While brainstorming how I wanted to kick off my 'startup building in public' journey I kept coming back to the idea of challenges. My co-founder Zack and I typically divide up the tasks of our projects, me often on the product side, and Zack on marketing and sales. This is great for being efficient and sticking to our strengths but if we want to really challenge each other on the work we are doing it is useful to have skills across everything a startup would need.
Thus, our engineer vs marketer challenge was born.
Naturally, as we both are kicking off our personal blogs, each of which aims to open the curtains on what it takes to create and run startups from differing perspectives, we have an even playing field to start our challenge.
That first challenge is simple; to grow blog traffic from 0 to 1000 the quickest.
Keeping the stakes (see steak🥩 below) low to start, the loser has to buy the other dinner. And in my case, if I win I also get bragging rights for beating Zack at his own game. In all honesty, I don't have much to lose here even if Zack wins, as long as he picks something good to eat 👀.
What Will Make This Hard?
I probably should have picked our first challenge to be something like "architect and build this multi-platform tool" instead of a task directly in the wheelhouse of someone who does this type of work every single day...
This may as well have been the tool I was using last time I had put any real focus into driving traffic to a blog, things like SEO, and everything else surrounding this space.
I am effectively starting from ground zero, as it seems that driving traffic and page ranking strategies have changed quite a bit over the past decade or so.
My Plan of Attack
Catch up on modern SEO
Since the space has changed a bit, I need to dedicate some time to understand the current landscape.
Stand out among people already using modern SEO
Playing the catch-up game is important, but even more important will be trying to differentiate my tactics from others. I definitely need to find an edge to beat out Zack in trying to grow our blog traffic from 0 to 1000. I expect that he will be able to do this very quickly.
It's all fine and dandy to know how to leverage SEO and set up things so that google will love you, but the really important thing is to share my journey with like-minded people who find this type of thing fascinating. I hope that by peeling back the curtain of what the startup world is like and how I am navigating it, I will be able to provide real tangible value to others.
I find that starting a project, especially as an engineer, is a pretty easy thing to do. But sharing that publically can be terrifying. What if it gets no interest? What if I can't gain any traction right away, can I keep grinding? Should I keep grinding? I think by exposing the inner workings of these endeavors, such as through this blog traffic challenge, I can make it a little bit easier for others with the same goals.
Make sure you stay tuned (and potentially subscribe) to see all of the tests and trials that are part of this blog traffic challenge!