Category Archives: Goals

One Day Left and I Have Learned So Much – 30 Day Blogging Challenge

I started this blog challenge with the stated goal of generating blog traffic of 1000 unique visitors in 30 days. That would be a 30 fold increase over the several months prior. The real goal, however, was to try out blogging as a valid homework assignment for my upcoming class of Foundation of Marketing…..as a semester long project. It doesn’t look like I’m going to hit the thousand unique visitor goal but I this has been an incredible experiment. I didn’t hit the numerical goal but I definitely hit the learning goal.

Let’s talk numbers first. My blog had been averaging 30 or so unique visitors a month……which is actually impressive since I only posted once this year. Right now, August’s traffic is at 666 unique visitors…….yeah really but with your visit, I’m at least up to 667. I went from 1 blog post in the prior seven months to 13 in August. Honestly, I don’t think that is a rate that I can maintain. Good for a scrum activity to build content but I simply don’t have that much to say. Going forward, I think I’ll maintain a one to two post a week cadence.

Where did all of these visitors come from? Well the majority came from search engine marketing, also known as SEM, also known (in this case) as Google Adwords. There are a lot of ways to do SEM, Google Adwords is probably one of the easiest for a newbie blogger. Many blog hosting platforms are already set up to work seamlessly with Google Adwords. Several even offer credit for your first ad. WordPress, my platform for example, offered $125 free advertising with a minimum spend of $25. That beats a BOGO offer……by a lot. I wasn’t expecting much out of SEM, to be honest. My experience has been that you pay around $2 a click…..$150 total spend (my money plus Googles) at $2 a click…..I figured SEM would generate around 75 visitors to the blog. Oh man, was I wrong? I didn’t realize that the cost per click in India was so low…..around $0.07 a click. As of last night, SEM generated blog traffic just below 600 visitors in about a week with a spend of only $40. Most of my visitors are from India but they are engaging in the blog as well as visitors from other sources and countries….at least as measured in page visits per visitor. The visitors from India don’t seem to be too willing to click like or hit share or even comment. Hey, if you are from India, you are welcome to break the trend and leave a comment. Let me know you’ve been here.

So 90% of the traffic generated was from SEM. That’s great on one level. It well exceeded my expectations and will help my SERP rankings a bit, as long as I keep advertising. I don’t have any expectation that I’ll keep advertising though, since I don’t have any way of making money on my blog other than advertising……which isn’t very lucrative. (I’ve spent $40 in SEM and I earned $0.03 in advertising fees. I do have one affiliate marketing post where I signed up for affiliate marketing for WordPress and put up an offer of 20% off this month. That was the only reference to affiliate marketing BTW and no takers.

Where did the other 60 or so visitors come from? The next three sources of blog traffic were from LinkedIn, WordPress reading area and Facebook. I don’t really use Facebook but I have a lot of connections on LinkedIn. I’m not really a Linked In Open Networker (Lion) but I’m pretty free with gathering links. This blog has also been around so I do have a few followers. I think, though, that the traffic that came in through WordPress was probably more due to the interactions I had with other bloggers. I’ve read more blogs in the last month than I have in the last year…..probably longer. Whenever I read a blog, if I had anything that even remotely contributed to their post, I added it in the comments. Leaving comments behind does leave a link behind but I believe that the biggest lift I got was from the bloggers themselves checking me out. That is not a scalable activity though. Sure, I spent an hour or so a day interacting with other bloggers which got me dozens of visits but there is no way I could have invested the time to turn that dozens into thousands. There is simply not enough hours in the day.

Anyway, my blog’s “day” ends at 9 PM eastern time……..at least it does according to where the traffic stats are assigned……I have no idea why. So just over a full day left and I’m over 300 visitors away. Unless you go on a massive sharing, liking, commenting binge on my blog and blog posts, I’m not making it. I might report in one more time tomorrow but I’ll give a full reporting on Saturday.

Oh, BTW, I’ve decided to NOT assign this to my incoming fall class. I’m going to blog at a weekly rate (or twice a week) over the course of the fall semester. I’m sure I’ll learn a whole lot more over the next four months. Assuming that I’ll teach again in the spring semester, I might assign the blog to them.

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Generating Blog Traffic With Adwords – 30 Day Blogging Challenge

Update: Day 15 and Post 5 of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge. I’m averaging a post every 3 days. My original goal was every other day…..I’ll have to up the effort a bit. That is especially important considering how blog traffic generation is tied to the days I post. See here:

Those unique visitor traffic spikes on August 3rd, 5th, 9th and 13th are the days that I posted on my blog. Those days with one to three unique visitors are the days that I didn’t generate a blog post. Two things come to mind looking at this. First, I need to post more regularly to generate traffic. Every other day isn’t sustainable during the school year as I go into professor mode but I can sustain that for the rest of August. Second, my blog traffic is coming from very short term sources. My blog is linked into my LinkedIn account and Facebook. The majority of my blog traffic is being generated from these sites. WordPress reader is a distant third. Notice how my blog traffic isn’t being generated by search terms…..yet? My traffic is coming largely from my network with a few supporting shares from readers…..(thank you and please continue to like and share.) Getting traction on search engines take time. Coral Ouellette suggests it takes three to six months before search engines will notice all the hard work you have done on your blog. This suggests that the work I’m doing now will really start to pay off in the fourth quarter in terms of generating blog traffic. Therefore, since my challenge is generating unique visitors in August, I need to take other actions……i.e. Google Adwords.

Paid search, in my opinion, works best for websites and blogs that earn their income directly. That is, instead of relying on blog traffic generating ad income, the website is selling something – whether or product or a service. Figure each unique visitor will cost you in the neighborhood of $2 to $3 each. Unless you are converting people with a sale in excess of that, the ROI just isn’t there. In the long run, search engines is the best source of new traffic…..of course, you need to stay on top of your current readership and provide content and communication so that they continue to come back. I just don’t have 3 to 6 months to wait in a 30 day challenge to generate traffic.

My blog is on wordpress. WordPress offers business and premium subscribers a $125 Google adwords credit when you chip in $25 of your own. I’m taking advantage of that. Setting up an adwords ad is really rather easy. Once you put in your website, the tool starts making recommendations. I didn’t go with very many of them….I’m just that kind of guy…but it was nice to have a starting point. It took about five minutes and I don’t think it looks too bad. What do you think?

If you tried to click the picture above……the ad text is motivating enough but you don’t need to click the add because you are already here. Since this month is all about the blogging challenge, I focused my ad on that. Google helped suggest words to use. They are all around blogging and generating traffic and I’ve directed the traffic to all go to my main page.

The ad should kick off within the hour. The spend of $150 over a month is really only expected to get me 2 to 3 incremental visitors a day. If I was going to try and pick up 900 unique visitors over the course of the rest of the challenge, I would need to spend something like $120 a day. Yeah. I’m not doing that. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. Check back often and, of course, like, share and follow please.

It is a challenge – 30 Day Blogging Challenge

Update: Beginning of Day 9 and blog post number 4. The results are mixed. I made my last post three days ago and the initial traffic was amazing. We had nearly 30 unique visitors on that first day. The next day, you ask? ONE!!!! One visitor. That’s it. Three likes, which was nice. To be completely honest, that one visitor went to a post I wrote two years ago……..not challenge related at all. The day after that? Yeah, I don’t want to talk about it……..but I will because it is you. I wouldn’t do this for anyone else. The second day after my last post was two visitors. At least, their traffic was challenge related.

The days are ticking away and the traffic is inconsistent at best and is still very light. I mentioned some passive ways to improve traffic. What we need now is

One active measure you can take to get your blog out there is to get talked about in the media…..ok, so how do you do that? Well, luckily, someone has already done a lot of the hard work. How do you think reporters find experts for their articles? “Help a reporter out”, also known as HARO, is a website that you can join for free at https://www.helpareporter.com/. Once you sign up, you will get two to three emails a day with lists of requests from someone looking to write an article (or a radio or television piece). You then can email the author/reporter with your answer to their request, a short bio (yours preferably) and your contact info, including your blog. If the author is interested, then they will contact you about their desire to use your input. If they do, you will credit and your blog will receive a mention and probably a link.

The emails you receive from HARO are broken down by topic, “Biotech and Healthcare” and “Business and Finance” for example. HARO isn’t going to be useful for every blog because of the subject matters the reporters are interested in. From the few emails I’ve received already, it appears that if your blog is about sex and intimacy, travel, decoration ideas or anything medical…..you will strike it rich at HARO. You do need to respond pretty quickly though. I did respond to one request on how social media fits into integrated marketing. I submitted my response about 12 hours after the HARO email and I got a response that already received the responses they need.

One interesting feature of the HARO requests is that it (generally) tells you which organization is requesting help. Two of the requests in this mornings email came from Andrea’s World Reviews. This allows you to go check out the site and see if it is the right fit for your blog. You can also get an idea of how much traffic the site has. Use a tool like – http://www.siteworthtraffic.com/ – to get a lot of great data about the blog. I put Andrea’s blog through their tool and see that they estimate she is getting 524 unique visitor’s a day……which is 15k visitors a month….or 15 X my goal for this challenge. I am humbled.

I will review the HARO emails and let you know if future posts whether or not I’m successful getting placement. I haven’t seen a lot of requests for marketing as of yet but I’ll keep looking.

I’m interested. What do you think of the challenge so far? Is this an interesting challenge for students in a marketing foundations course? Any suggestions on how to make it more successful. Please leave me a comment and let me know. Additional, as always, please hit the like and share buttons.

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Where to get Pictures for your Blog – 30 Day Blogging Challenge

We are about 48 hours and one blog post into the 30 day blogging challenge with a goal of turning my blog, which was getting around 50 unique visitors a month, into a high traffic blog with 1000 unique visitors in one month. You can read about our launch of the challenge here: https://wolskisuccesspartners.com/2019/08/01/30-day-blogging-challenge/.

In our case the month of August. How are we tracking so far you ask? I’m glad you did. Normally, in 2 days, this blog would have seen 3 to 5 unique visitors……in other words, a ghost town. In the last 48 hours, we received 14 unique visitors. That’s 3X to 4X the traffic. Not bad for one post. Now, to reach 1000 a month, we have to average over 30 unique visitors a day. Therefore, we seem to be on track. If we can now double the daily traffic and maintain that for the entire month of August, we will hit our target. Full disclosure……I might accidently be one or two of those unique visitors. I was looking for links and content on a couple of different devices and ended up on my blog……Let’s shoot for 1002!

One mistake I did make is that when I changed up the look of this blog to make it appropriate for the 30 Day Blogging Challenge, I accidently removed the share buttons. I believe I fixed that now. One bit of advice for getting any of your blogs or other online content shared as far as possible is to ask YOU, the reader to share the content. For example, my son watches a lot of YouTube, specifically DanTDM and EightBitRyan. In every video, they each ask the viewer to like and share their content. Think of the liking and sharing as the price you pay for free content. With all of that in mind, I added back the sharing buttons and I will now officially ask: If you support this effort, liked any of what you’ve read or simply support the concept please like and share this post……please!!!!

I did find an interesting post, “10 Keys to Make Millions Blogging”: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/272517. I’m not out to make millions blogging, although it would be nice. I imagine if I made even a paltry million dollars on this blog, I would have hit at least the 1000 unique readers target……..I assume. You are more than welcome to go read the making millions blog written by Timothy Sykes. I didn’t previously know anything about him. I read this blog and a couple others of his on the http://Entrepreneur.com website. He seems pretty informed, although I’m not a fan of how he implies how easy it is to become a millionaire blogging. Of course, if I earn a million off of this blog, I will apologize…..in a blog post. Seems only appropriate. I can summarize his ten key steps pretty succinctly: Post interesting and well written articles frequently and market your posts through social media…….It does look better in a list form but that is pretty much what he said. Take a look for yourself if you wish.

One point Timothy Sykes made in his millionaire blog that is not part of my summary is to invest in high-quality pictures. I totally agree. It is actually easier to get decent images than you might think. As with many online issues, google is your friend. For example, I found the Don’t Give Up image at the top on google. It led me to Flicker on the account of dahon. She appears to be a yoga enthusiast. This image is attached to her 30 Day Yoga challenge.

Finding free, usable and appropriate images is pretty easy on google. First, search for a relevant key term. For the 30 Day Challenge, I googled “30 Day Challenge.” Not terribly creative but it got the job done. Then switch your results to images. Then select the settings filter:

Under settings, select “advanced search.” You should see this screen.

scroll down to the bottom and select “Usage Rights”.

Then you can select either “free to use or share, even commercially” or “free to use, share or modify, even commercially”. These images are free for you to use. It is appropriate to give credit to whomever you are borrowing the images from. For example, you can celebrate with fireworks below from pxhere.com. Well, you can celebrate immediately after you hit like and share to your favorite social media.

And it was sweet

In High school English, our teacher had us read dozens of Indian Animal Parables. You have probably heard the one about the blind men and the elephant. That’s a classic. There is another one I’ve always remembered that was more meaningful to me. It goes:

A man was walking in the wilderness and realized he was being stalked by a tiger. He was near a cliff with a vine hanging down to the ground, so he starting climbing down the vine, knowing the tiger could not follow. He was about halfway down with the tiger staring at him hungrily when a lion at the bottom of the cliff noticed him. The man was trapped dangling on the vine, a lion below and a tiger above. Two mice, one black and one white, started to crew through the vine above him. There was nothing else for him to hang onto. It was then that he noticed a strawberry plant growing on the cliff with one ripe strawberry on it. The man picked it and ate it and it was sweet.

Yes. That is the end of the parable. We leave the man hanging from a cliff over a lion with strawberry juice dripping down his chin. I always assumed he died shortly after the story ends but that isn’t the point of the parable. The man, even in the midst of a calamity not of his own making took the time to stop and enjoy that which was sweet. The strawberry was probably even sweeter to him knowing the doom that awaited him. While we may not find ourselves dangling from a vine with two predatory cats looking to make a meal out of us, at least not twice, we all find ourselves obligated to times and places we don’t want to be and doing things we don’t want to do. We should pull as much joy, learning and growth from those situations as we can.

I told this parable to my class the other day. My course (marketing foundations) is a required course and the majority of students aren’t marketing majors. If it were up to them, they wouldn’t take ANY marketing classes. Unfortunately for them, it is required. While I try to make it as interesting and valuable for them, I encourage them to taste the strawberry while they are there.

Are you living a life of distraction?

Does this sound familiar? You are working on a project, music is playing. You make it a few minutes but social media chimes that a “friend” has posted something. You check it out. More than a few minutes later you get back to work. Before you accomplish too much, someone texts or IMs you. Your day continues with this constant interruption and it is finally to come home. On the drive home, you listen to an audible book, which is interrupted several times as you are texting to firm up your dinner plans….using appropriate hands free technology, of course. Eventually you get to exercise, popping in another audible book or watching TV the whole time.

I’m not criticizing. I understand completely. I counted my interruptions the other day. Just in my regular job, I averaged 150 incoming email a day. I also had 80 outgoing emails, thirty IM conversations, 15 texts and ten phone calls. This didn’t count the meetings I was in, the hallway conversations or anything related to my personal life. I was distracted.

Distractions can be a addictive. Every little ding, beep or post releases a little dopamine. Sitting quietly alone with your thought can becomes an odd feeling, like accidentally meeting a childhood friend you’ve lost contact with.

Turn off some of your notices. Cancel some of your email subscriptions. Let some texts sit unanswered. Turn off all electronics for a few minutes a day and just be alone with your thoughts. There are great things happening in your head. Be quiet and present once in a while to hear what your mind has to say.

What’s your destination?

What is your destination?  Do you know?  Are you letting the the route dominate your mind and forgetting what’s really important. And I’m talking metaphorically.

I’m a planner normally.  Well by comparison to my wife, I fly by the seat of my pants but by most standards I’m a bit obsessive with plans.  When my wife and I vacation, we know where we are going to stay and have the hotels booked in advanced.  We know the things we want to see and I’ll have their websites, locations and hours tucked away in my files.  We have a pretty good idea of where we will eat by meal.  Once we start the vacation, many of our plans go out the window as we adapt to the flow of the vacation.  Winston Churchill once said that, “Plans are of little importance but planning is essential.” Whenever you need a good quote either Churchill or Mark Twain typically come through.

Why am I telling you about our vacation planning? Sometimes having a plan can be detrimental to achieving you goal. Sometimes you keeping working the plan even though the situation has changed. In our vacation planning, our goal isn’t to get to the top of the Washington Monument. It is to enjoy ourselves, to bond with the kids and to taking a break from our normal stressors. Making it to the top of the Washington Monument is an exciting thing but with the kids would rather just play in the pool, that may be a better path to our destination.

I’m reading, “Take off your shoes” by Ben Feder. He is telling a story of taking a sabbatical from a high power executive career. The main purpose is to reestablish family relationships and connections. On their way to their destination, Bali, they took a two week safari in Africa. Ben talks about getting anxious that the safari is delaying his family from their destination. He was getting fixated on his path, not his true goal. Bounding with his family could be done in Africa as easily as Bali.

The lesson is to not let you plans and planning to get in the way of your goals. Focus on what is important to you. Situations change and so must your plans.