Blog Prefect 2014 Wash Up
I can never believe how quickly the year comes around and for Blog Prefect, this is its second Christmas / New Year period in operation. The stats are incredibly warm at the moment so I am very buoyant for the year end. There are many loose nuts that I need to tighten to make the vessel travel at light speed (metaphorically speaking) but I’m getting there.
So to kick off the washup we start with the positives:-
Some truly great things have happened this year and I am happy to announce an improved period on the launch year. In general, traffic has picked up considerably from where it was last year.
60 minute challenge
I had a really good run during the summer lifted by increased posting, increased comments and a zest for getting the job done. I was able to decant and expose numerous topics, pioneering a new method of post creation where I wrote a post in 60 minutes so that it was ready to launch. Whilst I have veered away from this tactic recently to concentrate on fuller, fatter posts, I did find some good blog movement in changing up the frequency.
Twitter has seen uplift and whilst small I have seen improving signs that it can take me somewhere greater. If you wish to converse with me on twitter please follow this link. My thoughts on twitter have changed so much from where I started out with the service. I thought that it was going to be pants but was proved wrong. I like it when that happens. However, I’m still glad I removed Ricky Gervais from my twitter feed!
I have made some good in roads towards building relationships. I have a group of writers who I enjoy engaging with and hope to be able to exploit more opportunities with them in future. Many of these individuals become semi regular commentators on my blog and I like to reward people.
Potential of Videos
I like the potential of videos within my material. I had some very positive reactions to posts that included video. Video itself is time consuming to produce, but if done right, can be epic. I can definitely see myself using more video in 2015.
Long articles shine through
In the majority of cases my long articles outperformed the short ones over much longer periods so if you are ever stuck between deciding over long less frequently or short more frequently, long is the way to go.
The wonderful comments I’ve had and the warmth from others has been very rewarding, I hope to at least match that which I’ve been able to command this year.
Some events have not been so good, notably my failed experiment at the start of the year which failed to yield the results I had hoped for and some months where traction has been poor. In addition, the bounce rate has been much higher (as monitored by Google Analytics) than previously.
Cited “bads” include the following:
The 2014 Gamble
I hadn’t thought this whole mission through and as a result, it really hurt my stats during February. The process was to look at gambling vs advertising to see which would be triumphant in terms of turning a profit. My issue was the platform on which I was to drive that income and the actual sell. It was just a bad idea from the start and it taught me some valuable lessons.
- If starting a big project ensure sure it stays both committed and that you drill down into the minutiae. The devil is in the detail.
- I had not been able to drive any big interest in this whole project before-hand so it met with very little interest. Some pre hype is a good thing and I needed to understand and develop a better way to involve the audience. Because it met with such mediocrity I didn’t press on to improve it, and it felt like a missed opportunity.
- The goal was flawed in many ways because it didn’t match with my ultimate forward direction with Blog Prefect.
- I didn’t report consistently and had not devised a reporting strategy in enough detail.
- I didn’t do enough research and consequently came off the worse for wear. The site needed a bit more prep for this experiment to work effectively.
Would I be tempted to perform a 2015 Gamble?
Quite possibly, although due to the failure last time, I might limit the scope to better control it. My plan was to have an experimental February where I would try all sorts of things. A month feels more containable and because I polluted the stats during February 2014 it won’t hurt to do so again in 2015 where I can make a feature out of it.
Bounce Rate Woes
Bounce rate, according to Google Analytics (GA), has been horrifically high but when compared to Alexa.com’s bounce rate information there have been some significant differences. Vilfredo Pareto (the Italian gent who gave birth to the idea of the 80 – 20 rule) would be puzzled by the difference. On many months my average on GA has ranged at around 80% whilst the most that Alexa.com has peaked to is in the mid 25% range.
Google Analytics is an Orange, Alexa.com is an Apple. They are thus very difficult to compare. Despite them being both round and a fruit, that is where the similarities end. GA measures traffic based on different measurements to Alexa. Alexa ranks sites more on their juicy freshness whilst GA ranks them on a proverbial bean count.
Flaky WordPress Stats
Speaking of flaky events, WordPress has shown some quirky periods this year. Spikes have occurred in WordPress for viewings and visitors where they are not reflected in GA. While all of these stats have been tweaked to screen out automated events and other non-representative activities (like crawling) occasionally some weirdness squeezes through the net. November saw some weird data in particular with some daily views in excess of a standard month. Whilst I would welcome this uplift, my stats supported from other locations, indicate this isn’t the dominant trend.
Google+ Low Engagement Per Head
I have under capitalised on my Google+ audience. I have quite a large one but I am not convinced that the engagement I generate from them is enough so I need to think about pruning tactics.
Keyword Tool Malaise
Once again, Market Samurai has sat unused and unloved. I’ve tried to make it work, tried to use it on many occasions but I just don’t get on with it very well. I never got around to watching the videos like I said I would. Naughty Jackson!
General Launchpad Disasters
I’ve had some total flops from the start, mostly through uninspiring titles and teaser images. I’m still somewhat of a noob on this front so I need to understand the finer points more. My 2015 research will involve more of this presentation correction.
I’m sad to say there has been a bit of the ugly.
Stepping back from Fiverr
I had to abandon my Fiverr gig as it was proving to be non-productive. I had put in some effort both to create the gig and get ready to start receiving the buyers but it never came off as expected. I will be returning to Fiverr with a different strategy in future.
Facebook has hit a huge roadblock and I am coming around to the fact that I just don’t enjoy working with the system. I cannot ever see myself looking forward to getting Facebook sorted. I tried to make an event where I improved my Facebook over a period of a month but just couldn’t stick with it. I might give it one more bash during 2015 but I believe after that point I might consider other options. These alternatives may include hiring someone to aid me.
My pages have not been updated frequently enough. It has been difficult to schedule in time on a monthly basis to prune because I am normally hit with numerous other activities. I believe it is within me to make a better schedule to succeed so I need to follow through on that front especially considering I will have a second blog in the mix. Scheduling here is important.
I have had a number of false social media starts. I tried to get into StumbleUpon which failed miserably.
Other ugly events
End of a Relationship
I’ve had one particular unpleasant life event which has caused me particular issue throughout the year. My girlfriend and I had a mutual break up in March of this year but owing to some fiscal and legal ties with my current home, I have had to live with her for all of this year. It has caused some major friction, especially when we both started dating again and as such home life hasn’t been the best. On many occasions I’ve visited my parents or hung out at the Gatwick Hangar on the weekends just to bathe in the silence. It is my hope that my property will be sold in February/March of 2015, this of course will produce some upheaval to my schedule both in regards to my blog work but also the final year of my degree studies.
Don’t feed the Trolls
I received a troll on my site not long after the break up, operating from a mobile phone on the Orange network. I never approved any of the comments but they were particularly hateful and derogatory. Fortunately this stopped after 2 events and I wasn’t bothered by this individual again. Whether these events were connected or not, I don’t know, but what I do know is that trolls are unpleasant and the less time you spend dealing with them the better.
Ryan Biddulph confirmed a major flaw in one of my website elements. My previous Captcha programmed had stopped working properly and this was preventing comments by the dozen so I swiftly addressed this issue. However, I value comments highly and am aware that I could have lost some great interactions in the process. This issue had been previously highlighted by Grace Joliffe but I hadn’t looked into it deep enough at the time. This has been down to a lack of developmental testing on my part because I have not wanted to pollute data.
My mailing list is looking pretty ugly. I am tempted to say how many subscribers I have but I have a post coming out soon that will highlight why revealing certain number can be a bad thing. To be truthful, my subscription and retention plan is weak, it needs some serious attention but I think that in some ways this is also indicative of Blog Prefect and the lack of guides and helpful content it has to offer at the moment. There is definite value in what I’ve written but it isn’t yet in an accessible package and that is something I am working on for 2015.
What do I hope for in 2015
2014 was a big up turn from 2013 but it still is not the monster spike that I’ve been hoping for. The numbers I expect to see need to be an improvement of a factor of 10 over what I am seeing at the moment. In order to achieve that lofty improvement I am going to have to work on the delivery because I believe that delivery and publicity are what is letting down my efforts at the moment.
I hope for many more comments and the ability to have inspired many more people in their blogging ventures. In order to continue performing this, I need to write the topics that people want to read. I have already started changing how I go in search of what people are interested in and will be bolstering part of my mission by starting a new blog to work alongside BlogPrefect.
I need to align my writing for more consistency but often become challenged in my writing periods by conflicting events. I believe it is these conflicting events that I need to eliminate for the future and I’m working on a plan to move towards that future.
I’ve also been working on aligning myself to earning. At present time I generate no income from BlogPrefect.com but am setting aside resources to allow myself to try and “go pro” for various services I believe I can offer that will assist many writers and bloggers out there. At present time I would admit that I have been playing with it rather than being a boss and that is something I need to rectify but understandably with my time restrictions that has not been possible. Come June 2015, more time will be available owing to the completion of my degree but I have to be like a surgeon with that time, precise and accurate, so as not to reduce the time available to other important facets of my life.
I’d like to thank you if you have been a returning visitor for your support this year, if you are a newcomer and have some ideas to share, you know what to do (comments uh hum…).
For all my commentators, another big thanks to you. I have singled out individuals before for your meritorious commenting but in this case I believe that each and every one of you, whether just one time or multiple times, is valuable to me. I treat comments like gold dust.
In truth, after over 150 posts, I’m still loving it. There has been no dropoff in enthusiasm for what is happening at the moment. The amount of reading I’ve been doing from other bloggers is incredibly high at the moment and will continue that way.