December 30, 2022 - 10 min read
This article breaks down how I started and grew a blog to over 160,000 views in less than 7 months.
The following article contains affiliate links to Fiverr, a product I’ve used dozens of times over the past 2 years both for my blog and full-time business. We may receive a small commission if you choose to make a purchase based on the Fiverr services we recommend. You can read my full affiliate disclaimer disclosure here.
On July 28th, StartWithNFTs.com was officially launched to the world. My internet writing career began years earlier with Medium.com and led me to freelance writing for ONE37pm on the topic of sports cards.
Knowing I had a skill set and that NFTs were emerging as a hot topic, I decided to finally write for myself and create this blog.
In the first 30 days of launching my blog, it got 10,000 views.
In the first 6 months of launching the blog, it got 150,000 views.
I’m nearly through month 7 with a new domain and have just crossed 160,000 views across 90,000 unique users.
In January of 2022, month 6 after launch, I attracted 63,000 views with an average engagement time of over 1 minute.
In the past 3 months, my blog has held the top 1–2 search result position for over 80 keywords.
I did all of this without a team. Instead, I used Fiverr contractors and only recently brought on a partner to help me take the blog to the next level.
Below I am going to outline exactly what I did to find popular article topics, build the blog, and grow traffic. This is applicable whether or not you have an interest in NFTs. With any emerging category, it’s important to identify your skill set and figure out how to use them to bring value.
I estimate that I’ve spent over 400 hours in the NFT space interacting in Discord groups, and on Twitter, buying and selling NFTs, using the tools in the space, interviewing project founders, and doing analysis.
To start a blog, you need to begin with a topic that excites you. If spending 400 hours becoming an expert on Star Trek or [insert any topic here] makes you want to vomit despite an opportunity, move on to a different topic. Seriously.
Pay attention to the content you consume the most — what interests you?
I had been interested and deep into sports cards for about 2 years before NFTs came into my life. I immediately knew spending 400+ hours studying the technology would be an adventure and that I would enjoy it.
Paying attention to my own content consumption pointed me in the right direction. I couldn’t get enough of NFTs and realized that there weren’t that many quality articles on the internet about the topic.
My most successful articles on the site answered my own questions.
I was not an NFT expert 6 months ago and I’m still not, but I did the work to learn it so well that you could put me on a public stage with the leaders of the industry and I could hold my own.
When I first considered launching a blog, I leveraged Fiverr for some keyword research. You can look at some of the keyword search jobs offered by Fiverr here.
However, I quickly learned that if it showed up in keyword research, it was too late. My website didn’t have domain authority and I was writing the blog solo, so I took a different approach.
My best-performing article on StartWithNFTs is How to Check Rarity of Your NFT Asset with 10,000 views. It has by far the most organic search volume and I wrote about it months before any of my competitors did.
The question came straight from Discord, where most NFT buyers spend their time.
You don’t need to research 24/7 or hire a team to do this for you, but you do need to put in the work and get in tune with the people you want to reach.
Search your topic on Quora or Twitter, join Facebook, Slack, or Discord groups to get a pulse of the conversations.
The way I “won” in the short term over sites with thousands of articles and dozens of writers was by being “in” the space to spot trends before they did.
I spent time in half a dozen Discord groups and would frequently use the search bar with terms like “How to” and “What is”.
“How to check rarity on my NFT” was one of the most popular Discord questions, so I did research and answered the question in depth. I also created secondary articles on the same topic like How to Find Underpriced NFTs Using NFT Rarity.
You don’t need to predict the future, you just need to have a pulse of your audience and react quickly when a new topic is gaining momentum.
After you’ve picked a niche, gotten a pulse of your audience, and have topic ideas, you need to launch a website.
Head over to GoDaddy.com to purchase a domain name.
I’m not big on mission statements as sometimes it is an impediment to execution, but I knew to my core that I wanted to create content that helped people get started with NFTs, thus I chose StartWithNFTs.com.
Having the topic I was writing about in my domain name was important and I recommend you do something similar.
This is where things get a little different and more secret-saucy.
You can find Gatsby developers on Fiverr by clicking here and can usually have this type of website built for less than $300.
I use a free hosting service (Netlify) and Contentful as my CMS.
If your developer needs help with design inspiration, Fiverr has that too. Make sure to get a favicon created (Fiverr has plenty of contractors who will do that on the cheap) and you could bring in a copywriter to help polish up your mission, introduction, and even write some articles.
I’ve leaned on Fiverr heavily because it’s affordable and it keeps tasks that interrupt my writing off my plate.
For professionalism, consider hiring a logo designer.
All in, this should cost less than $500.
You can always revisit and change the design (I did) but get a website with a domain stood up and start writing.
I believe a combination of site speed and quality content helped me capture the top 1 and 2 spots on organic search for over 80 keywords.
Gatsby is beneficial in many ways, but it does have downsides compared to WordPress.
Gatsby vs. WordPress is the perfect lesson in choice — equal but different.
For example, I cannot embed videos into my blog unless I pay my developer to make a change. I can’t adjust my broken form link without help from a dev.
WordPress has plenty of plug-ins (SEO, form, ad servers, etc.) that it makes it very easy to use without needing a developer.
My site speed performance is 99 for desktop and 75 for mobile (which needs improvement).
It is possible to optimize WordPress websites so that they have similar page speeds, but it’s hard for the average user to properly optimize and would likely result in me paying someone just as I would to adjust my Gatsby site.
My perspective on this is to get a speedy website live, create good content and figure out the rest later.
I have run into trouble integrating with Ezoic ads and am longing for more Gatsby plug-ins, but for now, my goal is to capture attention before developing a monetization strategy.
It’s not quite as easy as 1–2–3, but if you find a highly rated developer s/he should make it feel easy.
Make sure to look at and read past reviews. Reach out to at least 3 developers via direct message to ask for links from their portfolio, share your idea, and confirm they can deliver.
Fiverr protects both sellers and buyers so long as the work is done on the platform.
If you are confused about something, ask them for help. In my experience, I worked with two developers who were with me every step of the way, I just had to ask for help when I needed it.
Once you get into making blog content, I do highly recommend you invest in a computer monitor, keyboard, mouse, and comfortable desk set-up. When I first launched my blog, I was traveling around the country but I made sure to bring my monitor and set-up with me. I had to put in the hours on nights and weekends, and a few hundred dollars might seem like a pain to spend up-front, but it's worth it considering I have spent over 400 hours researching the space.
The short answer: make awesome content.
The longer answer:
When I first started out, I knew that writing detailed NFT project breakdowns would get shared in Discord groups and oftentimes would be pinned in a Key Links / Resources channel.
Most of my initial content was detailed project breakdowns that I wasn’t seeing anywhere else. Oftentimes, project founders with big followings would Tweet out my articles about them, helping bring awareness to the site.
As the NFT market grew, so did organic searches for basic how-to questions.
Any time I got stuck on something, I learned the answers and wrote articles about it.
Because I’m in the topic I write about I know what questions are going to be typed into Google before they show up on keyword research tools.
I don’t have a crystal ball, I just keep pulses, and trade NFTs, so I have a knack for being early on certain topics.
To keep competition at bay, I frequently update my most popular articles. The NFT space moves fast and readers want fresh content.
Because I use Gatsby, I’ve had some challenges with monetization, but don’t let this scare you away.
Ezoic is a premium ad network that pays competitive CPMs but I’ve been unable to use it. I haven’t yet done direct deals with artists or products, so I’ve stuck to affiliate links like the ones in this article.
I did however work with my same website developer to build a subscription product, WenAlphaText.io that solved my own problem: tracking influential wallets conveniently. When an NFT influencer that I’m following buys an NFT, I get a text alert. Users can track 3 NFT wallets for just $10 per month.
I’m going to run my own display ads on the website because the earning potential is higher. It’s a gamble but has more upside.
If it comes down to it, I can always migrate to WordPress and use something like Ezoic, but I’m betting on myself.
I’ll write another article on monetization after I’ve done it (remember, spending time in a topic will make you a better writer) and I look forward to sharing that with you.
While this hasn’t been my typical NFT blog, I hope this brings you value. Many people in the NFT space have reached out to me asking how to start their own blog (or another content channel) because they recognize it as a way to use their skill set in an emerging industry.
In keeping with the spirit of how I grew my blog, I decided to answer their questions in this post.
You can always send me an e-mail at Jon@StartWithNFTs.com if you have questions or need words of encouragement. I always love hearing from my readers and helping out however I can.
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