From working for a long-time hero to launching products to shuttering products to pivoting the entire business, 2013 has been a year of ups and downs at Living for Monday. In the spirit of Chris Guillebeau’s annual review process (here’s his look back at 2013), I want to open up about what’s happened at Living for Monday in 2013, how it’s felt to be on the roller coaster, and lead in to the next post on what you can expect from 2014 around here.
There are four parts to this year in review series:
- Accomplishments (What went well)
- Room for Improvement (What didn’t go so well)
- What to Expect from Living for Monday in 2014
We’ll start with stats in this post and then move on the others. This will likely be a long post, so read what interests you, skip what doesn’t.
*All stats as of 12/17/13
Overall, we had 158,420 visits and 221,412 pageviews by 135,426 people at LivingforMonday.com. Those readers averaged 1.4 pages and 1 minute and 20 seconds per visit. They left the site after viewing just one page 82.58% of the time and 85.35% of visitors had never been to the site before.
On our best traffic day (the big spike in the graph), we had 10,658 visitors to the site thanks to the Hacker News crowd latching on to How to Accept and Decline Job Offers.
What this means:
If in 2011 you had told me that we would have 135,000+ people visit LivingforMonday.com in 2013, then I would have called you crazy. I couldn’t be happier to have so many great people engage with our content. That being said, it’s a relatively small number of people as compared to the sites I look up to, which means there is always room for growth.
Our engagement numbers (pages per visit, visit duration, and bounce rate) are not where I would like them to be. I want to see you reading more articles every time you come to the site. I’d also like to create content that makes you want to come back to the site often, as well as stick around for awhile once you’re here. My goal is to create such incredible content that Living for Monday becomes the kind of site where you spend an entire afternoon.
Thankfully, I’m learning more and more about who is reading the site, largely due to the data provided by Google Analytics. Here’s what we know about you from this past year’s activity…
About Our Readers
The largest majority of our audience is spread across the United States, with 5 of our top 10 cities in America. However, as you can see, 4 of our top 10 cities are around the globe, including London, Singapore, Toronto, and Sydney.
It’s incredibly humbling to see such a diverse group of people reading the site. However, I’m disappointed to see that despite being located in Atlanta, our hometown falls at number 8 on our most popular cities list for our readers, accounting for just 1.37% of our visits. I’d really like to see us improve our Atlanta-based readership in the future.
I was thrilled to see our breakdown of male to female readers come out almost even. The fact that so many career-minded women come to Living for Monday for our content is absolutely awesome. Of course, I appreciate our male readers as well, and looking forward I’d like to see us as close to dead even as possible.
There may be no surprises here, but seeing this graph confirms for me that we’re onto something. Of the 135,000+ people who came to Livingformonday.com this year, 61% were Millennials, which is the audience we target with our content.
I love that we attract readers of all ages, but we will continue to hone our focus on the needs of Millennials at work. Whether it’s a crazy boss, deciding whether to take a raise or bonus, how to ask for extra vacation time, or how to create a strong professional network – our ears and eyes are peeled for great content that serves the needs of young professionals.
How You Find Us
No surprises here. You’re tech savvy individuals that primarily rely on Google and Apple products to explore the web. Firefox and IE are still hanging strong, but I suspect we’ll continue to see a decline in those as compared to Chrome and Safari.
A large number of you are reading on mobile web apps as well, which is an exciting opportunity, as we’ll confirm in just a second.
Regardless of how you’re finding us, we’re happy you’re here. We’ll continue to work to make our user experience better for you, especially for the browsers you care about most.
Devices You Use
Desktop still takes the cake as to how you’re experiencing Living for Monday. However, we know we need to continue to optimize for the mobile experience – whether tablet or phone. It’s on the top of our minds and the next time we go through a redesign, we’ll be thinking about ways to improve the mobile experience even more.
Google has been far and away the greatest source of traffic for us this year. Second to that is direct traffic, which comes from you typing LivingforMonday.com into your browser, as well as a few other sources that get lumped in.
Lifehacker, Startup Digest, and Reddit were all great referral sources for us this year. As you’ll see later on, we had two features at Lifehacker, one in the weekly Startup Digest reading list, and we consistently post our content to Reddit.
Although they’ve changed the ability to track traffic from Hacker News to prevent spamming, I suspect a fair amount of our direct/unidentified traffic came from Hacker News. I love the startup/developer/designer crowd that finds their way to us from the HN forums, so I’ll continue to post content I feel is relevant over on their site.
And then of course there’s the social media referrals. We post all of our articles to Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. My preference lies with Twitter, but of the social networks, most of you find your way from Facebook, then Twitter, then LinkedIn. I hope you’ll continue to share our work on whatever networks you use in the new year.
LivingforMonday.com is a content-driven website laser-focused on tackling the most interesting topics on the minds of young professionals (especially in Atlanta). Over the course of 2013, we continued to hone our focus on careers, but we started the year with a wide range of content categories.
As you see below, our “Business and Careers” category has been and continues to be the most popular. That is followed by “Leadership and Learning” and “Travel and Fun.” In the new year, we’ll be breaking “Business and Careers” down into new categories that more closely reflect the topics you care about most.
You’ll notice “/,” “Blog,” “About,” and “Thanks Newsletter” listed above. These aren’t categories, but high level navigation. “/” is the homepage, “Blog” = blog homepage, “About” = about page, etc
Our Most Popular Articles
The top ten most popular individual pages for 2013 are listed above. Three articles far and away drove the most traffic to the site. The first is an article on accepting and declining job offers, which is an excerpt from the Career Kickstarter curriculum. It was picked up by Lifehacker (thanks, Tess) and stoked a healthy conversation on Hacker News.
The “Big Four Basics” was a post called “What to Know About the Big Four Before Accepting an Offer.” It was part one of a three-part series based on my experience being recruited by, working for, and resigning from the “Big Four” accounting firms. It turns out those firms have such powerful recruiting programs that many people are interested in opportunities there.
The third most popular post, “How to Make $5,000 in Five Days without Spending a Dime,” sound like a scam but is really a case study of how I made $5,000 within five days at the end of 2012. I was able to sell a consulting project quickly after realizing I had a large bill due to a service provider that we didn’t have the money to pay. Unfortunately, most people who read the post do so in hopes that there is a magical solution to make money appear.
Here are links to the top 10 pages from the site:
- How to Accept and Decline Job Offers
- What to Know About the Big Four Before Accepting an Offer
- How to Make $5,000 in 5 Days Without Spending a Dime
- Livingformonday.com Homepage
- 10 Reasons to Go to Work for the Big Four (See #2 above)
- How to Write Your Ideal Job Description
- 10 Reasons Not to Go to Work for the Big Four (See #2 above)
- What Top Performers Do Differently in Their First 10 Years at Work
- 20 Life Changing Books for Your Journey (Free eBook)
- The Living for Monday Blog
Numbers 11-20 on our most popular list for 2013 contain some of my personal favorites on the site. The post on Mastermind Groups was popular with our regular readership (aka non-search traffic or YOU) and was also picked up by Lifehacker (thanks again, Tess), where it has 38,000+ visits. The post on networking letter templates is practical and useful for any young professional working to grow business relationships.
Six ways to celebrate a friend’s birthday is a post by my lovely girlfriend Nicole, which she wrote at the beginning of 2013. It’s gone on to be a popular one, especially for search traffic.
The next two posts were personally fulfilling for me and were major reflections of my own experiences with a bent towards how those experiences have impacted Living for Monday. The post about working with Seth Godin was popular with the regular readership, perhaps mostly because of Seth’s good name. The “36 Things I Shouldn’t Tell You” post received a boost from a Sunday afternoon tweet by Chris Guillebeau, as well as being well received by our regular audience.
Here are links to numbers 11-20
- 11) About Living for Monday
- 12) Mastermind Groups: How to Consistently Surround Yourself with Remarkable People
- 13) Two Networking Letter Templates That Work
- 14) Thanks Newsletter is our thanks for subscribing page – if you’ve seen it, it’s because you’re a subscriber, so thanks for supporting us 😉
- 15) Six Ways to Help Someone Celebrate Their Birthday (Decommissioned on Living for Monday)
- 16) 14 Lessons Learned from 14 Days with Seth Godin and the Mystery Project Team
- 17) My Story: 36 Things I Probably Shouldn’t Tell You
- 18) The same $5,000 article from above, re-positioned to make it less likely to attract scammers
- 19) The Impact Toolkit, or the resources we provide to all of our subscribers
- 20) Find a Job that Matters (Decommissioned and provided as Career Kickstarter to all subscribers)
The Living for Monday Show has been around for over a year now, with 37 interviews of inspiring young professionals and business leaders. Since its inception, the show has been a blast for me, as it’s allowed me to learn so much from incredibly intelligent people.
In the process, we’ve worked hard to find a true purpose and area of the focus for the show. Because of that, it’s varied over the course of the year. As you’ll see in the What to Expect from Living for Monday in 2014 post, we’ll be getting even more focused in the new year — specifically on interviewing young professionals in the first ten years of their career to learn about how they got to where they are, what they do on a day to day basis at work, and how someone interested in their path might make similar moves.
Our Most Popular Episodes
Ashley Ambirge is an absolute all-star and even though my interview with here is from September 2012, it continues to be the most popular. Why? because her readers and fans are incredibly passionate about what she does.
After Ashley, I had the chance to interview best-selling business author Dan Pink (The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, Drive, To Sell is Human) about sales as a job search skill. That episode was extremely well-received.
Gina Gutierrez is a friend I met at World Domination Summit 2012, and we’ve supported each other’s work ever since. She’s a multi-passionate young professional working dual careers in personal fitness and interior design. Her story resonated deeply with all of you, and if you haven’t listened yet, I would definitely encourage you to.
All of the episodes of the show have golden nuggets in them, and if you go all the way back to the beginning of the show, you can be thoroughly entertained as you hear me develop into a slightly better interviewer over time ;).
I’d like to call out one point here, which is that I’ve been underwhelmed by the performance of the show. While I personally love doing interview for the show, the listener base has not grown nearly as fast as I would like. If you have insight, feedback, or ideas for 1) why the show is not growing with young professionals 2) how to make the show more exciting/appealing to young professionals or 3) if you can think of a better way to accomplish a similar goal, I’m all ears!
Here are links to the top 10 episodes this year:
- Ashley Ambirge (The Middle Finger Project)
- Dan Pink (Best-selling Author)
- Gina Gutierrez (Diakadi + Gina Rachelle Design)
- Sean Ogle (Location 180)
- Krista Stryker (12 Minute Athlete)
- The Passion Episode
- The Mindset Episode
- Dan Adams (The Higher Purpose Project)
- Srinivas Rao (Blogcast FM + The Instigator Experience)
- Sarah Kathleen Peck (It Starts With)
Downloads by Month
Here’s what the year looked like in downloads by month. We totaled 5,169 downloads this year. As I said earlier, I’d like to significantly increase the number of downloads per episode of the podcast in the year ahead. (I’m open to ideas so send them to me @Barrettabrooks.)
Location of Our Listeners
As compared to the blog, our listeners for the podcast are much more concentrated. First of all, the vast majority of our listeners are in the US, specifically in Georgia, California, and New York. I was very happy to see that the most downloads come from Atlanta, then San Francisco, then New york, DC, LA, CHI, etc. It’s great to see many of the major cities from around the country represented. I’d love to continue to build up a broad base of listeners in Atlanta, and of course I value all of you around the country (and world) as well.
Wrapping Up Stats
All in all, it’s been a very successful year of growth from a traffic standpoint at Living for Monday. As you’ll see in our next post in this series, we launched the first professionally designed version of Livingformonday.com this year. This was also the first year we’ve posted to the site with regularity. Finally, we grew our subscribers from about 150 to over 1,300. We switched email providers, wiped out our big list, and started a new list with a clean slate to focus exclusively on young professionals (now we’re back to about 250 subscribers). That’s a tiny number for now, but every one of you counts and we’re looking forward to the growth that we know we’ll see in the new year.
Keep an eye out for our posts on our 2013 accomplishments, 2013 areas for improvement, and what to look out for in 2014.
In the mean time, I’d love to see you tweet your favorite article from this past year (be sure to tag @LivingforMonday).