Hey everyone! So I’m going to get a little raw and exposed for you here. I want to invite you to my new blog experiment… Will you, oh fabulous best blog friend of mine, come on this journey with me?
Before I get into the details of the experiment, I wanted to share a little background on my background with you, so that you can understand the purpose for this experiment, a bit more.
I started this blog offiicially, about a year ago, as a place to share my love for DIY, upcycling, crafting, hosting, and creating cool ways to decorate my house, (that doesn’t involve dropping my life savings at some furniture or home decor store). But my history with websites, goes a lot further back than that…
I have been a self employed online & digital marketer for 10 years now. I built my first website back in 2004 (those were ancient days in webby years). Check out this beautiful thing. This is what my very first website looked like when it launched in late 2004:
Gorgeous, right??? Tell me the truth, I would totally have had your business, wouldn’t I. (ha ha)
I wanted to figure out a way to build a business that I could sustain from home, so that eventually, when my husband and I decided to have kids, I would hopefully have an income source that would allow me to work from home.
I knew nothing about programming or building a website, let alone driving traffic to it – but I immersed myself. Learning everything I could – how to build a site, how to style a site, how to get traffic to a site, and how to convert visitors into buyers.
It took a LOT of work, and late, sleepless nights. But 3 years later, that same ugly ecommerce site (well it had improved a bit since it was first launched) had 5-6 figures per month in sales, and had 4 full time employees.
99% of my website traffic for that site, came from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – which is the art of getting free traffic from a google search listing. I studied it, and learned it, and became as expert as you could get. The problem that I didn’t realize then, is that SEO is always changing – and that if you don’t change with it, and if you don’t diversify your traffic and revenue sources, you are putting your business at major risk.
In 2010, my website got hit by a pair of penalties from Google, that knocked out half of the websites on the net. And with it, went just about everything I had built. I had put all my eggs in one basket, and I was left with next to nothing. I started diversifying, and cranking out new sites in just about everyniche I could think of, that might replace my lost income… (every niche could think of, except those that I was actually interested in). I became an affiliate marketer, and content marketer, and social media manager. I built websites for clients, and managed SEO for clients. I had built a business as an entrepreneur where I was supposed to be working for myself, and I was moving in a direction where I was only working for other people – working to build their businesses, rather than my own.
Some of those sites still exist and still help pay the bills, but I finally realized that life is too short – you have to put your efforts into what you love, and you will be rewarded more richly for that. Build a business around what you are truly passionate about, and the income will follow!
So I started GiddyUpcycled.com about a year ago, because I’m a flea market junkie and I love fixing up old things, fixing up my home, and being crafty.
The fact that I also love building websites and marketing online, was an added bonus. I was pretty sporadic at first, but when I saw some of the traffic numbers that came through from social media sites like Pinterest and Facebook with little to no promotion, and I realized what could happen if I really devoted my energies… I was hooked!
So in March of this year, I set out to prove, that what I’d heard every so called “guru” spout for the last 10 years, that “You can’t make money from a blog”, was a big fat lie.
Blogging is a lot of work, but if you pick a topic that you are passionate about, it doesn’t feel like work – you know what I mean??
I’m hoping that some of my background and experience in online marketing over the last 10 years, will allow me to case study and share different strategies for growing a blog, building an audience, and discovering what works and what might not work so well, when it comes to maximizing the income potential of your blog.
July was the first month that my blog actually made some money. So I’ve decided to be totally transparent and share with you all, exactly what I’m doing to market the blog, to monetize it, and how each of those is working – each and every month.
If you are just starting out with a brand new blog, I welcome you to join me and follow along! Leave comments and suggestions below, and hopefully together, we can build a sustainable living, doing whatever it is that we most. If, for you, thats dogs, or fitness, or beanie babies, or politics – it doesn’t matter – you CAN make money with a blog!
So, lets get down to the nitty gritty…
As I mentioned, my blog is still pretty new, so if you’ve been around the block for awhile, please be kind when looking at these traffic numbers (and if you are new, you are probably not that far off from me, so join me in the experiment!)
Traffic Statistics for July –
(read below for an explanation on the relatively big jump on/around July 23rd)
July 1, 2014 – July 31, 2014: 28647 pageviews, 22179 unique pageviews
- Google Adsense- $6.29
- Prosperent Ad Network – $16.45 –
- Bluehost – $135 (earnings come from my tutorial on how to start a blog)
Total: $157.74…. !! Yay??!!
Ok, so its not a lot, but its something…. something to hang my hat on, that money can come, even from small traffic numbers. And as the blog grows, and I explore and discover new ways to monetize it and offer value to my visitors, I expect it to grow even more!
3 Biggest Things I Learned This Month:
You HAVE to get connected
In whatever niche you are in, you have to find blogs and blogger groups to connect with, to network with, and to learn from. In the DIY niche,there is a TON of cross promotion and when you first get in, it might seem like everyone knows eachother and you are totally the left out nerdy new kid at school, who doesn’t know how to get into the cool club. In reality, its not as much like that as it may seem, but there are Facebook groups and Pinterest groups and networks that help facilitate these cross promotions. You NEED to find them, get yourself involved with them, and join whatever “events” are going on. I’m somewhat of an introvert so I know this can be daunting, but you have to do it. I emailed a few bloggers this month that seemed to be involved in some of these cross promotional activities and just asked them what I was missing (and yes, it made my stomach turn to put myself out there like that) – but you know what?? They told me! It wasn’t at all some big secret cult, like I had made it out to be in my mind, and that was one of the best “advances” for my blog, probably that I’ve had to date.
Test and Tweak Your Headlines
Those annoying “Upworthy” style headlines – you know the ones – “I thought I had everything about life figured out until I heard five words from this little kid – you won’t believe what happened next”. They are super annoying, and rarely say much about what it is that you are actually going to see (which usually is a really lame video). But let me tell you why you see them all over Facebook – they WORK. Its called click-bait, and – they work because you pique people’s interest, and they have to click to find out the rest of the story. I was totally against them until I tried one, right around July 23rd (see the spike in the traffic chart above). Prior to that I’d been solidly hovering at about 450 organic hits a day. I linked out to a project on my Facebook page using more of a clickbait style headline, and within TWO hours, it had received over 800 clicks. Prior to that, the most I’d gotten on any FB post was about 200 clicks – in total. Its CRAZY! And you know what else? The engagement on that post boosted my next few posts. Facebook saw how many people had clicked on the one post, so they boosted our visibility and our next few posts were shown to more of our Facebook fans, than what we were averaging previously. Here’s my advice though, take it a easy on the intrigue, and make it relevant – you don’t want to lose trust. Share enough to get their interest, and get them to click over to the website to get the whole story. No need to make promises that the link is going to change their world, if its really not.
Share the love
When it comes to social media posting, I’ve focused most heavily on Facebook and then Pinterest. My goal for the next few months is to ramp up my Pinterest and Instagram activity. But as far as Facebook goes, content is king and the more you put out, the better. Everyone is complaining about the algorithms right now, that FB isn’t sharing your posts with very many of your fans. So what I’ve been trying, is to increase my posts on Facebook, to reach more of the fans that might have missed the previous post. Of course I can’t do that by posting my own content all the time, I’d die of exhaustion from so many DIY projects (LOL). So I’m sharing other awesome DIYer’s content and linking out to them- sharing the love. And some of those posts are going viral, getting shares, and increasing fan numbers for not only my page, but for the page I’m sharing. And hopefully as my following grows, the same will happen for my posts. So do it, don’t be afraid to share posts from other related blogs and link to them – it can only help you, keep your fan base engaged and will allow you to grow your fanbase at an organic rate that will be very hard to achieve on your own.
Hope you will join me on this journey! Isn’t it time for a little transparency when it come to income and earnings claims?? I really hope to show you what I’ve learned over the last 10 years – that if you put your mind to something, especially if its something you love to do and are passionate about, the sky is the limit.
Here are the 3 ways you can join me on this journey:
1. Subscribe to be notified when I create new blog posts (including these income posts) – they will be sent to your email inbox:
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2. Maybe you are thinking about starting your own blog? I say take the leap, and join me as we monetize together! (Koombaya!)
3. Once a week I send out a newsletter called The Summit where I share actionable tips and tricks for building and growing your blog. This isn’t some fluff newsletter with weak content or a spammy list with promotional offers. Its a bullet point list of things that you can complete in a few minutes, that will have a measurable impact on the growth of your blog or website. Subscribe to The Summit here:
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**Some of these links are affiliate links