I don’t know about you. But I’m happy that 2013 is in the past tense and 2014 is here. A New Year always seems to bring promise to new opportunities, ideas, and the thought that this year can be better!
2013 Kicked My Ass!
I won’t go into everything that happened in 2013. Let’s just say 2013 kicked my ass in just about every conceivable way possible. With Google’s changes with Penguin, Panda, and then Hummingbird I ended up losing a lot of traffic on top of it all.
Was I penalized? No not necessarily. I’d like to think of it as more of being ‘right-sized’ in today’s market. In 2014 its going to be even tougher to get noticed and get traffic. I’m telling you from my own experience – don’t rely 100% on Google for your traffic. If you do you’ll end up in the same boat I am.
Time to Evaluate
2013 was more of a year to evaluate what I was doing. It was obvious that I was doing something wrong. (OK a LOT wrong!) I took the Christmas Holidays off to hang out with my family and take a close hard look at what I was doing. So in retrospect I did achieve a few goals in 2013. Just none of them were going to help me in the short term:
- Re-did avgjoegeek.net with Genesis – Of course StudioPress updated the Theme so its HTML5 / Responsive. No way am I going down that rabbit hole.
- Did a complete audit of the site and removed a lot of links and content that weren’t adding any value to you the reader or to me.
- Started to work on my efforts to build relationships with those I interact with in both Social Media and with other Bloggers
- Removed a lot of the advertising so its more focused. Tip: If your advertising isn’t working? Time to re-evaluate or consider dropping it altogether!
- Focus on trying to write more content that is helpful to you. From in-depth articles, to how tos, or reviews of products and services that I actually use. I give you my honest opinion to the point where although I’d love for you to click and purchase the affiliate link I post? I’d rather you go into it with open eyes. (I’m never going to be a salesman lol!)
Blogging Goals for 2014
So for 2014 this is my last big push to try and climb back up the mountain that Google seemed to have tossed me off of. It isn’t going to be easy I can tell you that. I’m hoping with working smarter not harder and doing the following I’ll be able to rise back to the top! Below are the blogging goals and ideas that I have for 2014 – which you could apply to your own blog or business too!
1. Write (Even) Better Content
This is one of the most important things you can do. And not just list posts either. They have to be in-depth articles that provide real information to those looking for it. No more can you get by with quick 300 word posts talking about the same old thing visitors have seen everywhere. If you aren’t delivering great information that goes beyond what your competitors offer? Guess where your visitors are going to go as well.
If you don’t believe me? Then check out this video on what Matt Cutts from Google has to say about it.
For example – I wrote 99 Ways to Promote Your Blog – And You Ain’t Doing One of Them? I thought it was a pretty great post. Then I read Ana Hoffman’s (from Traffic Generation Cafe) latest: 202 Bite Sized Tips to Insanely Increase Your Blogs Traffic. They are pretty close to the same article – except she did it a lot better. There are some great tips in both btw! 🙂
2. Create Products
I’m not talking about finding a bunch of garbage and rebranding it. This could be as simple as taking a compilation of your top posts (that have a similar topic) and easily convert them to PDF using PrintFriendly. You can offer it as a free download to new subscribers, or you can publish it on sites such as Scribd (for free) or even if you think you have something hot publish it on Amazon.
Personally, I’m hoping I can get more time to write and finish this book I started out as a joke with a friend of mine. Plus I have an idea for a WordPress plugin that I will probably have to hire someone to help me get it up and running.
3. Work On Your Email List – Still Worth Their Weight in Gold
If you haven’t already been working on your email lists since day 1? Your behind the 8 ball to catch up. If I had started my email list (or pushed harder for subscribers) I wouldn’t have been hit by Google so hard. If you haven’t already – at least get started with MailChimp which is free. If you already have one? You should start leveraging it and getting even more subscribers. Email is still up there when it comes to getting repeat traffic and sales.
If you look down below and sign up for my newsletter? You’ll get a free PDF you can keep on the above 99 Ways article. This way if you run out of ideas? You don’t have to remember where you saw the list at – you can just pull up the PDF again 😉
4. Get More Customers Instead of Visitors
Do you offer services on your own site? If you do how many do you have? You need to start selling yourself out there and let people know about the services you offer! One of the best ways I’ve done this is through networking with other like minded people and have found business that way. Another way is to write blog posts related to the topic and offer your services down near the bottom. Careful not to be too pushy though.
This year I’m going to revamp the Services page and see if I can’t drum up some more business which will bring in some steady income.
I’m Christening 2014 as the year for building relationships. Its no longer just how many people you have following you. It’s going to be more important to make a connection with those you meet online through your blog or Social Media – and spend more time working on those relationships. For me I’m going to be focusing more on Google Plus and Twitter as I tend to get better interaction. It will be up to you to evaluate what works for you and start focusing on it!
If you want to learn more on how to do that? You should really get on Google Plus and check out Wade Harman’s weekly HOA! He has some great guest, takes questions from the audience and you will learn a lot from them.
6. Spend Time Wisely
We all have busy lives. It is going to be even more important to not waste those precious minutes you have playing Candy Crush when you could spend it writing, talking with people, replying to emails, or any number of other things. If you are at your computer you should create a game plan on what you want to get done BEFORE you sit down to do it.
7. Invest in a New Host!
Its the price of doing business now. If you have a slow website chances are you are missing out on a lot of potential visitors. The last thing they want to see is the spinning icon while you page decides to load. If you plan on turning your blog into a business your going to need to fork out the dough and get a great hosting provider. For managed services WP Engine is one of the top out there – but it is expensive! Then again everything I’ve been researching is hovering right around the $20.00/mo mark just to get your foot in the door.
One of the big decisions I have to make this year is moving onto a new host. Since EIG owns Host Gator and migrated the site to their Provo, UT location I’ve had some downtime issues. It has also been dog slow even with leveraging Max CDN and trying to throw everything I can into speeding up WordPress. Its still just not cutting it.
Update: I finally moved to a new host! But it wasn’t with WP Engine. You’ll have to read the article to find out who!
As you can see its going to be a lot of work. I’m up for it though! Are you? What are your goals for 2014? I’d love to hear your challenges you wish to conquer whether it be with your blog, business, or life!
Image credit: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo