2020 recap: the past, present, and future

When I launched Coywolf Pro two years ago, I wasn’t entirely sure what it would become. I was, and still am, driven to create an experience that people will enjoy and want to come back to. For me, that means having a UX that’s free of distractions and resources that teach you something new each time you visit.

The first year of Coywolf was trying new things, interviewing people, and getting the private Community forum established. It was also the year I decided to try and get into Google News and succeeded.

The second year, 2020, went a lot differently than I or anyone else expected. My big plans for the year were put on hold for Coywolf Pro because of the pandemic and other circumstances.

2020 was going to be the year I launched a minimal viable product (MVP) of the Coywolf App, which is my vision of a contact relationship manager (CRM) that I wish existed. Unfortunately, the pandemic, along with tornados in Nashville that destroyed my developer’s business, indefinitely paused that effort.

Overall, the pandemic has put almost everyone off balance and has had a cascading effect. Many businesses struggled or went out of business because of lockdowns, less foot traffic, and reduced spending. That also meant they had to drastically reduce or eliminate their marketing budget, directly affecting agencies and their employees.

Meanwhile, the ecommerce and shipping industry thrived. Publishers thrived too. Many publishers experienced record traffic as people obsessed over the election and pandemic-related news, among several other things. It was and still is an opportunistic time.

For me, 2020 was spent working directly with editors, seven days a week, day and night, which eliminated the free time I once had for Coywolf Pro during my non-work hours. It was exhausting. However, as of November, that part of the business was sold off. That led to my efforts being refocused on projects that are more stable and predictable. That should allow me to use my free-time once again to produce more content for Coywolf.

Coywolf in 2021

Here’s what I have planned for 2021, including what’s changing and what’s staying the same.

Coywolf Pro

When I created Coywolf Pro, I wanted to produce a wide variety of content. However, after looking over all of the articles and guides published over the past two years, it became evident that I naturally gravitate toward my wheelhouse of SEO, site performance, and WordPress. I’m going to accept that fate and primarily focus on those topics moving forward.

My goal is to provide Pro members with the most up-to-date actionable insights and resources related to those topics. I will still cover other topics, and I may even bring on new writers, but I want to be clear about what I’ll be focused on and what you can expect from me.

Here’s everything I’m planning for Coywolf Pro in 2021:

Rethinking email

I had a rough start with the Pro email newsletter. It wasn’t something that came naturally to me, and my initial attempts felt forced and I didn’t have a cadence. Then I created an automated newsletter for Coywolf News, but that was an incohesive RSS output of the most recently published articles. I wasn’t happy with either newsletter.

I wanted to create a newsletter that would achieve multiple things:

  1. Be informative, engaging, and sent regularly
  2. Make members and non-members aware of new Pro content
  3. Be something that people would look forward to reading, and I would be motivated to write

I borrowed from newsletters I like and took some inspiration from Substack to create coywolf.email. Each week I collect content that catches my interest, along with articles published on Coywolf News and Pro, and curate them into the new Coywolf Email Newsletter. I also publish them on coywolf.email to make them easy to find and share. These are the newsletters I’ve sent so far, and you can expect to see the newsletter evolve.

If you haven’t received these in your inbox, then perhaps you unsubscribed, or your email address wasn’t copied over correctly. Use this subscription form if you want to make sure you’re subscribed to it.

App status

For several years I’ve wanted to build a simple contact relationship manager (CRM) that leverages open standards, works with native apps and is dead simple to use. It’s a CRM that doesn’t exist today, and I’m convinced it will never exist unless I build it.

Even though I’m trying to build something simple to use, it hasn’t been simple to make. My requirements for scaling, manageable cost, security, privacy, and functionality have presented challenges to the software developer that’s been working on it. Just as we were starting to make progress, the pandemic began, and then my developer’s building was destroyed when a tornado struck it.

It’s vital that the app is built correctly, and I can work with someone I know and trust. Development continues to be on hold for now, but I’ll hopefully have something to share with Pro members in 2021.

Coywolf News

Coywolf News has been a fun experiment to test different content types and see how Google News can grow brand exposure. The articles have consistently performed well on Google, and they’ve driven a significant amount of traffic to the site. If you’re a Pro member, you can read about the many benefits that come from being in Google News.

I see Coywolf News playing a more prominent role as a media outlet covering digital marketing, internet technologies, and web mastery. I’m considering doing more with it in 2021 – bringing on more writers and expanding coverage – as part of the overall growth strategy for Coywolf. News coverage will continue to be highly selective and be presented without ads and annoying interruptions.

Thank you

I’m grateful for all of the Pro members, but especially those who have stuck with me from the outset. I also appreciate the many contributions members have made to the Community. 2021 should be a transformative year for Coywolf, and I love having you join me for the ride.