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Looking Back at the Blog in 2017

As crazy as 2017 was it rounded up to be a huge year for me for growth and discovery. I learned a lot about blogging such as better promotions of my posts and my blog, ways to grow my followers and some ways to work towards monetize my blog. I went from having a blog for a hobby to focusing on starting to build a business from it.

Overall Stats from 2017

28,935 blog views

17,848 blog visitors

509 comments on blog posts

Referral Traffic

This was a lesson for me. When you decide you want to get serious about blogging, you’ll find yourself learning how to read your data. I learned a good a bit about where my blog traffic comes from and also several ways to help grow traffic from social channels.

28.5% of my blog traffic came from Pinterest. It did help that I had a pin go viral (Setting Healthy Boundaries:Simple Tips for a Happy Life) but there were other tips and tricks I picked up along the way to help increase traffic from Pinterest. My followers base grew from 192 followers to 901 followers in 2017.

1.) Join Group Boards – this is an awesome place to share your content with like-minded bloggers

2.) Learn how to create Pinnable images. Canva made this pretty easy using templates they had and I learned to create my own over time.

3.) Participate in Pinterest. Don’t just share your content only. Create boards of interest to you and your goals and mix your content posts in with others. This not only creates a better experience for your followers but it also motivates the folks of the pins that your sharing to return the favor.

StumbleUpon brought 14% of the traffic. This was a completely new channel to me. I had heard of it but had never used StumbleUpon until I came across a mention of it in a Blogging Facebook Group. This is an easy to use yet great driver for traffic.

Facebook brought 11% of the traffic to my blog. This I have seen grow over the year and I predict it will continue to grow in 2018. I have developed plans for more activity on my blog Facebook Page – which grew from 174 page likes to 1,701 during the year. My goal for this coming year is to double that and to drive more traffic to my blog from this page.

In October of 2017, I launched my blog Instagram account. This is a unique platform compared to the others lacking the opportunity for clickable links making it not a huge traffic driver however I believe this is a great opportunity to build followers, engagement and loyalty. I was at 146 followers at the end of the year and am looking to triple that in 2018 through engagement challenges such as my monthly art challenges and more behind the scenes posts.

Twitter only accounted for .3% of the traffic to my blog, which surprised me a little so I’ll be diving more into learning about the way Twitter works this year however I did obtain some great relationships through Twitter including sponsored posts opportunities and my Twitter followers grew from 394 to 861 in 2017.

Engaging with My Readers

My email subscribers grew from 19 at the beginning of the year to 181 subscribers. I didn’t put as much focus into this growth in 2017 as I hope to this coming year but I did find that promoting some giveaways was a great way to build your email list. Giveaways are pretty easy and quick and I was able to use Rafflecopter to set up the forms and manage the entries.

I also launched my Facebook Group ‘Journey to a Life You Love‘ which I have to be honest I fell off track a bit with during the year and it didn’t quite grow like I planned but I held on to who I had mostly and have big plans for it this year!

What’s to Come in 2018?

I’m really excited for this year. I spent some time thinking of what worked and what didn’t work in 2017 and how I wanted to proceed. This year I’ll be focusing a lot more on engaging with my followers and build my social media channels. You can look forward to healthy living posts, challenges and just some random thoughts about what’s happening in life. Let’s get happy and healthy and have fun doing it this year!

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How Participating in the 30 Day Blogging Challenge Changed Me

Well I’ve reached the end of the challenge. I didn’t do too shabby…missed some days…but learned a lot in the process.

1.) I burnt out a bit. – I started out the month ahead of the game. I had my editorial calendar all planned out and I had a few posts written ahead of time but I slid and lost control of my time management. I found myself staying up late to write a blog post for the day and eventually it caught up to me. I am looking forward to going back to 3-4 posts a week in November. I love being able to create so much content but with my busy schedule it’s hard to keep up with a daily post.

2.) I diversified my content. – With having so many days to write for back to back, it pushed me to expand my content. I loved that. I found new ways to look at things and to write about. I think this also helped to expand my audience. That’s the benefit of being a lifestyle blogger because life incorporates so many topics.

3.) I learned more about affiliate marketing in this challenge. – A portion of this challenge was affiliate pins on Pinterest. I learned how to create them and how to market them within my Pinterest boards. Through this process I also built the confidence and more knowledge to market more in general, both myself and my affiliates. This will be a larger focus in my November goals.

4.) I learned more about life balance.I was burning out because I gave too much at the beginning. I was working all day at the office and then coming home and sitting in front of the computer more into the night. Sitting in front of a computer that long can suck the life right out of you. I was staying up late to get posts written, I was working in blog sharing into my lunch breaks – I wasn’t taking a break from it. I know I  have to put in the extra time to reach my goals but I still have to keep my work-play balance in line so that I can recharge.

5.) I didn’t beat myself up so much. – Hey I got 22 posts out of 30 up…that’s 73%. That’s like a C right? Okay, so yeah I prefer A’s but I did this while working a high-demanding full time job, working on some paintings for upcoming art shows, spending quality time with my son and my mom and scheduled activities with my friends, started cleaning out my closet, and while starting a fairly involved fitness training program, so heck yeah I’m feeling good about where I landed at the end of the challenge.

Lesson 5 was my biggest take away from this. I can be so hard on myself but I was able to see my progress instead of my pitfalls in this challenge, I was able to accept that even though I was missing a couple of days I came out of this with some great lessons and discoveries.

Through this experience I’ve come up with a little schedule plan to try out in November:

2 Days Blogging – one day to write up posts for the week, one day to build marketing images and schedule

5 days working out per week, 2 rest days – 3 days running, 2 days weight training, 1-2 days yoga practice – this will vary depending on the week with class schedules, also some of those are combined (I know that added up to more than 5 – i.e.: run and do arms kind of thing)

2 Days Class/Labs for Health Coaching Certification

3 Days for activities/relaxing/time with friends and family

My goal is to build a routine that allows flexibility. A schedule that allows me to work towards my goals and to keep me on track but still allows me to live my life while I’m at it and to also put an end to the burn out cycle! 

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Goals Check In – Fitness & Blogging

Only seven days left in the 30 days of blogging challenge…missed four days. Not too shabby for such a challenge. I’m discovering a lot about myself and about my blog through this challenge. I’m learning my limits. I’m learning to okay with my limits. I’m proud of myself for what I am doing and I’m learning a little bit more about my style and I’m expanding my topics some this month which has been creative and fun.

Progress Report:

Let’s start with how I’ve been doing with my fitness goals. I think I’ve been making good progress, even though a couple of the weeks I’ve felt like all I’ve done is exercise but it’s felt good…some days sore but overall good. I’ve made it to every one of my personal training appointments and an extra day for the independent arm workout he gave me to do each week. I am back up to running almost two miles consistently. Discovered my asthma is resurfacing a bit but picked up an inhaler to keep on hand this week – I’m not letting anything hold me back! I’ve been exercising consistently three times a week this month. Even went with a friend to check out a local yoga studio last week…heading back this Sunday for a family class (getting the kiddo involved!) It feels amazing getting back to regular exercising. Not only is it getting my body in shape and giving me more energy but it’s proving to be great quality time with some of my friends too – working out with a pal is always more fun!

So down to the blogging progress:

I’ve posted 18 posts in the 22 days so far.

My blog website has had 1,989 blog views and 1,069 visitors. Looks like I’m going to be down from my goal in blog views for the month based on daily averages but still happy with my progress.

Exceeded my goal in Facebook Page Likes – at 1,516 as of today which is up 247 from the end of last month.

Grew my Instagram Followers so far by 148, and my Twitter followers by 129.

Launched a blog Instagram Account and built my Facebook Page for my coming boutique.

I got three sponsorship opportunities. They were on trade but it’s still a start!

I still have seven days to go and I’m really excited to see how I wrap up the month. Good things are coming! “Focus on what is important to you and everything else will fall into place.”

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5 Easy Ways to Promote your Blog

Ready to get your blog out in front of more people? Here’s five ways that I’ve tried and are true to help grow your audience and increase your blog traffic.

  1. Promote on Social Media
    • Build a Facebook Page to share your content with. By sharing my content consistently I was able to grow my Facebook Page from 174 followers to 1313 followers in less than a year.
    • Don’t be afraid to share some of your work on your personal Facebook Page too.
    • Share on Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon and Instagram. 28% of my blog traffic comes from Pinterest, 17% comes from StumbleUpon, and 13% comes from Facebook. I just started promoting my blog on my Instagram account but I know several other bloggers that have had great success with Instagram.
  2. Join Share Groups – This is a great way to connect with other bloggers and to promote your content. These groups work as a share program – you share their work and they share yours. I have founds some wonderful groups on Facebook and Pinterest.
  3. Guest post on another blog – Building relationships with other bloggers is a wonderful way to expand your following and audience. Partner up with like-minded bloggers and swap guest posts. The key to this is to promote both blog posts (yours and theirs).
  4. Promote your posts through an e-newsletter – This helps build more loyalty with your readers, keeps them coming back. It creates an easy way for your subscribers to connect with your blog and see new posts.
  5. Host a giveaway – Creating a giveaway is a wonderful engagement tip. People love to win stuff. Use this to collect new email subscribers and drive people to your blog and Social Media accounts. I grew my email subscriber list from 19 to 180 subscribers with the help of a giveaway.

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5 Super Easy & Fun Crafts To Do With The Kiddos This Summer

We all know the “I’m borrrrrreeeedddd” whines from the kiddos we get once school lets out. Here’s five super easy to pull together crafts to jump into.

1. Make a sun-melted crayon candle. – I did this one a couple weekends ago with my son. (You can check out my day here – A Day In My Life: Weekend Bliss & Tasks). Fill a jar, we used a vintage looking mason jar, with unwrapped crayons and add a wick. Set in the sun to melt.

2. Paint Pet Monster Rocks. – Collect some smooth rocks and paint in bright colors. Glue on googly eyes and paint on a mouth (and teeth if you desire!).

3. Feed the Birds. – Punch a hole in the end of an empty toilet paper roll and string through yarn, tying to make a loop. Cover the empty toilet paper roll in peanut butter and roll in birdseed. Hang from tree branches so the birds can feast!

4. Let go with Squirt Gun Painting. Place watercolor paper on the ground or pin to easels outside. Fill water guns with watercolor paints (mix with water). Squirt the paints onto the paper to create fun blasts of color.

5. Make Crazy Crayons. Unpeel the wrappers off the crayons and break into pieces. Fill small cake pans with broken crayons. Mix different colored crayons in the same tin to create fun colors. Place in oven at 150 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until melted. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, remove from pans.

Okay let’s see what you ideas you have! Link up your crafts and projects below:

 


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How to Keep Control of Your Inbox

I don’t know about you but the amount of emails I get in my inbox on a daily basis can easily swallow up my whole day. There’s an email for everything and from everyone now a days. I have email for the office, I have my personal email, I have my blogging email, we have messages from social media accounts – we are constantly being hit by numerous notes and communication. Keeping your inbox organized and in control will not only help you feel calmer but it will also improve your productivity. 

1.) Create folders – keeping organized folders will help you assign your messages to projects and tasks.

2.) Set up rules – in most email accounts you can set up rules that will send the email directly to the folders you have assigned them to. I find this especially helpful at the office.

3.) Unsubscribe to junk mail – if it isn’t information that is relevant to you don’t allow it to clog up your inbox.

4.) Use programs to manage promotional emails – I use unroll.me. I’ve been using this for a few years and I love it. It collects all of the emails I assigned to it into one place and then I receive one daily email to link to it.

5.) Set designated times to check emails – schedule out email time to allow you to review your emails. I check my emails once in the morning, at lunch, and in the evening. Though this doesn’t work for me for when I’m in the office because our prime communication method is email this is great for my personal and blog email accounts. This keeps me from getting stuck reading email after email and losing track of time.

How To Stay Positive & Full of Passion as a Blogger

” The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”  ~ Socrates

Blogging takes a lot of work, a lot of energy, time, creativity, and focus. It can be wearing but it has such a rewarding end result. I have been blogging for a little over six years now and I have had my ups and my downs. I have learned through trial and error and I have also had more growth in the past few months than I’ve ever expected. I’ve found that the key to my success is to keep my head up, stay positive, and to stay inspired. 

Find what works for you but if blogging is your dream never give up. You will always be learning and growing and that is what makes blogging such a wonderful career, there is always room to grow and more to share! 

Happy Blogging <3