Just Creative

I’m Jacob Cass, the founder of JUST™ Creative. I’m a multi-disciplinary graphic designer, working with clients all around the world. My specialty is logo & brand identity design. JUST™ Get in touch.

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Goals, Achievements & Pit Falls of Just Creative Design

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Blogging Achievements

Today I am going to share with you my achievements, goals and pitfalls of my first 3 months of blogging, basically a follow up post on the Blogging Goals of JCD which I wrote at the start of January.

Please note that in these 3 months of Just Creative Design being online, I have only been actively blogging for about a 1.5 months as I was on holidays and my blog was down for about 16 days in total due to hosting problems… but it is all sorted now :D.

Goals & Achievements

In short at the start of January my goals were to:

1. Post Consistent Quality Posts

2. Do more Guest Posting

3. Build & Develop My Social Communities & Make Good Friends

4. Have Reoccurring Posts

5. Know and Practice all these tips

6. Get 1500+ Subscribers by the end of the year. Or for those of us mathematically challenged… 125 new subscribers each month, or about 18 a week or about 2.5 per day.

In short I have achieved most of these (and more) except number 2 and 5 … I will expand and categorise them by the topics below.

Most Popular Pages To Date

I have delivered quality consistent posts averaging a post every 2.5 days. Every post has received on average at least 7 comments. I was quite happy with this as I still have a small number of subscribers (in the hundreds) compared to other blogs in my niche.

Popular

My most popular pages to date according to Google Analytics are:

  1. Just Creative Design Home Page (No Surprise)
  2. 22 Graphic Design Plagarism Ripoffs
  3. My Portfolio (33% of people click here first. I suppose people want to check out my stuff ;)
  4. 101 Places To Get Design Inspiration
  5. $5000 Prize Giveaway Graphic Design Group Project
  6. How To Boost Your Creativity
  7. 13 Signs Your A Bad Graphic Designer
  8. About Page
  9. Logo Design Process of Top Graphic Designers
  10. What is Graphic Design?
  11. How To Be Creative
  12. Top 5 Typography Resources
  13. How Much Does A Graphic Designer earn?
  14. For more check my featured articles page.

Guest Articles

Since January I haven’t written one guest article at all, which was pretty bad on my part but this was mainly due to me losing inspiration when my blog went down for 10 days however this week I set out to change that, so look out for these Guest Articles coming soon… I will link the links up when they have been posted.

  • How to get paid freelance work while you are design student – on Freelance Folder – Thanks Jon.
  • Must Know Shortcut Keys for Bloggers & Designers – on YouTheDesigner – Thanks Gino.
  • How to Design your own Unique Photoshop Brushes. – on Creative Curio – Thanks Lauren.
  • Is Your Blog C.R.A.P? – on DailyBlogTips – Thanks Daniel.
  • Top 10 Places to work in the USA as a graphic designer – on Outlaw Design Blog (Danny hasn’t posted or replied for days so not sure about this one)
  • Find out why people subscribe to your blog. – still awaiting confrimation from blog.
  • FREE: 5 Reasons To Offer Your Services For Free – still awaiting confirmation from blog.

Want a guest article on Just Creative Design? Email me.

Social Communities

I joined many social communities when I first started blogging however I wasn’t very active in them so I tried to aim on a select few and they are below. Add me if you like ;)

  • StumbleUpon – My stumble profile. I’m very active here now. I learnt the hard way that you cant do ‘stumble exchanges’ and someone did a bad review of my stumble account. Stumble exchanging is pretty much like saying ill stumble yours if you do mine. Do not do this! Just a warning.
  • Digg – Websites I find useful and great. I’m Very active here now. Vivien from InspirationBit is running a social media group writing project on Digg and Reddit and I wrote an article for her project: How to get onto Diggs front page in 8 steps.
  • Technorati – The Blogosphere – I have added a button on my side bar asking you to Add Just Creative Design to your Technorati Favorites.
  • MyBlogLog – Blogging Community, I am #4 in search results for graphic design.
  • BlogCatalog – Blogging Community, not so active here but I do occasionally log in to check up on messages.
  • FaceBook – Add me to your facebook friends. I check this regularly.
  • DesignFloat – A digg like website but only on design. Active here.
  • Del.icio.us – My bookmarks, way to many here!
  • LinkedIn – A business networking website. Not so active.
  • SpicyPage – Share your favorite sites or blogs. Not so active here.

Only in the past week have I been gearing some posts towards Social Media sites and it has been working quite effeciently (in particular StumbleUpon and DesignFloat ) so I may continue to do some more.

Traffic & Stats

My traffic is probably my most disappointing bit, as I know that if my sites hadn’t gone down for 16 days and if I was not on holidays for a month, I would have double or more the amount of traffic that I have now.

Anyway, I have compiled this little graph of what my rollercoaster-ride-of-traffic has looked like over the past 3 months.

Stats

Update: I did this screenshot yesterday but the line goes even higher than that.

You can see how good having a competition on your blog is.

My main traffic sources are outlined below:

Traffic

You can see that I got a lot of traffic from being listed in How Designs Top 10 Design Websites last month as well as being on Social Media Sites, Forums and by writing guest articles. These are where I am going to focus some of my posts for in the future.

Update: Reddit sent me a heap of visits on my 22 Graphic Design Plagarism Ripoffs post after I did the screengrab yesterday.

Some other random figures (as of 21stFeb) :

  • We receive an average of 450 daily regular unique visitors.
  • We receive huge weekly spikes in traffic from Social Media Sites (ie. 1000′s of unique visitors)
  • We receive an average of 4 page views, per visitor.
  • We have a page rank of 4 with Google.
  • We are ranked 89,301 on Technorati.
  • We have a weekly traffic rank of 192,066 on Alexia.
  • We have a traffic rank of 25,382 in Australia.

I think it is pretty impressive for coming NEW into the blog world only 3 months ago. You may want to advertise?

I have also been using Google AdWords as well (Well I kind of didn’t pay for the ads as I received a $50 Google AdWords voucher from a magazine). I have received 34 click throughs, out of 4,012 impressions (0.84%) with an average cost per click being $0.81 making a total of $27.45 spent on AdWords so far.

Google SEO Tip: Ever since I installed Adwords and Adsense my rankings in search results got majorly boosted (about x5), if that has anything to do with it I do not know, but I sure did notice the huge influx in search engine traffic. I am now also ranked #1 for the search term ‘logo designer newcastle’ and on the front page for ‘graphic design newcastle’.

Lauren also wrote an article on how to use squidoo, drive traffic and make money so I am going to give Squidoo a shot too.

Money, Job Offers & Advertising

Goals

Well this bit I am quite satisfied in as I only set out monetising my website about 3 weeks ago (I wasn’t ever actually planning to monetise until a private advertiser contacted me), adding an sponsor menu sidebar seen to your right. I exchanged links with DesignFlavr (a design inspiration gallery) and we have both been getting good traffic in and out. I have also started a friends blogroll, so contact me if your interested.

You may want to know that all money made from advertising goes straight back into Just Creative Design and is not profit. This will help JCD grow.

I have also received $70 from a private advertiser who I am hoping to build a good relationship with. (This will cover my hosting and domain costs for 3 months or so). I recently changed hosts from $4/m with UltraSurge to $20/m with an Australian/US/Uk company called Solid Internet, who have been pretty good so far except for a small misfortune at the start. Solid Internet are a lot faster, have better support and at the moment only have 35 people hosted on the same server… unlike UltraSurge who had 350+ people on one server!

I have also just received a request for three 16×16 squares to be placed on my site which will be up soon.

I have also received about 6 job offers in the past month, only of which I believe 2 are going ahead, but hey, still cheering. :) You may be interested in how to get paid freelance work while you are design student.

I have also put Googles Adsense on last week and so far have made about $8, which is more than I expected to be honest. Only $92 more till I can get my first cheque. Keep clicking away my friends. See those little white and pink Google ads? Click on em I tell you :P A click a day keeps JCD healthy, wealthy and wise.

Friends

By actively commenting on other blogs you can develop friendships and contacts which is vital to any blog. I have tried my best in the time I have to comment on other peoples blogs and read as many articles as I can but like everyone else, we only have so many hours in a day… no one can ever have enough friends. Befriend me on facebook.

Some blogs I pay a lot of attention to and have regular discussions on include the following:

However I regularly visit many others and have plenty more in my RSS subscriber.

You may be interested in being added to my friends blogroll list if your site is relevant and has good quality. Email Me.

The Pitfalls of Web Hosts

My older readers will know about the problems I have had with Just Creative Design over the past month, when my old host suspended me for going over their limit once and then terminated me when I did it a second time (and that was when I was only receiving 200 uniques a day – what a joke!). You can read about the problems here: BE AWARE OF: Your Host, WordPress Plugins, CPU Load and being BANNED from your own website! and Just Creative Design is Back Online.

Tip: It’s good to get onto the good side of your hosting provider. See the email conversation I had recently with my new hosts.

Hi,

I just wanted to check up on my CPU usage on my site www.justcreativedesign.com – I have been receiving about triple the traffic that I was getting on my old hosts (and that was when they banned me) so I just want to see how it is going.

Also if I get a ‘digg effect’ what do you do? Do you put the server temporarily onto another one? I can’t afford for a website to go down and not be accessible at all.

Anyway please let me know. Thanks for all your support so far.

Their reply…

Hi Jacob,

Thanks for your enquiry and it’s great to hear from customers when they believe they might impact the service for other users. While you are the highest CPU usage site on the server it’s far from impacting other users nor is the figure high. Over the period of 24 hours your particular username is using just 3% of the cpu of the system on average.

If your site does get “dugg” we can quickly move your site to an offsite server that runs a seperate SQL/Frontend system ensuring stability during which time your site appears on Digg. Sometimes the cut over during this time results in some service interruption (that’s digg for you) but we won’t simply suspend your account if you are listed on Digg.

Hope that helps

Jeff

Design Galleries

I have also been featured in a number of design inspiration galleries out on the web.

Anyway that is a sum up of my three months of blogging. Hopefully didn’t put you to sleep. What are your thoughts?

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15 JUST™ Creative Comments

  • LaurenMarie - Creative Curio Reply

    You don’t think you’ve done enough guest blogging? Holy cow, man! I’m seeing you around just about as much as Skelliewag and Leo Babauta! Geez! I’m posting the one you wrote for me on Friday, so you’ll see it up when you check the feed :)

    You are having incredible success with JCD, Jacob. 450 uniques per day? Wow! It looks like mine is around 230 (I just took the uniques for this month and divided by 30) and I’ve been around for six months, so good job!

    I’m so curious what your subscriber numbers look like!

    LaurenMarie – Creative Curio’s last blog post..Use Squidoo to Drive Traffic and Make Money

  • jesusOmar Reply

    Congratulations on a well deserve good start. I am taking so much inspiration from you and David Airey. I hope one day Ill be able to post / create as good as you guys.

    jesusOmar’s last blog post..January 2008 Desktop

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Well my goal at the start of Jan was to do guest blogging and when I came to do a round up I had realised I had done none! So I made up for that by doing these guest posts (and also to advertise the group project).
    Yes 450, that is the average since JCD came back online after those 10 days of being down however I did get big spikes from the group project and the plagiarism post so that would throw it out. Probably 250-300 is the real average.
    Subscriber numbers are secret for now ;)

    Jesus
    Thank you, all the best.

  • David Airey Reply

    Hi Jacob,

    I’m glad to see your site showed a spike in visits after the guest post on my blog, and also happy to see that visitors from my site had a look through a few of your pages whilst here. That’s great.

    Do you have an idea of when to show your RSS count? I’m thinking about it too with my Logo Design Love blog.

    David Airey’s last blog post..4 Phases of Internet Marketing FREE report

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Hi David,
    I was thinking maybe 500? or 1000 depending on how fast my subscriber numbers are going. What do you think for JCD and LDL?

    Yes the article sent some good traffic, average time on site 6.30mins! Thank you very much.

  • David Airey Reply

    500 was the figure I used for davidairey.com, so good call.

    As for LDL, if I did something similar to Maki of Dosh Dosh, who waited until 10k, you’d never discover the count, so I reckon I’ll add a count in a few weeks.

    David Airey’s last blog post..4 Phases of Internet Marketing FREE report

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Really 10k, sheesh, no way I am doing that! I think I will do it at 500 or so as well. If my blogging goals are on form that should make it within 3 months.

  • Chris Reply

    Great overview, it’s good to see how others are developing their blogs!

    Chris

    Chris’s last blog post..Free Hi-Res Spraypaint Photoshop Brushes Set One

  • PJ Reply

    It’s amazing to read how well you’ve done in only three months, despite those hosting setbacks.

    PJ’s last blog post..Win a WTM Premium Theme

  • LaurenMarie - Creative Curio Reply

    Bah!! You and your secrets! The only thing I can guess is that you have less than 500 because they aren’t published… I started publishing my readers once I was solidly above 300. Though did you notice a drop in subscribers today? I saw it on all the blogs I regularly read that show stats; down about 200. That was sure an unpleasant greeting when I logged onto my blog this morning!

    LaurenMarie – Creative Curio’s last blog post..Use Squidoo to Drive Traffic and Make Money

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Thanks Chris and PJ.

    Haha Lauren, it is the only thing I am really withholding. I noticed a drop in every site I visited, I was actually going to do an article on it but thought it was too much trouble. I checked large scale blogs and they were down thousands! All of them… so something musta stuffed I reckon.

  • LaurenMarie - Creative Curio Reply

    Yes, I searched the Galactic Network (aka the Interwebs, Tubes, Blogosphere… hehe, I love all these silly names people come up with) for info on it this morning, but didn’t find anything. Now I see they’ve fixed the problem.

    LaurenMarie – Creative Curio’s last blog post..Use Squidoo to Drive Traffic and Make Money

  • Cookie503 Reply

    Hi Jacob. I’m trying to become a graphic designer, learn as much as I can about the web and standards. Your articles really came in handy, the blog is truly useful for anyone who works in design.
    Great job on the trafic stats, looks like you’ve got a great evolution, keep it up!

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Thanks for the feedback Cookie503 :) Hope to hear from you again.

    Thanks Lauren, glad its all fixed up. I was pleasantly surprised with an extra 30 subscribers as well when it came online so that was an added bonus!


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