The secrets to incredible traffic that I've gleaned from four top rated Pinterest courses.
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6 Deep Blogging Secrets I've Discovered After Writing 5 Blogs in 12 Years
This blog you are reading right now? It is my FIFTH blog. Can you believe it? I've been blogging for 12 years at this point, which just seems insane to me. How old am I??
Anyway, to say this whole blogging thing has been a long road would be an understatement. At this point, the blog you are reading right now is my only living blog.
While the others have long since been deactivated, the knowledge and lessons I gleaned from running them have not.
How Blogging Courses Have Played Their Part
Aside from running five of my own blogs, I've also taken more than 30 courses on various different aspects of blogging. 30! How crazy is that?
I can't help myself. I LOVE learning from online courses. The amount of time and tears I save by getting accurate, straightforward information from the get-go is priceless to me.
Of course, I don't want to imply that you need to take dozens of courses in order to run a successful blog that earns you a living. Far from it!
In fact, the most valuable and important things I learned from online courses came from just a small handful of them.
You can read the Three Blogging Courses That Turned My Passion Project Into A Money Making Blog here.
Anyway, back to my deep blogging secrets!
Today's post is dedicated to the old me. The girl who didn't know where to start, felt consistently confused, and always wondered if she was on the right path.
And if that's you too, I think you are going to love today's post! I want to share with you the top six blogging secrets I have learned after running five blogs.
These are big picture ideas that took me way too long to figure out, and yet, changed everything.
#1. Blogging Gets So Much Easier With Practice
There is a reason my first several blogs were nothing more than hobby blogs.
Blogging as an actual business is hard AF! At least at first.
You've got to figure out what your voice is, how to create awesome content consistently, and how to juggle all the other aspects of blogging like social media and site maintenance and email marketing.
It's a lot to take in and try to organize.
But the biggest lesson and I've learned here?
It gets so much easier!
Sure, it's going to take a lot of hard work. You'll need to put in the hours and get as organized as possible to get your system down pat.
But it DOES get easier!
With enough practice, you soon find that your posts flow much easier, ideas come to you quicker, and you figure out a system for getting everything done that works for you.
Which brings me to my next point...
#2. Organization Can Make or Break Your Blog
I've never been a super organized person. I'm not exactly a disorganized mess, but I was never the girl with the color coded binders and super organized spreadsheets… Until I was.
Sometime in the last few months, I got really interested in organization.
I blame it on my Jordan Page binge. Her YouTube videos are so useful and funny, I can't help but just watch her in awe.
Between that and taking Sandra Clayton's Smart Social Media course (Sandra is an organization and traffic driving goddess!), I started to get really organized. And the result?
Everything got so much freaking easier!
I stopped constantly falling behind on blog posts. My traffic grew 20% within a matter of weeks. I felt calm and at ease with my work.
It's been awesome!
If you haven't yet committed yourself to getting organized and really planning your content and your business, I implore you to go all in.
Having a complete system in place that tells me exactly what I need to do on which days makes this whole blogging thing a lot more fun and more profitable, with so much less stress.
If there's one thing I could tell the old me to work on first, it would be on organization and planning.
My Secret Weapon for Creating Incredible Blog Posts
Get my clickable blog post checklist instantly in your email when you sign up for my Bloggers Hotlist series below. This is the EXACT checklist I've used to create amazing content that grows my blog on autopilot. It's time to get organized!
#3. Build A Brand, Not A Business
I wish I had known this one a long time ago.
We've all been hearing about branding and the importance of building a brand for a while now. But I don't think it really hit close to home for me until recently.
Yesterday I read an article by Neil Patel where he dives into how the future of Google traffic will be awarded to brands.
Take a few minutes to read this article and come back! It is eye opening.
The gist of his article? Google now sees a website with a brand as one that is more credible than websites or blogs without brands.
This is a big deal for the future of traffic to our blogs.
Building a real brand that is centered around you and your life and values is now more important than ever.
One thing we must realize is that Google is the leader in this traffic generating space. But make no mistake, other platforms such as Pinterest are following close behind. And what Google does, many of these other platforms often copy.
If creating a brand around your business is the next big piece that Google is looking for, you better believe I'm getting on it! And you should too.
Of course, we aren't building brands just for the sake of getting traffic from Google. Oh,no. There is far more to it than that!
Reality check #1: Brands get the customer.
Businesses alone are faceless, abstract, and unremarkable. Without a brand, a business has no heart and soul and nothing for its potential customers to remember it by.
Think of it this way.
Somewhere online, there's an easily forgettable company that sells soap and body products. Their website is bare bones, their posts are boring if they even exist, and no one would notice if they simply closed shop one day.
Then there's Lush Cosmetics.
You know them by their brightly colored, handmade, minimally packaged beauty products that are changing the way we buy beauty.
They've jumped onto the cosmetics scene with shampoo and conditioner bars that replace landfill-bound plastic bottles. You can even save their iconic black containers and have them refilled at your local Lush store!
Take a look at their Instagram account and you'll see hundreds of unique products that look unlike anything you've seen from other companies. They feature models that look far from the conventional modeling stereotype.
Everything about Lush creates a brand based on sustainability, fun, and ethical business.
This is why people are flocking to Lush by the thousands, while a bland and a faceless company offering the same products (soap and skincare) struggles to get even a few customers.
People LOVE the Lush brand. They love the vibe, they love products, and they love that Lush has taken a stand for environmentally friendly beauty.
This is why you and I need to focus so much on growing our own brands.
People want to know about your life, your values, and your personality!
These are the things that will bring them back to your blog for an over again, even when there are hundreds of other blogs out there writing on the same topic.
#4. Traffic Doesn't Matter If It Isn't Converting
Scroll through any blogging Facebook group and you will see dozens of new bloggers trying to crack the traffic building code.
Everybody wants traffic, and lots of it.
Here's the little secret you really need to know.
Traffic means nothing if it isn't converting onto your email list at a decent rate.
So what is a decent rate, you might ask?
Industry standard for the number of readers who convert onto your email list when offered is between 2-4%. This means that for every hundred people who visit your blog, a minimum of two to four of them should sign up for your email list.
If you aren't getting this minimum, you need to stop everything and figure out why.
We'll talk about this more in #4, but for right now you need to know that your email list is what makes the difference between a hobby blog and an income generating blog.
You absolutely must get a percentage of your readers to sign up for your email list.
I currently get anywhere between 5% and 12% conversion rate, which is far above industry standard.
I'm going to let you in on a few of my list building secrets...
How to Get Readers to Gleefully Sign Up For Your Email List
#1. Offer a freebie they really want.
Okay, let's talk about the first key to getting email subscribers. You need to offer a freebie that they REALLY want!
The days of simply asking people to sign up for your email list are over.
We now get so many emails, and so many blogs asking for our email address, you've got to create something really useful to convince readers to give up their email address yet another time.
Not sure what create?
There are a bunch of different ways to get ideas for freebies that convert.
First, look back through any emails your readers have sent you.
What question are you getting asked over and over? What type of hand holding or coaching do your readers keep requesting?
If you haven't gotten any read or emails at this point in your blogging career, another great way to get viable ideas is to search through Facebook groups that your readers frequent.
What kinds of questions do you keep seeing come up? Where does your audience really need help?
Lastly, take a look at what other bloggers in your industry are offering for freebies. Of course, it's never okay to copy someone else's product.
However, you will likely be able to get some ideas and inspiration for what types of freebies your audience is opting in in exchange for.
#2. Improve your opt in form.
The second piece to skyrocketing your conversion rate is to improve your opt-in form.
Right off the bat you should have a super enticing headline and description along with a picture of your freebie. Without these three things you are dead in the water.
It's not enough anymore to simply ask people to join your email list, or worse, ask them to sign up for blog updates. No one wants those!
Instead, you need to show them how you can help them. Tell them the benefits they are going to get from downloading your freebie and from being a part of your email list.
Make it exciting, and they won't be able to wait to sign up!
#3. Have at least five different opt in forms on your blog.
The last step to getting a great conversion rate is to simply make sure that you have opt-in forms in enough places on your blog. I have mine in the following locations:
- A pop-up on each blog post
- Aesthetic ops in at the end of each post
- A pink notification bar
- In the header of my homepage
- Each of my freebies listed front and center on the homepage
- On my start here page in the main navigation menu
- In another main navigation link
I recommend that you choose at least five of these locations to place options around your blog.
If you follow these steps, you should quickly see your conversion rate from readers into email subscribers grow quickly.
And as I mentioned earlier, your email list is incredibly important to the business side of your blog.
Let's explore about a bit further...
#5. The Money Is In Your Email List
Somewhere around 70 to 80% of the income you're blog makes will come from your email list.
Not your blog posts, not your social media posts, your email list. And this is industry wide!
I only wish I had known this years before I did.
You can easily see how growing an engaged email list full of people who love your work is so incredibly important to the success of your blog.
These are the people who are going to buy from you, support you, and share your work with others.
If you do nothing else, you need to take excellent care of them and help them along their journey.
So how exactly do you build this relationship with your email subscribers?
Your number one focus should be helping them solve the one problem you promised to fix when they opted into your email list.
And of course, there are a ton of different ways to do this. I recommend choosing a variety of the options below and deliver them consistently.
Here are a few ways to build a solid relationship with your email subscribers:
- Send them emails about your latest blog post in case they missed one
- Send them video tutorials that aren't available on your website
- Offer to answer questions they still have about your blogtopic
- Send them freebies that aren't available on your blog
- Offer behind the scenes photos and videos of whatever it is you do
- Send them fun quizzes that give useful information based on the selections they choose
- Offer inspiration and motivation on their journey
I've found that Convertkit is the best email marketing service out there for bloggers, and it's what I use to email my list every week.
Check out Step 6 in this tutorial for help on setting up your email list!
#6. You Need To Be In It For The Long Haul
The last secret, and probably the most important one, is that you need to really truly be in this for the long haul.
Blogging is not fast, and is not easy. Anybody who tells you otherwise is fibbing real hard.
While many of aspects of blogging do get easier over time, I've found that the moment you overcome one obstacle there are always three more waiting for you.
This is one of those things that is ongoing.
My best advice for you is that you go into blogging with the mindset that you are ready to learn and implement over and over again for the rest of your blogs life.
If you can do that and get excited about it, you will be just fine!
Blogging is a business just like running a restaurant or fashion company or Etsy shop. You've got to treat it like a business and be willing to put in years of hard work to see it succeed.
Most businesses take 2 to 4 years to become profitable, and I think that's a realistic number for bloggers as well.
Of course you can do it faster. But you're going to need more time to work and you'll need to invest more in your education than you otherwise would.
At this point in my blogging career I could start another blog tomorrow and start making money in the first few months. But for a new blogger that really isn't realistic without getting an education first.
So you need to ask yourself what your goals are for your blog and if you are willing to do what it takes to meet them.
If you have lots of time available to work and are okay with your blog taking longer to produce an income, then you have a lot more flexibility!
If, on the other hand, you are strapped for time and or you want your blog to start producing an income within the first year, then investing in your education really is a non-negotiable.
I wish I'd known this from the get-go, because I spent many years learning as I went along by trial and error.
Of course, when I started blogging there really weren't any courses I could have purchased to learn from, so to some extent I didn't have much choice.
But I can say that my blog became much more profitable and fun once I began getting some help from bloggers who were farther along than I was.
There you have it! Here are the biggest secrets I've learned from five blogs in 12 years:
- Blogging get so much easier with practice
- Organization can make or break your blog
- Build a brand not a business
- Traffic doesn't matter if it isn't converting
- The money is in the list
- You need to be in it for the long haul
Ok lady, that's a wrap! I'm curious to hear your thoughts about this post.
What was the most surprising secret in this article, and how will you be applying it to your business today? Let me know in the comments below!
How to (Finally!) Start Making Money From Your Blog
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