I am officially starting my second week since creating this site. That means Zack and I are also one week into our 'grow blog traffic from 0 to 1000' challenge. To catch up you can take a look at these:
My goal for the first week was to get off to a good start as Zack has quite the advantage in SEO and marketing. Let's see what I did and how it performed, good and bad. I am hoping this will give a realistic glimpse into what a non-expert may be able to do in their first week when starting a new site.
Initial Blog Growth Analytics
Here are the numbers straight from Google Analytics.
There are a couple of things to point out:
- 63 New Users. Not too bad. This website is not indexed yet so all of the traffic has been from me directly linking it out.
As you can see 2/3 of the traffic was direct. I will go into detail about those direct resources down below but the important thing to note is that much of it was a correlation between my hours in -> to getting traffic out. So not overly scalable.
1/3 of the remaining traffic was Organic Social. This is similar to the hours in / traffic out of Direct, but I view it as a little more scalable as I am building up my social network along the way. Not to mention I have already gotten feedback on this site through that social traffic which is very valuable.
2. 71 Users to my 63 New Users. That means only 8 users came back to my site after leaving. Of course, tracking is not perfect so you can't strictly rely on this. But what it tells me is that I am not being kept in mind by initial users nor am I reminding them to come back. This is not too surprising yet as I am just starting to get the content and its frequency turned up.
3. Average engagement time is 24 seconds. Now, all it takes is a few, very low-engagement, users to throw this off. Much of this number is driven by the fact that most of my visitors so far have been to the main page but not to my individual posts with actual content. Google Analytics has more detailed data which I will show off in the future as we continue on this journey.
When I mentioned my numbers to my competitor, Zack, he said he had about one-third of the traffic so far. That means I'm off to a decent start. However, it turns out he was just taking his time building up a plan and content funnel that includes very high-quality content such as his 7 Steps To Getting 1000 Unique Visitors In Under 3 Months article. I will have to stay focused to out-compete him over the coming weeks.
What I Did For My First Week Of Blog Growth
As I outlined in my Catching Up On Modern SEO post, backlinks are a major backbone of SEO and are incredibly important for building trust for your website in the eyes of the major search providers (i.e. Google). There are two paths here:
- Create your content and hope that people find it and share it
- Be proactive and provide value to other sites. In exchange, link to your site
Option 1 is great if you already have an audience but when creating something new it is almost impossible to rely upon. Plus I prefer being in control and having more of my site's fate in my hands, so I definitely recommend putting effort into option 2.
It is too early for any of this to have paid off as it takes time for backlinks to come through. Through the following weeks, I will share all the techniques I am trying, whether it be paid services, manual outreach, or self-posting solutions, and have data to determine whether they are working or not. Here are the early identifiers of my efforts:
Ahrefs is a very powerful all-in-one SEO tool that I have seen many prominent SEO gurus leverage. They have several free tools that you can utilize in the early going such as their backlink checker. The above shows my current top-level stats from Ahrefs with a Domain Rating of 0.4, basically non-existent so far.
The other key identifiers that many tools use are Domain Authority and Page Authority.
As you can see I am already making progress here! Definitely a good sign.
Creating A Twitter Account
When starting this project I decided I want to also start building a social presence on at least one platform. Using my own tool Tactycs, Twitter was identified as a great match for me and my target audience. Twitter is in a little bit of turmoil right now but I decided to give it a shot regardless.
Despite creating this account in 2011, it had 0 following and 0 followers on the day I started this blog last week. The important thing to note here is that a good chunk of those connections are very high quality and in the above section have provided about 1/3 of my current traffic. As a ratio of effort to value so far, Twitter is really paying off. You just have to hop on for a few minutes a day and engage with others. I am confident that this will scale nicely going forward.
Joining Discord Communities
The surprise standout so far has been Discord. It is something I already used to chat with friends casually but is not something I really considered for networking. Turns out there are great communities being built all the time for a variety of niches.
I have signed up for 3 or 4 so far. I have seen channels that were effectively dead but I have also seen channels that are incredibly lively with tons of ongoing discussions, sharing, and more. I am pleasantly surprised at the quality so far and as I dig further into this I will share more of my findings!
How Do I Feel About My First Week of Blog Growth
Good👍! It has taken a fair bit of effort, with the main barrier being me getting up to date with SEO practices. I have a huge backlog of content to share and am now spinning up several new startup ventures which will provide some great opportunities to showcase the startup process.