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This is going to be my year!

I suck at goal setting and following through, so I figured the best chance I have of succeeding is by being accountable to everyone who reads this.

I am expecting big things to happen for this blog in 2011, although I certainly have my doubts.

This is mainly because I have such limited time and feel way overwhelmed with everything I want to do. I honestly feel like I could spend 8 hours each day working on making my blog better and still be way behind the curve. In actuality, I have only an hour or two of good, quality time to work on it, so I feel like I will never get ahead.

I know there are plenty of other bloggers out there who are dealing with similar issues and I’m sure many of them make it happen anyway. So, I’ve got to make the best of what I’ve got right now and just do it.

First off, I want to offer some insights as to what I’ve been able to learn since this blog started in October 2010. I have never been more serious about something than I am about this blog and have spent a great deal of time learning how to make it as awesome as possible!

What I’ve Learned

I’ve managed to learn quite a lot in a short amount of time, mainly because I spend most of my free time working on this blog. The reason I have been so compulsive about this is because my 40th birthday is in 2011 and that’s a pretty big deal for me.

In my eyes, still being in a job I hate at the midway point in my life is unacceptable. Not just that, it’s downright depressing. If I were in my twenties, I would probably be taking a slower approach to this business, but I don’t have that kind of time anymore !

It’s like I’m racing against a clock to succeed online. Maybe that not the best way to think about it, but I honestly feel like each day that passes and I’m not enjoying my life, that day is wasted. And I’m tired of wasting my life.

Over the past 3 months, I have had the chance to meet some awesome people who have helped point me in the right direction, and I am very thankful for them.

The Growth Of This Blog

After a very slow start in October and into November, I have finally started to see some traffic come in. I am a numbers guy and love statistics, so I each morning when I visit Google Analytics, I feel like a 7-year old on Christmas morning.

Here are some of the details on the growth of this blog since October 11, 2010. I actually got this idea from Pat Flynn at SmartPassiveIncome.com.

As you can see, most of the growth has come in the last month or so. This is mainly because I did several guest posts for high traffic sites. My plan is to continue posting to other sites about twice each month.

If you are just starting out as a blogger, I would highly recommend trying to find a good, quality site in your niche and try to have your articles posted there.

Here are the specific stats with regards to total visitors, page views, time on site, and bounce rate.

To be honest, I don’t really know if these are good numbers or not, but I am happy that traffic is going up and not down!

Here is the breakdown of where my visitors are coming from.

As a side note, I have also ranked for a total of 111 keywords in Google. Since search engines only brought 287 visitors to my site, I definitely need to work on my SEO skills!

Realizations About Blogging As A Business

1. Blogging is hard! It’s not that it’s hard in the physical sense or even that it’s difficult to learn, but rather the hard work is figuring out what works and what doesn’t and then actually doing it.

There are so many moving parts to a blog and the sheer volume of things we need to do on a daily basis is overwhelming!

When you love what you’re doing, like I do with this blog, it doesn’t seem like work at all. I could spend 24/7 working on my blog and be happy. There is just so much to learn, it feels like even 24 hours isn’t enough time to get everything done.

2. The importance of finding qualified help. I am not a tech person. When I bought the WordPress for Dummies book 6 months ago, I was completely lost. Widgets,CMS, RSS, meta, tags, all meant nothing to me. I was petrified of this new language, but I knew that if I was going to be successful online, I had to have an understanding of it.

I’ve spent quite a lot of time learning the basics and even figured out a few advanced back end tricks. However, I realized that if I wanted an attractive site that really stood out, I was going to need help.

This is when I learned the importance of working with a web designer. Very few of us have the time to go out and learn enough about HTML, CSS, and PHP to redesign our own sites, so hiring someone makes sense.

Working with a professional designer has been a lifesaver and I recommend it to anyone who is serious about their online business. The cost is insignificant compared to the benefits and the time you will save trying to figure it out yourself.

My designer, Mike at 107 Designs, is incredible. Not only is he a great designer, but he truly understands blogging and Internet marketing, which is very helpful for optimizing your site design.

3. The power of networking. This is huge! When I first started, I didn’t think too much about interacting with other bloggers. I figured I would write great articles, do some SEO, and start seeing the traffic roll in. I was way off!

I ended up doing some guest posting on high traffic sites, interacting on social media platforms, mainly Twitter, and building relationships with other bloggers. The difference between going it alone versus being part of a community is HUGE!.

If I have any advice for a new blogger, it’s start building a network of peers. Find blogs in similar niches, read them, and if you like their style and message, contact them. You will be surprised at the responses you’ll get.

My Goals For 2011

My list of goals for 2011Β is rather aggressive to say the least, but hey, why can’t we dream big?? I’ve seen a number of bloggers like Pat Flynn and Everett Bogue absolutely take off this past year, so why can’t I??

Rocket

Here are my Top 5:

1. QUIT MY JOB! This one is quite obvious if you’ve read any ofΒ  my posts. However, since I am the sole income earner in my family and have 2 children to take care of, this isn’t going to be easy. Walking away from a stable source of income is scary for anyone and even more so if you have people who rely on you.

I told myself (and wife) that I would not consider leaving my job until I had earned as much online as I do at my job for 6 consecutive months. Given the fact that I have zero methods implemented of earning income on this blog right now, it’s going to be a challenge.

This leads me to goal #2.

2. Begin earning income from blogging. I have been trying to figure out when and how I will monetize this blog and have not yet decided on my course of action.

My first priority is to deliver a valuable resource to my readers and I’m still working on making that happen. I have no interest in trying to make money if I am not providing something special to my readers.

Given that this blog is only a few months old, the verdict is still out as to whether what I’m doing is benefiting people.

I would rather work my job (no he didn’t) for an extra year and build a following of readers who trust and like me than try to make money too soon and piss everyone off.

3. Begin enjoying my life! If I can manage to hit goals #1 and 2, I will be well on my way to achieving this goal. Like I said, I could spend all day every day working on this blog. It makes me happy and I get great satisfaction from the comments I receive, the emails I get, and the mentions on Twitter I receive.

Replacing my day job income with blogging will be awesome, but mainly because I will be able to work from home and see my daughters much more often. I know I will be working my ass off and probably be working more hours that I am now, but I will have freedom!!!!

4. Write another eBook. If you haven’t read my first eBook, “Success Secrets of 28 Professional Bloggers“, you can get a copy for free by signing up for my newsletter right now. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

My idea is to write an Ebook about finding something you are passionate about and turning it into a career. I am not 100% committed to this topic, so I welcome any suggestions on what you all would like to see (hint, hint).

5. Start a Podcast. I have several ideas for a unique spin on Podcasting and maybe even will do something with video. My ideas are pretty raw, so I have some serious brainstorming to do.

I’m hoping that adding something interesting and different to the “traditional” blog idea will set me apart from the millions of others out there. There are so many great sites that I need every advantage I can get!

By starting a Podcast, I hope to get introduced to a whole new network of people. My idea is to form relationships with some of the people I have the most respect for in this industry.

Having your name known in the blogosphere is invaluable (assuming it’s good) and can mean the difference between struggling for years or getting your name on the radar.

The Conclusion

Overall, 2010 has been a great year for me from a blogging perspective, given the short amount of time I’ve been doing this.

I am super excited about what the future holds and even more excited knowing that I am in complete of said future.

I wish everyone a great 2011 filled with passion and success and look forward to seeing you around the web and on my new favorite hangout, Twitter.

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