Let’s start with the posts that went live in October…
Ouch – only four posts… For someone who made the commitment to post to this site twice a week for all of 2011, that stings quite a bit – especially since I had a lot of good content planned to go live as part of Case Study 4 on improving conversion rates.
As I mentioned in the “Progress and Setbacks” post, I had a few challenges this month – primarily, a month-long cold that eventually turned into pneumonia. At that point, my priority became taking care of my writing clients at the expense of this site, as they’re the ones who pay most of my bills right now.
(And yes, I’m painfully aware that this situation could have been avoided if I was a good blogger who worked ahead and had extra content in reserve… I guess there’s always room for improvement!)
But here’s the funny thing. I was getting pretty down on myself about having to write this post and admit to you all that I really dropped the ball this month, when I came across this quote on a new post over at Advanced Riskology:
“Every great challenge comes with great setbacks. If setbacks are something that everyone must experience, then the only thing that really matters is how you react to them.”
So many thanks to Tyler for reminding me that having a down month is one thing, but the key to long-term success is to avoid letting those setbacks spiral out of control.
In that spirit, I’m pressing forward with my conversion rates case study. Although I had initially only planned to post on it through October, I’m extending it for two more weeks in order to cover all of the topics I want to get to. Here’s what you can expect to see in the next two weeks:
• November 3rd – Copywriting Tweaks that Improve Conversions
• November 7th – Effective Email Marketing Strategies
• November 11th – Final Case Study 4 Wrap-up
I’ve lost a good bit of time on this case study, but I’m going to kick things up a notch over the next two weeks and see if I can’t make at least a little progress on it. I’ll keep you posted!
In other Common Sense Marketing news, October continued to be a record-breaking month in terms of traffic. As you’ll recall from last month, the following are my traffic figures from September 2011:
And although I was blown away to hit over 18,000 visits, October was even better:
Now, it’s still not all good (whoever thought that having too much traffic would be an issue?!). Common Sense Marketing is run off a reseller hosting account, which means that I set the bandwidth limits for each site I run. And although I bumped up that number to higher levels than I ever thought I’d hit, the Stumbleupon traffic coming in to my site still blew it out twice in October.
And because I was out sick for much of the month, I wasn’t as quick to respond to these outages as I should have been. I finally learned my lesson, jacked up the monthly bandwidth to a level that I *really* don’t think I’ll hit and set up a free alert through SiteUptime that will notify me by email if my site goes down again.
Unfortunately, it seems that there were some negative consequences resulting from this downtime. Interestingly enough, every time the site crashed due to exceeded bandwidth, the Stumbleupon traffic died down to reasonable levels for a few days before picking back up again. It’s still down after the last outage, and I’ll admit there’s a part of me that hopes it stays that way!
The bigger issue, however, is that Google dropped the PageRank of Common Sense Marketing from a PR3 to a PR1, although I can’t say for sure whether this is the result of the downtime or the high bounce rate of the Stumbleupon traffic. Either way, it’s not a huge deal, since having a high PageRank has never been a real objective of mine, but it’s still a bummer to see that number go down.
On the positive side, my decision to add an email list opt-in form to the 15 Ways to Get Paid to Write article has been paying off, as over 70 new Common Sense Marketers have joined the community through this page. Yes, that’s only a .2% conversion rate for that specific form, but it’s still 70 new members that wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t added the form.
So that’s what’s going on with the site for now. As the year winds down, I’m starting to plan ahead for 2012, and I’m beyond excited about some of the ideas that are taking shape. I’ll have more announcements for you next month, so be sure to check back for November’s wrap-up post in a few weeks.
In other news, I’m a month closer to my anticipated “making the leap to self-employment” date, which means that I’m continuing to push forward to eliminate as much debt as possible before then. This month’s payoff amount was quite a bit lower than September’s was, largely due to the time I was out sick. But despite all that, I was still able to pay off $1,036.98 of credit card debt in October. And yes – that’s a highly specific number for a reason…
This payoff was a milestone for me, as it wiped out the last of the debt on a $6,500 credit card that’s been maxed out for over three years and represented the largest single debt in my name. I can’t tell you how stressed out I used to feel looking at the balance and thinking I’d never be able to pay it all off. And now, the way I feel when I look at the balance and see $0 – no money owed – is truly incredible.
That leaves about $6,400 left on one final credit card. My goal is to blast through this one as well, putting down about $2,000 for each of the next three months. That will be a challenge, as I’ve got some big business expenses planned for the next two months and traveling home for the holidays will eat into the budget as well, but I’m optimistic. I’m looking for another long-term writing client in the health or fitness industries right now, and if I can find the right person, that will get me a lot closer to meeting my goal.
So that’s where I’m at right now. I’m still playing catch up from being out sick, but I’ve got a lot of great stuff on the horizon that’s getting me fired up and helping me stay motivated. I’m truly excited about where I see this site heading and I can’t wait to tell you more about it next month.
How was your October? Got any goals for the upcoming month that you’d like to share?