First bit of traffic to the $100K Site


I launched Coolest Gadgets back on August 18th 2005, like many people a lot of what I did was via trial and error. From the offset I wanted to have multiple posts per day which I soon realised takes a lot of bloody work so I took on a paid writer very early on.

I found my first paid writer, Anita via Digital Point, one thing I always try to do is compliment a job well done publicly and criticise privately. I posted a personal review about Anita’s work on DP which resulted in Anita getting more work and me a good reputation (hopefully), the only downside being Anita got so busy she had to turn down some other work I wanted doing. Anita carried on writing for CG for about 6 months and I still see her stories cropping up in comments and search engines to this day. I will be doing a post later on about finding good paid writers.

I’ll leave the staff stuff there for now and get onto the more interesting topic of money and traffic. Unfortunately I didn’t add any decent traffic monitoring code until November and I also changed hosts in October so lost the raw log files, so these stats are based off impressions on the various ad networks.

As you can see from the graph above there are two biggish spikes, the first is from one of the few bits of paid advertising I’ve done on CG. I bought an ad in the email newsletter This is true, if memory serves it cost ~$300 and also included a PR6 (Google Page Rank) link for 12 months (past advertisers). It sent about 3,000 visitors of which I hope some became regular readers, not the cheapest method of advertising but it worked.

The next big spike was caused by a feature in the Lockergnome newsletter, I’ve been in touch with Chris Pirillo the owner of Lockergnome for a good few years and just asked him to do me a feature, which he did with a billion and one links back to CG, the traffic that came from that was very nice and from Chris I learnt to link out to other sites lots and lots, they like it and your readers like. it, thanks Chris.

In October we were averaging about 700 visitors a day, from a variety of sources we did a post on Fog Creek Software which got picked up and linked to by Joel on Software, sending us 785 visitors, thanks Joel.

We also got a thank you link from Turn Around for our Vases or Faces post which sent us an extra 100 or so visitors.

At the beginning the site grew fairly slowly IMO but the potential was certainly there, in the the first 3 months we made about $400 mainly from Google Adsense, this just about covered writing and hosting costs but advertising was paid for from the day job (which I’ve now left far behind I’m happy to say πŸ™‚ ).

I’ll be able to give better and more accurate stats in later months as I installed Google Analytics mid November. If there’s anything else you want me to cover when talking about traffic please let me know, I am finding this interesting myself going over old posts and stat packages but if it’s boring the pants off our readers I’d better change that, so comments and feedback are very welcome.

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.


  1. Thanks for the details. That made an interesting read to see how things progressed and how traffic levels were early on. It will be interesting to see the graph from Nov 2005 to now and see what the trend was.

  2. Look forward to how a site evolved in regards to traffic πŸ™‚

    I assume the initial $300 has paid it’s self back 500+% and the old adage “spend money to make money” still rings true for most things.

  3. Fantastic blog. Very inspirational too. So firstly, thank you for doing it.

    Secondly, can you discuss monitization, particularly using adsense?


  4. Thanks Matthew, I’ll plan to document at least the first year of the sites existence, I might extend that if there’s still more to report.

    Hi techwzrd, in honesty the $300 probably didn’t generate that much in revenue but the link could of improved SERPS or brought us a reader that blogged about a post so it could indirectly of really helped. It’s one of those things you can never know for sure.

    Hi Fred, welcome to SMM. I’ll certainly be covering monetization in later posts. I’m on target to hit my first 5 digit Adsense month this month (fingers crossed as last time I said that I lost all rankings) so will hopefully have some useful tips to share.

  5. Thanks for sharing all this.

  6. Hi Al,
    What were your main challenges in terms of employing a paid writer?

    Good luck in hitting your 5-figure Adsense income this month. BTW, thanks for the St George’s cross. πŸ˜‰

  7. No problem doolally, thanks for the feedback.

    Amos I will share a fair bit of info on paid writers in later posts. I am on the after a new writer imminently so will be doing a bit of a live experiment in the recruitment process.

  8. Thanks for the info on the people-part of doing business online, Al. I hope there will be a lot more of that.

    I also loved to hear about the advertising expenditure that actually gave good results. You know me – I’m cheap. But I will gladly spend my cash on stuff that works!

    Oh, yeah: Thanks for the St. George. I almost got in a fight for flying it in South Africa…

  9. This is certainly incredible. Within a short period of 3 months, I can see the average daily visitors had doubled. I bet a lot of efforts have been poured into advertising the site to several sources.

    I am beginning to get hooked into this blog site! It’s so personal yet, so enriching!

  10. Wow, thanks for great post. That’s how to start great helps me to change my plan on my blog.

  11. wow, its marvelous scott. πŸ™‚ Now my point is clear now what should i do with my niche sites. πŸ™‚ would be like to see your Nov adsense stats

  12. Great Stats πŸ™‚ all the best in Future

  13. “one thing I always try to do is compliment a job well done publicly and criticise privately….”

    Beautifully put.

  14. One question ..when you started, you had the same template, or the template changed since you started ? And the ads were positioned in the same way ?


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