April led to a big transition for this month (May). I detail it all & reasons why in this post!
And just so you know, every month I’ll be putting out a “Blogging Report” to make sure that I’m always making progress, moving forward. I’ll basically review what my monthly goals were, how I made progress on them, and what I’m planning to achieve in the following month. It’s to keep me accountable, but also so that those of you who are considering blogging can see what works and doesn’t work (at least for me). Think of these reports as a case study in pro-blogging. And, if you haven’t already, check out my posts on blogging strategy to give yourself a head start if you’re seriously interested in it.
Anyways, here’s my month in review!
At the beginning of the month, I set goals for my blog.
- Get back on track for planning posts ahead of time. By the end of the month, have half of May already written.
- Make time to study travel and food photography more (will increase quality of photographs and branding).
- 1,400 followers. This is 50+ increase in net gain followers than I received in March.
- 150% increase in overall page views.
- Get accepted onto 5 highly effective group boards in non-Food and non-DIY related areas
- Increase average re-pin and click-through rates for pins
- Implement more organic Pinterest growth tactics
- 200 followers (BIG INCREASE! I’ll be asking for your help in this area ;])
- Put more personality into posts
- Post twice a day
- Implement banner ads
- Get onto Google AdSense
- Create a list of affiliate programs to join
Month in Review
Well, I can definitely say that I didn’t get anywhere close to getting back on track for having posts planned and written ahead of time. Because I’m constantly trying to improve the quality of my content, it takes me quite awhile to put posts together! Shopping + setup + photography + editing + writing + formatting for any single post usually takes me anywhere from 1.5-2 days to create! Posting twice a week, that’s about 4 days out of the week dedicated totally to the current week’s posts (not to mention advertising!).
I’m not willing to skimp on my posts, so it looks like to get ahead, I’ll have to dedicate some time over the weekends to knocking these out – that or find a better way to batch process some of my posts. I can tell you right now, though, that I’m likely not going to get ahead this month, either. Robert and I have so many trips planned that I have hardly any free weekends at all! For now, I’m just not going to worry about it.
I did, however, find time to study food & travel photography more. In addition to reading & listening to a number of articles and videos, I’ve really just been studying the pictures from photographers that I absolutely love. I’ve created a few Pinterest boards dedicated solely to great photography so that I can analyze exactly what makes a certain picture so pleasing to look at (and have a whole set of inspiration at my fingertips while I’m on trips!). Here’s two of my boards if you’d like to take a browse:
End of Month: 1,672 followers
My goal for this month was to gain 1,400 followers. As you can tell from the stat above, I blew that number out of the water. There was really one simple thing that I did for this:
- Followed people that had already liked and/or pinned my stuff
- Followed the contributors of the boards that I was on
I did this maybe twice, and somehow my followers just kept climbing. I’m not sure if it had something to do with the Pinterest algorithm or what, but it worked for sure! And, it seems much less gimmicky to me than just following a bunch of random people. This was targeted outreach – the people I followed were already connected to me somehow. I’d say this was a win, for sure!
I also added a banner on my blog in the sidebar to the right that links to my Pinterest page and promoted the page a few times on other platforms. I don’t really have a way of tracking how successful those are, but they’re generally good practices.
My goal this month was to have a 150% overall increase in page views (click-throughs from my pins) from Pinterest this month. At the time of me writing this, however, Google Analytics is not working properly (and has been that way for about an hour). I’ll re-update this section when Analytics is working again & post on Facebook when the section has been updated.
I wanted to get accepted onto 5 non-food and non-DIY group boards this month, which I definitely achieved. However, I’m not sure they are the most effective.
It’s very difficult when applying to group boards to tell how effective they will be. A best guess can be made by looking at the number of contributors-to-followers ratio (low contributors, high followers are typically effective). However, it’s not uncommon for even high potential boards to turn out with re-pin rates that are less than hoped for.
I’ll be changing my group boards tactic up in May. Stay tuned for an explanation on that later in this post.
Re-pin & Click-through Rates
Both my re-pin & click-through rates have gone up, but not by a largely significant number. This means that I need to 1) continue to get on better group boards, & 2) start methodically A/B testing my pins to see which do the best. I may go and delete underperforming pins, as well, so that I get more traffic on a more regular basis.
Organic Growth Strategies
One of my goals was to, vaguely, implement more Pinterest organic growth strategies. Near the end of the month, I looked into this a little bit more. Since most of my time was bent on turning out content on a regular basis this month (even though I was supposed to be doing more advertising – yikes!), I didn’t really get to implement more until the last week of April.
- I went through and deleted pins without text headers. They definitely underperform (something I tested).
- I reorganized my strategy for pinning based on my current group boards. I was underpinning on some boards and overpinning on others. I’ve reversed that trend now, so we’ll see what the outcome is later this month!
One frustrating thing to note – and something that I just learned after asking around a little – is that the Spring months are notoriously bad for driving traffic via Pinterest. I’m not totally sure why that is, but it is ironically encouraging to me. I was hoping to see much more traffic driven to my blog this month, and the fact that it only increased a little is less disappointing to me now.
End of Month: 190 followers
I missed my followers goal by 10 likes – argh! Still, I’m rather pleased that it at least did increase. Near the end of the month, I started getting very active in Facebook groups and utilizing a particular strategy to drive more traffic to my blog. There were a few days that this paid off in a big way (I often gained 4x the amount of my regular traffic!). That’s when I started getting likes more consistently. You can bet I’m going to continue this tactic all this next month.
I also implemented Hello Bar (see that white bar at the top that prompts you to like my Facebook page?). I’m pretty sure that has converted to a few likes, as well. With some more traffic, it should be relatively easy to scale up my page more. Also, you can go ahead and click ‘Like’ if you haven’t already. 😉
I had two goals here: put more personality into my posts, and post twice a day (Monday-Friday).
In general, I think I achieved what I set out to do here. I posted consistently (except for a few days) on my own Facebook page, and I garnered more engagement through “more personality” posts. Thumbs up!
I had 3 goals here and really only achieved one (again, content creation took up most of my time and left me with very little time to actually implement this). I implemented banner ads (well, only one really). But I also implemented my own type of banner ads. If you’ll look to the right, there’s a lot more content in the sidebar than their used to be! I’m not only promoting affiliates (Amazon & Bluehost), but my own content as well. 🙂
I’ve still messed up Google AdSense somehow so I still need to figure that out. And I didn’t create a list of affiliate programs to join (whoops).
BUT GUESS WHAT? I FINALLY MADE SOME MONEY. A whopping 80 cents, at that! (Disregard the fact that I don’t get paid until I earn $10. It’s fine….)
Somebody, after clicking on an affiliate link to Amazon, bought something completely unrelated to any of my blog posts from Amazon within a specific time frame. Does it matter that the customer bought something totally unrelated to what I was promoting? Nope? Not at all. So I get a cut of that. So moral of the story is, if you want to buy something off Amazon, you should go click on my banner ad and then go buy whatever you’re wanting. It doesn’t raise the price for you and gets me closer to that $10 mark (haha)!
Scale that up by a billion and I’ll be rolling in money. (Just kidding, obviously.) But seriously – this is how it starts! So I’m going to congratulate myself on this. 🙂
HUGE STRATEGY CHANGE HERE! (For this month only.)
Since I have been spending way too much time on content creation (read above), I’m taking this month off only as a hiatus from content creation. This will free up my time to get my game together on marketing and to spend time advertising the great content I’ve already created. As I’ve mentioned several times before, I should be spending 80% of my time on promotion, 20% on content creation. I’m still very flipped right now.
I spend so much time on content creation because that is what I love doing. However, in order for me to be successful in the long run, I’ve got to start promoting more consistently. This is my way of forcing myself to do the hard work that I don’t necessarily love doing but that is very important.
- Goal: 0 posts!
(*Robert and I’s big trip to Northern California is this month, so I MIGHT post that one because I may not be able to help myself! But that’s the only leeway I’m giving myself on this one.)
- 2,000 followers.
- 125% increase in overall page views from Pinterest.
- Delete underperforming pins & replace with A/B testing
- Increase average re-pin & click-through rates
- Identify & start “courting” large, exclusive Pinterest boards (likely not to apply to boards until a month or two later)
- Try out the “small board, highly targeted niche” Pinterest strategy
- 210 followers
- Post to Facebook page once a day (excluding first week – I’ve already missed that!)
- Drive 150% more traffic to website than in April
- Start building relationships with big influencers in my niche
And that’s it! I’ve got a lot of trips planned for May/June/July (practically every other weekend!), so I know making these goals will be a big push for me. However, I’m determined to make the most of every single day I have. I hope you are, too 🙂