Growing a new blog: First 3 months
Our blog is just a few months old into 2020. The Gootz Life was born at the beginning of this year and we’re sharing our growth story from scratch. Here’s what the first 3 months of growing a new blog from scratch looks like. Admittedly, this story is not going to be sexy or immediately impressive because it’s a real view of what it takes to grow a blog as a business from the ground up.
It’s also a totally unedited look at the learning process. I started this blog without having a deep background in SEO, content strategy, writing or anything that seems relevant to getting a head start. Just the decision to give it my best shot and enjoy the journey as much as possible.
I do have a passion for creating something of my own and wanted to combine this with a millennial’s lifestyle guide based on my own experiences.
Related: How to Pick a Blog Niche in 2020
This is just a real look at this process chronicled in posts with the hope that I can look back on this journey in 6 months, 12 months or longer, and realize that what seemed so far away at the start is a whole lot closer.
Page views: 0
Here are the first steps to the founding of The Gootz Life.
- Dec 2019 Filing for an LLC in CA
- Wrote a draft business plan for The Gootz Life
- Selected a web hosting service (1yr plan) and purchased the domain name
- Set up a virtual mailbox to establish a business address
Once we received an EIN from the IRS and had our LLC on file with the state I:
- Opened an online-only bank account
- Deposited $5k (from personal savings)
- Applied for a business credit card
- Set up business expense and accounting software
Then work on the actual blog content started. It was the end of January 2020 at this point.
It took a while to get familiar with WordPress and web page building. I haven’t built a website in many years (back when you needed to actually know HTML). Now all the page building options and plugins make the whole process technically easier, but there’s still a lot of learning to do.
Especially in all the new tools and vocabulary around SEO, analytics and social media. If you’re not in that world (like I wasn’t) it just takes time to get up to speed.
Anyway, once I had found a page layout that worked, I started working on some of my very first content. I figured I needed to get some content under my belt to just practice the whole blogging experience and to understand what my process would be. I figured if I was going to commit to creating content I needed to find the tools and process that worked best for me.
Page views: 194
Month 1 for The Gootz Life was really February. Since January was dedicated to company setup and just getting my bearings a bit. February is when the blog’s public facing part really started. To understand if I was doing anything right I knew that I needed to track users, visits and traffic more generally.
I wasn’t quite sure since I’d heard of many different ways to do this. There were analytics plugins on my website builder platform. There was Google Analytics, Google Search Console and even services that one could purchase.
I ended up using a mix of a WordPress plugin (Jetpack) and Google Analytics. I really got these systems in place sometime mid February. So that’s really when I started collecting any data on my traffic.
Here’s the screenshot of my first 3 months of traffic (page view) data.
Page views: 976
This month I was actually encouraged that I was able to get nearly 1k page views. I think that a good portion of those page views might just be me. I’ve been making some updates to the format of the site and each time I try out a new feature I try to engage with it like a user would. My visitor count is up to 11, so made it to double digits now!
Page views: 1862
This month seems like another positive month in the growth story. I’m solidly above the 1k page views and have over 50 visitors. I also posted more than any of the previous 2 months. I think this means that the content creating process is feeling a little more streamlined.
This month I did learn how to use a few free image editing and graphic art tools. These should help me in producing slightly higher quality images more quickly.
The other big thing that I did this month was link The Gootz Life Instagram account with the blog. I have a pretty small number of followers on Instagram (<50) since I started that account in December 2019 as well. I need to continue to build up that following.
I signed up for the LinkIn bio feature from Later. This way any posts that make it to Instagram can be linked to a specific blog post, if the content makes sense. My plan here is to keep the Instagram account for light weight, behind the scenes content. The blog will remain the place for in-depth content and The Gootz Guide. Which is meant to be, over time, a unique perspective on personal finances, lifestyle and technology.
In total I’ve posted 9 times in 3 months. I know this isn’t a very high rate. But I do think that there is a balance between good “evergreen” content and posting content just for the sake of getting an additional post. I don’t think this blog is a news site, at least not right now.
I think it’s a place where my audience can check in on smart lifestyle choices and guides for how to make the most of their choices. That shouldn’t be something that requires daily monitoring.
Now, this 3 month period and 2020 more generally will be forever marked as the year of the Coronavirus Pandemic. So many things are in flux about work, finances and health, that it’s super hard to know how this impacts blog growth.
On one hand, there are far more people at home, spending time online. Which is why there’s a spike right now in industries like online learning and skill building. But at the same time, since this blog isn’t generating any revenue yet, I can’t quantify the impact in any monetary terms.
I also look at this time as a mixed blessing. It’s given me the added time to spend thinking about The Gootz Life’s direction and what the next few months might look like. I’m excited for the next 3 months. Hopefully the growth trajectory continues. I’m still looking forward to building out an email newsletter to build up my subscriber list and to begin to offer something tangible and immediately valuable to my audience beyond the content.
Let me know if you had a similar 0-3 month story. I’m sure there are folks that ramped up much more quickly and there’s probably some that went more slowly. In fact I’d love to hear any advice or recommendations on what I should be focusing on next. If you like the fact that I’m sharing my blog building experience let me know below. I plan to report out at 6, 9 and 12 months so stay tuned for those updates.