Want to launch a blog and do it well?
Launching a professional blog takes knowledge and planning, something I learned decades ago, but even after all this time I still make mistakes when I do a blog launch.
Let me share my lessons with you so you can avoid them!
How long does it take to launch a new blog, in a new niche and to get 10,000 monthly page views?
Turns out it can take 10 months, without taking too much of your precious time.
Let me tell you how I did it, and how you can too, but without all my mistakes …
How Many Page Views Per Month is Good for a Blog?
Something that gets asked in forums, Reddit, and so on is “How many page views is good for a blog?” but there are a few ways to answer that.
Is 10,000 monthly page views impressive to you or not doing that well in your opinion? What do you consider a good number of page views?
Your authority is not determined solely by how many page views you get. I have seen time and again that smaller audiences can outperform big ones when it comes to influence.
When considering how many page views is good we need to understand what your goal is with building a blog or creating a website.
10,000 page views with an advertising network giving you $10 RPM ads would be $100/month gross income. On the other hand, those 10,000 page views would earn you $200 if they generated 10 sales of a $20 product (or $20 commission) which is very doable.
Then again, if those 10 sales were for a higher priced done-for-you service then you could well get into full-time main income territory.
Page Views Per Visit and Session Length
Remember there is a factor called “page views per visit” which is on average how many pages a visitor will look at when they come to your site. This page views per visit factor could mean you could get fewer visitors than half your page view count.
But that might be a good thing!
You usually want a visitor to hang around, you want them to read your articles in full and then click through to another (and another).
Ideally, your average visitor will view more than one article or page per visit. That means they see potential value in reading more or exploring. One page view per visit could mean they got what they needed but are unlikely to be return visitors which would count towards your advertising impressions but would be a shame if you want to grow an authority site.
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The New Blog Launch Plan
As mentioned, earlier, Maker Hacks, the site we are discussing here, was a brand-new site in a brand-new niche. I didn’t have many expectations about launching the blog, outside of enjoying the topic and wanting to talk about the hobby.
It was a long time since I launched a blog in an entirely new niche, and certainly a long time since launching a blog without having any help or existing assets to rely on.
That said, the blog topic is one of my passions (making, 3d printing, electronics, robotics, etc). It helps a lot when you have a lot of enthusiasm for the subject you will be blogging about.
Being a legitimate part of the community you are serving gives many advantages.
There is, of course, a danger in turning your hobby into something else.
Years ago I had a reasonably successful photography blog (not as successful as Digital Photography School, just a nice steady site).
My passion for the topic waned when I got more involved in the business side, especially while hanging around the Stock Photography community. It got to be too much work and not enough fun, and I backed off, wishing I had never started the blog, eventually selling the site.
Making things is one of the ways I unwind, it is a creative outlet. I get a lot of satisfaction from designing, building, tweaking, and back when I had a couple of maker spaces in easy reach, teaching.
Hope was having a variety of projects and products constantly popping up will keep my interest high, giving me a constant stream of blogging ideas, and also the mistakes I made in the photography world would be avoided.
The money I spend on the hobby usually coincides with affiliate and royalty cheques arriving. I joke that AWeber (via links from years ago) paid for my 3D printers. Ideally, the site would eventually pay for itself, and be a “professional blog” enough to cover the hobby expenses too.
Heck, if the accountant agrees perhaps my hobby expenses could be tax write-offs. That’s the real problogger move!
Pre Blog Launch Research
Launching a new blog can be done in two ways. First, the usual way is to set up the blog and start writing. The way I suggest you launch your blog is to do research first!
As we discuss in detail in the marketing pen portrait article, before setting up your new site, you need to know some things:
- Who you are going to serve – You need to know there is an audience before you launch.
- What they need/want – What will you blog about?
- Where they hang out – Where can you promote your content and tell people about the blog you just launched?
Related to the second point, before I launch a blog and hope to attract this community, I needed to know what they like to talk about (and how).
When looking around at the niche, I decided on the term I connected most for the Who were “Makers”.
Makers are people who make things, but it is more than that. People self-identify as a maker. With some pride. This is crucial.
This research determined I was going to serve “makers” with quick tips and recipes (“hacks”). The domain was available! Maker Hacks was born.
From my SEO keyword research reports and social lurking, I determined the topics I would, and would not, be covering.
I actually did all this research, registered the domain, did a webinar for Darren Rowse where I mentioned it as my new project … then I sat on the idea. For over a year …
Blog Launch Mistake #1: Analysis paralysis
I lost some momentum by sitting on the idea and worrying about it.
Don’t let that happen to you.
Perfectionism and anxiety go hand and hand with doing anything new. In my head, I built it up to be a big deal but all these years later most people still do not know about the website so it is not like if I had failed anyone would have even been aware.
Content Planning for a New Blog
You might have seen this before, but it is highly relevant to this stage of the proceedings. This tweet from Darren sums up my philosophy:
You must find the intersection of what you can credibly offer, and what they are looking for.
The way I get some of my best content ideas is by spending a lot of my precious spare time answering questions in Facebook groups. This takes me back all the way to the 1990s when I started. Back then I was helping people in email discussion lists with their programming problems, and now decades later I am still at it!
This is another advantage for people who actually enjoy a topic to build a website on that subject versus looking at where money is being spent. We actually enjoy talking to other enthusiasts.
My first official article went live on the site on January 30th, 2016, but it was not promoted.
The main pieces of Flagship Content were a 3D printing quiz (the service shut down that it was using), a 3-part guide to choosing a 3D printer, and a linkbait list of the best 3D Printing Facebook groups.
Launching the Blog: Launch Day
The blog was launched in early March with a $14 CAD boost on my Facebook post and a post on Reddit that got almost immediately marked as spam.
By June my Facebook group had 500 members, the site was getting 100 visitors per day in between spikes of traffic when I could be bothered to write, and I was making around US $16 per week on Amazon. Google started sending me traffic around that time too, with just a few clicks to start.
My big problem was the project was months in, and my list wasn’t growing. Contrast that with this website where I attracted around 500 subscribers in the first week.
Blog Launch Mistake #2: Waiting to create an email opt-in incentive.
Yet again, analysis paralysis.
The problem was caused by the next mistake slash challenge.
Blog Launch Mistake #3: When Your Blog’s Niche is Too Wide
One thing that was clearly an issue with my research, and was causing me a great deal of analysis paralysis, was the breadth of subjects and audience segments.
Usually, we discuss being over-niched – How niche is too niche?
I had no problem coming up with a useful guide to giveaway on this site because most readers are unified in what they want.
On Maker Hacks I realized I had some diverse groups to keep happy, who did not have one thing in common beyond the fact they are makers. Woodworkers want something different from electronics folks. I was stuck.
Eventually, I spun off one of the subjects into its own site.
Failure to Launch: Blog Launch Pains
The day I changed the email opt-in to promise a free robot-building course my opt-ins started growing. I decided to boost it with some paid ads seeing as the site was starting to make a little money.
With my woefully non-optimized campaign (I just boosted a post, no split testing, no Pixel, and no tracking links!) I got around 3-5 email sign-ups per day. At the time I was earning around US$200 in Amazon affiliate commissions, so I was keeping ahead of the spend by a reasonable margin.
Blog Launch Mistake #4: Tracking Expenses!
Fortunately, this isn’t my day job so I can make mistakes like this, but remember I mentioned an accountant earlier? They can only help you if you keep track of what you spend money on and your income.
Was the Launch a Success in the End? Where Are We Now?
So that brings us to today. Despite my mistakes, was the blog launch a success?
How many page views is good for a blog?
Did we answer that?
Currently, the site is getting around between 7 and 12,000 page views per month. It took a massive hit during covid and then our 12 months of horribleness plus our big move back to England.
The main sources of traffic are Google (3.9K clicks), Facebook, and when I send an email, the newsletter.
Due to my answering questions, and my content, I have been invited to admin some of the best FB groups in my niche, and that opened a lot of doors and I expect many opportunities in the future.
I don’t like to share revenue figures so I will not be doing an income report, suffice it to say that there were some great months where I was making several thousand dollars in affiliate revenue, plus for a while, I was selling my own 3D printing guide.
Most personally satisfying is I now get machines sent to review, so many that I had to start giving away 3D printers in Canada before our big move otherwise they would have cost a fortune in shipping costs!
I would say that my blog has enough page views to be good for a blog, but it can always be better!
Blog Launching Lessons: What I Would Do Differently Next Time?
- Build a great sign-up incentive from day #1.
- Create a good auto-responder sequence to go with the opt-in incentive.
- Keep turning out quality, search engine optimized content on a regular basis. The more content on the site, the more opportunities there are for people to discover it.
- Nurture the audience. Which reminds me, I haven’t emailed in a while!
- Promote! Accelerate with tracked and managed advertising.
As I mentioned, the topic was really too wide so I did spin off another blog and I might further split it down and launch yet another from the same site.
A subject for another article maybe!
Hope you can learn from my blog launch mistakes!