2012-2013A lot can happen in a year, and a lot can not happen in a year.

With 2012 just over, it’s a great time to see what we’ve accomplished, but also what we’ve possibly fell short on. If you didn’t meet your goals or follow your plan exactly how you wished, that’s okay. Plans are just guesses, but as long as you keep learning and keep pushing forward, you’re doing good.

Here’s an overview of some of what happened in 2012, including how I finally created this website I kept thinking about, the plans I had and how not everything was achieved and some lessons learned too:

theMandolinTuner creation

Although I created theMandolinTuner site in 20 October 2012, it is amazing for me how quickly it became popular. Just three months later, more than 800 people are visiting the site per month, to try to tune their mandolin and read about chords, tuning methods etc. You will notice a nice peak at the beginning of the graph below. The peak corresponds to Christmas. Makes sense, right?

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So, in just three months, theMandolinTuner ranks #2 in Google search for two keywords, ‘online mandolin tuner’ and ‘online mandolin tuning’, while it ranks #11 in the most popular for keywords related to tuning, ‘mandolin tuner’ and ‘mandolin tuning’. This is I think related to the unique, high quality content, which is what theMandolinTuner site is based off of.

Here are some interesting data about the site:

Traffic

In the first month the site was up (15 Oct – 14 Nov 2012), it saw 26 unique visits.
Two months later, (23 Dec 2012 – 23 Jan 2013), the site saw 808 unique visits (a 3000% increase).

It really feels much-much better to write content when you know people are reading it, so I am now much more motivated to continue! The big lesson is: just provide good content that will help people, and traffic will come.

Bounce Rate at Online Mandolin Tuner

After the success of attracting traffic, I started noticing the bounce rate, that averages at about 62%. To me this is a big number, as more than half of the site visitors do not stay to read more. After analyzing the data I concluded that the problem seems to the online-mandolin-tuner-page, perhaps because at first impression the page is different from what visitors expect, so it drives them off.

So what do you expect when visiting theMandolinTuner?

I have yet to really find something that is more helpful to visitors trying to tune their mandolins, which is a challenge. I have options to explore in 2013, which includes adding a chromatic tuner, so that even beginners can tune their mandolin and rearranging the online tuner pages so that they are easier accessible and more comprehensible and efficient.

We’ll see what happens.

Mandolin Lessons

After the relative success of the online mandolin tuner, even though I was really busy trying to add more content and do my best to help beginners tune their mandolins, I enthusiastically decided to start a series of posts, that any visitor could follow and learn how to play the mandolin.

I was determined to make this happen, as I believe in the value of lessons, so I started developing the lessons and I even posted an introduction stating what I wanted to do. I intended to have a win-win situation, by teaching my son how to play the mandolin and recording the lessons to become the lesson posts.

Unfortunately, three weeks after the introduction post, my son was still busy with school and other activities, such as learning chess and the classical guitar and we could not find time to progress with the mandolin.

Although I was disappointed, this development forced me to reassess the schedule and structure of lessons I wanted to provide and I had to make a decision to put this activity on hold till I could plan and deliver shorter lessons, that could be interactive and with clear focus.

Plan was left unfinished, but that’s okay. I’d much rather continue to build something of value to me and my audience than act for the sake of sticking to a plan.

Mandolin Chords

Within December, I started working on mandolin chords targeting to provide a complete series of posts, covering not only different positions of chords on the fretboard, but also chord progressions. To say that it’s been a challenge is a hug understatement – it’s been a war!

I say that because I’m battling two things that are delaying the progress and completion of this project: time and myself.

Time is a factor because in order to write posts for chords, I need large chunks of time which I do not have anymore since I started preparing for mandolin concerts and events within November. I was two posts into the series and had planned to finish the C-G-F chords with a nice I-IV-V-I progression, but rehearsals for the concert started to consume more time in December and I haven’t added more posts than those for C Major and C minor chords.

It’s been one of my disappointments for the year, but concerts need time and will have to come first (after family). I can always continue with the posts later, and this is what I plan to do, starting early in February.

The other factor is myself. When I actually had time to write, it was always a constant battle of ‘this isn’t good enough’ and ‘it needs to be perfect’. Since this is my first content related to chords, I know those feelings are natural and I should follow my own advice and just write and forget about being perfect, but it’s hard.

The lesson here: nothing great comes easy, and if it’s a struggle to complete something it’s something probably worth completing!

My Other 2012 Projects

At the beginning of this site I had planned to provide a dedicated page with useful resources that I would gather through research and present in a helpful and meaningful way. Resources would include tabs and sheet music, recordings, tips on strings and luthiers just to name a few.

Unfortunately, things did not go as planned.

I did end up creating a Resources page, at Resources. When I build the page I was happy I had a place to put useful information, so I started by adding links for iphone tuners, string winders, but things slowed down after that.

Creating and maintaining a useful resources database is tough, and I’ve learned that if I am firm to continue, I will do my homework better and actually make sure I have a plan to put more time into this effort.

All that said, it’s nice to share the results of what happened during these three months of 2012 with you.

Things didn’t go according to plan, once again, but it was definitely a learning experience.

Are you ready for 2013?

These are just some of the major things that happened in 2012, amongst a number of other things, big and small, wins and fails.

The best thing that happened in 2012?

Easily, the creation of this site. It has reminded me, once again, about why it is important to help others, and for you who I already consider as friends, I will continue to push forward my targets in and do everything that I can to help you enjoy life through music in 2013.

Thank you for an amazing 2012!

Happy New Year to you, be safe and here’s to a enjoyable and healthy 2013!

Chris

 

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