This post is part of the blogging challenge series.
If you follow this blog closely then you’d have noticed that I haven’t personally been active here lately.
The team has been contributing and guest posts are being published, but I didn’t really make any update myself in January.
There are valid reasons for this, though. Some of them are:
- I secretly launched a coaching offer to my newsletter last December and had to make a lot of calls in January. I had over 20 calls and the effort and time investment required was more than I anticipated.
- I was VERY sick in January; for over 3 weeks. I’d been coughing since late December and I decided to ignore it like I usually do, but it was different this time around. I was diagnosed as having a pre-asthmatic condition. I became so sick I could hardly work and I was on medication, so doing a slight amount of work made me very nervous and fearful, something that never really happens. As a result I could do very little. I’m the sickly type, getting better over time, but this is the longest period of sickness I’ve ever experienced. I was powerless.
- I had more client offers; I had a few client offers from my challenge blog and from this blog and being sick didn’t make things easy for me.
I’m not complaining, but this post is going to be partially related to the third point and it will also talk about how I plan to take my challenge blog to the next level.
Now, I know that there are a lot of ways to market your freelance writing services and get more clients. In fact, I’ve written a lot about this very subject so I’m not here to talk about that.
Instead, I’ll be talking about how I’m closing more deals from my challenge blog without marketing.
A Small Update
This isn’t an income and traffic report for my challenge blog. I’ll probably be publishing the last one in a few months, which will show how things have gone in past months.
Now, however, as much as I regret saying this, I haven’t really touched my challenge blog since I last published an update on this blog.
I had a few new guest posts go live on major blogs but other than that, I haven’t done anything in around 2 months.
With that said, the blog is still averaging 400 – 600 visitors monthly and I’ve gotten around 4 new clients since that last report.
I even got a potential 5 figure client who might take this whole challenge to the next level. I say “potential” because I’m on a trial with this client – I’ve been paid $2,000 in advance – and if I could prove myself the deal will be worth over $30k in 6 months. I’ll write more about this in more details in a future article once the deal is certain.
However, in this article I’ll be sharing how I got that client and more as well as how I plan to take the challenge blog to the next level.
Why You Should Always Test
I haven’t really had as much time and space to test things on my challenge blog as I need to, but you’ll be surprised by the findings of one of my recent tests.
A lot of readers of this blog are familiar with the kind of hire me page I use on this blog and on my challenge blog. I’m starting to see this kind of hire me page pop up in a lot of places so I like to think it’s a concept I have popularized to some extent.
Nevertheless, it’s important not to just blindly follow “guru” advice, but to test everything you’re advised to do before you stick to it permanently.
What I did was split test my hire page.
(You can learn more about split testing by reading this Wikipedia article)
There was an original variation, the one I use and I usually recommend that others use.
Here’s a screenshot showing how the original version looks:
(Click the above image to expand)
A major problem with the kind of hire me page featured above is that it’s too plain; it automatically assumes that those who are reading it are in the mood to hire me and only focuses on that; the heading is too week and hardly convinces people to pay real attention to the copy.
There are obviously other problems with that page, but this was the problem I tested it for.
After noticing this problem, I decided to split test this page to see what could be improved. As a result, I created two variations of this hire me page; I changed the heading of the two variations and some copy and tested them against the original.
Since the original hire me page says “Hire Me,” let’s see what would happen if I decided to experiment with having a more compelling headline on the page?
After testing for a little under a month, around 26 days now with no marketing, here’s what my split testing tool tells me:
The image you’re seeing above shows the total number of unique visitors to the hire me page on my challenge blog in the past 26 days; the split testing experiment was started on the 15th of January and I’m writing this post on the 10th of February.
By taking a quick look at the above screenshot, it’s obvious that variation #1 has the highest conversion rate. Variation #2 is also shown to have a nice conversion rate but what’s most surprising is the fact that the original version has zero conversions, despite having more visitors than variation #1.
In case you’re curious, variation #1 has resulted in 2 leads. The same number of leads as variation #2; so 0 leads from the original page means it sucks and I can only imagine what I might have lost if I didn’t run a split test.
Variation #1 also resulted in the client I’m working on a trial with – to close the five-figure deal I mentioned earlier in this article.
What is instantly obvious is that, for now, variation #1 is the most effective version of my hire me page; I’m still testing obviously, but that’s what is apparent for now.
We’ve all seen a screenshot of how the original version looks above so we will be looking at the changes I made to variation 1 and variation 2.
Here’s variation #1:
Here’s variation #2:
By taking a look at the screenshots above for variation #1 and variation #2, one thing is instantly obvious; the messaging is the same but the headings are different compared to the original.
Of course, the only difference between variation #1 and variation #2 is that the heading for variation #2 has the word “Guaranteed.” I thought that would significantly impact conversions, but this version is still under-performing variation #1.
Here’s what the heading says…
Variation #1: “Let Me Help You Get Results by Writing Quality Content and Guest Posts for You”
Variation #2: “Let Me Help You Get Results by Writing Quality Content and Guest Posts for You, Guaranteed”
While I’ll still have to get more traffic, do some more marketing and do a lot more testing to be able to say exactly what resulted in more conversions, I’d like to think this is because of the emphasis on results in the heading.
The new heading for variation #1 & #2 talks about how I can help the CLIENT get results. It also mentions “quality” so the focus is on the client. That’s so unlike the first version that says “Hire Me.”
Truth be told, my client could care less who I am but they care a lot more about what I can do for THEM.
Of course, the point of writing this article isn’t to give you Copywriting advice, so I’ll stop here. The point is to make you realize the importance of testing and not blindly following what some guru says or what your gut is telling you.
I plan to do a lot more testing in the future and with some major changes I’m making on my challenge blog – more on this below – things will only get exciting!
My Plans to Take the Challenge Blog to the Next Level
At the moment, I have gotten 3 clients through the challenge blog who are paying an average of $1,000 monthly for my services. I have two clients who are in the $500 range (who may upgrade), and I’m working on trial with a client whose work could potentially put my monthly freelance income through that blog in the five-figure range.
I won’t dive into the specifics here, but one thing I’d like to say is that the results I’ve gotten so far have surprised me.
I’ve spent a total of under 30 hours on the challenge blog since starting it and I have written fewer than 15 posts and guest posts in total since starting it; that’s far from my goal of 20 guest posts and 10 blog articles monthly when I started the challenge blog.
One thing is without doubt, though, it’s already a success. I believe I’ve proven that a newbie can do this with little to no start-up capital. Leaving the blog inactive for a very long time will only hurt it, so I’ve decided to take the blog to the next level by getting the WritersinCharge team involved.
Before I had the intentions of starting the challenge blog, June and Lanre from the WritersinCharge team compiled a list of over 500 blogs in 26 different categories – a series I initially planned to publish here.
That’s a total of 26 different posts and around 30,000 words. For some reason, I was waiting for the perfect time to publish the post here. Seeing the way the challenge blog is going and due to its focus on guest blogging, I believe it’ll be the best place to host this massive resource now.
Not only is it best suited to publish these resources, but publishing them will also help the challenge blog experience some exponential growth and as a result lead to more client and traffic.
I’ll eventually link to the resource post here in the future once the challenge is officially over, but till then I’ll have to keep things the way they are.
For the purpose of total transparency, I’ll be talking more about my expenses on the challenge blog, especially in creating the list of posts I plan to publish, as well as the results I get from it.
With that said, the challenge is officially no longer “me only”; I’ll now be getting the WritersinCharge team involved, keeping it more active and working on getting more results.
Since I also plan to launch a few products here this year, and move towards making more income by helping writers get started online, I’ll work on a way to start outsourcing most of the client work I get from that site. I’ll only personally work on the most lucrative gigs.
Other than the announcement on how I plan to get the team involved with the challenge blog, the main point of this article is: TEST A LOT!
Don’t believe what a writing guru tells you or what some professional marketer tells you; there’s every probability that what works for me might not even work for you, so make sure you keep testing.
For those who are curious, the tool I used to split test my hire me page is called Optimizely and it’s very powerful! I used it when I launched my coaching offer last year and noticed 100% conversion increase on a variation of my sales page. It’s very powerful, extremely easy to use for non-technical people, and gives great insight into what is influencing people to take action on your split tests.
You might have to spend some time getting the hang of it, but that’s about it! If you enjoyed How I Make More Money Writing by Performing Experiments, please share it on your social networking sites. Thank you.