It’s been awhile since I’ve posted here – hopefully we still have a few followers left. It’s been a crazy few months since my son, Oliver, was born. Unfortunately, this website has gone on the back burner!
But with the New Year here, I’m hoping to jump back in and write here more often. I feel like I’m always answering questions for people on an individual basis, so I might as well post those answers here. In my experience, if one person has a question…a lot of others have the same one!
Since it’s the first day of the year, I thought I’d focus on a topic that is important to any blog’s growth – goals. For me, setting goals has helped me succeed and pushes me outside my comfort zone. I’ll share my goals for 2016 at the end of this post, but I thought I would share three keys to meeting your blogging goals.
Set Short-Term Goals
It’s great to have an end goal in site. Maybe you want to write a cookbook, support your family on your blogging income, etc. Always have that in the back of your mind!
However, if all you have is that end goal, you might find yourself frustrated as you try and grow your blog. While there are some overnight successes in the blogging world, most people don’t make a significant income overnight. You have to build on all those small goals to reach your large goal.
Some short-term goals can be:
- Increasing pageviews each month by 5%
- Growing social media accounts by a certain number each month
- Increasing email newsletter open/click rates
- Getting one new sponsored post a month
In order to get these short-term goals, just think about your end game and determine how to get to that point with smaller goals. I highly recommend tracking everything you do – social media followers, page views, income, etc. My friend, Hilary, has this excellent blogging spreadsheet that I think every blogger should have. It is $20, but I promise, it’s well-worth the cost. I’ll write more about next week, but I highly recommend it.
Find a Tribe
Finding other bloggers that I can talk to for support, ideas, and about frustrations has been so invaluable. I have met some of my closest friends through blogging. Blogging is such a unique field, and there’s not a lot of people to go to for advice. This is why finding your “tribe” is essential.
You may wonder where to find tribes. You can start by finding a blogging Facebook group for your area. I know there are ones for all over the country available. You could also try finding a blogging group in your niche. For instance, the Kid Blogger Network is a great group to join up with. I’ve met some wonderful people there.
I’ve met a lot of great people through conferences as well. I know conferences cost money
Track your Success
I already mentioned this briefly above, but it’s so important to track your success regularly. I think it’s important to track on a monthly basis what growths you have had so you know where you need to focus your efforts the next month.
And, on the same subject, CELEBRATE those successes – no matter how small they are. After professionally blogging for three years, let me tell you – sometimes, the small successes are the only things that keep me going. It’s easy to get discouraged when your site is growing as fast as you want, but when you start seeing small successes, it makes it easier to keep going.
My Blogging Goals for This Year
Now, it’s time for me to share what my goals are for this year. These are mainly pertaining to Clarks Condensed, since that’s where most of my efforts are expended. Hopefully these will help you brainstorm a little bit, too. I’d love to hear what your goals are in the comments, and if there’s anything I can do to help you reach those!
- Post LessI don’t believe there is any magic number for how many times a week or month you should post. There are bloggers who post every day (even multiple times a day) and make a lot of money. And there are other bloggers who post once a month and are very successful. It really comes down to your audience and where your traffic comes from.For me, most of my traffic is from social media. I don’t have people coming to my home page every day to see if I’ve posted. I think it’s important to have fresh content, but unless people are camped out on your homepage every day, you might not need something all the time.
I got a little burnt out in December. I had a lot of posts to get up, and it was exhausting. I kind of lost my zeal for writing at that point. After talking to Forrest, we both decided that I should post less this year – but focus more on writing the best posts possible. My posts that do the best are those ones – the ones that really are about things I’m passionate about. They take longer to write, but they do so much better. I plan to post about three times a week. I hope that this helps me focus a little more on writing awesome posts – not just great posts (because I do try to make sure all my posts are in that “great” category.)
- Promote MoreI have TONS of posts. As of today, there are 1,084 published. Many of those are currently circulating the Internet, but a lot of them are not!Instead of focusing on getting content out, I want to focus on promoting the content I already have. There are some great posts on Clarks Condensed that just don’t get much traction – and I think that’s really unfortunate. I need to go back and promote some of these posts everywhere I can!
I also want to promote my new posts more effectively. I’m currently searching for different ways to get my content out there, and instead of just scheduling it to Pinterest and Twitter a few times the first day I publish it, I hope to promote it heavily for at least a week after publication.
I have a lot of different ways to promote – from using social media schedulers like Crowdfire (which I also love for growing my Instagram and Twitter following), PostPlanner (I mainly like this for finding hot and trending content), along with sharing my posts in groups where others will share it!
- Finish two eBooksI have several eBooks I have been working on since I started blogging. It’s kind of pathetic. However, this is the year that they get published. After last year’s ad revenue was disappointing to say the least, I’ve realized that I have to diversify my revenue streams even further – and one of the best ways to do that is to sell a product.I’ve decided to do one book for bloggers and one for Clarks Condensed. I always have people asking me questions about WordPress, so I hope to release my WordPress for Beginners eBook soon. On Clarks Condensed, pregnancy posts are always popular – especially my surviving pregnancy series. So, I plan to release my “Surviving Pregnancy: A Mom’s Guide” in the coming months as well.
- Improve affiliate marketingWe moved to Colorado last year, and because of that, we are no longer eligible to use Amazon Affiliate marketing. It really is unfortunate, because we were starting to get a rather large revenue stream from them. I’ve had to get somewhat creative with my affiliate marketing since then. I was pretty unsuccessful for most of the year, but in the last few minutes, I’ve found a few programs that work really well for me.For me, it’s more advantageous to become an affiliate for a product I really believe in – rather than putting links to sites like Walmart or Target. I’ve started making a significant income working directly with a couple companies (such as Owlet Baby Care), so this year, I hope to do more of this.
- Work on my NewsletterNewsletters are always being talked about in blogging groups I’m in. I have a fairly large subscriber list, but I really am not taking advantage of this. I want to work toward sending out a weekly newsletter – not just an RSS feed of our latest posts. Hilary, who I mentioned above, does a great job on hers. I honestly look forward to opening it (and I don’t really look forward to opening most emails!)
- Plan aheadMost of my blogging is done on the fly. I’ve never been someone that is very good at planning ahead and scheduling posts ahead of time. It’s just not my style – even when I was in high school, I never seemed to be able to write essays well until the deadline was a day ahead.With that said, I do want to be more strategic and not find myself scrambling for a post idea every day. I just set up a Google Calendar where I have written out the names of all the posts I hope to write in the month of January. Most of these aren’t written yet, but I hope that it will make it easier to at least get bits and pieces of them written beforehand.
I have also been using Asana to coordinate posts easier!