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.
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 …
- 1,000 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.
- 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.
- 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 …
- 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
- 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.
- 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|
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:
- SourcesOfInsight.com (Home page)
- The Zen of Results Free E-Book
- The 10 Best Ways to Persuade
- The Top Ten Leadership Lessons
- 13 Motivation Techniques
- Rituals for Results
- Personal Development Books
- Motivation Quotes
- Finding Your Key Strengths
- 10 Distorted Thinking Patterns
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.
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Photo by Sarah G …