Episode 1 – This Mama Learns Growth Project


blog growth project 1

Hello, and welcome to my very first blog traffic and income report! It’s the first in the This Mama Learns Growth Project series.

My name is Cath and I’m a freelancing, mom blogging, Pinterest loving gal from Oz. I started This Mama Learns as a way to make some money, keep me sane and simply, because I love blogging.

I should mention that the last time I blogged (and I use the word rather loosely) was in 2011, and oh boy, have things changed!

I’m now six months into my blogging journey, and it hasn’t been without it’s hiccups. I made a lot of blog-crippling mistakes at the start that could’ve stopped my blog in its tracks (mainly from operating on old info).

But, I’m turning it around as of July 2016 and I’m now charting a course to success! Want to follow along?

1.    Blog Traffic

I was out of action for the first couple of weeks of July – internet (dis)connection issues, computer died, all while I was trying to work on an uber connection intensive post. Oh, and I also tried to get rid of referral spam in my Analytics and managed to take out my whole site…

But. I got nearly as many page views in the last two weeks of July as the whole last few months. So I consider that a win:

growth project 1 Blog Traffic

The last two weeks were pretty good, but you’ll notice the drop the last few days of the month where I stopped promoting as much. So, at the moment my traffic is still fairly closely linked to my promotion efforts.

Goals:

  • 5,000 Pageviews
  • Work towards 100 user visits per day.

2.    Email List

This is one area that I really messed up. I didn’t focus on building my list from the start.

My email list is small, but mighty! (But small – yet to crack 100)

And… I’m getting a couple of new subscribers on the daily. So that’s good, right?

I focused a bit more on creating some irresistible freebies in July, and I’m definitely seeing the results. However, I want more! More! More!

I’ve read that you should have at least 1,000 subscribers before you try to launch a product, so… my ultimate goal here is to have 1,000 subscribers by the end of the year.

I’ve also been struggling a little getting the Bloom plugin and MailChimp to play nice. I considered getting a different email plugin but Bloom is actually really powerful, and I love the content locker option (I’m lazy – it means I don’t have to go into MailChimp and set up an auto-email to deliver freebies.)

Goals:

  • Create an irresistible freebie for each blog post category.
  • Create a lead magnet – I’m thinking a 5-7 day email course.
  • Get live and do a webinar, or series of webinars… yep. That’s scary. Let’s just start with one.

3.    Social Media

Pinterest

Like many bloggers, Pinterest is the main driver of traffic to my site. So, it only makes sense to focus on building up my stats.

After a long time just mucking about with free trials of Boardbooster, Tailwind and using Traffic Wonker, I finally got serious and purchased Tailwind.

I think the results speak for themselves:

growth project 1 Monthly pageviews

1,426.96% increase is pretty good, right?

On 31st July, I had 2250 followers.

And, I must have done something right because my follower count has started rising massively since then… but that’s a story for next month!

Goals:

  • Reach 200,000 Avg. monthly viewers on Pinterest.
  • Reach 3,500 followers on Pinterest.
  • Create 5 new pins and headlines for each post (cool tip from the Uncork Your Dork Facebook group)

Twitter

I’m just starting with Twitter and I’m finding it really good – I’ve barely used it, but I get a lot of click-throughs.

I was using Hootsuite to automate 3 different tweets for each new blog post to go out over a couple of days. But, then I watched this video from Suzi at Start A Mom Blog. It shows you how to automate your tweets with IFTTT. Takes a little bit of set up time, but it’s really easy once you’ve done that. Currently, I only have automated tweets going out Thursday – Sunday.

As it stands, I just passed 500 followers.

Goals:

  • Fill my calendar with automated tweets – 4 per day. (Including other people’s content.)
  • Learn about and use hashtags for my promotional automated tweets.
  • @mention people who I mention in blog posts.
  • Grow my followers to 1,000.

Facebook

Facebook pages = no. I’ve been ignoring my Facebook page. Why? Well, with organic reach crippled I don’t see all that much point. And the share threads for Facebook require reciprocation from your personal profile, which is something I don’t want to do…

Facebook groups is where it’s at. There’s so many different ways to use them – for networking, collaboration, asking questions, answering questions, share threads, follow threads, comment threads… Recently, I’ve started to pay more attention to which groups work well for me.

 

Right now, I’m loving Naptime Nation for comments and Social Media Network Group for sheer quantity of pins. At the moment, I’m pretty much using group promos to drive my Pinterest repins.

Goals:

  • Daily promotion in various groups.
  • Create a short list of 20 premium groups.

Stumbleupon

I’ve decided to cut StumbleUpon loose – Stumble traffic has been decidedly low quality. I participate in share threads in a couple of groups and it’s just not worth the time investment. I get small spikes of traffic, with a corresponding spike in my bounce rate.

Verdict: NOT WORTH IT

What’s Next?

Will I dabble in Instagram? Play with Periscope? Get serious about Snapchat?

Right now, I think I will get started (slowly) on Instagram. But, no goals yet. I’m already doing a lot!

4.    Blogger Outreach

This is kind of new to me. But SO IMPORTANT. The relationships you build with other bloggers are priceless.

Ways to reach out:

  • Commenting – all it takes is reading a blog post (like that’s hard for most of us!) and making an intelligent comment.
  • Guest posting;
  • Social media;
  • Round up posts – I did my first round up post a couple of weeks ago (43+ Places for Feminine Styled Stock Photos). But, I chickened out of the part where you actually let people know you featured them… Gah! Must do more round ups!
  • Interviews – I have so many ideas for interview posts! Seriously, all my best ideas are turning themselves into interviews. I’m not exactly sure what the protocol is about just emailing people at random… but expect to see some interview type posts from me soon.

Goals:

  • Comment weekly on my list of blogs to comment on.
  • Have a guest post accepted.
  • Complete one interview post and one round up post.

5.    Monetization

Let’s talk about my ultimate goal for this site: e-course and info-product sales, with a (generous) side helping of affiliate revenue.

Just as an aside – I hate ads, and would never, ever click on one. So, I don’t intend to monetize using ads any time soon.

Hey look! I’ve already started making some money with affiliate sales.

July Income

Recurring Affiliate Commission (Wealthy Affiliate) – $22.50

July Expenses

MailChimp – $10

(Yearly expenses not included – hosting, Tailwind, Social Warfare, Divi theme)

So, I’m sort of in profit???

Goals:

  • Make 4 more affiliate sales – build a landing page and sales funnel and use the last of my Bing Ads credit to advertise it.
  • Become an affiliate for Tailwind and Elegant Themes.

July 2016 Highlights:

I love reading about people’s highlights of the month. So here’s mine:

Popular posts

Happy Happenings

  • I started freelance copyediting.
  • I was asked about doing a joint webinar.
  • I was featured on a Twins Mommy round up!

Phew! So, that was my first ever blog traffic and income report. It went long, but now I’ve got some big goals to get working on… See you next time! I can’t wait to share my progress next month!

Pinterest Power UP

8 thoughts on “Episode 1 – This Mama Learns Growth Project”

  1. Im usually not commenting on blogs,but last 3 years i reading a lot of similar blogs from the same niche. And only really FEW is catching your attention. So far i saw only 3 best blogs from hundreds….and i will tell you one thing-you are on right way, you are really doing well, i can see it from the content you create,from the information you give away. Even after 3 years of reading i found something new ahahhaa, really! Keep going!! The style of writing and content is really amazing.

  2. Hey Cath!

    Great report! I love learning about what others are doing to grow their blog. Congrats on your growth and income report!

    I just got a referral link for OptinMonster so I’m toying with doing something there but for now the links are just in posts.

    Looking forward to our joint webinar (if that was the joint webinar you were hinting at!) It’s in writing so it must be true :-).

    1. Thanks Elna 🙂 I’ve only recently come to the party on traffic, growth and income reports. But, I love it too! You can pick up amazing ideas.

      That’s great about OptinMonster – honestly I’d recommend anyone starting to monetize their blog get started by becoming an affiliate of the tools, plugins, themes etc that they already use.

      And yes, it was our joint webinar I was hinting at :p I’m looking forward to it, with equal parts terror and excitement… 😀

  3. Thank you for sharing so much about your blog’s growth! I love how you have goals for each thing you are focusing on. I need to sit down and make my own goals like this. I am a little apprehensive about sharing my income, but I wouldn’t mind sharing traffic and social media growth like you have.

    1. Thank you for the supportive comment Kecia 🙂 It’s somewhat nerve wracking sharing this. Firstly, because it’s hard not to compare yourself to others. And I know some seriously amazing bloggers in their first few months blogging who are absolutely killing it. Secondly, it’s much easier to hide behind the screen and pretend to know-it-all and that you’re wildly successful. But, that’s not realistic – I started with zero recent blogging experience and I think it’s more valuable to people in the same boat if I share my actual journey. And lastly, I now have a huge amount of accountability. I’d forgotten about that LOL. Better get crack-a-lacking on those goals!

      It’s helpful to publish your goals like this – while I was writing it, I got a lot clearer about my next steps for this blog. Definitely recommend it! And if you aren’t comfortable sharing your income, you don’t need to. 🙂

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