By June 22, 2009 21 Comments Read More →

Sources of Insight is 10 Months Old

SourcesOfInsightIs10MonthsOld

Sources of Insight is 10 months old!  She’s growing up so fast.  (If you ask me, I don’t think she looks a day past 6 months.)  What started out as my practice blog is turning out to be my real blog.  Anyway, it’s time for a quick check in on results.  This is actually a good time for a check in since it’s review time at Microsoft and I’m already reflecting on performance.

Lessons Learned
I’ve learned a lot, but here are a few key lessons:

  • Slow growth beats no growth.  While I’ve always been inspired by Def Leopard’s infinite wisdom “it’s better to burn out … than fade away,”, apparently, slow and steady wins the race.  My accountant is a fan of get rich slowly and he’s taught me to stick with things for the long haul.  That’s a good thing because my growth just isn’t what I expected.  Then again, I can’t complain.  I’ve gone from 1,800 visitors a month to ~20,000 and it seems to be accelerating.  Any growth seems good in a down economy.
  • It’s the difference that makes the difference.  This is where I struggle.  What makes my blog any different from the bazillion other personal development blogs?  I’m not sure yet.  It might be my focus on patterns and practices.  It might be the way I stand on the shoulders of giants, drawing from books, people, and quotes.  It might be my unique experience building teams and running projects at Microsoft.  Either way, I think differentiation is important.  I think of the blogosphere as one big connected system and I think it’s important to bring at least some unique value to the table.  I do focus a lot on expert techniques, but I’m not sure that’s the key.  I need to think more on this.
  • It’s about raving fans.  Not only do my raving fans make it worth it, they help spread Sources of Insight through word-of-mouth marketing.  I’ve seen it in action several times.   This is a good thing since I really haven’t done my marketing homework yet.

Highlights and Lowlights
I’m a fan of the old “3 things going well” and “3 things to improve” model we use to have in our reviews.  It helps balance out the good with the bad.  I’ll go ahead use that format here for my blog.

Here are 3 things going well …

  1. 1,000 raving fans.  Last week I hit my 1,005th subscriber.  I had a mini-goal of a 1000 raving fans within the first year, so I’m happy.
  2. Books, People and Quotes.  I really like drawing insight from books, people, and quotes.   It compliments what I can share from my direct experiences and it helps provide me with more material to test and put into practice.
  3. Featured Guests.  This is a big part of how I live my mantra “stand on the shoulders of giants”.  My featured guests range from best-selling authors to unsung heroes.   If you’re wondering how I pick my guests, it’s based on finding the best-of-the-best for certain categories.  For example, I think Dr. K’s superpower is interpersonal skills.  I think Jim Kousez’s superpower is leadership.  I think Michael Michalko’s super power is creative thinking.  I let the authors choose whether to write about their superpower or simply their life lessons.  For example, Michael Michalko shared his life lesson in his guest post, Choice.

If I could pick another thing, I’d have to say it’s hot spots for life.  I really like having a defined set of hot spots to help scope what I focus on.  Life hot spots include: mind, body, emotions, career, financial, relationships and fun.  I try to find the best patterns and practices for those categories.   These are great categories for personal development or skilled living.

Here are 3 things I need to improve …

  1. SEO.  I messed up here in so many ways it’s not funny. Live and learn.  I’m sure I still have mistakes, but I’m slowly correcting key things.    I finally took some time to sweep my tags and categories.  I also started to map out
  2. Impact.  To amplify my impact, I have work to do both inside my blog and outside.  Mostly outside.  I hear time and again that you make more impact on your blog, by what you do outside of your blog, such as guest posts and social media sites.  I’m going to test this soon.
  3. Benefits and Features.   I don’t think I’ve made my benefits and features “pop” yet.  They’re in there, but I find it takes a bit of hand holding.  I’ve tried to rework the sidebar to make some things simpler to get to, including a “Getting Started” as well as quick access to book nuggets, experts, and quotes.  I’ll need to get more feedback and ideas here to take it to the next level.  I should probably start considering creating a forum or community and a newsletter.  A newsletter would be a simple way for me to share some more prescriptive guidance.  Perhaps an “Insights and Actions” newsletter?

Highlights and lowlights aside, the cool thing for me is when real people stop by or email me about how something I’ve shared helped them get results.

Stats at a Glance

OK, enough with the mushy stuff … what about the data?   The data doesn’t really tell the story, but it at least tells me I’m trending on an upward path.  Here are the key stats at a glance:

Measure 6 Month Mark 10 Month Mark
Page Rank 4 4
Subscribers 650 1,005
Unique Visitors 56,000 82,000
Page Views 110,000 200,000
Posts 110 154

My page rank seems stuck.  I probably don’t have enough incoming links from the right places yet.  More homework for me to do.

Top 10 Pages
Purely from a data standpoint, the top 10 posts on Sources of Insight are:

If you have feedback on what you’d like to see more of or ideas on how I should improve my blog, feel free to either leave them in the comments or use the contact form and you can send to me directly.

My Related Posts

Photo by Sarah G …

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21 Comments on "Sources of Insight is 10 Months Old"

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  1. Hi J.D.

    Congratulations on your anniversary. I still remember visiting you on your old blog, and then when you moved everything over to this one. It certainly doesn’t feel like it been 10 months. Where, or where, does the time go?

    I know what you mean about slow growth (with a blog). Whenever I get discouraged I think of how even the big name bloggers started out just like us – one post at a time. Patience is definitely the key.

    Happy Blogging J.D. Here’s to your next milestone. :)

  2. JD, I like the phrase “Any growth seems good in a down economy.” It’s like how Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) said in a video quite sometime back on “Anything is better than zero”. :)

    I’m in here thanks to leaving a comment on my site back a week ago. Congrats on the 10th anniversary too! Perhaps I could use those 3 pointers from you that could apply to my blog too (the SEO, Benefits, and Impact).

    Continue being awesome!

  3. Craig says:

    Awesome work!

    Funnily enough this seems to be a normal trend. My blog is currently 6 months and 11 days old and I have similar stats to your 6 month reading. I’ve got a few more pageviews/uniques and posts but lower pagerank and subscribers. Month 10 is looking good if the trend continues. :)

    I’ll send you an e-mail soon with an interesting offer!

  4. Congrats on your 1,000 subscriber. It’s tough to win people’s attention and also keep them coming back. I have messed up a ton of things on my blog. But like you, I keep improving things one at a time.

  5. Happy anniversary to your blog and that’s very cool that you met your short term 1000 subscriber goal. I was well on my way with my old blog but then I decided I was ready for a change and when I moved my blog to a new domain, I lost most my subscribers.

    Ah well, there’s plenty of time still.

    By the way, I like your blog’s theme, it’s the same we use.

  6. Congrats on 10 months! I’m quite impressed with your numbers. :) Thanks for sharing your insights in this post. As a new blogger it’s great to read this kind of stuff.

  7. Cath Lawson says:

    Hi JD – Well done. You have achieved a lot in your first ten months. And I totally agree – steady progress is much better than burn out. I burned out this year, with health issues and I feel as though I’ve been set back a whole year.

    PR4 is good for ten months. It took me about 20 months to get PR4 – then I went right down to zero after switching hosts and changing from .com/blog to .com Over five months later, I’m only just back to a PR3.

    I think your work for Microsoft is a huge strength. You are able to teach us how to apply things you use at Microsoft, to our own lives – eg. frames. To me, this is really impressive. Microsoft is an awesome company and so many of us really appreciate even being able to have even a small taste of how they do things. Thank you.

  8. J.D.
    Congrats!
    Your persistence inspires.
    Your openness encourages.
    Thank you.

  9. Patricia says:

    JD
    Congratulations on your anniversary, and your growth and progress. I just love reading your “stuff” and I am learning so much. I am working on your great book you sent and I can tell a difference in my outlook already. You inspire me.

    I think I am a snail speed next to your “slow progress”, but at least I am moving forward.

    I so appreciate all your comments on my posts they are truly spot on.
    I still can not find how many subscribers I have but I rejoice in having about 400 readers a week and they usually read 2 or 3 posts at a visit – That is a miracle and an awesome thought.

    Keep on keeping on – I just love to stop by and I forward on lots of your posts to family and friends.

    Good job.

  10. Louisa says:

    Congratulations on your 10th monthaversary JD, I think your blog is doing brilliantly and I look forward to seeing much more! :-)

  11. Nilesh says:

    Hey JD,

    Congrats for the 10 months for the blog. I am really impressed the way you present these posts.
    I really like the content and the way you tend to present it in such a way that it is usable.

    I admire the openness. I would request if you could provide the guidance on Precision Questioning and
    answers.

    Keep up the good work. I really enjoy it.

    Once again congrats.

  12. Hi J.D.

    congratulations! 10 months…look at what a great impact you are making – 20K visitors a month that is awesome.
    Keep up the great work.
    Giovanna Garcia
    Imperfect Action is better than No Action

  13. JD says:

    @ Barbara

    Thank you. I’m glad you’ve hung in there and I think you really help light the way. Your blog is a great resource for getting and staying on track.

    @ Daniel

    Gary definitely has a way of putting things.

    I should probably do a full post on my mistakes and lessons learned in SEO. I’ve definitely learned the hard way.

    Thank you!

    @ Craig

    Thank you!

    It’s slow and steady, but it does seem to be on the uptake. Some folks I trust told me to expect plateaus though. I’m going to put together a growth plan in the near future and see if I can’t kick things in high gear. You’re either growing or dying.

    @ Karl

    Thank you. I think a lot of my success tends to be brute force. I learn and respond, but I make a ton of mistakes in the process. It’s helped me appreciate action over analysis paralysis.

    @ John

    Thank you. That’s a good way to look at it. I like to think there is more time ahead of us than behind us. Full steam ahead.

    It took a while, but this theme really grew on me. I was partial to some others, but this one got the most positive feedback from users.

    @ Positively Present

    Thank you! I think you hit the ground running and you’re definitely traveling the road of success.

  14. JD says:

    @ Cath

    Thank you. Health issues are the worst. It’s one of the hot spots I plan to tackle in the future. I’m going to hunt and gather the best patterns and practices I can find. It’s such a complex topic with so much conflicting advice.

    Microsoft has treated me very well and I’ve learned a ton. I’ve been exposed to so many smart people and incredible mentors. I’ve also learned plenty of techniques that could fill many books. A big key to results at Microsoft is personal effectiveness. I’ve been super lucky to learn from many of the best of the best.

    @ Alik

    Thank you. You’re always quick with the right words to fan my flame and that often helps give me just the push I need.

    @ Patricia

    Thank you.

    Your candor and focus in your posts is outstanding. You’ve found your voice and your conversational tone is exactly what keeps folks coming back. I think you have an art for sharing thin slices of experience that helps people connect.

    @ Louisa

    Thank you. I have some big plans for it. I want to truly make a place where you can count on getting more from life. I’ve seen people at Microsoft win in so many situations in life because of skills. I’m still a student on the journey, but I’ll share what I learn.

    @ Nilesh

    Thank you. I do have a post on PQ/PA in my archives. The irony is that just today I had an idea for another post on PQ/PA. I want to call it “how BillG taught us to think.” He really established a unique culture of critical thinking and I want to share the story as a reminder of how high-caliber thinking can change the world.

    @ Giovanna

    Thank you! My real measure is my problem map I’m working on. I’m creating a map of key problems for mind, body, emotions, career, financial, relationships and fun. I’ll use it to gauge my progress by nailing the problems on the map. This way I’ll be guaranteed to flow value and I’ll avoid getting caught up in my numbers. We’ll see.

  15. Patricia says:

    JD
    Thank you for your wonder full reply – it made me feel awesome this morning -

  16. Steve Kayser says:

    J.D. — When ya gonna get on Twitter or Friendfeed? I went to tweet a congrats – but your Twitless.

    This is my 2ND FAVORITE BLOG. Mine of course is first. Sure you have better content, better ideas, better style, better friends, more friends, more useful and relevant contentand all that … but do you have a new tagline like… “I put the NO in inNOvation?” I don’t either – but it’s something I’m aspiring to.

    Congrats friend. This is a super blog.

  17. Daphne says:

    JD,

    Congratulations! You’re doing great. I need to start tracking my numbers too – I track PR and subscribers but not visitors per month etc. Like you, differentiation is something I really have to think about – what exactly do we bring to the table?

  18. Rob Boucher Jr says:

    Congrat J.D. I need to work on the slow steady progress myself. looking forward to continued growth.

    Rob

  19. JD says:

    @ Patricia

    No prob.

    @ Steve

    Thank you. I’m such a rebel.

    No new tagline yet, but I’m partial to “Exponential Results for the Underdog!”

    @ Daphne

    Thank you. I think right off the bat you bring your unique voice and experience to the table.

    I’ve been asking some friends what they think distinguishes me and some highlights were “patterns and practices,” “working at Microsoft in a complex environment,” and “actionable and real vs. fun and thoughtful.” I think the patterns and practices angle is sticky.

    @ Rob

    Thank you. You’re on your growth path and it shows.

  20. That is so cool, J.D! Congrats!!

    10 months, we’re practically contemporaries as my blog is now 9 months old. (I’m such a novice compared to you!)

    I agree with the slow and steady upwards climb.

    And a question, where do you keep track of your subscribers, that’s one blogging area I really haven’t looked into. Thanks!

    signed… Just Another Raving J.D. Fan. :)

  21. JD says:

    @ Jannie

    Thank you!

    You stand out among the sea of blogs because of the life, personality and voice you bring to the table. I think you’re really helping pave a path for more musicians to emulate.

    I use feedburner to give me a quick rundown on subscribers.

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