This month’s Project Lifestyle Design progress report reflects on the progress of Uncork Your Mind in my first full month of self-employment. A big month both on and offline saw a significant increase in traffic as well the purchase of a block of land to build our family home on and the receiving of an Australia Day award.
Here are all the details and statistics:
January saw a great 78% increase in traffic compared to December. I’m pretty happy with this! I’ve still got a bit of work to do to get the bounce rate down and the average time on site up and the only way to do this is through a continued commitment to great content. I’m not really sure what the bench marks are for bounce rate and average time on site. I’d love to hear from other bloggers out there if you’re willing to share your percentages.
- RSS: 20 (4 new: + 25%)
- Twitter: No longer reporting – See ‘Goals Achieved’ section
- Newsletter: 15 (6 new: + 66%)*
- Alexa Ranking (one month): 301,572 (improvement of 13%)
- Google Page Rank: Lifestyle Design – 555 (prev 637 improvement of 13%) (Market Samurai was playing up tonight so no screen capture this month)
Another month of steady subscription increases although these figures are suggesting to me that I need to offer more to attract a higher number of regular readers. This will be a focus area for my February goals. My Alexa Ranking was as low as 280,000 at one stage but snuck back up at the end of the month.
*With my newsletter subscriptions, three people didn’t re-confirm their subscription when I transferred from Mail Chimp to Aweber. I have taken these numbers off last month’s total to calculate the percentage increase this month.
Top Traffic Sources
Traffic from Google doubled this month which I am assessing is a result of more content for Google to index and an increased commitment to better SEO. I still have so much to learn about SEO but I am happy my results are demonstrating improvement.
Traffic from Feedburner also increased which I take to be a direct reflection of an increase in posts each week. I also note the increased traffic from social media sites such as Delicious, Stumble Upon and Twitter. This is also encouraging and I think that it just takes time to develop these sources with improvement a result of persistence and continual growing of the website. Now I understand why many bloggers commit to posting every day!
Its great to see my more actionable posts featuring in the top 10 of posts. This is definitely the style that I want to continue with. It is also interesting to see that my second top post is one on homebrewing that I write last year while I was still exploring what I wanted to write about. I have done nothing to perpetuate or promote this post so maybe this is an opportunity in the future to create a new website on another one of my passions!
Newly Discovered Websites
Here are some of the better websites that I discovered throughout the month:
- Skyward (Jason Hughes) – a blog about growth.
- Getting Unstuck (Riley Harrison) – amazingly detailed posts about living a full life.
- Ending the Grind (Steve) – one man’s struggle to create a better lifestyle design.
- Evolify (Andrew Badenoch) – a perspective-challenging and insightful website about evolutionary psychology.
One of my main aims for January was to focus on building up my traffic and with a 78% increase I am pretty happy that I achieved this to a reasonable degree. I am working on further implementing Pat Flynn’s Backlinking Strategy and Steve Scott’s Blog Lead Generation Diagram during February so I will continue to keep these as a focus. I really need to work harder on the Backlinking Strategy as while my traffic saw a significant increase this month, my keyword ranking in Google continues to stagnate.
During January I really wanted to affirm my commitment to making Uncork Your Mind about actionable lifestyle design information. With a number of practical coaching activities included in posts and the monthly newsletter I am satisfied that I am moving in the right direction. More great lifestyle design activities to come!
One of my goals for last month was to develop an informational product that I can use as part of Steve Scott’s Blog Lead Generation Diagram. I significantly progressed this project during January and it should definitely be ready for release this month. This also ties into another of my goals for January to develop an email list plan so between the development of my info product and the implementation of Steve Scott’s Lead Magnet blueprint I assess this goal as being achieved.
I did write my monthly newsletter and focussed it on getting to know yourself through understanding your values. If you’re interested in reading it as well as conducting the free coaching activity to help you better understand your values, sign up to the newsletter on the right and January’s newsletter will be sent directly to your email inbox.
One of my goals for January was to write two guest posts. I did write two guest posts but one of these posts I didn’t think was good enough to use on someone else’s website. I only want to export my best so I turned this into an article that I will submit to an article directory. My other post did get published as my first ever guest post on the very popular Steve Scott Internet Lifestyle website. Check out the guest post - Two Questions (Three Words) For Every Problem.
I have made significant progression towards the development of my first niche website using Corbett Barr’s Affiliate Marketing For Beginners training course. After some final design work with my graphic designer (who doubles as my wife!) I will let you all know the name of the site if you’re interested in checking it out. Once I can demonstrate some results (good or bad!) I will write a review on Corbett Barr’s course.
I successfully completed my goal of writing two articles for an article directory. Both are currently in various stages of approval with Ezine Articles which does seem to be taking for ever! I guess the up side is that Ezine Articles takes the time to ensure that only higher articles are published.
After reading a number of different opinions about how to use Twitter I still remain a little perplexed. I understanding the theory of following heaps of people on the basis that many of them will follow you back. This gives you a heap of followers to read your tweets and hopefully drive traffic to your website. But doesn’t this defeat the purpose of using Twitter to connect to people? If you are following thousands of people how can you read and interact with all of those tweets and if all of your followers are adopting the same methodology than surely your tweets will get lost in their giant pool of information. I have decided that I am going to use Twitter for what I think is its original purpose – follow people who I genuinely want to interact with and send tweets to my followers as if I am having a conversation with them. I’m also going to stop tracking my Twitter follower numbers as part of my monthly report as I don’t think the numbers are relevant with how I intent to use Twitter.
One of my big goals for January was to write something every day. By my count there may have been one or two days at most when I didn’t achieve this so I count this as a resounding success. I also aimed for commenting on other blogs everyday and while this was more of an aspiration I would have achieved this for close to 80% of the days in January.
As an aside, although my current aim is not about making money with Uncork Your Mind I did achieve my first (and second!) affiliate sales this month!
Goals Not Achieved
As I only finished reading Chris Guillebeau’s Unconventional Guide to Working For Yourself late in the month I haven’t yet written a review. I will roll this back to next month. I also didn’t write an article on the 80/20 Principle as it relates to lifestyle design as I had too many other topics that I wanted to write about! I will also look to roll this back to February.
I have decided that Squidoo is not something that I want to pursue. It no longer feels like something that I want to put time into so I am striking this goal off the list.
I managed to get through a number of books this month. Books that I finished:
- Unconventional Guide to Working For Yourself by Chris Guillebeau – A very interesting read about lifestyle style and earning money online with some good audio files included of Chris speaking. Geared more at those looking to start working for themselves rather than those who have already made the break.
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – Now I know why it is such a highly regarded classic. Don’t let the title put you off – I prefer to mentally replace ‘Grow Rich’ with ‘Achieve Your Goals’. This is a must read.
- Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers – Quite possibly the most useful business book that I have read. Provides a brilliant and simple system for generating business models. Also useful for not-for-profit groups, government departments, professional associations – pretty much any individual or group that creates something of value for someone else. I am officially a huge fan of this book!
- Attention! This Book Will Make You Money: How to Use Attention-Getting Online Marketing to Increase Your Revenue – Another good book for changing your perspective on how to get yourself and your product known in the marketplace. A very easy and interesting read.
Thanks to Chris Brogan for the book recommendations of the last two books; both great reads.
The following are books that I will read this month:
- Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina.
- Hypnotic Writing by Joe Vitale – Recommended by my wife to develop my writing skills.
- The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself – Another Chris Brogan recommendation and if it is half as good as his other two recommendations that I read last month it should be a cracker.
January Posts Summary
- You Are What You Think
- Live Your Life By One Rule Only
- First Guest Post – Two Questions (Three Words) For Every Problem
- My Big Audacious Challenge
- Personal Vision Statements: Propel Yourself Towards Your Dreams
- Excuse A Bit Of Self-Congratulations
- Get To Know Yourself – Understanding Your Values
My key focus areas for February are to continue to create useful and actionable lifestyle design content, further implement Pat Flynn’s Backlinking Strategy and to further implement Steve Scott’s Blog Lead Generation Diagram.
If you read my post about my first personal Big Audacious Challenge, you’ll know that I am also developing a plan to interview the self development blogging superstar Steve Pavlina. I have the basis of a plan now and will be writing more about this plan within the next week.
Here are my specific goals for February:
- Finish info product.
- Write a guest post.
- Write monthly newsletter that includes another self-coaching activity.
- Create a video post.
- Use info product to implement Steve Scott’s Blog Lead Generation Diagram.
- Write no less than two articles for article directories.
- Publish my first affiliate website (I’ll be sure to let you all know the web address!)
- Read Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School.
- Read Hypnotic Writing.
- Read The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself.
- Implement my plan to interview Steve Pavlina.
- Keep the aspiration of daily blog commenting (noting that this won’t always be possible).
- Connect with five great bloggers via email.
Overall a pretty exciting month both offline with the purchase of our block of land to build our family home on and my Australia Day award and online with a significant increase in overall traffic. February is all about more valuable content and maintaining momentum!
Uncork Your Mind is now a “DoFollow” website. If you choose to leave a comment you will get a link back to your website.