Building In Public: February 22 Update
I took more time off than expected over the Xmas/New Year period, so there was no update in Jan. But we’re back.
The last time I was writing this, I was feeling the grind. Coming back with a fresh perspective, I’m looking forward to what 2022 has to offer.
Since the last update, the biggest change we made is turning off all paid ads. We were running some Google CPC campaigns to blog posts. But the traffic was converting, or at least not at a cost we could afford. It cost us about $10 per email subscriber, which is super expensive.
I’ll get into the numbers, then look at a few tests we’ve been running, what’s worked and hasn’t worked etc.…
All our numbers are trending in the right direction. Bounce rate is decreasing, pages per session increasing, and session duration increasing. I’d like to think this means we’re starting to attract more of the right people, and our content is improving.
Our traffic dropped a little after stopping paid ads, but email subscribers and backlinks are growing nicely. So I don’t think we’ll be going back to CPC for a while.
We changed the copy on the signup page of our newsletter again, and again saw a great improvement in conversions. Our conversion rate in January was 8.21%. I think that’ll level out to somewhere around 5%. Here’s the new copy.
I’ve continued posting on Reddit, Hacker News, Linkedin and a few Facebook Groups.
Reddit still performs the best for us, but the results vary.
For example, I posted in /Entrepreneur about a guy named Ramon Van Meer a while back, and we got almost 1,000 visits across a few days. All my posts since have done less than 100 visits.
Here are my most recent efforts from the past month or so for Reddit
Hacker news is the same. Superhit and miss.
What I know is the title of the post is so important. You’ve got to nail AIDA at the start of every post following the title. Our results have been decent when I’ve got those two right as a combination.
What I didn’t expect to happen is the engagement I get from some of the comments I leave on other peoples posts. This comment here generated 200 website visits.
Overall, Reddit is our best channel at the moment and the funnest. It’s good to get feedback on your content/ideas and get a feel for what people in the community are working on or struggling with.
The other big win for the month was one of the newsletters going viral. Well, our version of viral. Somehow our newsletter got picked up by someone with some influence in Poland. Within 5’ish days we gained ~50 subscribers from Polish/Slavic people.
It just goes to show how much serendipity there is when building an audience. Keep showing up, and you never know what will happen.
Last but not least, we’ve learned that adding a call to action to the bottom of blog posts works, rather than using an annoying pop-up that kills the reader experience. We’ve started asking people to join our newsletter if they enjoyed the article.
It’s early days yet, but this has helped us pick up another ~ ten subscribers that we otherwise wouldn’t have.
We’re hoping to hit 500 subscribers by the end of February and get monthly traffic back to 1,000 sessions without paid content. Let’s see how we go.