Blog: Business and Entrepreneurship
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My 2014 Year In Review

Avatar for John Locke

John Locke is a SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps manufacturing businesses rank higher through his web agency, Lockedown Design & SEO.

It’s that time of year again — when everyone reflects on the year that was, and makes plans for the year ahead. This is my own 2014 in review.

Writing Stats

I wrote a total of 96 articles for 5 websites this year, up from 56 articles in 2013.

78 articles were published on this site, up from 21 the year before. I was aiming to publish 365, and fell short, but still managed to publish twice a week consistently for the entire year.

I had over 702,000 total page views across all five websites (up 33% from 2013). My goal for 2015 is to have 500k+ views on this website alone. (This is an ambitious goal.)

It is worth noting that the majority of articles I published were on this very website, and my page views here increased 275% in 2014 from the year before. Something to think about, if you still wonder what you will gain by embracing the grind.

One goal I set for myself in 2014 was to become one of the top 100k sites in the world, by traffic. At year’s end, I was sitting just under the top 500k sites on the planet. In 2015, I’d like to reside inside the top 100k worldwide sites.

My goal for 2015 is to publish a minimum of 150 articles on this website. My real goal is to answer many common questions that people have regarding WordPress and web design. I want this website to be a valuable resource, a website that people trust. I’d like it to be both deep and impactful for those who read it.

Community Stats

I attended 12 local Meetups and 1 major web conference this year. Last year I said I wanted to attend more than one conference, but let’s try to triple that number in 2015.

I gave 1 lightning talk at the Sacramento WordPress Meetup. This was the same number of talks as last year. I felt better about my delivery and content this time around. I’d like to increase this number as much as possible in 2015.

In 2013, I started a YouTube channel for Lockedown Design. I started quickly, but fell off making videos again until late in the year. In the last three months, I was able to add 17 videos — about one per week. I’d like to publish at least 52 videos in 2015, and get my subscriber count to triple digits.

I had the pleasure of being on monthly WordPress panel discussions on YouTube towards the end of the year. I’d like to participate in more of these throughout 2015.

Work Stats

2013 was about two-thirds launching new sites, one-third redesigning existing sites. 2014 was about half redesigns and half new project launches. While I doubled my revenue from the year before, I was still vastly short of my ambitious goal. I had a two year goal in 2013, and I still have time to reach it, but I will have to seriously analyze how I spend my time in 2015 in order to reach it.

I’ve been inspired by entrepreneurs like Curtis McHale and Sean McCabe to be more ambitious than I was before. This means I will have to rethink my overall processes, and filter my daily actions by whether they will help get me to my long term goals or not.

Looking Towards 2015

One change I made just this last month was to further niche down and define what types of projects I want to take.

Before, I was taking pretty much any type of front-end or WordPress project that would come my way. In 2015, I want to focus on business websites and eCommerce websites on WordPress for established business owners.

It seems counter-intuitive to constrain the types of work I want to take on, but it will allow me to focus on understanding specific problems more completely. I will be able to dive deeper into these specific types of websites.

WordPress is a very large ecosystem, and the field of web development grows larger by the minute. It is easier to distinguish yourself if you specialize. But most people resist this path, because they fear saying no. This leads to the homogenization and mediocrity of the marketplace.

Conclusion

If you are a business owner or web professional, and you have published a recap of your own 2014, post a link to it in the comments below. I’d like to hear what 2014 was like for you, and where you’re headed in the coming year.

Avatar for John Locke

John Locke is a SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps manufacturing businesses rank higher through his web agency, Lockedown Design & SEO.

4 comments on “My 2014 Year In Review

  1. Niching down is scary but totally worth it. The more I’ve tightened my focus the more I’ve made. My overall income for 2014 was about the same as it was in 2013 but I worked much less.

    Taking more time off and yet still making similar income is all down to specializing.

    I’d love to know how you measure your stats. How are you going to judge this site being in the top 100k worldwide sites?

  2. Niching down is something I was very reluctant to try, but something that I finally felt bold enough to follow through with. It always made sense — it was just something I could finally visualize myself succeeding with.

    The 10x video you shared the other day sank in quickly, just due to simple math. I can work harder, and really only max out at a moderate level. The goals I set last year require better long term planning than that. This is something I will really need to meditate on a lot.

    For measuring traffic against other sites, I simply go by Alexa. I know that is a really rough (and sometimes inaccurate) number, but gives me a ballpark figure to aim towards. That traffic still needs to convert though, so I’m trying to write towards client mindsets rather than developers, something I didn’t do in the past.

  3. The “everything” shop is a trap, because you’s left with a few choices. Be good at everything yourself (unlikely). Hire enough people good at different things to be a one-stop shop. By choosing that option, you’re brought to option three, which is generate enough income to keep that staff on payroll and the lights on. This leads to many one-stop shops unconsciously selling things to clients that are ineffectual, a panacea, or something they don’t need.

    Most one stop shops may be good a few things, but are overall mediocre — not terrible, not blow-me-away good. Just alright.

    I did a bit of work in the last couple of years that I just wan’t enthused about. I want to avoid that, and go deeper on fewer specialties.

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