Back at the beginning of October, I announced the launch of DoNotWait.com, a new retirement planning blog. This is the 5th blog produced by our company which includes:
The Financial Blogger – How to work smarter to make more money.
The Dividend Guy Blog – A dividend investing resource.
The Intelligent Speculator – Investing and techno stocks commentary blog.
Green Panda Treehouse – Personal finance for the people in their 20s and 30s.
Do Not Wait! – A retirement planning blog.
The site was launched back on October 4th with a huge contest (still running until October 31st) where you could win several prizes. After 3 weeks, we can say “mission accomplished”… so far! As the competition is now fierce in the financial blog world, launching a new site is a real challenge.
Why start with a contest?
In marketing, there are zillions of ways to gain your market share (in this case, it’s readers). However, it all passes through 2 major axes:
#1 Quality (i.e. good and up-to-date content)
#2 Visibility (mentions from other blogs, search engine rank, word-of-mouth promotion)
So you may have the best content in the world, if you don’t advertise, it will never be found on the web. This is why we decided to launch a huge contest with many prizes. The interesting part is that we are not financing all of them.
Have people participate
We offer the biggest prize, the iPad, but we contacted several advertisers and bloggers to contribute. In exchange for a prize they are willing to sponsor, they have their logo, a link and a short description of their site within our contest announcement. By involving several people upfront, we were sure to get more visibility and get more mentions across the blogosphere. It was a win-win situation for both bloggers and us.
Get people to take action
Having a buzz around DoNotWait! during the month of October is nice but it won’t serve any good if those referrals don’t stick around for long. This is why we are asking people to register for our newsletter and RSS feed. This gives us the opportunity to show them what kind of content they will find on DoNotWait.
To date, we have gathered 188 RSS readers and 114 subscribers to our newsletter. I didn’t know what to expect but if I look at my other blogs, I think that building a nice readership base in 3 weeks is pretty good. After all, it is almost 15% of TFB RSS readers (which exists since November 2006!).
Communication is the key
As I mentioned before, I have worked pretty hard to contact several bloggers. Since I’ve been around for a while, I have a lot of fellow bloggers who were kind enough to lend me a hand. Here are the things I have done a week before launching the site:
– Contacting personally several bloggers for help
– Creating a mass email to all my fellow bloggers that I know (using gmail contacts)
– Posting the launch on 3 forums (2 private forums and the Yakezie forum)
– Announcements through my newsletters (TFB and IS)
– Spreading the word on Twitter (and have my fellow to RT)
– Submitting my first post to social media (in order to get Google’s attention as soon as possible)
– Commenting on several other blogs (especially the ones with the “comment luv” plugin that shows your latest post besides your name as a commenter
What could have been done differently
While I think we did a great job in launching the new blog, I think we missed a few points. The first one was that the site is not fully completed. By this I mean that we are still working on calculators behind the scenes where I think this could be one of the major reasons why people would like to visit a retirement planning blog. I wanted to have articles written in all categories but this is yet to come too. On the other hand, we have about 20 articles drafted waiting to be published so we were very eager to promote our content.
The second thing I would do if I had to launch another website is to try and get mentioned by the media. By contacting financial journalists such as Larry MacDonald or Rob Carrick, I could have increased my chance to get more attention to the site.
The third thing would have been to send more personal email. The mass email was good but never better than a gold old personal communication between 2 parties. But because it is time consuming, we have decided to create one fat email that fits all and send it to all our contacts.
What is our goal with this new blog?
Now that we are surfing on the attention, it is time to present good content and try to get some search engine ranking. So far, our search engine visitors represent a low 2% of our traffic (which is averaging about 125/day). Once the buzz is over, we will need to get a much better ranking to keep the site over 100 visits/day.
The goal is to crank it up to reach 3,000 visits/day by December by having more search engine traffic. I would also like to increase my number of RSS readers to 250 by the end of the year. This may sound difficult but I’m sure we will be able to do it if we provide quality and helpful content. After all, this site has been created based on the fact that the public seriously lacks resources when it comes to retirement planning.
By the end of 2010, I would also like to start earning a few bucks from it. Because we don’t want to sell text links on this site, our main sources of revenue will be adsense and affiliate programs. We will see how it goes over time but earning $50 per month by January 2011 should be feasible.
I’d like to have your feed back on Do Not Wait!
What do you think of this new blog? Do you like it? Do you find it interesting? Is it missing anything?
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