Welcome to the second Traffic & Progress Report. This is the place where I’m sharing all that I learn each month and where I can be held accountable to my goals. I read and study A LOT about social media and blogging (and I’m a social media manager at my day job) and I’m putting what I read to practice and sharing the results here! Be sure to sign up for my NEWSLETTER to be notified when the traffic & progress reports are posted.
Last monthI mentioned that my social media strategy changed to focus on Pinterest and Facebook, so we’ll start with results from that.
I focused a lot of attention to Pinterest in April and it’s starting to pay off! I’ll outline the key things I did, but I’m going to do a separate blog post about what I’ve learned about Pinterest that’s helped me to double my followers in just 3 months! Follow me over on Pinterest so you can monitor what I’m doing and how often I’m pinning. Leave me a message and I’ll follow you back.
The focus on Pinterest this month took a lot of work and ended up distracting me (among other things) from getting new blog posts up, but I feel it’s going to be worth the effort. Here’s a summary of what I did this month:
I cleaned up my Pinterest page. I started with deleting over 20 boards (I had over 100) that:
- Didn’t have enough pins on them
- Were boards that I was using for personal use (i.e. mud rooms!) and
- That didn’t fit Balancing Motherhood’s mission.
This made my page look more in line with my brand and gives a consistent message about what I’m all about!
Next, I combined boards. I had a lot of boards that were duplicate or close in theme, for example, I still wanted to showcase a home and house board, but I no longer needed separate boards for master bedroom, guest room, dining room. That was too much to maintain, and users could tell these boards were being neglected.
I moved the most important boards to the top of my page, and organized them by category. For instance, I put all the holiday boards in order by month.
Most importantly, and this is BIG. I’d even go so far as to call it a game changer. I changed every single cover image. Every single one. I chose a new cover photo based on which image had the biggest pop of color. I was specifically looking for images that have yellow, pink, or light blue in them. Now my Pinterest page has a look and feel that is bright and cheery.
Next, I stopped pinning stupid stuff.
Seriously, what was I thinking? After I changed my boards I realized all of the content I pinned needed to be stunning. So I stopped pinning stuff that wasn’t EPIC content.
I also learned an important tip about keywords: I learned from White Glove Social Media that you need to keyword pins from other people! Pinterest will give more weight to your pins if all of the pins on your boards have appropriate keywords, not just your personal pins. I’ve started rewriting the pin description on ALL Pins that I pin to my boards, adding rich keywords that match the board description.
I also updated my profile name and description based on information that I got from watching a webinar from Brilliant Business Moms. After watching the sample video from their new course I immediately changed my profile. Here’s two things I did.
- Added keywords to my Pinterest business name. I had Balancing Motherhood, but changed it to Alicia | Balancing Motherhood – Recipes, Lifestyle, and Blogging Tips.
- Changed my profile statement to be more action oriented on what the user would get from me. It did say: Making time for the sweet life. I help busy families with easy recipes and work life balance tips. I thought it was pretty good, actually, but I’ve expanded what I write about and realize I need those keywords in my description. Here’s what I say now: I help busy moms by providing unique tips on how to get a flexible schedule, easy recipes, and blogging resources to help moms grow a side business.
And finally, there’s Board Booster. I mentioned this in the March Blog Progress Report, but I hadn’t used it yet, and frankly, it looked intimidating. Then I got an email from Kelly of The Take Action WAHM and my life changed. She’s got an helpful post on how she’s implemented Board Booster, doubled her follows, and grew her traffic to her blog. BOARD BOOSTER IS AMAZING!! I’m writing this April summary in May and can tell you I’m seeing amazing results since I started using Board Booster. It automates your pinning during prime hours so more people click your pins, and you gain more followers. There is also a unique feature that tools like Tailwind and Ahology don’t have: looping! Looping automates pins to boards you choose by pinning the oldest to the top so that it gets new exposure.
Remember last month I talked about quitting the paid Buffer. I did it and have no regrets. Zero. I used the money I was paying for Buffer and switched it to pay for Board Booster. Best decision I did for Pinterest.
I’m starting to research promoted pins and will have more to say about that in a future traffic & progress report.
After I did all these things on Pinterest my followers grew by about 250 for the month! And the rate at which my Pinterest followers is growing has greatly increased – in fact, I’ve doubled my followers in the last 3 months!
I’m working on my Facebook page, implementing strategies to grow the audience. Realizing I need a new strategy, I bought and read Strategies Worth Sharing: How I Grew My Facebook Page from 2,000 Likes to 100,000 Likes In Five Months. It’s written by a blogger who organically grew her Facebook fans in only 5 months!! One of the strategies I’ve implemented is how to automate sharing other people’s posts. One of the tips is to only share a post from someone else if it has MORE fans than your page has. I didn’t realize Facebook took this into account. You want to share great content from great sources.
The book is $20, and is packed full of information with different strategies that can help you grow your Facebook page. If someone told you that you could greatly increase your Facebook fans for only $20 would you do it? Of course! This book is the $20 answer you’re looking for.
And you can get a copy here:
Another thing I did to save time was I connected my Facebook account to my Twitter account. Let me just say that for a social strategy this isn’t ideal. It’s just not good to have your Twitter account be on autopilot, but in my case of being laser focused and using my time for the best ROI, this is what I have to do right now.
Since I gave up Buffer I’m not using Twitter as much, but I don’t want my account to go stale. By connecting the account it will Tweet all the great content that I’m spending time curating for Facebook. Do do this:
- Go to Facebook.com/twitter (while logged in)
- Click Connect to Twitter
- Choose what type of content you want pushed to Twitter (photos, links, videos, etc.)
I attended a social and digital media one-day conference in Nasheville at the end of the month and it was so beneficial. It was directed for social media managers of radio stations (that’s my day job!) but the applications apply to all types of sites. I’m going to detail what I learned in another blog post. One key takeaway that I’ll share with you now is to make super fans. Find ways to connect and engage with your fans in unique ways.
I reread Blogging for Profit. This book is a game-changer. I learn new things each time I read it. As I grow, I get to a new place in blogging and a section that I didn’t need before suddenly is immediately relevant. This book never disappoints.
I read a great article (another gem from SarahTitus.com). The key to this article is to know your story. She talks about her story is how she lived on $18,000 and had more than many people making triple her salary. That’s her story. It made me think of my story. What’s my story? I left a high paying corporate job and moved to another state with my family to work more on my blog. Then I had to go back to work because I wasn’t ready to be a full-time entrepreneur yet. Now, I’m on a direct path to success. My story is about taking risks and never giving up.
Her other gem is that when she writes, she writes for the younger version of herself. I love this idea. It will allow me to be more helpful!
Tony Robbins video (here’s a blog post where he talks about it) where he said his definition of happy is progress. This is so powerful! It’s why I’m writing these progress reports. I haven’t felt successful at blogging in awhile, but I’m making progress now. Tony also says that “your life comes from your rituals.” This brings me to my next point about getting out of bed earlier in the morning.
GETTING UP EARLY
On April 1 I volunteered to be in the office (for my day job) at 4:45 to help cover the morning shift. I volunteered mainly to help out and be a team player, but also saw a possible side effect of seeing how much I could accomplish between the hours of 5:00 – 7:00 am. Well, I got so much done! There weren’t interruptions because people weren’t in the office, email wasn’t being sent at that hour so it wasn’t a distraction, and I didn’t check Facebook until 7:00 when I normally do my first check in of the day. I’m a social media manager so Facebook is part of my job, which doesn’t help keeping the distraction at bay. What I learned is that if I could get up at 5:00 at home every day and work exclusively on blog content I can make a dent in new content every month. I need to reread Crystal Paine’s Make Over Your Morning course to get inspired to do this at least twice per week. That would be 4 hours of content generation a week!
I got up early for the first time on April 5. I was out of bed and at my desk by 5:45. This gave me a solid hour to work before the family woke up. In this time I got one blog post scheduled (that I had already started) and a second one started. This was amazing. Unfortunately, I let life get in the way and I didn’t get up early on any other days. I truly believe getting up early is going to be the key to my success.
In April I added several affiliate accounts to a resource page about blogging. I simply went to each product or service that I use for blogging and set up an affiliate account. These are linked from my blogging resource page.
One of the new ones I signed up for Blue Host affiliate. This is the best hosting, and all the top bloggers I follow use it. This is my go-to recommend for hosting a blog. You can get an account for as low as $5.95 a month, which is a steal. They are well known in the industry too.
As for other affiliate links, I launched a video that we filmed late last summer about beach and sport umbrellas. These things are amazing and we love them. Everywhere we go people ask us about them and where to buy them so we created a short video describing them! And, for business purposes we added affiliate links in the surrounding content. This isn’t selling umbrellas however so I need to restrategize how I’m positioning the videos and the links in my You Tube channel.
I thought this post would’ve been in the top three, but it’s slow to gain any traction. I think it has a long tail, but it didn’t get picked up like I’d hoped. So, what did the best this month? Here are the top three posts:
- The World’s Easiest Cinnamon Donut Holes
- Tonsilectomy post about when my son had surgery
- Minecraft creeper cake
Pinterest has been doing better for me again (because of all the work I’m putting into my new strategy!) since the slump after the beginning of the year, which is why the Donut hole post is number 1. The tonsil post is one that is very well keyworded. At this point it’s getting organic traffic from search. The Minecraft cake usually does well. I’m going to consider promoting it on Pinterest to get more traction for it.
The fifth most popular story in April was the March traffic & progress report which tells me the information in these reports is of value to readers.
Finally, the last insight from the traffic is that all of the pins I’m pinning from Board Booster are getting consistent traffic. Some of them I’ve redone pins and reposted, others I had on my boards, but I’m giving them new life by automating the pinning fo them to group boards.
Traffic stayed the same from March to April, which was a downer. I was hoping to drive more traffic and get to my next level. I didn’t do enough new posts which I think contributed to the lack of growth. I spend the month concentrating on growing my Pinterest traffic so I think I’ll see a benefit from that in the coming months. But, I need to blog on a regular schedule, which leads me to my May goals (see below).
Nothing to report here. I don’t think I’ll be adding any new ad networks until I reach my big milestone. Then, I’ll evaluate and implement a strategy to get the most use of the ad networks I’m using (Google Adsense, BlogHer, and Media Net).
INVESTMENT IN BLOG
Last month I said I was going to start investing money I make back into the blog, so how did that go for April? I hired a developer and am really excited about the changes I had him make.
Here’s what we did:
- Made the font darker and larger! Readers are more likely to stay and read it now because it’s easier to see. Before the font was very small and a light grey color which wasn’t appealing for reading.
- Changed the content on the home page by adding recent blog posts with a portion of the text. This gives new people to the home page a sense of other content on the site, and they get a snippet of the full blog post to encourage them to click through.
- Added more options for people to sign up for the newsletter. We added a newsletter sign up at the bottom of every post and a main sign up on the home page.
These changes have been very positive — especially the larger font.
GOALS FOR MAY
- 2 posts per week
- Get 8 posts scheduled so I have room to not blog if I need to
- Pinterest growth
- Prepare a blog post to be used as promoted pin in June
- Test a Facebook ad with revenue from April
Read the March Report here.
If you want to see what resources I use to blog, visit my Blogging Resources page!
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Do you have a traffic and monetization report? Drop me a link in the comment. I’d love to see what you’re doing!
Disclosure: Affiliate links are used in this post which means if you make a purchase we receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Opinions are my own.
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