3 min read

Building Traffic From Scratch

Last week’s post titled Building Software in Public yielded a great response from the startup/bootstrapper community. The post briefly made it to the front page of Hacker News. The result:

  • 2,450 new visitors to robsobers.com
  • 87 new RSS subscribers to robsobers.com
  • 594 new visitors to munchkinreport.com
  • 8 new members on the Munchkin Report early access list

While Hacker News readers clearly aren’t the target audience for my products, this is still a positive thing.  I hope some of these visitors follow along and learn something; plus, the more people that know about my products, the better.

A number of people emailed me or posted comments cheering me on and offering feedback and advice.  A few people even said they can’t wait to start using Munchkin Report with their families!  Thanks to everyone who chimed in. OK, now back to business.

What I did for Munchkin Report this week

  • Published a new blog post and promoted to Twitter, FB, Pinterest (8 pageviews)
  • Retweeted some parenting articles from @munchkinreport
  • Followed some more relevant accounts on Twitter and Pinterest
  • Sent a guest post to thisismommyhood.com
  • Drafted 4 new blog posts
  • Launched a $10 paid discovery campaign on StumbleUpon (cost so far $5.60, visits 25, conversions 0)

Publishing quality content that nobody reads sucks, but you have to do it.

Building an audience from scratch is, in my estimation, one of the hardest things about bootstrapping. As you can see, it’s slow going right now, almost depressingly so. But we’re going to keep plugging away, posting and promoting the best blog content we can possibly muster up, even though it appears futile right now.  

This will pay off, hopefully, in a few ways:

  • In the long run, if we keep publishing content strategically (i.e., paying attention to keyword difficulty), we’ll eventually start getting that steady trickle of reliable organic search traffic to each post
  • If we do have a hit post, people will be able to work backwards and read the stuff that was written when no one was watching, which will increase the likelihood of making them a fan
  • Having quality content published will increase our chance of scoring guest blog posts

StumbleUpon Paid Discovery

I launched the paid StumbleUpon campaign on a whim.  There’s no good reason for choosing this over AdWords or Facebook other than how fast it was to setup. Like Facebook, SU lets you target a demographic.  SU’s dashboard tells me I got 40 paid visits, but Google Analytics only shows me 25.  Not sure why this is, but it’s probably worth an email to SU to find out.


I’ve only spent $5.60 so far and my cap is $10.  I realize this is probably not a large enough spend to get a significant reading on whether or not this could be a viable acquisition channel, and for that reason, is probably a waste of money.

I’m also debating whether I should send people to the blog or a landing page with a specific incentive (e.g., potty training guide) in order to capture their email address.

At the current cost-per-visit, I can spend $140 with SU and get 1,000 visits in the parenting/babies demographic.  At some point, I’ll do a Facebook vs. SU vs. AdWords challenge and allocate $100 to each and see what happens.

Next week for Munchkin Report

  • Create and publish a free printable daily activity sheet PDF with Munchkin Report branding (holdover from last week)
  • Edit and post 3 of the 4 blog posts in the queue
  • Follow-up with thisismommyhood.com on guest blog post
  • Begin work on “X Most Influential Parenting Blogs”-type blog post
  • Send a nice email (asking for nothing) to 10 semi-popular, non-A list, parenting bloggers

What I did for Mastering HubSpot this week

  • Made 2 new connections that can help me with promotion
  • Did some research for my analytics chapter
  • Finished creating a tool that’ll be packaged with the book

Next week for Mastering HubSpot

  • Attend HubSpot’s Inbound conference (just for a day) and get feedback on the book

Helping others

The highlight of my week was actually the 3 phone meetings (4 if you count my Mastermind meeting) I did with fellow product people to impart some advice and feedback on their current projects.  This reminded me of a great blog post by Joel Gascoigne of Buffer:

When we were making just $20 per month with Buffer, I had the feeling that I couldn’t help people: I wasn’t successful yet! What I’ve found, however, is that I could help far more people when I was at that stage. I believe you can too, whatever stage you’re at.

Email me or post a comment if you have any questions or feedback. Also: should I split Mastering HubSpot and Munchkin Report into their own posts?  Let me know.