I’m back! And as promised—here’s the anxiously awaited first post in my new series of case studies. This first post offers a glimpse into what how some of today’s top bloggers started out. This is just the tip of the iceberg, so keep checking back as we explore what makes some of the great blogs tick in excruciating detail.
Below you will find the first posts from DoshDosh.com, JohnChow.com, ShoeMoney.com, StevePavlina.Com, and CourtneyTuttle.com. For each of the Blogs I’ve profiled here, you’ll find a few key metrics to give you an idea of how popular they are today (July 30, 2007) so that you can really understand how far they’ve come from their humble beginnings.
You’ll also see that I’ve used the much-maligned Alexa traffic rank to give a quick view of how traffic for the Blog has grown over time. Although Alexa rank is far from a perfect metric, its great for our purposes here and it provides an easy way to plot a website’s traffic growth over time.
Without further delay, let’s get started!
Birth Date: Nov 6, 2006 Age: 8 months
Google PageRank: 4
Technorati Rank: 92
Alexa Traffic Rank: 7,029
First Post Title: Mavishare – Get paid to complete offers.
First Blog Subject: DoshDosh came straight out the gate right into affiliate promotions and monetization efforts. The first post was a review and affiliate link to a company called MaviShare. No intro. No BS. No "why we’re here" or wasting time looking for their niche. Doshdosh obviously knew what their game plan was when they started out and they’ve stuck to it, adding some great content along the way to keep readers coming back for more
Birth Date: Dec 1, 2005 Age: 19 months
Google PageRank: 6
Technorati Rank: 49
Alexa Traffic Rank: 2,499
First Post Title: Welcome to the New JohnChow.com!
First Blog Subject: John Chow started his blog out with a simple welcome message. His domain, JohnChow.com, was formerly (since 2000) a hub site for all of his other sites that were part of his "Wired World of John Chow" including The Tech Zone, Savage Extreme, The Love Zone, I World of Jokes, and Tasteless Jokes. You can see what the site looked like before it became a blog here. In John’s words (grammar is original John Chow), "Now it’s call the John Chow dot Com The Miscellaneous Ramblings of a Dot Com Mogul, because that is what I am - a Dot Com Mogul - and that is what I’ll be doing – rambling." He’s rambled his way to a pretty successful Blog.
Birth Date: Aug 28, 2005 Age: 23 months
Google PageRank: 6
Technorati Rank: 76
Alexa Traffic Rank: 2,219
First Post Title: So I met Paris Hilton
First Blog Subject: Wait a minute! This doesn’t look smell like a first post… And there’s a seven month gap between the first post and the next one! On further investigation, it looks like ShoeMoney is actually a reincarnation of Jeremy Shoemaker’s old blog, GoogleNinja (now occupied by his fisherman father). Of course Jeremy redirected his old website to the new one using an SEO friendly 301 redirect, keeping the search engine’s happy along the way. Unfortunately for us, it looks like he has really cleaned house and didn’t bring much of his old content with him…other than a picture he snapped with Paris Hilton on Oct 11, 2004. Was that really the only worthwhile content from his old site???
All is not lost however. What we have here is a great example of how you can take a successful online business, adjust things with a new domain name and perhaps a little rebranding, and take it on to become a highly successful blog. You’ll notice from above that ShoeMoney’s blog performance hasn’t exactly been stellar so far in 2007—and we’ll look at why in a lot more depth in a future article.
Birth Date: Oct 1, 2004 Age: 34 months
Google PageRank: 6
Technorati Rank: 200
Alexa Traffic Rank: 5,407
First Post Title: First Post
First Blog Subject: Steve was primed and ready to go from the start, but he didn’t quite have a feel for how fast his life was going to change. His first post is an announcement of a book he’s planning to publish called The Software Self-Publishing Guide. A few weeks later, Steve cancelled the book project (for what I think were some very good reasons). Steve’s site took a while to grow into its shoes, but that’s one of the things that makes it such a great blog. He’s one of the few "pro bloggers" profiled here that actually keeps all his old archives around in an easy to navigate format. Check it out to see for yourself how things have changed over the past three years. Like some others, Steve’s traffic has really fallen off in 2007, and I’m anxious to dig in and figure out exactly what’s going on there.
Birth Date: Oct 14, 2004 Age: 33 months
Google PageRank: 7
Technorati Rank: 47
Alexa Traffic Rank: 1,163
First Post Title:
Analyze the Google Link Command
First Blog Subject: Rand Fischkin’s first post is another example of a no-nonsense, "we know what we’re doing and we’re here to do it" launch. There’s no small-talk here. Rand jumps right in and starts generating compelling Search Engine Optimization content from the very beginning.
Birth Date: Feb 12, 2007 Age: 5 months (it’s just a baby!)
Google PageRank: 3
Technorati Rank: 2,641
Alexa Traffic Rank: 40,173
First Post Title: Finding a Voice
First Blog Subject: Court’s first post was all about…figuring out what to blog about! (Ah hah…my first confirmation that there are in fact successful bloggers out there who started out not knowing what the heck their blog was going to be about). Actually, from the looks of things, Court probably already had quite a few of his posts written before he really got rolling with this website. He has certainly cranked out some great content in the short time he’s been blogging! Court still has a ways to go to catch up to the other bloggers profiled here, but he’s off to a heck of a start.
Summing It Up
There’s no right way or wrong way to start a successful blogging business. Some of the "great ones" jumped right in, blogging like they’d been doing it for years from their very first post. Some of them had been doing it for years on other projects before they started the successful blogs that we all know today. Others start out gradually, testing the waters before committing themselves completely. There are many paths to success, and the biggest lesson to be learned from their humble beginnings is that sites can evolve, adapt, and still achieve remarkable success.
P.S. Did you notice one high profile Bloggin Blog that’s obviously missing? Try as I might I haven’t been able to dig up the 1st post from Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger.net. If I find it, you can bet I’ll be profiling him at a later date!