This post will outline exactly what I’ve done to establish a blog in 30 days after relaunch.

I wrote a post on my first 7 days of blogging called How To Relaunch A Blog: First Week Of Social Marketing which is fundamental reading to this article. It outlines most of the strategies and approaches which I continued to use throughout the first 30 days.

This article will share my experiences so that you can leverage my tactics yourself, while improving them to establish a blog successfully on your own.

Overview

I published 21 social media blog posts within the first 30 days since relaunching my blog.

I have been publishing each article at specific times, between either 10.30-11.30am or 2-4pm UK time. My first week’s analysis (and wider research) indicated that these were my specific peak times. I tried to leverage this knowledge by actively posting when my readership levels were at their highest.

I’ve been using only social marketing to promote each blog post and my presence. You can read how I promote each post by reading my article How To Promote New Blog Posts For Mass Exposure.

I received 156 blog comments and pings/trackbacks within this first period.

The Stats

Let’s take a look at the stats for the first 30 days of blogging…

Establish A Blog

Establish A Blog

  • #1: I disabled my Google Analytics plugin while making web updates and forgot to turn it back on until later in the evening!
  • #2: Traffic spike – possible explanations here in this article.

Establish A Blog - Social Sources

Establish A Blog

Here’s a quick round-up to summarise:

Blog Visits 6,184
Pageviews 12,275
Average Pages per Visit 1.99
% of New Visitors 86.37%
% of Visitors from Social Marketing 78.74%
Subscriptions/eBook Requests 84


 

Content Strategies

As I continually state on my blog, quality is everything. So I spent longer than usual on pretty much every post to ensure they contained some unique insight and value.

Coming up with content ideas was not hard – I always keep a notepad or have my phone with me to jot down any ideas that I can think deeper about when I find time, so nothing falls through the cracks.

My keyword research frequently found relatively uncompetitive keyword phrases that I could refine my article topics around for better search ranking.

The third piece of the puzzle was my content evolution strategy, which I briefly mentioned in my How to (Relaunch a Blog) article. A quick one-line summary is to develop content that ‘leads readers down a guided path, where they will learn gradually through a series of experiences’.

I wrote this post and submitted it to Social Media Today after being approved for authorship, but as it frequently goes with larger companies or “superblogs”, they have little time to engage with the “small guys”. If it doesn’t pass their strict editorial stage (they use 4 different editors per post apparently), or I get no responses in the next week or two, I’ll post it on my blog so you can read deeper into this. Watch this space.

I wrote three other guest blogs in the first 30 days since restarting my blog and they are all now live. You can read each of my articles here:

I will try to keep contributing and writing guest posts whenever I can. If you’re interested in finding out about writing for my blog, then visit my Guest Blogging page for the basic submission guidelines (any additional questions then feel free to contact me directly).

Promotional Strategies

I set a goal of attracting 2,000 unique visitors for the first month, so that I could gauge how effect my strategies are and how well-received my content is. I over-performed on my targets and this is mainly due to my promotional strategies.

As they say, you can write the best content in the world but if no one sees it, it’s worthless.

I adjusted and extended my blog promotion activities that I initially outlined in this article. This was a result of both my first week’s analysis and additional resources found through extended readings (I do a weekly summary of the best posts I read each week – latest round-up is here).

I included these extra practices:

Joined more social communities

  • Google Plus communities
  • Facebook groups
  • LinkedIn groups

Joined more blogging communities

I received my update from the very helpful BuzzBundle team, so now my software is fully working again. I had to wait about 10 days or so for the patch, but it was well worth it. This enabled me to get back to my daily social listening and engagement strategies, which made my whole promotional campaign much more efficient.

I adjusted my blog promotional strategy further by:

  • Dropping my article marketing routines
  • Using more visual content (I created two infographics here and here) to enhance promotion in wider networks like Pinterest
  • Featuring the best articles I was sharing and promoting to my audiences weekly

Engagement Strategies

Engagement is one area where most social media marketing campaigns undervalue or under-perform. Using BuzzBundle, I was able to proactively reach out to people outside my social circles and extend my marketing and engagement scope.

As usual, I also responded to every comment or social action within my direct spaces accordingly. This enabled me to start building relationships with people who were interested in my blog and what I had to say.

I started a weekly piece on the best digital marketing articles I read each week. This allowed me to create and develop relationships with similar bloggers in similar spaces. These articles are all available to read under my Reading tab on my blog’s main menu.

I also took the time to comment and share each article I included in each piece weekly. Not only this, I told the authors or webmasters I was sharing it, which usually led to more engagement and social sharing. I think this is a useful strategy to leverage other relevant audiences. By incentivising the mutual gains facilitated by including their links and promoting their content, the actions were usually reciprocated.

My audience building techniques also created a lot of opportunity for engagement. Searching and connecting with relevant people typically leads to the start of ongoing conversations.

I am writing an 8 part series on social media strategy and one of the episodes will be on engagement. You can read the first two articles here:

Subscribe to the blog to get email notifications when all the episodes are published.

    Search Engines

    Organic search traffic is renowned for being a reliable and consistent source of traffic. I generated 385 unique visitors from search engines in the first 30 days, based on my Google Analytics results.

    Establish A Blog - Organic Search Traffic

    Google Webmaster Tools shows a slightly different graph, although it might be due to not being updated in real time.

    Establish A Blog - Google Webmaster Tools

    I’ve also found my articles get indexed quickly by Google. I know there’s a lot of How-to’s and guides on how to get indexed fast, but to cut through all the jargon, when I promote by blog using my strategies and techniques then they are usually indexed within just a few hours.

    I always choose low competitive keyword phrases to base my articles on, which means I have a good chance of ranking high in the search results. I know these will usually be somewhat low-traffic search terms, but I would take a big piece of something small over no piece of something big any day.

    Here are a few examples of posts that have ranked high very quickly:

    Establish A Blog - Search Results

    Establish A Blog - Search Results

    Establish A Blog - Search Results

    My search engine optimisation activities could, of course, have been much better. There are a few reasons why my social metrics outperformed search metrics by over 10 times:

    • My skills lie in social media marketing and not SEO.
    • I’ve been running two businesses alongside establishing my blog, so I have no time to take on SEO activities alongside the blog’s social marketing activities.
    • Blogging has cost me very little and I am not going to start paying for an SEO expert.

    It’s obvious after comparing the stats where my skills lie. I have been keen to demonstrate my social marketing knowledge and expertise through establishing this blog because its relevant to my freelance work. I think the proof is in the pudding – being able to physically prove that your strategies work, or being able to say ‘been there, done that, here’s what the t-shirt says’ are strong indicators to expertise.

    One of the most common mistakes I see in the online world is people starting businesses without having prior in-depth, absolute knowledge. And being able to prove it when the chips are down.

    So, back to my blog’s search engine performance.

    I’ll take the easy option and leave this to the experts – if you are an SEO expert, please let me know how typical these stats are in the comments section and your basic advice for improving.

    I will feature any good advice I receive and I’m sure the readers will appreciate helpful knowledge that they can benefit from.

    Additional Channels

    Forum Marketing
    Forum marketing has been the most widely used of my additional marketing channels. BuzzBundle has allowed me to register and contribute to many marketing forums. Probably too many.

    After a quick scan of my accounts, I should probably not be spreading myself too thin and concentrating on the most relevant forums to my blog. This is something I will adjust in the very near future.

    A few of the forums I have been participating in are:

    Article Marketing
    In my humble opinion, article marketing is not worth the time for the average blogger (I’m ready to be hurled abuse at!).

    Let me elaborate. If you want to invest the money in some good software, upgrade your article marketing accounts, have the extra time on your hands, or have a niche that it greatly benefits or complements, then by all means it will be worth it.

    It has to be. Otherwise it wouldn’t be such a big industry. But for the “average blogger”… I think there are better alternatives.

    I submitted 5 articles to EzineArticles and here are the results after 30 days (less in most cases as they each go through a moderation period).

    Establish A Blog - Article Marketing Results

    The raw stats would suggest 109 article views and 2 clicks is a poor return on time investment. For the time taken to write and publish manually, without having any worthwhile features for engagement, my time can just be better spent elsewhere.

    RSS

    In my weekly round-up here, I read a piece on RSS submissions and how they drive “massive” traffic to help establish a blog. So naturally, I was intrigued to learn more in case I had missed something previously.

    Nope. Nothing missed.

    I submitted my blog to about 5 specific RSS sites and after about two weeks, I’ve yet to record a single visitor. It might be good in some niches, but from my first hand experience, there seems to be nothing in it for me.

    Email Marketing

    I will have a monthly newsletter in the future (it’s only been 30 days now remember!) where I will provide additional resources not available on my blog. While we’re here, you can get my newsletter by subscribing to my blog or requesting my free eBook: How To Win In Social Media.

    I plan on continuing to provide great content that people want to be notified about and make sure to provide my regular readers with additional value through emails.
     

    So to bring it all together…

    My Typical Blogging Routine To Establish A Blog

    This is what my typical blogging routine has looked like over the first 30 days since relaunch. Of course, it hasn’t been as robotic as this. Each step could also be taken many levels deeper into the exact activities and strategies.

    It should provide a good overview though of the general steps I take each and every time I publish a blog post.

    • 1. Idea or inspiration
    • 2. Research and planning
    • 3. Writing or designing
    • 4. Promotion
    • 5. Engagement
    • 6. Measure and analyse
    • 7. Repeat with better knowledge and insight

    This brings to mind another thought I’ve been having. I want to briefly mention this, but explore it further in a separate blog post…

    Is the article you spend the most time on the most valuable to your audiences?

    I have found, on a few occasions, that articles I have spent a long time preparing and writing have had less views, shares and engagement than some articles that took me a lot less time to create. Something to think about anyway…

    Monetisation

    I tested two methods of blog monetisation, Google Adsense and Infolinks. I thought I would test these much earlier than when I originally planned to, so that I could get an idea of their potential. Here is a quick overview of each:

    Infolinks
    To be honest, I thought this was terrible. The implementation of Infolinks makes your articles and pages look spammy and not user-friendly, in my opinion.

    The earnings were also terrible – after 15 days, I earned 79c USD or 48p GBP. From over 10k page views, I could buy a chocolate bar. Not a king-size one though…

    Establish a Blog - Infolinks Earnings

    If you noticed green doubled underlined words in my posts and the random links at the end of pages and thought it looked bad, then I apologise. You won’t be seeing them again any time soon!

    Google Adsense
    I decided to keep the Google ads in my sidebar only, so they were away from the main content. I hoped this wouldn’t obscure the content, affect user experience and ultimately trade in readership for small monetary gains.

    I could have optimised my Google ads further, had I changed the ad positioning to within posts, instead of just visible lower down on the sidebar.

    I would have no doubt increased earnings if I used text ads alongside display ads too, but I wanted to keep ads to a minimum and the visuals as appealing as possible.

    I was under the impression that because the Google ads were not prominent (not in page content or posts), the earnings would be less than Infolinks…

    Establish a Blog - Adsense Earnings

    Being active for the same time, with less spammy and imposing ads, Google Adsense outperformed Infolinks by over 5 and a half times. They also only got 1 single click.

    Let’s be honest, no one is going to become a millionaire from displaying a couple of ads low down in their sidebar.

    Oh and by the way, can anyone tell me why Google Adsense is saying there has been over 15k pageviews in this time?!? This doesn’t add up to my other measurements…

    I have considered alternative options for monetisation and will likely test and implement various methods in the future to be able to report on their effectiveness. For now, I am concentrating on providing quality content, building my audiences and not earning pennies in return for lower retention or experience.

    Intangible Benefits To Consider

    The intangible benefits are worth considering. A few to briefly mention include:

    • Branding: establishing your name (guest post on online authority here) so that people recognise it and differentiate you from others.
    • Exposure: being visible in more spaces so there is an increased likelihood that of potential clients or readers finding you.
    • Authority: having the ability to influence people’s decisions and actions.

    Biggest Wins

    I had a huge spike in traffic on 3rd December and received 848 unique visitors. I think this was partly due to the result of my guest posts going live and my blog benefiting from additional exposure in other relevant audiences.

    It was also because I took most of the day off from my other initiatives and so spent most of the day on BuzzBundle taking my content direct to the audiences. It just shows how effective engaging with your communities is.

    My strategy to focus on what I know and do best, social media marketing, also was a big win in my eyes. I leveraged my knowledge and expertise to generate the vast majority of my traffic from social spaces.

    This shows how effective and quick the uptake is in social media marketing, compared to other forms of marketing which might take longer and require investment to successfully implement (i.e. advertising).

    The best received post within the first 30 days was 51 Hilarious Social Media Job Titles – Exposed!. The angle of humour was a big win and the article was shared and re-posted a ton. Social sharing and virality stems from emotion – people need to feel something in order to share or engage with content.

    I’m by no means a stand-up comedian, but I shall try to write more articles with comical angles in the future. I have a few ideas which I will think deeper about in the coming weeks.

    Biggest Fails

    Spending too much time on some articles I think was a mistake. It’s great to put your heart and soul into an article, but the posts I think hold the most unique insight are the ones that generally got read the least.

    Why?

    People just want to find out what it is they visited your article for. Most people don’t have lots of time on their hands to sit down and digest an extra long article (like this one!). By the way, if you’re still here, thanks for taking the time to take in as much as you can!

    As mentioned earlier in this article, I think I spread myself to thin across my forum marketing activities. I’ll adjust this and focus on only a few in future.

    Also spending too much time on less valuable things was a big fail. In my mind, engagement is number one in terms of value. If I spent less time on some activities and even more time engaging, then I think I would see even better results in the future.

    Over To You

    Hopefully, there is a lot you will be able to take away from my experiences of establishing a blog within 30 days.

    If you want to follow my journey and learn alongside me as I continue to establish and grow my social media blog, then the best way to do so is by subscribing.

      I’ve been on the look-out for high quality guest posts – if you’re interested in submitting a guest post then take a look at my guidelines here.

      I’m sure you will have your own ideas, strategies and tactics and will be eager to put them into practice. Let me know how you get on and if you have any suggestions or recommendations for me.

      I’ve been asking people lately if there is anything they want me to write about specifically. Feedback is important so that I can continue to adjust and improve the site to my audiences. How do you think my blog can be improved?

      I act on feedback very quickly. One example was from @danusiaj – she said she couldn’t find the share buttons, so I moved them to the top of the posts for better visibility.

      So now, it’s over to you…

      What has been the most valuable insights you can take away and learn from after reading this article?

       

      Image credit: Cox&Forkum.com

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