Blog: Business and Entrepreneurship
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2016 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.

Welcome to the fourth annual year in review post for Lockedown Design!

I like year in review posts, because it forces you to take a step back and evaluate what you’ve actually accomplished.

Publishing your progress each year allows you to see things in a larger perspective. We have a tendency to get caught up in daily routine, and looking at where you’ve come from can help you plan for where you want to get to in the future.

(Take a look at my business year in review for 2013, 2014, and 2015 to see what I mean).

Without further ado, here’s the Lockedown Design 2016 year in review.

Major Changes in 2016

There were several major events that happened for me professionally and personally.

In September, I got married to my long-time partner in crime, Amy.

This year, I joined the organizing teams for the Sacramento WordPress Meetup and Sacramento WordCamp.

The client roster for Lockedown Design continued to expand. Active clients (had a billable job in the calendar year) increased from 19 to 27. Towards the end of the year, arrangements were also set in motion for Lockedown Design to take over the clients from another agency I previously partnered with. This will further increase the client roster in 2017.

Midway through the year, I went from being a recurring guest to being co-host of the WP-Tonic podcast. When previous co-host Bill Conrad stepped away from the show to pursue other opportunities, I was asked to take over the co-host role, which I was happy to do.

Through this podcast, I have had the opportunity to talk with some very smart and successful entrepreneurs, marketers, and developers. This makes me a better business owner, as I learn so much every week by talking to people have achieved success.

Let’s look at some numbers for the previous year.

2016 by the Numbers

In 2016, Lockedown Design continued to grow, and the brand is reaching more people than ever before.

  • New websites launched: 23. These were steady all through the year, and included new websites for startups, various mid-market companies (1M — 250M in annual revenue), e-commerce stores, as well as local small businesses in Sacramento and beyond. This number does not include the numerous sites I maintained regularly or did ongoing work for.
  • Blog posts published (this site only): 69. This number is about half of what I wrote last year in total for this site. This number does not include guest posts I did for other sites, or co-author posts or show notes for the WP-Tonic podcast. The true number is probably a lot higher than 69. I do acknowledge that I need to publish more on this site, and I am being proactive about guest posting on more industry related blogs.
  • Podcast episodes published: 58. This number only counts the episodes where I co-hosted (May to Decemeber, where we also had 22,732 downloads).
    This does not include appearances I made as a panel member on WP-Tonic or the guest appearances I made on WPblab and Rethink.FM in 2016. I would like to appear on more industry podcasts in the coming year, so it will be interesting to see how that turns out in a year’s time.
  • Total revenue increase: 129%. Revenues in 2016 were 229% of revenue totals in 2015. This was still short of my goal for this year, but things are moving in the right direction.
  • Total site visits: โ‰ˆ215,000. Unique viewers came out to about 159K. This was an increase of about 120K page views over 2015 on this site. I’m still short of my goal to crack the top 100K sites in the world on Alexa, but I moved to around the top 200K, up around 50K spots from last year.
    Alexa Lockedown Design 12-21-16
    Like my accountant always says, all businesses are actually in marketing.
    The constant drive to be teaching people through useful content is what draws traffic to almost any popular website.

Additional Things to Celebrate in 2016

My business has started signing clients up for recurring maintenance packages, which provides a bit of monthly foundation. This helps lay a solid base for revenue, making the business that much more stable.

Lockedown Design has successfully integrated a paid discovery stage for new client projects like a site launch, redesign, or SEO campaign. This has improved the success rate of our web projects, as more information is laid out before each project begins, which leads to more accurate proposals, better project diagnoses, improved client experience throughout the project, and higher quality projects.

The diversity of revenue sources improved this year from 2015. Affiliate sales, ad revenue, strategic partnerships, and client work provided a more robust income stream in 2016, providing more stability.

New Goals For 2017

A big goal for 2017 is to expand the Lockedown Design team and take on bigger, higher stakes projects.

Another goal is to continue to niche down who we serve. Right now, we are serving mid-market clients in blue-collar industries, mostly with custom WordPress design and development, SEO, and e-commerce. This still feels like it could be more focused.

I firmly believe great leaders are measured by how many people they teach, and help succeed. I’d like to continue educating both people in the web design field and business owners/marketing teams on how to be more successful.

Sacramento has tons of talented web agencies and freelance designers and developers. I’d love to see more of them work together in collaboration somehow.

Most of all, I’d like my business to be more successful so I can help more people in the local community. There’s a lot of people who need help to get their lives on track. The better my business is doing, the more I can help the
Sacramento community.

Lastly, I’d like to develop some deeper friendships and partnerships within the web community. I’ve gotten more of chance to talk to a wide array of people this year, and I’d like to help shine the spotlight on cool people building stuff for the web that haven’t had the opportunity to shine.

I’m not always sure how I’ll make certain goals happen, but I’m very appreciative that the majority of goals I’ve set so far seem to being coming to fruition.

What’s Your Year in Review Look Like?

I’d love to hear from other web consultants what their year looked like. Did your year surprise you? Were there any learning opportunities? Did you have a breakthrough year or an epiphany about how to improve?

Let me know in the comments. See you in 2017.

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 “2016 Year in Review

  1. Hey, John! I hope all is well. Congratulations on everything in 2016. It sounds like you had a very solid year.

    My year was not too bad. My second daughter was born at the beginning of the year and I’ve been steady with school (law school) and work. I’m planning some changes in direction on my site, probably focusing more on affiliate revenue, advertising and other premium content. We’ll see how that goes.

    Anyway, here’s to a great 2017! Feel free to get in touch if you ever want to talk WP or web. I’d be happy to chat.

    Best,

    Ren

  2. Congratulations on your new family member! I recently became a grandfather as well.

    Great to hear that you are doing well in law school. Would love to see you do more with your site again. I know it was getting a lot of traffic before.

    Have a great holiday and a blessed 2017. ๐Ÿ™‚

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