Today, I’m very happy to say is OnlineIncomeTeacher’s very 1st birthday! Hooray!!!
We have come a long way in the last 12 months. It’s taken a lot of hard work, sleepless nights, frustration (especially when the internet goes down), dedication and persistence to get where we are today, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I have personally learned SO much over the last year running this site and have had the pleasure of meeting and connecting with lots of interesting people.
The aim of today’s post is to look back and evaluate how far we have come in our 1st year online. We’ll be looking at our initial approach, our traffic, the mistakes we’ve made along the way and much more. I hope you find this inspiring as it just shows how far you can take a site with a bit of work.
Now, when I say that we have come a long way in the last 12 months, I mean it, because we started from scratch! I personally had only been working on my some of my own small sites and some client sites when I started OnlineIncomeTeacher, so I didn’t really have any traffic to bring with me when I started.
OnlineIncomeTeacher.com officially launched on the ’15th June 2011′. I’d spent a few weeks getting the site ready for launch and writing a few posts and pages to get started. I was pretty happy when we got our Google Analytics stats for the day and saw that we’d had an impressive 5 visitors! OK, maybe ‘impressive’ is pushing it, but for the day of launch of a brand new site, I thought that was pretty good.
Yesterday ’14th June 2012′ (as today’s stats aren’t ready yet), we got 536 visitors! That’s a pretty big rise in visitors. Here is our visitor overview for the last year.
This graph shows how our visitors have grown over the last 12 months. It may just look like a squiggly line, but shows a lot of hard work that has gone into growing the site.
As you can see, the site only really started to pick up in mid to late September when traffic started to increase. These first three months were a grind and it was frustrating to see that all the work that I was putting in didn’t seem to be paying off. In hindsight, this was probably due to a mixture of little knowledge of SEO, poor initial layout of the site and of course being involved in a very competitive niche.
Over these first three months, I could have given up like so many new bloggers, but I persisted. I learned about SEO, experimented & tweaked the site layout and kept producing content on a regular basis. There was a huge learning curve within these first three months, but the more I learned, the better I got at improving the site. This persistence paid off as the site got mentioned/tweeted by a few other influential people, which got the traffic going (note the two spikes around ‘Oct 2011′ time).
From that point, traffic gradually increased every week. The reason why the line isn’t smoother (sort of goes up-down, up-down) is because this is showing the week’s traffic, as visitors tend to drop off over the weekend. From researching other sites, this tends to be quite normal as people do other things over the weekend.
The one instance that traffic drops dramatically (red circle) took me by surprise. Traffic was above 100 visitors a day and then fell to 2 visitors. It’s no surprise than that I was panicking as I thought everyone suddenly had gone off the site. Thankfully, I realized that I’d made a mistake and had messed up the Google Analytics code on my site, which affected the rankings. Once I’d fixed this, it all returned to normal. Phew!
Over the last 12 months, we’ve had an incredible 76,869 Visitors (63,203 Unique Visitors), with 208,148 Pageviews! This may not be earth shattering traffic compared to some of the much bigger established sites, but I still get blown away with these numbers. I still have to remember that this is the first year, hopefully we’ll continue to see the site grow over the next 12 months.
Pages/Visit is an important statistic to look at, as it shows how many pages the average visitor looks at before navigating away. As you can see in the graph, this initially started quite high. But if you consider this against the traffic we were getting in the first few months, this was probably due to me trying to tweak and change the site to improve it, clicking on and checking each page to see that they were working properly. This sort of levelled out when I was happier on the layout and we started getting increasing amounts of traffic.
The interesting thing to notice was when the average Pages/Visit rose (almost like a step up) around late December, early January time. When I first saw this, I was unsure about the reason. But I now realize that it was around this time that I switched from publishing twice a week, to three times a week!
This is something that still confuses me today. I know that bounce rate measures the exit rate of visitors who leave rather than view other pages, but I don’t understand the dramatic drop that is shown here. Again, it is around the same time as I switched to publishing three times a week, but that shouldn’t account for the big difference. If anyone reading this can shed some light on this for me, I’d appreciate it.
We seem to have conquered the world! OK, maybe not, but we’ve had traffic from all over the world. As you can see, we get a large majority of our traffic from the US, but India is not far behind, with UK, Canada, Australia and the Philippines also accounting for much of our traffic.
I always find it interesting to see which cities we are most popular in. New Delhi is our top city, closely followed by London and New York. I still find it amazing that a site can have such a global audience.
Looking at traffic sources helps to get a better idea of what you are doing right and what areas need improving. Looking at our traffic sources, there is no surprise to see that our top referrer is Google. A big part of this has been due to researching and learning about SEO. By implementing On-Page SEO techniques within posts, Google has been able to send us more targeted visitors to our site. This is reflected in the high Pages/Visit (2.70) and the low Bounce Rate (11.50%). It’s also interesting to see that we get as much as 85.75% new visitors from Google, which just shows that SEO works!
I’ve been trying to drive traffic from other sources like social media sites. By far our most successful results have been from LinkedIn, who has sent us the most traffic from all our social media sites. This is probably because our site focuses more on business/SEO/money related topics, which relate to the professional people that make up the LinkedIn demographic. LinkedIn traffic also spend the most time on our site (average 3.12 minutes), proving that they are interested in our content. We’re definitely going to continue to focus on LinkedIn and hopefully attract more traffic from there.
Twitter, Facebook & Google+ traffic has been good, sending up lots of traffic. Not as much as LinkedIn, but definitely worth the effort. If I’m honest, I probably could have done more with Facebook and Google+. This is definitely something that we’ll be looking to improve on in the future. (Remember to give us a ‘Like’ & a ‘Follow’!)
Plans For The Next 12 Months
I hope you’ve found it interesting to see how we have grown in the last year, I know I have just writing this post. That said, we’re not going anywhere and have got big plans in the next 12 months!
Clearly, our On-Page SEO has been working nicely, but we need to work on our social media strategy to try and bring in more traffic. We’ll be looking into ways to improve this in the near future, so stay tuned and make sure you’re following us for more details.
We are also looking to branch out and supply you with more types of content. We are aiming to get more interviews with top bloggers for you to read and learn from, as well as tutorials, videos, competitions, product reviews and much more!
I’m planning on releasing my own eBook soon, which you’ll be able to buy your own copy right here on our site! I’ll be giving away some for free to some lucky readers, so keep an eye out for details soon.
I’m also planning some big additions to the site that I think you are really going to like. I don’t want to give too much away just yet, but I know that you will benefit from these additions. Going to be working hard to get them to you as soon as possible!
Without trying to sound like a drunk celebrity at an award ceremony, there are a few people that I need to thank. Firstly, I’d like to say thank you to all the guest post writers that have submitted posts to the site that have been published. Without you, this site wouldn’t have as much useful and informative content that it does today. Thank you!
Of course, I’d also like to thank ALL the readers of this site! Whether you are a long time regular reader or a brand new visitor of the site, without you this site would be a very empty place. Also, thanks to everyone that has left comments on the site. It’s always nice to hear from readers and get your opinions/views of a post. It makes all the hard work worth it!
Here’s to the next 12 months of OnlineIncomeTeacher!!! Time to have a beer!