Goals and Progress – Update 1

My Goals and Progress

It’s been seven weeks since I clicked publish on my first real post, Case 1: Seth and Teresa.  Here are some of my smart goals and the progress I’ve made so far.

Site Goal #1: Engagement

My big goal is to have 25,000 page views per month by May 2019.  We’re just six days into June and I’ve already blown past the previous month!

Site Statistics for Views and Visitors
Figure 1: Visitors and Views By Month, 4/14/18 – 6/6/18

The view from the Google Analytics dashboard is similar to the above, though not exactly the same.  I’ll also report back on the site’s Alexa Global Rank, which is a reasonable proxy for a website’s popularity.

Progress:

  • Google Analytics: 542 / 25000 Views (May 2018)
  • Alexa Global Rank: #9,961,195 

Sub Goal 1.1: Better Content

One of the small joys I’ve experienced so far is to learn more about what goes into making a good blog post.  I want my content to be engaging, because that means my site is useful.  And useful things have a tendency to get used.  So I’ll be keeping an eye on Session Duration and Bounce Rate.  By the site’s one year anniversary, my goal is to have an average session duration more than 4 minutes.  I don’t know if this is reasonable or attainable, but that’s my goal and I’m sticking to it!

Figure 2: Some more Site Statistics, Including Session Duration

Progress:  2:12 Average Session

Sub Goal 1.2: Social Media Presence

I’m active on twitter, and have a new appreciation for its power as a platform.  I’ve grown my followers from 108 to 279 in the first week of June by engaging in content I’m interested in and sharing ideas.

Figure 3: Twitter Statistics Over the Past 28 days

My goal is to increase my twitter following to 3,000 by May 2019.  This was my most engaging tweet so far:

Progress: 279 / 3000 Followers

Sub-Goal 1.3: Subscribers

My goal is to have 300 email subscribers by May 2019.  There’s a special place in my heart for each and every person that takes the time to subscribe!  Since I’m currently going the anonymous route, it’s harder to pester friends and family to follow this site.  And it’s once again a delicate balance between wanting to nudge people to keep coming back for useful information and not wanting to spam people with annoying pop-ups.  I have a few plans for the coming months to make progress towards this goal.  You could also just subscribe now.

Progress: 3 / 300 subscribers

Sub-Goal 1.4: Comments

My goal is to have 500 different comments in response to my posts by May 2019.  I hope that the site will provoke healthy debate and that I’ll get feedback that improves my thinking and writing.  I think this will improve as my audience broadens, but so far the comments section has been decidedly barren.

Progress: 0 / 500 Comments

Site Goal #2: Financial

My other big goal is to at least break even in my first year running the site.

Expenses

Here’s a list of all my expenses, I don’t think I will have any more until May 2019, but I’ll keep track if anything else comes up:

  • Domain and Domain Mapping – $33
  • Domain email address$50
  • WordPress Premium – $76
  • Upgrade to WordPress for Business – $142.80 (special Mother’s Day Deal!)
  • PO Box – $96

Total Expense: $397.80

If you’re familiar with the categories in my household budget, setting up this site wiped out all my “fun money” the last couple months.  The return on investment from the knowledge and experience I’ve gained has been well worth it, even if I’ve been eating more rice and beans than usual.

Income

I’m focused on creating quality content.  However, I do want to learn about the various streams of potential income from the blog, so I’ve implemented a few.  Spoiler: They’ve been equally effective so far!

  1. Amazon Affiliate Program

It was pretty quick and easy to sign up for an affiliate account, and then drop a clickable amazon banner on each page.  It looks like this (if you don’t see it, it’s probably because of an ad blocker):

I haven’t decided yet if that’s too obtrusive, but I thought it was okay so I’m running with it for now.  If you click that link and then do your regular shopping at Amazon, I get a tiny portion of their profits for sending traffic to them.  So how much have I made so far from this affiliate program?

Amazon Affiliate Earnings Overview

You can see the link works and there’s been a few nibbles, but no earnings (yet).  You, dear reader, could be the first!

Total Revenue: $0

  1. Personal Capital Referral Program

I use personal capital and I think they provide a really useful tool for managing and tracking your money.  In fact, I recently saw a fraudulent charge pending on a credit card through the personal capital app and was able to contest it before it became a bigger issue.  Thanks Personal Capital!  Because I think they provide a valuable service, I put a referral link on each page: If you sign up using this link and meet some conditions then you and I each receive an Amazon gift card of $20.  And it costs nothing, though they’ll try to get you to pay for their advisory services, you may politely decline.  Right now this ad is just a little text box, but I’ll drop in a nicer graphic and see if that improves things.  Oh, and in a continuing trend…

Total Revenue: $0

  1. WordPress’s built in Automattic Ads

I turned these ads on from the settings menu in WordPress’s administration panel and let them go for about two weeks.  As far as I can tell, they never got a click and to me they just seemed like spam.  I was annoyed with them, so I can only imagine how someone else feels.  So I turned them off.  Good riddance.

Total Revenue: $0

  1. Google Adsense

I haven’t set this up yet, but it looks better than the Automattic Ads as it seems like readers are more likely to have an advertisement that is relevant to them.  So that’s in the works.

Total Revenue: $0 

Progress Towards Goal: -$397.80 / $0.00 Net Income

Summary

If you all are interested in these goals and statistics, and how they track over time, I’ll provide quarterly updates of my progress.  Thank you to everyone who has supported the site so far, it’s been immensely fun!

Please share your thoughts in the Comments section, and help me improve!

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