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Thoughts after a year of my new-look site

In the last year this site has become my primary way of generating income [through talks and books] and therefore being able to survive as a full-time adventurer, author, speaker and blogger.

I consider myself really fortunate to spend my days doing what I am passionate about. But, as Lee Trevino said, the harder I work the luckier I get. I have put a lot of time (probably too much time!) into improving the site but the steady rise [the only dip was when I was in India] of monthly readers is rewarding.

So I wanted to say a very genuine Thank You to all of you who read my blog, or join in the conversation by commenting or emailing me with ideas on how I can improve what I do.
Thank you to all of you too who have visited my site and then booked me for talks, and for the really kind feedback afterwards.

This ain’t no Oscar ceremony, so I’ll shut up, sit down, and leave you with the 10 most popular pages on my site over the last year.
Please do keep commenting and letting me know how I can get better. Thank you.

1. 23 things learned in 50 years
2. Round the World by Bike
3. Books
4. 8 tiny ways in which I’m improving my life
5. Adventures
6. Motivational Speaking
7. What am I going to do with my life?
8. Top 3 Touring Bikes
9. Being more Creative
10. A day in the life of a professional Adventurer

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Comments

  1. Wow, congrads Al..

    It has been a pleasure reading your blog, am glad I could be of help and to add to your stats :)

    Reply
  2. Your content is great and your layout and navigation is effective and easy to use, but I think you might attract even more new readers with a prettier design. I know when I come here that I’m going to read good stuff, because I’ve been coming here to read good stuff for years!!!

    A little polish can go a long way towards getting new visitors to come back. I don’t think you need anything major – just a little colour here and there to separate the elements out, a stronger header image to speak loudly about the focus of the site, and a little reorganisation of some of the header links and post-footer stuff (RT/feed buttons etc).

    Well, that’s all I can think of to continue improving this great site – keep up the good work!

    Tom

    P.S. I still have problems viewing your comments – “1 comment posted by Lee Hughes” is currently way up the page on the right of the bar chart at the top of the post, but his message is down here where it should be!

    Reply
  3. …to elaborate on the above, the comments problem is something to do with this line in your style.css:

    [...]
    .content {
    float:left;
    [...]

    I tried removing “float:left;” and the problems went away…

    Reply
  4. Hi Al,

    Love the growth on the blog views – congratulations. Not surprised because there is a) so much content on the site and b) it’s all so damn interesting.

    My only complaint is that it is a black hole for my time as I can spend far too much of it on here. Big thank you back at you.

    Rob

    PS. You’ve probably read the Tipping Point – there’s some really interesting stuff in it about how small changes in context and the way an idea is communicated can have a big influence on its stickiness. What I take from it for blogging is that you should keep experimenting with little changes on the landing pages / how people are directed to different places and keep an eye on the stats to see the impact.

    This is quite good too: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2009/06/29/how-to-build-a-high-traffic-blog-without-killing-yourself/

    Reply
  5. Hey Al,

    Glad to see the web stats increasing. One thing I wondered about is how RSS affects the stats (if at all). I tend to catch up with the various blogs via RSS rather than visiting the pages directly. Obviously I come here if there’s something I wish to view /comment on, but other than that I guess my stats don’t count?

    If you ‘need’ to get views up you could do what Ben Goldacre tends to do on his blog (Badscience) which is to have the first paragraph so you get a flavour but need to go to the page for the whole story. His articles do tend to be a little longer than yours though.

    Also, I still don’t get Twitter.

    Thanks!

    Steve.

    Reply
  6. Thanks for the feedback guys.

    Tom: I agree entirely! Sprucing up my site is high on the list of priorities.

    Rob: Just ordered Tipping Point. Thanks! I enjoy some of Tim Ferris’ stuff, when I can bear the smugness.

    Steve: no issue whether people read via RSS or not. Stats are only an indication of whether you are doing something right: They are not the be all and end all.
    As an aside though, you’ve done well to “get” RSS – I am really surprised how little it has taken off. I only have a few hundred RSS subscribers as opposed to a few thousand for the monthly email update.
    If you don’t understand Twitter my advice would be STAY AWAY! I use it a lot (and get 10% of my traffic from there), but it really sucks time!

    Reply
  7. Since you are using WordPress as your CMS, there are a few plugins or widgets that could help clean up some areas of the site, particular the sidebar. If there’s something you would love to do but there’s no plugin or widgets that fulfill your needs, then feel free to drop me a line.

    Reply

 
 

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