It looks like this is number one hundred for posting. That’s almost one hundred full articles, discounting a few of the smaller post updates I had made. Since I average about 2000 words per article that is approximately two hundred thousand words of personal development. The decision to start this blog has to have been the best decision I have ever made in my life, and I say that with complete honesty. Blogging has skyrocketed my growth and allowed me to connect with thousands of other people who share that same passion for getting the most out of life.
Big rounded numbers seem to inspire moments of reflection in our society and I suppose I am no different. I thought I would take this time to step away from my normal updates of personal development information and discuss the past, present and future of this website. In one hundred articles this site has come a long way, much further than I had anticipated. I have set pretty challenging goals for this site so hopefully it will continue to surpass my expectations.
This blog started in late February. I had begun working on Goals! An Interactive Guide in January and I was having trouble doing the written portion of it. I found writing more than a thousand words on a particular subject was pretty difficult and I lacked a particular writing style that I found comfortable. So I decided to start my blog and improve my writing skills as I went to work on the program.
I had initially thought of this blog as being the vehicle to develop traffic for my interactive program. Seeing the incredible successes of many other bloggers, I never considered that my content could really stand out in a purely written medium. So I went to work on my program and blogged as an addition to that.
My first few posts didn’t even get a whisper of traffic. Without any prior web presence to leverage, my first posts had absolutely no one reading. I had no intention of making this a link blog, so I figured I would have to get traffic another way. By posting comments on other personal development blogs and contacting other bloggers in the area I was able to build a slow trickle of traffic. According to the stats package provided by my hosting provider I was getting between 150 and 200 page views a day. Hardly monumental, but I kept writing.
In May my traffic skyrocketed after a link from lifehacker.com took my traffic from about 300-400 page views to 20000 in a single day. Although this traffic leveled off sharply afterwards, I was still left with about 1250 page views and dozens of blogs linking to my Habitual Mastery series. With the sudden success of the blog, I was beginning to think that blogging may be a more valuable route than my program, but I continued on.
From May to this point my traffic has tripled and is growing steadily. Although some days are up and others are down, my traffic continues to rise. I have between a 25% and 50% monthly increase in traffic. Unfortunately, only a small fraction 5-10% of my posts create about 90-95% of my traffic, which means many posts take off while others lie asleep in my archives. Habitual Mastery, Enthusiasm and Energy Management all took off, yielding huge increases in links, while others don’t even generate a comment.
After releasing Goals! An Interactive Guide, I have become convinced that blogging is the correct route for the current moment. Building content and increasing my visibility through writing is probably my best place to focus for right now. My stats package given by my hosting provider tells me that I now receive an average of 2500-3500 page views each day. I suspect this figure may be somehow inflated as my AdSense and Google Analytics accounts show scaled down versions of these numbers. Despite this I am extremely happy with the traffic increases I have been able to generate.
I am also experimenting with different writing styles and formats to see if I can unlock any secrets into the successes of my posts. The distinctions between those posts that give huge boosts of traffic and those that die into obscurity seems to be mostly a mystery to me. I have written a lot of ‘how to’ articles in the past week, and I may experiment with other types of posts. My only theories on what posts work and what ones don’t is that the posts that are successful tend to be fairly basic and general, but also about a topic that isn’t being covered much. Energy management and enthusiasm aren’t wildly original topics but they both gained me a relatively large amount of traffic. If any of my readers has any idea why some of my posts are better than others, I’m all ears.
I recently added AdSense ads to this website. AdSense terms of service forbids me from sharing specific details about my revenue or click through rate, but I will say that there is much work to be done. I hope to optimize the ad positioning so that they provide the least distraction but also are visible enough that users can make use of the services offered from them. I think the ads are fairly relevant to my subject as I often find myself intrigued by their headlines as I browse my own site (AdSense publishers are forbidden from clicking on their own ads).
I plan to ask the AdSense team about how generalized of information I can share with my audience about revenue earnings. I know many of my readers are fellow bloggers who may be curious about my own goals, revenue and success with this blog. Although I have absolutely no intention to turn this blog into a personal diary of myself, the goals and aims for my own growth are often similar to the goals and aims for growth of my readers. As I said previously, my 2008 financial goal is to make $20,000 Canadian annually from this website. I’ll try to insert tidbits of my progress into my regular postings I try to center around you.
AdSense optimization is my side activity for the moment. I have to resist the temptation to switch around the layout every five minutes so I can get a large enough sample to test from. Most of the other publishers I consulted said that a week was a good length of time for a trial, two if the changes are big. The nice thing about AdSense success is it seems to work best when it is the least distracting. You may see some ad changes over the next few weeks as I take steps to try out different layouts.
My blogging strategy has remained fairly similar, write my ass off. Because I don’t have any more major projects on the go, my focus is completely on writing content. I should be able to do 1-2 posts per day and maintain the quality you have come to expect. I also plan to eventually publish the written chapters from my goal setting program onto this blog so those who can’t access the program will still be able to get that information.
Many internet marketers have a phrase, “Content is king.” I’ve come to learn this is complete bs. Content is not king. Value is king. As I mentioned earlier, about 20 percent of my posts have gathered 80 percent of the links for this website. A fact I must have to face is that those posts probably had more value to more people than my other posts. When I was away for two weeks at the start of this summer, my traffic actually went up by 100% because of just a few posts saved over that period of time. This has really made me believe that it isn’t the amount of my posts, but their ability to impact that makes the biggest difference in my overall levels of traffic.
Unfortunately, I have few clues as to why certain posts succeed more than others. So in order to create a few gems, I am going to experiment with variations of posting style and strategy. I’ll also experiment with different marketing techniques to get my content out there and hopefully something will stick. I’ll let you guys know if I discover anything.
Close to a year ago I set two financial goals for my life. My first goal was for $20,000 annually by my twentieth birthday (2008). My second, long-term goal was $200,000 annually by my twenty seventh birthday. Are these goals realistic? Who knows. In just looking at how much my life has unexpectedly changed just in the five months since I started blogging, I think a ten year goal is likely to need adjustment far before it is ever reached. In ten years I may decide that two million dollars annually is a more appropriate target or I may decide to take a vow of poverty, shave my head and live in a monastery 😉 . The only problem (or possibly its greatest benefit) of living a life dedicated to growth is that it changes in beautiful, magnificent and bizarre ways you never expect.But I don’t set my goals to reach them. My goals are merely a device I use to accelerate my growth, not an objective in themselves. If I later decide I need to change them, it won’t matter because I was only using them as an anchor of growth, not a milestone. Every day is a milestone for me, I don’t need to achieve a goal to feel that fulfillment. My goals just make sure I stay on track with how I want to grow.
Steve Pavlina’s financial success really inspired me to pursue a different objective than just financial freedom. I really like the idea of conditioning yourself to live on only a small fraction of your earnings and then using the rest of that money to help others to grow. Buying bigger houses, more cars and toys doesn’t fulfill me. But if I could earn enough money to achieve maximum growth with that resource so that I could then use the extra to help others, that would be truly fulfilling.
Above all else, the best way I think I can gather traffic is to continue my own personal growth. The more I read, practice and implement the more I can write about. By truly experiencing growth I have the ability to write about it and help others do the same. By maintaining my commitment to personal development I might very well be doing the best thing possible for my traffic levels.
This website would be just a bunch of bytes and data if it weren’t for you. I hope I have been able to help in just a tiny way of repaying you for the help you have provided me. Although I can talk on and on about this being an act of contribution, it is probably best described as an act of pure indulgence and selfishness. The sheer benefit to my own growth from the words I have received from my readers has really allowed me to get the most out of my own life.
I hope that sharing my ideas, experiences and research has given you just a fraction of the immense benefit it has provided me. In any case I wanted to thank you for coming here and reading these posts. I wanted to thank you for sharing with me your own personal stories as you try to build better lives for yourself. Thank you.
So I end this post with a question for all of my readers. I have set a lot of goals and made suggestions for my blog, but what would you like to see from this website and myself from the future?