have 10 sites on the plan and the plan is $100 a month, so we will call it $10.
  • In Facebook ads this month I spent $150 on promoted posts.
  • SumoMe costs $100 a month.
  • That is a total of $660.00 a month to run the site, before I make any money.

My traffic and goals

Traffic was really good for month 2 of website. Surprisingly good actually. First, keep in mind I am not doing any SEO. My focus is creating interesting content that involves people. In the short term, I know I can drive the most traffic from social media. I want to get a buzz going about the blog.


You can see the traffic numbers for the last 30 days, over the previous 30 days, below. Digital Influencer Traffic Channels Google Analytics April numbers
  • 3,255 total sessions, increase of 506.15%
  • 2,738 new users, increase of 566.18%
  • Social media drove most of the traffic and resulted in 2,207 visitors. This was an increase of 745% over the previous month.
  • Direct was also up a lot. There was a rise of 193%, or over 400 visitors. This is probably due to dark social media traffic. You can read about what that is here.
  • Organic search climbed 1,358%. This number sounds awesome, but it is really only 231 visitors. But for a new website in month 2, I’ll take it.
  • Email only drove 29 visitors, an increase of 163%. I’ll explain more on this in a moment.

Emails collected

I ran a welcome matt email popup for half the month and an exit popup the entire month. I also have email subscription options in the sidebar. As a result, I collected 87 email addresses. All of these could be worked on…

YouTube subscribes

I changed the welcome mat email capture to a welcome mat button so I could promote my new YouTube playlist. Basically, it is a free series on search engine optimization. I wanted to get more people to subscribe to the YouTube channel, which I why I did this. As a result, we went from 814 to 869 YouTube subscribers. That still seems low to me though. I really want to be in the thousands soon. Here is what the popup looks like. Click here if you want to see my new SEO training video playlist, people seem to like it. Learn SEO Now Two   Really, this is not too bad for the second month. I know I can do better though, and emails are key, so I will focus more on this moving forward.

New business and opportunities

On the leads side, I had 22 people reach out and request internet marketing services or ask to become a referral partner. One of which was an enterprise client. I also had two students reach out to me asking for help with school projects where I would be interviewed for their paper. One was in Germany and one was a local school in San Diego. I was asked to do 1 speaking engagements that was tied to this site. I was also asked to participate in two industry related online content marketing partnerships. One is a Twitter chat with SEM Rush. I hope you can attend. They are changing the title to “How to Double your BLOGS Traffic in Two Weeks.” There was a miscommunication in the topic. SEMRUSH On the book side, I sold over 200 copies last month. The book is sold on Amazon so I have no way of knowing where the sales came from unless they came through Amazon ads. I know that about 15 copies were sold through the ads I have been running. If I had to guess, I would predict that 20 or so were sold through this site. Just a shot in the dark. I really need to set up event tracking on all the outbound links to Amazon… Then I will at least have an idea of traffic going to the landing page.

What is next?

I have been having a lot of fun with this little side project! So I am going to keep at it, while making sure not to sacrifice my work at Ignite Visibility. It was so successful in month 2, I almost wanted to quit while I was ahead. Traffic skyrocketed, leads were generated, books were sold (I think) and connections were made. But, after thinking about it, I can’t stop now. I’ve decided to keep pushing it. The results are there, so why not. It has already paid for itself. Here is what I want to do this month…
  • Keep up with the influencer awards and the blogging
  • Keep letting people know about posts
  • Keep involving people
  • At least finalize scoping out the new funnel
  • At least finalize a new design I like for the home page and maybe get it added
  • Start allowing people to guest blog on the site (I have 2 guest blogs waiting to be posted). I want to get a lot of people involved like Jeff Bullas does.
  • Build the email list
  • I want to keep making great content and infographics
Outside of this, I should probably start doing a little SEO. The thing is, it is so much easier to get social media traffic and referring site traffic with a new website. SEO takes time and I really want to slow play it. Don’t get me wrong. I am keeping it in mind when I work on the site. The website is now ranking for 5 keywords in SEM Rush and it wasn’t ranking for anything before. I was also able to generate 19 links from referring domains without doing anything besides writing good content. For now, this is the plan. I look forward to sharing more next month. What do you think so far?

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About the Author

John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility, one of the top digital marketing agencies in the nation. Ignite Visibility is a 4x  Inc. 5,000 company. Ignite Visibility offers a unique digital marketing program tied directly to ROI with a focus on using SEO, social media, paid media, CRO, email, Amazon and PR to achieve results. Outside of Ignite Visibility, Lincoln is a frequent speaker and author of the books “Digital Influencer” and “The Forecaster Method.” Lincoln is consistently named one of the top digital marketers in the industry and was the recipient of the coveted Search Engine Land “Search Marketer of The Year” award. Lincoln has taught digital marketing and Web Analytics at the University of California San Diego since 2010, has been named as one of San Diego’s most admired CEO’s and a top business leader under 40. Lincoln has also made “SEO: The Movie” and “Social Media Marketing: The Movie.” His business mission is to help others through digital marketing.

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