Happy New Year and Hello 2011

First of all, Happy New Year everyone! Way back in 2009 when my site was just a few months old, I began the new year with a Happy New Year/Goals post much like this one. By the end of 2009 I found that I had exceeded most of my goals and fell just short of accomplishing the rest. I did the same in 2010. I set some pretty lofty goals for myself, but I have to say that I did pretty darn well! With 2011 on the horizon, I reflect back on 2010 and look forward to 2011 with another set of goals for my namesake blog!

Let’s first take a look at how I did with my goals for 2010:

1. Continue to build on goals 1-5 from 2009. The goal here was to see monthly unique readership improve from 17,000 in 2009 to 25,000-30,000 unique visitors in 2010. The actual numbers say that in 2010, the average number of monthly unique visitors to the blog was 41,000, with approximately 500,000+ people visiting the blog in 2010. Awesome! Furthermore, the peak month in 2009 saw 75,000, whereas the peak month in 2010 saw over 120,000 unique visitors. In 2009 I was fluctuating between 500-600 RSS subscribers. In 2010, I saw my RSS subscriptions rise to above 1000 subscribers. Beautiful! I wanted to do about 45-50 posts a month, but it ended up being more like 30 posts per month in 2010. I did zero guest blogging in 2010, even though I aspired to guest blog at 5 other blogs. Another goal of mine was to do 12 different contests and giveaways and it looks like I also accomplished this goal! I counted 9 different giveaways on my blog and 3 more giveaways specifically for my Facebook fans. Goal pretty much accomplished!

2. Continue the tradition of the epic post. I wanted to do 12 list posts this year, a major 101 epic post every month. How’d I do? Pretty darn good. Although they weren’t all 101 items long, I did do 12 of them and they were each epic in their own way (at least I think so). Goal accomplished!

101 T-Shirts for Apple Fanboys and the Mac Faithful!
101 LOST T-Shirts For The Ultimate LOST Fanatic
101 Bacon Products for Fans of the Other White Meat
SXSW 2010: A Haven for Geeky and Techie T-Shirts!
101 Nintendo T-Shirts For The Ultimate Nintendo Gamer
108 LOST T-Shirts To Celebrate The End Including 20 You Can’t Buy
76 Threadless T-Shirts From Sketch To Print
NBA Championship T-Shirts From 1980-2010 + Great Finals Moments
101 T-Shirts For Social Media Gurus, Facebook Fans and Twitter Addicts
101 T-Shirts To Help You Relive The 1980′s
Massive List of Black Friday T-Shirt Deals and Steals
9 T-Shirt Top 10′s of 2010

3. Get cited by a major news source in print and on the web. So 2010 ended up being a big year for this blog getting cited in major websites. My original 101 Lost T-Shirts blog post landed on Entertainment Weekly’s Twitter feed (over 1.4 million followers) and crashed my website in record time (I was able to get it back up in minutes). And then once I got the blog back up and running Carlton Cuse, one of the main writers and producers of Lost also sent out a tweet mentioning my post. This was huge. And again, our friends over at USA Today’s POP Candy blog also mentioned both of my Lost posts. Oh, and as far as newspapers go, my local paper, the Honolulu Advertiser ran a lost article that also made a mention of my epic Lost post. I jumped up and cheered! Likewise, I nearly fainted when my 101 Apple T-Shirt list was posted on both Gizmodo and MacLife. I’ve been a subscriber to MacLife magazine (when it used to be called MacAddict) since the mid 90’s, so you can imagine how excited I was. Goal accomplished!

4. Make at least 5 items go viral. Now this was a toughie, especially for a small niche blog like mine. I hit just above my mark of two 100,000 views posts, with three blog posts gaining over 100,000 pageviews. These included my 101 Science T-Shirts list (surpassed 200,000), 101 Nintendo T-Shirts list, and 101 Lost T-Shirts list. A fourth post came very close, but just missed the mark at 81,000 pageviews. I found it remarkable that in October, November, and December there was major Stumbleupon traffic to my 101 Nintendo T-Shirts list, which was published way back in April 2010. Not bad, not bad at all! Goal not accomplished.

5. Have fun. I’ve definitely had a LOT of fun this year with this blog, both online and offline! It’s great to see the blog grow and grow with each passing month. However, some of the offline experiences that I’ve had with my readers have been even more rewarding. For instance, while in NYC this past summer, I was able to meet up with Carlos EasyBake of Oven Fresh Dreams, as well as Brian Shevlin from Year of the T-Shirt. Hopefully 2011 will bring even bigger and better things! Goal accomplished!

2010 turned out to be a big year for CotyGonzales.com, but what does 2011 have in store? Whatever it is, I hope that it’ll be big! Let’s start with some goals that I have set for this blog in 2011.

1. Updated the blog theme and add categories. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time now and I think that 2011 is the year that I do it! Another thing that I want to do is implement categories. When my blog first started, it was more of a lifestream blog, in which I blogged about everything in my life (hence, the name of the domain). But then I figured out the importance of a niche. Unfortunately, since then I have been using a single category for nearly all my posts – T-Shirts. Of course, I’d have to go back through each and every posts and re-categorize each one based on T-Shirt genre (i.e. Humor, Political, Parody, etc.). It’ll be a nightmare, but it’s been something that I’ve been wanting to do in forever.

2. Implement an ad system. Firstly, don’t worry, I won’t have this blog overrun with ads and blinking GIFs. That’s the last thing that I would want. However, I do feel that now is a perfect time to implement some kind of ad system to the blog. I’ve gained a loyal readership, I have nice traffic numbers, the search engines are good to me, and people have been inquiring about ads. So, why not? This will go hand-in-hand with the updated blog theme. Both are easy to talk about, but difficulty to actually implement (because of laziness), especially when you’ve got a site that’s been working perfectly fine the last 2 years.

3. Continue to increase monthly unique readership. In 2010 the average monthly unique visitors were 41,000. I’d like to see this number jump to 50,000 – 60,000 unique monthly visitors. That would be amazing. At this point, I am not too worried about RSS subscribers. I feel as if RSS feeds are indeed a dying technology and increasingly not as important as they used to be. So, I’ll still keep an eye on my RSS feed numbers, but I won’t worry too much about them.

4. Continue to be social and increase Facebook fans. At present, I have 561 Facebook fans. By the end of 2011 I would love to see this number rise to 1000 Facebook fans. That would be amazing. Also, I’d love to continue with the giveaways and site related contests. Let’s shoot for another 12 giveaways in 2011!

5. Make at least 5 items go viral. I wasn’t satisfied with having just 3 items go viral last year (as indicated by 100,000 pageviews on a single post). I want 5. I really want 5. Not sure why, but I want it.

6. Have fun. This is my goal every year and I think that it’s an important one. Once the fun aspect disappears, I worry that interest will begin to also disappear. Let’s look forward to a fun and prosperous 2011!

I’ll leave you now with some of my travel photos from 2010! What a great year, I can’t wait for 2011!

My visit Jon Wye’s boutique in New York City, August 2010.

That’s me alongside the biggest dream of them all, Carlos of Oven Fresh Dreams, August 2010.

Me posing at PikaPika in JapanTown, San Francisco, in one of my favorite T-Shirts ever (Hello by Buddy Carr), March 2010.

I’m all Fuzzy Ink’d out in San Francisco, March 2010.

That’s me in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia all decked out in Made With Awesome gear, March 2010.

Say hello to Mr. Brian Shevlin of Year of the T-Shirt. He wore a 365 different T-Shirts in 2010, August 2010.

Ugmonk in Central Park, August 2010.

Brooklyn Bridge

That’s me and Michelle representing Fur Face Boy in the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge, August 2010.