Welcome to Curious Business

Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Blogcentennial

Not a whole lot has changed since I first wrote about Why I Blog. I’ve met a few other small business owners, although little has come of it. I’ve struck up rudimentary dialogs with a few customers and interested onlookers, but Comments are an awkward way to converse. I’ve signed up a few newsletter subscribers. I’ve accumulated a few AdSense clicks. (Very few clicks; the boring ads that Google reliably serves up week after week speak ill of my writing. I really do appreciate that readers gamely click an ad or two every time I mention them -- like now). My blunt tone has accidentally cheesed off at least one vendor and insulted one customer, so it’s not all good. Honesty and marketing don’t go together, and I've never been much of a diplomat.

When I started doing this, I didn’t even know what a blog was. I just knew that the experts agreed that I should have one. Since I had kept a private journal for about 20 years, documenting my thoughts came naturally, although doing it publicly did not. A hundred posts later, it’s become routine – maybe too routine. So this week I tried to jazz things up a little, within my limits as a technical moron. I discovered the “Blogger in Draft” beta site, where I could access new content like the RSS subscription gadget. I also added a couple more silly gadgets to my sidebar while I was at it.

I have a logo and link to Technorati, but I’ve never been sure exactly what that’s supposed to do...with the predictable consequence that it doesn't do anything. There’s something called “del.icio.us” on my browser’s menu bar, but I don’t know what that is, either – online bookmarks? why are those any better than normal browser bookmarks? Digg? StumbleUpon? Just names and logos to me. I tried offering a poll once, but after a month, the winning choice (with two votes) was “I don’t like polls.” Fine. Have it your way.

I could invest some of the ample time that I waste writing blog entries investigating some of these mysteries. It seems futile…the technology will inevitably change within six months of figuring it out anyway. And it is so incredibly boring. This is the type of thing I wish I could farm out to an expert.

More than one observer has recommended getting WordPress and moving Curious Business to its own hosting account (or somehow shoehorning a second URL into my Curio City or Kraken Enterprises hosting accounts; I don’t know how, but it might be possible.) I think the idea is to raise my blog's profile above the commoners who use free services. Yet Curious Business is too narrowly focused, and I’m too dull, to even seek a large popular audience. What’s the advantage to learning a new software package and paying $75-100 per year for a second host account? I don’t get it.

Google owns Blogger, so (despite some irritating interface bugs) it keeps up with technical innovations and is likely to be around for a long time. It's easy to use, it’s free, and I’ve got a 100-post database built up here. That’s some powerful inertia that I have no incentive to overcome.

Is blogging worth my time? Curious Business is my #14 overall source of traffic so far this year, and my #8 source of referral visits. While I certainly appreciate the 34 visits that those numbers represent, it’s still only 34 visits. With my 2.25% average conversion rate, those visitors should’ve made three-quarters of one purchase. My average order value was $47.68, so statistically speaking my blog brought in $35.76, or $2.38 per post. If the average post takes me 90 minutes to write, then blogging is earning Curio City about $1.59 per hour, of which 27 cents goes into payroll. That’s a lot more than I would have guessed. Based on a 40-hour week, my gross salary is $2.93 per hour so far this year. That’s very good money (compared to LY's $1.45 hourly pay rate), and blogging contributes nearly 10 percent of that. So yeah, blogging really is worth my time. That is not the conclusion that I expected to reach, but there you have it.

Of course, this is all just statistical masturbation. See how good I am at avoiding actual, productive work? As I said the first time I wrote about this, the primary reason I blog is to compose my thoughts and create a history that I might refer back to one day. I’m flattered that a few people find it interesting enough to read, and even leave comments. Any sales that Curious Business delivers are just gravy. I’d continue writing for my own selfish reasons anyway.


Sales turned around in the middle of last week. Maybe it’s the beginning of a Mothers Day surge, or maybe the AdWords rewrites and tune-up that I’ve been chipping away at are paying off. For whatever reason, this is already my best week since early March, and, with a day and a half left to go, could potentially even rival early February. For the month, I’ve demolished LY and achieved my plan with a week left to go. Today I’m feeling fat and happy. And a little bit stressed. I've got a lot of work to do today, starting with processing a large Canadian order and a smaller UPS 2nd-Day Air sale that came in overnight.

Coming topics:

  • Focus, Juice
  • Social Networking Sites
  • Rearranging the Deck Chairs
  • Running with the Big Dogs
  • Legal Extortion
  • Where Traffic Comes From

1 comment:

  1. I gaurantee that reading this blog created my purchase (a full 1.00 purchase, no 0.75) and I think I spent between $30 and $40. Its funny because I was reading about a product in the blog that finally got me to pull the trigger, but if I hadn't been reading the honest tone of most of the rest of the blog, I wouldn't have felt the draw in the least. I'm pretty advertising-adverse. Sad to hear that blog honesty cost you a customer, however.


What do you think? Leave a comment.

Google Search