Happy First Birthday, Profound Journey. Now What?
I started Profound Journey one year and 107 posts ago. The very best thing I did before launching was to record my three intentions for the site. They were, in no particular order:
- Make my art–combine words and images in ways that bring more beauty into the world and inspire people.
- Synthesize and understand what I am learning on my profound journey.
- Find my tribe of women who want to live vibrant, creative, purpose-filled, passionate lives.
A written record of intentions helped in the early days when I was in danger of being overwhelmed by the myriad of blogging ‘experts’ out there, all wanting to take my money in exchange for courses that would apparently make tens of thousands of subscribers beat a path to my website door. I was able to ignore their siren calls only when I reminded myself that a huge subscriber count and getting rich weren’t among my goals. (Not that I’d turn either down!)
Today, I’ll assess the first year of Profound Journey using those intentions, and will talk about plans for year two. I’ll also be asking questions of you, Profound Journey tribe members. Your thoughts, as always, are greatly appreciated.
Make My Art
This intention embarrasses me. Talk of beauty and inspiration seems awfully overblown for a simple website. Hopefully a bit of context will make me look less full of myself.
Design has always been hugely important to me. I believe that people are unconsciously inspired by the beauty of a good design, and that we all need more beauty in our lives. All of my professional books were designed in double page spreads to make the reading experience better for the reader. When on the road giving keynotes and workshops, every PowerPoint presentation consisted of full screen images with very few words. The images were carefully chosen to elicit certain emotional responses to the content I was providing.
When I started Profound Journey, I spent a lot of time and money looking for the perfect WordPress theme and then, when I found it, getting my wonderful designer, Shiraz Khan, to customize it for me. I personally love the montage/collage look of the home page. However, if you are viewing Profound Journey on a phone or tablet, or if you are clicking the Thursday email link and going straight to the latest post, you may not even be aware of the home page. So that’s my first question – Does the site design work for you? What do you like? What would make it better or more user friendly?
Shiraz also designed my logo, the forward-moving, determined little sea turtle. I love that little guy! (If you’re wondering why a sea turtle, I explain in this post.)
There’s another aspect of “make my art” that I was hoping for and haven’t even begun to achieve. More on that another time.
Synthesize and Understand What I am Learning on my Profound Journey
I’ve always referred to Profound Journey as a blog site, but I don’t think it actually is one.
Definitions of ‘blog’ vary, but common references are to online diaries recounting personal experiences, written in a conversational style. Postings in the Tribe Stories category fit the bill, as do more personal posts such as Be Willing to Leave Your Baggage Behind and The Man Who Showed Me How to Beat the Devil.
However, many of my posts are heavily researched, more essay than anecdote. For example, everything in the Wow Notes category and much of the Creativity category, most notably the six-part series on writing memoir.
I suspect that Profound Journey is more online magazine than it is blog site, and I also suspect that many tribe members wish it was otherwise. Certainly I’ve had several people tell me in person that they much prefer my more personal, blog-like entries.
My intention is achieved regardless of which form of writing I do. When I write the research-based articles, I’m learning something new and finding a way to share that new learning with you. That interests and challenges me. The downside is that research-based articles require a lot of time – often a full day to write plus at least a couple of evenings to research.
When I write the more personal blog posts, I understand myself better than I did before I wrote. The downside is that if I can’t encapsulate a big idea or life lesson in the post, I truly can’t imagine why anyone would care about the minutiae of my life.
What do you enjoy reading on Profound Journey? What do you find a bit blah?
Find My Tribe of Women Who Want to Live Vibrant, Creative…Lives
It’s a good thing I’m not driven by the statistics because the statistics aren’t pretty. Over the year 97 people subscribed to Profound Journey, meaning they received an email every Thursday telling them of the latest posts. Of the 97, only 85 are still subscribed. Twelve dropped out giving “no longer interested” as the reason. It’s a bit (no, a lot) depressing.
Of the people who subscribe to the site, between 50%-72% open the weekly emails and 20%-50% click on the link to read the post. The open rate is pretty darn good if I ignore the 30% of people who subscribed but haven’t opened a single email. As for the click-throughs, I’m hopeful that many people come back when they have time to read.
Comments are a good indicator of reader involvement, but I completely understand that not everyone wants to write comments. I appreciate all readers whether you loyally comment on every post, write to me via email, or simply click on each week’s link and read what I’ve written.
If you don’t want to comment on posts but would like to feel more involved, please consider writing a tribe story. Fran F., Fran K., Susan, Donna and Liesbet have contributed stories or answers to questions so that we could all get to know them a little better. If you’re interested, just let me know. I’d be happy to help.
My summary for this intention is that I’m grateful to be finding my tribe and hope that it continues to grow. Any thoughts about how to achieve this that don’t involve social media? I’m allergic to Facebook!
So, What’s Next?
I’m adding a new category of posts to Profound Journey.
‘Journal’ will be a place where I will write posts that are more truly representative of a typical blogging site. In Journal, I won’t worry about search engine optimization, keywords, post length, or any of the other concerns that come with having a self-hosted WordPress site. That will save me a truckload of time!
Journal will help me achieve my intentions for year two, which are:
- Continue to use Profound Journey as a place to synthesize and understand my own journey. Add in a new component of accountability. If I am committed to writing to you about what I’m doing, I’m more likely to take action!
- Get better at writing personal posts that allow readers to know me better. More important, a good personal post should, I think, help you to know yourself better and to feel understood, supported, and inspired. I’d really like to learn how to do that.
You’ll notice that I haven’t included an intention related to growing our tribe. That’s because I believe in the philosophy of “build it and they will come.” If working on intention #1 doesn’t satisfy me, and if working on intention #2 doesn’t satisfy you, Profound Journey isn’t meant to be and won’t enjoy a second birthday. But I doubt that’s the case. I know lots of women, working or retired, who are searching for meaning, balance and ease in their lives, and who would enjoy reading of others involved in the same pursuit. I’d really like to refine Profound Journey to better meet those needs.
Top of mind thoughts, responses to post questions, criticisms, and suggestions are welcome, either in the comments section below or, if you prefer, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks so much.