We’ve just ticked over to a new year (hello 2017!) and this was a post I’ve been looking forward to making for some time.
I aim to list some of the numbers related to the first year of Body for Business and some of the lessons I’ve learnt during this time.
Let’s jump straight in.
Body for Business – 2016 Statistical Overview
Here are the numbers for 2016 (the numbers don’t lie…)
- 27 posts (average 1,345 words)
- Published words: 39,698 (including 2,431 from Michael L)
- Page views: 14,013
- Bounce rate (people who left after viewing one page): 39.94%
- Facebook page: 162 likes
- Twitter: 39 followers
Here’s a screenshot of my Google Analytics page for completeness. The 31st of January was the date of my first post, hence it’s used as the starting point.
1) I was able to sustain one post per week from the end of January up to the middle of July. My friend Michael L also contributed three posts during this time. When I began, I promised myself I would never compromise the quality of my content. Looking back, I have no issue claiming that each article on Body for Business is as good as it could have been at the time of posting.
2) My bounce rate. Roughly 60% of readers didn’t abandon ship after seeing only one page on my site.
3) My first article (yes, first) published to Medium went viral, receiving 1,399 unique views in one day alone. This was an extremely bittersweet moment for me, as I’d just constructed a bare bones version of Body for Business and had literally nothing else for all these visitors to read aside from this one post!
Nonetheless, my success here provided me with immense confidence to continue producing written content.
What didn’t work
1) My self-imposed posting frequency of one article per week. The amount of attention I gave to each post was too great, and I fell victim to the slow process of literary burnout.
Once I first missed my self-imposed weekly deadline, it was game over.
Looking at the analytics graph above, I began to feel a negative return on my time investment, especially when being unable to explain the decline in monthly users/sessions from the May to July period. And this was with no change in posting frequency!
In other words, I felt like I was shouting into a void. I know that blog traffic can vary wildly, but I felt that the quality of my work entitled me to a slow and steady growth in readership.
Wrong. Readers of online content owe you nothing, and this was about the time I was becoming more aware of it.
Depending on your goals, website traffic analysis can be a double edged sword. You could be enjoying the process of writing and posting, while at the same time concerned that it’s not reaching as many readers as you’d hope/expect. As much as I told myself that I’m writing for fun and to educate, the lack of growth during this time was disheartening.
Here’s a statement I made in an earlier post with respect to my weekly deadline:
If I miss it, no one will bat an eyelid – but I’ll have failed myself.
Failing myself is the worst case scenario.
2) My method for attempting to grow my social media audience. Aside from my Instagram account, I don’t really have a large online presence. I still, however, leveraged Instagram the best I could (without inundating my followers with blog post related pictures) to direct my followers to new weekly posts. I believe this was somewhat successful.
In April 2016, after reading an article about automating tweets on Twitter to aid with building an audience, I decided to try it out using my earlier posts. This was an unsuccessful endeavor. While I did notice an uptick in followers after a month, it seemed to be wholly bot accounts who would promptly “unfollow” after a few days.
There’s clearly no substitute for fostering organic interactions with others on Twitter, and I was caught out with my lack of effort with attempting to make genuine connections.
With respect to Facebook, I did not use “sponsored” posts at all during 2016. As time passes, it seems that more and more content creators are being forced down the road of having to pay to reach even half their audience. This makes it very difficult to get your work seen, and relies heavily on others interacting with your posts directly, especially with comments and shares.
For the most part, I was only uploading my content to the Body for Business Facebook page. I opted against being another parroting fitness page mindlessly sharing viral fitness memes/videos to bait more shares. Would it have worked? Maybe… but I wouldn’t have felt great about doing it.
3) How I reached out to others to collaborate/share/work with. If I’m lucky, I would’ve contacted at most half a dozen people about this throughout the year. A pitiful effort, especially for someone who was serious about exploring every possible avenue of readership growth.
Plans for 2017 and beyond
My reasoning for redirecting my writing efforts here are threefold.
First, I believe there is a mutual benefit for the both of us, with Daniel lacking written content tied to the FitnessFAQs brand. Many well-known YouTubers/Fitness figures (see Bret Contreas, Eric Ressey and AthleanX) feature a blog on their websites, and we decided a similar direction was necessary as FitnessFAQs continues to grow.
Second, I enjoy writing but have a very small audience. The “blogosphere” is incredibly saturated, making it extremely difficult to get noticed amid the sea of online content produced daily. The FitnessFAQs YouTube page, at the time of writing, sits at 271K subscribers; an audience that I could not possibly aim to reach with words alone within the first couple of years.
Third, I believe this will allow the opportunity to collaborate with high(er) profile figures in the health and fitness industry.
Thanks to everyone over the last year who has read and provided feedback (good and bad) on my written work, I appreciate it deeply.
Here’s to 2017 and beyond!