My Getting Started Page: Success or Failure?

For over a month, the Getting Started with Smart Passive Income page has been live on this blog, and today I’m going to share some interesting numbers about this new page with you.

This page was created to fill an apparent hole on my blog (and many other blogs), which is a clear starting point for newbies and unique visitors who may be overwhelmed or confused upon first arrival.

I was getting used to seeing emails just like the one below every single week:

Starting Point Request from an SPI Reader

To address this issue, I created a page which comprised of the following elements:

  • A high-quality welcome video to introduce myself and quickly explain where to start.
  • Quick definitions of the terms I would be using.
  • Links to my introductory podcast sessions.
  • Clear instructions on the first steps that one should take.
  • Links to my most popular posts.
  • An opt-in form for my newsletter / email list.
  • A button to easily share the page.

Then, I hit the publish button…

Mixed Reviews

On April 27th, the page went live and it was met with a lot of mixed reviews.

Some people loved it and thought it was perfect.

Others thought it was way too much information, especially for someone who is brand new to all of this.

As someone who has done a number of redesigns before, I know that it’s impossible to please everybody, especially if you have a rather large audience, and typically I would let the numbers and statistics do the talking before making any changes.

But, I did agree that the page was too overwhelming (it was about 3000 words in length) so I split the page into two.

The original page has everything outlined above except for the “links to my most popular posts”, which is now on its own separate page.

Really – these are two separate pages that address two different types of people looking for different kinds of information, so I think this was definitely the right move.

Numbers and Statistics of the SPI Getting Started Page

For the purposes of this analysis, I’ll be looking only at the stats for the past month (May 12 through June 12th), which does not include the first 2 weeks after the page went live. When it went live, I wrote a blog post about it, tweeted it heavily and also promoted it on Facebook. Those things would probably inflate the numbers to figures higher than how the page would perform under normal circumstances.

Visits

The first obvious questions are, how many times has the page been visited and are people staying on it?

Starting Page StatsAs you can see, over the last 30 days the page has been viewed by 6,152 unique visitors who are spending an average of 13 minutes and 27 seconds on the page, with a bounce rate of only 4.8%!

This means that for every 100 people that visit the page, less than 5 people leave within 30 seconds without clicking on anything else.

(A “bounce is”, according to Clicky: A visitor who has only one pageview, and who is on your site for less than 30 seconds.”)

These numbers are out of this world, and you can see just how this particular page performs against the rest of the site. A majority of the people who land on this page are definitely reading and consuming it, just like I had hoped.

How Many People REALLY Click to View the Getting Started Page

Getting Started Page Teaser on HomepageIf we divide 6,152 visitors into 138,702 visitors (6,152/138,702) we’ll get the percentage of visitors to the blog that actually visit the getting starting page, which is about 4.43%.

This isn’t bad – but it’s really not a good number to look at because not everyone who visits our blogs view our homepage, which is where my “Click Here to Start” teaser is located.

Many people land on our blogs directly from Google or from a referring link that point to a specific blog post on our site – not the homepage. As you can see below, my homepage had only been visited by 74,958 people, which is 54% of the total visits on my site.

Uniques to Homepage

So, the better number to look at is # of visits to the getting started page, divided by the number of people who visit the homepage.

6,152 / 74,958 = 8.21%

And just to put this in perspective, this page was the #1 clicked page that people went to from the homepage.

  1. Getting Started Page: 8.21%
  2. My Income Reports (Page): 6.26%
  3. Niche Site Update – New Content, Record Earnings, What’s Next (Post): 5.83%
  4. My Monthly Report – May 2011 (Post): 5.10%
  5. A Day in the Life of Pat (Post): 4.53%
  6. Your Website is Up – Now What? 5 Things… (Post): 4.52%
  7. Smart Passive Income Gets Critiqued – Conversion Strategies with Derek Halpern (Post): 4.40%
  8. Resources (Page): 4.35%
  9. About (Page): 4.20%
  10. What Else is Wrong With the SPI Blog – SEO Mistakes (Post): 2.99%

To me, this is a huge success and I should continue to test different copy and images within the teaser area on my homepage to increase those percentages even more. I feel that it’s a good enough page (based on the time on page and bounce rate) that it would definitely be worth my effort. Plus, since there’s a video of me speaking, it’s a great introduction to who I am and what my site is about – something different that many people don’t really see on other blogs.

Conversions on the Getting Started Page

I currently have two conversions to track on this page:

  1. An affiliate link to Bluehost in my “First Steps” section of the getting started page; and
  2. An opt-in form to signup for my newsletter.

In total, the page had converted 16 times on the Bluehost link, earning over $1000.00 (which was part of the reason for the significant increase in Bluehost earnings in my last income report). I even get an email from Bluehost after each transaction that confirms that the getting starting page is indeed converting for me, which is pretty cool:

Bluehost Referral from Passive Income 101

Email Conversions

The email conversions are not as high as expected, converting only 3.2% of the visitors into subscribers (about 200 new subscribers over the past month) – which isn’t terrible, but I feel it could be much higher, especially on this particular page, although there are technically two opt-in forms on this page – one at the bottom of the page, and the one in the sidebar. So, it’s hard for me to say exactly how this particular page is performing.

I will admit though, I do have to work on the copy leading up to the opt-in form, and I’ll be testing different looking opt-in forms as well.

You can never do enough testing.

:)

Overall, I’m really happy with the getting started page and am really glad I spent the time to create it. I don’t see many other blogs utilizing something quite like this, which really benefits everybody in the long run if done correctly – but hopefully that will change.

Have you, or are you thinking about creating your own getting started page for your blog or business? What kinds of things are you doing to capture the attention of those who are first time visitors to your site?

  • http://makingwebshows.com javier

    Congratulations. I love your analysis of your own site. You are very critical and that is very valuable. Every time you post about your site it gives me ideas to improve in my site (just three months old! so still learning a lot!!!) thank you Patt!

  • http://www.youngprepro.com/welcome Onibalusi Bamidele

    Hi Pat,

    This is really awesome and thanks so much for sharing your stats with us!

    I’m really amazed to see that the page has a whooping 13 minutes conversion rate and it also seems like a great way to make your visitors become more aware of what your site is while also encouraging them to visit your site.

    The conversion rate isn’t that much, but still, I think it’s awesome! A whole additional $1000 income monthly doesn’t hurt :)

    Thanks a lot and have a great day!
    -Onibalusi

    • http://bizdharma.com Himanshu Chanda

      I guess having the email opt in on this page might not work. Lets think who is the target audience? Newbies. Will they see a loooong page, watch video and handover you the email address right away? I doubt. Probably they will scan the whole site, revisit later and than decide whether to give you something half of the internet is asking them for!

  • http://www.calawreport.com John Corcoran

    I think it’s too early to make a conclusion about the getting started page. There are a lot of different ways you could tweak that box to make it perform better, and it will just take time. Moreover, I think the getting started box fits with the theme of your site, which is to be helpful, useful, to give back, and to always provide as much information as possible to your readership.

    • http://onlineincomelab.com Trent Dyrsmid

      Hey John,

      Why too early? With Pat’s volume of traffic, he seems to have plenty of data. You mentioned a lot of ways to tweak that box. What did you have in mind? I’m sure your ideas would be welcomed here for more discussion.

      @ Pat: Love your detailed analysis in your posts Pat. I learn/improve everytime I read your stuff.

      Trent

  • Stephanie

    I really liked your getting started page. It gave me some good ideas on how to go about creating future pages (even beyond the bounds of “getting started”). I actually liked the longer version of your getting started. And despite having read the page at least over 10-20 times, I still refer to it when I’m looking for something on your site. So it’s been serving more as a table of contents for me.

  • http://backlinkstechniques.info Tikyd

    Thanks for sharing this data. I think that your initiative could make it easier for youre readers who are just starting out.

  • http://www.saulne.com/ sylvain

    i was scare when i saw : “Success or Failure?”
    i though, oh my god, if it’s failure i’m in trouble. because i’m following since yesterday morning all the link below “Building Successful Niche Sites” as a blind man. i’ll buy Market Samourai because of you, and it’ll be probably my bestbuy since a few month.

    when people ask me: what’s up with your blog ? i’m always thinking about SPI, and i reply: don’t worry about that, there is a amazing guy, doing amazing job. if i follow him, everything will be fine.

    i’m albsolutly not on the same niche as you. so i don’t know yet how to thank you for that. that’s why now i just say Thank You Very Much Pat ! hoping guys like me can do something for you in the future.

    Sylvain

  • http://financialbrink.com DLynn

    I love your Getting Started page! I’m a newbie to the blogging world, but would prefer not to look as clueless as I feel now that I’ve gone “live.” While I have zero expectations about my blog becoming a passive income source, you offer tons of great advice about design that has helped me get off to a happy start. And, because of your Podcast #15, which is linked to on the 101 page, I’ve published my first Infobarrel article!

    Thank you for all the info you put out there. You rock!

  • KimP

    Wow, this is an awesome post. Thanks for sharing the data and your intense analysis. I wonder why you decided against showing the Getting Started Link on each page?

  • http://www.intelligentselfmarketing.com Rachel

    One of my favorite parts of your website is how you incorporate video into the content. I felt you did this especially well on your Getting Started Page by splitting it into sections and having several videos. It is a lot of information, but its organized well.

  • http://teeballbaseballblog.com Tom

    I’m not ready to highlight my getting started page. One day I’ll have it up and running. I think it’s a good idea you split the post. I did look through the original post and it took me a few days.

  • http://www.altnoise.net Stephen Miracle

    I wonder if you added it to the bottom of your articles whether it would increase clicks to the page. I’ve seen many people that add a “welcome visitor from Google.. click here to sign up for my newsletter” at the top of the article. I personally do not like this because I haven’t read any of the article yet.

    On the other hand, It would benefit me to see a getting started page at the bottom of an article after I read it. “Did you enjoy this article? Click here to read the getting started guide for SmartPassiveIncome” .

    just a thought.

  • http://www.kevinvelasco.com/welcome Kevin Velasco

    I didn’t feel your original 3000+ word page was too overwhelming. If anything, it gave me a better idea of what to expect with the amount of work that was necessary to succeed with an online business.

    I’ve been a professional poker player for more than 6 years so I understand the amount of information that needs to be absorbed to develop an expertise. If you were creating the page with the absolute beginner in mind, then yes I could see it being overwhelming.

  • http://www.consultnb.com Will

    I wish I were a bit more disciplined when it came to testing my own pages. Thanks for the reminder, Pat.

  • http://optima-lifestyle.com/simple/ Cristina

    Hi Pat,

    thanks for such a detailed analysis. Figures certainly help to learn a lot about how a blog or a page performs.

    Cristina

  • http://www.kaerlighedsvej.dk Nicolaj Anderson

    Hi pat :)
    This is awesome, and i like your getting started page.. I love to visit your site, because of all the Data.. Your are a great inspiration for all of us :)

  • http://www.naturalhaircommunity.com Kenneth

    Pat – When you created your getting started page, I thought it was simply brilliant. I immediately created one for my main blog and it’s been well received. I have to get better at testing various components, understanding the results and making changes on the fly. Great analysis…..heading to Google Analytics now. :)

  • http://fiveholiday55.blogspot.com Helen Neely

    One thing I’ve realised keep people longer on this site is the way Pat uses internal linking. Most people generally link out to affiliate sites, but from what I notice, linking to internal resources keep visitors longer; and they are more likely to take your desired action.

    Nice post again.

  • http://startworkingonline.blogspot.com/ Rory Mullen

    Nice Job Pat,

    I love the information and the math you have been doing to show how outstanding content and cut down on the bounce rate. I am trying to bring my current bounce rate down by updating some of the content posted already to make the articles longer.
    The way I find the articles to update is to utilize Google Analytics and the information provided. I will see what articles are typically landed and bounced out a lot on updated the information.

    Great Article Pat!!

  • http://www.bloggingdiabetes.com Tony

    Pat,
    A word of warning on the Aweber follow up messages. If you start adding messages and moving around existing ones, they will be sent to all subscribers again. I made this boo-boo once, but recovered OK. Good luck!

  • http://www.theppcindex.co.uk Paul Maddock

    Hi, nice article I really enjoyed reading it. It’s nice to see analysis on the things you do.

    One thing I wonder is, do you attempt to track your facebook likes and rss subscriptions? I’m not even sure if that’s possible, but you seem to have a number of likes (which would start a facebook feed) and i rarely sign up for email newsletters anymore, i prefer to add a blog to my greader.

  • Anonymous

    I think people dont feel its neccesary to subscribe because you give away such great content. The Ebook is AWESOME, but nobody knows this unless they sign up. New people are distracted with all of the other great content you provide.

  • http://www.makemoneyonlinewithvic.net Make Money Online with Vic

    This is epic, Pat!

    Thanks for posting the raw data for us quant geeks :-)

    Your blog is already massively valuable and with all the tracking and testing you’re doing, plus bringing on board experts to help you make changes, your blog it’s seriously on its way to the next level.

    Cheers!
    Vic

  • http://caseygentles.com Internet Marketing With Casey Gentles

    Congrats Pat that’s great news. Not only good for your own sake but I am glad newbies can find a proven blueprint to follow so they too can start earning online. Keep up the good work Pat.

  • http://www.howtosavemoolah.com Gerald

    When I first started reading your blog, the first thing I did was start from your first income report and read how you built your business month by month. You could encourage newbies to do the same.

  • http://www.planetnaveen.com Naveen Kulkarni

    Hi Pat,
    I feel your getting started page is really cool. One suggestion, I think this particular widget (which links to your getting started page) may be shown on only home page. When one is reading an article, this widget shouldn’t be displayed on the top of content as it may distract the reader. When people hit home button, this widget should make its appearance.

  • http://www.akilbrown.com Akil

    Hi Pat, interesting stuff as some people don’t want to take the time to read so much useful information. Not to worry pat I think this is valuable information that if someone actually took the time they will see and they can also have a look at the niche site dual page.

  • http://www.cherylpickett.com Cheryl Pickett

    I’m relatively new to your site and hadn’t really thought about having a get started page until you talked about it. I’m sure I’ve even seen some before but it didn’t click that it was an important element. For now, I’ll just say thanks for the great info and I’m looking forward to learning more from you.

  • http://www.myweightlosssurgeryblog.com Dee

    Well you saved my rear end last night by having the video on how to setup a new WordPress site. I’ve done it before…months ago and forgot the steps. Thankfully, your video was there and saved me hours of grief. Thanks much…and YES…it is a success!

  • http://www.ramblingsofawahm.com Allie

    Pat,

    I am a long time reader and podcast listener and when you launched your Getting Started Page I got excited. I wondered if I was missing anything. I found out I actually read most of what you had there. And when/if it was new to me I was excited to get new info from you.

    I thought it was a great concept, for new readers and “old” alike. Great job and glad it is working out for you!

    ~Allie

  • http://bloggerfolder.com Haru

    great stats..thanks dude.

    i think i might create my started page on my blog..and hope everyone click through it :)

  • http://www.thecloudeconomy.net/ Jose

    Really cool to know the numbers of the Getting Started page. That makes me think that I should be doing much more testing with my design. The changes could have dramatic results on average time, page views and sales. Thanks Pat!!

  • http://www.leavingworkbehind.com/ Tom Ewer

    I first came to your site I think a few days after that page had been put up. I used it, and it was very useful. Yes, admittedly, a little overwhelming, but it certainly did the job for me!

  • http://wealthandphilosophy.com/ Calvin M

    Very great Post. I love the detail you put into your articles. Helps so much!

  • http://www.r32media.com Eric Timmer

    Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to get up to speed on a website or community and it’s nice to have a place that gets you caught up quickly. More sites should have these types of pages.

  • http://howtobeamazing.com Mike Reeves-McMillan

    I think the Getting Started page is great – so much so that I’ve not only made one, but made it the front page of my site. It explains what the site is about, and in doing so links to the main categories and tags so that people can start exploring whatever interests them most (rather than just hit whichever blog post happens to be up at the time).

    At the end I have a call to action to become a fan on Facebook – my FB fan page is also thanks to you, Pat, so I owe you big time.

  • http://www.backlinkstrategythatworks.com Bryan

    Pat this is good information. I just don’t mean the content per se but how you organize the content. I am assuming that this has something to do with your past life.

    I have found myself recently looking at the overall design of various blogs and listening to the author’s “voice”. This is sometimes even more important than the design or how the page is optimized.

    I would like to know how long it takes you to write a post like this one? Is this something that you tweak and edit over the course of hours or days? Do you have any suggestions for others or is it covered in your book?

    Also, which image editor do you use? The ragged edge makes the page more interesting.

    Thanks in advance.

  • http://going-online.co.uk Going Online

    I guess I am not a newbie, because I don’t mind just reading lots of pages on a blog from the first visit, but I can see how a page like that can be really useful. I am considering doing this or just writing an online business guide as an ebook (Will read your free one btw, thanks!) and placing it within easy reach.

    My site is quite young, so not having real statistics to talk about but I love when other people actually talk numbers instead of the magic “I made myself rich and went to live in the Bahamas and sip cocktails all day, but I cannot prove it!”.

    Great post :)

  • http://www.wrightcomputing.com/blog/ Paul Wright

    Hey Pat,

    I like the idea of adding the Getting started page it is a great opportunity for you to really reach out to your readers and give them an abbreviated version of your blog, they we can really sink our teeth into.

  • http://www.dubai-information-site.com Sunil from The Extra Money Blog

    congratulations on the page’s success. i will certainly be incorporating something similar. way to look out for your readers. thanks!

  • http://www.webmobiletechnology.com/ Mobile websites

    Creating something to compromise the issue is one way of getting back on track. finally fixing the problem will make you at ease and have presence of mind. Given a good information and is well written.