I’ve learned a lot from reading blogger’s income and traffic reports (this is my favorite) so I’ve decided to share what’s happening on this blog. My goal has always been to help people with blogging. I want women to know they can make a career doing things they love. I just happen to love blogging and everything it involves: writing, web design, graphics, business, photography. It truly encompasses everything into one for me. I’m the person my friends turn to when they start a blog so I’m documenting my progress in hopes to help them (and you!) This blog report is valuable for me too so I can figure out what’s working on my blog and to add a level of accountability. Let’s get started.
February was a month of decline and it put me in a negative state of mind. My traffic was cut in half in February and I wasn’t motivated to work in March. For the past few months, I was on an upswing, growing more than 200%. Then February’s numbers were in deep decline, and while I was still ahead of where I’ve been, it was a “take two steps forward and one step back” feeling. Why am I trying so hard, I thought.
We also had a major set back as a family when my husband learned his position was eliminated at the company where he works. In the weeks afterward, I realized that I just can’t do it all. I already work full time and we have two young children, a house full of dirty dishes, and a laundry room with endless loads to wash, dry, fold, and put away. Where does a blog fit in? I had a choice to make: wallow in my sorrow or pick myself up and make progress. This is what I learned, and what I did:
I listened to Bjork Lindstrom’s Podcast, 7 Strategies To Build Traffic. Lots of great information in that episode, but one that stood out is to create linkable pages. These are pages that have a lot of value and others will want to link to them. They may not be directly related to your blog either. That’s where the idea of this page began.
Social Media Strategy
The Busy Budgeter is a site I’ve recently found and am obsessed with her newsletter and I love her income reports. One thing stuck out for me that I’m going to implement starting in April: I’m going to invest money that I make into the blog. Currently I use my earnings to pay for extra curricular activities for the children, vacations, books. I stock pile the money until I have an amount worthy of a large purchase. I’m not actively using it to grow my blog which is a huge mistake. I don’t have extra income right now to use to boost my Facebook page or to get help on the blog, but it’s what I need to be doing. My mindset is changed. Money that I make will go toward promoting and growing the blog. It’s a simple business concept that I’ve let slip. You can’t afford to be cheap when it comes to running a business!
I listened to this Podcast about Facebook traffic that really got me moving on my Facebook strategy. Bjork (same Bjork from above) interviewed Stephanie from Spaceship and Laserbeams: she grew her Facebook fans from 40,000 – 500,000 in one year! Talk about inspiring! Here’s what I learned from the podcast:
- Only post things on Facebook that will do well on Facebook. Facebook is a place for fun. You don’t have to post all of your content on your Facebook page.
- Follow other pages on your insights page to see what’s working. This is also a great way to generate content for your own Facebook page – you can share content right from your insights page. And, you already know it’s great content because it’s on the page because it did well.
- Make square images that fit Facebook. Stephanie actually contacts blog owners and asks permission to use their photos on her Facebook page to promote their content. It’s a win-win.
- She posts hourly. I’ve read about other bloggers who do this as well. Many Facebook strategies will tell you to only post 2-3 times a day, but the more I post the better results I see.
I immediately implemented her hourly (nearly hourly for me) Facebook post strategy, and I also started to use graphics that were square so they fit into the Facebook feed naturally.
I also participated in a Type-A-Parent Facebook group share thread where members of the group liked each other’s Facbook pages. I don’t know for certain if this helped me gain more than 40 people in March, but I started to see 1-2 new people like my page every day. For a small page, this is big! I don’t always participate in share groups like this because I believe (and have read) that it leads to people who don’t engage with your Facebook page. Sure, you have more fans, but if they don’t engage it’s worthless. So, I only do these in groups that share my niche.
I read a report about how Pinterest traffic was tanking due to an algorithm change in February. Then I read another blogger’s take on the algorithm change and she said that February traffic from Pinterest referrals are always down. This was refreshing after reading so many bloggers blame Pinterest for the downturn in traffic to their blogs in February. While my traffic did go down, realizing this may be a seasonal slump, rather than an ongoing downturn, cheered me up. This is when I decided to pick myself back up and get serious – again.
Buffer is my main social media scheduling tool. I’ve been using it for over a year and have had success with it – mainly for Twitter. But, the time has come to evaluate the paid plan I’m on. My family is in a situation where we need to cut back on expenses dramatically and even a $10 monthly fee may be on the chopping block right now. This has made me analyze the Buffer app that I used to love. Buffer helped me increase my Twitter traffic last year, but they removed a key feature which offered suggested content. This was a huge timesaver and was like having my own private VA. While I still believe in Twitter, I’ve changed my social media strategy to focus on Facebook and Pinterest. Starting April 1, I’m going back to the free version of Buffer to schedule Twitter posts.
I’ve decided to try Board Booster. It’s a paid program for Pinterest. I’ve read great reviews about it. Since I won’t be using Buffer in April I desperately need a solution to keep my Pinterest boards moving. I’ve been using Buffer to schedule Pins, but many times they failed to post so I was left manually pinning content every day.
My Amazon affiliate fees were down in February, which led to discouragement in March. Then, one day in March, I received 8 orders. BOOM! Instant inspiration! I read (on The Busy Budgeter site) that she went through her top 10 blog posts and added affiliate links. Great idea. I haven’t done that yet, but am adding that to my to do list.
Mid-February I added a new ad unit from MediaNet. I’ve read a positive reviews about people who use it and decided to sign up. I started with a cube ad in the right rail. In April I’m adding one into the middle of the blog post. This will get more traffic on mobile sites.
I also added a generic Amazon cube ad in the right rail. While this doesn’t generate ad revenue, if a user clicks through to Amazon and makes a purchase I’ll get a commission. One of my strategies is to increase clicks to Amazon. I did see an increase in Amazon revenue this month. One order came from the cube ad. While this is only one order, there are a few takeaways from this: 1. It only takes one order to make a difference in revenue for the month. Someone may end up buying a big screen TV (it happened once before!). 2. The ad was only up for one week. I’m hopeful for more sales in April.
I also added two affiliate ads to the sidebar. While it seems like I’ve added a lot of ads on the site, I didn’t have many before these changes. And, the affiliate ads are more like content.
Hard Work Will Pay Off
I’ve created a page of content that I’ve been wanting to create for eons: a Blogging Resources page listing all the blog products I use. When I have a friend who wants to start a blog, I’m the person they come to with questions. I usually compose an email or a private Facebook message with key products and information. Now I have a place anyone can go to get information about the best products to use. This page took several hours to create. A lot of time, and time is not on my side these days. Not only did I have to go through all of my resources to put together the list, then write it up, I had to sign up for affiliate accounts with these products I love. So, at night while I was watching TV, I signed up for them and added the affiliate links to the page. Then I had to create graphics to break up the page. A lot of time. BUT, this is an evergreen page that will just need minor updates as time goes on. It’s the type of project that takes time, but may have huge returns in the future. It will be a way to generate passive income – now that the work is done, I just need to promote it and see if any incremental revenue comes in from the affiliate links. PLUS, it feels really good to be sharing my knowledge. It’s not just about making money. I’m not going to lie, that’s a huge part of blogging, but I want to help people to blog successfully.
>This is an area I struggle when it comes to working on the blog. As a full-time working mom it’s hard to carve out hours and hours to work on a side project. I need to start getting up early in the morning, but haven’t been able to be motivated to do it yet. I need to retake Crystal Paine’s Make Over Your Morning course. I’ve made great efforts in March to get my ideas together so that I can hit that publish button more.
The best thing I’ve done is using Trello. Trello is a virtual board where you put your sticky notes. You can create “Boards” and put notes on the boards. You can see my dashboard in the graphic above. You click and drag the notes from board to board as you progress. Here’s how I’m using it:
- I have one board with all my ideas.
- I pick no more than 5 to be thinking about. This is kind of the “on deck” approach.
- My next board is the “In Process” board where I list blog posts I’m actively working on.
- I also have one post listed on the Post Next. This is the post that I’m currently working on and that will go live on the blog next.
It’s a really simple process and creates a great visual. It’s as simple or complicated as you want it to be. For each sticky note you can open it up, add colored labels (I label mine based on my blog categories), deadlines, and notes. On my All Ideas notes, when I get a new idea, I create a note and type in any ideas and add any reference links. This way all my ideas are in one place and I can do a brain dump and move on. So far, this has been indispensable in keeping me organized and keeping me laser focused on getting new content on the blog.
Goals For April
- Hire developer to change the font and add one ad unit
- Post a product review video that we’ve been working on. This is great content and should get people to Amazon.
- Write and schedule several new blog posts
- Make progress on an e-book download that I’ve started, but not finished
- Test board booster
If you want to see what resources I use to blog, visit my Blogging Resources page!
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