Year-end reviews are cathartic.
For the transparent business, a recap of the previous year is a public record of whether it met some of its goals for the year.
For me, year-end reviews are a way to keep me accountable for setting goals and keeping track of what I’ve accomplished (or which of my targets I’ve missed) year over year.
Here’s what Lockedown Design accomplished in 2015, and some of what I intend to accomplish in 2016.
2015 By The Numbers
Let’s with a recap.
- New websites and projects launched: 15.
Most of these came in the second half of the year. More are currently in progress here in December 2015.
- Total new clients: 13.
A couple of one-off projects, but most are ongoing clients.
- Blog posts published: 166.
155 of these were for this site, the rest for Medium and JohnJLocke.com. My goal for 2015 was to write 150, so I rocked this goal, and it paid off.
- Total revenue increase: 59%. This was actually far short of my goal, but the second half of the year shows the business is headed in the right direction.
- Total site visits: ≈95,000.
In 2015, ten out of every twelve months had a month over month increase in page views and site visits. This has been due to the last few years of content marketing, SEO efforts, and intentional branding.
- Major web conferences attended: 1.
My goal for this year was to attend three, so I missed my goal on this. But on a positive note, I also gave my first WordCamp talk this year. I’d like to see that trend continue in 2016.
What Other Goals Did I Set For 2015?
Publish one video a week. I failed completely at this, and barely posted to YouTube in 2015. Blogging was giving me more return for my effort. I may revisit this goal later in the year, but for now, I’m not going to lose sleep over it.
Appear on more panel discussions and WordPress-focused podcasts. Accomplished. I’d like to step up to appearing in more places where it makes sense.
Become one of top 100K Sites in world (by traffic). I fell a bit short, ending the year as one of the top 250,000 sites in the world (top 300K in the US) according to Alexa. Traffic is not a be-all-end-all metric, but it is a rough indicator of how much value I’m providing to other people. That’s why it matter to me.
My 2015 goal was to get 500k views on this website in 2015, and I finished just below 100K, so this remains a goal for 2016.
New Goals For 2016
Write 200 articles. Practice makes better. Not everything you write or publish becomes a lead magnet, but it helps you hone your voice. Sharing what you’ve learned helps others, and establishes your authority on a subject.
It’s tempting to stop producing blogs, videos, or podcasts when you’re busiest with work.
But if you stop, it takes a long time to build that momentum back up again.
Straight up, high-quality, targeted content is the best customer acquisition tool you have.
#1 in Google for a specific search term I’m after. A few years ago, I would have thought this was too much of a goal. But at the end of 2015, I already have one of the two that I’m after, and I’m in the top 15 for the other term.
SEO is an effective means of reaching people, which is why I value it. But it takes a lot of work to get there. There are tons of SEO factors that you can control, but some you will never be able to control.
All you can do is put yourself in the best position possible to win at rankings, and get the phone calls and emails that your competitors are not getting.
Move upstream to solving more challenging problems for larger clients. This is the key to growth. The bigger, more complex, more important problems you solve as a web consultant, the more you will be compensated for those solutions.
This brings it’s own set of challenges, but these are ones I am ready to tackle.
Grow Lockedown Design from a one-person operation into something bigger. This is ambitious, but necessary, if I want to reach my larger goals.
The cold hard facts are that larger teams — built with divergent specialists — can oftentimes win larger contracts than smaller teams or independent consultants.
One person can only spend the twenty-four hours they have, but a team can execute against a problem with more effort and types of experience.
This is one reason I want to grow, but there is another.
Web development was a way for me to provide value to others as my first career ended. I’d like to give back to others by helping them have a larger purpose as well.
I’d also like to grow larger so I can do more things for the local community of Sacramento. The healthier I can make my business, the more people I can help in the big picture.
Thanks for reading this, and I hope you’ll be here at the end of 2016 for another year-end recap!