All dressed up, and no traffic to enjoy your new site. The single biggest reason that new website owners fail is because they feel that they can’t get enough traffic to their websites.
The good news is, it isn’t difficult. Really, it isn’t. But it does take persistent effort.
Note: You’ve already read 5 pages in this tutorial. If you need to get going, you can subscribe to the Income School Podcast on iTunes (free!). Download all episodes and you’ll see that the first 10 episodes are this tutorial in audio format. I include some extra info in the podcast that I don’t include here.
Setting expectations is difficult for a new website because what you should expect depends largely on your niche and your approach. For example, a website focused on helping mothers of children with disabilities will likely receive far more attention than a website about helping mothers of twins who have disabilities. Both could be valid businesses, but the niche business is not a fair comparison to the more broad topic.
But assuming an average-size niche, here are a few benchmarks I’d like to see you hit in your first few months. All of these benchmarks should be measured not from when you created your website in step 2, but from today–when you open the floodgates to new traffic:
End of Month 1: I’d like to see you have 100 pageviews on your website, and at least 50 people subscribed to one of your social media channels.
End of Month 2: By this point you should get an additional 500 pageviews on your website and at least 150 people on a social media channel.
End of Month 3: Your goal should be 1,000 pageviews and 200 people on a social media channel.
End of Month 4: You should be getting 2,000 pageviews per month and have at least 100 people on an email list (not just on social media).
End of Month 5: Create a low-cost product and sell at least 20 copies.
In all, you will have a product, sales, and nearly 5,000 pageviews in your first 5 months. Not a bad start, and you’ll have the building blocks in place to quickly expand once you have this product and starter fan base.
How to Get There
My sister-in-law recently asked me, “Okay, Jim. You’ve share a lot of tips on your site about building a fan base for our new site. But tell me, what one thing should I focus on?”
Here it is: Publish something every day before you go to bed.
I cannot count the number of times I have been asked by a frustrated entrepreneur why he or she can’t get their website off the ground. Every time, I look at their site and find that they wrote excitedly in the beginning and have about 35 pages on their site–and then they stopped cold.
Publish every day. It will build your search engine rankings faster than any SEO trick ever could, and eventually you’ll write the article that brings the bump.
Every website that succeeds gets a bump at sometime during the starting phase. The bump is your first piece of content that gains traction. I just had a conversation with a friend yesterday who got his first bump. It took him two months, but finally his website numbers SPIKED from 10 to 15 pageviews per day to 2,200 pageviews per day.
Eventually that spike will die down, but it won’t go as low as you were before the spike. And eventually, you’ll get another bump to bring you up to the next step.
So how do you get your first bump? First of all, you have to write ridiculously awesome content. “Good” content isn’t good enough for a bump. You need something surprisingly helpful. Next, you promote it on channels that are conducive to new sites.
Google is a terrible way to advertise a new article. There really isn’t much you can do to get your article to rank well in Google without waiting months or years for your site’s SEO to improve. Similarly, Twitter is a bad idea for pushing your new article. There is so much noise on Twitter that you would have to have a massive following to get a bump in your traffic.
A few excellent options for getting your bump are StumbleUpon, podcasting, Pinterest, and Reddit. These are excellent places to promote your new blog post because all of them give you the same chance of going viral as a more established brand. Podcasting is a great choice because you get exposure on the “New and Noteworthy” section of iTunes. Pinterest is a good option because pins spread incredibly fast when you have great content.
I have my surprisingly helpful article, I picked what channel I want to promote it on, but how do I get the bump? It’s time to beg and plead. Seriously. Text every single friend you have, post on your personal Facebook page, plead with your few website visitors, etc. Ask them all to share the content on their account on that network. You may have great content that will go viral, but every snowball needs a tiny push at the top of the hill before it can grow.
I have mentioned several times in this tutorial that you can’t get discouraged. You’re doing something big! You’re trying to get tens of thousands of people to become your fan. I know you can do it, but I know you won’t do it if you get down on yourself and give up. Every time you press publish, you’re one step closer to your bump–it’s one more road leading to your downtown and bringing traffic with it.