How I Growth Hacked A 1 Week Old Site to 2.5k+ Pageviews


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How I Growth Hacked A 1 Week Old Site to 2.5k+ Pageviews

I originally posted this on my Tech Site, but as a lot of my readers over here hadn’t seen it. I thought I’d re-post it over here as well. It offers a LOT of useful and actionable information.

When I first started Tecy.Co, I wasn’t totally sure on where I wanted it to head… but as I read around and started trying to promote the content I was building on the site, I soon sort after the different areas of what I wanted to do and what I wanted to improve on the site. Luckily for me, I’ve been building sites, doing SEO and general Internet Marketing for over 5 years (as of April anyway) so I have a pretty good idea of what I am looking for whenever I need or want to change something – This is a really big bonus I have over the likes of Journalists, Newbie bloggers and a lot of Internet/Affiliate marketers out there looking to compete within Tecy’s niche.

I was originally going to do a table of contents for this case study guide, but thought it’d overtake from people getting to understand the entirety of the process I put upon the site – Without reading it all, individual sections mostly won’t make much sense.

An Introduction to my Strategy –

As I was basing Tecy.Co from the likes of The Next Web, Mashable and TechCrunch, I knew exactly what I’d have to look at to find their statistics and tactics they’re using. So, I headed over to their sites and started looking at them to see what I’d improve so I could take away ideas from them and implement those ideas into the Tecy.Co site when I put it live.

I also read a lot of the guides on QuickSprout, as Neil has worked directly with a lot of these companies to improve their traffic, social shares and conversion/bounce rates.

What I Learned From –

As I mentioned earlier, I was looking at 3 different sites to find ideas on how I could improve their sites/posts on my own site. So, here’s what I learnt from each site –

The Next Web:

I was reading this post on TargetPattern when I realized they’d put their category name within their URLs, and I thought I’d actually take a look at the category pages within TWN (TWN is the abbreviated name for The Next Web) –

TWN-Category-PAGes

 

What I quickly realized was they weren’t optimizing their category pages what so ever. They hadn’t filled out meta data for the pages to target organic keywords that could massively increase organic traffic, nor had they put unique content within each category page. If they’d done both of those things, the category pages could of potentially been used to generate organic traffic from search engines.

So, I went about adding this to my site.

I’m using WordPress, so my first step was to make sure all the permalinks within my posts were showing the category first. This is pretty simple, just go to Settings > Permalinks within WP-Admin and add this to the custom structure field –

Custom-Structure-Edit

The next thing I needed was to remove the /category/ from each of the category pages, so they’d just show the URL slug I’d inputted into the category page. I added this via the Yoast SEO Plugin in their Permalinks area –

Strip Category Base Yoast SEO

Unfortunately the theme I’m using doesn’t normally let you pull the description you input when you create or edit a category, so I had to hack it a bit to do so. You can check out the tutorial I did here on how to import the description onto the page.

My final result looked pretty good and every category page is now optimized – After some keyword research of course.

Tecy.Co-Category-Page-Example

Not a massive description on each page that it takes over from people actually being able to see the posts, but it gives Google enough to understand what the page is about and is 100% unique to the rest of the site.

Mashable:

Mashable’s homepage was near perfect (though they could edit their homepage meta data to improve organic traffic), and their social media presence was awesome.

The thing I really didn’t like about Mashable was their “What’s Hot” bar. This will massively lower people from going onto the rest of your site, as most of the content there was completely unrelated from what the reader was actually looking at. Instead, I went out to try and build an exact same kind of bar, that looked a bit cleaner and had content that was actually relevant to what people are looking at.

I haven’t quite gotten round to adding in some nice CSS to the widget so it doesn’t look quite as fantastic, but the content it recommend is related nearly 100% of the time and want’s you to continue reading onto different areas of the site –

related-post-sidebar

It’s not quite perfect, but that’s only because I don’t have a load of other content on the site yet for it to determine what else the reader will like.

Also, as a lot of people have asked via email or twitter in the past, the plugin I use for widgets to follow down your screen is this one.

I’m also using a plugin called Shareaholic to add at the bottom of the post some really aggressive sharing buttons for people to engage with, this adds another means of adding related content to a user – Though be careful to block out the homepage when using it, or it’ll pull in the homepage as a related post –

Shareaholic-Related-Posts

Again, because there’s not that much content on the site, it hasn’t got that many related items – The more we add though, the more it’ll grow out and the more options it’ll have! Shareaholic also has a built in algorithm to find this related content, so it’s pretty accurate once you have a good number of posts on your site for it to go by.

TechCrunch:

The main thing I learnt from TechCrunch was to have an “all inclusive” commenting system – This means that anyone in the world can comment quickly and easily, but I didn’t want to use the default commenting system as I’d have to hack it a LOT for it to look like I wanted and to not allow people to link out to their sites – Even though they’re nofollow links, I don’t want any nature that people can use to essentially game my site for links and I don’t want to have to have big moderation systems in place.

The main issue with TechCrunch’s commenting system is it uses Facebook comments as their only system –

TechCrunch-Facebook-Comments

This really pulls away from the ability of people to be able to comment.. Especially as a lot of the tech community dislike having a Facebook account due to privacy and anonymity concerns.

In the end I went with Disqus comments – It’s still not perfect, but it does give the ability to login with a Twitter, Facebook, Google or Disqus account, which is a lot more options than the standard just Facebook on TechCrunch. This also means you have another option for people to see what content they want to see as it gives other activity within the site – Of course this being a fairly new site, there’s not all that much activity, though if I take a look at my God of SEO blog’s Disqus system, you’ll see a lot more –

Related Comments on God of SEO

So, that’s 3 different options for people to get content when looking at the site.

Content Creation Process –

I wanted to create a lot of content on the site quickly, for it to grow organic traffic but I also wanted one BIG piece each week for the site which I could then use to promote via social media and other places – We’ll get into how I promoted content later in the study.

I also wanted every piece to be heavily optimized so once Google started to increase my site’s domain authority and see Tecy as a good source of content, but I didn’t want to risk over optimizing the site, especially over optimizing individual posts that had rather small amounts of content.

Smaller Posts:

I wanted the small posts to still offer something to readers, not just be spam junk crap that people don’t really want to read, so I went with the option of list based content – This also does fantastically well on social media and Reddit seem to like it, as well.

On every small post, I also used premium stock imagery for the featured images as well – This means Twitter cards, OpenGraph for Facebook and Google+ based shares look better and the posts within my own slider/featured block –

Are of premium quality – and aren’t pixelized. I use PhotoDune to get my images from, as well as Getty images (Though they don’t really offer any cheaper options for the kind of imagery I need) whereas I can get a featured image that looks quite good for about $2, around 800×800 pixels for a good image that won’t get pixelated on any resolution.

Tags:

I wasn’t actually going to use tags at all, I didn’t want to create a load of pages that didn’t have any sort of unique content to the page, but afterwards came to realize it was rather important for internal linking and gave me another process I could use to find relevant content for users to engage with.

Social Media –

This is where a lot of the big boys spend a LOT of time trying to grow their traffic with – I’d say Mashable’s approach actually hurts their site on Twitter though, multiple accounts instead of using one dedicated hub. I see the appeal of having very targeted users, but it’ll overall hurt the reach of each individual account, unless they use some kind of dynamic profile generator for each category their content goes into.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to get a ton of immediate traffic from social media, so I set aside a budget and some time to try and grow just the Twitter and Facebook profiles – Then, once both were setup well, I’d look at pushing my content out to other social networks like Pinterest and Google+ further down the line. I already had a following on my personal accounts ready to harness, but wanted to grow out the profile and page as a dedicated practice for Tecy.Co.

I would normally use Buffer, but as the site was brand new and didn’t have much of a following yet, it requires a specific amount of Followers or Likes for you to use it. I will however be using Buffer further down the line to schedule shares of both my own content, and content that I read anyway and my audience should enjoy as well – I dislike JUST sharing my own content on a Twitter feed, as I’m all about transparency on the web and hate censorship of content on any level, hence the massive case study a week after launching this site!

Twitter –

This is where I dedicated the most time, and it really paid off after just a few days.

I used a number of tools to get harness social media, I didn’t want to do anything spammy that could potentially hurt my site’s perception by users, though.

Plugins –

I used 2 different plugins that harnessed the power of Twitter.

Tweet Old Post:

This essentially tweet’s out posts that are within a specific period of time (you select that within the plugin settings) which helps grow traffic to posts that your followers perhaps haven’t seen yet and if you do the time settings during random intervals, you can potentially grow market content to different timezones that you wouldn’t (or your social manager) perhaps wouldn’t be up to tweet at.

It’s got a super easy configuration, though the Twitter authorization is a little buggy and may require 2-3 times to work correctly.

Just make sure to select the following options, or your Tweets to generate traffic will be almost meaningless –

Tweet Content on Tweet Old Post

Include Link - Tweet Old Post

Also, don’t put it to Tweet out a TON or too little, I go for around an 8 hour interval on sites with over 50 posts, and 4 hours if a site has over 100 – That’s if the content is regularly updated, if not go for something more along the lines of 20 hours.

Don’t worry, you can also exclude specific posts – I do this with any News that’ll only be well received within the first few days/hours of it going live.

You can download Tweet Old Post here for free.

S.N.A.P. –

This is used for all of your social networks, but I thought I’d put it within the Twitter section as I didn’t want to add another plugins area to my Facebook section.

Social Network Auto Poster, essentially will share out your content whenever it goes live automatically to a range of selected and inputted social networks. For example, when I put this post live it’ll post to my Facebook and Twitter profiles, all simultaneously.

The only drawback with this plugin is that it requires you to in-detail fill out a lot of options for every social network you add. For example, you have to have a Twitter API to send out Tweets – Though it does have guides on how to get all the information you need for each social network.

You can download S.N.A.P. here for free.

TargetPatten –

Next I needed to actually get some followers, so I used a tool called TargetPatten to do it for me. Essentially you put in target keywords and TP will go out and find related posts to the keywords you found for you to favorite, the more you use it, the better quality of Tweets will come back.

I already did a post here on how to use TP, and as it’s quite a long-winded piece, I’ll let you follow that guide instead of me re-iterating the same tutorial. The very same post was actually our first ever Twitter share (After just a day of the site being live!) –

Marie Dugan Tecy.Co Twitter Share

Our first ever Tweet that actually specifically mentioned our Twitter was also posted a few hours later! –

Chris Gordon Twitter Share

Pretty cool after the site was just a day old! And both Tweets got a couple favorites themselves as well.

Facebook –

I didn’t really have much of a plan on how to grow the Facebook page other than using boosted posts via PPC.

The first ad I did was to boost my Cryptocurrency guide share via targeting audiences with the Status share –

Tecy Facebook Share

I also pinned it to the top of the page so anyone landing on our Facebook would immediately be able to see our best piece of content.

Stealing our Competitors Likes:

My next plan was to steal the competitions likes – Starting with the main 3 that I mentioned earlier.

I’ll be following my “Facebook Hacks Post” which was on my God of SEO blog for this, though I haven’t quite got around to running it yet – It’s in the works!

Here’s the video tutorial from said post as well –

Just so you don’t have to click away from the Tecy site!

Reddit –

I’ve been a long time user on Reddit and have always been a fan of using Reddit to find great content, ideas to make content and promoting your own content on. I wasn’t totally sure how to do the last in that list though, but luckily for me this guide by Jesse Aaron on Social Media Examiner came around just in time and I started looking at ways I could use Reddit to find ideas to build up content that a very specific community (or “subreddit” as they’re known on Reddit) would enjoy. I also looked at ideas for places that I could promote my content on.

My first ever share, which was on my Crpyotcurrency introductory guide managed to get over 10 Upvotes, by targeting the right community – To add, the moderators of the subreddit even added some bonus links within the comments, which means they liked it as well. It also managed to at 1 point hit the #2 spot on the entire subreddit.

You can also check out my keyword research section of my Music marketing guide to see how I used Reddit to find items that subreddits and entire communities found interesting and would get good traffic and upvotes within said communities.

Email Marketing –

As I already had a nice, big list within my God of SEO newsletter subscription I included the Tecy.Co launch within that week’s email digest –

Tecy.Co Launch - Email Digest

I haven’t yet been able to send out any emails via the Tecy.Co email newsletter, and I only setup it on the 2nd day of launch.

I’ve setup the email list using MailChimp, though as sometime I may have to swap to a different service as it can get VERY expensive once you start accumulating emails within the thousands.

Popup:

I added an email popup via the SumoMe ListBuilder, as it adds a really easily customize-able popup and the smart popup integration makes for easy and well timed popups. The actual popup (if it hasn’t come for you yet) looks something like this –

Newsletter Popup Example

It’s simple, and matches the site design well.

Sidebar Widget:

I haven’t yet implemented any CSS on the sidebar widget for my email newsletter plugin, and will get round to doing so as soon as possible! As you can see, doesn’t look very pretty yet –

Email Newsletter Sidebar Signup

But, it’s simple and does the job well.

Copy & Paste Forced Sharing –

I’ve used Tynt a lot in the past for this, but I decided to test out the Highlighter plugin on the Sumome free area, as it’s rather simple and does the job pretty simply.

Essentially, whenever someone copies your content, it’ll add a link back to the post with “Read More” along by an author section to show a specific Twitter account as the author of said post/content. Here’s an example –

Highlighter-Example

This means any shares via Email, Word Doc or social network will automatically have that pasted in with them – Of course you can delete it, but seem people are lazy and it adds for a good bonus if anyone ever shares your content via copy and pasting it – It also works on imagery as well!

Organic Search Traffic –

Within the first week I wasn’t expecting massive results from Google what so ever – I’d be expecting them to start looking at my site, indexing it and trying to build up what my site is like. That’s why this is right at the end of the study. Never the less, I still did the optimization I needed to try and gain as much traffic from Google (and other search engines) as possible.

I’m more known within the SEO industry for my skills in link building, more specifically grey hat based stuff, but I knew for a site that I wanted to grow into tens of thousands of visits (if not more) that I couldn’t go building a blog network or any kind of automated link building around it. So my main focus was around OnPage optimization, which I’ve gone through a few of the things I did already above such as the category pages and meta data/alt tags on every post.

When it came to actually building some links, I focused more on naturally building links from people reading and sharing my content OR building links from social sources like Reddit and Tumblr that will actually build up my traffic, as well as building strong and niche relevant links.

Link Building Work:

I did however actually build some links to the site, generally via web 2.0 profiles that I was using the communities to build organic traffic to.

As an example, I started sharing some of my growth hacking guides and tutorials on the GrowthHacking.com site, it’s a  Reddit style site where you can upvote for your favorite growth hacking posts, articles and case studies. They have a profile editing section, which you can add a bio to – So, I added a link to Tecy.Co within my profile –

GrowthHackers.com-Profile

Unfortunately, unless I hit the front page of GrowthHackers for a few days, because it’s a fairly new site it won’t get crawled very often so I used a method that’ll help get my profile indexed and in turn my link from the site indexed within Google.

Essentially, I find a blog post that I’m reading anyway that is in some way relevant to GrowthHackers (in this case it was Matthew Woodward’s tutorial post on Facebook advertising) and commented on it with a link to my growthhackers.com user profile –

Comment-Indexation-Example

Now when Google re-indexes that entire page, it’ll see the link back to my profile and index it, which in turn will index my GrowthHackers link. This is what the comment will look like in the end –

NoFollow-Comment-Example

The name you input originally will be the anchor text (or keyword) that Google will index, so either make it a branded comment or if it’s a personal blog/site just go with the branded name – It’s not that important anyway, as the link is NoFollow’d in Googles eyes – Doesn’t count towards your PageRank or overall ranking, though that has been disputed a bit.

Conclusion –

This kind of strategy may not work for every site, but it has worked so far for Tecy.Co and I’ll hopefully be doing a follow-up post to this in a few months once the site has a lot more content and I’ve invested more time into the likes of email marketing and A/B split testing.

Normally I’d add a TL;DR to this kind of a case study, but with this guide is rather long and the TL;DR would probably be longer than most want to read anyway.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed my case study.

Charles Floate
I'm a UK based Search Engine Optimisation and Search Marketing Consultant. With over 5 years in the Search Industry, I'm hoping to build up God of SEO as a Dedicated Internet Marketing Blog with tons of Information for the Community to engage with.
Charles Floate
Charles Floate
Charles Floate

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