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My Digital Photography School Goals

Canon-Rebel-Xt-1-1-1Since I’ve set the topic for this week’s group writing project I thought I’d better submit an entry myself on Blogging Goals.

It’s a fairly wide topic, especially if I was to tackle it on a macro level thinking across all of my blogs, so I’ll just focus on one of them, my newest one, Digital Photography School.

Before getting into goals I’ll give a little update on how it’s been going (something I promised I’d do).

Digital Photography School – So Far

  • I started posting on DPS in earnest on 17 April of this year so it’s still relatively new (53 days old).
  • I’ve written 48 posts in that time – most of which are fairly instructional in nature.
  • April saw the page get around 2500 unique visitors for the month, May hit 65,000 and so far in june we’re at around 52,000 visitors.
  • Most traffic has come from a number of links it’s had on sites like Lifehacker, Engadget and Gizmodo as well as the flow on effects of being picked up on social bookmarking sites.
  • This week it’s averaging around 3000 RSS readers (this number goes up and down significantly)
  • My DPS newsletter subscriber list has grown to around 1800 subscribers
  • Earnings vary considerably from day to day but are averaging around $25 per day this month. I know I could do much better than this with more aggressive ad positioning but this is not my priority at this point.

Originally when I started DPS my goal was to leverage traffic that I already had on my other blogs, particularly those with a digital imaging focus. While there was some traction in this idea (I do interlink the blogs and use my other blog’s newsletters to send traffic) the majority of traffic has come via other sources (as mentioned above). As a result my goals have changed a little….

Goals

  • Continue writing 3-4 similar style posts per week – so far I’ve been averaging over 5 a week but now the site is a little established and has a decent level of content on it I’ll pull this back slightly. The focus of the articles is at the beginner through to intermediate digital camera user. Over time it might widen to begin including some more advanced techniques but that’s not something I’m wanting to focus on too early – my goal is for the blog to grow up along with it’s readership in it’s focus and expertise.
  • Continue to develop relationship with other larger key sites – knowing when to submit a post to bigger sites and when not to do it is important. I do not push all of my posts in this way but pick those that I think will have broad appeal.
  • Grow Newsletter Subscriber List by 30 subscribers per day - this will mean 12 months after launch the list stands at around 10,000 subscribers.
  • Add at least 1 author - I’m currently attempting to recruit a second author to DPS. While I enjoy the blog immensely it would be good to have another contributer to help carry the load to enable me to develop other aspects of the site. It would also add to the depth of expertise on the site. While I think I’m a decent photographer I’m not a technical one and would love to add that aspect to the blog through the addition of a new blogger (initially I’ll probably keep it at just one).
  • Develop relationships with affiliate partners - one future income stream for DPS will be promoting quality affiliate products. I am already in relationship with a couple of producers of such products and once the site becomes more established will look to work with them to create offers that benefit my readership.
  • Continue to Build Incoming Links – I am not anticipating that this site will ever bring in massive Search Engine Traffic but any incoming links will of course be a bonus. Incoming links from other sites are coming in currently in a very organic way. I’m not doing any link exchanges but rather sites are linking up to things that genuinely interest them. I’ll continue to foster these types of relationships. Apart from this and some basic common sense in the structure of the blog I plan to do no overt SEO on the blog.
  • Redesign – as I’ve mentioned before I’m not really happy with the current design. It’s a free template that serves a purpose but that doesn’t really add to what I’m trying to do on the site. I’ll keep things as they are in the short term but will look to engaging the services of a designer at some point in the coming months to give it a more professional look that fits with my overall strategy.
  • Enjoyment – I guess my last goal is to continue to enjoy the blog. So far I’m loving it. I’m learning a lot about my own photography and enjoying the passion that it’s reigniting in me for taking photos. Ultimately this is why I wanted to start this blog and is the reason I’ll continue to work at it over time.

Long term Goals and Ideas
I have many ideas and thoughts for this blog which I will not explore for at least 6 to 12 months including:

  • Repackaging Content - I’m very aware that the content I’m producing at present could be used in a variety of other ways including e-products, books, magazines etc.
  • Forums – I’m happy to keep comments off this blog at present (for reasons previously stated here and here) but down the track I do hope to make the space much more interactive in a number of ways, including forums (the other ways I’ll keep to myself for the time being).
  • Premium Sponsorship – Depending upon traffic levels there could be opportunities to sell advertising space directly to sponsors. My hope is to keep this blog with limited advertising in the hope of being able to offer advertisers exclusive deals at premium rates.

By no means am I completely satisfied with how DPS is currently functioning. There are plenty of ways to improve it that I will work on in the coming months but for the length of time it’s been live I’m very happy with the progress so far.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Peter Cooper says:

    Excellent, excellent post. I also started a new side project blog recently (under two weeks ago) and it, too, is up to a thousand unique visitors per day :) Who says there isn’t room for new blogs and for those new blogs to do well?

  2. Very good idea for a blog site. I’ve started a similar one, but have narrowed my focus to a single type of camera. I’m not sure if that niche is too narrow, and I’m not sure if the free WordPress account is the best way to take my blog to pro level. WordPress doesn’t even allow ads–as for as I can tell at least.

    I’m still, though, trying to figure out how get the word out about my blog. I’ve started to do it some in groups on Flickr, but I need to figure where else I can go.

    This site continues to be great resource, though I have a lot to learn about getting blogging to professional level.

  3. Razib Ahmed says:

    Thanks for sharing your own goal with us. I am sure DPS will be a very successful blog and our idea of getting a writer is a good one too. If you get 10,000 subscribers for your this blog then getting premium sponsorship should not be a problem.

  4. “Originally when I started DPS my goal was to leverage traffic that I already had on my other blogs, particularly those with a digital imaging focus. While there was some traction in this idea (I do interlink the blogs and use my other blog’s newsletters to send traffic) the majority of traffic has come via other sources (as mentioned above).”

    I think the most important point here is that your leverage got the snowball rolling a lot quicker. It may not be your main source of traffic now, but it got you a good surge of traffic in the beginning and got the word out (like a press release). Now more and more people are linking to you and so the snowball continues to grow.

    I’ve leveraged traffic on a much smaller scale and had some success, but the difficulty is getting to that first 1000 or so visitors. Getting that initial traffic is where leverage is really needed. After that, momentum takes over.

    RebelXT: You’re right about WordPress.com not allowing advertising. They state for security reasons that they don’t allow javascript so that blocks out most things. I think as a free platform it is a great way to see if you like the wordpress platform and the concept of blogging generally, but if the traffic looks like it’s going to take off, quickly change to your own domain – it’s better to start from scratch from 10 daily visitors than 500.

    The one product looks a bit shortsighted to me. It may be a good place to start, but you want to leave room for expanding into other products as soon enough that one product will become obsolete.

  5. Hendry Lee says:

    There is no WINNER but in my mind you are the winner. Thanks for such in depth look of one of your project. If there is only one thing I learned from this post I think that is being persistent.

    After reaching a certain level, virtually “any project” would become success easier than the first one. Getting the first momentum, as Alan Pritt said above is utmost important.

  6. Rob Elam says:

    40 some posts and 2500 unique visitors for april… wow. Sucks to be you.

  7. Kitty says:

    Hey D, wow this is a great site and your goals are simply fantastic! Taking photos is my passion, and I would love to learn more from you through this DPS. Who knows, with more learning on digital photography, I might end up being a new blogger in this area or partner with you in the future?

  8. photomfa.com says:

    I think it is interesting to know how much money you are making and how much traffic you are getting. I would have to say that when I do blog searches about topics covered by your blog, that you really dominate.

  9. traffic says:

    Woow! You’re rock.

    I can’t belive you how much traffic are you getting in so short time.
    Please give us more tips about how you succed !

    Good luck!

  10. excellent post. i’m a photographer based in Italy and I usually teach in photography workshop and I’m developing a mixed strategy (on-line / off-line) to give new force to my bussiness. This post is really useful for me. Thanks!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] My craziness has been noticed by alike minded crazy people. LOL What an honor to be acknowledged my post “The Great Determinations of Mayvelous” as “Second best goals post” after very own Darren’s Goals by Pitts Burgh Homes Daily Blog. My sincere thanks. [...]

  2. [...] So, I was thinking about Darren’s Digital Photography School, and what he wrote about it (and his goals for the site) over on Problogger.  In particular, the success he’s had with it already, particularly this little snippet: Earnings vary considerably from day to day but are averaging around $25 per day this month. I know I could do much better than this with more aggressive ad positioning but this is not my priority at this point. [...]

  3. Best Blog Goals: Comprehensive and Entertaining…

    The blogging goals project at Problogger finally ends today. There were 130 submissions in total. Again thanks to Darren for the hard work, not just listing them all but actually reading them along the way.
    Regarding my favorite, to no surprise is My…

  4. [...] I found this great post over at problogger. Darren explains how he has started and nurtured a new blogging site. Definitely some good ideas. He’s also had some excellent traffic for the first few months. His explanation? Most traffic has come from a number of links it’s had on sites like Lifehacker, Engadget and Gizmodo as well as the flow on effects of being picked up on social bookmarking sites. [...]