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3 months have gone by in the blink of an eye since I hit the publish button and started Contentment Questing with Bluehost. At the same time, it seems like forever. Funny how that works, isn’t it? I look back on my previous months’ blog reports and I know that without doing these blog reports, I would forget how far I have come. 3 months, is not all that long and I know that there is still much more to learn. My growth has been steady, but not mind-boggling.
However, I still want to give you all a realistic idea of what goes into this and how it’s going. I see a lot of “I’ve had great results in this very short amount of time!” While I celebrate their victory for them, it also makes me a teeny bit jealous. I have known from the start, though, that blogging takes consistency and dedication. I plan to follow through on both of those. At the same time, I want to make sure that I am maintaining my work/life balance.
Just like anything in life, blogging is a constant balancing act. It helps to have priorities. My priorities are God first, then my family, followed by some self-care for me, and then the blog. If I am worn to a frazzle, I will not have much to give to my family and my blog posts are not going to be worth much. I want to continue to bring you quality content. Self-care for me usually means a bit of time for myself to keep me sane, and some exercise time.
Posting Frequency Changes
In keeping with those priorities, I have decided to cut back my regular posting to once a week. I have been cutting my deadlines very close. While I have made them, I have not had as much time to perfect each post as I would like. I have about 35 blog posts up on the blog now, which is enough to click around and see some different things. Each blog post realistically represents about 4 hours of work. It’s not just the writing it, but the editing, researching, search engine optimization (SEO in blogging terms), designing the images and promoting it.
With my other responsibilities, it is hard to get 2 posts a week out and still have time for the other things that I want to do. I need some more time to work on other things such as promotion and helping other bloggers. I want to integrate some videos in my blog posts, as well as on my Facebook page. Additionally, I also want to go back and improve some of my earlier posts. Some of them are a bit “rough” and I need to create some different pin images for them, as well as block out some time for educating myself.
My Goals for This Month Were:
Last month I was on information overload. (You can see my full report from last month here) From further reading, that is quite common for new bloggers and it actually kills a lot of their blogs. It’s not getting mine. I like a challenge because challenge can also be viewed as an opportunity. Let’s take a look at the goals that I set for this month.
- This month I want to finish reading the ebook called “Building a Framework” from Abby at justagirlandherblog.com. I am a few chapters into it, but so far it is good and I will be able to tell you more next month when I finish it.
- I want to get a more clear direction of what to do next. As I mentioned at the top of this post, I am on information overload right now. There is a LOT of blogging information out there, and I know there are a lot of quality products, but I can’t afford to buy them all, nor do I have time to read it all. I want to read the ebook that I already have and go from there.
- Continue being active in blogging Facebook groups
- Continue to bring you high-quality blog posts about topics you care about. Please let me know what is working for you and what you would like to see more of!
- I may need to cut back the number of blog posts per week to give myself time to read the information that I already have. Two per week is what I will continue with if I can, but may have to cut it back to 1 a week.
- I hope my Pinterest reach continues to increase. 5.5k is my reach right now, and I hope to continue to see increasing numbers there.
- Stay focused on my main goal of helping and inspiring people. Yes, making money from the blog would be nice (which is done when someone clicks on an ad or goes through one of my affiliate links and buys a product; both at NO extra cost to you.) but my MAIN goal is to help and inspire people. I think what I am MOST excited about are the connections I have made and the interactions that I have had either in private messages or comments.
Did I Meet My Goals?
- Yes! I did finish reading “Building a Framework” from Abby at justagirlandherblog.com
I really enjoyed the read and it is a VERY good ebook if you are just starting out. It’s also very affordable. Abby also offers an e-course along with her book if you feel like you need some more help. I have not taken the course, but the book does have a lot of information that I found very helpful. Abby is really sweet and humble, which really comes through in her writing. There were some things that I wish she had gone more in-depth about, such as affiliate marketing, but overall very good ebook for the price. It rescued me from my information overload this month and I now have a much more clear direction of how to proceed.
Oh, Where to go from here? That was probably my biggest question this month. I want to continue to build my email list. Perhaps build is not that great of a word… I do have email subscribers… TWO of them to be exact. I appreciate them a great deal, but apparently, no one likes the menu planning printables that I came up with even though I re-worked them. I need better ideas for opt-ins. What would you like to see? I would love some ideas from my readers, especially since I am struggling in this area.
I have continued to be active in my blogging Facebook groups. There was one that I was getting some traffic from, but to be honest, it was not a good “fit” for me, so I left it and went in search of others. This resulted in the loss of some traffic this month, but I would much rather have better quality traffic from people that are interested in what I have to say. I have since found and joined some others that I think are better fits and I hope that my traffic will pick back up. There are some groups that have threads like “re-pin all” or “follow all” and while yes, that is supposed to get you traffic, I feel like it’s not all quality traffic and not all of it aligns to my interests. Again, I think choosing quality over quantity is a better fit for me.
I feel like I delivered on the high-quality content. I have published posts twice a week this month, and a couple of them are still getting re-pins on Pinterest! I’m pretty excited about that. Since it was February, I decided to try to focus on love, communication, and relationships for the most part. I hope that I did not turn anyone “off” by doing that, but I enjoyed writing and researching the posts. My writing seems to be improving. I can type out a blog post in Word on my PC and when I copy/paste it into my WordPress it does not need nearly as much editing for readability as it used to.
As I already mentioned, I will have to cut back to one post a week. Hopefully, that will give me the time that I need to focus on other things.
Pinterest reach – this is one of the things that I am MOST excited about! My Pinterest is GROWING! Last month, I had a reach of 5.5k. This month, my reach is currently reading 24.4K!!!!! Woah! I must be doing something right on Pinterest because I have gained a few followers. However since I did not write down how many I had last month, I don’t know the exact number that it has grown. I am thinking it was maybe around 120-125 last month, but this month I currently have 146. That may not seem huge, and admittedly it’s not, BUT it IS steady growth, so I am happy. Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint.
I do think I have stayed focused on my main goal of helping and inspiring people. I am continuing to make connections and I have much better clarity as to where to go from here than I did last month.
Pinterest And Page View Data
- Here is my page view data for the current month. Screenshot was taken on Feb 23, 2018
Areas I am Still Struggling With
I want these blog reports to be transparent. While I would love to say I know exactly what I’m doing, truth is, I don’t. I also know that I am not excelling in every area. There is still a LOT of room for growth. I am sharing all this in the hopes that you can learn from my mistakes.
- Page views: *sigh* As I mentioned earlier, I left one of my Facebook groups this month that I was getting some traffic from because it was not a good fit for me. I like groups that lift each other up, are encouraging, and encourage actual interaction between members. I guess the good news is that they are steady and I am very happy to say that I know a lot of my page views come from people that I know. It is heart-warming to know that people that I have known for years are so interested in what I have to say and supporting me. As of 2/23/18, I have 452 page views, which means that I could possibly hit the 500 mark by the time this is published. That’s pretty exciting. As you can see in the graph, I have good days and not so good days. There was a big boost in traffic at the end of last month and then it drops off? Ya, that’s when I left that Facebook group, but as you can see, I have joined some other ones that are a better fit and traffic is starting to pick back up. The traffic does not happen by accident. Those days that I get a lot of traffic are days that I have promoted a post more or have published one.
- Pinterest: I am doing something right because my reach is increasing, however on my blog, I am not getting a lot of hits from Pinterest. Most of it is coming from Facebook. Perhaps I need some training on how to create prettier pins? I know there are some blog posts that I still need to go back and add additional pin images to. I DID join another group board on Pinterest, so hopefully, that will help some.
- Building a mailing list: I am stumped on what opt-ins to offer! What would you all like? The meal planning one was a big flop. The next thing I am going to try is some very pretty backdrops that I designed with some motivational quotes. I have been using them on my own pc and I like them a lot.
- Mailer Lite: struggling with the best way to add opt-ins. Would a password protected page be better? Currently, I have been linking to my google drive with a shareable link, but I’m always scared the link is not working. How would I set that up? I need to delve deeper into that.
- Affiliate marketing: I signed up for a 180-day time frame to sell 3 things from Amazon to be a real affiliate for them. Does not matter what they are. At 3 months, that puts me at about the half-way mark at 90 days. I have not sold a single thing. I need to do some research on affiliate marketing strategies or else be kicked from their program in 3 more months.
Other Accomplishments This Month
- My Facebook following has grown! Yay! I am up to 75 Facebook followers, which is up from about 60 last month! Steady growth is good growth.
- My Lifetime views for Contentment Questing is 1,194! When I get discouraged, I look at that and I remember when I hit that scary “Publish” button I didn’t think I would get even ONE page-view.
(If you are a number cruncher and compare, you know that there is a bit of discrepancy between my reported page hits each month and my lifetime page hits. That is because I have to type up these blog posts a few days before they are published, so there are a few days in between that are not included on the blog reports.) 1,194 is nearly double what the lifetime page views were last month!
- Steady Growth – it’s not huge, but I am being consistent and it is growing consistently. I hear over and over that “blogging is a marathon, not a sprint.”
- Better writing – my blog posts are taking less time to edit and I feel like I am starting to find my “voice” and improve my writing style
- Enabled “Rich Pins” for Pinterest. This was surprisingly easy and took less than 5 minutes, much to my surprise! (Here is a great article on how to do it!)
Goals for Next Month
- Bust 500+ page views by next month
- Promote my posts more with some videos on Facebook, and perhaps try integrating them into some of my blog posts.
- I would love some additional sign-ups on my mailing list!
- Continue consistent pinning on Pinterest
- Research affiliate marketing and graphic design
If you are thinking of starting a blog, do not let this discourage you. To be honest, I get more discouraged from social traffic envy than encouraged. What I mean by that is I see people that “This is my first month blogging and I have 3k page views in my first 2 weeks!!” That is wonderful for them. Obviously, my numbers are not anywhere near that, but then I remind myself to not compare myself to others. For many of those people, that is not their first blog. This is my first blog and I am learning everything from scratch. That’s ok! I need to focus on my PERSONAL growth.
The other thing that I need to focus on is the happiness and well-being that the blog brings me. I am at peace with my life, for the most part, and this blog is a great creative outlet and I feel like I am doing something worthwhile. I feel like I am HELPING people, and that’s what it’s all about for me. Writing these blog reports is very good for me because it lets me compare exactly where I was at the previous month to where I am now. It reminds me of the progress that I have made.
A blog can be set up in about 15-20 mins. Growing and nurturing the blog, that is hard work and takes hours of consistent work over a long period of time. There are also different levels of blogging. I consider myself a hobby blogger. It has the potential to turn into a side-job, but for now, I am enjoying blogging for its own sake and trying to enjoy the ride. There are a lot of ups and downs! If you just started, don’t be discouraged! Believe in yourself!
Other bloggers, for the most part, are incredibly positive and helpful. That’s one of the things that I like the MOST about blogging. If you are on information overload, get a good book, like “Building a Framework” by Abby Lawson. There are tons of resources to help. The “Building a Framework” was a Christmas present, and I enjoyed it immensely. The other one that I want to try is the one from Suzi at startamomblog.com. I know that Suzi has some incredible free tutorials as well. I have learned a lot from her and she’s super upbeat and friendly.
Whatever your reason for being here, THANK YOU. I am thankful for you, and I appreciate you. Thank you for your support. I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you. What types of posts would you like to see in the future? Is there anything you seen that you really liked and which posts did not do all that much for you? I would love to know what kinds of opt-ins you would like to see! How can I help you to be a better and happier you? Leave me a comment or send me an email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, Happy Questing!