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After receiving several requests from readers, I have decided to publish a post detailing the progress I have made thus far with my blog. My hope is that it will benefit you in some way.

To be honest, I am overwhelmed with the enormous amount of work that goes into trying to build a successful blog and am looking to you all for support and guidance.

The purpose of this post is two-fold:

  1. To share the strategies I have used to grow this blog over the last several months.
  2. To gather feedback on how I can improve this blog

The Starting Point

I published my first post on October 11, 2010 and as of today, this blog has now been live for a little more than 4 months. In that time frame I have experienced some highs and lows and have come to understand that blogging is indeed a HUGE roller coaster.

Although most experts tell us not to rely on analytics too heavily, I am a numbers guy and I just can’t help myself. I find myself checking my stats first thing each morning eagerly anticipating positive numbers.

The biggest problem I face with all the stats is that I really have no benchmark and therefore have no idea if I’m doing well or doing shitty. I’ve had a number of folks comment on the relatively fast growth of my blog, but I find myself comparing myself to the likes of Pat Flynn, Glen Allsopp, and Mars Dorian and end up disappointed. Probably not the best idea…

My Biggest Concerns

There a few statistics that I deem to be more important than others. Whether they are in fact more important is totally subjective. These are the things I try to make a concentrated effort on as often as I can.

  1. Comments. I love comments! I feel like it validates what I’m doing here and when they drop off, my enthusiasm drops off right along with them. My post about my love for comments will give you more insights into my feelings about them.
  2. Daily Visitors. Although this number doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, I follow it religiously. I need to know who visited, from where they came, and how long they stayed. I just need to figure out how to make it better now.
  3. Twitter Followers. When I first signed up for Twitter, I really made a big push to gather followers. I thought the more that I had, the more influence I would have. Not the case at all. I have come to realize that it’s all about interacting with a select group of people who actually care about what you are saying. As of right now I have 926 total followers. What does this mean? Nothing really because I only interact with about a dozen of them.

The Stats

Here are some of the statistics from my blog. Again, it’s not that I am trying to show off, but rather think this may be helpful for those just starting out and also helpful for me because I get to hear what you have to say about it.

Total Traffic Since October 11, 2010

Top Traffic Sources

Complete Statistics: 10/11/2010 to 2/22/2011

  • Total Visitors: 9,598
  • Absolute Unique Visitors: 6,496
  • Page Views: 23,434
  • Average Page Views: 2.44
  • Average Time on Site: 3:58
  • Bounce Rate: 52.50%
  • New Visits: 67.27%
  • Twitter Followers: 926
  • RSS Subscribers: 226 (started 12/23/2010)
  • Total Posts: 58
  • Total Comments: 624
  • Income Produced: $0
  • Wives Pissed Off At Me: 1
  • Overall Stress Level On a Scale To 10: 9.7

A Few Interesting Things About My Blog

Over the last 4 months, I have had a few interesting things happen that I would like to share.

  • Originally, I used the BusyBee theme from WooThemes. After a month or so, I received a Twitter message from Nick at SiteSketch101.com in which he told me that my theme was overused and under amazing. Yea, that prompted me to search for a new one.
  • More than 40% of all the organic traffic I received comes from Life Sucks related searches.
  • I have received Google traffic from 693 keywords, of which about 10 I was actually trying to rank for.

Some of the more interesting keywords I have received traffic from:

  • Life sucks when you’re fat
  • How to become a miserable person (huh?)
  • How to get un-miserable
  • Quotes about how the human race sucks (where are they going to go?)
  • Security jobs 19 dollars bullshit (I was actually trying to rank for this one…)
  • What happens when you grind with a short person (this is hilarious)

What’s Been Working

I have to say that the best thing I have done to grow this blog is guest post. It’s been a great way to leverage much larger audiences. By far, my posts on Dumb Little Man have brought in the most traffic.

I have also really focused on building relationships with Twitter, although I will admit I have not spent nearly as much time doing it as I would like. It has brought in significant amounts of traffic,but more importantly, I have connected with some great people. After all, blogging is all about people!!

I also think that my willingness to be completely open and honest about my daily struggles has helped my connect with a number of people. I have to say that I am not a fan of bloggers who offer a one sentence bio about themselves. Show some personality, dammit! Who are you?

Another thing that I have found to be very useful is asking others for their input. There are soooo many people out there that know way more than I do about this stuff, so why not ask them for their advice and opinions. I have received some great feedback and also some harsh criticism. Both are welcome and I have learned a lot from them.

What Has Not Been Working

The biggest hurdle I face each day is time management. My to-do list has 22 things on it right now and most of them will take a decent amount of time to complete. The problem is I have no time and therefore nothing gets checked off the list.

When I do manage to accomplish a task, I end up adding 2 more to the list. It never ends. Is this normal? How am I ever supposed to catch up? If you have the answer, email me pronto!

There just doesn’t seem to be enough time to write, market, network, guest post, read, comment, interact, talk on Skype, educate myself, build relationships, create products, and write some more.

Even if I didn’t have 2 jobs and 2 kids, I still don’t think I could do it all effectively….

I have also learned the importance of choosing the right blogs to guest post on. For example, I wrote a post for Mario at HowToMakeMyBlog.com, which receives 25,000 or more monthly visitors. My post was about finding keywords using the Google Keyword Tool. Sounds good right?

Guess how many visitors I received from this post?

  1. 11
  2. 65
  3. 219

If you guessed 11, you would be correct. Needless to say, I was a bit shocked by the lack of action I received. There are a few reasons that could have caused this:

  1. My post sucked and nobody wanted to see anymore of my writing
  2. My author bio did not resonate with his readers resulting in very few clicks
  3. The post was so insanely awesome that it was taken down by Mario, copied, and then locked away in a vault for safe keeping where it will eventually be sold at auction. Yea, that’s it…

My takeaway was that you need to find the right audience for your post. Even if your niche is about making money online and you submit to a make money online blog, you still need to read their blog first to see what their readers are used to.

Another thing that I need to get better at is commenting. When someone takes the time to write a valuable comment, it means something to me. Thus far, I have not been very good at returning the favor. I think it has hurt the number of comments I have been receiving lately.

Now, if you don’t care about how many comment you get, then fine, but for those of us who do, it makes sense to spend time on their blogs, read them, and leave thoughtful comments. I will do more of this starting today.

One important thing that happened last month was a discussion that took place in my comment section. I had received a constructively harsh email from someone explaining how my negative attitude was a huge turn off for him and was probably turning off many others as well.

I took his advice to heart and made a choice to focus on the positive for a change. It’s my goal to help people and just pissing negativity didn’t seem like the answer. My post, The Theory of Positivity, details my ideas.

My Concerns

A few things are of particular concern to me right now.

  1. My comments. They fluctuate so much, I’m not sure what to think. Often it seems like my regular readers/commenters have all but disappeared. Is this normal? Why is this? Is my content getting worse?
  2. My RSS subscribers. First off, I realize that the topic of my free eBook does not necessarily match the subject of my blog. This could be one reason that my subscribers growth has stagnated. Other than that, I’m not sure why people are not subscribing.
  3. Monetizing. My goal is to replace my day job income with the online business that stems from this blog. However, I have yet to figure out exactly what that will be. I have considered a number of different methods, but am undecided on the path I will take. It’s actually quite frustrating not having a income strategy….

If you’re still reading this, I appreciate it!

Please let me know if this is helpful at all. If not, I’m sure I can think of much better uses for 1600 words.

I am very interested in hearing from you and would love to hear your thoughts. What do you think I should be concerned about? What can I do better?

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