#OpenBlog

From 0 to 100,000 monthly page views. We’re sharing everything that works (and doesn’t) as we learn how to grow a blog from scratch.

Follow Our Journey

We have a confession to make.

We built software that allows people to convert blog posts into eBooks but our own blog is practically non-existent. Our strategy has been stop-start from the beginning and that much is obvious from our traffic.

Our Google Analytics show that we had no idea how to grow a blog.

In the first 8 months of 2016 we published just 5 posts and averaged 780 page views each month. Most of this traffic came from a one off spike in April which didn’t sustain in the following months.

The truth is that we made the same mistake that a lot of businesses do – we put the blog up without any real strategy or plan for making it a success. We had no idea how to grow a blog and when success wasn’t immediate we soon lost interest.

Missed Opportunities

It’s no secret that blogging is the most effective way to grow your business in a cost effective, sustainable manner. So by neglecting our blog we aren’t just setting a bad example to our customers, we are ignoring the biggest potential resource for growing our business.

So, from a position of both embarrassment and ambition we made a resolution that from September 8th 2016, we would make a concerted effort to learn how to grow a blog so that it would be a genuine asset for our business.

Transparency

We’ll be sharing everything we do on this journey. Things that work, things that don’t. The mistakes we make and the lessons we learn.

We’ll be sharing these details for 2 reasons:

1) Accountability
2) Shared learning

Accountability

In a small team where both members of staff are also co-founders, it’s easy to focus on the tasks that you enjoy and neglect those that are outside of your comfort zone because ultimately we make the decision on what we work on at any given time.

In the past we have made a number of false starts with blogging, generally giving up after just a few weeks. To prevent that from happening again we are sharing our plans publicly in the hope that you dear reader will hold us accountable to continue with this experiment until we find success.

Shared Learning

There are millions of other businesses that find themselves in the same position as us, including our own customers. These are businesses with products, happy customers and bright hopes for the future. But like us, they’re not sure how to grow a blog. Blogging is the elephant in the room, a growth strategy that requires so much time and commitment that most businesses can’t sustain their early enthusiasm.

By sharing the highs and lows of our journey, as well as the details on the tactics we use throughout, we hope to show that it is possible to grow traffic to a blog even if you have neglected it for too long.

Challenge

To help with both accountability and to give us something to aim towards it’s important that we set targets for this challenge. Here’s what we’re aiming for:

  • 100,000 monthly page views
  • 10,000 subscribers

We arrived at the page views figure because that is the level of traffic that we believe will bring a meaningful return to our business. We also think that it is an ambitious but achievable target. Not too easy, not too difficult.

We have set ourselves a target for email subscribers primarily so we can test opt-in techniques for our lead magnets. Not only will this help us to improve Beacon as a product, we can share what we learn with our customers.

Learn How To Grow A Blog Alongside Us

So that you can join us on our journey we will be sharing regular updates on our progress as well as making some of our dashboards publicly available, including:

If you want to receive updates as we learn how to grow a blog then please subscribe here.

If you have any other suggestions for what information we should make public then just tweet @beacon_by or use the hashtag #OpenBlog to let us know.

Here Goes Nothing

In the first of our #OpenBlog series we asked SEO expert Barry Adams to grade our blog for search engine visibility. We wanted to make his findings public so that other bloggers could learn from our mistakes.

You can read his full report here.

  • Chris Walker

    Brilliant idea – really looking forward to following the rest of the series 🙂

    • Kevin McGrath

      Thanks Chris! We’re equal parts excited and terrified about it. I think that’s a good thing!

  • Michiel

    Good stuff guys! Fun way to grow your blog by blogging about how to grow your blog :-P. Wishing you good luck!

    • Kevin McGrath

      Thanks Michiel – it’s blogception!

  • melindamoses

    Great idea and great start! One suggestion is to utilize some a/b testing (add buttons, more ops to subscribe) to increase conversion from viewer to subscriber to reader. I had to look twice and go back up the page to subscribe! (Put LP to work for you!!)

    • Kevin McGrath

      Just realised that we hadn’t activated all of our opt-in forms – thanks for the heads up!

  • Looking forward to watching your blogging project unfold guys :). Good luck!

    • Kevin McGrath

      Thanks Sarah!

  • Great opportunity to me to lean from your mistakes and achievement to grow my own blogs. Thanks Beacon for starting really open blog.

    • Kevin McGrath

      Thanks for joining us!

  • Very interesting idea! I love these kinds of initiatives. Best of luck to you guys and I’ll be following on the sidelines!

    • Kevin McGrath

      Great to have you on board Nicholas!

  • Aileen McDonough

    Great idea! Maybe a guest blogger or two or more would help? Hint, hint…your users 😉

    • Kevin McGrath

      Haha, we do plan on opening a guest blogging spot on the blog – watch this space!

  • Sounds like the start of a great adventure. Make it ‘warts and ll’ so we all can learn in the process. I might have missed it somewhere but when is your target date? Looking forward to seeing, learning and doing!

    • Kevin McGrath

      Thanks Peter – warts and all is definitely the plan! We don’t have a firm target date but have set ourselves a 6 month review date (in addition to our regular monthly progress reports).

  • Chris Handy

    Great stuff. Looking forward to following the journey.

    • Kevin McGrath

      Thanks Chris, we’re excited to finally share this with our customers!

  • NobbyK

    Nothing ventured – nothing gained. It all starts with desire and action. Go for it! 🙂

    • Kevin McGrath

      Our thoughts exactly – looking forward to getting stuck in!

  • Hey! Is there any guide how-to prepare an API for integration with Your service? (e.g. JSON format) – looking forward for that!

  • Love this idea.. looking forward to following the journey

  • Great idea Kevin. I relate with it as I am also on a same spree. Looking forward to join u on your journey!