20 Things I Learned In 2006

Thanks to an idea from EzineArticles expert author Benjamin Yoskovitz‘s Instagator blog where he proposed a group writing project to answer the question, “What I Learned In 2006”…here are my answers:

1) That to drive the effectiveness of permission-based email to grow traffic, you’ve got to focus on driving up your number of unique subscribers and that this metric is way more important than the number of hundreds of thousands of email deliveries that you send in a given time period.

A year ago, we were delivering 100k emails a month to 5,000 members and today, we’re delivering 400k emails to 21,000 members…but the success of this strategy to drive traffic is not in the email deliveries growth, but moreso in the number of new unique members we’re delivering to. Next goal: 100k unique email members.

2) That internal competition to improve can speed up the typical 6 week learning cycle for a new editor down to 3-4 weeks.

3) That as our number of daily visitors climb, we have an even greater responsibility to invest in redundancies to ensure less impact when servers fail. It’s never a question of “IF the servers will fail” because they all do at some point… so it’s what we do WHEN they fail that really counts.

4) That it would be impossible for us to continue growing this business out of our homes and that the investment to enter a 2000 sq. ft. office in June was the best move we could have made.

5) That Microsoft’s IE7 and Vista launch would re-put Microsoft back on the map in terms of search volume (and consequently, referred traffic)…as the majority of folks are newbies and won’t change the default search engine in IE7…thus giving Microsoft a unique advantage…for a while.

6) That for this business to grow, I have to force myself even further out of daily operations. This month, I only reviewed/approved 1 single article…which shows I’m making an effort to let our team run the show so that I can focus on finding new and larger sources of revenue, traffic, partnerships, clients, etc.

7) That the increased supply of unique ads for a greater range of content demands that we expand the quantity of content per page to take advantage of the increased supply of ad inventory.

8) That RSS publishers really don’t want to abuse the feeds and really want to only grab RELEVANT feeds to their market niche. This continues to surprise and delight me because that’s exactly how we want the RSS feeds used.

9) That we’re a “Community” and no longer just a “Directory”.

10) That Managing Editor Wally is a pretty good parody writer. ;-)

11) That Thursday afternoons is still the strongest day that our authors take action by a small margin… meaning, there is a reason why I try to release new email newsletters on Thursday because it’s the day that our members will take the most action based on the recommendation or encouragement in the ezine.

12) That some newbies who are expert authors with us don’t know that an “ezine” is really an email newsletter…and that they still think it’s a word we made up or just one of those cool Internet sounds.

13) The power of the blog becomes a pivotal sounding board for new ideas and the fastest way to learn market feedback…

14) That I can get a significantly higher quality audio recording when doing teleseminars or audio classes by using the JK Audio Innkeeper Hybrid 1x to separate my voice and my guest experts voice in the call. This was $700 well invested…and is my prized secret in the audio gear / quality sound department.

15) That muscle doesn’t burn significantly more calories than fat like everyone says it does; but rather the fact that building muscle (technically, breaking down muscle by weight lifting) revs up the metabolism for many hours thereafter. This rev’d metabolism is actually the thing that burns the increased calorie / energy consumption.

16) A copywriting secret: People like to DISCOVER stuff and that is more fun than “LEARNING” stuff. Learnings is a job. Discovering is fun.

17) The difference between an entrepreneur and an Internet marketer is that an entrepreneur builds a business through his or her team and that an Internet marketer builds a business through the fruits of their labor (primarily)… In other words, entrepreneurs create businesses and Internet marketers create jobs.

18) That the Dell 32″ flat panel monitor requires a dual-link DVI cable and special video card to drive it’s absurd resolution making it much less useful than a pair of Dell 24″ widescreen flat panel monitors. I run 1920×1200 for my screen resolution on the 24″ monitors whereas the 32″ monitor’s resolution is 2560×1600 — which takes forever to move the mouse from one side of the screen to the other. My point: The ‘utility’ of the 32″ is far lower than the 24″ and I never expected to come to that conclusion.

19) Screw all the hype with Web 2.0! All that is important is to focus like crazy on improving the end-users experience of your website and making it fast as you can afford.

20) That it’s more efficient to hire raw talent and train them than it is to pay tens of thousands of dollars more for the skilled talent and have to retool them into our system.

Ok, there…20 things I learned this year. How about you? What did you learn this year in 2006?


Edward Weiss writes:

Here’s what I learned. Never, never, write your own copy for your website. I hired a copywriter in December and expect my new site to convert a lot more in 2007.

Bottom line – let go of the need to control every aspect of the business and turn it over to pros who can do a MUCH better job.

Comment provided December 27, 2006 at 12:12 PM


Lisa Sparks writes:

I learned that finding and hiring good help is one of the biggest challenges I’ll face as an entrepreneur.

I’m also learning that good enough is just that.

I learned money is a reflection of a mindset, a way of being.

I also learned it’s okay to be vocal, critical and intelligent in public.

I learned a whole lot more, but I’ll save the rest for my ezine.

Comment provided December 27, 2006 at 2:31 PM



In 2005, I learned that problem solving is a lot like web surfing from link to link to link.

There is always a way out, a workaround, a tunnel or passage that leads to a solution. All that you have to do is be willing to take the side steps to get there.

In 2006, I learned that I can use this type of problem solving to first help myself, and in turn, help others.

Comment provided December 27, 2006 at 3:24 PM



Chris you are dead on with #9 – this IS a community. Which is one of the many reasons I send my students, mentees and clients to the site and blog to spend some time, learn and connect!


Comment provided December 27, 2006 at 6:39 PM


Audrey Okaneko writes:


Wow, what a great list. I’m glad you shared. It truly makes me look at and reflect on the past year, what worked, what didn’t, what needs to change and what I wouldn’t change for all the money in the world.

You have helped me DISCOVER so much in 2006…thanks!!!!!


Comment provided December 27, 2006 at 10:00 PM


Peter Cutforth writes:

Chris, There’s a smorgesbord of great info in this list you’ve given us – thanks. Can I ask clarification on #1?

From your figures it seems you email approx 20 times per month… and so your email deliveries and unique email members are linearly linked… your email deliveries and your unique members seem to have grown by exactly the same rate – i.e. 4X

Is what you’re saying that you’ve tried increasing the deliveries per month, and the results of that are not as effective as the results from increasing the base number of new subscribers per month?

In other words the exsiting subscriber base can only respond to an increase in deliveries to a point, but responsiveness tails off if you try to increase delivery beyond a certain point?

Apart from the obvious fact that more members = more traffic / response, I don’t think my neurones are connecting to your point! Could you unpack this a bit more for us?



Comment provided December 28, 2006 at 4:29 PM




I’m saying that we used to focus on increasing raw gross email deliveries as the metric of focus… and now the primary focus is on strategies that can grow the number of new email list members.

In other words, how many hundreds of thousands of total emails we delivered is meaningless and that the number of email list members we have is critical.

Comment provided December 28, 2006 at 6:14 PM



In 2006, I learned that I have the capacity, and the tenacity, to grow my solopreneurship. I think the difference between my business and the bazillion other counselor/therapists out there is that I am interested in how to make marketing tools, – like internet, ezines and article writing – useful for my company. My biggest personal challenge is to read all the marketing stuff I can find and then try to apply it to my business. EzineArticles has been extremely helpful to me in that respect. I love this blog, and Chris, you are constantly challenging me to think about things in new ways.

I hope I don’t sound like a big fat ego in this, because I don’t intend it that way – but I learn a lot here and really try to put it into action.

also, Chris, any interest in having a conversation about teleseminars? I want to start doing some, but there are a lot of choices out there…


Comment provided December 30, 2006 at 10:20 AM


Herman writes:

I set a large monthly goal(monetary) in 2006 and made it in the last 3 months.

The key to achieving this was to:

1. Picture it in my mind
2. Believe I can do it.
3. Not allow negative thinking or naysayers to influence my goal.
4. Take strong action to achieve it.


By elevating my mind to that level it seemed to attract the right elements to make it happen ie more customers willing to spend more money.

Comment provided January 3, 2007 at 8:56 AM


Ravi Jayagopal writes:

Edward Weiss wrote: “Here’s what I learned. Never, never, write your own copy for your website. I hired a copywriter in December and expect my new site to convert a lot more in 2007.”

I guess you can’t say that it was a good decision, or whether your “paid” copy writer did a better job, until it results in an increase in your bottomline.

Sometimes, no one knows your business as well as you, and no can add that “personality” to your copy like you can, not even your copywriter.

So, unless you are bad in the writing department, I say go ahead and write it yourself, with maybe hiring someone just to fine tune your grammer, er, grammar.

Focus on the experience, not on the words.

– Ravi Jayagopal

Comment provided January 3, 2007 at 3:12 PM


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