The Word Counter

How I Created an Online Grammar Tool and Gained 100,000 Unique Visitors in Less Than 6 Months

Kevin Miller

We've gained 100,000 unique visitors in less than six months.

Kevin Miller

The Word Counter is a dynamic online tool used for counting words, characters, sentences, paragraphs and pages in real time, along with spelling and grammar checking. Writers leverage it to improve word choice and writing style as well as helping to detect grammar mistakes and plagiarism. Additionally, to assist with public speaking, our tool will accurately estimate speaking time to help with prep for class presentations, wedding speeches, or anything of the sort.

It was a gradual decision to start The Word Counter. Ultimately, I was doing hours and hours of keyword research and I found that there was an enormous amount of monthly searches for the term “word counter” (see below). I realized that I could build a very large content site around that tool and answer common questions that people have about the English language.

The Word Counter Kevin Miller

I got my first three customers through organic search. I started to write articles about the difference between confusing words in the English language and I committed to myself to publish one blog post per day for 12 months. I am only about six months through that commitment but my first three customers arrived on the site as a result of landing on my articles from Google Search.

I validated the idea by looking at a few competitive sites and determining what their estimated traffic was on a monthly basis.

The site is monetized in two ways:

  1. Google Adsense
  2. Grammarly affiliate program

Did you have any experience/expertise in the area?

I have expertise in digital marketing and specifically, SEO. That is why I felt confident that I would be able to launch a website that would be able to capture hundreds of high volume search queries and eventually rank number 1 ,2, or 3 for those terms.

We have not raised one dollar of outside capital. We are 100% bootstrapped. I do digital marketing consulting work and I use every dollar I earn through that and put it right into my website.

Who is your target demographic?

  • College students 18-22 who are writing papers for class.
  • Copywriters and digital marketers who need the ability to track their text length against common web standards like Twitter's tweet character count (140), Google's meta description (300), and Facebook's average post display length (~250).

When looking for first employees and , ask for referrals through trusted friends and work colleagues. That is the best and most efficient way to find your first employees.

Did you run any companies prior?

I grew up in Daytona Beach, FL until the age of 18 and then moved to Washington, DC to attend Georgetown University. I graduated with a degree from the Mcdonough School of Business in 2013.

I then moved to San Francisco, CA to pursue a career working in startups. From 2014 - 2016, I worked at Google at their HQ in Mountain View, CA helping startups and large enterprises manage their Google advertising strategy. After leaving Google, I went on to serve as the head of marketing for a couple of e-commerce companies in SF.

Most recently, I am the head of growth and marketing at Opendoor before leaving in February of 2020 to co-found an SEO agency. I am also a limited partner in two venture funds. I had a successful track record of helping startups and individuals to increase their organic traffic and conversion rates online.

What motivates you when things go wrong? What is the end goal?

I am motivated by the idea of having a consistent passive income stream for the next 30 years. The end goal is to get the site to 1 million organic visits a month and to educate millions who have questions about the English language.

For someone just starting out, do your research, validate your idea, and commit to working on the project for a specific period of time. If you don’t know an answer, network your way to the answer and make sure you ask the questions you need to feel comfortable you can execute on your project. If you ask, you will receive the answers.

What has driven the most sales?

Organic search has driven the most affiliate revenue from Grammarly.

Time is the main factor that is stopping me from being 3x the size I am now. We are publishing 1x per day and will continue to do so in perpetuity! This will help to grow our business and then we will layer on affiliate marketing, email marketing and potentially paid FB / Google Adwords.

How do you protect yourself from competition?

I have not taken any steps to protect myself from competition other than ruthlessly executing my strategy and understanding that it is very very hard to compete with my strategy of publishing the highest quality written content ever produced on the subjects we have chosen to cover. I do not have any trademarks / IP or patents.

What are the top 3-5 apps your business could not run without?

  • Klaviyo (email marketing) - email marketing to our readers
  • Google Analytics - analytics tracking for our site
  • G Suite email - ability to communicate with prospective partners

What are your favourite books and Podcasts?

Books:

  • The Lean StartUp
  • Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Podcasts:

  • Insightful conversations with online business pros, industry experts, and more
  • Entrepreneurs on Fire

What are the next products you’re working on?

We are going to launch a Grammar checker, and a plagiarism checker. We just recently launched the Word Unscrambler.

In 5 years, I see it as the most visited website on the internet to learn about the English language. It will do 10 million + unique visitors per month.

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