Launching a Blog Successfully in 15 Days

May 12 2010 by Mathew Carpenter | 66 Comments

Website Promotion: Launching a Blog Effectively in 15 Days

The Internet is packed with opportunities for unique, influential, and ambitious people to succeed. From would-be bloggers to potentially successful entrepreneurs, the number of people sharing the common goal of online success is staggering – a number rivaled only by the number of people wishing they knew how to achieve it.

Over the last month, I, with my business partner, Matty Craig, have seen online success — albeit on a much smaller scale than some of the Internet’s leading blogs or authoritative websites.

A design and development blog that I’ve been involved in — AddToDesign — has been visited by hundreds of thousands of people and recommended by thousands of social media users in the short time that it has been up.

Moreover, we’ve built a dedicated online following without the backing of any other established website.

Our marketing efforts weren’t commissioned and carried out by online superstars, our design wasn’t built on a huge budget or expansive scale, and our content hasn’t been pieced together by a research team or stable of professional writers.

In essence, we’ve built a popular website in a very competitive field without any of the resources that many people believe are requirements.

While we’re far from the pinnacle of online success, AddToDesign’s rapid growth has taught me some interesting lessons in online promotion.

I’ve had beliefs that I once held to be completely true, disproved. I’ve had an equal number of online publishing assumptions squashed flat.

My story aims to demonstrate several things:

  1. How launching a major website isn’t that difficult.
  2. What steps are required to rise above competitors initially.
  3. How important social media, partnerships, and your own network is.

Increasing User Engagement Is the Initial Goal

There are hundreds of reasons to launch a blog, each offering its own set of challenges and difficulties.

While we do plan on opening up AddToDesign to advertisers, our initial goals weren’t related to generating revenue.

Our goals were all related to popularity and increased readership. In the early days of the blog, our aim was to increase engagement and create a resource that readers would return to.

Besides the most obvious currency for return visitors – quality content – we found several key elements that we believe brought people back to AddToDesign for second, third, and fourth reads.

Use Engaging Content

One key element was the use of blog competitions. Our initial goals weren’t a flood of traffic, but a flood of traffic that remained on our website.

Competitions, resource-style posts, and other engaging content can increase the amount of time readers spend on your website, and even act as a reason for them to subscribe.

That’s why our initial content wasn’t designed to lure in readers and have them exit quickly, but to draw in an audience that would stay with us long term. We have more competitions coming up, aimed at achieving the same purpose: keeping long-term readers with us and building a subscribership base rather than a quick spurt of initial traffic.

A blog is a long-term investment — we accepted that from the start — and it’s essential for us to build a deep connection with our readers right from the start.

Measure engagement times (using handy software like Google Analytics) and subscriber count in the early days, and don’t freak out if you’re receiving less traffic that you’d like – it’ll even out in the end.

How Social Media Plays a Big Part at the Start

It’s obviously difficult to provide promotional advice that applies to every blog. There are blogs out there aimed at helping people fix nail fungus and cataloging junk food. The chance of any of them succeeding on social news sites like Digg, Reddit, or Twitter is relatively low — these types of topics, in general, aren’t interesting to the stereotypical social news site users.

But for a design blog, the coast is relatively clear when it comes to social news site marketing opportunities. I had some early assumptions about the value of social media as a marketing tool, several of which were proven untrue by the results they gave us.

Authentic Social Networking

Firstly, real networking is by far the most important strategy for promoting your blog, business, or online presence.

Social media has given us all a valuable chance to interact, and the majority of its users are squandering it by focusing on flimsy connections.

The most successful social media efforts we had were those which moved through real friends, business contacts, and power users – not the result of mindlessly expanding our follower lists or LinkedIn accounts.

Social Media Can Be a Huge Source of Site Traffic at the Start

At the moment, social media contributes approximately 45-50 percent of our traffic. This is very high for a blog, but we can attribute it to the fact that we’re the new kids on the block and our website isn’t clearly visible in the search engines yet.

As we grow older and gain a greater list of subscribers, become more visible in search results, and build more long-term reader connections, we have a feeling that social media traffic may peel away slightly.

Do You Need to Network to Succeed?

Put simply, yes.

In its first ten days of existence, AddToDesign received 150,000 unique visitors – an overwhelming amount for a relatively new website.

Our traffic extended to the point where our ultra-cheap server simply couldn’t handle everything, and we were forced to take the entire website down for several hours and move to a new host.

How did this flood of traffic happen? Through the natural connections we’d built over the years before our launch.

By connecting with website owners, guest posting on a wide variety of blogs, and consistently aiming to help people in our field, we created real connections that allowed us the privilege of guest posting to their blogs upon launch.

Thanks to the extreme variety within the design world, we’ve been visited by people from over 25 different countries. Almost 150 of them subscribed to our blog, and over 400 are now following us on Twitter.

It all comes down to real connections — not false friendships, impersonal email blasts, and social media spamming.

How Much Maintenance Does a High-Traffic Blog Need?

Maintaining a high-traffic blog isn’t a simple task. While it’s far from complex to piece together the content required for a blog, the sheer amount of effort required to manage the other things — your audience, your contacts, and your publishing schedule — can be quite tiring.

This is not a field for get-rich-quick schemers and would-be successes — in many ways, blogging can feel like a full time job.

The sad reality is that most blogs go unattended, or at least barely attended to. Even Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, only seems to update his personal blog once in a blue moon.

Without the energy, the schedule, and the reason to update a high-traffic blog regularly, it’s very likely that your audience and influence will quickly taper off.

With that said, there appears to be a tipping point where frequency of updating a website becomes less important in blogging. A range of popular blogs (and websites, some of which predate blogging software) have sat dormant for several months without seeing their traffic disappear. This is something that comes with your content — news-style blogs will ultimately see a quick drop in traffic as publishing slows, while timeless content may receive attention forever.

What Would We Do Differently?

AddToDesign is the first high-traffic blog I’ve launched, and it was certainly a learning experience that I won’t forget.

Looking back over the launch, there are hundreds of small errors, misjudgments, and assumptions that could have been fixed given the perspective we’ve gained, but for the most part, they’re not a large cause for concern. I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff.

For example, we could have built a greater presence on social bookmarking websites – Digg, Reddit, and the like.

We could have networked with more bloggers, made more connections, and had more media out there to support us during the launch. We could have put an opt-in form on our website to keep Diggers there longer, but we didn’t.

The thing is, it’s not a huge problem that we missed out on opportunities along the way. What matters most — at least to me — is that we put our blog together and made it visible, regardless of how refined or complete it may be.

Looking back on the launch is frustrating as there are lots of small things we could have changed, but also fantastic because it’s helped us learn so much more information that we will use going ahead, not just on AddToDesign, but on other future Web ventures.

What Has Helped You Succeed Online?

Launching a blog, promoting it through social media, and building connections in the blogging world has helped me change a lot of my preconceptions, but I certainly don’t know everything about how to succeed as a blogger.

If you’ve launched your own blog, please share your experiences with us in the comments.

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About the Author

Mathew Carpenter is an 18-year-old-business owner and entrepreneur from Sydney, Australia. Mathew is currently working on Sofa Moolah, a website that teaches you how to make money online. Follow Mathew on Twitter: @matcarpenter. Follow Sofa Moolah on Twitter: @SofaMoolah.

66 Comments

Jacob Gube

May 12th, 2010

Well done Mathew.

Just for anyone wondering: I asked Mathew to write this post for us here on Six Revisions. I thought it would be a great anecdotal article to inspire you all for your own web projects. I truly commend his work on +2D, and wanted him to share some insights on how he and his partner were able to launch the site with a bang under constrained resources/budget.

abhishek

May 12th, 2010

It seems really tough, if I am new.
I launched my blog 4 months ago. I had a little experience in blogging. I am still at hard position.

Mike Chawla

May 12th, 2010

I have launched my blog only a few weeks back and I guess it’s about to collapse as there’s only little amount of traffic. However, I believe I know now what’s needed to be done.

Jacob Gube

May 12th, 2010

@Mike Chawla: Don’t give up. Believe in your work. My advice: Focus on writing great content, and people will come eventually.

OpenCartT

May 12th, 2010

A noteworthy article. I am a blogger too and I know that there’s still so many things to learn to really excel in the blogging community. Your article has thought yet another lesson.

Paul S

May 12th, 2010

Interesting article! We’re blogging to with our company but there is a small difference. We do it in Dutch, since that is where we do most of our business.

There are about 25 million people who can read/speak Dutch, but 375 million who speak English as their first language (so there are probably 150 million more world wide?). So the possible audience is about 5% of what an English blog would have. And that brings up a lot of different problems. Especially on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Since those sites are flooded with English content. And sites like Digg to. There is no reason for them to have non-English articles on there.

Rosti The Snowman

May 12th, 2010

Great post!

I’m preparing to launch my blog within the next 7-10 days so this is most helpful!

Divyang

May 12th, 2010

1,50,000 in first ten days?!! That’s quite a buzz. And look at me, after 10 months, I’m at 6000+ per month. Anyway good luck.

@Jacob
Sixrevisions is always great resource of content as well as inspiration. Keep it up!!

Cheers,
Divyang

Niubi

May 12th, 2010

Agreed. The DubLi blog is looking like it’s followed most your advice!

Paul Anthony

May 12th, 2010

15,000 uniques every day since launch to a site with http://bit.ly/9Qq9G0 116 pages indexed in Google. 167 subscribers, and 456 twitter followers. Absolutely awesome. And to get engaged traffic i.e. traffic that spent a while on your site, didn’t bounce, AND subscribed well thats even better.

Mike Chawla

May 12th, 2010

@Jacob Gube: Yes, I almost gave up for a few times. My another big problem is that I have this fear of failure inside me, which keeps me from writing my second blog post. I’ll figure it out the way to get rid of it. Thanks for the encouragement :-)

Jamal Nichols

May 12th, 2010

Inspiring but low on content. I would have preferred to read more about how you used social media, where you went to promote besides your contacts, and what you would have improved next time around.

Melody

May 12th, 2010

I’ve had one blog for over a year and just started a new one a couple of months ago, I definitely know how it feels to want to give up, but I think in those moments is when you have to insist on getting the blog noticed before giving up.

I see that others give up because of lack of traffic, which involves implementing common marketing tactics;however, I’d rather throw in the towel because the idea/niche isn’t working for me.
You will never know your potential til you get out there…

Patrik

May 12th, 2010

Great advice!
We are in the process of starting our own blog over at saismo.at … After reading this article it sounds so easy – but I guess it’s still hard work though.

Ken

May 12th, 2010

“A design and development blog that I’ve been involved in — AddToDesign — has been visited by hundreds of thousands of people and recommended by thousands of social media users in the short time that it has been up.”

You’d think that you’d have more than 154 RSS subscribers then, wouldn’t ya?

American

May 12th, 2010

The site looks great, but there is a problem…

http://i40.tinypic.com/2hrcu51.png

Please make it compatible with Firefox 2.0

At least in one of my sites…

10.00% Firefox 3.6
9.40% Chrome 4.0
5.20% Firefox 2.0 <—
5.00% Firefox 3.5
3.40% Safari 4.0
2.40% Firefox 3.0

Alyssa

May 12th, 2010

I’m a student and plan on making a much stronger attempt. I’m becoming better at managing my time, which will play a significant roll in the planning process.

I definitely believe content is king. If your content isn’t useful for anyone, whats the purpose?

I used to believe (oddly enough) that a snazzy design will win everyone over. Yes, it helps promote credibility. Especially a site about design, the design should be cutting edge. But your content is what keeps visitors.

I think everyone can create good content, especially because everyone has their own unique way of saying something. That’s what makes the internet such a powerful place for information- finding information from SO many standpoints. The key is making yours stand out.

So good luck to all! And most importantly, have fun!

Young

May 12th, 2010

I definitely enjoyed this article – I have a few blogs I’m about to help develop. For my own blog, however, the biggest challenge I have though is really finding the time to blog, it seems…

Adam (A.K.A. "Dad")

May 12th, 2010

I’m launching a blog with my son this week and found the information helpful, thanks.

Nicole Foster

May 12th, 2010

I just restarted my blog again and set a schedule for myself to constantly write articles weekly. I haven’t seen a traffic spike yet, but I’m hopeful. I believe if you’re consistent with your articles and produce great ones, you can have a successful blog.

Nonetheless, great article Matt!

Lorla

May 12th, 2010

Good info. Social media is the path to walk in. I have been ignoring it for a long time ;)

Matt Lewis

May 12th, 2010

Great advice Matthew. I have been thinking around similar strategies for releasing a blog/site for powerful content to help the ux/dev space. These insights have definitely put me in a better place to continue this thinking.

Chad

May 12th, 2010

Wow. Congrats on the awesome success. I couldn’t agree more on two things: 1) A blog is long-term commitment, and 2) to get people coming back, the articles should be written as a resource. Keep up the good work!

Taylor

May 12th, 2010

Great info!!! I am on the same path with my blog which is now 3 days old. One of the great things I have been reading is the art of personalizing your writing…versus just being a propagator or recycler. Thanks for all of the great points…

Daniel

May 12th, 2010

I started nenuno 10 weeks ago and I don’t agree to this. Networking is very difficult when you are a fresh face. It took us about 8 weeks to get noticed within the Twitter/Facebook community. If you have a solid foundation to relaunch from – ofcourse traffic is going to be easy to get. This is very missleading… as for your subscriber stats via RSS and twitter for the traffic you are getting should be ahella lot more.

Boolean Value

May 12th, 2010

An interesting read. I think a lot of people work really hard initially, and then see little in the way of readership so they being to lose heart.

I think Jacob is correct in the ‘if you build it, they will come’ comment; however of course you have to have quality content to attract them in the first place.

Bookmarking and promotional sites may bring a peak of traffic, but it is all about building regular readership.

jeprie

May 12th, 2010

For me, I use my blog as a personal project and diary. I put every interesting thing I found and learn from the internet in my site.

I keep update it even if no one visit it. As simple as that.

Ashley

May 12th, 2010

Great tips, we will be launching a blog on our company site soon (web development) and have already started trying to form connections so glad to see we are on the right track!

Tom

May 12th, 2010

Having a competition is a great idea to bring re-occurring visitors. Just need to figure out what I can put up for grabs now…

ZOMGIndie

May 12th, 2010

Some great tips there, thank you. It does appear to be a lot more difficult to get that launch happening so successfully without a handy network of contacts already established.

I think the most important factor is still content though. Without good articles or regular updates, visitors can drop and spike dramatically – a lesson I’m still learning.

Justin

May 12th, 2010

Great article! I’m launching a blog in the next few months and it’s great to hear success stories like this. This article will be a big help for me.

Jack Rugile

May 13th, 2010

Mathew,

I have been following +2D since the beginning and it is very inspiring. I am in the process of creating my own blog, so this came at a great time. Your success so far is amazing, I wish I could have a quarter of that when I start!

Alex Whinfield

May 13th, 2010

Really great article, well written and informative, Thanks.

Steve Jennings

May 13th, 2010

Great post – and if you’ve got networking down and learned not to sweat the small stuff – the worlds your oyster!

Jonathan B

May 13th, 2010

Thx so much for this great article, very informative and useful!

Dap An De Thi Dai hoc

May 13th, 2010

Good info. Social media is the path to walk in. I have been ignoring it for a long time ;)

inspirationfeed

May 13th, 2010

I’m on my third month of blogging. Inspirationfeed get at least 4000 views a day so far. We are steadily growing and climbing the alexa ranks. Social media is huge, i can’t stress enough on how important it is. Its great traffic that keeps coming back. Be sure to work hard and be focused, and don’t give up.

Don Joe

May 13th, 2010

I am not surprised that well tended relationships have helped you build your blog. Your subject matter is great too.

Its taken me 6 months to build up a “sticky” following of 1,000 readers. For an office comedy blog that’s pretty good going but I’m going to turn to other outlets to take it to the next stage.

Best,

Don

Jeremy Carlson

May 13th, 2010

Sorry…I like sixrevisions.com, but this article is generic. At the moment the author’s blog has 192 subscribers…seems freakin low.

I am not exactly sure who this geared towards. A lone web designer doing a design blog, like myself? Or someone starting a company blog?

I think most blogs get stalled, because they don’t really know why they are doing it. I write mine because I love web development. I want new and intermediate web devs to see what I learned, and be able to get the answers faster than I did, and what I’m having trouble with. I’m not sure I have any subscribers, and that shouldn’t really be the point at all. If you are writing a blog, just to get as many people looking at it as possible…”You’re doin’ it wrong!”

I got one comment on mine, from the head designer of Sass…and that was such a thrill, that it will keep me writing for a long time.

I think I’m just annoyed that this article is more about how to get everyone over to your blog, when the questions should be, why should you, and why are you writing?

Quality over quantity.

Lucas Cobb Design

May 13th, 2010

I started Lucas Cobb Design 3 months ago as a fresh face in the design community. I can relate to nenuno on how hard it is to get recognized in the social media / design community. It also took me about 2 months and my traffic has increased dramatically since then. I do have to say your twitter stats and rss followers are great stats. I have 22 rss followers and just over 200 followers on twitter in 3 months starting with no contacts so you can see how being connected helps. great post.

Jennifer R

May 14th, 2010

Of course, talk is easily than do, for the new blog, it’s hard to get sucess within 15 days :(

Najam Siddiqi

May 14th, 2010

this is very informative post in this regards thanks for sharing.

Jack

May 14th, 2010

You have done a great job with your blog. I think that, for most of “common” bloggers, it would be more get that amount of visits.

Matt Sepeta

May 14th, 2010

Thanks for the informative article! After having tried to”ignore” the power of “social media” away, I have finally decided to embrace it. *shudder

Michael

May 14th, 2010

Nice article for people like me. I started also my blog a few months ago as a bonus to my portfolio but the traffic isn’t that big and sometimes I think I am writing just for me :-(

Jan

May 15th, 2010

Mathew,
great article. I’ve launched my blog 2 months ago and added a video blog on top of that with a friend of mine one month ago.
It is a lot of hard work to attract valuable traffic to the site. But as we’re just doing it for the fun of doing it (we’re broadcasting our show about football once a week) were pretty much okay with the low traffic in the early days.

Keep up the good work
Jan

Rajib Roy

May 16th, 2010

Thanks for the article. I have started my blog site http://www.rajibroy.me 3 months before. It is working fine.

Chi Okeke

May 16th, 2010

Inspiring article, but I feel that there should have been more detail about how one actually obtains ‘real’ connections via social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook. What I mean is that even though I gain followers/subs, It is confusing for me to truly understand why these people have subscribed/followed in the first place (gaining attention all of a sudden when I haven’t put anything out on the web at that time?)and then having to decide whether most of my followers are ‘real’ or worth while. I feel strongly about this abundance of ‘unreal’ attention as It tells me that a lot of people only communicate on social media sites to generate attention for themselves (sub for sub requests), therefore making most web connections useless. If I want to promote myself off/online, I believe in advertising myself for the greater good. This is why I do very much agree with your thoughts on quality over quantity. I suppose there are always going to be negatives to using any networking methods and you just have to keep looking for the diamond in the rough!

Mathew Carpenter

May 17th, 2010

Hi guys,

Thanks for all the comments! While I cannot address each individual comment, I’d be happy to have a chat with anyone who would like to know more about the ways in which we were able to grow AddToDesign within the first month. Send me through a Tweet and we can start chatting.

Cheers,

Mat.

Ayman Aboulnasr

May 17th, 2010

Nice Article, too general I’m afraid.

I was expecting more details clear steps that were taken to grant those thousands of visits.

I’m sure One single article wouldn’t be enough to list everything but that can be broken into a series of articles and diffidently that would be much more informative.

Codephase

May 19th, 2010

thanks for this great article! I am actually developing my own blog which will be launched in about a month. these were some great tips to consider! thanks again!

Eric Rowell

May 20th, 2010

Good job Mat! I’ve been watching your success from +2D since your launch and I’m very impressed with how fast your blog has been growing!

Hopefully my traffic will catch up to you soon! I started WebKrunk about a couple of months before +2D with no pre-existing social network (I didn’t even have a Twitter account) and I found it very difficult to get going. You are very correct in noting that social networking is critical for kick starting a launch. Although my traffic is now more than doubling each month, it’s still a painful climb without the initial boosts that social networking can provide.

Keep up the good work and hope to hear from you!

John

May 24th, 2010

Nice Article! i have installed wp and this thing will be surely provide me some success !

Gert

June 8th, 2010

I have just launched my blog and I’ve gotta say I find it very difficult to think of things to blog about. I don’t think that it’s about the “What do I say” bit, but more about “is it interesting enough” and how will people find me in the first place.
This article has made me think about putting more effort into the social media side of it,as well as writing good posts, I hadn’t really believed that social media held quite so much clout as everyone one was telling me.

This article also tells me that there is a lot of work to do and that is something I need to get on and learn.

Thanks.
Gert

Maitreya

July 21st, 2010

After nearly 1 month just 20-25 visitors a day. And this article didn’t help. :(

Lisa Thomason

August 22nd, 2010

Blogging is definitely hard and is a long term commitment, so good luck to your blogging. LT

shaun

October 3rd, 2010

im trying to launch a student based news blog at the moment. having difficulties in how to promote it. my first aim initially is to get 50 followers and build from there. how do you promote through social networking sites?? i use reditt and digit and such like as a student journalist for news feeds but i havent participated. facebook is the only networking site ive participated on…

chris

October 20th, 2010

Excellent article! I am in the same situation as you. I have recently purchased a new .co domain and am trying to become well known. I appreciate your tips and guidance! I have had my site for about a month and bringing in about 20 people a day. I notice that this dramatically increases when I give something away for free. Thanks again for the great article! Myabe one day i will also have my own success story

Farht Nasir

October 23rd, 2010

I have a little worse experience in blogging. I tried my best and wrote 2-3 fresh articles on hi-tech devices like iPad /iPod and iPhone but still I am struggling for handsome traffic. I am still writing my posts with a very good Key word density, about 100% unique content but…. being tired and every passing day asks me to give up the job. Will anybody tell me what may be the possible error in my strategy? Thanks

Avani

November 9th, 2010

Great information I am also writing my blog with engaging content but will take care to embed keywords

PINK

January 12th, 2011

i hve created the blog with my best effort give suggestion guys m new…..http://carrerinfo.wordpress.com

Gia Dimarco

March 15th, 2011

Thanks for the great advice. New years is a great time to refocus and come up with some new goals for any small business. Look over last years profits and this year, reach a little higher. Thanks.

Julie

March 22nd, 2011

Lots of good ideas. thanks for sharing! Its hard to build the right kind of traffic. I started off my comedy blog based on a character I had in an online mmorpg. So I have gotten some good hits just from promoting it amongst random people who know my antics.

Paracha

July 20th, 2011

Nice Article but I think
Practicle Implementation Takes at least one month.

Michael G

November 15th, 2011

Hi Mathew, thank you for sharing! Our site is launching soon. You are welcome to join us for sharing your expertise in your area :)

Best

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