the road to success

The road to starting a successful blog [update 2]


My name is Austin and I am the founder of simplifiedmind.com.

This is my story….my road to success.

Update #2: learning to grow my blog.

My, oh my, how things have changed since we last spoke.

To recap, I created a blog called SimplifiedMind.com and launched on September 12th. The idea is to have the blog function as a resource for type A 20-somethings by providing scientific self-development tips.

The goal I set a month ago is to get 2,000 email subscribers by November 12th.

Right now, I have 1,134.

Over the past four weeks or so, I’ve made some big changes. Here are a few:

  1. I moved my entire site from Wix to WordPress (this was a confusing process, lol).
  2. I signed up for Thrive Themes, which is an awesome conversion-based theme program thing for WordPress sites. I highly recommend.
  3. I created A/B tests for the different optins throughout my site.
  4. I’ve had ~2,700 unique visitors since setting up the site. It’s been about 5-6 weeks.

If you’re thinking something like: “wow, how does he have 1,134 subscribers with only 2,700 unique visitors???”

It’s because I exported my LinkedIn and Facebook contacts and subscribed them. Of course, I gave them multiple chances to opt-out, and some still are opting out as the days roll on. It’s ethical, I promise.

Those have been my biggest updates. But, since you’re a really smart guy or gal, I’m going to share what I’m struggling with in hopes of getting some feedback from you.

Challenges with increasing blog traffic.

My biggest challenges are: inconsistent traffic and the classic Austin move (I’ll explain below).

I have the infrastructure in place to convert visitors to subscribers. The problem is, driving traffic is the weak link in my overall strategy.

I’ve had the most success by posting articles in Reddit and LinkedIn groups. Some of my articles have gone low-key viral on Reddit, with the best getting 100+ upvotes and the average getting around 30-50 upvotes.

When this happens, I get a huge (relatively speaking) surge of traffic but it eventually dies off. Hence, the chart below:

My entire content distribution strategy involved spending hours creating cool creative Infographics and posting on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

But, I get no visitors from these platforms. Coming at this from an 80/20 perspective, I’ve decided to cool it on the creative stuff and just focus on writing quality articles and posting them in places that get results.

If anyone has any suggestions – I’m all ears. I believe my next plan of attack is to look into some millennial self-development forums and get active in there. Again, posting on group platforms (i.e. relevant subreddits and linkedin groups) has produced the best results, hands down.  I’m going to do more of that.

Challenge number 2: The classic Austin move.

Look, I’m going to get vulnerable here. Some of you are probably going to call me lame or whatever, but this is the truth. That’s the point of this stuff, right? To tell the truth? Here it is…

The classic Austin move is spreading myself too thin (I don’t know why I’m referring to myself in the 3rd person).

I started this blog going into my last semester of college. At the time (like, 2 months ago… LOL), I was unemployed with all the time in the world (thank you to my parents who have financially supported me, I’m very lucky).

Since then, some cool stuff has popped up.

For starters, I’m in the middle of dieting down for my first ever NPC physique competition. I know, it’s kind of weird, but I told myself I was going to do it. So, I’m going to do it.

If you don’t know, dieting for a show involves a good amount of time… cardio, meal preparation, posing practice and lifting. It adds up.

Secondly, I landed my DREAM JOB. Yes, the blog doesn’t pay me anything. Consequently, finding an income was pretty important. So, I found one!

Basically, I’m working with online information entrepreneurs who are doing EXACTLY what I want to be doing one day. I work remotely, I’m developing the skills I want to develop and I’m learning a ton about this direct response, funnel marketing stuff. It’s SUPER COOL.

Priority numero uno is passing my classes so I can finally graduate (it’s been a little more than four years…).

Priority numero dos is crushing it at my new gig so I can stay on board and keep learning from these smart entrepreneurs.

Priority numero tres is make sure I’m eating the right meals, doing my cardio, getting my lifts and the sleep needed to not look like a total idiot for my first show (that I’ve been training for since January…)

Priority numero cuatro is research, write and distribute quality content for my blog.

The issue I’m facing is I don’t have a lot of time to take care of the last priority…

But, I’m staying optimistic and enjoying the process. It’s a good thing I write about productivity because I need to be uber-productive for the next two months.

I’m thinking about transitioning the focus of my content from very heavy research stuff to more of a documentation focus. For example, my previous posts have involved 2-3 hours of reading academic research. Then, I synthesize my findings in my articles.

The past two weeks have been crazy and I’m realizing I don’t have the time to do this intense deep-dive. My brain craps out on me.

So, I’m thinking about focusing more on documenting how I’m dealing with all this stuff on my plate. For example, what strategies am I using to get 5 hours of work done in 3 hours time? How am I prepping my meals to save time cooking? Things like that…

What do you think? Seriously, I’d love to hear from you. If you have any comments, feedback or anything that you want to share with me, feel free to shoot me an email: austindean.me@gmail.com.

Looking forward to checking in with you guys soon!