Progress Report – Project Lifestyle Design: December 2010

Project Lifestyle Design Progress Report

by Brenton Russell on

Its been one month since this website’s complete remodel from ‘The Simple Things’ to ‘Uncork Your Mind’ and the launch of Project Lifestyle Design.  Here’s December’s monthly progress report designed to show you how my journey from professional military officer to lifestyle design entrepreneur is progressing.

Monthly Stats

This month saw a 17% increase in visits from the previous 30 days.  While the visit stats are low they are slowly heading in the right direction.  I am happy with the avg time on site and the pages/visit as to me this demonstrates that although the visitor numbers are currently small those that are coming are staying around for a while to check out the content.

Subscriptions:

  • RSS: 9 (6 new: + 300%).
  • Twitter: 7 (5 new: + 300%).
  • Newsletter: 6 (all new – just started).
  • Online Income: $0.
  • Google Page Rank: “Lifestyle Design” – 565 (see screen capture below from Market Samurai)

Well its only upwards from here!

Top Traffic Sources

My top traffic is source is coming from my engagement with the Steve Pavlina Forum community. While this takes a bit of effort I enjoy connecting with the people within the forum and it has the side benefit of channeling visitors to Uncork Your Mind.  Other than that my main traffic source is from Google with a small amount of visitors coming from backlinks and other websites that I engage in.  This table is telling me that I need to get out into the online community more and connect with other like minded people who would value from my content.  I intend to do that this month through the posting of some guest posts on related websites.

Top Content

My most visited page is my home page so this reinforces to me that I need to continue to develop and review it to ensure that it is as high quality and user friendly as possible.  Although being one of my earlier posts, my article ‘80/20 Principle: 5 Tips for Workplace Effectiveness‘ still proves to be one of my most popular.  I really subscribe to the 80/20 Principle so this may be an indicator that an article on how the 80/20 Principle can be applied to lifestyle design would be popular and useful.

My Current Favorite Websites/Feeds

Here is a list of my favourite websites/feeds that I have been following throughout the month:

November Goal Review

I may have been a little too ambitious with my November goals list  considering that this month required me to commence finalising my  job before resigning in December, pack up and move my house 1,200 km to a new location, farewell my family to this new house and move into an apartment for my last couple of weeks of work prior to reuniting with my family in our new location.  That being said I’m pretty happy with what I achieved.

Goals Achieved

This month saw the release of the first Uncork Your Mind monthly newsletter and I was really happy with the content.  I will continue to use the newsletter to include different forms of information (ie video clips, video tutorials, personal stories etc) that aren’t published on the website to keep it interesting.  If you missed it, sign up to the newsletter on the right and I will send you the November issue.

I also created a ‘Top Posts’ and ‘My Favorite Products’ sidebar widgets which are already getting clicks.  After some font and positioning frustrations with my top navigation bar I sorted out this and I think the website looks much better for it.  I also set up an editorial calender using Google Calendars and already I am finding this a great tool to discipline me in the planning and writing of posts.

During November I found some other lifestyle design blogs where I want to become part of their community.  Most notably was my discovery of Steve Scott’s Lifestyle Design website.  Steve’s dedication to his community of readers is amazing.  Not only does he post quality content daily but he is also very diligent with his replies to his numerous website comments.  He also has a heap of free content and newsletters on offer.  Steve has inspired me with his dedication to helping others (including replying to my personal emails) that I am going to attempt to get a guest post published on his website.

During November I read ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron and found it a very interesting on how to unblock and develop your creativity and artistic abilities. I am now going to undertake her methods as a project to improve my own creativity.  I will let you know how it goes!

Goals Not Achieved

I decided not to write a post about what lifestyle design looks like as there are plenty of other great posts out there about it.  Rather than reinvent the wheel I included a good post by Justin Wright on lifestyle design which got quite a few clicks.  I didn’t post my overall plan on becoming a lifestyle design entrepreneur as I wanted to maintain the balance between making this a personal blog and providing useful content for others to use.  I will push this back into December’s goals.

I also didn’t get to developing my website footer.  This is in desperate need of some attention and I will include this as a goal for December to be looked at in conjunction with a website design re-evaluation.  Again in the interests of balancing the website between my personal journey and providing useful and actionable info for others I have decided that an ‘Achievements’ page is no longer something that I want to include.

With my ambitious goal setting for November, I also didn’t get around to writing an EzineArticle on Lifestyle Design.  I will definitely push this goal back into December as I am very keen to share my content with as many people who would find it useful.  I also didn’t get around to writing a product review on the Thesis WordPress Theme or Corbett Barr’s ‘Affiliate Marketing for Beginners’ online course.  I love Thesis and will write a review on it in December but with Corbett Barr’s course I am thinking about starting a project in the new year where I will create and post about building a real affiliate marketing website using Corbett Barr’s teachings.  This will allow me to provide a more in-depth review of his course and will let the results speak for themselves.

I didn’t get the chance to find some ebooks relating to lifestyle design although I have accumulated a number of recommendations.  I will look to read some of these in the future and provide some reviews.  If you have any suggests for good lifestyle design ebooks, post a comment and let me know.

November Posts

Here is a summary of posts from November:

December Goals

The coming weeks are going to be pretty crazy.  On 10 December I work my last day as a professional military officer in the Australian Army and leave to be reunited with my family in our new home 1,200km away. Priority number one will be rest, recovery and time with the family.  To this end I am going to keep my goals for December a little less ambitious.

Content

  1. Create a free informational product.
  2. Write a post on my overall plan to becoming a lifestyle design entrepeneur.
  3. Post a picture of my finished Vision Board.
  4. Re-evaluate and edit my website categories.
  5. Write at least one “how to” lifestyle design post.

Website Marketing

  1. Write an Ezine Article on Lifestyle Design.
  2. Research and develop a traffic building strategy.

Income

  1. Write a review for the Thesis WordPress theme.

Self Development

  1. Implement the strategies for developing creativity detailed in ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron.
  2. Find and read a great ebook on Lifestyle Design.

Online Connecting

  1. Write a guest post.
  2. Find three great websites to recommend to you!

Summary

I am really happy with what I achieved during November in light of the hectic pace of life with moving my family and finalising my military career.  Although the absolute traffic stats are very low, relatively I saw a significant increase in subscribers over the month since re-launching as Uncork Your Mind.  Once I leave the Army on 10 December, my available time will significantly increase so stay tuned for some great content and website developments! Subscribe to my posts and email newsletter on the right to make you don’t miss it.

P.S. Thanks to Think Traffic’s monthly report for giving me some ideas for what to include in my progress report!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Ryan Renfrew @lifestyle design December 2, 2010 at 10:49 am

Hey Brenton,

Glad to see your site stats are increasing. You mentioned you apply the 20/80 rule, what traffic generating activities do you find make up the your 20 of 20/80?

All the best for your december goals, let me know if there is anything I can help you with

Blaze Your Trail.

Reply

Brenton Russell December 3, 2010 at 3:37 pm

As you can probably see traffic building is something that I need to work on! I line with my December goals, this is something that I am going to be concentrating a little more on over the coming weeks. I will be sure to post in my next progress report what I have found works for building traffic to a new blog and what I found doesn’t.

Reply

Murlu December 4, 2010 at 6:08 am

Hey Brenton,

Excellent job you’ve done with your blog so far; traffic will continue to rise, I think you’re really going to hit a stride because your writing is really amazing (very personal and fluent) – just keep at it.

Steve is a great guy, he’s always very helpful and is certainly fun to interact with so I’d definitely recommend swinging by his place more often.

As for a recommendation of a book – just got done listening to ReWork again – although it’s business, it’s really about designing a business in a completely new manner where you put a lot of your own lifestyle into it – it’s short, sweet and crazy inspirational. That, and Crush It <- always a fun read.

Reply

Brenton Russell December 4, 2010 at 7:08 am

Thanks for the positive feedback, Murlu. Its really motivating! I completely agree with spending more time on Steve Scott’s website. His generosity and commitment to his readers is inspiring.

I will definitely check out the books you mention. I recently watched a video clip of Gary Vaynerchuk speaking at a conference and his passion and energy was significant. I will be sure to check out his book ‘Crush It’ that you mention.

Reply

Tristan December 4, 2010 at 11:41 am

Great job, Brenton! This is one of the better monthly review posts I’ve seen. I like how you go into a lot of detail about what you’ve been doing and what you could be doing better.

And I’m a big fan of Thesis myself. I use it on all of my projects. I’ve got a dozen or so premium themes and Thesis is far and away my favorite.

And +1 for Crush It.

Keep up the great work! Good luck with your next month!

Reply

Brenton Russell December 4, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Hi Tristan,

Thanks for your words of encouragement. I’m adopting the attitude that if each month I can be better than the month before than my website will continue to grow in quality and value for those who are interested in lifestyle design.

Six months ago I didn’t know the first thing about building websites and now I have something that is at least heading in the right direction. I pretty much have Wordpress and Thesis to thank for this. What I love about Thesis is how you can easily build multiple websites all with their own look and feel.

That’s two recommendations now for Crush It so this is now definitely on my reading list!

Reply

Steve@Lifestyle Design December 5, 2010 at 5:34 am

Brenton,

Thanks for all the kind words in post and comments. :) I am glad to help where I can and interact, as that is the whole difference between a blog and a static site is the interaction factor. Developing and building a community that works together with everyone helping each other succeed and do well is a goal I have and hope that most people I interact with have also :)

As for books, I will have to go with Tristan and Murray. “Crush It” is awesome. As a matter of fact Crush It on my “re-read” list for the next month or so. Gary V. Is a guy who really says it the way it is. None of the “sipping Mojitos on a beach” fantasy scenarios; but realistic ideas that if you work your butt off you can and will accomplish your goals. Plus he is a “Jersey” guy like me; though I do not have the same frenetic style, I grew up appreciating that style and directness.

As for you stats., they look pretty good to me for a new blog! keep it up. As you stated, the important thing is to improve a little bit each week. I look forward to hearing more awesome things from you in the future.

Reply

Brenton Russell December 5, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Steve,

Thanks for stopping by and thereby again demonstrating your commitment to your readers. That’s now three recommendations for ‘Crush It’. I’m going to order it as soon as I finish this reply!

Reply

Bek Russell December 8, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Hey Brenton,
I hadn’t checked in with your latest posts for awhile and it was great to read and review the last month. You did have quite a few goals set for yourself and its positive to read how you will reevaluate and keep working towards those you didn’t meet. Glad to hear you liked Julia Cameron, she is an amazing woman and the 12 week ‘Writers Way’ course is a fantastic way to improve your writing – thanks for the post and like everyone else has said the site is really improving and the content is engaging!
Bek

Reply

Brenton Russell December 8, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Thanks for you encouragement! Once I have finished up at work in the next week I will definitely be starting the creativity course in Julia Cameron’s boo course. I will let you know how it goes.

Reply

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