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The First Week of My New Blog

Posted By Darren Rowse 11th of November 2008 Case Studies, Featured Posts 0 Comments

1 week ago today I launched a new blog called TwiTip here on ProBlogger. In that launch post I documented some of the setup process that I’d already gone though (hosting, design, content, promotion etc). In a subsequent post I also outlined 10 WordPress plugins that I’d installed.

It has been 7 days since I launched it now and since I’m getting a lot of questions about how it is going and what I’m doing on the blog I thought I’d give a quick update on what I’ve done since and how the blog has performed.

Plugins and Features

While I’d already installed a few plugins over the last week I’ve added a few more including:

  • Outbrain – a post rating plugin. You can see it in operation on single posts (at the end of posts). It allows users to rate posts and also suggests other reading that readers might find relevant (from both your own blog and other blogs). I’m still testing it but so far reader feedback has been good. My only concern with it is that there’s no way to control what other sites it recommends (you can switch that feature off) and it has recommended posts from a site that I didn’t think was that relevant to my readers on at least one occasion. Hopefully this will improve in time. Outbrain also gives a ‘popular post’ widget which I’ve added to the sidebar as well as some useful internal reports on what posts on your blog are connecting most with readers (see below).
  • RSS Footer – a plugin I’ve been wanting to test for a while. This inserts a link (or any html really) into the footer of each post in your RSS feed that allows you to add a link back to your blog. This is useful when scrapers take your feed and put it on their blog without any attribution. While most bloggers try to stop other bloggers doing this it means that at least if they do do it that there’s a good chance you’ll at least get a link back and some attribution.
  • FeedFlares – I’ve added a number of Feeburner ‘Feedflares’ to my RSS feed including a ‘Twit This’ and ‘Stumble it’ feature to help subscribers pass on the content to others.
  • Feedburner Counter – I mentioned in my launch post that i would wait til I hit 1000 subscribers before adding the feedburner counter to the blog. This happened a couple of days back (although I only noticed today) so I’ve added the counter to the sidebar. Hitting this milestone was faster than expected and largely due to my amazing Twitter followers spreading the word about TwiTip.


In my launch post I mentioned that I didn’t think I’d be updating TwiTip more than 2-3 times a week. That has turned out to be wrong – I’ve published 12 already.

This is due to two reasons:

  1. I got excited – there’s something about a new blog that gets your creative juiced flowing.
  2. Reader Submissions – since launching the blog I’ve had 60 or so offers to write posts for TwiTip. I’ve had to say no to 40 or so of them simply because it would take me two months to publish them all if I did one a day. Having said this – some of the submissions I’ve received are great so there’s definitely enough content on hand for a post a day.

One of the things I’ve been working on over the last few days is a editorial calendar of sorts (or at least the beginning of one). One of the temptations when you start getting offers for guest posts is to just accept anything and everything. The problem with this is that you end up with a blog that doesn’t build momentum.

What I’ve been working on in the last day or two is a list of posts that I want to publish. This way I’m setting more of the agenda for where the blog will go rather than just letting guest bloggers do that (as great as they are in the long run I’m the one with the vision for the blog). Once I’ve determined topics I’ve gone in search of people to write them.

I’ve also been thinking through a few regular ‘types’ of posts that I want to feature. For example I want to interview some top Tweeters on how they use Twitter. I also want to try doing to do some user reviews. Having these consistent types of posts will hopefully help readers to know what they’re getting and will help develop a rhythm for the blog.

Polls/Reader Questions


One of the things that has brought real life to the blog are the polls I’ve run so far. I installed WP-Polls early on and I love some of the options it gives to rotate numerous polls in a sidebar (as well as putting them into posts). The polls have been really successful at drawing people into the blog and getting things a bit more interactive.

Similarly I’ve made sure that each post has questions for readers (quite a few of the titles even have questions in them) and even had a post that was purely a chance for readers to have their say (this one on Twitter Tools). It’s important to me to build the most interactive and participatory blog as I can – it seems to be working with some great discussions so far.

Traffic and Promotion

So how’s TwiTip performed so far in terms of traffic?

One of the things that has been quite different for me with this blog is that I’ve spent very little time so far on ‘promotion’. Outside of a few tweets and two posts here at ProBlogger (three now) I’ve not really done anything for promotion.

The reason for this is partly that I’ve been swamped with work and partly because I’m fortunate enough to have a couple of other places of presence to leverage (my Twitter account and ProBlogger). Both of these have crossover with TwiTip topic wise and both are read by others who are willing to pass on news of the new site.

This is of course different to most bloggers starting out but illustrates a principle that is important – ‘leveraging any other online presence you already have‘ to promote your blog (something that gets easier with time of course).

In terms of actual traffic numbers to the blog in its first week Google Analytics reports the following (click to enlarge):


There was obviously a surge on day 1 and 2 when the launch happened and the last day is incomplete (still a few hours to go). Page views per visit should increase a little as more posts get added to the site and ‘new visits’ will obviously fall in time as people subscribe and become regulars.

In terms of where traffic has been coming from – let me give you a screen grab of the top 10 referrals from my WP stats plugin:


As you can see the biggest referrer was Twitter itself, ProBlogger’s launch post has driven some nice traffic, there was a little social bookmarking traffic over the weekend and a growing amount from Google Reader (and other feed readers).

Other Activities

Starting a new blog brings with it a variety of activities. I find that it is a bit of a hectic couple of weeks as you tweak, experiment, remember to do things and see what works. A couple of others things that I’ve done since last time I wrote:

Claimed blog on Technorati – TwiTip was already being indexed on Technorati but I claimed it as my own earlier today and set it up with some tags.

Secured @twitip – one of the things that I had been trying to do since before launching was getting in touch with the owner of the registered but unused @twitip twitter account. It’s hard to get in touch with someone who has registered an account but doesn’t update it. You can’t Direct Message them (as they need to be following you) and there is no real way of finding out who is behind the account (unless you know someone at Twitter). I did try to get in touch with Twitter but had no response but over the weekend I did a public @reply to the account and surprisingly the owner got back to me.

They were willing to do a trade on the user name. I gave them some of my time and they gave me @twitip but also @twittip (double ‘t’) and also a domain www.twittip.com (which I had previously tried to get but was already taken). I’m still not sure what to do with the twitter user names and at this point they just point people to @problogger (my main Twitter account). I’ll probably use @twitip to broadcast updates from the blog.

SEO TweaksThesis (the theme I’m using) is great to use and well set up by default – but there have been a few tweaks that I’ve been doing. These are partly around the All-in-One SEO plugin – particularly around how title tags and meta tags are showing up on posts (although nothing too major).

Interestingly there’s already a trickle of Google traffic coming into the blog. I don’t really expect much of this for some time now (and it’ll go up and down as Google works out how to index the site) – I take a long term view of SEO – no rush here and no need to push it faster than will happen naturally as I add content and as others link to the blog.

Next Steps

The next phase of TwiTip is really to knuckle down and keep developing great content. This includes writing a few of my own posts as well as editing and liaising with those doing guest posts. Outside of this not a lot will probably change with the way that the blog is set up in the short term (although I’m toying with the idea of getting a logo designed).

I will probably add RSS to email and email newsletter options at some point (although not for a bit) and will work towards a custom design – but I’m in no rush for these as I have a few other design projects to get done first on DPS. Really the main task for TwiTip now is about content, community and a little promotional work.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Very helpful. I enjoy following your process Darren. Thank you for sharing and I am happy to see TwiTip already growing. Nice work. =)

  2. Looks like you got a good start. It will be interessting to see where you are in one month.

  3. Wow! Its just one week after your launched your new blog, and it already has broken the 1000 subscriber mark. I suppose ProBlogger contributed to most of the subscribers and traffic. Good on you.

    I just want to know what sort of promotion is best if I start a new blog. Since I don’t own a big blog like yours, I wouldn’t get that much traffic so easily. What do you suggest? Twitter? Should I take the promotion in phases? Like starting out very early before the launch and gaining a list which I would inform when I launch my blog? What do you suggest?

  4. Even with your high profile Darren getting well over 1000 subscribers and nearly 30,000 pageviews in the space of under a week is damn impressive for such a niche blog! Love it.

  5. As time nears for me to launch my first project I enjoy reading the progress on your new project. Thanks for all the insights Darren. :)

  6. I just start subscribing to your Twitter blog this weekend and I’ve already promoted it on my own recently-started blog.

    Your progress sets a great benchmark for those of us trying to do similar projects.

    Keep up the great work!

  7. I certainly helps to have another blog to promote your new blog.

  8. Glad to see the stats. I remember how much work it is to launch a new blog and it takes a lot of time. Looks like some decent stats.

    Having a place like Problogger to market your new sites is definitely a way of getting traffic quickly.

  9. I also agree that this is a great start and it’s also nice to see you are documenting the process here. My 2 pennies worth though may come across slightly negative, but they are not intended that way.

    You launched the site here, where you already have 67k RSS subscribers (and growing) and several million hits a month. By demographic, people viewing this site are, for the most part, bloggers, people interested in blogging or people trying to find out how to make money being a better blogger. By association, most bloggers are also heavily time-invested into social media outlets, Twitter being one of them. Had you launched this on DPS or one of your other sites, the results would be much different and your goal of 1,000 Twitter followers may have taken a wee bit longer.

    Using Problogger as a launch pad for this new venture made 100% sense, it was the right thing to do since this is a target market for it. Others who are in the process of launching their first, second or even 5th website shouldn’t expect such dramatic, almost overnight experiences though.

  10. Good luck on your new blog. Maybe I should read your blog beofore doing anything on Twitter.

    I haven’t found a good use for it yet.

  11. I’ve been following on Twitter and it really does make it easy to head right over once a notification tweet has been published.

    In a lot of ways, this is much more efficient than waiting for an email rss feed or xml.

    I’m liking it quite a bit and getting more jazzed about twitter every day.



  12. To be clear.

    I haven’t found a good use for TWITTER.

    I going to check out TwiTip first.

  13. Ah, if only I could see a startup like that on one of my blogs.

    But in all seriousness, the site looks good. I haven’t really been there much, but from what I saw the content was pretty good.

    Congrats on the success.

  14. Wow, that was really fast.. 1K subscribers in just a week is really a good start. More Power!

  15. Great Project and more than a 1000 subscribers in a week is like a dream. I will check out the plugins used as am kind of new to wordpress.

  16. Darren,

    It has been awesome reading about how you start a new blog. I have started new blog, http://www.onlinebanksblog.com and I have been using your posts as a guide for things to do on my new blog.

    I have not started promoting this new blog on Twitter yet, but I plan to start doing that. I am sure that there are plenty of people on Twitter who are looking for personal finance news.

    Thanks for a great series,

  17. Amazing start Darren. Can’t wait to see where you are in one month.

  18. I am amazed at the big following you have on twitter. I can only dream of getting that much visits on a blog launch. I didn’t see any organic traffic on your data so far, does it play a big role on your plan or are you relying more on other sources of traffic?

  19. It is so great to see that a new blog up to a flying start. Great work Darren.

    Personal Development Blogger

  20. SEO and ranking is a long-term project. The most important thing when starting a new blog is building the content. Without useful content your blog will not be worth visiting.

    And without unique and keyword-rich content the search engines will not find, index nor rank your blog site very highly. So building unique and useful blog content is of major importance for your blog to start growing, get ranked in search engines and get loyal readership.

    Great progress! Thanks for the Outbrain and RSSFooter links!


  21. Sounds excellent, and some great traffic results my year old blog doesn’t even get that sort of traffic yet not even 10% of that.

    Its quite depressing really but as you said you have the leverage to be able to make this sort of traffic.

  22. Congratulations on a great start on your new blog!

    I’ve been watching Twitip closely, because I wanted to see how you put into practice what you write about here on ProBlogger. I’ve learned a lot already.

    You’ve accomplished in one week what it takes many bloggers a year (or more) to achieve. Even though you have a recognized brand name and a popular blog to boost your new blog, it again is a speeded-up version of what most bloggers can do given time.

  23. Hi Darren!

    I looked at Outbrain (been looking for a good rating plugin) and uploaded it to my blog. It conflicts with MobilePress, so I wanted to let you and the readers know this in case anyone tried to install it with MobilePress. Here’s the error:

    Fatal error: Cannot redeclare getversion() (previously declared in /home/freshfoc/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/mobilepress/mobilepress.php:31) in /home/freshfoc/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/outbrain/index.php on line 40

    It’s a shame because I really wanted to try Outbrain! Thanks for the tip tho!

  24. I still have not learned to use social networking properly. The stats on your new blog tell me I need to get with it!

    Thanks for all of your hard work Darren, Great post!

  25. Good luck with your new blog Darren, and thanks for the plugin suggestions!

  26. the lesson here is to launch a second blog after you have an ultra-popular site…

    he gets to 1K subscribers in a week, something that takes us mere mortals years =)

  27. Good luck on the next steps of your blog. It definitely has the potential to rival our beloved ProBlogger. Keep up the good content Darren. ~JB

  28. This was absolutley amazing. I was blown away by the fact that you could have 1,000 subscribers in less than a week. I know this blog is popular and I am one of the 1,000 but I have been telling my friends to start blogs and to create a blog network.

  29. Nice, Congrats on the sucess, I am sure it will be another regular read for me.

  30. Sounds great! Best wishes to you with this new adventure. I appreciate that you are sharing your workflow and processes with us so we can follow your progress and learn a few things along the way.

  31. Congratulations on your success.

    You’ve inspired me to give proper blogging another crack.

  32. Hey! Very big collection of great tips. You realy love this twitter :D.
    Btw very nice new blog.


  33. Darren – thanks so much for being so transparent in the process and progress of this site launch. (and congrats again!)

  34. Yeh this of course because you already have a blog that has a lot of traffic.

  35. Congratulations on your new site. There’s nothing better than seeing a new project idea come to fruition. It sounds like you had a pretty successful launch, as well. Good luck with the future of the site!

  36. Hi Darren,
    The new site looks great! Thanks for giving outbrain a try – we’re improving our algorithms every day so we think you’ll like what you see. Feel free to contact me if any questions or issues come up. kate[at]outbrain[dot]com
    The outbrain team

  37. 28K pageviews in a month. That’s why I like reading your advice, Darren. I’m around 6K monthly pageviews, last I checked (which is a rare activity for me, so is probably higher now).

  38. Great post!
    I would add a few plugins to your list:

    Google XML Sitemaps: This plugin sends updated sitemaps to the major search engines to help get your blog/site indexed.
    WP Google Analytics: In addition to making it easier to integrate GA on your site, this plugin automatically ignores your internal traffic and it tracks external clicks.

    There are some others, but it’s a slippery slope once you start nominating plugins. ;-)

  39. That is one detailed post. Love the way you outlined and covered every aspect related to the blog!

    By the way, I really found that Wp-Polls does add life to a blog, that’s why I added it a few days ago.

  40. Good catch Kris @ Fresh Focus, and even better timing…;-)

    We are aware of the getVersion bug, and we intend to release it publicly in the next version for WP 2.7.

    in case you are anxious to get it up and running you want to get the fix, you can drop me a mail to danielg[at]outbrain[dot]com, and i will send you a fixed plug-in.

    The Outbrain Team.

  41. Hi Kris @ Fresh Focus,

    I’m the account manager at outbrain and I wanted to let you know that we are working on a solution for the MobilePress issue that should be ready for our next release on Sunday. If you’d like to make the change yourself in the code before Sunday shoot me an email and we’ll walk you through it.

    The outbrain team

  42. Darren,

    As usual great post; I have been following your launch of ‘Twitip’ blog. My interest as a newbie blogger has been to see how a professional blogger goes through the various stages and processes in public!

    This is like a public service activity; I am impressed with your willingness to share your experiences with us. It is also impossible not to notice your enthusiasm.

    I have become a ‘twitter-addict’ and growing my followers and those I follow at a very exciting and improved rate. It will be interesting if you interview less well known Twitters like myself as opposed to the top Twitters. Mý opinion, you do not have to oblige. Some of us may have interesting stories espcially about Twitter.

    I now focus solely on Twitter as my social platform to build and position my blog.

    Great post, keep them coming.

  43. Hey Darren,

    Its great to see ur new blog doing well…but I wish if u post about using twitter- for beginners….I’ve jus started tweeting and would look for vital information to deploy twitter with blogging

  44. Thanks Darren!
    I have really enjoyed these three posts about TwiTip. I am working on a brand new blog myself, and learning how you would start a new blog is very helpful.

  45. One week and you have this many response. I started my blog last May and I am only getting about 50 readers based on comments I received.
    Of course my blog is not to make money, but just to inform the wonders of my island paradise in the Philippines!

    Cheers every one!

  46. Thanks so much for sharing the step by step growth of your blog and the tools you have selected. This very helpful to those of us just getting launched in the blogosphere!

  47. Come on Darren, you know you’re Mr. Problogger. What CAN’T you create and have the traffic skyrocket in a short time? :) It proves to show that if you’re popular, everything you do is successful. However, it takes hard work to become popular.


  48. Thank you for sharing this Darren. It’s not that often one gets the chance to watch someone with your experience build a blog site from the ground up. It’s both enlightening and encouraging.

  49. Darren, Congratulations on your new blog.

  50. Do you realize the power you have to surge a new blogger to soaring levels?

    If you promoted a new blogger, with a decent amount of quality content on your twitter account, and in a blog post, they could see the same traffic surges as your new blog.

    Maybe something to think about. Maybe doing a bi-monthly promotion, or charging something for it.

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