Scott H Young

Post Number 500


This is the 500th post on ScottHYoung.com. Although some of the posts are news-related, if you include the 100-200 articles I’ve written off the website, 3 e-books and an interactive program, I’d guess I’ve written more than 500 articles worth of content.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a little about how the site has evolved, where it is now and where I want to take it in the future.

It’s been a lot of fun writing and while it hasn’t always been easy, connecting with readers has made it worth the effort. I’m amazed at the quality of reader comments, which are both insightful and don’t have the usual hostility and bickering notorious for internet communities.

Where We’ve Been

My first post to this blog was in February of 2006. For the first month I had less than 10 visitors and was thrilled when I got my first linkback to my article What is Important? It was six months until I started monetizing the website and my first months AdSense earnings were $40.

Flash-forward to today and what do we have?

  • 647 individual websites that have pointed to ScottHYoung.com in the last six months.
  • Nearly 6000 subscribers through Feedburner (I estimate about 8000-9000 regular readers)
  • Although I’m definitely not rich, I expect this website to earn roughly $15000-$25000 in 2008.
  • Has been one of the 4000 blogs out of over 2 million.

I estimate that between articles for this website, offsite articles, e-books and programs I’ve written about 750 000 words of content. I wouldn’t be surprised if other bloggers I know have written a few million. I think the reason most people fail at blogging has less to do with probability and talent and more to do with not being able to sweat out a million words of content.

Where We’re Going

I’m thrilled about all the progress the website has made, but I still have big ideas for where I think it could go:

In the next few months…

  • An E-Book on E-Mail/Internet Productivity. I’m working with a blogging friend on a small, upcoming e-book designed as a guide to simplifying and speeding up your e-mail habits. I’m not going to be directly involved in the pricing, but I’m estimating the book will be 5-10 dollars.
  • A “Best Of…” book/e-book. One of the problems with an archive of 500 posts, is that most readers will read new content but won’t dive into old content. I’ve been brainstorming various ways to solve this archive problem, which I expect will be even bigger as I continue writing. One way is to do a “Best Of…” book that organizes the best 50-100 posts. Considering the content is already free, I’d probably release the e-book version for free and have a low-cost hardcover version through Lulu.

In the next few years…

For the most part, I’ve stopped setting goals beyond 2-3 years. Goal setting is useful for a short time frame, but considering the rate of change in my life, 5-10 year plans aren’t realistic. Ninety percent of my life today wouldn’t have been recognizable three years ago. I’m sure life when I’m 22, three years from now, will be nothing like how I can imagine it today.

For that reason, I don’t have any specific plans for this website. Hopefully, I can provide value to people and continue growing the website. A few ideas I’ve had for the future:

  • Enhanced Website. Blogging technology can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, existing technology allows me to immediately communicate with thousands of people. On the other hand, I feel there is so much more that could be done to make this website more valuable. Smarter archives, better commenting functionality, easier searching and organization of content are just a few of the ideas I’d like to put in place.
  • Professional Speaking. Public speaking is a completely different medium than blogging. I’m not sure how much crossover exists between how I write here and potentially speaking to an audience, but I’d love to look into that more.
  • Publish a Book. A few people have nudged me into trying to get a book published. Right now I’m happy focusing on my online presence and digital content, but this is something I’d definitely want to look into in the future. With many of my blogging friends getting books published, this looks like too much fun to ignore.
  • Personal Development Systems. One of the problems with the content of this website is that articles are really a poor way to train new ideas. I read hundreds of articles a month, but most of my implementing of ideas is completely separate from that. I think the internet and technology has amazing potential to connect people and transform content, so I’d like to invest more time in systems that can make it easier to put great ideas into practice.
  • Continue Writing Articles. Hopefully in another year or two I’ll be able to claim my thousandth post on this website. Until then, thanks for reading the website, hopefully you’ll continue to make this the best job in the world.

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17 Responses to “Post Number 500”

  1. That’s fantastic, Scott! Can you clarify the part about “one of the 4000 blogs out of over 2 million?” Is this by technorati ranking?

    I’ve seen a few bloggers recently writing about how blogging success is much more dependent on marketing than content. I’m afraid there’s more truth to that than I would like to be the case, but I’m glad that you put the effort into writing great content.

    How much of your success would you attribute to marketing methods like guest posting and social media, as opposed to just the quality of your posts?

    The only thing I found a bit depressing in your stats is that a top 4000 blog is only earning a couple thousand a month. I’d like to see you earning more! Do you know if those earnings are typical compared to other blogs with your level of traffic?

  2. Niels says:

    Congratulations Scott! Well done and keep up the good work :)

  3. Samson says:

    Holy CRAP! $15000-2500???!!! That is some serious coin for a student.

    Does this site take a lot of time out of your daily things to do?

    Good Stuff.

  4. James says:

    Wow, you are pretty insightful for a 19 year old.
    Congrats on the site and the other projects

  5. Alex Shalman says:

    Congratulations on this huge milestone buddy, you’re a rockstar! ;)

  6. Scott Young says:

    Hunter,

    Yes, it’s a Technorati ranking.

    I’d also like to be earning more, but I know to be patient. Actually, revenue and website popularity aren’t perfectly correlated. I’m still experimenting with different methods, but I know Top 100 blogs that earn no direct revenue and bloggers who grossed $2000 in their first month with far fewer readers than this blog.

    How important is guest posting and social media. I might get hazed for this, but I’ve never found it to be that important. I’ve seen some bloggers get spectacular success with guest posting and Digg (ZenHabits to name one). But Digg (the biggest) tends to favor only certain types of content, I’ve never had much luck with Digg, but I’ve done well with other mediums.

    Guest posting is overrated. It was a great strategy when Leo did it a year ago. I still do occasional guest posts, but it’s been overused to the point it isn’t as valuable. Blog carnivals used to be the #1 marketing strategy, but they have faded away too. By all means, focus on whatever tactic works. But don’t assume that these things are set in stone. Try to be creative with your marketing instead of following the herd.

    Marketing is important, but it can’t replace consistently good content. ZenHabits would have been fantastic without Digg or guest posts. StevePavlina.com would be huge without the blog carnivals or lifehacker mentions he got early on. Don’t focus on marketing tactics when you really need to look at a marketing strategy. Marketing, itself, is incredibly important. But that is true no matter what industry/business you run. Blogging makes it easier since it is easy to get noticed quickly if your content rocks.

    Honestly, if you want my advice for marketing that won’t go out of style in two months, this is it:

    1) Form relationships with other bloggers.*
    2) Write original content that is ultra-helpful in an original voice. (i.e. don’t try to be the next Leo or Steve Pavlina, create something unique)

    *And this doesn’t mean asking for link exchanges. I don’t push my content to other blogs past an introduction. Most of my successful blogging friends don’t either. If your writing is great, meeting people can get them interested. But if your writing is ordinary, they won’t link to you. ‘Nuff said.

    My strategy with this blog is to outlast the fads. Despite the fact that I’m 19, I’m an old foggie in the blogging world. At 2 years, I’m middle-aged with most blogs (older than ZenHabits, 30Sleeps, etc.). I strive to be the tortoise instead of the hare.

    Well this was a long comment, but as you can see I’m full of opinions on the subject.

  7. Hi Scott,
    You have definitely come a long way for a 19 year old. I suppose that gives you a good foundation to build your career on.

    I enjoyed reading about your journey. I was wondering whether the readership growth was gradual or was there a specific post(/s) that landed you among the blogging idols? :-)

    Keep up the good work and good luck with your future goals.
    Shamelle

  8. Ravenwood says:

    You have an excellent blog going here, one of my top 5 favorites in all likelihood.

    I would like you, and all other personal development writers, to write more about the topic of social networking. This is kind of unexplored, Keith Ferrazzi notwithstanding, and it could do with a more systematic analysis.

    I wish you all luck, best wishes from Sweden!

    //Ravenwood

  9. Scott Young says:

    Shamelle,

    Well I’m pretty sure I’m not among the blogging idols. But if your questions is whether this blog grew slowly or in one leap, it would definitely be the former.

    A few key posts have created a lot of traffic for this blog. But my readership figures have grown on a gradual progression.

    Ravenwood,

    I’ve written previously about some social topics. This isn’t my personal strength (although I wouldn’t say it is weakness by any means) so I prefer to focus my content on productivity/goal-setting/health/habits etc.

    But whenever I do get ideas about socialization, I’ll be sure to share them!

    -Scott

  10. Iair Salem says:

    Congrats Scott!
    Your writing helps lots of people, and that invaluable. You’ve also made some kind of fans and friends. that’s invaluable too.

    For the Email/productivity ebook you’re planning, I’ve seen the InboxZero.com presentation at google. It’s not “the solution”. I think everyone has to elaborate it’s own solution. But you, authors, frequently give us the tools we need.

    It’s also a good idea not to charge for the “Best Of…” ebook. Unlike Leo, I think your approach it’s better. Charge for content, not for organizing posts.

    Iair.

  11. Roy says:

    Congratulations Scott! All your hard work is paying off. I always enjoy reading your posts. Can’t wait to read more.

    -Roy

  12. Thanks for the very detailed comment reply, Scott. It was very helpful.

    I have to say though, that I think I found you through a guest post you wrote. Not that one data point means anything, but I’m curious about how long it would have taken me to find you without any guest posts.

    From a reader’s perspective, I think guest posts are definitely overused. While I sometimes see really good guest posts, I generally choose to visit a blog because of the author, not just the topic.

  13. Henrik says:

    Well done Scott! Keep up the great and helpful work!

  14. Chris O'Donnell says:

    Congratulations Scott. A fantastic achievement. I look fwd to each new article and will do so for years to come. Best Chris.

  15. Congratulations Scott.
    That sure is a fantastic body of work. Tell us more about your plans to be a professional speaker. Have you dipped your toe in the water? Have you considered what your strategy will likely be?
    Craig

  16. Scott Young says:

    Iair,

    I totally support Leo charging for his “Best of…” e-book. Although there are no content additions, it takes a fair bit of work to nicely design/organize an e-book. Considering he released it for about six bucks, I’d say it was well worth it if you hadn’t read those posts already.

    For myself, I’d probably release it for free simply because it’s nice to keep up the supply of free content. Paid-for content helps this blog survive financially, but free content ensures that this is a valuable place to visit.

    Hunter,

    Guest posts certainly attract readers, but the question is whether they are worth the effort. I wrote on lifehack for over six months. This is a blog with 60,000 Feedburner subscribers and I wrote (freelance, not guest) 2x a week.

    Despite that heavy writing, only a small percentage of my traffic growth was due to that writing.

    Guest posting can definitely work, as others have proven. The problem is whether it is a worthwhile time investment–(i.e. would the content be better placed on my own blog, where it would fill my writing quota’s & expand my archives)? With all the surge of guest-posting I’m not entirely sure.

    -Scott

  17. Scott Young says:

    Craig,

    No professional gigs yet. I’ve done a bit of public speaking, but mostly through Toastmasters.

    One of my good friends is a professional speaker here in Winnipeg. He’s been encouraging me to start speaking from the blogging angle. Not quite sure how that will work out, but it seems to be an area ripe with opportunity.

    Best,
    -Scott

Debate is fine, flaming is not. Pretend that this comment form is a discussion taking place in my house. That means I enjoy constructive criticism and polite suggestions. Personal attacks, insults and all-purpose nastiness will be removed especially if it is directed at other readers.

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