Ever feel like you need a periodic check-in to take the pulse of your life? Or maybe just someone to come along and give it to you straight about how you're doing in general?
I'm not the only one.
If you're Tyler Tervooren of Advanced Riskology you do a monthly Quest for 1%: Debriefings. If you're Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income you do monthly Income Reports. And if you're Corbett Barr of Think Traffic, you have monthly Traffic Reports.
My Pulse Check is a hybrid of these but it fulfills the same purpose; an honest, transparent, and (hopefully) inspiring assessment of where I've been and where I'm going.
My last Pulse Check was over four months ago when I did an annual review of my first year of blogging. I'd say I'm overdue for a check-up, wouldn't you?
You can get a lot out of this and it may just motivate you to start your own periodic check-ins and status reports.
Get the Paddles! This Man's Flat Lining!
From 12/20/2011 to 02/22/2012 (the day before I sent an email to co-workers about quitting my job) the engagement with this website was, shall we say…discouraging.
The overview from Google Analytics shows an improvement from previous months in relative terms. But in absolute terms, this stunk. This also includes a couple of days with spikes in traffic that don't seem legitimate to me.
Here are some stats that give a more objective view of engagement. As you can see, what I put into the site and what I got out of it (not a lot) was directly proportional.
- Number of posts: 8
- Comments (from someone other than me): 6
- Facebook page fans: 12
- Facebook fans that aren't family or friends: 2
- Twitter followers: 17
- RSS Subscribers: 5
- Newsletter Subscribers: 6
- Income Earned: $0.00
There were a ton of lessons learned in these two months. Among them were:
- When I publish posts I'm not proud of, odds are other people won't care for them either
- I don't give people a reason to anticipate my next post when I don't publish with consistency
- Preparing to quit your job, having a newly mobile one year old son, and other pressures on time can drain the motivation to post
- If I don't like the design and branding of my own site I can't expect others to either
I could go on and on. Most of these lessons have a positive and motivational impact on me so there's purpose to them.
Ohhh. He's Starting to Feel Frisky
Now for a bit of a contrast between 12/20/2011 – 02/22/2012 and the last couple of months (02/23/2012 – 04/26/2012). The overview from Google Analytics looks better and, more importantly, the numbers seem legitimate to me.
- I had 186 visitors, an all-time high, the day I sent my email to approximately 350 co-workers and colleagues announcing my resignation.
- My recent Advanced Riskology guest post has caused a temporary spike in traffic, email newsletter conversions, Twitter followers, and other good things. Thanks Tyler!
- All key stats are up but I'm most pleased with the reduced bounce rate and average visit duration. I want people to stick around and explore a bit when they get here. The trend is looking positive unless you factor in the popularity of my original post about fasting for 48 hours. The bounce rate is 95% yet it continues to be my second most popular post behind my pillar post about Daily Money Management. I have no idea why this fasting post is as popular as it is.
Here are some stats for a more objective picture of engagement.
- Number of posts (including this one and my guest post): 13
- Comments (from someone other than me): 26
- Facebook page fans: 18
- Facebook fans that aren't family or friends: 8
- Twitter followers: 39
- RSS Subscribers: 11
- Newsletter Subscribers: 34
- Income Earned: $0.00
- Developing real relationships with other bloggers, based on how I can best help them and not the other way around, is rewarding.
- Joining online communities like The Bootstrapper Guild, A-List Blogging Bootcamps and The Puttytribe has introduced me to so many wonderful people. Separate from the amazing content in each of these membership sites, the biggest impact has been the help in the forums and the encouragement to transform this website into something amazing.
- Stats don't tell the story of success or where you're heading. Much of my time since becoming an entrepreneur has been on making genuine connections with people locally and globally. Some of them inspire me, some are peers in the blogging universe, and some are just plain cool or interesting. I can see the seeds of these relationships growing every day. And since they are based on candor, vulnerability, mutual respect, and selflessness, some have the potential to be huge.
- Working on behind-the-scenes type tasks is starting to pay off. For example, my auto-responder series when you sign up for the email newsletter has been successful in a number of ways. Adding certain WordPress plugins to improve the overall experience has been positive too.
- There are many good ways to ethically market yourself and have fun doing it
I'll save more lessons for the next Pulse Check. But the theme here is one of long term gain from some pretty simple efforts.
The Future for Me and This Website
It's not surprising that Enlightened Resource Management is being retired soon if you read the announcement at the end of my 72 Hour Continuous Creation Challenge recap.
Since that announcement, I've been revising the origin story for the (still) unnamed new site along with the About, Start Here, and other pages. I've even started on some of the first few posts and I think they'll blow some people away.
The great news is that after I nail the new name, tagline and overall brand, I'm ready to go.
I'm bursting at the seams with excitement over this new direction and my ability to really help people with their struggles in personal finance, organization, simplifying, and more.
So the big goal is to have a launch party for <insert website name here> by the end of May June.
If you're part of my email newsletter you'll hear about all the details of the new website, new focus, and great stories of behind-the-scenes action way before anyone else. Oh, and the free Personal User Guide you get for signing up is worth it on its own. Facebook fans will also get some advanced information about the relaunch and, along with the newsletter subscribers, will have a chance to shape the name and tagline of this beautiful new baby.
Thanks for your support during this transition! The last month and a half of blogging has been one rich and humbling experience after another. And it's only going to get better!
Do you have questions, concerns, thoughts, or assistance to offer for the new direction of the website? Leave a comment about it please!
Photo Credit: fmgbain