On january 25th I launched this website, Explorista.net, ready to take over the world with my awesome posts on travel and business. One month later my site has attracted 1000+ unique visitors. Not as much as I hoped (everyone hopes to have their blog break trough instantly, right?), but also definitely not bad considering the saturated landscape. It’s a great base to build from.
And since I know many bloggers that have been blogging for months for their parents and neighbors grandmother, I figured I’d explain step by step what I did (and what you can do) to launch your blog to the greatest success possible.
The plan was to launch my website with a few posts on there, of which some with content upgrades, so that I would capture peoples e-mail addresses. This way people who’d stumble upon my site already had some quality blog posts to read, and there was more chance of people finding my site. I made sure to have posts in every category so it was pretty clear what my site was about.
I planned to do a little build up on social media before the actual launch, and then promote the launch with social media and hopefully some guest posts. By featuring other bloggers with helpful stories I also hoped to get some more traction if they chose to share my posts.
I already had a relatively successful Dutch version of this website, and a lot of English speaking travel blogging friends, so the hope was they’d all go visit my site. It makes me happy knowing my stories are now understood all over the word. In terms of writing I still believe that if you write helpful content, people will come back for more.
– Write some posts in each category:
Done. I launched my website with six posts online, two in each category. This meant I could show off pretty well what the content of my site was going to look like in the future.
– Create content upgrades:
Done. I had a handful of content upgrades created before launching, such as a checklist to becoming a travel marketeer or an english teacher! I definitely plan on doing more, because I can see that you’re happily downloading away!
– Build up on social media:
Meh. Not really. I was so involved with relaunching the Dutch version of my site, building the English version, and setting up a whole other business on the side (because why not?!) that my social game was kind of lacking. It still is, to be honest. I need to get some structure so that I can streamline my processes. The main problem with the build up was that I wasn’t sure when the lay out would be done, so I found it hard to build up to a certain date. After that is was just sort of ‘bam’… there.
– Social media promotion:
My plan for launch day was quite frankly to spam the F* out of my blog. It was there, and ready for the world to see. And so I did. I actually got quite some views the day it launched, partly to me announcing the English site on my blog, and partly due to promoting on social media (mostly Facebook did well). Even if I expected more visits (especially from my Dutch site), I’m relatively pleased with how the launch day went.
– Social media
I decided to develop mini strategies for each platform that I’m on:
Twitter: I try to share two articles from other people every day. Not just because I read so many great stuff, but also in the hopes of connecting with other bloggers, and forming a circle of blogger friends who are happy to share each others posts. To be honest, my posts haven’t been shared much, but maybe that will pick up eventually.
Facebook: Facebook is probably my favorite platform. I have quite good engagement there! I share someone else’s post every day, and my own whenever I write something. It’s the perfect balance. I just like being able to share all the great stuff that fits with my message with my readers, because there’s so many great bloggers out there that deserve the love :).
Instagram: I’ve been failing super hard at Instagram. Even do I do make sure to engage with people, I haven’t had the energy or time to upload my own content recently. I promise I’ll get back to this because I DO love IG!
Pinterest: Pinning other peoples posts every day, and making sure to have pinnable posts with every blogpost so it’s easy for you to share!
Youtube: I’m waiting to get myself a new camera, and as soon as I have that I hope to start sharing travel vlogs. I really enjoy seeing them, and I feel it would absolutely add something to my blog!
Snapchat: Whenever I want to, and feel like I have something to share. I love it though! Most recently I’ve been snapping Budapest! @Explorista
– Guest posting
My goal was to also do some guest posting, but I haven’t gotten around to that really. I’ve jumped in on this post by my BFFS over at Handluggageonly, but that’s about it too! I really plan on doing more guest posting, I have so many stories to share, and it’s a great way to get eyeballs for my posts (I did this lots for my Dutch site when it first launched in 2013!)
– Facebook groups
I’m in a few Facebookgroups that allow you to share your posts on certain days (usually fridays), which isn’t just a great way to share your post and get some love for it, it’s also a fantastic way to discover new content for me to share, which I love doing! My favourite groups are Blog + Bizz BFF by The Nectar Collective and GirlvsGlobe by the blog of the same name.
Biggest sources of traffic:
Time to really dive into the nitty gritty of analytics (exactly how we like it!)
Aside from the home page and about page, my most popular post was ‘How to stop feeling jealous of other bloggers (and why telling people to stop compare is useless advice)’ in which I talk in depth about how I kicked my comparison habit to the curb. It was such a passion project to write that post, I’m so happy to see it do well. My other two most popular posts are ‘How to travel for free’ and ’27 free things to do in New York’. You broke babes love some good ol’ freebies don’t ya!? Good to know, because I have PLENTY coming up! In terms of traffic: the jealousy article did very well in a few Facebook-sharing groups, after it was reposted to Pinterest (many thanks!). The travel for free-article did quite well on Pinterest, and the New York-guide went mini-viral on Bloglovin’, which was super exciting. The ‘How to know you’re ready to freelance fulltime‘ did very well amongst my personal friends on Facebook, which amused me! Very happy to see I have multiple sources of traffic in that sense.
An analysis of my social traffic:
I got traffic via three social channels this month: Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. I also get quite some traffic from Bloglovin’, but that’s not a social platform, it’s an rss reader. Instagram isn’t really being tracked in Google Analytics, but even if it was, I don’t think I’d get much traffic from it. Facebook was by far my biggest referrer with 77%, being followed by Twitter with 13% and then Pinterest with 10%. I had expected a bit more from Pinterest, as everyone always raves about it as a source of traffic, but then I have been told it takes quite some time for pins to get traction, usually up to a few months, so I need to be a little patient.
An analysis of SEO:
Even though I’m pretty diligent in filling out my SEO-plugins, making sure my articles will rank well on Google, it hasn’t been a major source of traffic yet. I think SEO takes a few months to really kick in too, though, so I’m not too worried yet.
Other things I’ve noticed:
I’ve noticed on some posts I have very high time on site (5 minutes, yay!), but others have an average time of only a few seconds?! I’m sure the content is not the issue, as the images are great, and so is the post, so I’m thinking it might be my pop up for my newsletter. As it’s currently not getting me many subscribers anyway, I’ll turn it off and see if time on site improves for these articles.
What to improve:
I really want to get better with my social strategy this month. I’ve been a little burned out, so I’m not too harsh on myself, but I look forward to connecting again, and really reaching out to other bloggers!
- Guest posting
I should also really look in to guest posting more. I might try and see if I can get featured on a site like Huffington Post or Elite Daily. Will keep you posted!
- Keyword research
I’m not sure how I feel about SEO. I’m not thrilled about it. But as I’ve been working closely with my best friend (who’s an SEO genius) I’ve been seeing how playing into what people are searching for can play off. And since I love helping people, it might be useful to experiment and see if it will pay off. I may have to bribe him with some chocolate to get him to teach me how to do keyword research :) (I honestly can’t think of a more boring way to spend my time!)