Believe it or not, another month has passed since I posted my first blog review results. Which means that I recently skipped down to my local Costa again and spent a morning with a latte or two analysing things. Based on some of the feedback I got both on- and off-line last time around, I decided to make a regular feature on my blog of how things are progressing and what I’m learning in the process.
Remember, as well as helping others create their different kinds of work, I’m currently in the process of revolutionising my own. And if there’s anything you can take from my experience, be my guest.
This months headlines:
- All my statistics are heading in the right direction
- Notably, I’ve had 93% more traffic to my blog this month versus last; 55% of that was from new visitors
- I achieved my ambition of writing and posting two posts per week, except for the week I was ill.
- The number of comments being left on my posts is rising. There’s a good lived-in, community feel that’s building, which I’m enjoying.
- And, I’ve had one more client begin working with me during the month and two further people currently interested.
Since my first post on The Silent Rise of The New Work Pioneer, most of the other posts that have spoken about New Work Pioneers have prompted big readership spikes when they’ve gone live. This was particularly true of the post I wrote about how New Work Pioneers use times of crisis as opportunities for profound change.
To my delight, it seems that people are resonating with this topic. So, I’m encouraged to write more. (In fact, my Manifesto for New Work Pioneers ebook is almost written and will shortly be available for free download.)
I did two guest posts for some good friends of mine during the month. The first was for Jen Smith at Reach Our Dreams. The second for Ben at 6Aliens. The conversations that happened through the comments on these posts was awesome.
Naturally, some of their traffic checked out my blog in the process of reading the posts, so not only did I have some fun, but gained some new visitors.
Growing up to working online
The blog really appears to have turned a corner this year. Having developed a better picture of where I am heading and turned this into some solid goals, as I wrote about in Upping the ante in 2010 in January, has allowed me more confidence and focus. I feel I’ve “got” the point of social media and its relevance to business in a way I previously had not. This is undoubtedly helping. Interestingly, the more I see the power of focusing, the more I understand how focusing further can really help again. That’s very exciting.
Your assumption – or wish! – about my new clients might be that they’re coming from the blog. This month, they’re not. All of them have come from being referred by existing or previous clients. I did, off the back of this, wonder whether I should be packing up the blog and concentrating on getting new business solely from referrals?!
I hope you’re relieved to know that I decided not.
First, as much as referral from existing clients is a brilliant form of marketing and not one I’ll ever stop valuing, the blog is serving a different purpose. It reaches more people than I’ll ever reach from doing my current one-to-one and small group work. It allows me to share my thoughts on all kinds of things in a way I couldn’t achieve without it. And it’s giving me a much wanted global and international connectivity, that I don’t at present have.
Second, I do want to develop my business beyond its current scope to include webinars, bootcamps and possibly a membership-based interactive learning environment, that I’ll run in due course.
So, after a moment of questioning, I am comfortable that it’s really not an either/or for me.
What’s still not right?
I’m disappointed to have let another month slip without switching to my new website design and to the Headway theme. Yes, I’ve added Commentluv, I’ve switched things around on my layout, I’ve put a Twitter counter on and a Twitterlink, but the design hasn’t fundamentally changed.
I asked myself whether this has taken so long because I’ve had something to learn. After all, I commissioned design work as far back as last September and it still hasn’t manifest. In the interim it has sometimes felt a little awkward and even naked to still be running on the plain vanilla Thesis theme.
On reflection, however, the benefit of being “brandless” is that I have had more time and space to evolve my own brand. I wonder if, with a glossy cover, I’d have felt compelled to live up to it, rather than to be who I am. Powerfully, what I’m understanding is that I am my own brand and that, whatever you begin to see design- or content-wise around this blog will be an expression of that, rather than the other way about. That feels good.
Future growth directions
As I said earlier, I’m delighted with the community feel here, and loving that lots of people who are dropping by the blog are sharing in the conversation. And, as I talked about in my Virtual Office of Self-Selected Colleagues post, I’m wondering whether seeing more results again is indeed going to come from me continuing to drive numbers to my site. Or whether it’s going to be more about creating and building the kind of relationships that will either directly or indirectly lead to business opportunities. I’m starting to err on the side of the latter because I think it aligns better to me and my business than the pile them high approach. I’m fighting it a little because, as you can tell even from reading this post, there’s something really motivating about getting lots of traffic and interaction. You can track numbers. Relationships are a lot less tangible. It needs much more thought and attention from me, but I suspect that this is now the route I’ll take. Of course, I’ll keep you posted!
So, how does all of this sound to you? Are you seeing echoes of any of it in your own work right now? What goes through your mind as you read.