A Call to Action celebrated its 3 month anniversary a few days ago, so I figured I’d throw up another update. My last update was around the 6 week mark and this little blog has come pretty far since then.
Though I still have no freakin’ idea what I’m doing, I’m not quite as clueless as I was 6 weeks ago. I still know nothing about HTML or CSS, but I’ve managed to figure out a few things that have helped me on the backend.
My problem is that I have little interest in the technical side of things. I like writing and connecting with people, but the actual day to day maintenance and improvement of the website is something that still escapes me.
I’m working on it.
Some Improvements I Need to Make
- User friendly web design – I like the all black and red theme as far looks go, but it’s not the easiest on the eyes (unless you often work by candlelight like I do). I’m thinking maybe a steel gray or something. I dunno. I’ve been putting this one off for awhile because I suck at design. I’ve considered purchasing a professional theme, but I’m afraid I’m still just going to make something bland and be out $60-$100.
- Better Subscription Service – The sign up widget needs to be a bit more prominent (not obnoxious though) and it would be courteous to at least have some sort of “Thank You” landing page or something after someone signs up. Right now it just returns you to the homepage. It took me about 8 frustrating hours just to figure out how to set up Aweber, and my head was spinning by the time I was finally done. I wanted it over with and so I dropped the ball when it came time to close the show.
- Create a Newsletter – Right now the subscription service just gives email updates whenever I publish a new post. I would like to start sending out a newsletter on occasion for those who have subscribed. I know I can do that through Aweber, but I still have to figure it out. After the frustrating day I spent setting up Aweber, I haven’t returned to my account since. I just need to man the fuck up and get to it.
- Revamp my “Start Here” Page – Instead of just the one post, I want to include my most popular and personal favorites here too. Now that I actually have an archive with enough content worth highlighting, I have no more excuses to keep putting this off. This one is happening soon. (Update 2/12/13: I put up my new “Best Of” page last Thursday. Check it out!)
Still, considering the amateurish state of my website, things have really improved since my last update. My unique visitors per day has roughly doubled. Usually around the mid-teens to mid-twenties per day. I’m currently showing a bit over 400 unique visitors per month.
I know that ain’t much, but I’m pleased considering the only active promotion I do is commenting on some of my favorite websites. I also link to posts on my meager facebook page, and I’ll tweet them a few times. But that’s about it. I haven’t tried writing any guest posts yet, and my understanding is that’s the way to increase traffic.
It’s all good though, I probably couldn’t handle a lot of traffic at this point anyway. I’m just a newb and have a ton to learn before I’m going to be any good at this.
Here’s the Good News
Reader participation has increased dramatically! When I made my first update 6 weeks ago, I was barely receiving any comments at all. In my first month, the only person that was regularly commenting on my posts was my little brother. Now I’m getting a lot more comments and some pretty good discussion going.
I love it! Thank you everybody!
Plus, I receive a lot of feedback from people through other methods like the contact form, facebook, twitter, etc. Considering how unknown this site is, I’d say this crew’s pretty engaged. Especially since I’m not one to make calls to action at the end of my posts (the irony here does not escape me). But they say that’s what you have to do to get comments.
- Joe Barnes over at Screw the System profiled me in his newsletter, and I contributed an article to it as well.
- Not really a highlight, but I discovered Alexa rankings. When I first checked it I was listed somewhere in the 22,000,000+ range. Currently I’m at 2,254,430. Better, but I still have a long way to go before global domination.
- I finally got listed in Technorati. It only took 2 freakin’ months!
- Listed in Alltop as well.
Most Popular Recent Posts
I thought I’d highlight some of the more compelling articles I’ve written since my last update. I chose these based on the number of comments, facebook likes, personal feedback, and page views.
- My Last New Year’s Resolution . . . Ever – This is my most popular post judging by page views. In short, it’s about my final pathetic resolution and why I will never make another.
- Steak and Eggs Diet Challenge Intro – The kickoff to the series chronicling the ups and downs I’m going through with this insanely stupid diet. Honestly, I’m not sure why this is so popular, but according to Google Analytics its currently number one (topped only in total page views by the resolution post). Maybe it’s the ridiculously low-cropped-barely-PG13 pictures of my naked hairy ass. Who wouldn’t want to see that? Yeah, that must be it.
- 25 Things I’ve Discovered from Living in a Barn – For once, I actually wrote a light hearted post. Apparently, the fact that I live in a barn is pretty damn cool. Thanks for helping me realize that everyone!
- 6 Reasons You Don’t Want to Exercise . . . and How to Get Over Them – The title says it all. It helps that this was posted just a couple weeks after the turn of the New Year . . . when new gym goers begin to lose their resolve. Coincidence?
- Easy Weight Loss with the “Kill It or Grow It” Diet Plan – My first post that was ever linked to on another blog (non-carnival). Two blogs, actually. That felt pretty good. I believe its popularity is due to the simplicity of such a primal idea. Kill it, grow it . . . or don’t eat it.
- Slim Down AND Get Strong with this One Ridiculously Effective Exercise – Another surprise hit. I honestly didn’t think anyone would care about this humble exercise other than myself, but I posted it anyways and it seemed to strike a chord with people. Go figure.
And Now For Something Completely Different
I’m going to throw in some random shit here. Just because.
- My post “Grab Life By The Balls!” is the first post that’s ever made Google’s front page in search results. It briefly held the number 9 spot for a week or so. I wish I had taken a screenshot. It’s since moved back to the second page. But for a short glorious time, all the 5 or 6 people in the world who searched the term “grab life by the balls” got to see my post listed – assuming they scrolled down to the bottom of the page, that is.
- Other than that, you still won’t find me on Google. At least, not within the first 50 pages. Yeah, my SEO sucks. (Update 2/10/13: in less than a week I’ve somehow managed to land on page 22 in Google’s search results. Fuck yeah!)
- Maybe that’s why I get such strange-ass search terms that pull my website. Here’s a screenshot from Webmaster Tools showing some of the weird shit people search for. I’m a little afraid that these are the terms that pull up my website. Not “health” or “exercise” or “motivation”. I get shit like “nut fucking.” I don’t even know what that is, but it sounds horribly painful.
Until Next Time
As much as I’m still very much an amateur, I LOVE this blogging business. I may not have the technical know-how. I may suck at self-promotion (every time I post my latest article on facebook and twitter I die a little inside). But it’s totally worth it in order to speak my mind, share my thoughts, beliefs, and feelings, and to connect with all the cool cats (that’s you) of the blogosphere. I didn’t even know blogosphere was a word a couple months back.
So a heartfelt thanks to all you who’ve been reading, commenting, and connecting with me. Your encouragement has turned this little experiment into a true calling. I had no idea something as simple as a little blog could open so many doors and put me in touch with such interesting people. And the best part . . .
This is only the beginning.