December 2011 Monthly Report – Think Traffic and Expert Enough

  • January 5, 2012 by Corbett Barr
  • 33 Comments

Its time for another Think Traffic monthly report! In this report we’ll also be including details of what went on over at our case study blog Expert Enough.

Last month was interesting for a number of reasons. It was the first full month for Expert Enough. Between the two blogs we published 22 posts, (with over half written by guest authors). We launched the Expert Enough podcast and published content on all kinds of topics from chocolate to blogging to goal setting.

We now run three blogs through our tiny business with just two full time people. Over the past few months, we’ve become a micro publisher.

No longer are we simply bloggers. This isn’t a good or bad thing necessarily, but it does present some unique challenges, which I’ll discuss later in this report.

We saw 30,113 visits this month (versus 32,441 last month). There was a slight decline in this month’s traffic to TT, as we also saw last December, but if you include traffic from our case study blog of Expert Enough we had over 47,000 visits to our two sites in December.

Now let’s talk about some specific Think Traffic stats for the month.


December Growth Stats for Think Traffic

Here are some other stats for last month:

  • New Comments: 339
  • Re-tweets of New Posts: 417 
  • New Subscribers: 234

9 total posts were published last month (vs. 12 in the prior month), including 5 guest posts and 1 interview:

Thanks to Gregory, Eugene, Peep, Joel, and Andy for the guest posts last month.

This was one of the few (perhaps the only) months in which over 50% of the posts we published were guest posts.

We would love to know: do you like when we publish guest posts here? Let us know in the comments. If so, what would you like to see more of? If not, why not?

Also, if there are any special guests you’d like us to interview or ask to write for Think Traffic, we’d love to hear it in the comments.

We’re pretty happy with the overall traffic we drove as a company last month, but I’d like to see Think Traffic get back to faster growth in the coming months.

To do that, we’ll be launching a new product in January that should generate some buzz and give us new opportunities to reach new audiences. We’ll also be focused on a refreshed content strategy and on getting featured on other sites.

Top Traffic Sources

The top 5 traffic sources for this month were Google search, “direct”, RSS feed visitors, Twitter and Facebook. No surprises there. I’d like to see more referral traffic from other blogs, so we’ll be doing some outreach and reconnecting with people around the blogosphere soon.

Top Search Terms:

  • think traffic: 440
  • unique selling proposition: 329
  • personal introduction: 265
  • unique selling proposition examples: 240
  • thinktraffic: 197
  • sales pitch: 193
  • blog post ideas: 160
  • unique selling point examples: 116
  • not stereo: 102
  • best sales pitch: 89

Top Content

5 of the blog posts this month made it on the top 10 posts/pages for the month. I especially enjoyed the guest post from Peep Laja about how he attracted 50k visitors to his blog in the first month.

Expert Enough Recap – December 2011

Over at Expert Enough, we attracted 16,823 visitors last month (vs. 21,563 in the prior month). The decline was to be expected after the launch buzz from November wore off. We’ll be working hard in the coming months to build on the base we’ve established.

If you’ve been following along with the Million Dollar Blog Project, we’ll have one or two posts this month related to the project that will cover building your blog’s audience in the months after you launch.

On the revenue front, Expert Enough earned $165.17 in December, which came from sales of our Expert Enough Manifesto poster and from affiliate sales of Benny Lewis’ language hacking guide. As I mentioned last month, we’re focused on building the audience for the next few months before we ramp up the revenue at EE.

One of the challenges we’re working through at Expert Enough is how to dial in the perfect content strategy. Some of our posts have been on fairly obscure topics that don’t always appeal to the entire audience. “Expertise” is fairly broad.

Instead of creating in-depth guides about expertise on lots of different topics, we’re going to start focusing on helping readers acquire the tools to gain expertise in a more generic sense. Some of the topics we’ll be experimenting with include productivity, rapid learning, improving memory, deliberate practice.

In the early months of a new blog, it’s important to watch and listen to your audience carefully. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your content and to change your strategy quite a bit in the beginning. Rarely can you have everything figured out right away, so it’s normal to change your content formula after you start.

I’m a ProBlogger “Blogger to Watch in 2012″!

At the end of last month I was honored to be named one of 2012′s bloggers to watch over at ProBlogger. Thanks to Darren Rowse and Jade Craven for including me there. Check out the list — there are tons of great people to follow.

Join us for a Live Class on Building a Thriving Audience

Today we’re holding a class at Noon Pacific / 3pm Eastern to help you learn how to build a thriving audience for your blog.

Join us to learn about creating sharable content, promoting your content on other sites, engaging and converting your visitors to become dedicated fans.

If you’re reading this after the class date, you can also access a complete recording at the link above.

Cheers and thanks for reading. I hope these reports are helpful. Here’s to a fantastic and fruitful 2012 from me and Caleb.

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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Adam January 5, 2012 at 6:30 am

To answer your question… “We would love to know: do you like when we publish guest posts here?”

I gotta say, NO.

Though the quality of guest posts here is much, much higher than most sites’ (so you definitely do a good job screening and approving the content), the quality still doesn’t compare to your posts. Yours are epic. There’s aren’t usually quite at that level.

Plus, most of the time, I can’t help but think of the intention of the guest posters. They’re basically trying to write something you’ll approve to help them get a strong backlink. Nothing wrong with that, but the cynic in me can’t help thinking of that when I start reading a new post and see it’s a guest poster.

Obviously, the reality is that, as your micro publishing empire grows, guest posts will become vital out of necessity, as your personal resources will be stretched thin, and I realize that. I’m not going to stop reading your blog because of that.

But again, I wanted to give my honest opinion. And I’m much more a fan of your original content than those from guest posters.

Cheers!

Corbett Barr January 5, 2012 at 11:02 am

Hey Adam, thanks so much for the honest feedback. We always appreciate it. I totally understand what you’re saying and we’ll be working on addressing it somehow.

David January 5, 2012 at 7:22 am

Yep, i agree with Adam, way to many guest posts recently. Maybe try to stick to the 80/20 rule with guest posts? So if you had 10 posts in a month 2 would be guest posts, rather than having 9 posts and 5 being guest posts.

Corbett Barr January 5, 2012 at 11:03 am

Thanks for the feedback David. Cheers!

Sunil from The Extra Money Blog January 5, 2012 at 7:26 am

I have to say no to guest posting – although it hurts the potential for me ever writing on TT ;)

Happy new year and all the best in 2012

Corbett Barr January 5, 2012 at 11:03 am

Cool, thanks Sunil.

Dave Doolin January 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Guest posts, yes. And not because I expect to submit a guest post (not my thing), but I enjoy and appreciate the wide range of authors you have had as guests.

Corbett Barr January 5, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Awesome Dave, thanks much! Good to hear from you. I hope all is well.

Jade Craven January 5, 2012 at 3:49 pm

I say continue with guest posts, but listen very closely to the feedback you get from readers. You’ve built a reputation for epic content so maybe a style/guest post page will help people meet the readers expectations. I think it will be beneficial in the long term but there may be a few bumps as your audience learns to adjust to new people, and you learn what people want from the new posts.

Corbett Barr January 5, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Thanks for the thoughts Jade. I agree, running guest posts successfully mostly depends on controlling quality and topics better. We’re growing and learning along the way. It’s a good challenge to have :)

Trung Nguyen January 5, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Hey Corbett,

In fact, I really love reading the report of the blog that could show to me the real result about the blog which I’m reading, Is it worthy to me take the time to read? I realized your blog was late, but obviously, ThinkTraffic.net quickly became my favorite blog, you could see it on my post here, http://www.blogging24h.com/113/10-blogs-should-follow/ . I only have a goal for my new blog is get the high quality traffic like your blog got.

Thanks for the sharing, love it.

Trung Nguyen.

David January 6, 2012 at 8:43 am

Hi Corbett, how’s the view in Mexico? Congrats on a successful first month at Expert Enough too.

First to answer your question, I tend to agree with Jade. I love your posts but a bit of variety would be great. Guidelines and being more selective with guest posters are a great idea.

I’ve got a question about your web hosting. You’re pushing 30k visits and 57k pageviews per month now, are you still on Hostgator’s shared hosting that you recommend in your Resources page? If so, which plan are you on? Thanks

Caleb Wojcik January 7, 2012 at 9:43 am

Hi David,

Yes, we are still just on the Host Gator share hosting, with no issues. The exact one on our resources page.

Tram Tran @young business oppotunities January 7, 2012 at 4:24 am

I appreciate the importance of guest posting. The guest posters don’t always want just a link back to their site, they also want to expose to a larger group of audience, and let me tell you, if nothing makes performers happier than having a big crowd, nothing would make bloggers feel more appreciated than knowing their stuff is read/ watched/ shared/ talked about by many people.

Thank you Corbett, for your time and control over guest posting. The quality is way more than I expected. Awesome job.
Btw, I just mentioned you in my latest report, check it out sometimes =D http://www.startyoungfinishfirst.com/december-2011-achivements-the-lessons-learnt.html

Corbett Barr January 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Thanks for the mention Tram and congrats on the progress.

Michael January 7, 2012 at 8:16 am

While I’m chiming in late on the subject of guest posts at TT, I have to agree with the sentiments expressed for fewer each month.

The 80/20 rule would work fine but I would also add the following to that suggestion: have recurring guest post writers on tightly defined topics who can write in serial fashion.

That way we continue reading epic shit from you and Caleb while getting refined perspectives in series written by active bloggers.

However you adjust the ratio, I’ll still have TT as essential reading for building a thriving audience for mybrooklynreport.com :) .

Corbett Barr January 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Thanks for the vote Michael, we appreciate it!

Chris January 8, 2012 at 12:49 am

In relation to the issue of guest bloggers and leaving comments…. When I am searching blogs and the web in general for interesting things to read it looks to me like a vast majority of the peopl leaving comments are doing it purely for SEO reasons. They can’t even be bothered to read the post they have commented on and just leave some meaningless comment like, “Great post, and keep up the good work. “or” I have tried to subscribe by RSS but your link is down.” To me this is nothing more than spam! On a couple of sites I have had in the past I would see that people had commented on my posts and get myself all excited only to be disappointed to find a long list of meaningless remarks in a blatant attempt to build a back link. Instead of spending their whole time leaving spammy comments on other people’s sites they should just concentrate on writing interesting and good quality content for their own sites! Enough said!

Corbett Barr January 8, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Great point Chris. I usually don’t bother posting short empty comments. Most of that stuff is basically just spam.

Monja January 8, 2012 at 3:59 am

Great job, Corbett! Thanks for sharing – I always love to read these posts, they are so encouraging. Especially from people who share the good, the bad and the ugly :-)

Corbett Barr January 8, 2012 at 1:06 pm

What fun is the good without the bad, right?

David January 8, 2012 at 5:32 pm

WP Engine is great. I highly recommend it to anyone who values their time and doesn’t want to tweak server settings. I would also try Page.ly out – their basic plan starts at $19 so it’s not as expensive.

I’m curious to see when you guys start to hit the limits of shared hosting. Please contact me if you need help migrating to WP Engine or similar – http://clickwp.com/contact :)

Ajay Chavda January 8, 2012 at 8:47 pm

We would love to know: do you like when we publish guest posts here?

Yes. I gotta disagree there Adam.

My perspective is that guest posts provide a great opportunity for otherwise unknown bloggers to surface. I have read some very great guest blog posts on kikolani and have later followed those guest posters to find some amazing blogs that I would have otherwise not found.

Plus it gives a completely different perspective to the topic at hand from Corbett – the original poster here.

Guest blogging is inconsistent with the quality of the blog . However it does bring about some great topics that would have otherwise missed this mainstream blog.

Chris January 10, 2012 at 2:45 am

I agree. I think you have to allow guest posting/blogging. If a great comment has been written there is a good chance it will lead you to a great blog. Hopefully all of the spam comments will get filtered out, we will find some great blogs and we can all share good quality info and our different points of view.

Victoria January 10, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Occasional, high quality guest posts can be good, but I’d rather hear from you, not them.

More Web Site Traffic Guide January 11, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I’d say yes to guest posts. As long as the quality is good and the information is genuinely stated. But of course, there should be a moderation in posting guest posts. The 80:20 ration suggested above is a good number.

Jamie Northrup January 13, 2012 at 8:32 am

I like the Guest Posts, as long as the quality is good, I don’t care if the motivation is for backlinks or not, it’s the content that matters.

I’ve noticed a lot monthly reports showing that traffic has been down, I assume it has to do with the Holidays a lot of people are out of routine because of vacation time, family time and gift buying and receiving time.

Corbett Barr January 13, 2012 at 8:46 am

Hey Jamie, traffic can be down over the holidays, but it depends on the industry. Obviously shopping-related sites see a big spike in December. Entrepreneurship and marketing sites usually will stay flat or see a little dip.

Shefiu January 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm

A very informative article indeed. Guest posting is fine, providing it’s kept to a minimum. A very high proportion should be written by you…it’s mainly why I visit your blog to read your valuable posts. It’s your blog and predominantly the articles posted should reflect that.

David January 7, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Hi Caleb, thanks for replying. I’ve got a follow up question. On the Resources page it says that TT is on a $19/mo plan but I don’t see such a plan for Hostgator shared hosting. Are you guys on a reseller plan?

I’m curious because a client of mine with less traffic than you guys can’t keep her site up on shared hosting.

Corbett Barr January 8, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Hey David, yes, we’re on a “reseller” plan at about $19 a month (prepaid two years). It handles this site, as well as corbettbarr.com, Traffic School and a handful of other projects. Your friend’s experience could be related to the type of traffic she’s getting, or the specific server she’s on with her hosting plan. I’ve heard that the quality of shared hosting depends on who else is on the server you’re on. Let us know how it goes for you.

Oh, and since you asked, the view down here (in Mexico) is lovely :)

David January 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Thanks Corbett, appreciate the details. I think my client’s site isn’t really optimized – badly coded theme, etc. I moved her to WP Engine in the end ($49/mo). Enjoy Mexico!

Corbett Barr January 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm

How’s the WP Engine working out so far?

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