This post is all about the stats behind this site and how I’m growing it.
I’ve decided to do two reports each month where I share the behind the scenes numbers. The two reports are:
- Personal Finance report – this one is all about how much I spend monthly traveling full-time with my wife. My readers are interested in personal finance, so I thought it would be interesting to share my own numbers. You can read the first report here.
- Audience building report – this will be about breaking down the growth of this site. I’ll cover monthly traffic, my writing habit, email list growth, open rates, what went well, etc. The article you’re reading is the first of many (hopefully) reports on that topic.
Why I’m doing this
There are a few great reasons for me to share these stats. I know many of my readers are entrepreneurs. Figuring out how to get your stuff in front of the right people is one of the most common struggles in business. For this reason, I’ll forever be a student of marketing. Sharing my learnings is useful for both me and readers.
Building an audience has tons of benefits. It’s infinitely easier to launch new products and services to an existing base of interested people. It’s a wonderful foundation for a marketing strategy.
I’m taking this blogging thing seriously. Tracking and reflecting on strategy is the best way to improve. I’ll cover monthly traffic, email subscribers, list growth, open rates, what went well, what didn’t and why. I’m also hellbent on sticking to my goal of publishing at least 1 new article a week. This forces a bit of public accountability.
Quick primer on what I write about
I’m currently in the “lets see what readers are most interested in” phase of starting this blog. Currently my plan is to write about 4 main topics and then see what resonates most. The topics are:
- Making Physical Products –E-commerce, inventing physical products, working with factories overseas, operations, and how I run my companies.
- Personal Finance –My investments, real estate, budgeting, how much I spend, tools, ideas, and how I’m growing my own wealth.
- Productivity & Self Improvement –How I work, mindset, books I’ve read, dealing with stress, how I think, and my productivity system.
- Travel –Living as a nomad, how much my travels cost, and optimizing credit card points for free travel.
Why these topics? I felt like these are the 4 main areas I know the most about AND (this is key) enjoy talking and writing about. Once I see what is resonating more with readers, I’ll most likely shift my focus in one topic direction.
The stats for January 2019
So how’d the first month of launching the site do? See for yourself! The below numbers are for January 2019. Because I launched on January 13th, there were only 19 days of real activity this month.
- Unique Visitors: 3,507
- Page Views: 8,313
I mostly promoted my new posts on Twitter. As of this month, I’ve had my Twitter account @marshal for 10 years. It’s crazy to think it’s been a decade. In that time built up a little bit of a following. When I launched this blog I had about 6k followers.
Utilizing my existing “following” undoubtedly helped kick things off. I’ve never really had a strategy for Twitter though. I just follow people I admire and interact with them when something piques my interest.
The spikes in traffic are when I published new articles and shared them on Twitter and to my email list.
- Articles published this month: 3
- Total words published this month: 6,959
- Most popular article: 2018 Year In Review – My Most Profitable Year
- New Subscribers: 558
- Total Subscribers: 628
- Unique Visitor to Subscriber Conversion Rate: 15.91%
I think the conversion rate from visitor to email subscriber will go down quite a bit as time goes on. This is probably abnormally high due to just launching the site and releasing my ebook.
You’ll notice in the chart below I started January with about 70 email subscribers. A couple of months before launching the blog I put up a homepage with a small email opt-in form. That’s where the first 70 email subscribers came from. There weren’t any articles on the site until January 13th though.
New subscriber growth came from the ebook release, announcing the blog, and strong calls to action at the end of each blog post.
- Writing: 11.00 hours
- Building: 21.48 hours
- Promoting: 2.55 hours
Total time spent on the blog this month: 35.03 hours
Time spent “building” = technical behind the scenes stuff. Things like setting up email flows, tweaking the site design, and making sure things are working how I want them to be from a technical perspective. That portion of my time each month should hopefully go down. I imagine it’s abnormally high this month due to just getting set up.
Time spent “promoting” = time spent writing email blasts, writing tweets about a new article, and replying to comments.
Time spent “writing” = the actual writing of blog posts and newsletters.
At the start of the year I decided to start tracking my work time. I want to be really intentional about where I spend my time and efforts. Tracking is the best way I know to manage myself and be intentional about what I focus my time on.
It’s easy to say “this project is a priority” — it’s much harder to hold yourself accountable and put in the effort required to show it’s a priority. Seeing how much time I actually put into something makes it clear whether or not I’m making it a priority.
Overall I’m pleased with how I spent my time this month. 35 hours in one month to a project that isn’t my primary job is solid. Most importantly, I stuck with my writing habit of publishing 1 article per week (I started this habit the 2nd week of January)).
At the very end of the January I released an ebook called Inside The Box: how to invent & manufacture physical products. It’s a relatively short book at around 6,000 words and serves as an introduction to making physical products.
Making physical products is what I’m most uniquely qualified to teach about, so I plan to teach an in-depth course on that topic. I have a survey at the end of the book where I ask people what they want me to go more in-depth on. Similar to my “choose what I write next” polling concept, this survey has been eye-opening for what I should teach more on in the course.
Figuring out what readers want
Something unique I came up with was polling my readers on which of my ideas for articles resonated with them most. I wrote up basic post titles of articles I could
In February I published my most voted for article, and the results were pretty great! Look out for next months report on this.
What I’m thinking about & trying next
This month I only promoted my articles to my email list, on Twitter, and to my Instagram followers via the “story” feature. Most of my time went to “building” and setting up the site how I wanted. I’ll have more time for writing and promoting next month.
Next, I’m going to look into subreddits that may be interested in what I’m writing. Places like r/entrepreneur, r/startups, r/
I hope this was interesting. If you have any questions on the above stats, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @marshal or comment below. Tell me if I should keep doing these each month or not!