End of the year is usually the time for recaps and I want to do one as well :)
2011. was a very nice year for me, I developed this blog to the point where I never thought it would be, I got many new clients and expanded my services, connected with some amazing people, improved my business and feel energized to do even more in 2012.
But all this would not be possible without learning from those who know more and expanding my toolbox with new resources, as well as growing my knowledge.
So in this post, you will get all my secret tools on a silver platter, so you can use the same ones next year and grow without anything stopping you.
People I’ve learned from
I have learned so much in 2011. that I can not even begin to use all that in next several years. I read a lot of blogs but I have to stress out a few bloggers that really stood out for me in 2011.
Lisa Irby and especially her Youtube videos for all the down to Earth, actionable and researched advice she has been giving. From making your blog look awesome with Thesis theme to making money with Google Adsense, she got you covered.
Dahlia Valentine for being my friend and mentor, pushing me forward and changing my mindset. She helped me do some big things in 2011. and opened my mind for some even bigger in 2012.
Kristi Hines for all the analytics and list posts she wrote, that I applied as soon as I would read them. Not only have I learned from her but she motivated me to always go one step further. Her advice made my blog grow faster.
Kimberly Castleberry for all the WordPress and Facebook security tips and help that saved me multiple times! If I ever had a question about a plugin I was thinking of trying out, she was my go-to-gal.
Steve Scott for actionable and tested tutorials about affiliate marketing that helped me get rid of some time wasters. Reading his blog often made me more productive… I had to be to keep up.
Ameena Falchetto for making me feel great about myself and my work :) and changing some of my practices. I feel (and hope) some great things are coming for two of us together.
4 special mentions for people who I love to read but may not comment on their blogs as much. There is one simple reason for that. Their posts are jaw-dropping, and one thing that hardly ever happens to me, does in their case – I am left speechless! Thanks to Gini Dietrich, Danny Brown, Marcus Sheridan and John Falchetto.
Kiesha Easley for believing in me and making me a part of the team, I still think that is a dream! I also love reading her writing because she is the most creative blogger I know.
Hesham Zebida for publishing my Traffic generation winning post on his blog. It definitely changed the course of my blogging in 2011. Not only that, but he has given me some nice opportunities and was there for me every time I needed him.
Top friends and supporters
I have to say that there are people who are amazing bloggers and have been better friends to me than I have to them. They come to my blog regularly, read it and comment on it and make me feel great. I haven’t returned the favor enough mostly for the lack of time but that is still no excuse.
So I want to tell them that I do know they are always around and that I do appreciate everything they do for me. There are many more people I am thankful to, but these three guys have been spending time with me through the whole 2011. And this is my tiny way of saying thank you!
Online business tools you must have in 2012.
Here are some tools that made my life easier and that I really think you should have in your arsenal this coming year. All links are going to my reviews of the products, not affiliate landing pages.
Site Build It! because it taught me everything I know and made it possible for me to work from home. I believe it is the best available tool for building a successful business out there and I will never stop using it!
Bufferapp because it let’s you easily spread your tweets and now Facebook posts.
HootSuite because I believe that, at the moment, it is the easiest, most reliable and best Twitter management tool.
Aweber because no matter what your blogging or business goal is and what are you writing about, having a list of people that trust you enough to give you their email address is the best way to connect with them. Don’t go for the free tools, they are not all that amazing as you would think. I have tried Mailchimp and it can not compare to Aweber.
Clicky because you can track the visitors and their behavior on your blog in real time and it can save you and your conversions. Clicky is easier to use than Google Analytics so it is perfect for those that don’t want to get deep into analysis of their traffic. It is also free for one site.
Books I read over and over again
There are several books I think may change the speed in which you develop your online business and I would recommend to check them out if you haven’t already (links are going to my reviews of the books):
- Creating e-books for impulse buyers is my favorite book in 2011.
- WordPress Starters guide is not only for beginners!
- Blog Post Promotion book is a must have for all bloggers, no matter the niche.
The new book you must grab fast
“Engagement from scratch” is a new book by Danny Inny and although I have a long list of products and books I am supposed to read, I had to go through this one first. I could not put it down. It is amazing and it may change your direction in 2012. if you apply all the great tips. You can download the free digital copy here.
Top 5 traffic sources for this blog
- Google – I know SEO is important so I apply it here (but not too much). The lesson about SEO from 2011. is that you definitely want to be one of the first ones to write about the new, up and coming thing, what ever it is.
- Direct traffic – I always do stuff that I hope will keep people coming back. Since it is so high in my traffic sources, I guess I am doing something right.
- StumbleUpon – Brings floods of traffic I didn’t really work or aim for. The traffic doesn’t stick much and messes up your overall Google Analytics numbers but even the little percentage of people who do stick around is better than nothing.
- Feedburner – apparently those who subscribe to my RSS are following my updates regularly, which I really appreciate.
- Twitter – I am very active there, have great conversations with people on Twitter, connect with amazing bloggers on Twitter and had a few posts shared like crazy there. It is still my favorite social network for many reasons. Lesson learned – be as helpful and useful to others as you can, it pays off. Stay tuned for the new Twitter book I am preparing.
Top 3 money makers
I am including my top 3 money makers for all my online business ventures, not just this blog.
My top gadget for 2012.
Top 3 gadgets I use are Kindle, iPhone and iPad and I must say, if you want to invest in one great thing to use in 2012, be able to carry it around but still do a lot of work, I would go for the iPad! It is the best thing after sliced bread (and lap tops).
Get that 2012. party started
Here is a quick video for the end, to help you reach your blogging and e-biz goals.
The tip of the year that I used throughout 2011. and moved forward every day. the one you should embrace in 2012:
Don’t just read about it, don’t just plan to do something,
don’t just dream about something – DO IT!
Your turn :) Who/what did you like in 2011?