Only six months? I feel like I am doing this for years. :)
I picked three months periods to sum up my blogging experience and set goals. So here is my second milestone.
Number of visitors in last three months is somewhat unstable. In a good way (averaging 14% monthly growth) – that means ball is rolling somewhere and only thing I can do is keep it moving.
In last month I had 2000+ visitors (+0, Christmas was evil to me) and 13000+ since beginning (+9000 ). So despite slow end of year actual number of readers doubled.
Number of RSS subscribers is slowly (comparing to initial fast start) and steadily rising, currently hovering near 220 (+80). I suggest to those who hadn’t yet take a look at my updates page . My precious subscribers can add some feedback and testimonial to why are you reading my RSS feed post.
450+ comments were made (+90). I won’t list contributors this time because there are more regular visitors and I am saving deep research for when I reach 1000 comments (which might be soon). Big thanks to all that consider this blog worthy of your time to spend writing a comment! I hope you find my posts, answers and discussions useful.
85 posts were made (-22). There was less small posts with minor stuff and I learned to let it go on bad days instead of torturing myself to write something. In various feedback I often hear readers saying that they like my pace so it’s about right and I will keep it. I’ve explored scheduling posts ahead and it’s very good practice but is takes calm day and right mood to produce 2-3 posts at once. Will try to do it more often.
- Getting rid of software with Revo Uninstaller (huge StumbleUpon spike)
- http://www.rarst.net/ (lost by few dozens visitors to Revo)
- DrWeb LiveCD – free bootable antivirus (Google, Yahoo)
- Edit files on FTP with Notepad++ plugin (Google)
- NewsGator family of RSS readers (StumbleUpon, gHacks )
It’s good to see that jumpy and inconsistent traffic of early months is slowly getting replaced with consistent traffic streams. Post on DrWeb LiveCD was liked by Google accidently but I managed to do it deliberately with post on using FTP plugin in Notepad++ . My first and only SEO achievement so far.
By the way I was pretty amazed on how much content overall I was able to produce while compiling digest for 2008 .
Can’t say I got better at building traffic. It’s still probabilities, but there are more and more of them so there are more and more visitors. I could easily (ab)use StumbleUpon for few more spikes but I am hesitant to leverage that because it’s clearly grey hat zone.
Top traffic sources:
- StumbleUpon (26%, +10%)
- Google (20%, +10%)
- Direct (19%, new in top)
- gHacks (5%, +1%)
- Freeware Genius (4%, –7%)
StumbleUpon is going strong and I started to get some search traffic. Strong entry of direct traffic is curious – is it RSS? Word of mouth? gHacks finally overtook Freeware Genius with few good in-content links versus blogroll one. Kudos to Martin and Samer! Your blogs were inspiration for starting Rarst.net and your support means a lot to me.
Entrecard is taking dive and approaching drop zone fast. It is still quite a few visitors but in few more months it will become not worth sidebar spot and after some rules changed it’s now prohibited to participate without using widget.
I had only recently started to use Twitter and it’s too early to tell but traffic from there rises fast and already passed some long established blogroll links.
I think Google is mistaking my blog for rollercoaster. Went to Page Rank 3 (+1) but search traffic swings are insane.
At least average seems to be slowly raising. Search traffic is supposed to come with time. I hope. Since slightly improving my design skills SEO is new terrible at area. I’ve tried hard to ignore it but time approaches when I really need to fix blog internals for SEO and learn up on keywords stuff.
I’ve spent New Year Eve and few days off after working like a slave on last areas that needed complete makeover – header and footer. Quite pleased with result taking in account my poor design skills. RSS subscribers should visit and take a look. ;) I’ve also almost cleared list of plugins I needed to try (and there was a lot on that list).
There are still some things that need polishing and one complex plugin to integrate. After that it’s optimization pass and I will hopefully have something close to first final iteration in months.
No tackling monetizing at all. With rising traffic I could probably make some bucks already. Actually by some activities unrelated directly to my blog (like Reader Blog Critique Project ) I’ve made over twice in cash of what I spent on hosting so far. And over ten times in different stuff and services from participating in contests and group writings.
My biggest roadblock is PayPal since I can’t accept payments and so cut off from numerous opportunities. I won’t try for some more time most probably but sooner or later I’ll have to sit and figure out how to turn some of time put in this blog into money.
Goals for last three months
- Finalize design. Fail . Did a lot of work but still not there.
- Work on branding. Less conscious effort more actual results. It’s hard for me to judge but I think blog-related online activity made me times more visible and known then I ever was in all years online.
- Build traffic. Doubled , not bad I think.
- Produce more guest posts. Fail . I still have some tails with those and I did much less then I was hoping to.
- Increase interaction with readers. More comments, more Skribit suggestions, more hanging out on Twitter.
- Get myself better mobile device. Instead of changing smartphone I’ve bought Nokia N810 internet tablet and it increased my productivity a lot while away from desktops. Excellent device and I will do full review in the future.
Goals for next three months
- Finalize design.
- Start to learn SEO.
- Figure out possible monetizing opportunities.
- Produce social strategy and focus on it.
- Keep up the overall pace.
Notice that I am working on healing from traffic and stats obsession. :) Less looking around, more doing useful stuff.
I am bit scared looking at amount of time, work and dedication I put in this blog. Few None of things in my real life get that much attention. Not even talking about online. Where will it all lead me?