One year of blogging has come and gone! It has been an amazing ride and I have learned so much along the way! As I move forward, I am really focused and ready and I want to thank all you for joining me thus far!
Blogging is such an amazing journey! I mean, I get to write about a subject I love, SAVING MONEY and make a real connection with people by helping them with budgeting. Nonetheless, I chose personal finance because I have always loved budgeting and bargain shopping and have been pretty smart with my money thus far! (I think Suzie Orman would give my husband and me an A.) We have paid off over $100,000 combined worth of debt (mostly being student loans) because we believe in the value of living debt-free and being smart with our money! Finding a hubby with similar money values was a win-win for me (love ya, hubby).
Blogging is also an awesome side hustle for me since I am a stay-at-home (well I guess I can now be called a work-at-home) mom of two young boys, ages five and three! It has given me a hobby, I can call my own (instead of always being M-O-M – picture someone yelling that loudly about every five minutes – ha!) and I have made a little extra income with my blog, so for that, I am thankful!
If you are interested in starting a blog, check out my free tutorial! Do some soul-searching and find your passion! Then start writing! Honestly, I was so nervous about starting a blog but I am so glad I did! It has been a fun way to stay busy and I love learning about all the fun, creative things you can do with blogging! I would have to say my favorite thing about blogging is creating pins in Canva and writing, of course!
This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click a link and make a purchase, I will receive a commission at no cost to you! (So thank you!!!!)
Since I have been at it a year and by most, would still be considered a newbie blogger, I am going to share five blogging tips I have learned during my first year to help you on your blogging path. I know I still have a lot to learn, but I am hoping my tips will help all of you out there in blog land!
Suggested Reading: Blog Progress: Blog better with Awesome Results
Five Blogging Tips
- Pinterest - I have learned to use the best advertising for my blog, Pinterest. Why is it the best? Well, it is FREE! I cannot say that about many other things here in blog land, but Pinterest is a totally free way to promote your blog posts. In fact, I get most of my traffic from Pinterest. I had my highest month at almost 4,300 page views over the summer and I continue to improve. One tool that really helped my pinning game is Ready Set Blog for Traffic by Elna Cain from Twins Mommy. This class is AWESOME-sauce. Elna really takes her time to go through the steps you will need to take to improve your pinning game plus a whole lot more. She uses video and text and I feel her class offers a great deal of value and her methods of explaining things are on point. (I am not an affiliate for this class as of now, but plan to become one when I am completely finished but trust me, you will love it.)
- Analyze your data - Pinterest analytics and google analytics will become your new best friend. Rather than answering your mom's morning text, you will be checking your stats on these platforms. Use your analytics to find what works and keep doing it! It may take a bit of guessing and testing at first, but you will learn that the stats really do make a difference. Try different things and if they don't work for you, stop doing them. If you are seeing growth continue your methods. It is no secret people love Ah-mazing content, but as I've heard many bloggers say - No One wants to talk to an empty room. You can have the best posts, but if no one is reading them, there isn't a huge point to all of your hard work! So continue to learn more about your analytics and use the information to build your audience. P.S. I have a love-hate relationship with Google Analytics. It has decided to work then stop working and then work again for no apparent reason on my site. This can get tricky because I do not have a ton of time to play around with it and I'm not that tech savvy! I love writing, not computer programming, so Google Analytics, please just work in the future!
- Blog for your Readers - You may have thought differently when you started blogging, but your blog is really not your own! You are blogging for your readers! People come to the Internet to find free information and that is where you or I come in. In order to make a connection with your readers, you must first give them something of value. Then and only then, will they stick around. Think of the acronym WIFM (What is in it for me). This is what a reader is looking for. What makes you stand out from the other millions of bloggers out there? What you provide to your reader and give them. Think of the biggest struggle in your niche and tell your story or what expertise can you provide and give it to your reader in a top list post! People LOVE lists. Teach your reader how to do something new. These are the posts that will get you more page views.
- Images - Some of my first images were so BAD! I am by no means a professional photographer, but hey, I tried with my smart phone! Then I realized I could be using free stock photos and the rest is history. I don't have an expensive camera or photography background so stock photos really helped me improve the visual appeal of my blog. I am also looking to buy a subscription because I keep reading that Pinterest likes original images, and doesn't rank free stock photos that have over-saturated Pin feeds high in their Smart feed ranking. However, if you are just starting out and do not have a ton of money to invest, use sites such as Pixabay and unsplash to find photos that match your posts. Here is a link to an amazing post on where to find free stock photos by Elan Cain: 35 Placed for Free Feminine and Styled Stock Photos
- Invest in your blog! When I started blogging, I was making ZERO dollars. I had to pay for hosting and my domain name and after that, it was Bye Bye budget. Forget Facebook Ads and a pretty new theme (BTW - I may be changing my theme very soon - stay tuned.) However, I slowly started making a little income from my blog and I decided to do what any good business person would do, reinvest. I researched which classes I wanted to take and although I was really interested in Elite Blog Academy, I wasn't too thrilled about the price tag. However, I also heard great things about Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing and I found a coupon code on another bloggers site (I LOVE coupons). So I decided to invest in one of the blogging guru's class, Michelle Schroder-Gardener. She is an amazing blogger that was featured in Forbes because she makes over $50,000 a month from her blog Making Sense of Cents. After much thought, I decided to take her class, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, and the tips and pointers I learned from her were phenomenal. (What do you know, there is a sale on Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing now! Get $28 off with the coupon code FALLSALE2017 until October 30th) I also purchased the Genius Blogger's Toolkit which was really all the training I will need for the next year. Seriously, I can't believe all the training provided in this bundle. I am an affiliate for Ultimate Bundles so I got the toolkit for a discount too. If you are interested in the toolkit, which is no longer for sale, get on their list for next year or watch out for a flash sale. One amazing part of the toolkit was the videos from Ruth Soukop's ACTIVATE conference. She is the creator of Elite Blog Academy and I now get videos from all the experts! I think the purchase was worth this alone as I only spent $58 and these videos cost $297 alone! AMAZING!
Suggested Reading: Free Guide: How to Rock Your Pinterest Followers
Around New Year's 2017, I decided to make some resolutions for my blog. I continue to grow and progress and I have done pretty well with most of my goals. My top five goals as a new blogger are as follows:
- Increase Social Media following
- Make $1000 a month
- Create an eBook or Class
- Write 100 posts
- Learn as much as possible
Let's see how I did!
Goal #1 - Social Media
Pinterest: I started with around 100 followers and now have 5,400!
Twitter: I started with around 50 followers and now have 3,150!
Instagram: I started with zero followers and now have 605!
Facebook: I started with zero followers and now have 740!
Stumbleupon: I started with zero and now have 70!
Bloglovin: I started with zero and now have 93!
Google + : I started out with zero and didn't even know what this was, but now I have 106!
Email Subscribers: I started with zero and now have 130!
That is over 10,294 followers of I Heart Frugal! Woot Woot! (Click the links above to follow me on your favorite platform!)
I have nailed this goal! I continue to grow my social media following. I'm working on joining better Pinterest group boards, increasing my Twitter presence and growing my Facebook and Instagram page (these two have been neglected). I am going to post more on Google + because one of my Google + posts ranked on the first page for the search term frugal. Read the post here: Frugal Fails and Frugal Living Wins
Goal #2: Make $1000 a month
I have not yet reached this goal. The most I have made with my blog is around $50 a month but the potential is there and I am currently implementing the strategies I learned in Michelle Schroder Gardener's Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing and will give you an income report if my numbers start to increase.
Goal #3: Create an eBook or Class
I have started my notes for an eBook but have not yet completed this goal. I did not realize how much work blogging actually is and as much as I like it, it takes time to create a high-quality blog. After I build my posts and page view up, I still plan on writing my eBook. Even if it is only ten minutes of writing a day, at least I will be getting somewhere!
Goal #4: Write 100 posts
I came pretty close to reaching this goal; however, I learned along the way, it is more important to write quality work and not more posts. Moving forward, I am not as concerned with how many posts I publish, but the value and content I am providing my readers. I would rather have 10 great posts than 30 mediocre posts. As my readers, I am sure you will agree. I also started writing longer posts. Most of my posts are between 1000-1500 words and some well over 2000. My longer posts have more value and information.
Goal #5: Learn as Much as Possible about Blogging and Writing
I decided to invest in my blog. The two blogging purchases I made were Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing and the Genius Blogger's Toolkit. The Genius Blogger's Toolkit really has any and all information I will need to improve my blog. There is actually so much information, I probably won't go through it all, but I am looking forward to watching Ruth Soukup's ACTIVATE conference videos!
Also, I am reading DEMYSTIFYING by Kim Six a book about SEO and Twitter Strategies for Blogger by Sara Perl. I'm clueless when it comes to SEO strategies and use a plugin called YOAST SEO for help. I also have a decent Twitter following and would like to use Twitter to grow my page views. Also, I am also taking a class called by Elna Cain and there is some great information about Pinterest promoting in her class. I definitely do not regret this purchase!
I also check out business books from my local library. My favorite business author now is Brian Tracy. My two favorite books from his are Get Smart!: How to Think and Act Like the Most Successful and Highest-Paid People in Every Field and Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. I highly recommend these books if you are looking to get ahead and stay productive in your business.
I'm still a work in progress but I like to think my blog is getting better every day. My social media following has grown leaps and bounds and my email list is also growing! I am thankful so many people are interested in what I have to stay and I am going to work hard this year to improve my content and crank out posts my audience wants to hear!
One reader left me a comment about needing extra money and because of this, I wrote a post on What to do if you cannot pay your bills. Hence, I take my readers opinions seriously and if you have any ideas for a post just leave me a comment! I am writing this blog for you and your opinion matters to me. I have blog post ideas set up for around three months in advance, but if you give me a topic you need help with, I will make it a top priority!
As always, take care - Sarah
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