GROWTH – WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
Hope you had a productive week! I wanted to talk about growth as it relates to blogging. This was a concept I didn’t understand when I began.
So Success = Growth and growth is required at any stage- whether you’re starting out or have been doing this for some time or already hit your millionth subscriber. It is something that can be seen along the way. It’s not a destination but more like a constant state you exist in. It looks a little like this:
A resourceful person is successful in any business they pursue and blogging is no different. Your website design will evolve regularly as you find better ways to display your content and make your website “sticky”. Your earnings may not start out fabulous but they will continue to grow.
If you’re a resourceful person, you’ll continue to learn and improve your writing which will help you connect with your audience on a deeper level. When people hook into something that makes them feel good they will follow. Your responsibility is to keep creating stuff they will love. That should be your motivation every time you look down at your keyboard and peer up at a blank screen.
SHARING THE LOVE
Every successful person will tell you in order to succeed you have to help someone elsesucceed. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard, “Be the change you want in this world”. And my all-time favorite, “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you”. If you’ve ever heard of the Law of Attraction, there it is. What you do for others will always come back to you multiplied and overflowing. This principle applies to all of us here in this digital world. Helping others might just be the fast track to growth and success.
Above all, have fun in your journey. Life was meant to be enjoyed. So don’t be so focused on making a living you don’t have a life
New here? 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 theirtraffic generation and monetization strategies day after day? No brainer, right?
Wanna grow your blog? Sign up here.
I subscribe to Bloghelp.com and in the most recent newsletter, there was an awesome resource on tools in one of her articles Awesome Free Blogging Tools Every Blogger Should Know About. She shared tons of tools she used and the one I liked best isUptimerobot.com which is a totally free service that monitors your website and automatically notifies you if it’s down. It also has tons of other bells and whistles I’m learning about. I signed up and had the monitor working right away. I found out my website was down for 5 minutes (yikes!!) and I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t begun using this app.
MONETIZATION: SPONSORED POSTS
If you’re looking for a way to break into getting sponsored posts, Bloghelp has a great article The Best Sponsored Posts Companies for Bloggers, with a long list of companies to sign up with. So far I’m signed up with Tap Influence, Influenster and Bloglovin’s Influencer Network.
This is something I’m definitely going to start working towards as I’ve seen how lucrative it can be for many bloggers. In another article, where she talks about how she monetized her blog, she listed Sponsored Posts as 40% of her income and she’s a fulltime blogger already and I need to jump on this pronto. So I have a couple of things to add to my todo list:
- I will be registering with the others as well. I’ll keep you all up-to-date on how this goes.
- Create a media kit
TRAFFIC GENERATION: BLOGGING BOOST
Blogging Boost Facebook Group – Posted a link to my Feel Good Food Blog Facebook Page for members to like and in turn liked several other Facebook pages.
Pinterest: Pinned for about 15 minutes around 3pm and throughout the day.
WEBSITE DESIGN: USING STOCK PHOTOS
While liking other members’ FB pages, I found Carmen Creative Shop, another Facebook Group member’s website and fell in love with her designs. I purchased her design and downloaded it. Wasn’t sure what to do with it but after thinking a bit, I decided to create a post about Meal Planning and use Carmen’s stock photo to display my Weekly Meal Plans.
Tip-How To posts that have bulleted or numbered items are most popular because you don’t have to do much convincing- the list does it all. So I wrote my first How To post about meal planning and its benefits. I linked to another blogger who has tons of content on meal planning to give visitors a more complete experience with sufficient resources to get their meal planning started.
1.Then I opened up PicMonkey and imported the stock photo
2. Added text and modified it, then saved it
3. Logged into my WordPress account and added a new post with this image as the main image of my post
I edited the post, added categories to it so it can be easily searched, made sure my SEO was in check, went through my Post Checklist and clicked Publish on my post 10 Reasons to Create a Meal Plan!
Then I felt it’d be a great idea to display my meals weekly on a static page. This could help me connect to my audience a little better because they get to see I’m a real person, that cooks weekly meals for her family and plans them too. Plus, doesn’t every kid love to see what’s on the menu that week?? I know I did. My meal plans can also inspire others to cook cool meals for their families. Every week I’ll update the page. You can check out her image on My Weekly Meal Plan page
WEBSITE MAINTENANCE: DEFINING CATEGORIES FOR POSTS & INCREASING # OF POSTS DISPLAYED
Over the weekend I wanted to make Banana Pancakes so I searched on my site for my recipe using the Recipe Index but couldn’t find it. I had to go through the categories and find it using the category “Breakfast”. Since I’d written that recipe when I was starting out, and was still a little wet behind the ears, I never added the banana category to the post! So I added it and was able to find it using the Recipe Index. And made the most amazingBanana Pancakes! Yum!
Looking over my Recipe page I could see only a limited number of recipe posts displayed. Since my recipe count had grown since I set that page up a year ago, I could now go back and increase the number of recipe posts displayed for a certain category. More recipes displayed gives my visitors more options and more pages to view means more impressions. I went to the Widget menu and selected the Categories widget that was in the “Recipes Bottom” section of the page. (I have the Foodie theme so these sections are common for this theme.) This was on the Genesis – Featured Widget Amplified and I increased the number of posts to 20 in the “Number of Posts to Show” field. Now when you click on the Recipes Index page you’ll see up to 20 posts for Savory recipes and Sweets.
If you want to learn how to leverage the benefits of the Genesis- Featured Widget Amplified widget check out this page by the Minimalist Baker.
RESOURCES: FREE STOCK IMAGES & EBOOK CREATION SOFTWARE
Blogging Boost Facebook Group – Read a post that gave some great tips on free stock photos Unsplash, Pixabay and Gratisography. Now I know where I can go to add great images to my blog for non-food blog-related content!
I also saw someone post Canva as a great tool for developing a great ebook. Created a Canva account and am thinking about creating an ebook as a free offering. The content? Still thinking about it.
TRAINING & MONETIZATION: INTERNET INCOME
Signed up for Shanel Cooper-Sykes’ Internet Income class. She’s an awesome female entrepreneur that generates a 7-figure income annually and is a great spiritual motivator as well. You can register for her webinar, Internet Income, here.
Read The Magic today by Rhonda Byrne and will start doing regularly again. Gratitude is the key success in anyone’s life. Have to remember to keep incorporating Gratitude into every area of my life to a greater degree this year to feel good all the time. Feeling good creates more opportunities to feel good. It’s a graceful cycle that keeps on going.
I still do my daily 10 things I’m grateful for every morning and it helps me keep everything in its right perspective. I also carry my heart-shaped rock in my pocket to remind me to Give Thanks. ♥
WEBSITE MAINTENANCE & TRAFFIC GENERATION: USING INTERNAL LINKS
I navigated to my About page and added a link to My Weekly Meal Plan page. I think it’s a cool tidbit anyone stopping by my About page would like to know. Plus, it increases the number of pages a visitor can access from my About page.
BLOG POST: COMMENT MODERATION AND POST EDIT
Found some typos in my latest post and fixed.
I have a pesky little spam comment problem that’s super annoying. For some reason my Akismet plugin isn’t catching them. Any tips would be greatly appreciated on this. On the flip-side was happy to see I had 10 new comments on my latest blog post this morning! Thank you!
Have to say this is probably mostly due to the FB Groups of which I’m a member. Before joining several Facebook Groups it would take some time to generate that many comments.
I replied to each comment and left comments on their blogs. Went to one member’s page chelseytate.com’s and found the most delightful free stock photo she’d created. So I downloaded it and it’s now my pc’s background and our quote for this week. Don’t you love it?
TRAFFIC GENERATION: FACEBOOK GROUPS
Blogging Boost Facebook Group- Posted my Pinterest link and followed other Pinterest profiles.
A rep from PR Newswire posted a request to have more publishers added to their network. Publishers would display their widget in exchange for 4 press releases. They guarantee they have a huge audience. I reached out to her and am looking into it.
BlogHer Network Facebook Group- Posted my recent link and helped other members out with commenting on their blog, liking there FB posts, pinning their posts etc.
TRAFFIC GENERATION: PINTEREST BOARD MAINTENANCE
Changed the name of my Pie Heaven Pinterest board to Piece of Pie, Piece of Cake so I can pin both pie and cake pins to it. Updated my description. Found a fellow BlogHer member’s recent post of an Ombre Matcha Lemon Cake and pinned it!
Pinterest: Pinned for about 15 minutes around 3pm and throughout the day.
Made a static list of the days the Facebook Groups allow promotions and added to my Evernote so I can keep track daily:
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
I can’t express how much joy I get daily from interacting with all of the cool folks in these groups. The moment I started joining these groups I tripled my understanding of basic blogging and my Facebook traffic has tripled. Other bloggers are a really important part of what makes us succeed. We can learn so much from each other so ask questions and help them in every way: visit their blogs to increase their impressions, leave comments, like their Facebook Pages and posts, share their posts on your social media platform. I promise it will all come back to you. ♥
TRAFFIC GENERATION & TRAINING: PINTEREST
Pinned for about 15 minutes around 3pm and throughout the day.
Posted some really great pins to my How to Grow Your Blog Successfully Pinterest Board.
Read Melanie Duncan’s email on Pinterest Marketing. She has a Power of Pinning program which is loaded with tons of statistics and effective Pinterest Marketing strategies that will help you grow your Pinterest followers and traffic.
Cool Pinterest Facts:
- 80% of Pinners buy within 3 weeks of pinning
- Pinterest is responsible for 41% of all ecommerce traffic
- It drives more than twice the Facebook traffic
- Results in 27% more revenue than a Facebook click
- Over 70% of people use Pinterest for inspiration on what to buy as compared to just 17% on Facebook
Side note: This week I plan on focusing a lot on Pinterest. I want to get to a point where I know exactly what I should be doing everyday on Pinterest and not just pinning. So my Pinterest Marketing Strategy Development is in the works!
TRAFFIC GENERATION: FACEBOOK GROUPS
Blog Engagement-added my bio and contact links to the group document. Subscribed to fellow members’ newsletters.
Requested to be added to the Blogging Boost Official Pinterest Board
BlogHer Network– Posted my recent post’s link and helped out members there with Instagram followers, FB page likes, blog comments. Found Carlene Can Cook and this free printable she shares to help you get organized throughout the day.
The Blog Loft– posted link for members to subscribe to my RSS feed. Subscribed to the lists of those that had become my new subscribers.
30-Day Listbuilding Challenge- found some interesting facts:
- When you use the word “Newsletter” in the subject line of an email, it causes a 13.7% decrease in click rates.
- One member received 20 new subscribers over 3 days by posting a free download
Also finished 30 Day Challenge for Day #3.
Instagram Fabulous– Posted my link and liked all pics on the thread.
Brainstorming: Thinking about what I can create to give away to subscribers. SEO cheat sheet? Blog Post Checklist? List of Resources to jumpstart your blog?
Twitter Marketing Group– Posted my recent post’s link and ReTweeted each tweet in thread.
TRAFFIC GENERATION: FACEBOOK GROUPS, TWITTER, PINTEREST
DYOB- Design Your Own Blog- Posted my link and read other blogs and left comments.
Blog Engagement– Posted Twitter profile in thread and followed other members in Twitter.
Instagram Fabulous– liked or commented on pictures and followed their Instagram profiles.
Twitter Marketing Group– Posted my link and Retweeted all links in thread.
Pinterest- followed back all new followers.
- Pinned for about 15 minutes around 3pm and throughout the day
- Looked at re-pins to see if there are any patterns.
- Looking for a Pinterest group on Facebook
Twitter– followed back all new followers. I’m literally 5 followers away from 4000!
CONTENT CREATION: WORKED ON HOW I GROW MY BLOG REPORT
- Created a quote graphic with Pic Monkey
- Laid out the format.
- Started adding the content
EMAIL LIST SETUP
I still have several steps to complete for the Report:
Create Report->Create List in Mail Chimp->Create Signup Form->Create Campaign->Create Thank You Page-> Create Popup
Here’s a great resource on building a newsletter.
TOOLS: HTML SIG & SOCIALOOMPH
Played around with creating a signature with Htmlsig.com. You can keep the signature for 30 days then you’re charged a monthly fee.
Hadn’t used SocialOomph in some time. It’s a pretty cool scheduling application but to use the features I wanted, I’d have to upgrade to the Pro version. Looking at other more robust, free apps.
TRAFFIC GENERATION: AD NETWORK, PINTEREST, BLOGLOVIN’, SUMOME PLUGIN
Received an email from a rep at Progrids, an ad network, requesting I register as a publisher. Looked at other sites they listed with their ad unit in my niche. Decided to move forward with them. Their Cost Per Mille (the earnings for every 1000 views) was around $1 – $3 on US traffic. Pretty good and a lot better than what I’m getting now.
Pinterest-How to Grow Your Blog Pinterest Board- Had an idea to add all of the links from the How to Grow Your Blog Weekly Report to my Pinterest Board. This makes it easier for subscribers to access all of the links in the report in one place.
Pinned for about 15 minutes around 3pm and throughout the day
Follow Dorcas | Feel Good Food Blog’s board How to Grow Your Blog Successfully! on Pinterest.
Bloglovin’-Followed back all Bloglovin’ members that followed me.
SHARING THE LOVE: FACEBOOK GROUPS
Answered some questions from new bloggers and left links for resources.
Google Analytics-Checked views and most pages visited.
- Thinking about the best way to show all past How to Grow Your Blog Weekly Reports. Can use the Genesis Featured Widget Amplified Widget to list all these reports using the same category or just use a graphic with the blog post url embedded.
- Posed the question to Facebook Page groups for feedback.
- Will create a How to Grow Your Blog Page and keep adding all blog resources under that page.
Received an email from TapInfluence encouraging all members to complete their profile so they can increase their chances of receiving sponsored posts. I replied and asked if they could verify my profile is complete. They replied and said it was. Sponsored posts come and find me! (Putting that out in the universe lol)
TRAINING: DISABLING PINGBACKS
Read an article by WPBeginner.com on How to Disable Self Pingbacks in WordPress.
Self Pingbacks occur when you add an internal link to you blog post and WordPress sends a self-ping. It shows up as a weird-looking comment. This article shows you how to eliminate this annoyance.
Replied to 10 comments on my blog.
Mental Note: Add search bar to main page
BLOG POST: CONTENT CREATION
Formatting-Finished editing the first edition of How to Grow Your Blog Weekly Report. Made each category the Headline 4 heading so they stand out. Removed block formatting from titles because it creates awkward spacing when you view the post using a mobile device.
Made the first heading “teal” which is one my branding colors. Bulletted lists using WordPress format would be off when viewed by my mobile device so I removed the bullets and added the numbering manually.
TRAFFIC GENERATION: LIST BUILDER SUMOME PLUGIN
Added the Smartbar Sumome Plugin to display at the top of my blog. The basic features are all I need right now and I can see a higher conversion rate since I started using it.
WEBSITE DESIGN/TRAFFIC GENERATION/MONETIZATION: CREATED NEW PAGES
Created a new How to Grow Your Blog Page. Went to Pages menu in the side bar, selected Add New. Entered the title, inserted the main picture used in the How to Grow Your Blog post and used the custom url of the blog post so when visitors see the pic they can click it and read the blog post. I’ll add the new reports here as I create them as an archive.
Since I had a widget that listed the Affiliate Disclosure already on my sidebar I decided to create a page with the Affiliate Disclosure and use that space for an ad.
1. I just copied what I’d posted for the Affiliate disclosure widget and pasted into a new page by going to the Pages menu in the side bar and selecting Add New.
2. I pasted the Affiliate Disclosure and published it.
3. I then opened the new Affiliate Disclosure page and copied the url link.
4. Then I went to Appearance and Widgets menu.
5. Navigated to my Footer 3 section added a TEXT widget and added the Affiliate Disclosure url.
6. Deleted Affiliate widget.
Now when you go to the bottom of my site, you’ll see the Affiliate Disclosure link. If you don’t have an Affiliate Disclosure page, you can click on this page and copy my verbiage to create yours.
Decided to take some FAQ’s I had created and make a separate Blog FAQ page for them. I could use it to provide useful information about my blog but also monetize it by adding affiliate links! Once I created the page (Pages menu then Add New) I added the FAQ’s, inserted all of the links and edited page for typos, then I hit publish. Then I went to the Appearance menu then selected Menus. I made sure the Blog FAQ was added to the menu and then I dragged it under the How to Grow Your Blog Page.
I created an image widget in my primary sidebar to give visitors a way to sign up for theHow to Grow Your Blog Weekly Report. I went to Appearance>>Widgets. Selected the Image widget.
Selected the same image I used for the post and filled in these fields:
Title: How to Grow Your Blog Signup
Alternate Text: This text is viewed when a visitor hovers over image. I put “Click here to Sign Up”.
Caption: Wrote up a brief explanation
Link: used the Mail Chimp Signup Form link
Let the rest of the fields default.
Finally I clicked on the image and tested it to make sure it worked.
This would make it easy to convert visitors to subscribers!
TRAFFIC GENERATION: TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK
Instagram-Posted my link to Instagram and Twitter and liked several other pics in my niche using same hashtag. This is a great way to get new followers.
Twitter-Made sure I added a picture to my Twitter post which is more likely to get Retweeted or clicked on than a post without a pic.
Fb Blogging Boost Group– Posted a link to my latest post and commented on other blogs.
Made sure I replied to each comment on my blog posts.
Mental Note: Find Pinterest Facebook Group that repins daily, Create a new tagline for my logo, go back to older posts and set SEO, do Facebook Ad for latest post.
Pinterest Followers: 1,200
Twitter Followers: 3998
Facebook Likes: 175
Instagram Followers: 353
Feel Good Food Blog Subscribers: 35
How to Grow Your Blog Subscribers:19<—Wow! thank you! That was only the first weekend!
GOALS FOR AUGUST:
INCREASE VIEWS TO 6000 PER MONTH
INCREASE SUBSCRIBERS FOR BOTH LISTS TO 100 EACH
CREATE A FREE DOWNLOAD FOR HOW TO GROW YOUR BLOG LIST SUBSCRIBERS
LAUNCH HOW TO START A BLOG PAGE