March 2010 Recap: What I Learned

Things are changing at a very fast pace around here. In the last month the site has increased in traffic. Montana Programmer is entering the stage of the great warrior. What will happen next?

The ten things I wish I knew ten years ago post was the first article to get the site a lot of social web notice. But these visitors didn’t last very long on the website (which is typical of most social media visitors). I also discovered that it is difficult to determine what is going to do well on these social sharing sites, because it seems like most people are trying the same tactics.

I saw a huge jump in links to my site in March, mainly with how much content I have been posting. This has helped tremendously with Google, and I’m finally starting to get more than a trickle of visitors through search engines.

1. Article Content

It seems that the articles where I go into my past experience as a PHP programmer and web project manager do the best (as far as bringing in traffic). I like writing these articles….I just am not sure how much content I can pump out that goes under this.

If you look at the different articles I posted from early February, you will notice a wide range of different topics. I experimented with different techniques in bringing in additional traffic from social networks.

What I want to do now is refine the focus of the content. Specifically, I want to focus on learning PHP and WordPress tips, along with articles that go into project management and working smarter as a PHP programmer. This is not to say that I will never post an off topic article, or that I won’t make a post that is more personal. But I want to limit the range of the majority of my content. This could change as time goes on, but this is the direction I have been going through March.

2. Website Traffic

I was excited about the very large traffic boost that can come from social networking websites. But I also noticed most of this traffic does not convert to quality visitors (bounce rate is very high and they don’t click around). It would be much more worthwhile to get more targeted visitors from search engines. But, I need to get better at SEO in general.

This will require research on the keywords I should focus on, and also refining keywords specific to articles and tutorials on PHP. I am doing research on SEO and experimenting with different tools and software that will help me accomplish my goals for this website. I will share any insights that I come across that could be helpful for you. I have been using the trial version of Market Samurai and it has been incredible (it does take some time to figure out the software).

3. Website Tweaks and Changes

I am a perfectionist, and I spend a lot of time implementing small tweaks here and there. This became a huge time drain. I am very satisfied with how the site functions and looks, and I’m going to do my best in not making any additional changes for awhile. Otherwise this could go on indefinitely.

I also spend way too much time proofreading articles. I want to catch spelling/grammar errors, but I need to realize that not every article needs to be 100% perfect. I want to have massive amounts of great content, instead of spending just as much time proofreading.

4. Moving Forward

  • To get a good start on a better ranking in the search engines, I need to spend time up front doing research.
  • My goal is to publish 3-5 articles per week. However, I may not be able to keep up with this for the next few weeks while working on and researching SEO. I will come out with quality content on an ongoing basis…it just may not be as much during this time (but I will do what I can).
  • A few changes may happen throughout the site to the following: Categories, Tags, Article Titles, and Article Content. My hope is to bring in more organic traffic from the search engines so I don’t have to spend as much time promoting the website.
  • There have been a few articles posted, where the quality was questionable. I’m a strong believer that quality content is the best link bait you can have, and I want to re-emphasize my goal in producing quality content. Keep in mind that I do have a very strange/weird sense of humor, and there maybe posts that reflect this. But these will not be the majority of the content on this website.

For those of you who visit this site regularly…THANKS! You motivate me to keep pressing on. I’m excited at what the future will hold.

If you have any article or tutorial requests, please let me know.


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