Today is StevePavlina.com’s one-year anniversary (from the date I did my first blog post). A big thanks to everyone who has helped this site grow! Last month there were over 410,000 visitors.
For those of you who are curious — I know a lot of fellow bloggers read this site — traffic has grown almost entirely from word of mouth, especially from other bloggers linking to the content to share it with their own visitors. Here I saw the 80-20 rule at work, where roughly 20% of the posts would generate 80% of the links (and traffic). In some months the pattern was more like 5-95. Social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us send thousands of new visitors here every month. Sometimes it surprises me which posts strike a chord with people.
Search engine traffic is only about 2% of total site traffic and has never been a major factor. Partly this is because there aren’t many specific search terms in the field of personal growth that generate a large volume of searches on search engines — everyone is searching for something different. It’s really the long tail of thousands of different low-volume search terms that send people to this site vs. any handful of specific high-volume terms.
There were a couple nice breaks along the way, like getting links from several high-traffic blogs. Throw enough darts at the dart board, and every now and then you hit a bullseye.
I’m happy to see that people are finding value in this site’s content. This site is all about helping people grow, so the traffic growth means that it will help more people grow next year than it did this year. And for that I’m very grateful, since this is a big part of my purpose.
Most of all I’m grateful for how much working on this site has fueled my own growth. I’ve been writing articles since 1999, but in the past year I wrote about 50x what I did in any previous year. Plus the volume of feedback has been overwhelming. I wish I had the capacity to respond to every email personally, but I was at least able to read them all.
I think the biggest challenge for me over the past year has been achieving the right balance between giving and receiving and between work and rest. I’ve tended to err on the giving/working side, sometimes pushing myself to the point where I’d have to take a few days off to recharge my energy. This type of work is very fulfilling, but it can also be energetically draining. My physical and mental energy is great — it’s my emotional (or spiritual) energy that been rollercoastering.
Sometimes I feel as if there’s so much energy coming at me (both positive and negative) that I need to deflect some of it (even the positive stuff). Otherwise I begin to feel overloaded with other people’s energy and ideas. Meditation and exercise help a lot, but I think I’d be more effective and balanced if I could keep myself from absorbing so much of other people’s energy in the first place. Given the rapid expansion phase I’ve been through this past year, I feel I need to contract a little to refresh and refocus. Right now I have that “I could really use a vacation” feeling.
As part of my refocusing efforts, in the past week I’ve switched off blog comments (as mentioned in the previous post), and I also dropped one of my two Toastmasters clubs. I was in a weekly regular club and a biweekly advanced club, and in the former I also served as a club officer. Now I’m only going to the advanced club (which reduces my monthly Toastmasters meetings by 2/3), and I’m not serving in any officer position. I think these cuts will help a lot, not just in freeing up some extra time, but also in keeping myself more balanced. I’m using this extra time to spend with my family, meditate more, play games, and do other energy-restoring activities.
So as we move into the next year, my goal is to maintain a better balance and take more time to relax and recharge — to enjoy a bit more being and a little less doing.