Blog report.

blog-report-1Hey there, if we haven’t met before, I’m Cath and I’m the mama behind the blog here at Making of Mom.

I started Making of Mom to be a resource for moms and moms-to-be to help through the crazy, hectic time that is pregnancy, birth, and beyond.

I’m also a freelance writer, and Pinterest manager, which is how I make my bread and butter. Another reason I started Making of Mom was the challenge of taking a new blog from scratch and building it into a successful blog.

If you’re reading this because you’re considering starting your own blog, I have a tutorial to help you with that very thing! Click here to read how to start your own blog.

Note: this blog post probably contains affiliate links, which means we may receive small commissions from purchases made through links in this post (at NO extra cost to you). You can read our full disclosure for more information.

What makes a successful blog?

There are as many different definitions of success as there are people in this world. For some, success will mean making 6-figures (or more). For others, it will be all about the impact that their words have on others. For still others, success means being respected and well-known in their community. Or even getting various freebies for being an ‘influencer’.

What am I aiming for?

I don’t need fame and fortune or freebies. My main goals for this blog are:

  1. Be helpful.
  2. Make an income.
  3. Learn from 1 & 2 and teach others how to do the same

Why?

When I was pregnant I spent every available moment devouring everything I could about pregnancy and baby stuff. I researched baby gear and what I needed constantly and felt totally overwhelmed by my to do list. I want to provide fun, entertaining and helpful information to moms in the same boat as I was.

I also want to make an income at the same time – partly so I can pay my bills and also so that I can learn what works.

I’m a stay at home/work at home mom by choice and I feel incredibly blessed that my family has been able to make that work. My heart hurts for the new moms who have to leave their babies after only a few short weeks, or even months, to go back to a job because they don’t have a choice.

I want to share my experiences blogging and freelancing and making an income online to inspire other moms who want to make this work for them as well.

The Report

It’s kind of traditional for people who blog about blogging to do ‘income reports’. I’m not a huge fan of it, because it can be misleading. That’s why instead of just making these reports about income, I’m going to talk about other things like what I was doing this month to grow my blog, and what I plan to do next.

Introducing Making of Mom

If you’re new here, Making of Mom launched on July 1. The idea has been in the back of my mind since April, but I only had the time to start working on it in June. I already have one blog where I teach moms about blogging and social media, a site for my freelance writing business, and I run both a freelance writing and a Pinterest management business. Yes, I’m busy!

I set myself a challenge to launch Making of Mom in 30 days, with as much content as I could. I was aiming for 30 posts and 3 Pinterest graphics for each one. I always underestimate how long things will take me though so I didn’t quite reach my goals. But there was no reason to hold off on launching, so I went ahead with it.

Here’s what happened:

Pageviews

analytics(1)

This month I launched Making of Mom, but I didn’t really start promoting until two weeks in. This was in part due to my nerves getting the better of me! It can be quite intimidating putting yourself out there.

My plan was to use Pinterest to promote my blog and also Tailwind Tribes. Tailwind Tribes are private groups where you can share your content and share other’s as well. They can be really great for increasing your reach.

All in all, I was impressed with the number of page views I received. However, it’s mostly down to a 2,000 page view day I had. That’s a lot of viewers.

Since then, my views have gone back down to about where I expected them to be for a new blog.

Pinterest Successes

“Pinterest is a slow burn”

“You won’t see overnight results from Pinterest”

I’d heard this advice from others, but I was a bit skeptical. As soon as I started using Pinterest the right way on my first blog, my stats skyrocketed. So, I went into this with mixed feelings.

Here’s how my Pinterest stats are looking:

pinterest-stats-July

You can see I started out with around 45,000 impressions at the beginning of July – this was because I started my account in June, pinning content from other people to get my account ready. I’ve heard of Pinterest blocking accounts that go too hard, too fast.

I really only started promoting my own content around the 16th. It’s all up-up-up from there! Overall, I’m very pleased with a 571% increase!

I couldn’t have done it without Tailwind though. Tailwind is a scheduling tool that helps you pin your content throughout the day at the best times for your audience.

Want to try Tailwind for free? Click here for 100 free pins

Mistakes

I can’t really talk about page views this month without mentioning a hideously embarrassing mistake I made… I really don’t know how it happened, but somehow this pin:

 

Got uploaded to Pinterest with this URL, this URL, and this URL. For the correct post, my start a blog tutorial, and my post on how to boost your milk supply. Obviously, if you landed on my blog expecting one thing and got another you’d think something shifty was going on. I was horrified when I realized what had happened.

I think it may have occured when I was uploading multiple pins to Pinterest and adding the URL to them manually? Or it could have happened with Tailwind, occasionally Tailwind doesn’t carry across the URL and you have to input it manually.

Here’s what I did to fix it (in case it ever happens to you):

I edited the pins of mine that were incorrect and updated the URL to be correct.

I looked in Google Analytics and found the copies of the pin that was referring the most traffic to my site and commented and clicked the ‘tried it’ button and left a note with the correct URL (plus an apology).

On the two blog posts that were receiving misdirected hits, I added a big picture and link to the blog post that people were trying to reach.

Other Hiccups

Apart from my pinning issue, another hiccup was my site going down for a day. The SSL certificate needed to be reloaded. *facepalm* My host was able to fix the issue pretty quickly. Unfortunately this happened just after I started to promote my site.

I also found it really difficult to get rich pins enabled with Pinterest… Some of my pins still aren’t rich either. So confusing.

Income

Did I make income in my first month blogging? Why, yes. Yes, I did. I made a small commission from Amazon Associates.

I have very little recent experience with the Amazon Associates program or advertising networks, so I’ve got a lot to learn.

Some things I’ve implemented this month:

  • Adding Amazon Native Ads (recommendation ads) to my entire site below my blog posts, so if someone reaches the end of my blog post, they might be inspired to buy from the ad.
  • Created a gift guide template in preparation for the silly season.
  • Linked to Amazon videos in my blog posts using affiliate links.

Total Income this month:

  • $4.61

Expenses

Because this isn’t my first blog, I have very few expenses that I haven’t already paid for. I’ll note the expenses for this blog and then those that I’m sharing between my blogs.

Total Expenses this month:

  • $13.99 Domain name (annual fee)
  • $119.90 Tailwind – my Pinterest tool that helps me reach more people (annual fee)
  • $29 Social Warfare – my social sharing plugin (annual fee)

Total: $162.87

These expenses are shared:

  • $299 Web hosting (1 year)
  • $261 ConvertKit – my email service provider (1 year)
  • $89 Elegant Themes – I’m using the Extra theme from Elegant Themes
  • $119.40 Canva for work – my graphics design program that enables me to create beautiful designs without learning photoshop or hiring a designer

Total: $768.40

Do you need to spend this much to have a successful blog?

NO!

You need:

These are VERY nice to have (invest in these asap):

  • A premium theme – although you can use a free WordPress theme, if you want to do much customization you need a premium theme. I personally use Divi and Extra from Elegant Themes. It has some amazing features that save me a ton of time – I can save my blog post layout, I can save modules that I use frequently (for example, all my freebie download graphics are saved into my library and I can place them into a post at the click of a button).
  • Social Warfare – this is the only social sharing plugin I recommend. It makes everything so easy. Once you install it, on the backend of your blog post, you’ll find a space for you to upload your social media graphics so that when the social share button is clicked, it will load up that image automatically. No more random images appearing on Pinterest!

Get it when you can:

  • Canva for work has some extra features, like being able to upload your own fonts.
  • ConvertKit – while you can use a free email service provider like MailChimp or Mailer Lite, ConvertKit is just so much easier to use. It is pricey though.

What’s next

My goals for August are:

  • To reach 50,000 pageviews
  • To earn $1,000 in affiliate income

These are big stretch goals. I’m not sure if I’m going to make it. But, I’m going to try.

How I’m Going to Reach These Goals

There are a couple of things I need to do if I’m going to make it to 50,000 pageviews and $1K income:

  1. I need to make my blog more sticky – lowering my bounce rate and increasing my pageviews.
  2. I need to work on conversions and monetizing my popular posts.

A Sticky Blog

A sticky blog is one where a visitor arrives and keeps finding amazing content, so they keep reading and want to devour your entire blog.

Here’s how I’m going to make my blog more sticky:

  • Install upPrev – this plugin makes a slide in pop-up that shows your next/previous post when your visitor reaches a certain point in your blog post. It helps guide your readers to the next post.
  • Adding related post modules into my blog post content. This is really easy to do using the Extra theme, I’ll just make a segment with 3 or 4 columns and add image modules with links to related posts. Images draw attention and help break up text-heavy blog posts too – win win!
  • Working on headlines – headlines have always been my weak point. Still are to be honest. I really only have 2 types of headlines in my arsenal – HOW TO, and X WAYS/THINGS TO DO X.
  • Interlinking my posts to each other. This is good for SEO as well.

Monetizing

At the moment I’m mostly using the Amazon Associates program to monetize, though I’ve also been accepted to Google AdSense and I’ve added one of their ads to one post.

I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to ad monetization, but I’m determined to learn.

  • Research ad placement and monetization – but I’m not going to be looking for blog posts or tutorials, no way! What I’m going to look for instead is sites like mine and analyze what they’ve done on their site and try to work out why. I’ll use that info to test ads on my own site.
  • Look at successful blogs that are monetized with Amazon affiliate links and reverse-engineer their strategy.
  • Test my own posts using Heatmaps to see where people are scrolling to and what they’re clicking on.

Traffic sources

My main source of traffic is Pinterest. It doesn’t require a lengthy getting-to-know-you period like Google does, and is ‘easy’ to get traffic from if you know what you’re doing.

As a Pinterest manager, I know what I’m doing.

This month I’m going to heavily use Tailwind Tribes to get even more pageviews. My goal is to share daily in my Tribes.

At the moment, I’ve only got one source of traffic. That’s ok for now, but it’s not good practice to keep all your eggs in one basket. In the future, I’m going to start working on a Facebook page, and also get into Flipboard.

Funny things that happened this month

Someone saved a picture of my face on Pinterest… to a board about basements. Kinda creepy? They weren’t scary looking basements thank goodness!

basement

Work-Life-Balance

I’m not great at the whole work-life balance thing. I think I’ve mentioned before that if I’m not spending time with my little one, I’m blogging or working. I’m not good at giving myself a break. Part of that stems from the fact that I really enjoy this. I’m also a big nerd. So if I wasn’t at my computer doing blogging related things, I’d be doing something else nerdy and computer related.

Like sorting my recipes, or ranking my iTunes, or looking for new songs to love.

Music

Speaking of new songs, I don’t make time for music these days and that’s a crying shame. I miss hearing my favorite songs. This month I’m going to make time to listen to some of my favorite songs each week, starting with Phantogram.

Healthy Stuff (Diet and Exercise)

My SPD has been playing up this month (it’s only been 2 years since my little one was born…) so I’ve been avoiding exercise to rest up. But, I think I need to start doing the exercises the physio gave me again, just have to find where I put those papers.

I’ve been eating dairy and gluten free this month. It’s been great! I haven’t felt hungry and I’ve lost a couple of pounds already. I tried Lite n Easy for a couple of weeks back in June and it just didn’t work out – too much sugar and tiny portions. I need more food!

Until Next Time…

Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom! I hope you found some helpful tips and insights into the running of a blog in there. If you want to start your own, head on over to my start a blog tutorial!