Well, it’s the end of another week of working on my projects, and it feels like I’ve been really busy! Although I’ve not achieved all of the goals that I set last week, I’ve smashed a few of them, so it feels like I’ve been rather productive. So, without further ado, let’s get into what I’ve been up to this week.
I only ended up setting one goal for myself for solo innovator this week:
- Write 3 research-based posts on Solo Innovator
While quite a simple goal, I only ended up writing 2 articles, one about deciding when to move on from a failing startup and another providing advice to non-developers who are wanting to start a SaaS business. While these 2 blog posts didn’t give me any major epiphanies, it was nice being able to write about some of my experiences trying to start some businesses in these 2 posts.
The Spam Invasion
While I started the week on track for writing at least 3 posts, by Wednesday I noticed a new issue emerging on the Solo Innovator blog. Starting with a few comments on Wednesday morning, I began getting bombarded with spam comments linking to Bitcoin accounts on all of the posts on my blog. Instead of manually deleting every comment, I decided that I need to set up an anti-spam plugin on the blog. This took a good few days to get set up and tuned correctly to stop all of the spam, but the site now seems to be spam free. You can see the number of spam comments that it’s caught since I added the spam plugin below.
Last week, I set 2 main goals around marketing for Post Crunch, which were:
- Complete the ICE Framework analysis on Post Crunch
- Start working on the top-rated marketing strategy from this research
I started the week by finishing off the ICE Framework that I’d been working on the week before. If you missed the blog post where I described the ICE Framework, the framework is designed to help you determine the most effective use of your time for your business. ICE stands for:
- Impact: How much of a result will this method generate?
- Confidence: How confident am I that I can deliver a successful result?
- Ease Of Implementation: How quickly can I do it?
For my implementation of ICE, I decided to score each of the 3 categories out of 10 (with 10 being the top score) and weigh the total score by multiplying the Impact score by 3 and the Ease Of Implementation score by 2. This helped me to sway the results of my analysis to stress that I want my marketing efforts to be really effective and not too difficult or time-consuming to implement.
As you can see from the table above, the two marketing strategies that scored the top points in my analysis were Reddit Posts and Medium Articles (both with 41 points). As this is designed to be an ever-evolving document, my plan is to start by using these 2 marketing approaches for a week or two, and then update the document with new scores depending on the success of these methods.
What I did find interesting was that my current marketing strategy (broken link cold outreach) was ranked as one of the least likely marketing methods to work from my ICE model. This was mainly caused by the poor Impact score that I’d given it due to seeing no responses to the marketing as of yet, however, I was really surprised that it was so low down on the table. I guess that goes to show how useful this analysis is, as it’s completely re-prioritised my marketing efforts.
Post Crunch Demotivation
While the ICE Framework has been really helpful in allowing me to decide on new marketing goals for Post Crunch, I’ve found it difficult to stay motivated this week. After not receiving any responses from the people that I initially reached out to about creating Post Crunch, I’ve been finding it hard to stay motivated that anyone wants to use the app.
My initial plan for marketing was to use the traction and connections that the people that I’d been in contact with have to be able to springboard the app in front of loads of different bloggers, all while gaining some great user feedback and testimonials to improve the app and conversions even more.
However, that’s just not happened. With no users, no responses from any of my initial contacts and no interest from any of the cold outreach marketing that I had been doing, it’s been really hard to keep motivated and marketing the project. As such, I’ve decided that I’m going to set a catch-all goal to prevent me from spending too much time on a project that has no market fit.
I’ve set myself 4 weeks to market Post Crunch like crazy. By Friday 23rd June, Post Crunch needs to have at least 1 paying customer, otherwise, I’m going to abandon the project. I’ve got plenty of other project ideas whizzing around my head, so this seems like a good win-win goal. Either Post Crunch starts to get customers and I’ve found a good marketing technique that reaches people, or I can’t find a market fit and I move on to other (and hopefully more successful) projects.
On a more cheerful note, my shiny new project is making really good progress and is already starting to see some traction! Last week, I set myself 2 goals:
- Have at least 50 articles published on my new travel blog
- Improve the generation algorithm to the point where a handful of articles generated require no human editing
What can I say, I’ve absolutely smashed those goals! After writing my Week 2 Progress Update last week, I spent at least 3 hours meticulously reviewing each of the pieces of content that the AI had written and made a list of all of the errors that I was finding. By the time I’d reviewed all of the posts, I had about 10 different issues that I’d noticed within the posts.
I then spent most of Monday morning working through this list and updating the code to fix these problems. Most of the issues were based on sanitising the prompts that I gave to the GPT model by implementing some sentiment analysis and other NLP processes. By the end of the morning, the code had started generating much better blog posts.
Over the last few days, I’ve been needing to edit the posts less and less, to the point where I’m pretty much never having to manually change any of the content! Every time I’ve run into a problem with an article, I’ve fixed the issue in the code, which has meant that pretty much all of my articles now require a quick skim read, which has reduced my editing time from about 5 minutes per article to around 1 minute.
This huge time saving has meant that I’ve been easily able to smash my 50-article goal – I’ve currently got 150 posts live on the site! I can’t believe that I’ve been able to generate over 3 times the content of the Solo Innovator blog on this new site in just 1 week. It shows the crazy potential of using automated techniques to generate AI content.
It Gets Even Better!
Even though this new blog has only been registered with Google Search Console for about a week and a half, I’ve started to see it getting more and more impressions over the last few days. What’s more, Google’s only scraped 30 of my 150 posts so far, which seems crazy that I’m already seeing up to 75 impressions in a day.
I’m hoping that over the next few weeks as I continue to add content to the blog and as Google begins to trust my site more, I’ll start to see my average position increase and my impressions and click-through rate climb.
My New Goals
As you can probably tell, quite a lot has happened in the last week, meaning that I’m going to have to set quite a few new goals to keep up with all of my projects. What’s more, I’ve got a week’s holiday booked from my day job next week and I’m planning on taking it a bit easier on my side projects as a result. As such, I’m going to set goals for 2 weeks time as I’m not sure that I’m going to accomplish that much in the coming week.
As I’ve not been able to achieve my target of 3 posts for the last 2 weeks, I’m going to lower my target to 2 posts for my new goals. I don’t think I’m going to have the time to publish any new content next week on this blog, so I think a goal of 2 posts seems about right for now. Who knows, maybe this week I’ll absolutely smash the goal!
On top of this, I’ve been meaning to have a look into some white-hat link-building techniques so that I can start applying them to Solo Innovator and my new travel blog. As such, I’m going to try to do some research this week and potentially start applying what I learn to hopefully start improving the number of people reaching my blog.
As I said earlier, I’ve given myself 4 weeks (until Friday 23rd June) to get at least one paying customer on Post Crunch. This seems like an absolutely mammoth goal, as I’ve currently not been able to get anyone to signup yet!
As a result, I’m going to be going ham on marketing in the next 2 weeks to try and get Post Crunch in front of as many people as possible. Using my ICE analysis, I’m going to start by identifying some subreddits that bloggers are active in and post in there, along with creating a couple of medium blog posts. If I still have time after doing those, I’ll jump back onto my ICE framework and start looking at more marketing techniques.
I really want to keep the momentum up on my travel blog at the moment, as it seems to be gaining a bit of traction already, which is incredibly motivating! As such, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to reach 400 posts by the end of the next 2 weeks. On top of that, I want to do a little bit of admin work on my post creation code to hopefully identify any dodgy-looking posts to mark for manual review. Any posts that pass this automated review I want to be automatically published so that I have even less reviewing work to do for the posts.
Due to the large number of posts that I’ve been pumping out onto the blog, the menus have started to get a bit cluttered and some other styling issues have started to come up. As such, I also want to spend some time in the next 2 weeks improving these so that readers get a great experience when they start reaching the site.
I’ve actually ended up setting myself quite a few goals for the next 2 weeks. It will be interesting to see how I get on in my next post, as I should have quite a few updates about how I get on! To summarise this section, here are my current goals:
- Write 2 new research-based posts on Solo Innovator
- Look into white-hat link-building techniques
- Post on multiple subreddits promoting Post Crunch
- Write at least 1 medium article for Post Crunch
- Reach 400 posts on my new travel blog
- Create an automated blog post review app
- Improve the styling and menus of my travel blog
There we have it then, the last week of my solo entrepreneurship journey! You can read the next post in the series here. If you missed last week’s post, you can check it out here, otherwise feel free to start from the beginning of my solopreneur blog series.