Think Traffic turned 2 years old in mid-March!
Today we’re going to take a look at what happened here over the last year in this special annual report.
If you have a minute today to help us out, we have a couple of questions at the end of this post for you. We would love to get your feedback.
First, I want to start by saying thank you. Thanks for being here. Thanks for supporting us. Thanks for reading our posts, watching our videos, linking to us, writing us and commenting here.
I have to pinch myself sometimes to see if this all is real.
Not to be too cheesy here, but I can’t believe this is what I get to do for work.
It’s all because of you that I get to wake up every morning to do something incredible: I connect with amazing people all around the world through the content we publish, through social media, and through the products we create.
We get to help so many great people create and grow meaningful websites and blogs. It’s a dream come true. Thank you again for helping make it possible.
Here are some quick stats for the year starting March 16, 2011 and ending March 15, 2012. Over 376,000 people stopped by this site. 5,173 new comments were left on 102 new blog posts. If you include our other sites (like Traffic School, How to Start a Blog that Matters and Expert Enough), well over 600,000 people visited us during the year.
We grew by 419% versus the year before in terms of audience size.
That translated to strong revenue growth for the overall business as well, which I’ll get into below.
Here’s what the growth of Think Traffic has looked like over the past two years (monthly visits):
We’re not the biggest online-marketing-focused blog in the world, but I like to think we have the smartest, most talented readers. Our growth has been steady, sustainable, predictable, profitable, and I’m VERY encouraged by the trend in the graph above.
I can’t wait to see what happens here over the next year, and I think you’ll want to stick around to see yourself 😉
Enough About Us. What Can You Learn from Our Last Year?
There are four things I attribute to our growth over the past year. Some of these might be helpful in your own business:
Putting Content First
We started 2011 by committing to writing epic shit. We didn’t always succeed, but when we did it translated to major audience growth and mindshare in our industry.
Producing great content continues to be one of the best things you can do to market your business online. Sloppy or mediocre content just doesn’t cut it. Invest in learning how to produce great content and watch your audience grow.
I’m talking about insanely useful/entertaining, mind blowing, life changing content here. Make sure you can recognize the difference.
Sticking to Our Values and Articulating our Raison d’être
We continue to harp on the importance of a unique selling proposition because most websites still don’t get it right.
Your unique selling proposition isn’t what you do, it’s why you’re different from everyone else.
Until you articulate exactly why your site or business is different, you’ll have an impossible time attracting a big audience.
Read about what happened when we really articulated how Think Traffic is different back in January of 2011.
Taking on Ambitious and Uncomfortable Projects
Every time we commit to doing something that stretches our comfort level, we seem to be rewarded with more readers, more revenue, and more recognition.
From Traffic School to The Hustle Project to How to Start a Blog that Matters to The Million Dollar Blog Project and launching Expert Enough, we definitely pushed the limits in terms of how many ambitious and challenging projects we could take on in one year.
We’re going to continue the theme this year with some even more challenging projects we have planned.
As we’ve mentioned before, launching a product will help grow your audience. Starting a big project will as well.
How are you stretching your limits and challenging yourself and your audience right now?
Being as Generous as Possible with Time and Knowledge
They say you can have anything you want if you help enough people achieve what they want.
We’ve put this to the test by responding to every email and comment possible, by mentoring up-and-comers and by giving away just about everything we know.
It seems to be working.
If you haven’t tried it yet, consider working tirelessly to help your readers/customers and potential readers/customers achieve what they desire and see where it takes you.
Other Things that Happened Last Year
On a personal level, I spent three months living in Mexico last year and two months traveling Europe. I attended the World Domination Summit in Portland, and BlogWorld in Los Angeles (I’ll be speaking at BlogWorld in NYC this June – if you’ll be there, please write me and we’ll connect).
The beauty of this kind of business is that you can run it from anywhere in the world where there’s an Internet connection and some inspiration.
You can generally set your own hours as well, but honestly it’s hard to take a solid week off when you’re running a business all by yourself. It can also get a little lonely working on your own for month after month.
That’s why I decided to add to the team last August by bringing on Caleb Wojcik as the Assistant Editor of Think Traffic. Caleb has been a huge help around here, and I was able to let him take the reigns while I completely disconnected from the Internet for a week for the first time in a decade or so.
How Did Think Traffic Earn Revenue Last Year?
If you read last year’s annual report, you saw that this site earned over $103,500 in revenue from three sources (with percentages of total revenue): products (55%), consulting (35%) and affiliate marketing (10%).
This year, things were a bit different. I’m not going to share our exact revenue numbers this year for several reasons (ask me in the comments and I’ll explain), but I can tell you revenue was much higher last year.
Our audience grew by 419%, but revenue didn’t grow quite as fast. That tells me we can spend less time on reaching new people and more time working with the readers we already have.
We made a conscious effort to transition away from consulting to more product and affiliate revenue. This helped boost sales overall, and has set us up for big growth over the next 12 months.
Consulting/coaching/freelancing is a fantastic way to get started earning revenue from a website/blog, but it can be exhausting and difficult to grow over a certain level without adding lots of staff.
I want to keep this business lean and flexible, and developing courses and information-based products is a better overall option for us.
Here’s how the revenue split changed over the past year: products (from Traffic School, The Hustle Project, Affiliate Marketing for Beginners and How to Start a Blog that Matters) – 67% (up from 55%), affiliate marketing – 20% (up from 10%) and consulting – 13% (down from 35%).
We have some BIG product plans over the next year, and I expect that 75% of our revenue will come from our various courses, 20% will come from affiliate offers and that we’ll do very little consulting.
March Growth Stats for Think Traffic
We won’t be publishing a separate monthly report for March 2012, so here are some stats for comparison to prior months:
We saw 43,836 visits this month (versus 37,010 last month), making March the highest traffic in a single month during the two year history of Think Traffic. Thanks everyone for your continued support and sharing of our content.
If you include traffic from our case study blog of Expert Enough (but not visits to the Start a Blog that Matters site) we had nearly 59,000 visits to our two sites in March.
Also, 484 new comments were left on the site last month, our new posts were retweeted 630 times (another new record) and we gained 880 subscribers (our biggest subscriber growth in a single month).
9 total posts were published last month (vs. 8 in the prior month), including 2 guest posts:
- 10 Examples of Why You Must Be Different to Stand Out Online
- 6 Quick Actions to Quadruple Your Mailing List in 3 Months
- 42 Timeless Ideas for Attracting More Visitors to Your Website
- Why Blogging Without a Plan Leads to Failure + How to Fix It (Guest Post by Peter Vogopoulos)
- How to Spice Up Your Blog with Interviews
- Don’t Know What to Write About? Here’s the Real Reason Why…
- This is How Derek Halpern Grew a 17,000 Subscriber Blog in 11 Months…
- Think Traffic Monthly Report – February 2012
- What Happens When Your Site is Featured on the Front Page of Yahoo? Plus: How to Get National Press (Guest Post by Jaime Tardy)
Top Traffic Sources
Top 10 Search Terms:
- blog topics: 707
- think traffic: 691
- unique selling proposition examples: 412
- unique selling proposition: 408
- personal introduction: 333
- sales pitch: 326
- unique selling point examples: 226
- blog post ideas: 227
- blog topic ideas: 178
- thinktraffic: 156
For a Limited Time: Traffic School is Opening Again
We haven’t opened enrollment to our flagship course Traffic School since last July. Over 225 students joined the program last year, and we’ll be finally opening the doors again in less than two weeks.
If you’re not familiar with the program, Traffic School is the most effective system available for growing a thriving audience and business online.
How do I know? The course framework was distilled from thousands of hours of experience in building successful websites. Not just my experience, but the experience of dozens of wildly successful online entrepreneurs, 14 of whom contributed in-depth lessons to the course that will teach you exactly how to duplicate or exceed their success.
We’re so sure that Traffic School will build a thriving audience for you that I will guarantee your success in the course. I’ll share full details on that guarantee on launch day. I think you’ll be impressed.
Because the spots filled up so quickly last time, enrollment was only open for 36 hours. This time around if you’re thinking about joining, sign up for the priority notification list and we’ll give you first notice when the doors open (maybe even a little early).
A Couple of Questions for You
Whether you’re a regular reader of Think Traffic or if you’re relatively new here, we’d like to ask you a couple of questions that will help us make the next year more useful to you.
First, what was the most helpful piece of content or project we released last year? We’d love to know exactly how we’ve helped you, or why you continue to read Think Traffic.
Next, what would you like to see more of at Think Traffic? What would you like to see less of?
As always, we appreciate you being here and value your opinion. Thanks for sharing your thoughts in the comments below.