I’m 26 today. On my birthday last year I wrote a post called It’s My Birthday and I’ll Blog When I Want To in which I told a little bit about myself. This year, I’m reflecting on some big changes I’ve made to the blog and the logic behind those changes.

Oh, and if you want to buy me a present… How about buying my new $0.99 Kindle ebook and giving it a glowing review on Amazon? It’s actually #2 in the direct marketing category on Amazon. Let’s see if it can get to #1 :D

Shameless self promotion out of the way, here’s some info behind a few of the things I’ve been up to this past year.

Me on one of my 2011 adventures in Colorado. It has nothing to do with anything I talk about in the post but hey, it's my birthday. I can do what I want. (Click for larger version)

1. Why the rebranding?

This time last year, this blog was called Blogging Bookshelf. I changed the name to The Backlight a few months ago because the focus of the blog was shifting. I wanted to start writing less about blogging and more about infoproduct creation. The blog had already gone through a change of focus one time before, when I went from reviewing books and ebooks about blogging (hence the name Blogging Bookshelf) to writing about blogging in general. I figured the second change in direction warranted a rebranding. I wanted to distance the blog from being just another blog about blogging.

2. Why “The Backlight”?

I chose the name “The Backlight” because it isn’t restrictive in any way. I can write about whatever I want and not be limited by the name. Tomorrow I could change the focus of the blog to amateur space flight and the domain would still work.

I had a few available domain names in mind but went with The Backlight because 1) it gave me an idea for a color scheme for the blog (you know how old school backlighting was that neon green color?) and 2) the Twitter account @TheBacklight was available.

3. Why so many fewer comments?

A year ago, my blog posts were routinely getting 100+ comments. Now they get far, far less than that. Why? Mainly because I’ve stopped commenting on other people’s blogs. I used to comment on a TON of blogs (remember this post?). I stopped because it was just too time consuming.

Sure, it’s nice to have more comments, but at the end of the day, I don’t really care how many comments my posts get. I care about how much money I make and how I can best spend my time to increase my income.

4. Why the change in focus?

Why did I switch from blogging about blogging to blogging more about infoproducts and internet business in general? Because I got tired of blogging about blogging. It was boring, and I’d pretty much said everything I had to say. Plus the whole “blogging about blogging” niche just seemed very unnatural and superficial (and I fully realize that I was right there in the thick of it, too). I was tired of reading the same stuff repeated over and over on everyone’s blog, and seeing people with no real blogging experience saying how to create a blog (I’ve been blogging for almost 9 years now).

5. How’s the new listbait doing?

So for most of this blog’s existence, the “listbait” I used to get people to subscribe to my newsletter was an ebook called 101 Ways You’re Killing Your Blog. When I rebranded Blogging Bookshelf as The Backlight, I created a new ebook (Infoproduct Idea Kit, which you can get by filling out the form in the sidebar) to entice people to sign up for the newsletter.

It was a good move. I get about twice as many signups now. It just goes to show that you might want to test different newsletter signup incentives. I wish I had done so sooner.

6. What’s next?

I’m going to continue my goal to come out with at least one new infoproduct each month for 2012. I came out with 2 in January, and it’s looking like there will be at least 2 in February, too.

Even though my new Kindle ebook isn’t making me much money (I mean it IS only 99 cents and I only get 35% of that), I’m really excited about the Kindle publishing platform. Now that I’ve done it, I realize that publishing for the Kindle is really easy. Expect more $0.99 Kindle ebooks from me in the future, as well as information on how you can create Kindle ebooks.

I might rethink my goal of one infoproduct a month and actually make it one Kindle ebook a month and one “bigger” (i.e., more substantial and expensive) product every month.

As soon as Infoproduct Academy relaunches (which will be soon, I promise), I’m going to be putting more time and effort into driving traffic to The Backlight again. That’ll mainly be done through guest posting, as I’ve found that that offers up the best traffic return for amount of time spent.

One of my resolutions for 2012 was to create no new blogs, but I might have to break that one about mid-year. There’s a product I want to create that I think I could market really well by starting a new blog, not to mention that I think the blog on its own could be quite profitable. So that’ll be fun. It’ll join The Backlight and Amazopia in the pantheon of my “big” blogs.

Also, I might be starting a membership site in 2012. That wouldn’t be till the end of the year, though.

Final words

Since it is my birthday, allow me to talk about what else I’m up to and share a couple resources I’ve found useful. I’m studying Spanish every day. I’m a linguist by training and studying languages is something I love to do. I’m using SpanishPod for most of my studying, and I like it. The hosts are entertaining and the lessons are short and sweet. Coffee Break Spanish is great, too, but it costs more to get the PDF transcripts of the audio lessons.

In 2011 my big trip was a 3-week solo mountaineering road trip through 7 states in the western US. My big trip for 2012 will be a trip to another country. One of my goals for 2012 is to leave the United States (the last time I was in another country was 2007), and I’m thinking I’ll go somewhere in Mexico or Central America, as it’s relatively cheap to get down there. I’ll either go to Mexico and climb a giant volcano or go down to Costa Rica or Panama and learn how to surf. That prospect of actually using my Spanish gives more meaning and urgency to my Spanish lessons, which is always a good thing.

I listen to an episode of The History of Rome every day. It’s one of the best podcasts I’ve ever heard, and if you’re interested in history at all you should start listening to it. There are 166 episodes of the podcast (each 15 to 30 minutes long) so far, so it’s one that you can really sink your ear teeth into.

And I guess that just about wraps it up. It’s been an awesome year. A lot of great changes happened, and I can’t tell you how excited I am for 2012. I’m enjoying what I do more than ever, and it’s going to be an incredible year.

I’m going to make sure my 2013 self will be in awe when he looks back on the year.