Let’s start with some background information for this case study.
This contest provided 5 strangers with a unique challenge of combining their skills to start a new blog and make it popular within 10 short weeks (we were competing against another team for the first 5 weeks, but now there is just one team left – and we now compete against one another).
At present, we are in Week 7, and doing quite well, as you will see later.
Our blog is by no means complete, and this case study is by no means exhaustive.
Step-by-step, I will tell you where The Next Goal succeeds, and where it fails. I hope that my co-competitors would forgive me for being so open and blunt about The Next Goal.
Luckily for us, there is no limit to potential traffic in the context of online marketing.
The more, the better, right?
As you can see from the Google Analytics screenshot below, The Next Goal has enjoyed consistently high traffic from 6th October till 19th November (These are the dates that have been used for this case study).
The peak on October 21, clearly noticeable in the graph above, is there because of two major reasons:
- We organized a contest
- We published 28 posts that week. More on that later.
For a blog that started out less than 2 months ago, these are great numbers.
Even better is the Alexa ranking (this ranking is current):
Our Initial Strategy
Our starting strategy was simple: since we were required to beat our competitor blog, we had to publish as many posts as possible.
Quality was never forfeited. Keeping up traffic and interaction level was also paramount.
We dedicated our time and resources to generating unique content and sharing it relentlessly through social media.
Going back to the peak in traffic from the Analytics screenshot above: it’s there because of a contest we organized, and many contestants swarmed over to The Next Goal to participate.
During that week alone, we released over 28 new articles, and the participants certainly got a lot of reading done!
Lack of Attention to SEO
Perhaps our biggest pitfall – SEO – was not on top of our list.
An issue with competitions such as these – where referral traffic numbers are more important than organic search – is that we planned little for our future growth. So at the moment, understandably, our organic traffic is low at 6% (nearly 200 visits).
Admittedly for traffic not centred on SEO, this is not a bad number! But we could drastically increase Google traffic ranking, if we paid more attention to it.
Focus on Content and Marketing
All this time, our focus has been directed towards quality content production and direct marketing using Twitter, Facebook and blog comments.
Guest posting does work!
Most of the marketing for The Next Goal has been carried out through Facebook and Twitter, and some of the articles have become hugely popular. We have had an impressive number of page views.
That is 47 visits per page (averaged over total pages on The Next Goal).
Some of our tops posts are shown below:
As you can see, the contest post (Number 4) was hugely popular, and gathered 204 page views within a week.
The other popular posts include interviews (always popular) and first of a persuasion series that I wrote.
What keywords are bringing in visitors?
So far the organic visitors have been diverse. Google Analytics has recorded 197 page views via 103 keywords:
As you can see, there is lots of room for improvement for the keywords ‘meditation’, ‘what really matter’ and ‘Art of persuasion’.
The combined phrase search for these 3 keywords is over 1.8 million, and some clever SEO’s can, no doubt, easily boost our search engine traffic for niche as well as generic keywords.
Otherwise, I am glad that we are already getting searched specifically for “the next goal”, which is always a sign of good publicity!
Social Marketing – What worked, what didn’t
We pretty much failed at Twitter, but had better luck with Facebook and Blogengage.
For 6 weeks or so, Facebook brought us over 501 visits, compared to Twitter’s 215.
Blogengage has been particularly kind to us, turning out to be our 3rd biggest source of referral traffic.
Obviously, as WeBlogBetter.com is the organizing blog, it brings us a healthy amount of traffic as well.
Where do we go from here?
While we still have 3 weeks to go to find out who the final winner of the competition will be, we know what can be changed to improve our traffic, Alexa ranking, PR (which is already 2) and interaction.
- Guest Posts
- Better SEO
- Better Inter-linking within posts (will help to reduce Bounce rate)
- A product
Plans are already in place to release a product, and we are hoping to launch it in a few weeks.
As you have seen, contests are an interesting way to improve user interaction and involvement, so we might just do that again, and offer our product to one or more winner(s).
Just to clarify – all this has been made possible by The Next Goal team – I alone am not responsible for this blitz!
If you are starting up a new blog, or are struggling to drive traffic, use the social media resources that you have. Better still: organize a small contest or a giveaway.
Quickly increasing your traffic count is much easier than maintaining it that way. Use quality content and high engagement to achieve that goal.
I would love to answer your questions on this case study, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.