Stumble Forward Turns 5!

Birthday candles showing Nr. 5Yup that’s right, Stumble Forward has turned the ripe old age of  5 and it was on this very day that I wrote my first article and posted it on my site.  So today I thought I would share with you all the things I’ve done along the way and what I learned.

Specifically I’ll be sharing things like my traffic stats, earnings, some of my top articles, and even a few pictures of what Stumble Forward actually looked like back in the early years.  So let’s jump right in.

The Early Years

In the last weekend of August 2008 I finally put my foot down and said I would start my first website. I had no idea if things would work out or even if I’d be blogging a year from now.  All I knew was that I needed stop wasting time and just do it.

I can also say things have changed a lot since I’ve started.  When I started in 2008 I felt like I was getting in the blogging game a little late but looking back realized now is always the best time to start and I’m glad I did.

Quick Tip: Don’t talk yourself out of doing something just because you feel you are getting in the game late, because now is always the best time to take advantage of an opportunity.

My whole goal for starting my site was to share the financial mistakes I’ve made and give insight into how I got past those mistakes.  What’s great about this is that I’ve helped a lot of people along the way with tips and advice and to me this is the greatest reward my site has given me.

Pictures From The Past

Now that you have the WHY behind my story let’s look at some of the alterations Stumble Forward has gone through in that time.  Below is a picture what my site first looked like when it first launched in 2008.

Stumble_Forward_2008

As you can tell Stumble Forward didn’t look all that great when it first started but I had a site up and running and that’s all I cared about at that point.  A few months after that I changed the theme to something a little more desirable.

SF_2008_Late

In 2009 I also made another theme change as well.

SF_2009_A SF_2009_B

In 2010 I made yet another change but this time I switched to Thesis theme and this version of Stumble Forward stayed there until the spring of 2012 as which time I switched to the Genesis Framework.

SF_2009Traffic Stats

As far as traffic goes there has been a ton of traffic that has come and gone over those 5 years.Traffic_Stats

First off, I’ve had almost 300,000 unique visitors to my site in that time which is pretty cool considering I never thought I would ever bring that much traffic to my site in that time.

Secondly, the average visitor has stayed around 1 minute on my site but I plan to increase this over time.  I also plan to work on lowering my bounce rate as well.  For those of you who don’t understand bounce rate it’s a basic measure that tells you how many people engage and click on at least one link on my site when they land on it.  As you can tell around 80% of the people that come to my site tend to bounce and leave.

I think the main reason for this is because my site is nothing more than a content site which basically means most people will skim my content and not truly read the article from beginning to end.

To fix this I’m working to make my content easier to read and make it more engaging.  If you have any tips make your content more engaging I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Top 10 Articles

Over the last 5 years there have definitely been a few articles that have stood the test of time and continuously drive in traffic through their popularity.  One common characteristic that I seem find with all of these articles is that they are almost all based on some type of experience I’ve had.

Earnings

Now we make it to the part everyone wants to know, income.  Honestly, the income has been very rewarding for this site, more than I could ever imagine.  I’ve been able to do a lot of things from attending conferences, vacations, to building my my new house.

Below is what I’ve managed to earn since starting my blog.

  • Adsense Income – $25,342.68
  • Affiliate Earnings –  $2730.50
  • Other Earnings –  $1500.00

In total I’ve earned around $29,573.18 since starting Stumble Forward.  That’s nearly $6000 a year on average.

Future Plans

With all the things I’ve done over the last 5 years I thought I would also include a section on what I plan to accomplish going forward.  Doing this would allow me to look back on this in 5 years and see exactly what I did accomplish and determine exactly how well I did in that time.

Here is a short list of things I plan to do.

  • Publish 1 Article A Day –  One thing I’ve lacked over the last 5 years is keeping a consistent content schedule going and at some point I plan to start publishing anywhere from 5 to 7 articles a week.
  • Start A Mailing List- Next I plan to start a more formal mailing list along with a free giveaway.  I’ve been building up a mailing list on Feedburner over the last 5 years but I plan to go more all in and ramp things up to build a bigger list.  This would also give me insights to my subscribers and help me make better decisions as to what my true readers are looking for.
  • Create More Videos – Third, I plan to create more videos for my site.  While blog post are still good, video is another way for people to engage with my site and learn more about me and my brand.
  • Start A Podcast – Starting a podcast has been on my mind for the last few years and I’ve been seriously considering the idea of starting one soon.
  • Create A Product- Finally the last thing I want to accomplish is to build my own product.  I have no idea what I want to build yet but I know it’s going to be something big.  Of all the things on this list this one may take the longest to do since it involves find a need and developing a something that people want.

Final Thoughts

As final thought I’d like to talk about achieving success.  If you would have told me five years ago that I was going to have everything that I have right now and I would have thought you were kidding.  In fact, I nearly gave up after the first year but I stuck with it and think of all the things I wouldn’t have today if I did quit.

Quick Tip: Do the right things long enough and success is inevitable.  You just need to figure out what those right things are and do them until you succeed.

This tip has probably been the guiding principle in my current success.  Now I’m not saying I’ve achieved much but I know as long as I create a plan and do the right things success will always follow.

What Big Things Have You Achieved With Your Blog?

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13 Comments

  1. Thanks Michelle. Starting a podcast is one of my goals this year but the way things look right now it may not happen until early next year.

  2. Congrats Grayson on hitting your 1 year. I think the first year is always the toughest because you have to put in all the work knowing none of this could pan out. In fact I almost quit my first year but I stuck it out and I’m glad I did.

  3. A whooping 5 years…Congrats Chris. Its a tough journey by all means!
    All the best actualizing the goals you have moving forward or should I say “Stumbling Forward” 🙂

  4. Congrats!!

    You’ve certainly had a good bit of traffic in these 5 years along with some nice earnings! Keep up the good work! A lot of your goals are similar to mine. I have been using feedburner as well and have just switched over to Aweber. Now I have to figure out how to get the feedburner people to Aweber. I also want to create a product as well as write more engaging content.

    Keep up the good work!

  5. Big congrats Chris! I hit my year mark in a few weeks myself and am seeing the need to work on a few of the things you mentioned. I think the next thing for me is starting a newsletter and moving over to Aweber and then figuring out the fun of moving everyone over. Keep up the great work sir!

  6. Chris, that is fabulous, I didn’t realize you had been blogging that long, I certainly commend you. Look forward to the next 5!

  7. Thanks Simon. That’s I like about blogging so much is sharing my experiences and learning along the way.

  8. That’s one of my concerns with switching as well. However I think there is a way to add email address to Aweber. You can also write a blog post telling people that you are switching to Aweber and that if you were on Feedburner and that they may notice a few small changes.

  9. Thanks John. I think about also putting together a small ecourse or ebook as a small giveaway for people to signing up to my list as well. I am also going to be going to Aweber at some point as well.

  10. Thanks Jim. I’m hoping to accomplish a lot more in the next 5 than I did in the last 5. I know for me I just didn’t feel like I put the full effort in that I could have. Don’t get me wrong I achieved a lot but I have so much more I want to do. I also want to take things to a more full time level once my income allows for it. This would help achieve so much more.

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