Your 1,000 Blog Reader Challenge Toolkit

Get new articles sent to you. 

Every Wednesday we’re going to talk about getting you an extra 1,000 blog readers in 90 days.

I’m excited to see so many PS readers stepping out of their comfort zone and holding themselves accountable for greatness. I have no doubt that every person who accepts the challenge has the “stuff” to achieve his or her goal.

Today, we are going to get organized for the 1,000 Blog Reader Challenge in three areas. First, we’ll make sure you are watching the right numbers over the next 90 days. Second, we are going to narrow your focus to make sure you are attracting the right readers. Last, we’ll discuss how to boost your blogging metabolism (scary but fun!).

Let’s go.

Build Your Blogging Dashboard

Imagine trying to drive to the grocery store blindfolded. Although you know the general direction, you won’t be able to react to stop signs, traffic lights, and the errant pedestrian. Trying to grow your blog without tracking in place is like driving blindfolded. It’s not pretty.

Let’s correct that:

1. Set-up Google Analytics

There are dozens of ways to get Google Analytics installed on your blog. The easiest way is to let a WordPress plugin do the work for you. I use Google Analytics for WordPress by Yoast. Here’s how to set it up:

Go to your blog dashboard and click the plugin option.

Hit Add New


Search for the “Google Analytics for WordPress” plugin.

Click “Install Now”.

Activate the plugin and configure the settings page.

The plugin will connect with your Google Analytics (GA) account. Use the drop-down menus to make sure that you are connected to the right GA account.

Leave everything else on their default settings.

That’s it, you are set.

Set-up Your Dashboard

For the challenge, we will watch 5 important numbers:

  1. Unique Visits: How many unique people visit your blog
  2. % New Visits: How many people are new to the neighborhood
  3. Average Time on Page: How long your readers stick around. The higher the number, the better.
  4. Bounce Rate: We’ll watch this number but won’t stress about it. In general, we want to know if people are clicking to other pages on the blog.
  5. Page Title: We want to know which posts are kicking butt. We will model future posts based on what we learn from these rockstars.

You can track these numbers by creating a Custom Google Report. Don’t worry – here’s a quick walkthrough:

Keep Track of Your Numbers with a Custom Report

1. Click the Custom Reporting Tab: This is where you’ll create all of your custom reports. Custom reports are a great way to pull the specific info you need into one easy-to-read report.

2. Create and Name Your Custom Report: Keep it simple – “Blog 1000 Dashboard” is cool.3. Add the metrics you want to report. 

Click the + Add Metric button to add the specific metrics you want to watch. Set-up your report to match what you see in the Metrics Group section screen shot.

4. Add Page Title as a dimension.

This will sort your metrics by page title.

5. Click Save to see your Custom Report.

You’ll get a report like the one below. Now you’ll see at a glance which posts are attracting new visitors and keeping people on your blog. Great, right?!

We’ll talk more about this in the coming weeks, but this is a great start.

Make it your business to understand Google Analytics. It’s an extremely powerful tool for turning your blog into a lean, mean reader-getting machine.

Before we move on, set aside time every Friday to check your new Blog 1000 Custom Report.

Geting Focused

Readers are attracted to “focused” blogs. Rambling or writing about what’s on your mind is great for hobby “journals” but not professional blogs. A focused editorial calendar is a critical part of your march to 1,000 new readers.

Here’s a tip that I share with my blog review folks:

1. Make a list of the top 10 problems, challenges, and/or goals that your readers have.

I want you to be super specific here. You can NOT list a general goal like “be healthy”. Instead, your list should have precise items such as “lose 10 pounds before wedding”.

2. Take these 10 problems and brainstorm 5 posts that will solve the problem.

These 5 posts should include a (1) “Checklist”, (2) a “How to”, (3) a “Tools” post, (4) a personal story or “boogie man” post, and a (5) general encouragement post. You now should have 50 posts tailor made for your audience.

This is your editorial calendar. Every one of my blog review clients get tips like this. This editorial calendar will work. You just have to spend 60 minutes putting it together.

3. Pick the top 3 challenges from your list and write a special “how to” report for each.

Your report should be 5 pages max. This is a quick and dirty guide that shows your reader that you mean business. You don’t have to write a novel to be effective. Once you finished your special report, create a landing page for the report. Give the report away for free in exchange for an e-mail address.

Don’t skip this step. Your special reports are assets that will create leads, sales, and grow your e-mail list. Do this if you do nothing else.

Boost Your Blogging Metabolism

Time for a Dr. Phil moment. You can’t take your blog to the 1,000 reader mountaintop maintaining the same schedule and doing the same stuff you did yesterday. Like Einstein said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. In order to kick serious butt, you will have to form new habits and change your outlook.

Start here:

1. Add one post a week to your schedule.

You knew this was coming. Well, my friend, time to suck it up and increase your posting frequency. Add just one post. You should already have 50 ideas from the editorial calendar exercise!

The extra post will do two things: 1) It will jumpstart your blog’s momentum and show your readers that you are adding more value, and 2) it will give you more opportunities to hit post home runs. Lately, I have written more 100+ retweet posts. These posts have supercharged the traffic here at Pushing Social. My secret? Well, if you want more viral posts, you need to write more posts. That’s it.

2. Get active in a forum or popular Tweet Chat.

Find a TweetChat or forum that is filled with your ideal reader. Now set aside 30 minutes a week to hang out there. You’ll get your true fans from these spots.

3. Start Commenting.

There’s one website that sends me new readers every month from just one comment. Now I used some voodoo tactics in that comment, but I’m shocked that a comment could bring so much traffic. Like forums and Tweetchats, find a popular blog with an active community. Dig in and spend 15–20 minutes a week writing comments there. You might even get a guest posting gig out of it.

This is one of the longest posts I’ve ever written. But I want to make sure you start the 1,000 Blog Reader Challenge off with a BANG!

Ok, jump into the comments and tell me what you think. Let me know if you have any questions too.

Extra Credit: Forums, commenting, and guest posting are three of the most powerful tools for getting readers fast. I’ve written a 17-page report sharing my best techniques. Pick up a copy here. It will help a ton with the Challenge.

About Stan

Stan Smith is the Managing Director of Pushing Social a content marketing consultancy for aggressive, results-focused organizations.

18 thoughts on “Your 1,000 Blog Reader Challenge Toolkit

  1. kristin

    Great post! I feel like it’s just the type of challenge I need to get back on track with a regular posting schedule and finally putting together some reports. I especially liked the simple start up for generating post ideas – this is definitely something I’ll go back to time and time again.

  2. Michelle

    Hi Stanford

    Lovely post.

    I think a challenge is a wonderful way to ignite drive and determination. When one is challenged they tend to give off their best to get the best results. Well done!

  3. Andrea

    Stanford, I’m a huge fan of yours. :)

    Sadly, I don’t think you’re talking to the audience that I’m in… I mean you are… you must be… since I’m here, right? But you said above:

    Readers are attracted to “focused” blogs. Rambling or writing about what’s on your mind is great for hobby “journals” but not professional blogs.

    I am one of those hobby “journals” … but I want to be professional in some way. My blog is just the online journal (story) of my life — the ups and downs, motherhood, divorce, grief, spirituality, etc etc etc.

    I’m trying to employ your tactics. It’s hard for me to answer even the first question you posed:

    Make a list of the top 10 problems, challenges, and/or goals that your readers have.

    My readers? I think they stop by to see how I’m doing. They like the story. So they come for “entertainment” of sorts, even painful entertainment.

    Any suggestions on how to proceed with the questions above knowing that my blog is an online journal. (Well, some pages has recipes.)

    Thanks so much… and you have kids too? Where do you get the energy. Do you not need much sleep? :) :)


  4. Joanna

    Hi Stanford!

    Thanks so much for doing this series. I hit a blogging slump after my 3 child was born and the holidays hit, and this is great motivation to get back into a strong posting schedule.

  5. S. Emerson

    Started a new blog/article section of my newly revamped website so this is perfect timing.

    Analytics – done

    Analytics Reports setup – done (my other ones come on Mondays so assume this one will be the same) New interface since I did the other ones. Hmm, better go review that I’ll get the report emailed. Before you had to check off you wanted it emailed and who got a copy.

    Template for list of posts done in Excel. Did one post yesterday so good for this week. (smiles)

    Already following some TweetChats but didn’t really participate.

    As a Super Mod on a few forums, be careful to follow the rules. Some let self promotion within your posts but the ones I mod don’t. There is the option of adding your blog feed on some and your signature via your control panel. Again, read the rules.

    Already been doing the comment thing.

  6. Paul

    Hi Stanford Me again, just creating my check list, this is fun. When writing the blogs for each should they be in order or random, i.e. say one main subject is social media for the build environment and I have 5 blogs for this per your formula should they come out consecutively or all at once.

  7. Paul

    Ahhh that makes sense, I will create my list of 50 posts and then pick three to create my report, I am 17 to date so lots to go (gulp) but lets get this party started.

  8. Stanford Post author

    The official start of the challenge was Monday 3/12.
    ..And yes, add 1,000 to your current visitor number.

  9. Ori

    The goal is to bring total of 1000 more readers? So lf i had so far 500 unique visitors, my goal is to get to 1500 visitors? am i currect?

  10. Stanford Post author

    Your special report should a specific on your reader needs. You want to have an extremely tight focus for the Report. So an “industry” overview sounds scary to me.

  11. Paul

    Great I will get to work tonight, quick question on the report, should this be a general overview of the industry or specific? I am already doing a lot of this on LinkedIn great stuff. Also what’s the start date, 90 days from ….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes