There were a few major motivations for this project:
- Get into e-commerce in an industry that was still blossoming
- Create a case study for the value of content marketing in e-commerce
- Build a residual income stream with massive upside potential
One day, the idea hit us:
If you don’t have a case study or an example to show a potential client from a certain industry – make your own.
It sounds super simple, but at the time it had never really occurred to us.
Based on industry, potential, competition, growth potential, and interest level – we decided on an online CBD shop and head shop and thus – HelpingPot was born.
The Goals: What We Were Trying to Achieve
When we first started, there was one goal in mind: demonstrate the power of content by using it to generate organic search traffic.
And what better proving ground than an industry that is highly competitive, still growing, with lots of revenue streams?
Make content the pillar. Build it and they will come.
All we focused on was planning, creating, and optimizing high-quality blog content to generate organic search traffic. So, to prove the point, we ignored all paid promotion and lasered in on organic traffic:
- We didn’t make any social media channels for the site
- We didn’t generate a single backlink for our content
- We didn’t pay for any media coverage
- We didn’t use any paid ads whatsoever
That’s right, we isolated content in order to make sure that it was the only factor driving our success to prove that if you do it right, content alone is enough to build an online business with tens of thousands of monthly visitors – very affordably, in less than a year.
Once we have enough data, I fully plan on implementing paid ads, backlinks strategies, retargeting campaigns, email newsletters, and fully optimizing the online shop for conversions – but again, we are focusing strictly on content at this stage.
So, enough outlining, let’s get to the numbers!
By the Numbers: How We Built 10,000+ Unique Monthly Visitors in Less Than 1 Year
When it came to making content for HelpingPot, this is all we did:
- Posting blogs 2x per week
- Comprehensive content – 1,800+ words for each article
- Completely SEO optimized content (URL, headers, keywords, internal links, title, meta description, etc…)
- Monitor the results in Google Analytics and Search Console
- Upgrading two blogs per week after 3 months
The Content Roadmap: A Timeline of Our Results
With content, it’s important to remember that the long run is your focus. The entire point of building a content strategy is to put it into action in a disciplined and meaningful way that works towards results.
1. Starting from the Ground: Your Strategy is Everything 🌱
For disclosure: content starts off with less than impressive results. But…
It quickly picks up as long as you have an effective, data-driven strategy, long-form content, consistency, and an itch for improvement with the right tools.
You need to nurture a plant for it to grow. This is how HelpingPot started:
But, the 5 C’s of content pay off. Once you start, you really need about 3-6 months to get a real vision of progress.
By April 1st, we were averaging around 40 daily users (about 1200 monthly):
We continued the same steady pace, chugging right along with 2x 1,800+ word blogs per month.
2. Getting Into the Data to Make Improvements 🤓
Around the 3-6 month mark, we started really monitoring the rankings and beginning to tweak our content to get better results.
This involved looking at:
- Google Search Console Data
- Google Analytics Data
- Keyword Data – rankings, linking opportunities for new posts, what Google was picking up on, what seemed to be missing, keywords we don’t want to be ranking for
- User Data – session duration, daily users, trends in daily traffic, conversion rate, bounce rate, returning visitors
- Page Data – top/bottom performing pages, ones that have gotten better/worse, pages that haven’t moved, highest/lowest conversion rate, highest/lowest bounce rate, etc…
The goal of this is to uncover improvements to make massive differences in your content’s performance.
After getting this data organized to make assessments, we used it to upgrade our existing content on a regular basis, starting with:
- Improving on-page SEO
- Creating additional sections
- Removing some unnecessary sections
- Improving the internal linking structure
- Adding more photos and additional resources
- Tweaking the intro a bit (if needed)
- Tweaking the title and description (only slightly if needed)
- And more…
Making this consistent effort to upgrade content is what makes the difference between seeing consistent improvement and seeing minor results.
3. Seeing Real Results in Organic Search from Content Marketing 🚀
Over the next few months, things really started to pick up:
Some notable statistics just from a glance at this data are:
- Very low bounce rate – average bounce rate is around 10%+, a very good bounce rate is anything under 5%
- High session duration – this is a great session duration – could be better but indicative of a good user experience
On top of that, our traffic was pretty well balanced between our content, with only a few articles underperforming:
What’s more impressive, our clickthrough rate and impressions were pretty impressive as well, with a clear trend sloping upwards as we continued to create and upgrade more content:
4. Handling A Full Site Migration and Subdomain Change Like A Bauss 😎
Now, things are really starting to get interesting. In the last 3 months, we decided to turn what was BestGiftsForStoners into HelpingPot in order to rebrand and take it to the next level – adding a CBD shop:
As a result, we had to undergo our first ever domain transfer…
It was a lot of work, but, it went better than expected!
It took about 3 weeks in November to balance out, and transfer all of the traffic:
As you can see here, Stoners is technically still getting traffic, but an inspection of Search Console Data, combined with HelpingPot’s Analytics shows that all the links being featured in SERPs are HelpingPot – where all the clicks are now going:
The numbers are a bit skewed due to the data set having a lot of incomplete numbers, so we expect it to take a 1-3 for the bounce rate to decrease and session duration to spike.
But there are some key takeaways that are showing a lot of site health, and all the signs of a 100% Google approved domain transfer:
The above snippet shows the amount of web clicks and indexed pages on the old domain decreasing, while this proves the traffic is going directly to HelpingPot as it should be:
Again, I expect Google to take about a 1-3 months to fully understand the transfer, but as far as I can tell from this data and everything else I have looked at, the transfer was a success.
And now, as of December 9th, we are on pace for at least 13,000 visitors next month:
The best part? We haven’t seen any negative impact in rankings for our content. Here’s the clear drop off for the old domain compared to the pickup for HelpingPot:
As you can see, the stats for clicks and impressions are nearly identical, with a much better CTR of nearly 5%, and a massive improvement on average position in SERPs – though I want to gather more data before confirming this.
5. What About Future Projections? 🎯
Our plan is to build the best CBD and online headshop on the internet.
We are going to continue to publish at the same pace, upgrade at the same pace, and continue to dive deeper into analytics and search console data to make continual improvements.
We also plan on diving headfirst into the CBD industry, and have already created tons of content that is just now being distributed!
On top of that, in the last month, I have :
- Made new partnerships with 8 CBD drop shippers
- Made new partnerships with 3 glass drop shippers
- Reached out to and spoken to over 200 CBD and glass companies
- Added over 400+ products to our store
- Redesigned our site architecture
- Improved site load speed
- Transferred the subdomain for Shopify
- And more…
Next, it’s time to continue our conquest in the SERPs until we have achieved around 50,000 monthly visitors, at which point we will aim more towards monetization while still building traffic, by:
- Beginning to implement custom audiences to segment our data
- Building up our collections and product pages to appeal more in SERPs
- Improving conversion rates
- Reducing abandoned carts
- Collecting and leveraging more email addresses
- Continuing to add more products
- Monetizing our blog content with better product placement
- Potentially leveraging social media, paid ads, and link building
So what’s the destination, what’s the next milestone/goal?
Ultimately, I think consistency must stay a priority. As long as that is maintained, I really believe that in another 3 months, I will return to this article and report that:
- We have broken the 1,000 daily user threshold (or are at least steadily holding above the 850 daily average)
- Our CTR stays relatively the same, while our session duration increases, and our bounce rate decreases
- We continue to see a more even distribution of traffic among our top-performing pages
- We are approaching 25,000+ monthly visitors
- We begin to witness a pick up in sales and conversions
- We see a massive improvement in our ranking for CBD terms
- We continue to see an improvement in rankings for our pages that are ranking < 10
As we continue to scale, a few things I am keeping a close eye on are:
- How well the transfer is going
- Whether session duration decreases or bounce rate increases
- Whether any rankings for our pages are impacted negatively by the transfer
- How well our CBD content starts performing in SERPs
Overall, the future is hopeful. This industry can easily support 2,000,000+ monthly for a high DA blog, which can also result in millions of dollars in revenue.
I plan on being the one to capture it.
Building a Blog to 10,000 Monthly Visitors in 1 Year: Key Takeaways ✅
If you walk away with nothing else from this case study, at least use these core concepts to grow your blog rapidly.
1. This case study goes to show that content still is king in 2019.
While it isn’t the entire puzzle, not even close, content can provide you with a massive launch-pad to get data from.
If you work with an expert and are consistent, you should be able to see these types of results in most industries, even highly competitive ones with the right content strategy.
On top of that, blog traffic is a great place to capture leads that you can monetize later, as well as build a brand that you can trust.
2. Small sites can make massive gains with the right strategy.
This case study also goes to show that even if you are a small site starting from 0, you can still make a massive difference in a relatively short period of time using the right strategy.
All you need to do is execute, and continually improve your processes as your site continues to grow.
This really backs up one of my recent findings – domain authority does not affect your organic rankings enough to prevent small sites from ranking high in SERPs with high-quality content
3. You can’t expect instant results with content marketing.
Just like with SEO – which is a large portion of what we do as content marketers – you need to give a new content strategy some time to breathe.
Believe in the process. As long as your content strategy is on point, your content is the best in the industry, and you maintain consistency – whether you will rank in the top 10 is no longer an if, but a when.
Keep publishing content, even when you have small lulls in traffic, and continue to gain insights from your search console data.
4. Upgrading your content is just as important as writing it the first time.
Yes, you read that right. And no, I won’t take it back.
If you don’t refurbish your existing content by giving it the nutrients it needs to grow by constantly improving it, you will never achieve these kinds of results – no matter how good your writing or strategy is.
But, if you continue to review your data and make changes to your content, you will see tremendous growth over time.
5. Consistency is key, without it you will never get off the ground.
At the end of the day, you can’t expect to do anything a few times and truly get good at it. You can probably still hear your parents’ voices in your head saying, “practice makes perfect.”
It’s true when it comes to content too. If you’re serious about growing your blog to be one of the best in your industry, you need to be able to show up every week, with the same high-quality content that helps users find what they’re looking for.
Just like an athlete has to show up to train every day to stay sharp and ready for game time, you need to be on point with your content strategy to beat the competition.
Want to Grow Your Blog to 10,000+ Monthly Visitors? 💪
Are you serious about growing your blog traffic?
Want to generate 10,000+ monthly visitors for your business?
Let’s talk. Drop me a line, and I will get in touch with you to help build an in-depth, data-driven content marketing strategy for your business.
If you like my work, I’d love to work with you to build out your content, publish it, and optimize it over time to get even better results in a shorter time frame.
Feel free to tell me a bit about your business below, and shoot me a message to get in touch. I will do my best to get back to you within 24 hours to schedule a free consultation.
Let’s Grow Together 🌱
How can I help you grow or improve your blog and scale your online business?