Rainbow Over San Francisco

Every year brings new opportunity. Some of us overwhelm ourselves with tons of goals to accomplish, while others curiously have no goals. Yakezie.com’s main goal is to continue challenging publishers to be the best in their niche. If you win, we all win as the quality of content gets raised across the PF and lifestyle space. The other goal is to simply provide a forum where folks can hang out and trade ideas. A supportive Network encourages us to stretch beyond our comfort zone.

Ever since my old partner Chris left when his company got bought by Google 2011, I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants making sure Yakezie.com works. As someone who was not tech savvy, I’ve done a very poor job at keeping everything from breaking. The upside is that I know more about the back-end than I ever thought imaginable given I’ve been forced to learn.

Over the next couple months, you’ll probably experience many broken links, a slowdown in load time, and the occasional crash. Apologies in advance. These issues are all for the sake of simplification. Sometime in 4Q2013 or 1H2014, I plan to take Yakezie.com in a new direction. We’ve got a fantastic resource of bloggers here and I’d like to create something for the greater good.

In the meantime, I’d like to share with you some recommendations for what publishers should do to make this year and every year a better success.

FIVE ACTIONS EVERY PUBLISHER SHOULD TAKE

* Re-write your About page. Chances are high that the last time you put any significant effort into your About page was when you first launched your site. If it’s been over a year, spend a good hour elaborating on your About page to reflect the latest you. In addition, make sure you add the latest privacy, disclosure, and disclaimer statements. They are very important as your site grows in exposure.

* Run through Google analytics. Figure out what your 20 most trafficked posts were for the last 12 months. These 20 posts will give you a good idea of what you are good at, interested in, and rank well for in search. Sometimes we discover we are square pegs and not circle pegs after analyzing the data. No thyself in order to grow.

* Identify who you want to be when you grow up. There will always be a bigger and better looking publisher out there. It’s up to you to identify which sites embody your aspirations. Feel free to take the best of what they do well and make something unique. Without goals, it’s hard to formulate to the right steps to progress. Observe what that bigger publishers are doing and try to do it better.

* Remove non essential plug-ins. There seems to literally be a plug-in for everything on WordPress, just like there seems to be an app for everything on our mobile phones. Deactivate as many non-essential plug-ins as possible. Try and get the number of plug-ins below 20, if not 15. Plug-ins cause rampant errors and are also gateways for hackers. This is where hardcoding and simplicity prove advantageous.

* Create a value proposition. With over 500 million blogs on the web, competition is stiff to say the least. You should consider writing a value proposition post in order to address what makes your site unique. Do you have particular insights into the real estate market given you were once a mortgage broker? Did you spend the last 10 years managing money and therefore have opinions regarding active vs. index funds? Are you a CPA who can talk efficiently regarding taxes? It’s very important to write from experience because there are enough authority writers who write from experience. Readers can tell if you are faking it.

BABY STEPS

There’s no need to do everything at once. In fact, most of us don’t do anything until we are sufficiently agitated to change. After WordPress 3.5 came out, my server started crashing incessantly. Bugs such as missed scheduled posts and losing my post formatting in visual editor became so annoying that I decided to do something.

If we can focus on several of the most important things, we can make tremendous progress if we last long enough. Baby steps will turn into giant leaps if we persevere.

Readers, what are some things you are doing for the new year to make your site(s) better? Below is a fun calculator that shows how much you can save if you cut out XYZ .

Regards,

Sam