How I Plan to Grow My Blog and Make Money Online in 2017 - This Mama Learns

Hey there mamas!

How’s 2017 been treating you so far? For me, I’ve been busting my butt over here with oodles of client work. So much so, I’ve barely had time to do anything (except change my whole site around, yet again.)

I’m a bit late with a blog goal post. But, hey, it’s the thing you do right? New year, new you, new blog?

But first, what’s the point of setting blogging goals? Is there really a point? I’m going to admit right here that I’m not much of a goal setter. Or, I like setting goals. It’s just the working-to-achieve-them part that gets me. I plan a lot electronically, the problem there is that my goals aren’t in front of my face all the time. So, I forget the things I said I was going to do. Arhg!

Traffic

Would it be too crazy to say I don’t REALLY care about traffic right now?

I know I know. I’m sure everyone else is setting awesome traffic goals, and I’m just going to say… nothing?

Well no. I’ll have a goal, but it’s not my priority. Pageviews are meaningless if you aren’t doing anything with them. I didn’t start this blog for the vanity metrics. So, my focus is going to be more on monetization and email list nurturing.

Still. A mom’s gotta have some traffic right? So.

My traffic goal is to reach 50K monthly pageviews by the end of the year.

Currently at around 3K (with no promotion whatsoever, and no new posts for over a month). PIece of cake right???

*shrugs*

What traffic streams am I going to focus on?

To get this traffic to my blog I’m going to have to up my marketing game. (Seriously. I’ve barely promoted my blog IN MONTHS.)

What really worked for me in 2016 was promoting in FB groups and on Pinterest. Twitter, StumbleUpon, Instagram, FB Pages, G+… not so much.

The plan for 2017? Here goes:

Pinterest

Pinterest is a huge opportunity. I’m going to keep tweaking my strategy with Tailwind and with BoardBooster.

Some things I’ll be doing include:

  • Actually making multiple pinnable graphics for each post and content upgrade. I’ve said this often but found that I don’t do it unless I do it at the same time I publish the post.
  • Requesting group board access to new boards at least twice a month.
  • Using more affiliate links on Pinterest.
  • Reading every tutorial on Pinterest I can find and implementing new techniques.

I’ll also be using BoardBooster more.

Basically my approach to Pinterest is test, measure, repeat.

Oh, and in case you didn’t notice – I actually launched a free e-course on Pinterest last year – Pinterest Power Up. You should check it out!

 

Facebook Groups

Ah. FB Groups. We have a love-hate relationship.

I went through and left over 100 around Christmas time and I’m working on whittling that number down even further.

I’m going for a quality over quantity approach. Engaging meaningfully with a handful of groups is (probably) worth more than link dropping in dozens and dozens. *shrug* We’ll see how it works out though.

The problem I found belonging to so many groups was that it was hard to keep track of promo days and even which groups I enjoyed being in. I’m 17 hours ahead of most groups (I’m in Australia), so working out what day it is isn’t a simple task.

I also got a bit disillusioned with the whole idea of like for like and share for share. I could get 100+ likes/shares/comments on ANY post I wanted to. But what meaning did that have?

What good does having my blog post shared on a food bloggers Miscellaneous Pinterest board do? What’s the point of forcing a travel blogger to come over to my blog and comment “Nice post”? And the reciprocation was hard work. Honestly, 100% reciprocation was painful. Some highlights include commenting on poetry and short stories and sharing random nature inspiration photos to Pinterest…

Anyway.

What I’ll be doing this year instead of that:

  • Becoming an active member of a select handful of Facebook groups
  • Pursuing potential clients and customers STRATEGICALLY (more on that soon)
  • Working on the ‘pitch’ that you should be adding to your post when you promote it (you’re doing that, right??)

Twitter

One of the things that surprised me the most in 2016 was discovering that… I actually LIKE Twitter. I’ve always been all “Pfft, Twitter”. But it’s fun!

I don’t get great results from it though, so I need to either:

  • Work out what I’m doing wrong, or
  • Automate it and pay it no more attention.

There’re a lot of mom bloggers who don’t really use it much. Then there are superstars who Twitter is really working for. Go figure.

Because I’m an overachiever, I’m going to take option 1. But not right now. For now, I’m going to automate it (I pretty much already have it automated using Suzi’s genius idea for using IFTTT and Google Calendar).

Here’s what’ I’m planning on doing:

  • Revising my scheduled posts – some are posting with broken images which looks lame.
  • Learning more about Twitter (later in the year)
  • Tweeting more content from others.

StumbleUpon and G+

I don’t really understand how to use either of these platforms well. And to be honest, I don’t really care to. I’ve got enough on my plate.

The only reason I’m doing anything with these platforms this year is because it’s easy to share posts on the platform and G+ can apparently be beneficial. Because Google owns G+ and it can help your post get indexed more quickly.

Going to:

  • Share posts to StumbleUPon and G+
  • Learn about circles on G+

Instagram

I like Instagram. Not sure how I feel about it trying to be everything to everybody right now. Yes, I’m looking at you Stories and Live Video. But overall I like it. Instagram is obviously trying to throw off its reputation as the place for carefully curated sparkly aspirational life pictures and be more real. What’s not to like about that?

I haven’t planned out my strategy yet. But for now I’m going to:

  • Decide on an Instagram post strategy – types of posts, style, captions, Stories, Live video, video.
  • Follow it. Probably starting in Feb.

Saying Goodbye to…

There were some strategies that didn’t work all that well in 2016 and others that are just too time intensive for me to invest in right now.

I won’t be doing these things in 2017:

  • Regular blog comments – ROI was very minimal. However, it’s still a great way to get on another blogger’s radar by showing them some love.
  • Guest posting – I only guest posted once in 2016. I’m not going to pursue this option this year. Mainly because I barely have time to write my own posts let alone posts for other people. Unless they pay me money XD

Subscribers and email list

Again this is another point where I’m going to say the numbers don’t matter.

I’d rather have a trim and responsive list than a flabby and unresponsive one.

My focus is going to be on delivering value and entertainment to my list.

I was lazy with my email list last year. I didn’t set up a welcome series, I had no plan for it at all. And some of my content upgrades were unfocussed and have probably landed a lot of non-ideal readers to my list.

I’m fixing that in 2017 by:

  • Writing a complete welcome series.
  • Exploring the idea of gamifying your list.
  • Bringing more of me to the party, I’m not present enough in my blog or in my emails.

I’ll also be cleansing my list of cold subscribers with a ‘we never talk anymore’ kind of email series.

Income

My income from freelance writing has really taken off. Which is amazing! It’s so incredibly satisfying to be able to make a substantial contribution to the family finances and really, truly believe that I won’t need to return to work in July.

Anyway. The only thing I don’t like about freelance writing is that it takes up a LOT of time. Like ALL of it.

It stands to reason though – work expands to fill the space you allow for it. If I don’t set deadlines on my writing tasks, they don’t get done quickly enough. Right now I’m settling my freelance schedule. I only have regular clients so I can theoretically set aside times and days to get their work done. Then I need to learn to go faster, without sacrificing quality.

I’d like to increase my freelancing income this year and I’d also like to add additional income streams. Passive ones.

My goal for 2017 is to reach $10K/month income with half of that from passive income sources. Yep, it’s a big goal! Might be crazy, but hey. I can dream right?

Affiliate Marketing

I’m using affiliate marketing on This Mama Learns, but I know I can do it better. Affiliate marketing is a great source of income – you work once (writing your post) and reap the rewards FOREVER (basically).

I’m an affiliate for some great products, services and courses. I’m only going to promote things I’ve used (and like) and think would be helpful and beneficial.

Going to:

  • Leap headfirst into affiliate marketing by writing review posts, tutorial posts, and video tutorial posts for all my affiliate products and services.
  • Become an affiliate for the courses I’ve taken.
  • Market my affiliate posts.

Products

Products and courses are pretty much the pinnacle of passive income. You can make SUBSTANTIAL money from them. I’d hazard a guess that most bloggers who’re making six figures or more have their own products or courses.

So…

I need some of my own.

Therefore, I’m going to:

  • Create a handful of products in the $7-$47 range.
  • Launch a blogging challenge each quarter that becomes a course during the off season – this is totally inspired by Terra Dawn of Uncork Your Dork.

So that’s pretty much the plan, Stan. I’m feeling like I’m off to a pretty shonky start given I’m writing this on January 25… totally going to cheat and backdate it though! I’m reverse batching my blog posts so far this month… I might need to re-read my post on batching.

To a better rest of the year~!

Hi, I'm Cath

Hi, I'm Cath

Blogger. Freelance Writer & Pinterest Manager. Mom of one. Keeps me busy! I’m also a corporate escapee, determined to help moms create options so they can stay home with the little ones and contribute to the family finances.

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