I started Slaptijack in April of 2007 as a brain-dump of the technology information I’ve acquired over the last 10+ years. At the time, I’d only just learned that folks were out there making 6 figures or more on their blogs. I didn’t really think that was going to happen to me, but it sure couldn’t hurt.
Over a year later, I’ve learned a few things.
- Keeping a steady flow of content is not easy.
When I first started writing, I had a ton of ideas. As time went on, the original ideas were all written down, but my daily work kept me stocked with new ideas. Now that work has slowed down and consulting has stabilized into a few areas, I’m not being challenged with new ideas nearly as much.
- Stop scheming and just produce.
I had the idea that generating traffic to the site would be the key to making money. To reach my ends, I looked for any scheme out there that could generate traffic with minimal effort. Although there is a relationship between traffic and income, no amount of scheming is going to win you any real fans. Once I dropped the schemes, I immediately felt better about myself and my accomplishments.
- Be realistic.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that my site isn’t going to simply “explode.” Slaptijack tends to grow in fits and bursts. About four months ago (Feb 2008), my traffic jumped up to about 250 visitors a day and has held steady to date (Jun 2008). So, as I’ve stopped focusing on making money and just garnering reputation, I’ve felt less anxious about traffic.
- Ultimately, reputation is what counts.
I often joke around with folks about “building the Scott Hebert brand.” Although I’m often kidding around, I am serious about building the brand. No matter what I do in my professional life, whether consulting or working for another company, in the end I work for myself. Slaptijack is an extension of my professional self on the Web. By building credibility, I’m investing in myself.
- Helping people is pretty darn satisfying.
Every weekday around 250 people end up landing on Slaptijack. Historically, over 75% of those hits have come from search engines. This tells me that almost 200 people a day are looking for the answer to a specific question and end up reading something I wrote. Hopefully, all of those folks find their answer on Slaptijack. A lot of happy folks leave comments or drop me a line. The positive feedback makes me feel good about what I’m doing. Maybe I should start a testimonial page?
- Stop hiding behind a contact form.
Not too long ago, Seth Godin asked his readers a few questions. Instead of asking folks to respond in the comments or giving them a link to a contact form, he gave his email address. I’ve used a contact form on Slaptijack since the beginning, but I’ve come to realize that this really de-personalizes the reader’s experience. If this is about “building the brand”, do I really want the Scott Hebert brand to be an impersonal contact form? Doubtful.