I have decided to write a weekly update as to the progress of my blog and online Platform. I am not sure how long I will do this or how it will evolve, but I want to use this opportunity to share with you - my readers - what I am working on and how things are progressing. Or not progressing, if that is the case.
I figure that my lessons learned my benefit one of you, so why not?
The Most Challenging Task I Have Ever Attempted
I want to start this update by saying that I have found building an online platform to be one of the most challenging tasks I have ever attempted. It is challenging for a number of reasons:
- The Results Are Not Immediate. Unlike a retail store where you get paid when you sell an item, a blog is much different. When you put a post up, it may or may not get read by your tribe. And if your tribe (your readership) is relatively small, as is mine, you hope that your post will eventually bring in some organic traffic - traffic that comes from search results on Google. But ranking on Google takes time and you never really know if a specific post is going to rank. Sometimes it feels like you are walking in a dark cave and you aren’t sure if the path you are on leads to an exit. Or if you are even on a path.
- Finding A Clear Focus (Niche). This has proven to be the absolute hardest part for me in gaining traction. I am building my blog on the side while I work a demanding job that requires me to travel. While most people will gravitate to focus on their professional area of expertise, I have chosen not to for several reasons (that I may eventually share). But this choice has left me trying to find a clear focus. In fact, I have been trying to find my focus for years. I am confident that once I find a clear direction, the rubber will really hit the road and the momentum will exponentially build. While I am not where I want to be yet, I feel that I have made significant strides in this area - like carving a sculpture, you keep taking the excess away until a masterpiece is revieled.
- The Distractions Never End. In building an online platform, there are so many distractions that you can literally spin your wheels without accomplishing a thing. Websites can be updated. Graphics can be added. Headers can be designed. Books can be started. Podcasts. Videos. Mastermind groups. And this list goes on. For me, I find these distractions overwhelming because of two things: I am a detail person (who loves to dig into knew things) and I like to do things well (so I find myself perfecting remedial tasks). Not to mention that my time is extremely limited because I have a family of 5 and a full time job that requires me to travel.
My Plan Going Forward
Now, I don’t write the above to complain. I am trying to set a framework of why I am doing what i am doing.
So based on the above, it is my goal to start providing a weekly update of what I have been working on in building my online platform. To do this, I intend to start with two simple updates:
- This Week In Review (including stats)
- Goals For Next Week
Since I have done quite a bit over the last few weeks, and I didn’t post an update the first week of the year, I am going to take this first update to explain what I was up to over the Holidays.
The Holidays In Review
For the first time in my life, I took two weeks in a row off of work. This was a fantastic time as I was able to spend it with my family. But this time also gave me an opportunity to think about the direction of my platform. I even took one whole day to focus on what I am planning to do for 2015.
Here is a summary of the main things I worked on over the holidays:
- Website Update. I spent a few hours trying to take away some of the “noise” on my site. I started using www.canva.com to create some images and placed these like ads on my home page.
- Reader Survey. In trying to set a clear direction for my blog, I have heard many people say that the best thing you can do is to conduct a reader survey, regardless of how many subscribers you have. So I did it. I conducted a reader survey (found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5JYP5JB). But guess what? Not a single person completed it. The interesting thing about this is that I really am not discouraged, I am actually driven to work harder.
- New E-mail Incentive. I have been wanting to update my e-mail incentive so that it better aligns with the focus of my blog. The problem is that I really haven’t nailed down my focus, so creating a new opt-in has been challenging. However, I started creating a “Strategy Jumpstart Plan” that will focus on three strategies that will transform any business. I got about half way with the program and stopped. I will explain why I stopped more in my Weekly update #2 (that will be posted tomorrow), but the bottom line is that I am still questioning the focus of my blog.
- A Clear(er) Value Proposition. As I explained earlier in this article, I have been struggling to narrow down my focus, or the niche for my site. So I decided to work on creating a value proposition, something I had not done before. For the last year I was using the tag line “Big Business Hacks for the Small Business,” but have been doubting that this is clear enough. Therefore, I refined my value proposition and came up with the following: “I am a blogger, speaker, and business strategy consultant. I help existing businesses develop simple strategies (hacks) that provide them with the focus they need to increase sales and fee up the business owner’s valuable time."
- Blog Posts. I also put up a few blog posts on goal setting, but there really isn’t much to say about that.
In summary, I am really happy about the direction I am headed and feel I have made great progress in making 2015 a fantastic year.
The only thing I didn’t do which I should have, was finalize my goals. Hopefully those will come out in one of the next few weekly updates.
- Unique Visitors in December: December was my best month ever at 485 unique visitors. This was a result of a huge spike to one of my posts in early December that tapered off during the month. In fact, I lost my #1 rating of this post during December.
- Subscribers in December: I lost one subscriber and gained on in the month of December, so I remain at 47 subscribers. Since this is my first time talking about this publicly, the brief background is that I got a lot of momentum in late May and June, but that momentum died down and pretty much came to a halt. I am not sure what happened, but I need to fix my process because something seems to be broken.
That’s it for now. Thanks for all of the support.
I appreciate it.