How to Get Your First VisitorWhen I was in junior high school, I worked at a take out Chinese food place. I answered the phones, took orders, deep fried appetizers, packaged up food, and dealt with customers for five bucks an hour. It was great. I felt like an adult, making a little scratch (under the table), and learned quite a bit about business (the owner was a great businessman). I didn’t even mind that I’d come home smelling like a deep fryer!
One of my most vivid memories of that experience was the framed $1 bill behind the counter. It was this ragged looking bill in a beautiful wooden frame.
You see it a lot in restaurants. They frame the first dollar they make because it’s special.
It’s also good luck. It attracts other dollars.
I asked the owner who made their first order and he told me it was his mom.
You can easily take that offline strategy to your online business.
How do you get your first visitor? Your first customer?
Tell your mom.
Then tell your significant other. Tell your friends.
Nowadays, everyone wants their site to get picked up by a major news source whether it’s mainstream media like the New York Times, a social news site like Reddit, or a popular blog like Mashable or Techcrunch. They want to leverage someone else’s traffic to boost their own.
While that’s a proven strategy, it isn’t what you do when you are getting a blog off the ground. You’re going to have to do things that don’t scale.
A lot of people know of me because of Bargaineering. When that was getting started, I used to joke that it all started with three visitors. My girlfriend (now wife), me from home, and me from work. For the first month, every Bargaineering visit was someone I knew. I was emailing people, I was telling them in person, and I was trying to spread the word as far and as wide as possible. They were sick of me talking about this little website where a computer science nerd was talking about money!
We didn’t have Twitter or Facebook (these were the days of Myspace and Friendster!), so all of the interactions were very one-on-one. As it should be.
Of the friends I told, I suspect about a dozen would come back on a regular basis. They would comment. They would become the core of the Bargaineering community and they were instrumental in growing the site. They were only there because I asked them to visit and gave them reasons to stay.
I’d also go to other personal finance sites and leave comments. I’d email other bloggers just to say hello and we’d exchange guest posts so we could expose ourselves to a different set of interested readers. We would agree to visit each other’s site and comment on a regular basis.
It was all very manual and you have to be OK with rejection.
90%+ of my friends didn’t give a crap about personal finance. 90%+ of the people I tell about Microblogger will smile politely and never come here. And that’s OK. To reach the 10%, you need to go through the 90%.
Try to learn from the rejections, even the soft ones where they say “Sure, I’ll check it out” and you’re certain they will not. Don’t be offended. Instead, ask them why they don’t think it’s a good fit. Are they inundated with information? Are they not interested in that subject? These are key insights that can help you improve.
Word of mouth is a great way to spread awareness about what you’re doing but it always starts with just one mouth – yours.
How did you get your first visitor?
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