I get asked from time to time how to get a blog up and running.
Whether you are a lifestyle blogger, niche blogger or run the blog for your startup, there are challenges in getting up and running to be successful.
Whenever I get asked that question I think back to when I launched Project Pivotal, and what I did right, and what I would have done differently.
I launched the blog toward the end of May of 2015 as a place for me to document lessons I learned in marketing while I was working for a startup.I started it out with 3 posts that I published in May, and decided to spend June getting traffic whenever I had time to work on it. Here are my traffic stats from June:
That’s not too shabby for just starting out, and working on this part time. Or at least I thought so at the time.
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Remember This if You Want to Be Successful
The whole point of starting a blog is in hopes that your efforts will compound, and getting traffic will become easier and easier. I believe that everyone who has ever started a blog has an end state in mind where they can post on their blog, and thousands of people will read, share and love their content.
I mean, isn't that the goal? Whether you are blogging for business or for leisure, every blog owner wants to reach more people with their content.
So through your journey through the realm of being "unpopular," remember that your actions should center around building your audience so you can break through to the place that you want to be.
Take it from Mark Schaefer, from BusinessesGrow. He's been on both sides, and has finally reached a place where his blog is successful. In his article on what he would do if he was starting a blog from scratch, he says:
It can be pretty depressing to pour your heart into a blog and know that nobody is reading it. I am speaking from experience. I get as many page views in a week that I got in my first 18 months of blogging put together! My blog was a lonely place for a long time."
I can definitely relate. I still get sad sometimes when less than 200 people read one of my posts.
Quick Synopsis of the Strategy that I Used in My First Month
- Created a lead magnet and landing page before I ever published a blog post
- Sent paid traffic to the landing page and starting building a small email list
- Guest posted and sent traffic to the landing page
- Published 3 solid posts on my own blog
- Created Content Upgrades for 2 of the 3 posts (due to time constraints) to begin building my audience from the posts
- Distributed each post by posting it in places like reddit, forums, communities in my niche, and my new Twitter account
- Personally invited many forum users and site owners to check out my content
So what's wrong with this strategy?
Well... nothing. You can use this exact strategy to start building your blog's audience right now. This is the strategy that I used, and I've made it this far!
But... Continue Reading
The new year is upon us and entrepreneurs everywhere are setting goals for their businesses to reach new heights this year. Some are focusing on making a better website, while others want to launch new products.
No matter what your goals for this new year are, I know that EVERY business can use new customers. Brand new businesses need customers and businesses that have been around for 10 years could always use new customers.
The sad part is, most entrepreneurs struggle to setup a process that will actually allow them to steadily acquire new customers as they build their business.
It Starts with Staying Ahead of the Curve
The fact of the matter is, it’s not THAT hard to setup a system that keeps customers coming into your business steadily. It just takes a little bit of creativity, and knowing some of the latest, and most effective marketing channels that are out there.
If you’ve ever notice, the most successful businesses know how to do this. They seem to always be 2 steps ahead of the competition.
If you want to a highly successful business, you can’t do what everyone else is doing.
Most businesses are using stale, hardly effective marketing tactics that keep them struggling. That’s no good!
What you need is a fresh strategy, that is highly effective.
Here are some marketing strategies that are going to be extremely effective in 2016
So you’ve launched your website. Now what?
Assuming you have all of the proper tools, you should be able to market it so you can start building a successful business off of it. It’s a pretty straightforward process, that is often misunderstood to be very complicated by new entrepreneurs. Once you ensure that you have the following components on your website, use the following strategy to start growing your business today!
Prerequisites for a successful site in 2016:
- Ability to create landing pages
- Ability to add CTA’s to your blog posts
- Modern site design
If you don’t have these up and running for your site yet, go check out my guide, where I walk you through the steps of getting there.
Now here is my strategy to get your business up and running faster than ever once you have these things!
Use your landing pages
Landing pages are the highest converting pages on your website. If you want to build a raving audience to your brand, this is a key player.
You should use landing pages to offer something of value to your audience that has no hard cost to you like an ebook, free report, or any other digital product. This is called your “lead magnet.”
In return for your lead magnet, visitors will provide their name and email to join your email list. Take my landing page for example: The Beginners Content Marketing Course. It offers a free course delivered over 7 days that teaches the basics of content marketing. This is a good example of a lead magnet because it offers something of value, and has a relationship building sequence over time built in.
The largest challenge for new businesses and their landing pages is driving traffic to them. It can be a little more complicated than driving traffic to a blog post. So let’s address that concern right now.
I started this blog to help enable people to create successful businesses online. To do that, I’ve been teaching a lot about getting website traffic, blog traffic, building a social media following etc. But I wanted to take a couple of steps back to what it takes to actually CREATE an online business properly.
But so far, I’ve realized that most online entrepreneurs aspiring for success are in 1 of 2 boats. They either:
- Have no website at all or,
- Have a website that is not set up properly to drive their business
The only reason for this must be lack of knowledge making this task seem like it’s big and scary, when in reality, it’s not. It can be fixed with a few simple steps, and a few simple hours of work.
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Fix Your Website Now, Not Later
I urge you to follow this blog post and ebook and take the steps to make these changes to your website. Here’s why:
The difference between a website that get’s this right, and a website that gets this wrong is gigantic. A business that get’s this wrong, will probably convert traffic to email subscribers at 1% on their best pages. From there, they will likely convert those email subscribers to sales at 1% or less.
In other words you’re setting yourself up for failure in this situation. What’s more is I’d estimate that 90% of new online entrepreneurs fall into this category.
On the other hand, a site that gets this right will convert traffic at around 10% on blog posts, and up to 50% on their best pages.
If you do the math, and say that you drive 1000 visitors to your website, the difference is appalling. See the scenario below:
Every day flocks of aspiring entrepreneurs log on to the internet with a fresh website, blog or startup idea. “This one is the one!” they say “I know it.”
So they begin to research their topic. Their market research has promising results. They see a demand for their product in the customers. They are optimistic, and excited to get started working on their brand new business.
Until one day, about 3 weeks in to building their new business they discover a competitor. An established company, offering the solution that they were going to offer. How could they have missed this before? And more importantly, how could YOU compete with them?
And without a second thought, it’s back to the drawing board. “Time to search for a new idea.”
Have you ever been in this boat? I know that I have. I’ve given up on countless ideas before, simply because I saw something big and scary in the market. Someone that there was no way that I could compete with.
But I was dead wrong.
The truth is, any business in any niche can be successful, as long as they know the laws of the USP.
What is a USP?
By definition, a USP is a unique selling point (or unique selling proposition.)
What if I told you that you could break into any industry you wanted right now, and beat the competition? You’d probably tell me that I was crazy.
But this is totally possible! It just may not look like how you originally thought it would look. Mainly because you cannot target the entire market in whatever niche you are in. That’s one way to kill your business fast! Leave that to the big companies that have millions of dollars.
It’s always a struggle to build traffic and authority to a new brand. Especially if you’re a solo entrepreneur striving to create a successful online business.
But what if I told you that there were individuals out there that could wave a magic wand, snap their fingers, and immediately send you lots of targeted traffic and build your authority for you?
Sounds like a pretty good deal, right?
These people are called influencers.
It’s one of the most intimidating things about getting started in your niche. You know it would be awesome if all of the most popular people in your market would share your content and products with their audience, but you’re not sure how to get started.
Well let me tell you that I’ve been in your shoes. Paralyzed and afraid to talk to influencer in my niche. What if what I shared with them wasn’t good enough? What if I ruined my relationship with them before it even started?
When building an online business, most people put starting a blog lower on their priority list. When asked why they don’t have one, they simply reply:
“I know I should. I just haven’t gotten around to it. Barely anyone would read it anyway”
To those people I would say that you have no idea what you’re missing out on.
Here’s the deal. If you use the right formula (which I’m about to show you,) you can get 1 in 10 people that visit your blog to sign up for your email list!
So for every 1000 visitors you get, 100 people will sign up for your email list. From there, you can expect at least 4%-10% click through rates on links in every email you send. Finally, if you keep a healthy email list most marketers see a 3-5% conversion rate on relevant offers that they promote.
What does that mean?
This is a question that thousands of entrepreneurs have, but is still a tough one to answer.
There has been somewhat of an unhealthy stigma around this question, because I see so many entrepreneurs get obsessed with growing their business without spending any money. But what you have to keep in mind is that if you don’t want to spend money, it’s going to take you a lot more time to complete certain tasks.
It boils down to this, the less money you have to put into marketing, the more time it’s going to take you.
If you have $50-$100 to invest, there are a number of smart things that you could do that will really speed your process up.
But for the sake of this post let’s truly assume that besides the cost of getting a website up, you really have no money to promote your business to get customers.
So what should you do?
The Two Key Fundamentals
There are 2 key fundamentals that short on cash entrepreneurs HAVE to use nowadays to get exposure to their business.
The first fundamental is content creation. Creating content will make it 10X easier to get traffic to your site, especially when you have no money to invest. If you’ve been avoiding doing this, it’s time to get started right now.
The second is the concept of retaining your traffic as part of your audience, so you can continue to drive traffic in the long run. This manifests itself best in the form of building an email list. You HAVE to start focusing on this right now. If you don’t, most of your efforts will go to waste.
Building a social media following will help, but is no where near as important as an email list. This should be your primary focus.
With that in mind let’s jump in to the 7 most powerful ways that you can grow your business with no marketing budget.
Every blogger has experienced it before.
“The great disconnect.”
It’s what is separating you from your audience. Thinking of ways to overcome it is what keeps us up at night.
It is like there is a wall between you and the world of targeted website traffic, and you can’t figure out how to get over it. You want so badly for you content to get the thousands of readers it deserves, but just can’t figure out how to get there.
If you can relate to that, then you’re in luck because I’m uncovering several strategies that I used to increase blog post traffic by 10X+ at the last startup that I worked with.
By using these strategies we took our average blog post from this:
So get ready, because by the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll be fully equipped to drive at least 1000 visitors to every post that you write and keep 50-100 of them as your loyal subscribers, even on a brand new blog.
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Let’s get started with the 13 steps!
More and more startups and online businesses these days are content marketing to start getting exposure for their brand. And that’s great!
But in order to content market effectively, you need lots of momentum. And in order to get that momentum, you have to start somewhere.
Here’s the chart that I use that will make it very easy for you to visualize the flow of what you need in order to grow your business through your content.
I won’t go too in depth here, as I’ll probably save explaining this deeply for another post. Many content marketers and bloggers get discouraged to the point of giving up, because they don’t understand that flow of this chart. It’s always going to be tough as you’re just starting out, but as you begin to understand this process and follow it’s rules, you’ll see that you experience the most friction in the beginning, and with every step things get easier for you and just start to flow.
In the “First Wave of Content” You want to focus 70% on retention and 30% on shares. THAT’S IT.
Once you are achieving retention, that’s good! Keep it up! Keep refining your process and growing your audience. Try new things and see how they work.
But if you don’t have a working retention process in place, it’s like pouring water into a glass with a hole at the bottom. It’s not very beneficial to you, because you’re going to lose all of the water.
You don’t want to work hard to create content and get traffic to it, if you’re not going to keep any of those visitors on your email list so you can eventually turn them into customers. So please, for me, just make sure that you are retaining visitors from your blog posts to some degree. Ideally, you will know your conversion rate for your blog posts. I’ll show you how I’m doing all of this a little further along in this post.
As long as you’re doing that, let’s get into how you can start getting visitors to your blog posts!
It All Starts with Great Content
As the old internet saying goes, “content is king.”
Just like with most things in life, if you want to be extra successful at something, you have to do things that everyone else isn’t doing. You have to set yourself apart from the pack with your content.