Half way update on weekly blogging

How about transparency? Nobody is reading this anyway, are you? So far replies and comments are absent. That is ok. User generated content takes a long breath, I know that.

I skipped a week or two in this second weekly real logs series. That can happen to the best I assume. To jump back on the train here is a small update.

As you notice, I reached 10K visitors in December. The visitors dropped after that, as a delayed response to me not publishing anything during the month December.

After that, you see a gradual increase of visitors numbers to 11.359 for March.

The interesting element of this blogging experiment, is that I only do on site SEO. No link building whatsoever. This is organic growth as a result of content creation. I am curious how far this will go by simply publishing and not bother about the external hustle for incoming links, guest posting, all that stuff. I do not have time for that!

Of-course, any link love is highly appreciated. In fact, I think guest posting here would be interesting for you if you are reading this. Because this blog is going to rise and rise..

On the other hand, I noticed some of my sites have dropped in page rank, so perhaps the external stuff matters. I will consider that and come back on that topic. Later.

To stay a little more close to the format of this blog series of real logs, I will give a small report of this week.

Week 13/14

Currently I am looking for a position in Bolivia (of all places) because we plan to move back there in three months from now. I am applying to vacancies and contacting organizations that I could serve there. Any suggestion is welcome…

Furthermore – while being in the Netherlands – I am selling stuff that I still had in storage here. Marktplaats.nl is the local, Ebay owned, portal were Dutch residents sell all there second hand things. It is a thriving market place. It made me realize that it is a wealthy place with so many quality items people just want to get rid off.

On the other hand, there is this oppressive social structure, maintaining large portions of the population in a so called poverty trap. For those depending on social security income, it is almost impossible to work a way up. Enough about politics, I prefer to stay far from that. For now.

Something else, I integrated advertising on this blog. Personally I find the automatically generated relevant ads from google a very effective method to monetize content. A website does need to have enough traffic before to even think about advertising, but I think with ten thousand monthly visitors it is worth giving it a try.

Alternatively, affiliate programs can be an option, but I prefer to focus on the development of my own products and services. Therefore, a low maintenance add solution has my preference, for this weblog.

How I totally missed out on Woocommerce

Week 10, Monday
How I totally missed out on Woocommerce. Woocommerce came out in 2011. I tried setting up ecommerce sites in 2010 and said, no more! After trying solutions for WordPress, Joomla and Magento. There was just not simple solution available to build a platform myself, so I gave up on it. No more ecommerce for me! Never looked at Woo.

The WordPress platform is evolving rapidly. I was struggling with multilingual sites before, and ecommerce solutions. It was difficult back then, yet now there are so many solutions available that allow easy integration. It even became possible to use WordPress as a platform for application development.

Because of the clear demand for ecommerce integrations on Upwork, and my own need for a billing solution for my hosting services, I dived into Woocommerce today to check it out, and deep dived into payment integration with iDeal, the main online payment method in the Netherlands. Got it all sorted in a few hours and could receive payments in less than 24 hours. An amazing advance in technology.

Tuesday
woocommerceI set up the web shop for my personal finance information site, and prepared products for free distribution and sale. I receive great feedback and many downloads on a few cashflow excel sheets, so I prepared those for this trial. The ability to receive (recurring) payments is just one of the features that a Software as a Service needs to have, but an important one. It is part of the essential infrastructure. I am not sure if this is something that I should be outsourcing according to the lean bootstrap movements, but I think I should do what I am capable off, and outsource other tasks.
The marketing activities, content creation and dispersion on social media, are processes that I am refining and documenting now, to be able to hand these tasks over to an assistant. Step by step moving forward.

Wednesday / Thursday
Set up Facebook advertising against all my principles doing a test with paid advertising. Ironically enough the first paid download came from organic traffic… Time will tell what source of traffic works best.

Beans appeared.

Een bericht gedeeld door Jeroen Houdijk (@jeroen.houdijk) op

Friday:
Paperwork, boring migration stuff I will not bother you with. Lasts day not to detailed logs, but the bottemline is that I managed to get a product out for sale that I created myself and that was just floating around on my (virtual) disks somewhere.

I plan to publish some kind of a faq section on WordPress stuff, coming up next. The coming two weeks will be a bit different because of family visits, so we will have to see when and how.

Ten Sprints a Week

Sunday

10 Improve weekly planning by defining the week into 10 blocks of 3-hour work, perhaps you could call them sprints. An interesting approach to go through a full plan do check act cycle each week, with the 10 chapters of the high level structure in mind.

Week 9, Monday

1 My week starts on Monday. Week 9 of the year. It always bothered me at university when course plans were generic plans, based on the duration of the course in weeks. A non-ambiguous planning connects with real week numbers and actual dates. If I would say this is the third week of keeping a real log, ‘week 3’ would not have any significance in the context of a year planning.

2 Today I am heading for San Jose, a two-hour drive if traffic is forgiving. I need to do some paperwork, and I have an appointment at the ministry of agriculture about the cacoa commission.

Tuesday


3 Wrote some more proposals for upwork and prepared for a workshop Thursday afternoon.

4 Deep dived into the document hierarchies for management systems.

Wednesday

5 Updates and maintenance of site network. I do feel some lack of notes taking during the week, because it is hard recalling what more I did.

Thursday

6, 7, 8 ,9 Four full blocks of time almost fully spend traveling. To be able to have a closing workshop and meeting with the farmers’ association I supported during my graduation project, I had to travel 7 hours by bus, have the meeting and stay over one night, and head back again. Kind of a draining trip it was, but I was glad to be invited to have this closure. Our last planned workshop was cancelled due to hurricane Otto, back in November.

Caldera. On my way to Nicoya

Een bericht gedeeld door Jeroen Houdijk (@jeroen.houdijk) op

One of the busses was equipped with Wi-Fi, which made the travelling much more pleasant. On the way, back I managed to pick up my legalized title, in the middle of the Friday afternoon traffic rush. I did lose a few paragraphs of free writing I did not safe properly, but that’s stuff that just happened some time.

Sunday

10 In some way I managed to stick with the ten-block week planning. Ending this first cycle, it is time for some reflexion and see what could be improved. I had a client asked for my availability, that made me think it would be a good idea to publish my available time slots, and hire a virtual assistant for the blocks that I am not actively replying my mail. Also, I tend to improve the check list I use for the updates and maintenance. This kind of actions should be registered as documented information to be compliant, so it feels like the most natural thing to do now, is to start working according to the principles I preach. Even if at this time I am a single pitter or a solopreneur, describing my work processes, and working on the documentation structure, helps me to be more efficient. I do foresee certification for my own management system at some point, so I better start working on that!