Happy New Year! I am thrilled to be facing a clean slate and setting new blogging goals for 2017.
Judging from the threads on Twitter, it seems that 2016 was not a great year for a lot of people.
Mine certainly got off to a rocky start but the one thing that kept me going was really my blog. It was almost an escape for me – a place where I could retreat and focus on non-emotional things.
The science of increasing pageviews and making money.
In reality, that focus did payoff for me because by the end of the year my blog had grown considerably. It reinforced the fact that
- consistent effort towards a goal is better than random effort and
- random effort is better than no effort at all.
Setting Blogging Goals for 2017
Given that realization, the first logical step for me is obviously to set some blogging goals for 2017. But I am not going to make these mistakes:
- setting lofty goals that are too hard to achieve, or
- super small goals that are easy to accomplish but don’t really further my mission (basically busy work).
I am also going to limit my goals/projects to just a few – so I can really make forward motion on each one.
January is also Get Organized Month – because that is just a great way to start off the new year. As part of that, I will be organizing my home, my business, and my blogging process.
Looking Back at 2016
The first step, of course, is to look back at the old to see what worked and what didn’t.
I didn’t start 2016 with any concrete goals in place. Honestly, at that point just making it through each day was a goal accomplished.
But a few things that I was striving for, which still apply today were:
- increasing pageviews
- creating more affiliate income
- building my email list
Towards the end of 2016, you can see from the graph below that my pageviews did increase, and both my email list and my affiliate income went up as well.
My efforts were still random but here are some of the things that I did in the last quarter that pushed the needle.
Moving from Rainmaker to WordPress
Back in 2014, I moved from WordPress to Rainmaker. After years of struggling with shared hosting on less than stellar host, the idea of all in one WordPress was very attractive to me.
On Rainmaker, I never had to worry about my site running slow, or backing up WordPress or any technicalities for that matter. But I found that I could not run the WordPress theme that I wanted (the Brunch Pro Theme that you see here).
And I missed the freedom to use plugins.
So finally (I stick with things that don’t work for far too long), in October 2016 I migrated my site back to WordPress. This time I went with SiteGround shared hosting (which I love, love, love) and I could not be happier.
Posting Almost Every Day
Once I was happily housed at SiteGround, I started to post more frequently. I think I was over the moon to be able to able to use my theme and my plugins.
Throughout October and November I posted every weekday and even on some weekends.
Consistency in blogging really makes a difference for the search engines. I started to see more referrals from search engines because of my fresh content.
Not only that, but I had more new stuff to share on social media which resulted in more traffic from social as well.
Learning More About Affiliate Marketing
Also in October 2016, I took a course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing by Michelle Schroeder Gardner.
Honestly, I thought that I had a good grasp on affiliate marketing before taking this course. But I was intrigued by this course because Michelle is a young blogger, in her twenties, and she makes about $100,000 per month with her blog.
Ummm – I haven’t made that much money from my blog – yet.
So I took the course, and what an eye-opener it was! I realized that while I know a lot about affiliate marketing in theory – there is a lot more that I can be doing in practice.
At the beginning of 2016, I was pretty clueless as to the power of Pinterest.
I knew that it was a place pin images from posts that you like – especially recipes and decorating type info. But a lot of bloggers including Ruth Soukup of Elite Blog Academy fame swore by the power of Pinterest for generating traffic to your blog.
Since I couldn’t wrap my head around it, I took yet another course to learn more.
Actually, I took two courses:
- Pinning Perfect by Blog Clarity, and
- The Simple Pin MasterCourse by Kate Ahl
As a result, I created a pinning strategy and I signed up for Tailwind (which I use to automate my pinning, get better analytics, follow other pinners, and connect with pinning “tribes”).
Even though my blog is mostly about blogging, I love writing lifestyle articles and posting recipes. This allows me to express my creativity and practice my photography.
A side benefit is that I can actually feed my family and blog at the same time. Believe me, they are quite thankful for this because it beats last minute boxed mac and cheese any day.
What I found is that many of my recipe posts bring me good search engine traffic and yes, traffic from Pinterest and other social channels as well.
I used to worry that I would be confusing my readers or turning them off, so to speak. But I am so over that.
Switching Email Service Providers
One of the last things that I did for my blog in 2016 was switch email service providers.
This might come as a shock because many of you know that I am a huge fan of ConvertKit – which is the service that I used for much of the year.
However, while ConvertKit offers tons of flexibility and insights into your subscribers and their interests, it can easily become a disorganized mess if you don’t have a system to your tags, segments, and forms. It also is expensive for people with a small list. (I feel that the cost becomes more in line with other options as your subscriber base grows).
So, I decided to make a switch to a service that I recently discovered called MailerLite.
MailerLite seems like a cross between MailChimp and ConvertKit. It has the drag and drop builder like MailChimp but has automations and only counts each unique email address once, no matter how many lists it’s on.
Certainly, the automation features are not nearly as powerful as those in ConverKit but I am finding MailerLite easier to organize and manage at this point.
The best part is the pricing – MailerLite is free for the first 1000 subscribers (although their method for counting subscribers is not exactly straightforward).
Blogging Goals for 2017
As you can see, in 2016 I made a lot of random efforts that were, indeed, better than no effort at all.
But in the new year I plan to take it a step further and make a consistent effort towards accomplishing my blogging goals for 2017.
Increasing pageviews, affiliate income, and growing my email list are still the overarching focus. But I also plan to create my own courses this year.
To make it all happen, I know that I need to be more focused in:
- how I spend my time
- what I write about and how often I write
- the blogging courses that I choose to take, and
- what I do with the information that I learn.
I have toyed with the idea of publishing blogger income reports – but am still not sure whether I am brave enough to do so.
However, I will document my efforts and share that with you.
What are Your Blogging Goals for 2017?
Share what you hope to accomplish with your blog in 2017. Let’s all help each other achieve those goals!