Week 2: Launching – And Already Growing

I hope you’re doing well. As promised, it’s time to cover everything I did in the past week for my $20k->$500k in 1 Year challenge.

This is week 2. You can find week 1 here.

First things first.

It’s completely pointless for me to explain how to build a website in this email because I have a detailed, 4,252 word guide with screenshots and helpful links already. It follows exactly how I’ve built (most) of my sites. That said, I want to address one thing first:

If you’re a complete newbie, GeneratePress can be confusing. I highly recommend watching some YouTube tutorials. Once you get the hang of it, it’s the fastest, most versatile WordPress theme out there.

Second things second.

For the sake of examples throughout this email, I’ll be using my fictitious site The Thriving Introvert. It parallels much of what will hopefully make my actual site do well. As a reminder, I can’t reveal the real site yet because it’ll skew the entire challenge (backlinks, sabotage, etc).

Third things th… yeah, I’m not doing that again.

Let’s just get into things. Here’s what’s in this email:

  • Handling Google.
  • Facebook is dead?
  • No, here’s what to do.
  • I launched a campaign.
  • An important marriage.
  • All my other progress.
  • My remaining balance.
  • Personal thoughts on the challenge.

I’m not worried about Google yet.

My site is brand new, so it’s pointless to even think about Google traffic right now. Obviously we want to begin creating content that will ultimately rank well down the road, but that’s going to take time.

So, out of the gate I’m writing several thorough, well-researched, fact-checked articles (more like guides) that provide ridiculous amounts of value. This is what I did on my personal site.

Niche site gurus might disagree with this – I really don’t know. But I’ve never built by looking at a whole bunch of keywords, cross checking numbers with what’s already out there, and trying to find low hanging fruit I can painfully write about.

Probably works but I’m a creator not an accountant.

I build sites that make people feel something – smarter, happier, more intrigued, whatever it may be.

Come out of the gate swinging and write unique, helpful, and better content than anything else out there. Don’t worry about keywords right now.

The Thriving Introvert example:

The Ultimate Guide To Never Talking On The Phone

I literally want this guide to exist. It could cover:

  • How to order food and groceries through apps
  • Ways to use technology to politely not be available
  • How to reply to “let’s hop on a call”
  • Getting anti-tech friends to enjoy group chats
  • Buying and selling a car through the Internet (I’ve done both)
  • Plumbers, electricians, etc you can book online

This could go forever. I spend an unhealthy and absurd amount of time avoiding talking on the phone, and I’m not alone.

Create some REALLY special articles out of the gate, and don’t worry about your keywords. Worry about providing value.

But if not Google, then what? Facebook is dead.

One of my favorite opportunities is when everyone’s shouting that something is dead. Ten years ago, email was supposedly dead while I was sending to a 750,000 subscriber list with a 35% open rate. A list that, if I didn’t have it, I never would’ve completed a $4.2 million website sale. Oddly, the press release doesn’t mention the newsletter, but trust me here.

Of course now email is all the rage with the rise of Axios, Morning Brew, and countless others. It turns out email was never dead.

So why are we calling Facebook, a platform with 2.93 billion monthly active users, dead? Two reasons:

  • People are dramatic sheep.
  • More importantly, link reach has been significantly stifled.

But when 2.93 billion MAUs are seeing links a lot less, that’s still a lot of links being seen! It reminds me of the semi-recent Netflix news.

They went from 222 million subscribers to 221 million, and the market completely lost it. I get there’s more to this from an investment standpoint, but chill out – it’s a 1 million subscriber drop, the first drop in its history.

While Facebook probably won’t make you a millionaire overnight anymore, it can be a great source of traffic. A website I sold in 2019 still receives around 250,000 visits a day from FB. All from carefully built, highly targeted pages.

(I’m under a lengthy NDA but will talk about that business in the future.)

Side Note: I’m aware of the internal leaked memos that Facebook would become more like TikTok. I’m not overly concerned based on how quickly they backtracked on Instagram. It’s worth noting that I would never suggest Facebook be your primary source of traffic. In later weeks, I’ll continue diversifying and moving my audience to more stable distribution.

Okay, so it’s not dead. What did I do then?

Most marketers and entrepreneurs somehow miss the most obvious truth about social media.

And that’s the word social. It’s LITERALLY social media.

When I’m on Facebook, I’m not in a mindset to be told 7 tax write-offs that will save me money. But if you show me a story where a billionaire went too far with his write offs, and now he’s in a Cambodian prison where he teaches fellow inmates how to knit, I’m clicking that all day every day.

And you’ll have likely covered all of those 7 write-offs inside the article.

You told me a story, like two friends at a restaurant. It’s social media – act social.

All people want on Facebook is a quick dopamine hit. Sad, yes, but it’s true.

So that’s what I’m giving them.

I Googled as many great quotes, stories, and otherwise inspiration related to my topic as possible. Then I put them all in a spreadsheet.

Then I created a nice looking template in Photoshop where all I have to do is swap the text (from the spreadsheet) in and save it as a new image. It didn’t take long before I had 50 relevant, personal, shareable images that would make my target audience inspired, intrigued, or at least interested.

If you have zero design skills and/or can’t figure out Canva, go to Fiverr and pay someone a few bucks to create a really great template that you can edit. A simple large square with text you can change.

Then I launched a campaign.

I might be the only person left on the planet who still does this – which probably spells opportunity. But I launched a Like campaign through Facebook ads manager.

Yes, to get people to Like (follow) the Page. Nobody does this anymore because Facebook has throttled reach so much.

Guess what that means? It’s cheap! My campaign has only been running about a day, but I’m getting them for 5 cents each. I barely spent any time on the creative and am not even testing different variations.

There’s certainly room to improve, but what did I write for my ad?

I have always kept it simple and straightforward. For the photo, use the one that you feel resonates the most with your target audience – something that speaks to their very core. Then, for the copy, I’m about to blow your mind:

Are you an introvert? Me too. Press Like and join thousands of others just like us.

It really is that simple when it comes to Facebook. It’s like when people log on, their brains turn to mush and you can just tell them to do something and they will.

I’m not trying to be condescending. It’s just kinda true.

Nonetheless, I have only spent $23.43 as of this writing and have over 500 fans.

Now it’s time to deliver.

This is important. Really important.

I need to marry my audience to my content early and effectively. I’m the priest, rabbi, or non-denominational Internet minister, and content and audience are my newlyweds.

People are turned off quick, but the Facebook algorithm is turned off even quicker.

I never share anything from my website to my Facebook page this early. I wouldn’t even think about it.

Instead I’m going to use my best of the best “dopamine hits” from above – one or two posts per day, but make sure they’re winners. I’m not going to share lame quotes everyone has seen.

The audience is hungry for a fresh feeling. I’m going to give them a personal, social post that connects with exactly who they are and why they decided to Like my Page. I want to create an automatic reaction inside of their mind that says, “oh, I like and remember this page” so they continue feeding the algorithm.

And that’s where I am right now.

That’s how far I’ve gotten with Facebook for this site.

But I made other progress.

  • I’ve continued fine-tuning the site’s look. I’m not totally happy with it, but this will improve over time. I might also hire a graphics person at some point who can just do it all much faster than me. They can be quite inexpensive and worth it.
  • I wrote around 1,000 words so far. That’s WAY behind where I want to be, but this challenge itself has taken much more time than expected.
  • Tested out two writers. I really like one. I am seeing if I can fit them into my budget. Tip: I actually found them by posting an ad on Craigslist. It works.
  • With the help of Jetpack and WP-optimize plugins, my PageSpeed score is 95+.
  • Ended up paying for the Yoast Premium plugin. Not really necessary.
  • Set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
  • I’m trying the LuckyWP Table of Contents to automatically insert a ToC. I actually still really like SimpleTOC though.

Of the $20,000 budget, here’s what I’ve spent as of this very moment:

  • Domain: $28.32 (3 years)
  • Hosting: $25 (monthly)
  • WP theme: $47 (I’m using Astra Pro, but still recommend GeneratePress)
  • $150 testing two writers
  • $30 on FB ads to get reactions to topic (not really necessary)
  • $28.88/yr on official email address
  • $23.43 on FB ads for Page Likes
  • Yoast Premium: $99 (not necessary)
  • Craigslist Ad: $45
  • Total: $476.63

Remaining balance: $19,523.37

Note: Expenses will likely go up significantly very soon as I ramp up ad budgets and writing.

And now some personal thoughts on this challenge.

If you’re still reading, that’s pretty awesome. The little counter below says I’m at 1538 words right now. I still haven’t spent even 1 minute on my actual site I’m building.

There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ve taken on too much. But I’m really motivated to get systems in place so that the new site will grow on its own without me being overly involved. It can be difficult to do that, especially on limited time and budget, but I’ll be documenting that progress.

If I’m being honest, I actually like teaching this stuff a lot more than I like doing it. I’ve built and sold sites pretty much my entire adult life. My motivation came from an obsession to avoid 9-5s, bosses, and working (in the traditional sense) til I’m 67 only to spend my last couple of decades fighting an ailing body. And, having achieved that goal, I like to think I’ve earned the right to teach it.

Perhaps teaching AND doing rarely happen for a reason.

A lot of skeptics have expected me, at any point now, to sell a course. I don’t have a course. Everything you really need is freely available on scottdelong.com‚Äč

In fact, everything you need to find success is online without paying or subscribing to anything. Don’t get ripped off by a jabronie.

Coming up next week.

The key from here, now that everything is mostly functional, is to find a content groove and fine-tune the content + audience marriage to snowball the following and brand awareness.

I’ll also have some email subscriber acquisition strategies I’m excited to share. Either way, whatever I discover on this journey will be in your inbox in a week.

Have a great weekend,

Scott

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Scott DeLong

I'm an introvert who has built and sold multiple companies for millions of dollars - without funding or employees. I've been featured in BusinessWeek, Business Insider, Fortune, Inc, and more. I hope you find my site helpful to your own entrepreneurial journey.