Three lessons from first week of

Successes and lessons learned from the first week of

1. I chose the wrong contest at the wrong time

When I launched this blog this past Monday, I announced a contest. Write something about social media and marketing, I said, and you’ll have a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card. Well, that was an abysmal failure. I haven’t gotten a single entry (the deadline was Friday at midnight).

I take two lessons from that: Asking people to write ‘no more than’ 500 words makes it sound like an essay assignment from school — no fun at all. And I don’t have enough readers at this young blog to support that kind of contest, given that only a percentage of people will enter any sort of contest at all.

However, I will try a contest again, when I have more readers. I have some ideas about how to make it easier and more fun, so stay tuned.

2. I need to make the blog stickier to convert readers to subscribers

I had what I would consider decent traffic for the first week — 164 visitors, 219 unique visits and 422 page views. However, my subscriber stats are a little lower than I’d like. I ended the week with a daily average of 6 subscribers (either to the RSS feed or via email). That is what the experts call a conversion problem, as I would like people to subscribe to this blog. (Have you subscribed? If not, add the RSS feed to your reader or type your email address into email subscribe box over there on the right side of the page.)

So I will be working on some features to make the blog “stickier” and offer more value to readers.

3. I need your help to promote your blog!

Are you reading this? Do I know you — are you a friend, relative, co-worker, former colleague or acquaintance of mine? If so, email me your blog’s address and I will add it to my “Bloggers I know” list on the right side. I asked people to do this in one of my first posts this week, and some did, but not everyone. If you don’t want your blog linked here because you don’t want all the traffic, that’s fine, I respect that. But if you do, please let me know.

Don’t be shy — I’m in marketing and public relations, after all, I’m sympathetic to promotions and publicity.


  1. says

    Hi Mark,
    I just recently started blogging too so I can really relate to this post. I’ll share a few things I’ve found helpful. Don’t be shy about sharing on Twitter when you have a new blog post – in fact, that’s what brought me here today. I saw your Tweet. I’d love to be part of your contest now that I know about it.

    Also, have you submitted your blog to Technorati and Blogged? I don’t get a ton of referrals from those sites, but I do get a few. Last but not least, I joined several relevant socnets (like PitchEngine, SWOM and a few others on and set up my blog RSS to my pages on those sites. I get a few referrals that way, too.

    Hope this helps! I’ll be back, I like what you’re doing here.

  2. says

    Those are great tips, Lara. Thank you.

    I am in Technorati, but not Blogged. And you’re right, I need to join some of the more relevant social networks to help build traffic and links.

    Thanks for your other comment about being willing to enter the contest! I am going to start a new contest in a few weeks, but I’m going to make it something a little easier and a little more fun, so stay tuned for that.

  3. says

    Mark – thanks for sharing some of the lessons learned. I’ve learned more than a few so far since starting mine about two months ago.

    I think converting visitors to subscribers is harder than we think, though we can definitely do things to convert more of them. Most folks already have a lot of feeds in their reader, so they’re pretty choosy about who they add. I’m learning that sometimes the post you don’t expect to do much will be the one to take off and give you more subscribers.

    Last week I wrote a post called 5 Ways Twitter Will Make You Smarter. I didn’t expect it to do much, since I assumed most people reading blogs already know a lot about Twitter. I didn’t even tweet about it to promote it – though I did put it in my status bar on LinkedIn and Facebook.

    It went crazy! Tripled my previous single day visitors numbers and was featured on in its “how to” category. I also more than doubled my subscribers in two days. Totally didn’t anticipate that.

    By the way, I added you to my blogroll, aka “Share the Love” this weekend. I’ve enjoyed your posts so far, especially those on writing. Thanks for sharing your insights.

    I should also say “thanks” for sending 12 folks my way last week from your blog. It’s appreciated.

    If any of your “sticky” ways begin working, please feel free to share them with the rest of us.

  4. says

    I relate to #1. I started Distinctions For Life last week and added a contest. The problem is I don’t have many people subscribed so there aren’t many people in the contest. Which means they have a good chance of winning, but there also isn’t much spread of the contest.


  5. says

    @David: Thanks for the link! And I will definitely share things that seem to work.

    @Ron: Stay tuned! I have an idea or two for a contest that I think will be more successful than my first attempt. But I will let the blog’s readership grow a little more, first.

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