Honest and Transparent Reflection of 2014 – My 1st Year of Blogging

Honest and Transparent Reflection of 2014 – My 1st Year of Blogging

Do you want to know how I did in my first year of blogging? Here is my honest and honest reflection of 2014.

Please note that I created this site EgonSarvReviews.com to crash test what it takes for a complete dummy to earn a full-time income online.

In this post, I am going to show you where I succeeded and where I failed. Also, I will list the main things that I learned in my first year of blogging. So let’s dive into the details.

 

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1. The Starting Point

1.1. My Previous Experiences

First, I had never run a business before. For all, through my adult life, I had been a 9-to-5 worker. So becoming an entrepreneur was a significant paradigm shift for me.

Second, Even though working with computers for more than 25 years, I had zero knowledge about Internet Marketing.

1.2. Social Media

Besides all the previous disadvantages, I had no prior experience with social media. So here, too, I had to start literally from zero.

On Facebook, I quickly made 500+ friends as many of my friends and acquaintances were already there.

Having a Gmail account, I also had my Google+ account by default. I had never used it. So my G+ account was sitting idle with close to zero number of followers in my circles.

Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, etc. – All these were unknown territories for me.

1.3. My Blog – From Bad to Worse.

In fact, I had begun my online campaign already in 2013, but that year turned out chaotic, and I couldn’t do much.

Some of my struggles were:

  • My family and I had just moved back from Indonesia as we were waiting for our 4th child (she was born in September 2013).
  • The daily routine that I had in Indonesia didn’t exist anymore.
  • It was summertime in Europe, and there were no school nor kindergarten activities for my other kids.
  • I struggled to figure out what niche to pick.
  • When I finally picked my niche (make money online), it happened to be the most competitive and saturated niche globally.
  • I purchased the wrong domain name (honestwaytomakemoneyonline.com).
  • I struggled to find an excellent WordPress theme, and I grew frustrated with the theme that I finally picked.
  • I chose bad design elements for my website, and it turned out ugly and amateurish.
  • I had no idea how to write articles.
  • Being a non-native English speaker, I struggled to write in correct English.

So in a way, I happened to be at the worst place on the starting grid.

My first logo turned out amateurish
Poorly chosen URL and design elements of my first blog

 

But then everybody has problems. My purpose with the blog is to show my readers what it takes to start earning money online when you come from the 9-to-5 job market, are a complete dummy, and have many other disadvantages.

Making mistakes is fine as far as you don’t quit.

In January 2014, I purchased a new domain name, which I am using now – EgonSarvReviews.com. This point I consider as a real birth of my current blog.

2. Outline 2014

2.1. January – June

I had worked hard through the last part of 2013 to develop at least some kind of daily routine. Achieving that, I spent the first six months of 2014 writing content and building my blog.

The beginning was hard, and the incoming traffic was minimal. Also, there was no organic traffic to my website.

Numbers close to zero are not encouraging, are they?

Moreover, I struggled to write in English, and this one fact slowed me down considerably. Still, I was able to raise the game and publish content consistently.

I was consistently able to produce content

Then at the end of June, we packed our suitcases and flew back to Indonesia. This time, we moved to South-East Sulawesi. That was an entirely unknown territory for us.

With this move, my hard-won daily routine was gone with the wind. I had to start from zero.

2.2. July – December

A new place, hot and humid climate, no kindergarten for my kids, other daily responsibilities – all these things made it difficult to build a new daily routine.

It was a difficult time, and I often felt frustrated for not finding time to blog. As you see in the image below, there are no blog posts neither in July nor August 2014.

Due to my family moved to Indonesia I was not able to blog in summer months

I was afraid that with my inactivity, even this little traffic that I had, vanished. But somehow, it managed to stay the same.

In September, I started to blog again. Then suddenly, to my great surprise – in October, the traffic began to grow. This time, the primary source of traffic was organic! From October 2014, onward organic traffic has been the primary source of traffic. It jumped from 45 visits in September to 145 visits in October and 221 visits in December (the red line on a chart).

Organic traffic kept growing through 2014

That was good news that boosted my motivation.

It works! I can do it!

Even in the most saturated niche, when you are consistent and put in hard work, Google will eventually find you and begin sending traffic to your site. You may have a slow start, but it’s OK. Sooner or later, it will start to grow exponentially.

This sudden jump in organic traffic helped me to finish the year strong.

Traffic through 2014

The traffic growth in December was affected by the fact that our visas expired, and we had to leave Indonesia. I lost the final week of December. Still, I managed to get the best month of the year.

 

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3. What Did I Do Well in 2014?

3.1. I did not give up.

If you have never run a business before, you will probably spend your first startup years in survival mode. The facts are clear: In the Internet Marketing world, 97% of the newcomers quit within their first year.

I can tell you, again and again, I had a temptation to give up and leave. These were the times when I wrote these posts with lists of inspirational quotes. Because somehow, I had to motivate myself to continue. I read those quotes and collected them into different blog posts. Examples of these posts are: Making mistakes quotes, Staying Focused quotes, Perseverance quotes, and quotes about Overcoming Obstacles.

Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors. African proverb

Also, I studied how big brands like Mercedes and Ferrari planned their success. It encouraged me tremendously.

3.2. I Built My Twitter Follower Base Consistently.

I have already learned that consistency is one of the critical factors for success. I created my Twitter account in March 2014, and by being consistent, I was able to finish the year with 3000+ followers.

The chart below shows that investing time and energy into Twitter eventually paid off. It started to send traffic to my website.

This is how social media drove traffic through 2014

3.3. I stuck to Learning and Blogging.

I was determined to learn. I knew that with time passing, I could only get better. Today I know so much more, and I can do much better than one year ago. A year ago, I did not know how to write blog posts. I struggled. But with each next blog post, I get better.

3.4. I Learned to Do One Thing at a Time And Finish It.

That is one of the major lessons that I learned last year. Because not finishing has been one of my main weaknesses. I am pretty good at starting new things. At the same time, I have always been weak in completing them. As a result, I tend to have many unfinished tasks on my shoulders, creating extra unneeded pressure.

I had to learn to do one thing at a time and finish it. I have already seen the benefits of doing it.

3.5. I Found Ways to Build My Daily Routine.

In 2014, my life was often chaotic. Our newborn baby and the move to unknown territory in Indonesia were the major factors here. Both of these events effectively wiped out my previous daily routines.

It took time and energy and a great deal of will power in both cases, but I succeeded in both instances.

4. Where Did I Fail in 2014?

4.1. I Expected Much Better Results.

One year after starting my blog, the numbers are still tiny. I expected much bigger daily traffic. I hoped to get close to 1000 unique visitors per day. With 20 visitors a day, I am far from it.

But then, better results require way more working hours. My current conditions don’t allow me to invest much more time into it. With just 3 hours per day, you cannot crack it.

Well, better results require more working hours in the first place. That is one of my primary goals in 2015.

4.2. I Failed to Finish the Wealthy Affiliate Certification Courses.

When you start blogging, you are encouraged to read other great blogs in your niche. These excellent blogs are going to bombard you with all kinds of good stuff. In my niche, most of those posts are things like: „5 must-do things…“Without doing this, you will fail.“etc.

As a result, I spent a significant part of 2014 doing what different blogs recommended.

And here’s the problem. These blog posts are great, but they don’t teach you how to build your blog systematically. They cover random topics in random order.

The Wealthy Affiliate certification courses systematically teach you. They help you start from scratch and then build up your online campaign step-by-step. Here’s the outline of the Wealthy Affiliate, Getting Started (Level 1) course:

Lessons that you find in the Wealthy Affiliate Getting Started Course

Sadly, I learned this lesson the hard way. I can tell you those who did high-quality WA certification courses got much better results than me.

4.3. I Spent Far too much time on Facebook

Through 2014, I was actively involved in Facebook. Soon I discovered that my Facebook friends weren’t my target audience. Still, I kept posting to Facebook and socializing with people. It was fun, but I spent proportionally much time there.

4.4. I Spent Too Much Time Checking My Stats.

Checking stats may become a destructive, time-wasting habit for bloggers. And if the numbers aren’t right, it may cause another problem, called „Paralyzed by Analysis. “

Both of these things happened to me. First, I wasted too much time checking my Google Analytics stats. Second, poor results had an often demotivating impact on me.

„Focusing is about saying No,“ states Steve Jobs.

5. What Did I Learn in my First Year?

5.1. Blogging Requires a lot of Perseverance

Typically, the first survival year is challenging, and you have to find the motivation to keep yourself going. Even when numbers don’t support you.

5.2. Consistency is a Crucial Factor

Consistency in blogging is critical, and I did not understand it before. It’s not so important whether I publish 1,2, or 3 blog posts per week. Consistency is important. If I plan to write two posts per week, I should stick with it. Google rewards consistency with higher rankings.

5.3. It Takes Time Until Google Starts to Recognize You

If you’ve never blogged before, if search engines don’t know you yet, typically, it takes time until Google, Bing, etc. begin to give you higher rankings.

You are like a new kid in a school, and Google doesn’t know what to expect from you. When it learns that you consistently publish high-quality content, he slowly begins to trust you and give you higher rankings. But it takes time to build the trust of Google and other search engines.

5.4. In the Most Saturated Niche, It’s Hard to Grow Traffic

Make Money Online IS the most saturated niche out there. It’s not the best choice for a newbie, but I could not find any other niche that I was particularly interested in.

Being in the most competitive niche is one of the reasons for my slow start.

5.5. Self-Discipline is Another Crucial Factor

To be a 9-to-5 worker or an entrepreneur are two entirely different things. If you are a 9-to-5 worker, it’s easy. You have your boss and company rules to follow, and that’s it. You follow the rules, or you’re fired.

That is not the case when you are a freelancer. Then you are your boss, and you set your rules. But to follow those rules, you have to have (or develop) self-discipline. Otherwise, you waste your days doing nothing.

6. My Plans for 2015

What are the areas that I wanted to focus on in 2015?

  1. To finish all the WA certification courses. (These are great courses, and I highly recommend them to you, too).
  2. To blog consistently, with two posts per week.
  3. To build my RSS feed.
  4. To grow my Twitter follower base to 10K.

7. Conclusion

As you see, my first year of blogging has not been a cakewalk. I have struggled in many areas. There were things that I did right, but many more that I did wrong. Yet, I have not given up, and as you see above, things can get only better. Traffic is slowly building, and it is just a matter of time when it begins to grow exponentially.

So this was my honest and transparent reflection of my 1st year of blogging. I wrote it to show you my progress thus far. I hope it helps you and encourages you.

It takes time, worked, and perseverance, but if you have the right resources (and the Wealthy Affiliate Certification Courses are high-quality resources), you will eventually succeed. The hard work is now, and the Pay Off is Later, and often, for years to come!

 

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Share Your Ideas:

So how did you do in 2014? Please drop me a comment; I would like to hear from you.

 

4 Comments

  1. Hey, Egon

    This is a very detailed account of your online business journey. WOW! You certainly had some articles in your path, but you overcome them, worked very hard and as a result of that you was highly rewarded for your hard work. I admire you for staying on course and not giving up because many people do give up when they don’t see quick results. Well done!

    Here’s to even more success ;)

    Neil

    • Hi Neil and thank you for the encouragement. Sometimes it’s frustrating but I have learned a lot and one of those things is not to give up :) I think my second year will be much, much better. So I am very hopeful.

  2. So honest and helpful. It looks like you have come a long way. I will be sure to take your lead on staying consistent with my work. Thank you for all the information here. It really sheds light on expectations and how to stay the course each and every day.

    • Thank you, Seth for taking time and dropping a comment. My expectations were way higher, but I learned a lot in 2014 and I see the light at the end of the tunnel :) And yes, consistency is crucial. Consistency and perseverance. So many don’t see a breakthrough because they fail here.

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