Nine More Lessons Learned after Three Months of Blogging
This post is a follow-up to my second month of blogging’s recap. Once again, I’ll go over lessons learned, the traffic numbers, and what’s coming for schemabyte.com.
The third month covers 12/11/2012 to 1/09/2013 (today, as I write this). This is one day short of the full month usually covered, but I probably won’t get a chance to write another article before this weekend – so here I go. As previously noted, I’m more of a weekend blogger than a problogger, if we have to define it, but nonetheless this site continues to grow and my efforts are continuing to be fruitful. A big thank you to my regular readers, and welcome to new readers, for your support and attention! I hope you other bloggers out there find some of this to be useful.
The unique visitor count increased by 209.4%, the site’s Alexa ranking decreased by half to the one million global ranking mark, and the biggest social media change was a 534% increase in Facebook friends from 72 to 457.
Just a few days ago, schemabyte.com was accepted by Alltop, which is hugely exciting. I’ve always been a fan of Alltop, and I immediately and enthusiastically put their linked logos in the sidebar.
9 More Lessons Learned in Three Months of Blogging
The lessons learned are growing more infrequent by the month. I think that’s a good thing, although it may seem to indicate I’m being less aggressive about blogging. I have an established blogging rhythm now, and it’s showing results in terms of increased traffic. I’m actually getting a bit of payout from the Google ads now too – I could take the family out to sit-down dinner and not to fast food, either. Since that’s not my primary focus, it’s just awesome to see it beginning to happen.
- Scheduled tweets are superior to live tweeting.
I share updates on everything under the sun, watching my hash tags, so most of my tweets and their automatic feed into the official SchemaByte.com Facebook page link to other sites. I sit down at one point and block out two or three days ahead of time this way using Hootsuite, which is free, around the clock. My number of followers has, through this one action, increased nearly 64%. While my current number of 200 Twitter followers is not impressive when gauged against the tactics of those who aggressively follow other people on Twitter, that increase is all from people who followed me first.
A huge thanks to ABrainlessNod of BlogCatalog, site abrainlessnod.blogspot.com, about the scheduled tweets strategy. I’m not doing it right yet, but I’m getting there and it’s thanks to his advice.
- Google Analytics Visitors Flow really demonstrates the failure points on your site.
My home page sucks. Hey, I didn’t know, I thought it was groovy – everybody I asked told me so. But looking at the traffic on the GA report, I can see that now, and so this month I’m rebuilding the home page in an effort to resolve that issue.
- Always have a thumbnail on your posts.
People just don’t want to click on an article without a picture. I don’t know why, but Google Analytics told me this too.
- Widely varied content gets different types of resonation.
I got a response to my poetry on Google Plus. Sure, it wasn’t much of one, but I wasn’t really expecting any at all – and if any, certainly not from that much under-attended platform. I also got listed on a few book review sites because of my most recent fiction book review. Hey man, they’re little things but they add up and so you can expect more and different types of content like that from me.
- Old articles can be significant parts of your traffic pulls.
Old articles, like my one about activated charcoal and the prepper links from November, out-performed my latest prepper article. Umm… what? I’m not even advertising those anymore. Oh well, glad for the continued interest in them – that’s another reason why my most-recent-posts-per-category approach on the home page doesn’t make sense anymore.
- Reddit’s moderators aren’t clear on how to foster communities.
Despite continuing to get a lot of love from Redditers, I’m just not feeling the little notice about blogspam that the moderators added into /preppers/. My content is consistently rated higher than most of the other articles I post to Reddit. Gimme a break, guys- I don’t know if that notice particularly regarded schemabyte.com, but blanket statements like that are immature – just send an email to whoever you’re talking to. Pretty sure I’m moving on down to /postcollapse/ or similar, although I’m not final on that yet.
- Inquiries from people who want to guest post aren’t worth getting excited about.
At least at this point on this site, I keep getting contact form requests to guest post- but when I request that it be original content and that I see a list of possible topics first, people stop responding. Perhaps I’m being overbearing with that, but I think more likely people just want to get heavy back-linking without writing an original work. It’s like an elaborate spammer attempt, speaking of which…
- Spammers are ridiculous and at least CAPTCHA is required once you grow to a certain point.
Are those guys even trying to come up with a submission that will pass as a real comment? Pretty soon you’ll see a CAPTCHA on this site because of them, I apologize in advance. I thought I could handle it manually but it’s flooding in the hundreds daily now.
- Pinterest shared boards can be dangerous for your inbox health.
I started accepting invites to numerous shared boards on Pinterest. The boards are great, but by default you get notified when someone posts to them. One day I loaded up my inbox and there sat some 400+ notifications. Turn off those damn notifications for the group boards, or you’re slated for inbox excavation if you miss a few days too.
Traffic Numbers & Ratios
As regular readers know, the traffic metric I’m most focused on is unique visitors. That’s because I think the quality of my writing will determine if you come back (well, for the most part) and so that’s a known growth area for me, whereas the unique visitors is a measure of exposure. And exposure is my biggest learning area – when I started, I didn’t have much understanding at all in terms of helping people become aware of my blog.
From month one to month two, this site’s unique visitor count had an astounding increase of 1,236.57%. This month, from month two to month three, the growth wasn’t quite so exponential, but it still doubled at 209.4%. That’s still a massive success as far as I’m concerned – I’ll take that any month my readers will be kind enough to give it to schemabyte.com.
Last month this site had nearly 50 traffic sources; this month it had 85. Once again, thank you so much to all referring websites, but it’s simply too much to break down all the referring sources and so I’m just considering the top 20. If you’re keeping track, last month I did just the top 15 – this month, there was more dispersion into the deeper numbers. The top 20 accounted for 98.32% of all my visits.
- Social media: 40.99% (this month it was at the top; last month referrals were)
- Referrals: 34.71%
- Search engines & direct traffic: 23.01% (again in third place)
- Listing sites & forums: .71% (again in fourth place)
- Other: .57% (new category, see below)
The upset in the traffic source draw is because of Facebook. Although Facebook still is significantly less than Reddit traffic, it’s also growing significantly. My overall referral count from other websites is actually higher than last month..
Three Months of Blogging: Social Media ~ 40.99%
My top category source of visitors in month three was social media.
Three Months of Blogging: Referrals ~ 34.71%
I don’t like to give specific percentages for the referring sites, but I will list those in the top 20 sources in order of their traffic in month three.
Thanks so much, you guys! Your linkage love is so much appreciated, and I’ll always be glad to link to you and appreciate your support.
Three Months of Blogging: Search Engines & Direct Traffic ~ 23.01%
As I note below in the “other” category, “direct traffic” continues to be a huge source of visitors – it’s my #3 source, in fact – and I have no idea why. Certainly, it beats out everything but the top referrer and the top social media source of visitors. Perhaps it’s email programs, perhaps it’s spammers, perhaps there are just a lot of people who like to directly type in the URL.
- “Direct Traffic” accounts for 79% of the site visitors.
- The rest – 21% – is Google organic searches. While this site is listed in the other search engines, Bing and the like still aren’t doing much at all in terms of traffic.
I don’t know why the other search engines aren’t sending much traffic my way, but I’m still not going to worry about it until I have more content on the site.
Three Months of Blogging: Listing Sites & Forums ~ .71%
This month, schemabyte.com got pretty much no traffic from forums. In fact, I need to stop saying I’m going to spend more time on forums, because even though I think they’re a great source of traffic I keep getting sidetracked by Facebook. If Facebook wasn’t working out quite so well, then surely I’d have time for the forums. So, forums are just included here because I didn’t want you to think I forgot about them.
Excitingly, just a few days ago, schemabyte.com got accepted by Alltop! I’ve always been a big fan, and now I get to include their graphics in the sidebar and all that good stuff. While 69% of all my traffic in this category came from blogcatalog.com (my absolute highest recommendation for the first site to list your new blog on), the rest – 31% – came from Alltop. In just a few days.
I submitted to Alltop when this site first went public, three months ago. So, it took 3 months to be accepted, but in just a few days Alltop got into my top 20 sources. Yeah, baby, that’s how to roll.
Three Months of Blogging: Other ~ .57%
This month I’m including the “other” category, despite it being less than one percent, for the first time. These others are Feedburner email subscriptions, RSS clicks, and paper.li links! So, while the paper.li links are way down, Feedburner’s making its first appearance in the top sources. And that’s just awesome! It means that the subscribers are using their subscriptions to follow new content I’m putting out.
I suspect a good amount of the “direct traffic” is also from RSS and emails, just not tracked.
Month Four: Work To Be Done
- Rebuild the home page.
More than anything else, I see people going to the home page and dropping off there, and I’m cognizant that the links are not cleanly organized based on the type of information you might be looking for. After all, all the topics are related to prepping, but my grouping of them is already done in the menu and so the home page needs to present it in a more cohesive way.
- Include more links to other prepping websites on the site.
A lot of people have been interested in the many links I review and share via Twitter and Facebook. Well, silly me, I’m not quite sure why I haven’t been putting them on the site as well. Certainly, it’ll be more convenient than having to scroll through those terrible social media timelines.
- Put CAPTCHA on the comment forms.
Spammers are beginning to swarm this site almost hourly, despite the fact that I’ve never knowingly approved one of their comments.
- The time has come to start posting articles on other sites.
Looking at my traffic, I’m starting to see a slow-down in the referrals. While I’m glad that social media’s more than made up for it, if I want to keep momentum it’s time for me to establish another beachhead. See below, in More Reading, for links to the places I’m considering for this.
Metrics: Growth in Month Three
- Alexa global ranking: 1,019,139 (from 2,087,380 at the end of month two) -51.18%
- Alexa US ranking: 150,505 (from 292,716 at the end of month two) -48.58%
- Twitter followers: 203 (from 124 at the end of month two) +63.71%
- Facebook friends: 457 (from 72 at the end of month two) +534.72%
- Facebook page likes: 15 (from 5 at the end of month two) +200%
- Pinterest followers: 38 (from 17 at the end of month two) +123.53%
- Google+ followers: 13 (from 10 at the end of month two) +30%
- Reddit karma: 554 (from 446 at the end of month two) +24.22%
Once again, I haven’t spent any time in places like YouTube or StumbleUpon, so there’s not any progress to be gauged there.
Links Regarding Places To Submit Articles
- TruthisTreason.net – check out the comments! Definitely grateful and want to do this.
- How I Got My Alexa Ranking Under 100,000 – michellshaeffer.com, read the logs of activity to see where she submitted articles
- InfoBarrel vs Squidoo – how do these two sites compare on earning you money? – howtoearnmoneyonlinehq.com
- Guest Authors – americanpreppersnetwork.com
and you must link back if you use it elsewhere.