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The Ups, the Downs and How I Managed to Get 10,000 Viewers to My Blog in One Year

After one year of blogging, I’m finally feeling like I have solid evidence that all my hard work is paying off. Last month, in my eleventh month of blogging, I was applying to a product line to feature my VIP Hub and needed to include some stats.

I was immediately discouraged because I didn’t think that I had the numbers to support my product. But- to my insane surprise, I found that I had my first month with over 10,000 pageviews! I took three takes and couldn’t believe my eyes. Talk about an overwhelming moment.

All the days of work. All the moments of doubt. It’s all coming together. Just like I had wished and hoped for.

This blog post has been planned since day one, but I never even considered that I would get an opportunity to include such a great accomplishment at the same time! Blogversary and major milestone in one shot! I’ll take it!

Although I always write content for my readers first, I will admit, this one may be a bit for me. To reflect on the year and realise how far I’ve come with this crazy little dream I had to build a blog.

But, I do promise that I will leave some great tidbits of info throughout the post that might help you if you are a beginner and not sure where the path might take you or what the next steps might be. Learn from my successes, see what I could have done differently and what I will be working on in the future.

And most importantly, how you can have 10,000 pageviews on your blog in less than a year just like me, even if you know nothing about blogging to start!

Hang on- this could be lengthy! You can use the Table of Contents to skip through to the parts that interest you the most if it’s a bit overwhelming.

money making blog

The Backstory

I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart. I started my first “real” business when I was 27, when my third child was born. That was almost 15 years ago. From network marketing, creating and running my own athletic and specialty skating wear, a decorating and staging business, creating printables, a makeup biz and now blogging, I feel like I’ve learned so much in every experience.

Be it a “fail” or not.

In fact- I don’t believe in fails. They are all wins in my books. Every single unsuccessful adventure that I have had led me right where I am now – which I am 100% sure is where I am supposed to be.

A Blog is Born

My blog is still new from a blogger’s viewpoint. I started only in the middle of July 2018 and am in it full force ahead. I’ve never looked back.

At first, I created my blog as a way to talk about creating “sparkle” in everyday life.  I just found that negativity was everywhere and I wanted to do something positive with it. I’m an eternal optimist and believe in the laws of attraction.

I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do or what it would ultimately look like, but I knew that I needed to just jump in and just start doing it. I thought I would share my experiences in life, which included being a business-oriented woman on a mission to succeed.

Here’s what I discovered. Blogging is not at all just an “online diary”. There is so much more to it that I didn’t realise. I will admit, there were times in the very beginning I was going to give up. There is a huge learning curve. I really felt like I had missed out on an entire decade of life.

And to be honest, I had. I was a stay-at-home mom for almost ten years straight. I’ve never been very good at that. Some people love that stuff. I crave mind-bending challenges and to-do lists and inboxes that are empty at the end of my workday.

Not that I don’t admire all those hard-working full-time mommas- they are truly heroes to me.  I don’t know how they do super-mom all the time. I did it for ten years and it was exhausting. The need to always be something better. Better mom, better wife, better housecleaner blah blah blah. It’s such a vicious circle sometimes. 

I realised I could do both. It was okay to do both. Be a great mom and an inspiration for my kids to look up to as a successful entrepreneur.

Finding My Niche and My Why

The turning point started when I scheduled to work collaboratively with a friend that was also starting her blog and I absolutely loved helping her. I realised that I was starting to sound like a maniac coming to her every day spewing out all kinds of blogging jargon. I had to get a bigger audience. My blog would be the means that I was looking for.

It’s also the same time when I got into the nitty-gritty of building a blog is where I found my “why”. It’s something that has perplexed me for years. It’s a question that pops up in every entrepreneur’s help or discovery book. And I have been so challenged with the concept. But, I had finally figured it out.

There’s something so magical about creating something that can help change people’s lives in such a positive way. And I have the ability to do just that. In blogging and teaching people to do the same. I’m still focused on creating positivity, and I’m encouraging others to find their why… their sparkle and business growth through the blogging process

Let’s Break it Down. What I did (and didn’t do) to Make My Blog a Success

Content

Any blogger will tell you that content is key. A successful blogger will tell you that it’s quality content that actually matters. Once I dug into my niche, I really focused on writing blog content that any beginner could follow.

My very first blog piece was actually on how to get the most from a shopping trip to Ikea. It is definitely a newb attempt and I missed out on a ton of opportunities. Funny enough, the post still brings me some steady traffic and I like to look at it from time to time, just to remember where I started in this journey so I leave it up.

This post will make 75 published posts, which is 25 off of my 100 post goal. I would still say this is an amazing accomplishment and more than I thought I could have ever done.

What I Did That Worked

  • I wrote only one piece a week until about the 6-month point when I knew that I was ready to create more content and still keep the quality high.
  • I started accepting guest posts on my blog so that I could maintain my content schedule of at least one post a week, even if I was on vacation or creating courses that needed my attention.
  • The past month, I started revamping one old post per week with some updates to internal links, SEO, graphics and some new pins to circulate on Pinterest (this was also the month I jumped from 4500 viewers to 10,000!).
  • Create content in batches – especially if you work full time or have a busy family life, this can be a life-saver if you want to create consistent content.

What I Could Have Done Better and What I’m Working On

  • I really wish I would have hit the 100 mark but to do that, I would have needed to keep up with my schedule of 3 posts a week in the Spring that schedule started making me a bit resentful so I decided to step back (I’m glad I did).
  • As I’m pretty sure that focusing on some old posts have really helped my traffic, I’m going to continue to revamp one post per week and see where it goes.

Graphics

If I have learned anything, it’s how important graphics are as part of creating content. And although I love doing new ones, they certainly can be time-consuming.

Most bloggers have some kind of love-hate relationship with them. Mine have certainly come a long way since the beginning. Here’s my first pin compared to the pin I did for a recent post. And the first one still gets clicks!


What I Did That Worked

  • I made sure that all of my posts included shareable graphics that could be shared to most of the major platforms.
  • I installed a plugin to make sure that people could share those graphics (this seriously drives me crazy when a new blogger is asking you to share their content and there isn’t a way to do it easily).
  • I invested in high-quality stock photos from PixiStock and Styled Stock Society which made creating graphics fun and they really stood out from the croud
  • I continually worked on changing and updating how my graphics looked based on performance.

What I Could Have Done Better and What I’m Working On

  • I created too many pins for each post. In the beginning, I was making 4-5 pins and circulating them around. It would have been better to create 1 or 2, see how they perform and then create another during a revamp of the post.
  • I didn’t stick to branding in the early days. Branding will make sure that your content sticks out among the crowd and can keep eyes on your work.
  • I OVER branded. Yes, I know that doesn’t make too much sense considering the last comment but, hear me out. I went through a phase where I created template graphics to use that were WAY too similar so all my pins started to look the same and people stopped noticing them.
  • For the future, I’m always working on new ways to create sleek, beautiful imagery to make my content look better.

Marketing

Marketing is key for bloggers. When you first start out, you have this idea that your friends and family will read your blog religiously and that they will share with all their friends.

When I started, I was so excited to share my new adventure with them. I waited one month, launched a Facebook Page and introduced my blog to the world. Well – my family. And heard crickets.

It wasn’t their fault. Just like all the ideas before that, the only ones that checked it out were the ones that were legitimately interested in the topic. And really, that’s how it should be.

So, to find those people who are interested in reading what I was putting out there, I needed to market my butt off!

For the first 4-5 months, my main source of traffic was from Facebook share threads. It wasn’t until then that Pinterest started driving the majority of traffic to my site. It now accounts for about 70%.

What I Did That Worked

  • Branding- Very early on I knew I wanted a strong brand to keep my look cohesive and have my content recognized easily. I did some minor modifications to my brand but the overall vibe has stayed the course.
  • Theme- I took choosing my blog theme very seriously. At first, I opted for a free WordPress theme, which worked for a month or so but I couldn’t get the customization that I wanted. I eventually found this theme from BluChic, which has been amazing and certainly meets all my expectations.
  • Although I market on all the major platforms, I have spent every single day for the last 365 sharing my content on Facebook share threads. This was instrumental in getting my name out there in the beginning.
  • Starting my FB Group, Blogging Babes Collective is an amazing resource to find out what my audience wants and needs as well as gives me an opportunity to help others with their blogs. It is one of my most proud accomplishments to date.

What I Could Have Done Better and What I’m Working On

  • Although I think that I’ve done pretty well with all my marketing efforts, I would like to have focused on creating a bit more specific content for each platform instead of repurposing the same content to each.
  • I would like to focus some more time on creating affiliate only pins and marketing efforts to bump up my chance of earning more money.
be bold

Monetization

Most bloggers at some point think about monetizing their blogs. Especially when they see that others in their niche are doing it. I mean, it’s great to have a bit of extra cash, no?

For me, my main focus was on helping my audience, and it always will be. Monetization came into play when I realised I wanted to grow and expand, and to do that, I needed to cover my expenses.

So, naturally, I did what most new bloggers do. I signed up with Amazon Associates. I created two posts geared around some links and then stared at the screen hoping sales would sore.

Guess what? They didn’t. And, I was promptly “fired” six months later for lack of sales.

So, how exactly did I start making money? Here’s a few tips:

What I Did That Worked

  • One of the keys to monetization is having a self-hosted site. I am SOOOO glad that I didn’t go the free hosting route as it would have definitely changed where I am now.
  • I spent a lot of time trying to find ways to share my affiliate programs with others. I invested in a coaching call with my mentor, Cate Rosales from SweetandSimpleLife.com who gave me some much-needed guidance and she has an amazing course on Affiliate Marketing, Simplified.
  • I wrote down a blogging money map and detailed the exact steps that I needed to get there.
  • I focused in on a few very good affiliates, my favorite being Ultimate Bundles, that I could really support and wrote content, created graphics and marketed those everywhere I could.
  • Finally, I got the courage and created a blog mentorship program, blog audit service and done-for-you blog package. Scary as hell but this began the beginning of making some real money from my blog. This has been the most lucrative of all of my monetization.
  • Signed up with Fomo ads (which I still have), ShareASale, Awin and a few other monetization partners which I have earned over $1500
  • I am most proud of the new VIP Membership Hub that I created for new bloggers called the Blogger’s Glitterati which is an affordable way for bloggers to get their sites up and running in 30 days.

What I Could Have Done Better and What I’m Working On

  • I wished that I had created a money map sooner in my career so that I could focus on my path instead of being all over the place.
  • About 7 months into blogging, someone I met convinced me to go ahead with my blog course and launch in 3 weeks with no content. I threw caution to the wind and went for it. It was hellish. I knew I wasn’t ready but didn’t listen to my intuition. The course turned out amazing but it wasn’t at the right time. I should have listened to my gut.
  • What I didn’t realise as a new blogger that ads and affiliate links work for bloggers who have steady traffic. Had I known that, I may have focused my attention on other things like writing better content or reviews for my main affiliates.
  • I really want to get into finding some more sponsored content and working with more brands in the future.
  • I would also like to try my hand at some freelance writing opportunities. My blogging friend Rebecca Lake from BossSingleMama.com has an amazing free guide on getting started that I’m diving into shortly.
  • Now that I’ve reached 10,000 viewers, I’ve qualified for Monumetric ads which I’m going to research and see if they are a right fit for my blog.
increase your pageviews

Collaborations

I’ve always loved to work with other like-minded women and blogging has given me an incredible opportunity to do this.

Collaboration with other people in the industry is critical as a blogger. It can create opportunities to have guest spots, boost your SEO with backlinks and it’s never a bad idea to have someone who knows what you are going through to support you.

The first time I put myself out there for a reciprocal guest post, the only respondent pretty much said she didn’t think I would be worth it. I was like – WTF? We were both brand new bloggers and I was only trying to find someone to practice with. Whatever Felicia.

Since then, I have done several successful guest posts and hope to do more in the future.

I have worked with so many amazing women in the industry and have learned from all of them individually. They are all part of my tribe and I am proud to say most have become my real friends.

What I Did That Worked

  • Even though it was scary as hell, I reached out to some well-known bloggers that I came across to see if they wanted to collaborate. In turn, I was able to boost my content, give my audience some amazing information and I learned a ton myself.
  • I put my work out there to some amazing blogs just hoping to make the cut – and I did! Just put yourself out there. You never know where it will take you.

What I Could Have Done Better and What I’m Working On

  • I stopped doing my Blogger Spotlight Series when I started to burn out a bit in the Spring while trying to create my blog course at the same time; in the future, I want to start this up again – maybe once a month instead.
  • One of the people I worked with went her own way after we created something together and it really hurt. In the future, I will be sure to protect myself from those kinds of experiences and try not to let it bother me.

Email Marketing

I knew that email marketing would be an important factor in building my blog as it had been in previous marketing I had done. But I didn’t realise HOW important. Email marketing provides the most amazing opportunity to grow and nurture relationships with my audience.

I use Mailerlite and love it because it was free and had most everything I could need in an email service provider. In one year, I have grown my subscriber list to just over 800 and averaging 75-100 new subscribers from doing a few key things.

What I Did That Worked

  • I started my email list almost as soon as I started my blog and I’m thankful for not missing out on any subscribers early on.
  • I created a high-value opt-in for my readers that could help them start their blog called The Ultimate Blogging Toolkit for Beginners; to date, it is my highest performing opt-in with over 400 subscribers.
  • Thinking a little outside the box, I decided to try a quiz as my opt-in and it has been amazing. It has given me an opportunity to grow my subscribers by 91 in less than two months, and also has given me a ton of insight into what they want to see from me. It’s currently converting at 35% which is incredible!

What I Could Have Done Better and What I’m Working On

  • I created three high-value products as opt-ins which I wish I had left two of them as paid products.
  • Although I’ve created a tripwire which offers a low-cost offer after my opt-in, it isn’t converting as well as I had hoped so I will need to tweak it a little.

SEO

Having your content optimized for search engines is the ultimate goal for most bloggers. It means that search engines will give priority to your content out of the two million blog posts created each day.

It’s something that should be started early on in blogging and it’s definitely something that I will always be working on developing more to acquire those organic searches.

What I Did That Worked

  • As a newbie, SEO is a big deal. But so overwhelming that starting anywhere is better than nowhere. In the early days, I used Yoast SEO to guide me through a few key elements.
  • A month ago, I invested in an eBook called Easy On Page SEO by Debbie Gartner of theflooringgirl.com which has totally changed my game. I have since gone back and revamped a bunch of my best performing posts and am slowly watching them start to climb the SEO ladder.

What I Could Have Done Better and What I’m Working On

  • I wish I wouldn’t have invested so much time figuring out Yoast. I assumed that it was THE way to do SEO properly and I needed that green light before my post was good enough. I was wrong. Yoast is just a tool and there is so much more to it than a traffic light. Make sure to write for your audience first and that Yoast is just a tool.
  • I will continue to make my posts more SEO rich and learning as I go along.
  • Being that backlinks are really important to building my DA (domain authority) which is currently at 15, I plan on finding some high authority blogs to share some content to grow my authority.

Pinterest

Ah Pinterest. I remember the days where I leisurely browsed the boards on Pinterest as a consumer. I had no idea that every single pin was a blogger somewhere hoping that I would share their pin and read their content as a result of all their hard work.

I would say, for me, it was totally mind-blowing when I finally looked at it that way.

The day I realised that, was the day I bought Pinterest Ninja by Megan Johnson of LoveFamilyHealth.com and began transforming my Pinterest account into my business platform.

Last month, out of over 10,000, almost 4400 blog sessions come straight from Pinterest! That’s an incredible amount of traffic in my books.

What I Did That Worked

  • I started learning about Pinterest early on and optimized my boards for business
  • I created pin-worthy images and descriptions for each of my posts and made sure that they could be shared easily from my site
  • I joined some quality group boards that helped to get my pins circulated
  • I signed up for Tailwind to amp up the number of pins shared in a day and to make sure that I’m spreading out my pins so that I don’t get marked as spam

What I Could Have Done Better and What I’m Working On

  • There was a length of time where I was over branding my pins and they weren’t being noticed and some of the pins I was creating were hard to read with the colour/font combinations that I was using
  • I have seen a significant drop in my stats (from 350k viewers to 240k), which I think is because I have left too many underperforming group boards at one time (which also drops the number of eyes on my posts), but I am hoping to better those with better boards
  • In the very near future, I hope to go back and create some additional niche boards for myself as well as to make sure that I have optimized all the descriptions to make sure they are on Pinterest’s radar when people are searching
  • Although I’ve had some decent traffic, I’m still looking for that elusive Viral Pin so that’s definitely a goal

Conclusion

Whewww… We’ve reached the end. I know it was a long one, but it was a year of information I needed to cram it all in.

I hope that you’ve gotten some inspiration from some of these comments or learned something new. It hasn’t been all unicorns and glitter but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

I can’t wait to see what the next few years will bring. Cheers!

Here are my top tips to being successful in your first year as a blogger

  • Quality over quantity when it comes to content
  • Write for your reader, always (except for this post lol)
  • Start an email list early on
  • Make Pinterest a priority
  • Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there – reach out and collaborate!
  • Create your Blog Money Map early so you can focus on what you want and how you’re going to get there
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to making money. Try multiple things- affiliates, services, products, freelancing, and sponsored work. See what works for you and run with it!
  • Invest in yourself. When you don’t know something- find someone to help you.
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