I have been blogging for three years now and only started looking at my blog as a business in the past 6 months. The past 6 months have been a whirlwind as I have tripled my pageviews and income in just one year.
I took an established blog and more than tripled the income and doubled the page views. I work 15-20 hours a week and make a full-time income that is putting us on track to pay off our mortgage in 7 years.
This isn’t to brag. This is to share with you that these things have completely changed my blogging game for me, and they can be for you.
The chart above shows my sessions from last year in light green to this year in dark green. You can see that the end of the year is a big increase in traffic for me when everyone is looking for a deal. So many times, I thought I had to be more like a blogger, but sometimes even just charting out your progress shows you that you are doing just fine. This chart helped me see the growth in just a year, only working 15 hours a week.
If you are thinking about starting a blog or have just started one, I have 12 resources for you that are key to helping you launch a blog as a business and give you a steady income.
Have a Good Hosting Company
Bluehost is best for beginners; know that you may want to switch to a different hosting company as your site grows. I’m talking way up there in the page views 100,000 and more.
You probably hear mixed reviews on it, but personally, I have never had a problem. My site had issues when I was using a free theme and plugins that I had no idea what they would do.
Learn How to Increase Facebook Traffic
Facebook is a great tool to increase your traffic and earn a steady income. When I started my first coupon blog, all my traffic was from Facebook. However, things aren’t as easy as sharing a post on your page and seeing many people visit your blog.
There are specific strategies that are extremely useful. Unfortunately, algorithms make a program and frustrate business owners trying to utilize that platform for traffic.
I have found Groups to be a great way to engage and get traffic to your website. Of course, it’s a lot harder than it used to be, but keeping your group engaged is key.
Here are some of my Facebook groups:
Get your own Unique Font
I love the package deals at Creative Market. If you want to set your images apart, it is nice to use a font that isn’t common. I even got some amazing themes through this site as well.
When I started blogging, I used Canva, but boy, was I NOT really using Canva. Having a high-quality image is a must. When it comes to Pinterest and Instagram, it’s the picture that sells. Picmonkey is another wonderful choice.
Use Stock Photos
Starting as a coupon blogger, I would Google whatever product I was looking for and use that image. The problem with coupon bloggers is those little images are not high quality. Since I started using stock photos and my brother’s photos, an amazing photographer, traffic, and Pinterest growth have changed drastically.
Use Instagram Scheduler
I needed something for my Instagram page, and many other bloggers recommended Planoly, and I couldn’t be more impressed with it. In tSo the month of April, I am working on my Instagram page.
I think I have a handle on Facebook for my coupon blog, but I find myself not scrolling through my feed anymore and drawn over to Instagram.
Seriously, have you checked out the Home decor blogs Instagram accounts? It’s like a super version of Pinterest. I’m over there now, getting all my inspiration. Not to mention how fun it is following Joanna Gaines Instagram account.
Use Social Media Scheduler
I’m a one-woman show running two blogs. I can’t be online 24/7. In the beginning, I was so discouraged and exhausted from sharing my coupon deals with multiple Facebook groups and pages. Now I use Buffer to schedule all my posts out.
Down the road, I may look into the popular CoScheduler, but right now, the cost isn’t enticing me to try it. On the other hand, the buffer is affordable, and I ended up paying $100 for the entire year for 10 social media accounts. Buffer also has the option to post to your Instagram account, and I used that one for a while.
Books to Read
I love Ruth. When I read anything from her, I can tell she is humble. Other books I have read give you the impression just here to make money. If you are just starting your blogging career, I highly recommend this book. I read this book in year two of blogging, and it was a super quick read for me.
I had already come across a lot of the information, but if you are new, read this first instead of spending hours and hours on the internet from one site to the next.
If you are starting a blog, this book will be beneficial even in your first year. If you are a blogger and have Googled every little thing, you may already know many of these strategies. The price is reasonable, and it’s nice to have all these strategies laid out in front of you with real-life experience of how they worked for her.
This is a game-changer for me on my site. Since switching to Convertkit, I finally feel like I am getting somewhere with emails. Even though the price is a bit higher, I just love the results of sticking with it. I view sending my emails like a little personal blurb to my subscribers with the latest posts and the one post I want to highlight.
I have thought about switching it to Mailerlite, but I am so happy with the results; I feel like at this point, why ruin a good thing?! So I use MailerLite here on FFG and Convertkit on MyBJsWholesale.
UPDATE: Convertkit was killing my budget for what I needed it. I now use Flodesk for all of my websites and love it. Plus, if you sign up through my link here, it’s $19 a month for unlimited subscribers.
Write Headlines that Convert
Until I started really looking at my headlines and using strategies that include power words in every headline, I didn’t get much traction on Pinterest or Facebook. Once I started making an effort to write better headlines, things changed for the better.
This is still one of my weaker points; even in college studying Journalism, it just didn’t come naturally for me when it came to editing and headlines. Thankfully, if it doesn’t work for you either, we have some free tools to use.
- Use CoScheduler Headline Analyzer
- Jon Morrow opened my eyes and has a 52 Headlines Hack Cheat Sheet
- Internet Marketing Free Headline Creator
Use Tailwind for Pinterest Scheduling
Pinterest is a nice referrer for traffic for many lifestyle blogs. Of course, like all social media, they have algorithms, and you don’t want to be just pinning your own stuff. Tailwind makes scheduling your pins much easier. Pinterest approves tailwind, so the word on the street gives your pins favor, but I have no idea how true that is. I use Tailwind.
Don’t be afraid to put ads on your blog right away. Google AdSense is an easy one to start with. Many people have ad blockers if they hate ads, and EVERY website/blog you visit has ads now.
Why not add the ads and see what they will do for you. My tip is to try different places on your website.
Don’t just put them in a spot and then in three months see they made you $0.06. Instead, move them around and see where they work best.
- If you want to skip Google Adsense and make more money starting out- sign up with Ezoic. I switched my third blog here to it- and in a few days I’ve made more than Adsense.
Oh, did I copy and paste my way through my one website coding class? In college, the only courses I cared about were my Journalism ones. So plugins are my best friend.
Although you don’t want too many plugins, they can cause your site issues and decrease your site speed. I have a list that I also shared in my Ultimate Guide to Start a blog post here.
Here are my top plugins to use/try for yourself:
Akismet spam protection for your blog
BackupBuddy backup your blog’s database for an extra layer of protection
Wordfence Security protects your site against hackers.
Yoast SEO optimizes your website and articles for Search Engine Optimization (SEO); this is an easy way to get your site found when people use a search engine such as Google.
Grammarly– This is a must-have to help you with spelling and grammar. I have it in my Chrome bar, so even on social media, emails always correct my grammar!
WP Smush- This plugin will compress and optimize image files, improve performance and boost your SEO rank.
That’s it for today! Share any feedback you have or questions.