This past week I’ve seen a similar theme in the Facebook Groups I belong to:
You want to start blogging but you’re not sure what to start blogging about.
It can be frustrating not knowing what your niche is right? Every How to Start Your Blog article I’ve read, always advises the reader to choose a niche as a first step because your niche sorta dictates everything about your blog: what it looks like, what the content will be, the audience, the layout even. It gives your blog an identity and direction.
But what if you don’t know what your niche is? Here are a few simple steps to narrow down your niche:
- Make a list of the things you are really passionate about
- From that list, narrow it down to those things that people normally mention you are good at
- From that list, narrow it down to no more than 5 things you love to do so much, hours pass by without your noticing
- From that list narrow it down to just 3 things
- For each of those 3, begin writing an article
- The one that comes easiest, is the most fun, and you can fluidly write about is most likely your niche
- As a last measure, tell someone about the 3 articles. People that know you best will be able to tell which of the three you appear the most energetic and excited about.
- Most importantly, you can guarantee your success when you can take that passion/niche and find a way to solve a problem or help someone with it
Hope this helps you in your search for a niche!
I started this weekly report after realizing my daily documented activities would create a transparency and HUGE resource I hadn’t found on the web.
Imagine shadowing another blogger each week to learn what they learn and implement their traffic generation and monetization strategies day after day? No brainer, right?
Wanna grow your blog?
8/31/15 Week in Review
Changes to Weekly Report
If you’ve been around for the past two reports you’ll notice there are some tasks I do daily. Well, in the hopes of making these reports more reader-friendly and shorter, I’m going to summarize those daily tasks I do up-front and then for the remainder of the report, I will list my weekly activities by category. I’m hoping that this way you don’t have hours of reading to do with one post..lol..and it’s easier to pick out what you want out of the post. Please let me know how this works..good? bad? high five!
Blog Objectives: Create content that improves the lives of millions. Grow my blog daily, in the way of page views, subscribers, social media followers, purchased products & services, clicks, retweets, likes, pins and shares.
Traffic Generation: Facebook Groups and Sharing the Love
Note: this is where I spend most of my time throughout the week. As a rule of thumb, we should spend about 80% marketing our blogs and 20% on content creation.
After my daily meditation, I start my day by going to my Facebook Groups and interacting with fellow bloggers. These interactions not only help the blogger community but also increase traffic to my website and social media platforms.
I post a link to my recent post on those FB groups that allow promotions for that day and help out other bloggers by commenting on their blog posts, share their posts, like their Facebook pages or FB posts, follow them on social media, Pin their posts or Retweet their tweets. Below is a list of the Facebook Groups I belong to and the days I can promote my posts.
BlogHer Network: Daily
Smart Passive Income: Free Speech Friday
DYOB: Promo Thursday and Shout It Out Friday
Blogging Boost: Promo Mondays Only
Blog Engagement: Daily
Twitter Marketing Group: Daily
Instagram Fabulous: Daily
The Blog Loft: Show Us What You Got Thread- Daily
Pinterest Pin for Pin: Daily
Blog Genius Mastermind: Daily
I’ll also go through the groups throughout the day and see if anyone posted a question that I have an answer to. I may post a link, infographic or article that can help them with their question/issue or any needed motivation.
I’ll follow back any followers from any social media platform.
- I’m still developing my Pinterest strategy but have so far learned that a minimum of 30 Pins daily is the “sweet spot” for optimal traffic generation.
- Currently, I have an iPhone alert that notifies me at 3pm and I pin about 15 posts.
- I schedule about 30 pins for each day using Tailwind App. I highly recommend automating as much of your marketing as you can so even if you are not able to keep up with your pinning schedule for that day your pins still go out automatically.
- I use Pic Monkey to create a long pin for each post. As an experiment, I started making the first photo on the blog post the long Pin to see if this increases the % it will get pinned versus having a regular 600 x 900 photo. I’ll let you know the results in the next report.
- I started using Buffer and schedule my Tweets out 2 weeks in advance.
- Since I have a goal to increase my subscriber list to 100, I’ve been including 2 daily Retweets with a call to action for the How to Grow Your Blog Weekly Report. https://twitter.com/Feelgoodfoodnow/status/633397965999185920
- (If you want to know how to Retweet one of your tweets, go to your tweet, click on the date and copy the URL.)
- I also tweet post links from my fellow blog buddies so my feed doesn’t just promote my stuff but also promotes others’ posts too.
- Every week I will do a post. My goal is to do both, a food post and the How to Grow Your Blog post. Last week, it didn’t happen. Other priorities just pushed these objectives down the list, but alas, I am back at it again.
- I will write the post and edit it several times throughout the week, cook my recipe and take photos simultaneously and then edit the photos.
- Last week I decided on doing a food post about Mango Berry Sorbet because it’s still hot enough in South Florida for something refreshing and it turned out to be a great distraction from the Tropical Storm that never was.
- Had an existing Mango Banana Sorbet recipe on the blog which I used as my guide and modified it to add the strawberries and blueberries.
- Looked at some sorbet pictures on Pinterest, to get an idea of different types of food styling, lighting and angles I could use to create photos that are beautiful, energetic and say, ‘Wow!” Then I saved them in my Current Post Pinterest board for inspiration.
- I like for my post to be tutorial and show the steps progressively.
- After taking the pics, I edited them in Lightroom, uploaded them to WordPress and inserted them into my post.
Initial Marketing of Recent Post:
- Search Engine Optimization is the first step to making sure your content is found on the internet. So before I even hit publish, I make sure my SEO is in check. This is what I use as an SEO checklist.
- I create a long pin in Picmonkey.com and upload to blog. Then I pin that long image directly from my blog post to Pinterest using several different boards and schedule them throughout the week using Tailwind App so they are evenly distributed.
- I create a post on my Facebook Feel Good Food Blog Page and then I share it to my personal Facebook page. (Facebook changed its policies and will not publish your Page’s post to your members- you have to pay for this service now. So I usually market a post per month for a week for about $21. I’ll go over my results below)
- I submit it to Foodgawker.com.
- I sometimes submit to Tasteologie (I don’t upload my recipe to many other food-sharing sites because doing so can actually hurt your Google rankings. Google ranks you higher in search results when your content is authentic and doesn’t appear on too many different websites. Links back to your content, however, from many websites actually increases your rankings.)
- Since I’m a member of Bloglovin’ and my profile is linked to my feed, my post is published there as well.
- I upload the main post photo to Instagram
- From Instagram, I share to Tumblr
- I upload a pic to Twitter and create a tweet for the post.
- I then post the link to all Facebook Groups that allow for promotions that day.
- I’ve found that when I post my links to a thread in the Twitter Marketing Group and the post gets Retweeted by more than 60+ members on average, I’ve gotten the most traffic and subscribers. I gained more than 40 subscribers in 10 days in large part to this strategy and interacting with blogger friends on other Facebook Groups.
I check my comments and respond as soon as I can.
I set aside time to work on me. I give thanks for all the things I’ve been given daily. I listen to uplifting inspiration religious and non-religious music to keep me in the right peaceful frame of mind. Currently I’m re-reading The Power of Your Subconscious Mind (Revised) by Joseph Murphy Ph.D. D.D. (Aug 26 2008) and it’s changing my life-again I also scan through The Little Book of Breakthrough: Thoughts for Manifesting Your Heaven on Earth to line up my thoughts with a breakthrough and finally I work out at least 2 x per week.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is one of the most effective ways you can use to Grow Your Blog. If you’re new to blogging, you may want to read SEO tips from Mozs Beginners Guide to SEO as a quick intro. It’s the difference between having a blog that sits out in cyberspace, dusty and completely overlooked or one that is a daily, thriving oasis of visits, comments and sign-ups. It’s a pretty big deal. You should also keep Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO bookmarked. And here’s my SEO cheatsheet to give you a jumpstart.
I ran a 7-day Facebook ad for my post: How to Grow Your Blog Weekly Report which I consider a HUGE success. I paid $21 for the ad but when it finished running, I had more than 815 likes to that post alone with 85 clicks to my website and a reach of more than 6,800. In other words, my ad was placed in front of 6,800 people!
This ad generated a huge amount of likes for my Facebook Page. I received at least 100 new likes that week alone. Also, the numbers of subscribers to the this report skyrocketed too. Since I launched the weekly report on 8/16/15 I have a total of 57 subscribers – that’s almost 20 subscribers per week! So should you use Facebook to advertise your website/posts/products? Yes and Yes! What I love about Facebook advertising is its laser-precision way of finding your audience. Even though this was my 2nd ad and I still have a lot to learn about Facebook ads, it’s an incredibly effective way of finding and reaching your audience. Oh, and if you want a crash course on Facebook ads, check out Ilean Harris’s Facebook Ads Training.
Ad Stats Summary:
- Cost: $21
- Post Likes: 815
- Impressions: 6,800
- FB Page Likes: 100+
- How to Grow Your Blog List Subscribers: 57
I installed the Sumome Smartbar in August because I read that a pop-up or smartbar increases signups by more than 50%. Plus, my goal was to increase my subscribers to 100 in August. I checked my Sumome Smartbar analytics and was really happy to see the stats which show my feelgoodfoodblog subscribers beginning to steadily increase. When I installed the Smartbar, my food blog only had 19 subscribers and now I’m up to 35! Woot! Woot!
If you want to know all there is to know about Pinterest, then let me introduce you to Christine Martinez Loya, a Pinterest goddess. She has over 5 million Pinterest followers and even penned a book about – you guessed it – Pinterest.
After buying her book in April 2015, I finally started understanding why Pinterest was so important for my blog.
- I started to organize my boards
- I filled up the boards that didn’t have many pins
- I added descriptions to each board using keywords
- I created boards that I felt my audience would love
- I started pinning like crazy and now I have over 1,300 Pinterest followers.
- Take a look at the difference in viewers from April to August alone! Crazy, I know..lol
As you can see from the stats, when you get a better understanding for what you are doing and start setting goals, you start seeing progress.
5 Great Tips from a Pinner with 25,000 Followers
Found these great tips on one of the FB Groups and reposting with Misty Dawn Nelson’s permission:
“Hi everyone! I’ve noticed a lot of Pinterest related posts for advice on here and thought I might be able to add some helpful tips. My blog gets a ton of traffic from Pinterest and I’m about to hit 25,000 followers. I’ve learned quite a bit over the years on what works and what doesn’t. So I thought I would start by sharing a few key points.
If you want to check out my Pinterest board, its at www.pinterest.com/frostedevents. To give you an idea of analytics I’ve posted mine for Pinterest below. I get over 1000 people a day on my site straight from Pinterest alone.
My first advice would be:
1. Create a board with the name Most Pinned from xxxxxxxxx. The xxxx part should be your blog or site. This should be your very first board and will highlight all your best posts.
2. Define who your target audience is and think of 10 to 15 topics that they are broadly interested in. For example, most of my readers are moms so my main categories are Recipes, Kids, Babies, Style, Holidays….. Now create boards for the categories you’ve identified. Be sure to label them clearly. Cute creative names are hard to search. Build your followers first then you can change your board names. If you are familiar with using Google keyword planner it’s a great tool for deciding on what topics to pin and how to label.
3. Fill out the description area with keywords that relate to that content. For example, if my board is Parties, my description will say– party ideas and inspiration, party invitations, party decor, party supplies, party invitations and fun party themes!
4. Search for pins to add to your new boards. If you use a Pinterest scheduler (Tailwind, Viraltag, Ahalogy) spread them out and focus on pinning or repinning 5 to 10 great looking pins to each board per day. Be sure your adding key descriptors to the notes in a conversational way.
Ex- if I’m adding a recipe pin for orange chicken, I’ll write “can’t wait to try this orange chicken recipe for dinner” . This will bring the pin up under several possible searches– chicken, recipe, dinner.
5. Pin from your own board sporadically to the new boards you have created where they will fit. Aim for 1 organic pin (your stuff) for every 10 pins or repins from other sources. Think of broad board topics that you can create to spread repins from your blog across.
Ex- if I’m pinning say a pirate party, I’ll pin it first to my own board, then later repin it to other boards I’ve created, like Boy Party Themes, First Birthday Party Ideas, and Kids Stuff. That way I can keep refreshing my pin audience without overloading it on one board.”
Want to write for the Huffington Post?
I found a great article on How to Write for the Huffington Post that shows you how to easily get started and I also signed up for the weekly posts. (The reason I didn’t put this in the monetization category is because Huffington Post doesn’t pay writers to submit articles to them. Their payment is in the form of exposure and traffic generation.)
Ad Networks & Sponsored Posts
I have Sovern ad network setup on my blog, which pays me based on my page views. While looking at the earnings reports, I noticed a discrepancy. I called them and found out my ad code wasn’t setup right, but they fixed it. Make sure you stay on top of your earnings and validate their accuracy.
Signed up for Bloggenesis.com where they give challenges weekly to help you generate income.
Signed up for ProGrids Ad Network and their was no approval waiting time. They just require you to download their Widget Plugin for WordPress and upload to your blog.
If you use WordPress, they recommend using the ProGrids Widget plugin. To use the plugin, follow these instructions:
- If you haven’t already installed the plugin, go to your blog admin panel, select “Plugins -> Add New” and search for “progrids” OR download and install it here
- Once you’ve installed and activated it, go to the “ProGrids” settings page in the admin panel
- Copy and paste the above installation code to the box labeled “Installation Code” and press “Save”
- Your ProGrids widget is now live on your website, and you are earning commission for every click!
New Affiliate Opportunity – It Social Media Platform & iGrow
My monetization goal is to have several streams of smart passive income. This is the big picture I’m keen to optimize:
1. Ad networks
2. Affiliate Commissions
3. Digital products (ebooks, online course, printables)
4. Sponsored Posts
5. Coaching (Help bloggers with finding niche, technical design & WordPress setup, Growth Strategies)
So far, I have 2 ad networks setup, several affiliates setup, have applied for sponsored posts through Social Fabric, and am working on a digital product to sell. As a long term goal, I will also offer coaching services. What does your monetization strategy look like?
In my last report, I mentioned I’m looking for new monetization opportunities. This week I found out about the IT Social Media Platform through another FB Group member. (Side note: I have such a renewed love for Facebook! Before I joined the FB Groups that have helped me grow my blog, or before I ran FB ads, I totally underappreciated its value. I rarely had any Facebook traffic. I just didn’t know how to leverage its power. I’m still getting there but honestly can’t keep track of all of the opportunities, tips, shortcuts, tools I’ve received and great people I’ve met through the Facebook Groups. So grateful :-))
Ok, so it turns out it’s actually 2 products for the price of one. One is basically a social media platform, similar to Facebook, BUT and here’s the big BUT:
- it’s tied into eCommerce. So when you post a product link, you actually get commissions when someone makes a purchase using that link. <–that got my attention.
- also they do no data mining like Facebook <–doing cartwheels for this one
- You need an invite to create an IT account
- Click on the image above to sign up and we can be friends there too
The second part is a business opportunity which is a robust internet marketing network called iGrownet.
- there’s about 7 streams of income you can generate which is something I’m definitely looking forward to
- Here are a couple of videos that explain this opportunity Part 1: The First Look https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNMyKgNCygI Part 2; You Mean There’s More https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoZwgrc3nww
- If you signup 3 people before 9/21 you’ll be put into the Founder 3000 group. This means you get an equal share of the viral traffic that downloads the IT app from iTunes and double ecommerce commissions. I’ll keep you all updated!
I’m still working on creating my free offer and then create a course and offer it to my list of subscribers and visitors. Creating the Landing Page, optins and all the different ways to route traffic to this course are all part of understanding how a Marketing Funnel works – and you absolutely need one on your blog. Here is a great resource on understanding how a marketing funnel works.
Pinterest & Food Photography
- Watched webinar by Simple Pin Media on developing a Pinterest strategy
- Viewed one of the best slideshows I’ve ever seen on photography.
- I plan to print out some of the slides and display them as inspiration in my office.
The Prosperant Plugin is a tool that makes it super easy to turn words and phrases on your blog into affiliate links. You can auto-link specific phrases so that every time they appear on your site, they will be linked to the product with your affilate link, and you can even create your own “store” of relevant affiliate products – in a matter of minutes. Pretty cool huh?
I started using Evernote to keep track of my weekly blogging tasks. I love Evernote because I can add notes from the Evernote iPhone app and when I open up the app on my pc, the notes are there. I can even dictate them.
To keep myself organized and make my weekly workflow more efficient I created the following Notes for quick reference:
- Note with all my daily completed blogging tasks
- Note with all of the Feel Good Food Blog social media links
- Note with links to Feel Good Food Blog posts I’m using to repost to social media
- Note with my desired monthly income and the income report I envision (currently I copied something similar to Pinch of Yum’s income reports. I’m setting my sights high so that I can visualize it and manifest it!)
- Note with my weekly ToDo List
WordPress Site Builders
Not too WordPress savvy? Don’t have the slightest idea how to make your blog look pretty and professional? You can purchase a WordPress Drag & Drop site builder and instantly cut down on the learning curve and confusion. I didn’t even know this existed and is worth looking into.
Week of 8/31
Pinterest Followers: 1,200
Twitter Followers: 4062
Facebook Likes: 248
Instagram Followers: 371
Feel Good Food Blog Subscribers: 35
How to Grow Your Blog Subscribers: 47
Week of 9/7
Pinterest Followers: 1,300
Twitter Followers: 4159
Facebook Likes: 299
Instagram Followers: 391
Feel Good Food Blog Subscribers: 35
How to Grow Your Blog Subscribers:52
Goals for September:
Increase views to 6000 per month
Increase subscribers for both lists to 100 – (at 87!)
Create a Free Download for How to Grow Your Blog List Subscribers
Launch How to Start a Blog Page
Popular: Year One-Food Blogging Basics
New to the How to Grow Your Blog Report? You can subscribe here.
Wishing you multiplied growth and success,
*Disclosure: Some links in this email are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a commission if you make a purchase. Thank you for your support!♥