Continued Improvement – The Key to Breaking Each Ceiling

onlinebusiness-1.jpgFirst of all, I would like to thank Al and Scott for the opportunity to write a guest spot for Self Made Minds every once in a while. I have known both of them for quite a while and it is amazing to think back to just a few years ago on some of the major forums where we were all just starting out in regards to truly monetizing sites. I am used to my own highly modded WordPress so please be patient if my formatting is off at all.

With that out of the way I wanted to make a post on continuous improvement. It is an area which is near and dear to my heart and one I feel is overlooked by most of those just starting out. Those who understand it and strive on it are the most successful in everything they do. I often times see people question why a millionaire writes an eBook or even why they do not just sell their valuable site(s) and retire? It is because they are deeply motivated by continuous improvement, not money. You can use that same drive to go from your site making $10 a day to breaking the $100 mark. I personally believe this is one of the hardest ceilings to break.

So what does continuous improvement really mean? I am going to take bits and pieces from Big Dog’s Site *Warning, dodgy 80’s design*.

“Quality is a never ending quest and Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) is a never ending effort to discover and eliminate the main causes of problems. It accomplishes this by using small-steps improvements, rather than implementing one huge improvement. The Japanese have a term for this called “kaizen” which involves everyone, from the hourly workers to top-management.”

That is a very high level explanation so don’t get buried in the details. What it means for you and me is that although you should always have a big picture in mind, how successfully it is achieved comes down to your ability to break what you need to do into smaller, easily achieved goals. I see so many new site owners talk about making enough money to quit their day job yet instead of taking the time necessary to put together a plan to do it, they continue to daydream and curse those that have achieved it (or worse yet label them as “lucky”). If you are really serious about taking a site or network of sites to a new level, you need to have a “continuos improvement” mind and break things down.

I linked to a great site up there but I can already tell that a lot of you that went straight to the site, have glazed over eyes. The one important point I would pull from that site is the idea of Process. Rather then study every detail, you need to look at the headings on that site. These are the basis for a process which you can apply to every aspect of your site.

They are as follows

  • Analysis Phase – What is your goal? Remember this is not the big picture like “I want to make $100 a day”. It is smaller goals such as “I want to improve my ranking for the following words by 10 places” or “I want to improve my CTR by 10%” – Research how you can do this (Most people know exactly what they need to do, they just ignore the information around them), and write a solution statement (Sometimes called a scope). This is what you will always refer back to.
  • Design Phase – This is where you define the process above. Be specific on what you are going to do
  • Development Phase – Be specific on how you are going to do it
  • Implementation Phase – You have already created documentation on what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. Now is the time to implement. The important part of this stage is scheduling. If the task is going to take 4 hours, set aside that time and only work on that task. You have to stick to the schedule you set yourself!
  • Evaluation Phase – This is where you look at the work you did and judge if it was done correctly and if it yielded the results you defined in your scope. This phase can last a few minutes or a few months. Just make sure you put the tools in place for your evaluation. For instance, if you wanted to improve some aspect of your AdSense CTR, make sure you are logging that aspect each day
  • Now, everything I have said above is probably stuff you could have figured out on your own, however truly the most important aspect of continuos improvement is documentation. The vast majority of people think it is stupid or a waste of time to write down each of these phases. After all, you know what you need to do and how to do it so why not skip straight to implementation?

    You just have to trust me that by actually documenting each part of the process, it will actually ensure each phase is succesful. I’m not just talking a little more successful either. I am talking 90% vs. 10%.

    I have a filing cabinet drawer dedicated purely for continuos improvement. It contains a folder for each cycle (project) I am working on. I would highly suggest this technique because not only does it save time by increasing efficiency but it also serves as a history file. You will be amazed 6 months from now how nice it is to be able to reference back to a previous improvement and pull the exact figures on what worked and what didn’t!

    This is the end of my first guest post here at Self Made Minds. I hope you enjoyed the post and I will try to answer any questions posed in the comments.

    Comments

    1. Okay this may be a bit silly of me, but guest post by who? I Can’t see anything identifying the author

    2. That was a very good point doolally, the site didn’t display the author name on the actual article page, fixed now it’s at the top, thanks.

      This post was by Jason, you can read who he is on the about us page.

      Thanks for the post Jason it made interesting reading and the Big Dog site was a serious throw back, I’m surprised it didn’t have a grey background.

    3. That is a great post Jason, it is so true that most people certainly on webmaster forums such as DP all have the answers there and a lot have the basic knowledge to succeed, the key is to document what you want, what you have done and what you still need to do and re-evaluate it all the way along.

      Re: Big Dog’s site, I feel like digging out my old paisley patterned shirt now!

    4. Hi Jason, this is such a great post!
      I document each of my site, and what I do, so that I can observe any changes in revenue, or traffic.
      Usually several weeks when I’m down or not motivated, I would look to my past successes to continue to motivate me.

      I also keep a journal, and I write down a lot of goals I have.

      I brainstorm each step of my plan, and try to visualize what I need to do.

      It’s hard work, some people, like me, aren’t lucky, we just know a lot and how to implement it.

      That’s why I love reading those forums, because I learn a lot of things that helps improve my site’s standing..

    5. Hii,
      really great post, i have been looking to how to get traffice to my site.. I read your post and have some confidence now. THanks

    6. What a great post Jason. I’m feeling a little guilty here because I must admit that I do not track all the sites I have going. The once that get the most attention are tracked but the process that you have outlined…. Well, I am one of those that skipped the middle and went straight on to implementation. However I know that it is never to late to pick up good habits and that is what I’m going to do know.

      I can’t wait to see what will happen (because even without a great plan I’m doing pretty well) 🙂

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