Testing your business ideas

This blog entry first appeared over at www.photographybymatthewjames.com

What I learned from my week of blogging

Day 7 of the Blog Challenge is here, and I am fucking glad!

Forcing myself to take time out of my busy schedule for the last 168 hours has been, quite frankly, a fucking nightmare. Right now, for instance, I should be editing some photos for a client before the weekend, then jumping on a train to go pick up a van, so I can haul some goods across town for an exhibition next week. Didn’t I tell you I was busy?

But, let’s not lose sight of the project’s aims and goals (surely the same thing). I have learned discipline, I have learned to write faster and better, without any kind of a plan or schedule for what I’m writing about, I’ve used lots of keywords, such as Copenhagen and Photographer (though sadly I couldn’t find a place to add Fotograf), and I’ve discovered that mine is a vanity blog. But let’s look at the statistics.

Quality, not quantity

Firstly, the number of hits to the blog is pretty terrible. Just 10 throughout the entire week. But, when we focus on quality instead of quantity the numbers look slightly better.

The average time on the page is 03:36, which is one of the longest times across the entire site. It means that people are actually reading my blog and not just looking at the page. The Bounce Rate is 0%, which tells me nobody is leaving the site as soon as they land on that page. The Exit Rate is 45.45%, showing me that the majority of people (54.55%) are browsing the rest of the site once they have been to the blog. Tuesday and Wednesday seemed to be the best days for readers, when an average of three people per day came to read the blog. It’s also a 100% increase compared to the same time last month.

Now I personally find this quite uplifting. Considering that I haven’t promoted this blog anywhere this week (apart from once on Twitter, which explains the mid-week spike). Later today I just might put it on Facebook and see what happens. Maybe Twitter, too. Crazy!

What goes up must come down

But here’s the most interesting part. Yesterday (Day Six) I checked my position in Google, by typing in Copenhagen Photographer. I had jumped to Page 3, and search listing number 8 – or 3.8 as I call it. You’ll remember I was 4.2 at the start of the week. Things were looking great, I thought. Until I checked again just now, and discovered I’d slipped to a disheartening 9.1. Google Webmaster Tools – now known as Search Console – only has data up until the 9th of May, and that shows a rise in Google Search Results. This fact baffles me further when I think about the amount of other hits to my site – for example the race pictures from Tuesday’s BMW Mini City Løb, and the Nike images I’ve uploaded and shared with the client. All I can do is keep checking the data over the weekend to see if the position changes again (hopefully positively).

To summarise this exercise I’d say it’s been quite an interesting one. I appreciate that many people reading this won’t really care too much about the content, but if you are then I hope you’re in a similar position to me: you want to figure out this crazy world of blogging and climb the Google Ladder somehow.

I’ll leave you with a nice quote about failure, from George Bernard Shaw. “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing at all.”

UPDATE: As of today (Sunday 15th May) I have jumped back up in the Google Search Results. Currently I am sitting at 3.7 for local searches, and my overall Page Ranking globally is 12.7 – the highest it’s been for the last 90 days. Page visits to the blog increased to 15 over the weekend (still without any promotion).