Yes, it has been awhile. My bad.
This post has been a long time coming, and I’m embarrassed to even type it out, but… I’ve neglected you.
I sincerely apologize.
My professional day-job can often be demanding, and a project came up this year that was all-encompassing. This made it very difficult to spend any “free” time on this blog and related projects.
It’s the harsh reality of trying to balance a career/full-time work, while also trying to hustle on the side.
It’s particularly painful when you know the very thing you’re neglecting is what you’d rather be spending your time on. Anyone who’s trying to follow a passion or turn a hobby into a business – while also making sure the bills are paid in the meantime – know this nagging feeling all too well.
It happens. And I’m not saying it won’t happen again. But it’s a reality-check to myself that I need to work harder to make this sustainable (within the context of my existing lifestyle), without having to resort to extended periods of absence.
Let’s consider this a mid-year “reboot”. Or at the very least, just me giving myself a boot-in-the-ass to get going again 😉
Thriving on Neglect
Sometimes funny things happen when you’re not paying attention.
Like how this blog increased its visitors by over 950%!!
During the first 6 months of this blog, between September 2014 and March 2015, when I was publishing approximately one post per week – I would only receive just over 110 unique visitors per month. I would lightly monitor traffic, but not stress over it, given the site is still new, and I was going to write regardless.
During the most recent 4 month period that I had to step away from writing, between April and August, monthly traffic increased over 14x – to about 1,600 visitors per month. Yes, these are still relatively small potatoes compared to some blogs, but it’s not nothing.
To me, the increase in visitors is huge; but looking at the analytics as a whole, there is a noticeable reduction in the quality of the traffic – fewer pages [visited] per session, lower average session duration and a higher bounce rate. These are indicative of people visiting a site, seeing little new content or engagement, and then leaving (maybe never to return again!) Nonetheless, I am overwhelmed with gratitude toward anyone who stumbles upon Testing the Muse.
It’s common knowledge that webpages, particularly blogs, rank higher on search results if they are updated regularly (i. timely) and have good content, relative to what people are searching (ii. relevant).
Unlike a trusty houseplant, I’m positive any blog wouldn’t thrive on neglect for very long. I take this brief surge in interest as the search engines catching up with my earlier content. Hallelujah!
Welcome new Subscribers
As a by-product of increased traffic, our subscriber base grew by 70%!
So I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our subscribers, and in particular those who joined within the last several months while I was hibernating.
Thank you for coming along for the ride and hanging in there while I got my act together.
Make no mistake about it – my hiatus was not the result of a loss of motivation or a lack of prioritization. It’s actually the result of prioritization; unfortunately there are other, more pressing issues that needed greater attention.
But how do you make sure that you’re still moving forward, even in bite-sized pieces, on other projects that aren’t [as] pressing, but are still nonetheless important?
This question made me realize that I need to put a better system in place for those times where working on these extracurriculars won’t be easy. Putting in work on the side needs to be sustainable, so it doesn’t drop off your priority list entirely.
Some things I aim to change in order to make my blogging more sustainable:
- Target publishing posts bi-weekly (rather than weekly);
- Make peace with smaller posts, rather than always striving for longer articles;
- Take one deliberate action related to the blog or blog-related project, every day of the week; and
- Make writing habitual by attempting to write at least one paragraph every weekday.
It’s a start. At the very least, it’s more of a committed structure than what I started with 10 months ago.
I have even considered outsourcing some blog-related activities to free-up some of my own time. Hiring a Virtual Assistant was even a goal of mine for this year (see my Plans for 2015). But that ain’t happenin’ now – not this year, anyway.
I’ve learned a ton this year, but one lesson rings truest – if you don’t have enough time to complete a task yourself, you likely don’t have enough time to train, supervise or otherwise direct someone else to do it for you. And to be paying them at the same time?! Ugh. When delegating work, you seriously need to be fully engaged with that team, at least in the beginning.
Perhaps something still to consider in the future; but for now, let’s get back to business.
What tips or tricks do you use to stay focused, organized and/or motivated? Please leave a comment below!