Like most people, I’m thinking about the year ahead right now. Here are some of my thoughts for the direction of Jim’s Marketing Blog in 2013.
Before looking ahead, I’d like to share a couple of things from 2012
Earlier this year, Jim’s Marketing Blog was rated the most influential marketing blog in the UK and the second most influential business blog over all, in Eloqua’s UK Blog Tree. The blog also grew faster in 2012 than any year since 2008, in both visitor numbers and subscribers. I want to send a HUGE thank you to every reader, who has shared this blog with their friends and helped me reach more people, with free marketing ideas.
My email experiment is here to stay
I made the decision in October 2012, to add my email details to every page of the blog. I decided to test it for a month, to see how people would use it. A lot of people warned me not to do it, saying I would get flooded by spam emails. Thankfully, I can report that this never happened. Instead, it opened an intimate channel of communication with every reader, allowing them to connect with me directly. Many people have told me that they find it a lot more useful than leaving a comment on the blog.
Solutions to my huge blog comment spam challenges
Blog commenting has changed massively since 2008, with the vast majority (often 90% or more) of my comments now coming via social networks and email. People know I reply to every message I receive on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook, so if they see me there, that’s where they comment. It’s faster and easier for them, than leaving their social network to login here and comment.
I wrote earlier in the year about a huge problem I have had with comment spam – automatically generated messages, sent to blogs in order to build links or attract ‘traffic’ from the victim’s blog. I was receiving over 2,000 spam comments a day. A small percentage made it past the filters, generating hundreds of fake notifications a week, telling me there was ‘a comment awaiting moderation’ on the blog. This made it hard to keep up with legitimate comments.
I thought I had found a solution, with a plugin that almost eliminated spam comments from ever reaching the blog. Sadly, the plugin also stops too many genuine comments from getting through. This has simply swapped one set of time consuming comment problems for another, as readers now email me to ask if I can find and publish their comment.
As all my readers have at least one social media account, I’m considering using social networks exclusively, for commenting next year. Dealing with comment spam has been just too time consuming and distracting. I dislike using 3rd party commenting systems, finding them often slow and unreliable when I see them on other sites.
The democratising of comments through social networks seems a logical, fair way to remove the issue and allow me more time to actually write for you. It also creates accountability, as comments can not be made anonymously.
More free tips and ideas for you in 2013
This year more than ever, has proven to me that people value the free information I provide here. I get over 100 emails every day from small business owners, many of which are telling me how the ideas I share have become an essential resource for their business.
As you can imagine, I invest a lot of my time developing the content you find here. I have written every post on this blog and shared thousands of ideas, since I started in 2008. As well as writing content for you, I also spend lots of time every day dealing with emails and messages from readers. Although the wonderful people at WebFusion sponsor my hosting, I pick up the bill for everything else. For example, I work with fewer paying clients each year in order to have enough time to offer as much free information to my readers as possible. This costs me thousands every year in lost income and I have happily covered the cost since 2008.
In 2013, I plan to spend even more of my time helping my readers with free marketing and business development advice. To do this, I need to cover the cost of more of my time. I am currently looking at either introducing more sponsor opportunities or becoming an affiliate for some of the products and services I already use and recommend to people. Currently, just one of the products I use has an affiliate program, so sponsorship looks favourite rite now.
A year of opportunity
I believe that 2013 will be a year of opportunity. As the economies of most countries continue to struggle, people will think a lot harder before hiring a service provider or buying a product. When times are great and people feel financially secure, they think less about the impact of a bad purchasing decision. Today, they think long and hard! This means the small business owners who develop their marketing most effectively, will gain a disproportionately large share of their market.
Rest assured that I will be here for you throughout 2013, to help you become one of the small businesses that thrives. Moreover, I plan to be of greater service to you in 2013 than ever before.