WordPress SEO : Jump-starting a new blog – from zero to 600 unique visitors/day in one month
In the past two months an online colleague of mine and myself have been trying out a new experiment. This colleague is a long time ProBlogger in the China niche that one of my blogs is part of, but does so as part of a blogging network. I suggested we both try and play around a little with putting up a new self-hosted independent blog, implement what we both have learned so far, and see how well it runs. He was to be in charge of content, and I was to try and make the most from the technical side. That's how Wispid came to be.
In the first month that we've been running this blog, it has been showing an impressive growth from 0 to 600 unique visitors a day, and 0 to ~80 RSS subscribers. Monetization has grown accordingly. For anybody who's been struggling with opening a new blog, I think you'd agree that these are good stats. So, I would like to share with you a little on what we did to achieve that.
UPDATED Nov. 2nd - I added a report on Wispid's first month's earnings report. Check it out, if you find this experiment interesting.
First, here are some screen captures of the site stats so far (Late Aug->Oct. 13).
And now, here's what we've done so far.
- Choose an attractive niche - The topic chosen for this blog was strange, sexy and funny news stories from all over the world. It's a niche that's relatively attractive for readers, has a variety of keywords people love to look for, and surprisingly - doesn't have that many bloggers doing it. The main concern for this niche is that it's not clear yet if this is a niche that monetizes well, but that remains to be seen.
- Write often, make it quick and short - There are a few ways to do problogging, but the way Wispid works is by doing a lot of very short and to the point posts. From an SEO perspective this is making the most out of the content as you get more pages, more titles and head-lines over the same kind of content. The crawlers keep coming back and the search engines give you some good "freshness" juice. From a readers' point of view, this might be a bit too much, but so far - the rapid growth in RSS subscribers leads me to believe that this is what readers in this niche are looking for.
- WordPress tweaks - Implemented all the tips mentioned on this blog on how to perform SEO for a WordPress blog.
- Incoming links from authority sites - We setup incoming links from a few long-time running authority blogs. Since we both run such blogs, this was easy to do. It was very helpful in getting up on Google in less than a day, and on Yahoo/Live in less than a week.
- Social submission websites - This is the best way for a new blog to get the public's attention and build up authority. You might not get Digged or StumbleUponed, but the incoming traffic from some of those sites can be very substantial. In Wispid, one of the best traffic sources is Propeller by Netscape. If you want to submit your posts yourself, I suggest using a tool like Socialposter to speed things up for you.
- Automatically translate to other languages - A major source of traffic, surprisingly, is Google's international search sites. This was due to a WordPress plugin we installed and highly recommend using called "Global Translator" (be sure to enable caching for over 24 hours). It automatically translates your blog pages and creates the relevant pages as if those are part of your blog under your domain. Those may not become devoted RSS readers, but stats show they do linger for a while and click on ads. In this type of blog, there's no such thing as bad traffic.
- Post on relevant forums - If you're already part of a forum in the niche that you're writing about, then use that. A link in your signature and a mention of your blog every now and then, can drive amazing traffic in if those forums are popular. Visitors from forums are also more likely to stick around and become subscribers.
- Put ads from day one - If it's a problog that you want to run, then I believe that should be made clear from the day the blog is up.
- Adsense to start up - Adsense is easy to setup and shows instant results. If your Adsense is optimized the right way - the more traffic you get the higher the income.
- Experiment with other revenue options - So far, we've experimented with Adbrite, WidgetBucks and Kontera. Since Wispid isn't a product based blog, WidgetBucks - which is still very new - isn't performing very well, Adbrite has been performing worse than Adsense (use the "Pricing Options-->Reserve Pricing" option to automatically choose the best between the two), but Kontera has been performing quite well when compared to other sites and blog I'm involved with. Later on, Textlinkads and Reviewme might also become relevant.
I'm hoping the blog will keep on growing at the same rate. I'll keep you posted on how things turn out. I'm interested in any thoughts, feedback or experience you might have to share on this.