As many of you know, when I started the year, I set some annual goals for my business. I think its very important to set goals both to help you think about where your focus should be, but also to work towards something that can bring financial or personal success.
The goals that I have shared on my blog here are all business goals. I've also set many other personal goals that I have not discussed at all here.
As part of the goal process, I wanted to report monthly on how those goals were going. You may have noticed that I missed my report from last month. However, I'm back this month and am still working to achieve the goals that I originally set out to accomplish.
So, lets jump right into it!
My 6 Goals
1. Build 2 Public Niche Sites:
I have completed one public niche site project for the year already! As you may know, I built the site BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com publicly and have revealed every step of the process right here.
The site has done amazingly well…and I TRULY hope that you have received value from that case study. As revealed, the site earned $474.76 last month. Awesome. I will continue to provide progress on this site and share earnings, but the “hard part” of this niche site case study is complete.
However, my original goal was to share TWO public niche sites! So, perhaps its time to start thinking about round 2.
I could certainly participate in Pat Flynn's Niche Site Duel 2.0, as the timing is just right. Or I could do another site on my own. What are you thoughts on the subject? And what would you like to see me do differently if I do a second public niche site?
2. Accomplish at least 1 “Niche Pursuit”:
Still no progress on this yet. Any suggestions on what this “Niche Pursuit” should be?
3. Double the Average Monthly Unique Visitors to NichePursuits.com:
The total unique visitors in 2012 was approximately 200k for 2012. So, to hit 400k unique visitors in 2013, I should be getting about 33k unique visitors per month. In May, I had 37,125 UNIQUE visitors to my blog! This means I am at my goal level of traffic…woohoo!
However, in order to hit my ANNUAL goal I will need to continue increasing the amount of traffic to my blog. I need 400k visits and so need to make up for the lower traffic months at the beginning of the year. Through the end of May, I had 126,768 unique visitors; and I needed to be at 165k after 5 months. So, I'm getting very close to where I want to be.
4. Double the Affiliate Sales on NichePursuits.com:
Last year, I only made approximately $9,000 from affiliate sales from NichePursuits.com. I've never tried real hard to sell affiliate products here, and don't plan on adding to much more advertising. However, because my traffic has increased, I've seen a nice uptick in affiliate sales as well.
Through the end of May, I am at approximately $7,000 in affiliate commissions from my blog. I have a good shot of actually hitting this goal as well.
Here's some of the bigger sources of the affiliate commissions:
- Skimlinks.com (Google Adsense Alternative)
- Point Blank SEO Linkbuilding Course
- EasyAzon – Amazon affiliate link builder
I obviously make money from other products that I refer people to as well – however, I own these products. I don't reveal the income made from my own products. Here's a few of those products:
- Long Tail Pro (Keyword Research Software)
- Long Tail Classroom (Video Training Course for Niche Websites)
- Niche Website Theme (WordPress Theme)
- Welcome Splash (Welcome Page Opt-in forms)
5. Double my Income from Niche Sites:
I also don't reveal the total income I make from my niche websites. But to be clear, I make much more from niche websites than I do from the affiliate commissions I just revealed above.
I have only revealed the income made from my public niche site, but I have a couple hundred OTHER sites that I also own. Some of these sites make more than my public niche site, and some make less.
So, while I understand its not as exciting to just hear percentages; I am simply going to state that my total niche site income is UP about 20% so far this year. So, I am far from accomplishing my goal, but I am headed in the right direction.
I haven't built as many sites as I had hoped, as I am spending more and more time with other parts of my business…and other projects that I haven't discussed here. HOWEVER, I have just started looking for another full-time virtual assistant that I hope to hire soon.
This new VA will be responsible for growing my niche site business; according to my instructions. I'll give more details on this once I actually have someone hired and they are up and running.
6. Read 1 Business Book Per Month:
I didn't quite finish my book during May, but I DID read 2 books in April, so I still feel somewhat vindicated on this one :). One of the books I read in April was: Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt.
I'm going to be honest here, and simply say that I did not find the book very memorable. The information is good, but is nothing new for someone that already blogs, knows how to use Twitter, and overall understands social media. (Probably everyone reading this blog).
Let me be clear, the information provided is good in the book, and so are the tips. But its so general, that I did not find anything that I couldn't have found by reading a few blog posts. In fact, many of the chapters felt like a short blog post that Michael just re-purposed for his book. And to clarify, Michael's blog posts don't tend to be very in-depth – he mentions specifically that he doesn't try to go over 500 words.
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So, the book was about the same. You got a lot of interesting sound bites, but nothing you could really chew on.
The book is primarily written for authors or those trying to become a speaker for conferences, etc. The gist of the book was to create a great product, create a blog, create a twitter following, and build your potential audience.
A large portion of the book was dedicated to how to start a blog (not very detailed), how to write blog posts quicker, how to deal with comments, explaining twitter, how to tweet, and how to get followers. It was mostly all very big picture stuff, and I don't think people that already have a blog or a Twitter account would find much new information.
Was the book well-written? Yes.
Did the book provide useful information? Yes – but mostly only if you don't have a blog or Twitter account.
Would I recommend this book to others? No.
I was actually expecting a MUCH better book based on the rave reviews I saw on Amazon. But as I did more research, I started to understand better. Michael Hyatt already had a HUGE following long before he published this book. So, it didn't matter so much what he published, it would have sold well (because of his following).
But I still figured, well he built a HUGE blog following and a HUGE Twitter following, so he much have done something amazing, right? Well, even that is somewhat deceiving. As it turns out, Michael was actually the CEO of a publishing company called Thomas Nelson Publishers. When he was CEO a number of years ago, he started a blog to keep his employees informed. So, IMMEDIATELY by virtue of being CEO of the company, he had thousands of employees reading his blog.
So, his growth wasn't organic. He was CEO and the employees read his blog. Not a real inspiring story. He continues to maintain that blog and it has obviously grown, but it was already huge from day 1. The same can basically be said for his Twitter following. Michael was already “someone” before he started blogging or tweeting.
Now there's nothing wrong with this. But he wrote this book to teach people how to make a name for themselves.
So, anyone starting a blog or just starting with a Twitter account will probably not see the same success that Michael saw (we don't all have thousands of employees that we can immediately tap in to). For “normal” people, we will need to do much more work than what is explained in his book.
In Conclusion and Your Thoughts
Overall, I'm happy with how my the month of May turned out! I've seen some great growth on my blog here, and made significant progress on my other goals as listed.
However, I also see that I have some work to do. In particular, I need to start a second public niche site project soon, and I also need to start a “niche pursuit” (small business project). I hope to start the ball rolling on possibly both of these in the next month or so. Expect to see some blog posts on these in the near future.
If you have any suggestions for either my next niche site project and a different small business idea, I would love to hear from you in the comments.
And if you have any other comments, questions, or points of discussion, please let me know below.