In my late teens, in the early 2000s, I built a website that was generating roughly 1,800 visits per day.
So, when it came time to build a popular blog in the early 2010s, essentially in the same niche, I asked myself, “how hard could it be?”
As it turns out, it could be — and it was — hard. It took more time and effort than I could have ever imagined. I nearly gave up on that journey multiple times, thinking my message would never reach the world (in some ways, I still think the music entrepreneurship concept is ahead of its time).
I assumed the search engines gods were unhappy with me for some reason, and I couldn’t get them to smile in my direction.
Last year, after several years of grinding, I finally saw the traffic build to over 400 visits per day. This year, it has grown to 600 and even 700 visits per day.
I shudder to think what would have happened if I hadn’t stuck with the process.
So, it took several years, but an important question was answered. “Could I build a popular blog?” Yes.
Then it came time to build my email list. I’d been diligently collecting email addresses up until that point, but my list was growing very slowly. I tried a lot of things, all of which weren’t terribly effective.
A couple of years ago, I started digging into James Schramko’s material. When I watched Own The Racecourse for the first time, I felt like I had finally found what I was looking for. It was a comprehensive methodology for how to develop a blog that generated traffic and sales.
I’d spent a better part of a decade learning about online business and hadn’t come away with as much information as I did when I studied Own The Racecourse.
Importantly, I learned about content upgrades and Leadpages. I was reluctant to purchase the software, but I knew it was a step I needed to take.
As I added Leadboxes to my most trafficked posts, I soon saw my email list grow by 40, 50, 60 subscribers per week.
Again, it took a couple of years, but another question was answered. “Could I build a large email list?” Yes.
It’s all well and good to build a large email list. But I soon discovered a small, engaged list is better than a large, disconnected one. As I started sending out campaigns, I soon found my open and click-through rates weren’t exactly what I’d expected them to be.
I wasn’t sure what to do about this. I tried sending a variety of emails at different times, but that didn’t appear to affect the results all that much.
Recently, I started:
· Creating more video content. I already podcast on a weekly basis, but I figured maybe video content would create more of a personal connection.
· Writing personal emails weekly. I’ve often struggled with what to send with my email subscribers. I like the new format I’ve arrived at. I now share stories and experiences with my subscribers, and these emails often get a couple of responses from my readers.
· Sending more emails. I’m up to two to three messages per week. I now send an email whenever I publish a new podcast episode. I’ve also started sending monthly newsletters, something I didn’t do before.
I’m not sure how well this is going to work, but I’m seeing a bit of early traction, so I think I’m on the right track.
So, there’s still an unanswered question: “Can I build a more engaged email list?”
And, along with that, there are many other unanswered questions, such as:
· “How much revenue can I realistically create in this niche with this business model?”
· “If I started a live event, what would the attendance be like?”
· “Can I grow my podcast audience beyond 1,000 downloads per month?”
It can take time to find the answers.
But I have found tremendous value in focusing on one question at a time, even though I’m often thinking about others.
I believe the answer to every question is “yes” if you’re willing to persevere. You may encounter challenges on that path, but you will learn a great deal from the experience.