Here’s the 3rd installment of the Blog & Traffic Report. Think of it as a Cliffs Notes for blogging. Sign up for the blogging newsletter so you don’t miss a report. Recently I was asked why I’m writing this report. It’s because I learn so much each month that I want to help others learn how to blog, and how to promote their small businesses. By sharing my results and what I learn I can help others learn from my mistakes and my achievements. I believe that entrepreneurship can lead to a balanced life of your dreams! It’s a great way to help busy moms have flexible schedules, which is the mission of my site.
A little about me if you are new here: I’m a corporate veteran working a side hustle with the goal of working for myself out of my home office. I blog about lifestyle tips and tricks to help busy women and I recently started writing about my blogging knowledge to help other women learn how to blog. I’m constantly getting asked how to blog, how do you make money blogging, what’s this or that on social media. I know a lot. I research a lot. My day job is social and digital media. Now, I’m sharing that knowledge with you!
I hit the 2,000 followers mark on Pinterest in May!! I also noticed that my donut post has been gaining traction again. For a few months it wasn’t doing as well, but it has picked up traffic again.
I watched Jennifer Fishkind from Princess Pinky Girl at the Profitable Blogging Summit and learned a lot about Pinterest. The topic of deleting Pins came up and she says to definitely do NOT delete pins. I repeat, do not delete pins. I’ve read about deleting pins and how it can help your overall Pinterest numbers, but it just hasn’t made sense to me and Jennifer confirmed that. She has more than 3 million followers and said she went to Pinterest HQ last fall and asked about deleting pins, they said NO, that having a bad pin won’t hurt you.
Last month I mentioned that I wanted to test a promoted pin on Pinterest, and I followed through and did a small test. Here’s what I did: I spent $10.00 to promote my best pin (donut pin) for three days, over a weekend. I picked a pin that is already doing well to test if paying to get it more exposure will give it more traction. I could have done it with a pin that doesn’t do very well, but I needed something I know people already love to really test if Pinterest promotion is what helps throw it over the edge. I’d read that promoted pins do best on the weekend and I didn’t want to waste money on a week day. The pin received 5,400 impressions, 54 repins, and 38 clicks to my site. Most of these were paid impressions, repins, and clicks, but some ended up being organic because it had been pinned after I paid for a repin. I think there is power in promoted pins so I’m going to be more strategic with my next paid campaign.
I’m still working on my Facebook page and realize that it’s hard to get new fans, but my strategy is working! I finally hit 500 fans, and actually grew to 700 by the end of the month (and more now)!! I’ve been following 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. The tips in this book are making a HUGE difference in my Facebook traffic and engagement. One of the tips is to write controversial posts, so I shared a link of a 6-month old on waterskis. Most people were talking about how cute it was, and saying things like, “wasn’t it amazing?” But I admitted that it scared me to see a baby on skis. I received other reactions from people which made it the post that received the most engagement for the month. So, more posts that will get people talking. If I can get overall engagement up on posts, then when I post something of mine Facebook will be more likely to show it to more of my page fans. It’s really that simple. I’m trying to teach my Facebook fans to click on posts, comment, and share.
>And you can get a copy here:
OK, so I’ve never given Instagram much thought. It’s fun and pretty, but doesn’t drive traffic. But I’ve been watching SueBZimmerman on Snapchat and I’m inspired. Last month I found a great, free, online “conference,” the Profitable Blogging Summit, where I watched videos on several topics. I took so many notes and implemented a lot of changes. One thing I’m doing differently is how I post on Instagram and I completely changed my strategy. I used to believe that if you post interesting pics then you’d get followers, but that’s just not the case. You have to have engaging images that resonate with your target audience. You need to tell a story with your feed. What are you about? What kind of images do you share? What does the overall feed look like?
There was an example of a woman who posted only pictures of her toddler. Ok, they were cute, but EVERY photo was of her kid. It didn’t resonate with anyone. So, I’m no longer posting random photos. Although I thought they were good pics, there wasn’t a strategy – at all!
This is what I’m doing:
Posting a daily inspirational quote using one of my brand colors. Every other day I also post a photo that I took. These photos have to include the colors of my brand.
I post a
Picture of something that used my brand colors
I started doing that and realized that having two quote graphics back-to-back was too much in the feed, so I switched it up. Now I’m posting:
Picture of something using my brand colors
Picture of something using my brand colors
Inspirational quote (in my brand colors)
The feed is looking great! And I’m picking up new followers after being stagnant. I’m also being more strategic about taking photos of content on the blog for Instagram. I’m staging pictures against a white background and making the image stands out. Like this picture of an popsicle maker. Previously I would never have taken a photo of just the popsicle maker, but it’s so colorful and perfect for this shot. I’m still working on lighting, but I’m not letting that stop me from proceeding with the new strategy. Sometimes we let perfection take over and never move forward. Just do one thing and keep going. Make an improvement and move on. Then make an other improvement.
Follow me on Instagram so you can see my new strategy.
And, I found this awesome tip about how to add a link in your profile. It’s a site called linkinprofile! I learned it from The Whole Smiths I love this, but am not prepared to pay a monthly fee for it yet. Instead ,I need to make a special page that my Instagram followers go to that welcomes them to BalancingMotherhood.com. Something that says,
Hi Instagram Peeps! You’ll find a lot of great content here. To get you started, here are 5 of the most popular posts.
My point with Instagram is that I now believe in its potential. I have a strategy that doesn’t take up much time, but to be real I have less than 500 followers on Instagram and am not about to divert my Facebook or Pinterest strategy for Instagram. I just found these easy tips and decided to implement them. I feel this new strategy will help me once I’m ready to dive in more.
I realize that I need to be posting more content: 2-3 days a week. My traffic is going back up, but not at the rate that I’d like. It’s 300% higher than May of 2015 which is fantastic news. I created a spreadsheet that has my traffic and income all in one place (you can get a blank version here!). This is a great motivator and way to see what’s working. There is a direct correlation between ad dollars and page views. Of course, I know this, but seeing it in black and white helps me see the growth. And if I have a not so good month, as long as I’m growing based on same time previous year, then I’m good. I love how this simple spreadsheet is motivating me — seeing numbers and growth is a great motivator so I’ve made a copy of the spreadsheet available for you! Just go to this link and you’ll be instructed how to get a FREE copy so you can do the same thing!
My main issue right now is finding time to write and post new content. We’re at a time in our lives as a family that is very busy: my husband is super busy with multiple jobs, and the kids are out of school for the summer. Because of our work situation that I mentioned in March that we can’t afford for the kids to be in camps all day so we’re juggling my husband’s work hours – which is killing my blogging schedule.
I learned a powerful lesson in affiliate marketing in blog posts this month. Several years ago I wrote a blog post about lessons I learned when my son had his tonsils removed. It still gets traffic today and I recently reread it.. In the post I mention an excellent resource (a book) that parents need to read if they have children going through this surgery. I’m very passionate about how much this book can help, yet when I read the blog post where’s it’s mentioned, I only half-heartedly mention the book. So,I rewrote a blog post and changed the wording for the Good-bye Tonsils book. I really SOLD it this time. It’s a good book that I believe in and think parents should buy — it will be so helpful to their children going through this surgery. Before I wasn’t’ “selling” it enough. I changed the wording and stated how this book single-handedly prepared our son for this surgery, and I started to see an increase in sales for the book. To be real, I only make 40 CENTS when I sell this book so this isn’t about making tons of money from this post. But it taught me a huge lesson about marketing on my blog. I’ve been timid in telling people how strongly I feel about products. I need to amp up my wording so people will take ACTION and buy.
Page views are up 35% this month from April and up 300% from May of 2015! Yay! It’s still not as high as my January numbers, but it’s going back up. And, this is the first month/month page view increase I’ve had this year.
List the top 3 posts for the month which are the same three from the previous month.
- The World’s Easiest Cinnamon Donut Holes
- Tonsilectomy post about when my son had surgery
- Minecraft creeper cake
No change in ad networks, although I am going to investigate talking to Media.net about getting more targeted ads on my top 10 posts. MoneySavingMom does this and Living Well Spending Less mentioned it in her book. (LINK)
INVESTMENT IN BLOG
We took out a Facebook ad for 7 days with a budget of $5 a day. It was a simple like campaign to get people to like the BalancingMotherhood Facebook page. We targeted the ad to women, 28-55 years old who also like The Pioneer Woman and Better Homes & Garden Facebook pages. I found that both of these sites are already liked by fans on my page. I learned how to do this in the Facebook strategies book I mentioned earlier! The ad generated about 100 new Facebook fans. We’re going to try another target in June.
Next month I’m going to hire a developer to separate my blog content from my lifestyle content. Right now any time I post it appears in order, on the home page in the top three large graphic spots. When a new post goes live, they slide over while the third slides down to a spot based on its category. I’ve started posting more content about how to blog to encourage women to have their own business and show them how to do it, but I think it gets confusing with my lifestyle and food posts. So, I’m going to restrict the blog content from the top three sections and instead have it appear on it’s own “home page,” as well as appear in a smaller section on the bottom of the home page. This will keep the focus on posts that help busy moms, while still allowing me a space for entrepreneurs who want to learn to blog.
I also paid for Canva for Work. I LOVE Canva. It makes it so much easier to create social media graphics and blog graphics. Here’s why I upgraded to the paid version. Let me say that everything I can do in the paid version you can do in the free version. This is true. BUT, it took me twice to 3 times as long to do it! Yep, with the paid version I created what they call a brand kit where I have my brand colors saved, favorite fonts, and logos. I can also create templates to reuse. Previously to paying (it’s $119 for a year) I was just doing all the work manually. Every single time. I’d key in my color, select the font, size the logo and create a graphic based on what my last one looked like. Now I can do all of this, but it remembers everything and I can just swap out text and photos. Done! This is saving time. And, friends, we all know time really is money. I don’t really have the extra cash right now, but I have to spend money where it will get me ahead. Boom!
Goals for June
- Post 8 times – twice a week
- Participate in #cookoutweek, blogger roundup
- Continue to grow Pinterest
- Follow through on Instagram strategy
- Test another Facebook ad
- Prepare another Promoted Pin for back to school
- Separate Blog content from home page
Read the April report
If you want to see what resources I use to blog, visit my Blogging Resources page!
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Disclosure: Some affiliate links are used in this post which means if you make a purchase from one of the links we receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Opinions are my own.
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