Inside the Vero Blog: Our Journey from 0 to 43,000 Monthly Pageviews

As you likely already saw, we redesigned the Vero blog!

This seemed like the perfect time to share some data about our blog and how it’s grown over the last two or so years. I’ve also had several people have ask me about our content strategy recently so I’m excited to share this information and get feedback from you, our awesome readers.

But first, here are two dirty secrets about our success:

  1. I love chatting about content strategy and will do so anytime, so feel free to hit me up on Twitter
  2. There is no secret

Ah, the painful truth!

Like most things in life, there are no shortcuts when it comes to growing a successful blog. Sure, there are hacks, tips and tricks we use to get our content in front of new people but nothing compares to consistency.

We have some interesting data to share but first, here’s some context for our redesign.

 Community First

In the old days of the internet — the 1990s and early 2000s — blogs were a crude form of social media. People used blogs to share thoughts, links, resources and media. Blogs brought people together to discuss ideas and start movements.

At some point, businesses realized they could use blogs as a marketing tool and the idea of community-first resources fell apart. Now we have content marketing, which is too often an industrialized process crafted in a boardroom. Real blogs are harder to find but more valuable than ever.

When we decided to re-design our blog, which had been running on a slightly customized, free Wordpress theme for about two years, we made a conscious effort to keep the look and feel of a “blog”. There are plenty of online magazines, content hubs and “news” sites out there but that isn’t our cup of tea. Sticking to a more traditional blogging format is part of a conscious effort to keep our content focused on our community and not pageviews.

The new site should help readability and improve navigation but there are no major changes. It looks better but it’s still a blog and we still plan to publish things that actually help you get better at email marketing. After all, if we spent too much time and energy changing everything, we wouldn’t have time to write, research, read and converse with all of you. We are really excited about the refresh and hope it makes your experience with the Vero blog better than ever.

 One Blog’s Journey from 0 - 43,000 visitors

With all that being said, pageviews are one important way we measure our success. It’s not the only way and it’s not the most important way, but it’s a yardstick we can look to each month to how we are progressing. Our most important feedback comes in the form of comments, emails and tweets.

Stuff like this…

Screenshot 2014-08-07 18.10.23.png

…and this….

Screenshot 2014-08-07 18.11.57.png

…and this…

…have way more to do with the resources we create than the data we see in Google Analytics. But I know you want to see the data, so here you go. :)

The Vero blog was born in June 2012 but we didn’t take it too seriously until early 2013. I have data as far back as May 2013 and I thought it would be fun to share with people as we begin the next chapter of our blog. Here is a look at our traffic, which has grown from 5,000 monthly visits to more than 36,000 (with a peak over 43,000!).

And here is a look at where this traffic is coming from:

A few things about this data:

What the heck happened in April?

April was a huge month for us. We published a post titled 50 Marketing Blogs You Should Read Every Day that exploded on social media. Buffer kicked that off by including the post in their “Suggestions” list. This was back there when there only five suggestions per day and each one got tons of attention. That single post has netted more than 20,000 pageviews since and been shared 3,100+ times. It was the second of our three “epic” endeavors so far this year.

What else contributed to growth?

“Epic” content has been huge for us. We’ve now taken on three massive guides that are freely available on the site. We made them free — as opposed to using them as e-books or offers — because we wanted to leverage them for search. In addition to being instrumental in helping us reach new readers, these epic pieces are also the foundation of our internal linking strategy.

  1. The Ultimate Guide to Successful Email Marketing
  2. 50 Marketing Blogs You Should Read Every Day
  3. The Complete Guide to Transactional Email

What are the top performing posts?

Pageviews to date (August 7, 2014)

  1. The Ultimate Guide to Successful Email Marketing 35,795
  2. 10 Email Marketing Campaigns Analyzed to Increase Email Conversions 20,170
  3. 50 Marketing Blogs You Should Read Every Day 19,168
  4. 6 lessons you can learn from Amazon’s killer email marketing 11,770
  5. Email Like A Pro: 20 KILLER Lifecycle Email Campaigns 7,964

 What’s next?

We have big goals for the rest of 2014 and beyond. Here are a few:

We plan to do more updates like this so let us know what you want to hear about. Just head over to our Google+ to leave a comment.

https://plus.google.com/b/104190243894051441087/+Getvero/posts/PkWKtNkAMaD

Thanks so much for reading and, as always, rock on!

 
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