Monthly Report – August 2012

Here’s my August 2012 progress report on The Bootstrapped Entrepreneur.

For those you wondering what this progress report is all about, I check in once a month to share with you what’s going on with the blog. I’ll share with you real traffic and sales results from last month, key learnings and insights and what to look forward to in the coming months.

I aim to be 100% transparent and hold nothing back in what I share here with you. Honesty is the best policy :)

With that, on to this month’s report!

August Analytics

August 2012 Visits

The nirvana of 1,000+ visits from the launch last month has worn off and reality has set in. However, this is still early days for the blog and there continues to be a steady stream of 10-20 visits a day.

Things can only go up from here!

Top Traffic Sources

August 2012 Top Traffic Sources

Direct traffic continues to be the top performing traffic source. This is a healthy sign as people are either bookmarking the site’s URL, directly typing in the URL in to the browser or clicking through from an email not tracked as campaign.

The Bootstrapped Entrepreneur name is getting out there!

Social media referrals from both Facebook and Twitter continues to be a strong contributor of referral traffic. While my posting frequency on these outposts has not been as frequent than last month, I had been running a Facebook Like campaign since launch to help grow the Likes on the fan page.

You’ll also notice google / organic now in the top 5 of results, yet organic search traffic didn’t even register in the top 10 last month. I had originally picked the keywords “bootstrapped” and “entrepreneur” in my domain in hopes of ranking well for these keywords. Checking in to my Google Webmaster Tools account, I can see that Google has started scanning and indexing my content in recent weeks, which would explain why I’m starting to gain traction in the search rankings.

While I am not focusing on any particular SEO (search engine optimization) strategies or tactics to this point, I have been making a habit of including keywords in my page titles, headers, etc. I don’t want to get too wrapped up in writing awkward sentences and language just to appease Google’s search.

Remember – as a blogger, you are writing for an audience, not a Google bot.

Top Content

August 2012 Top Content

Here’s the posts I published this month…

Unfortunately, I fell off the bandwagon with my regular weekly posting schedule. And, this shows in the visits and traffic coming to the site.

What happened???

Well, I’ll get into that in a bit.

Followers

Medium July August Difference %
Email Subscribers 34 37 +3 +9%
Twitter Followers 200 210 +10 +5%
Facebook Likes 55 90 +35 +64%

Despite the limited posting frequency or lack of guest posts, the tribe of fellow bootstrapreneurs I’m trying to build here with the blog continues to grow.

I still managed to pick up a few email subscribers along the way. And, there’s also a small pickup of Twitter followers. However, with so many bots and fake Twitter accounts, this follower count is constantly a moving target. So, I wouldn’t put much weight into the numbers up or down.

The highlight here is the Facebook Likes, which continues to grow. While I had a bit of help from the paid Like campaign running through the month of August, the Insights provided by Facebook for the fan page indicate a handful of these Likes came through “viral” or word of mouth.

Financials

Revenue

Probably the best news of the whole month – I made my first dollar blogging!

While it’s definitely not enough to quit my day job and do this blogging thing full-time, this is an encouraging milestone for anyone who knows how hard it is to make that first dollar.

How did I do it?

I made an affiliate commission by selling an image over at iStockphoto.

  • You’ll notice the Featured Images I use on each of my posts.
  • iStockphoto is my goto source for these images, as they have millions of professional quality photos I can use here on the website.
  • At the end of each post, I include an image credit to acknowledge the use of the image in this post.
  • Behind that image credit, I’ve placed an affiliate link so that if anyone clicks through and buys that image or any other image at iStockphoto, I earn a commission for the sale.

Affiliate marketing will play a key business model to monetize the traffic on this site and I will share more about how it works in future posts.

Expenses

Expense Cost
Total $52.95
Bluehost.com Domain Hosting 8.95/month
AWeber Email Marketing software 19.00/month
Fiverr.com 25.00

In last month’s report, I counted most of my initial launch expenses in with July’s expenses. As you can see, this month I only had a handful of ongoing monthly expenses, plus a line item for a new service I discovered called Fiverr.com.

Fiverr is a crowdsourced marketplace, where you pay a “fiverr” five dollar minimum gig for somebody to complete a favour for you. There’s some funny ones on there like paying $5 for someone to wish you a happy birthday to paying $5 for someone to impersonate your favourite movie star. But, there’s also more serious gigs to help you outsource the small tasks you just don’t have time to complete.

I used Fiverr to pay for someone to create a Facebook Timeline Cover for the Facebook fan page. I felt like people needed a better cover photo than just my mug on there. And, since I can’t draw to save my life, I decided to give Fiverr a try and get someone to design something cool for me.

Check out the new Timeline Cover on the Facebook page! I’m curious to hear what you think.

Quick shout out to Rohit Vidwan for his creativity and quick turnaround on this cover photo!

Key Learning

Normally, I would have a few lessons to share with you this month. But, unfortunately, they can all be summed up into on BIG lesson.

No Posting = No Traffic!

The numbers speak for themselves…

While I had every intention of keeping up with weekly posts I promised and committed to you last month, I fell off the wagon in posting regularly in August :(

  • Blame it on procrastination.
  • Blame it on too many distractions (day job, birthday, vacation planning).
  • Blame it on “analysis paralysis” and over thinking the posts in the hooper.
  • Blame it on unrealistic or not so SMART goals I set out last month.

Well there is never a good enough excuse, my worst fear is letting you YOU – my friends, followers and customers – down. The last thing I want to do is disappoint anybody.

But, I realize I tend to take things a bit too seriously and can be pretty hard on myself. It is what it is and I cannot go back and change it. What I can do is move forward, look ahead to this month and set realistic, achievable goals.

Rather than trying to “kill myself” by trying to set a bunch of unachievable goals, I will be focusing on one and only goal for September.

  1. Publish one post each week

While this seems pretty simple and reasonable, I am pretty confident I can achieve this this goal. This puts the delivery of content as #1 priority and makes sure I can deliver on my promise of providing WEEKLY quality content to you, the readers. Once I can establish a regular posting rhythm, there’s no sense trying to layer in additional goals that will just distract from the core content delivery.

Looking Forward

I’d be lying if I told you the blog is the most exciting thing coming up for me in September.

Turkish coffee in Istanbul, Turkey

I’m heading to Turkey for
TWO WEEKS!

While technically I will be on vacation, I do plan on “testing the waters” for a few days with the whole “lifestyle design” and “nomad entrepreneur” concepts of working remotely while traveling.

  • On the plane ride over, this will give me plenty of time to get all my brainstorming and planning down for the “full court press” for the remainder of 2012.
  • Each morning while I’m sipping my Turkish coffee from the apartment patio, I’ll check in on emails, comments, tweets and likes to stay in the loop with what’s going on back home.
  • The bulk of the day will be spent touring and exploring the many wonders and culture Turkey has to offer. So I don’t expect much work to get done.
  • However, after enjoying a scrumptious meal and as the night winds down, I will write as much content as I can to get ahead for when I’m back.

Stay tuned for pics and stories!

Oh, and I do have a couple posts scheduled for the weeks I’m gone. So rest assured, I’ve learned my lesson from this month and won’t let that happen again.

Photo credits:
#18627043 | iStockphoto
#13207067 | iStockphoto

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What are your travel plans this fall? Any other nomad entrepreneurs out there? How do you balance work vs travel to get a fuller experience out of life?

Leave a comment below and tell us where you’re off to!

Comments

  1. Hey Blair,
    Congrats on your first dollar man. Awesome milestone! Turkey sounds exciting. Enjoy and be safe. Looking forward to the pics and stories :)

  2. Like Donna said congrats on your first dollar. I remember when I first started I was so excited when I made my first commission that I couldn’t sleep that night. Just be constant with the things you do and you will accomplish anything.

    Another thing just remember that “A goal is a dream with a deadline”.

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