Fall 2018 Guide: What Works Now For Bloggers

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Last month I started a brand new blog for two reasons. 

  1. As a fun passion project 
  2. As a case study to help teach you what is working now for new bloggers 

If you want to learn more about why I started my second blog you can here.

This month has honestly been a blast as I was transported back to my days as a new blogger. I got giddy the first time more than 10 people were on my site at once and when I made a $.91 sale on Amazon. It was so fun to celebrate these victories with my family as we’d cheer and give a round of high-fives. 

When starting I tried to set reasonable expectations for myself. I’m in the third trimester of a high-risk pregnancy and I knew that I would have to be patient with myself.

But I’ve gotta say even with a middle of the night ER visit and what feels like a million doctors appointments I am super happy with this first month's results! 

In this post, I am going to break down exactly what I did and what is working now for bloggers. 

If you haven’t started a blog yet you can check out my step-by-step guide here. 

Results

Now before I dig into what I did, what I ignored and my recommendations, you probably want to know how things actually went, right? 

Here is a quick recap of the blogs results in its first 30 days: 

Within 30 days my Pinterest account had over half a million monthly viewers. Meaning my pins came up in someone's feed over half a million times! Pretty crazy! 

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The amount that showed on my account at the one month mark was 519.3k monthly viewers, but there is a bit of a delay and usually is about a week behind. 

By the 30 day mark, I’d hit 735.5k monthly viewers. Almost ¾ of a million viewers and increased my impressions by over 2,500%!

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When I shared some of these stats over in my Facebook group Blogging Newbs I was asked a few times, okay so that is great, but how did it result in actual pageviews to my blog? 

In the first 30 days of my blog, I hit just shy of 21,000 page views. Not too shabby! When I started this site it took me about 3 months to hit that number. 

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A few other fun things happened a few days after the 30-day mark. 

On day 33 I received my first product review request. It totally fit within my brand, but I’m not taking it right now because I’m hyper-focused on the type of content I am releasing on the site right now. 

On day 34 I hit 25,000 sessions which meant I could apply for MediaVine! MediaVine is a full-service ad management company. A lot of bloggers when they switch from Google Adsense to Mediavine see an increase of 2-3x in their ad revenue. 

I haven’t chosen to use ads here on Moms Make Cents, but I plan to have that be one of the pieces in Today Mommy’s monetization plan so I am super excited to get to be able to be a part of that network. 

Now that we’ve covered our bases lets jump into what I did. 

Things I totally ignored

Now I don’t want to discredit any of the things I am listing below - but I wanted to show you that you don’t have to do everything to be successful or get traffic. 

Social Media - 

Facebook - 

I did pretty much nothing there...I used Post Planner’s repeat feature to start sharing my new posts on my Facebook page, but that’s it. 

Facebook can be a really important platform - but the reach just isn’t as good as Pinterest (which I will talk more about later!). 

I may dedicate more time to this later, but when you are short on time this is one that I think you can skip in the beginning. 

Twitter - 

This is almost the exact same as with Facebook. I set up posts to loop via Post Planner and then pretty much ignored it. 

I do recommend that you reserve your accounts to make sure that you have the handle/name that you want, but this is definitely something to come back to later. 

Instagram - 

Poor Instagram...I’ve completely ignored it. Not even posted once. I claimed the handle I wanted and then I’ve just let it sit there - but that is okay! Like I said you don’t have to do ALL the things! 

In the future, I plan to dedicate some time to grow my presence on Instagram because I know it is a key factor in collaborating with brands and getting sponsored posts - but right now isn’t the time. 

Email - 

I am a HUGE proponent for email. I have made a lot of my blogging income directly from my email list so it may seem surprising that for now, I’ve skipped it. 

With the site being so new I am waiting to see what my audience is most responsive to before I start creating opt-ins and taking the time to email my list. 

I do know that when I launch my email list for Today Mommy it will be heavily segmented so that I’m sending targeted information to my subscribers. 

Things I focused on

Content  - 

By now you’ve probably heard that content is king in blogging. You need to have high-value content to share with your readers. 

On Today Mommy I aimed to have longer posts on my site. The shortest posts are around 800-900 words while I have a couple posts that are over 2,000 words. 

Having super helpful, in-depth posts results in more shares and engagement. 

I also wanted multiple pieces that I could promote right off the bat. I launched the blog with 10 posts and then continued posting three times a week on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule. While I don’t plan on keeping up on that forever, my goal has been to get to 50 posts as quickly as I can. 

At this rate that puts me at 50 posts right around the end of September/early October when baby #2 is due. 

Pinterest

Pinterest these days is favoring NEW pins. This can be pins for new blog posts, new graphics for old posts, or even old graphics with new descriptions. 

I created a TON of pins so that I would have lots of “fresh” content to share. When I launched I created three pins per post. 

I created some Pinterest graphic templates in Canva to speed up the creation process and went about my merry way :) 

Now a couple of weeks in I started playing around with some new pin styles to see what would perform the best. Two of the three original Pinterest graphic templates I have now stopped using because they didn’t seem to take off as well as the other one + the new pins I was creating. 

That is why testing is so important! Analyze what is working and what is not and then make improvements! 

Group Boards

Now I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter about Facebook groups. Are they dead? Should we leave them? How are we going to get traffic now? 

I wanted to use this as an opportunity to test it out myself and see what is really working now - even with a brand new account. 

This Pinterest account I started from scratch literally 0 followers, 0 pins, 0 boards. 

Before applying to group boards I made sure that I had a professional looking profile. I added my headshot, a bio, boards with thoughtful descriptions, high-quality pins, etc. 

I also didn’t apply for the group boards until the day that my blog actually launched, because who would want to add a blogger that has no content on their site? A lot of group board owners will want to look at your site so they can evaluate your quality to see if it matches that of the board. 

However, before I launched there were still things I could do to prepare.

I put together a big spreadsheet of all of the group boards that I wanted to request to join. By the time I launched, I had at least 100 group boards on the list. Then on launch day, I set out sending emails and Pinterest messages requesting to join. 

I recommend creating a long list of group boards because not everyone will add you and that is okay!

Some people only add contributors once a month, some have let the group board go in-active, or some may just feel you aren’t a good fit. Don’t take it personally! Just keep looking for new groups to join! 

Group Boards vs. Personal Boards

There has been a lot of talk about favoring personal boards over group boards. In my experience, I’ve still gotten great results from a lot of the group boards that I’ve joined as long as they are niche specific. 

For example: A group board that is focused on pregnancy called Pregnancy Tips For Moms is going to get a lot more action than a general board like “Pin Your Best Posts.” For me, the reach on those generic has been pretty dismal and is probably not worth it. 

Personal boards are super important right now too! You want to create targeted niche personal boards with highly relevant pins and board descriptions. 

Three out of five of my top boards on my profile in the first 30 days were my PERSONAL boards. Only two of them were group boards - even though those group boards had thousands more followers than my tiny new account. Don’t ignore your personal boards. 

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Tailwind

For this site, I’ve been doing about 90% of my pinning with Tailwind with a little bit of manual pinning mixed in there and it has been working great. 

I love using Tailwind to schedule my pins super fast via Board Lists and using their analytics to see what is working on my account. 

You can get a free trial of Tailwind here. 

I also have a whole other post that explains how to get started with Tailwind if you are new and need some insights on how to navigate the platform. 

Check out: How To Use Tailwind To Skyrocket Your Traffic. 

Tailwind Tribes

Another area of Tailwind that I’ve been diving into is tribes. These function sort of like group boards in that a bunch of collaborators come together and share their pins.

However, when you share to a tribe it doesn’t automatically share to everyone's followers. People can pick and choose which pins they want to pin. 

Most of the tribes I’ve been a part of have a rule where for every 1 of your pins you share you need to share someone else's. This is an awesome way for you to get your content in front of a new audience. 

As a Tailwind user, you be a part of five tribes and share up to 30 pins per month. If you want to join more tribes or share more pins you can purchase a power-up starting at about $5 a month. 

Click here to grab your free trial of Tailwind & Tailwind Tribes. 

Using tribes was crucial for me getting some shares from bigger bloggers in that niche early on. 

To find tribes to join. Go to the “Tribes” button on the left-hand side of the screen and then “Find A Tribe.” From there you can either search for a keyword or select a certain category. 

From there, some tribes are open for you to join and others you will need to request access to join. If you want to leave a tribe later to join another you can totally do that too - so don’t worry about committing to a tribe early on! 

Do Followers Matter?

This is another Pinterest question that I am asked all of the time - and the answer is...it depends. 

It seems like Pinterest keeps changing its mind about followers. For a while, it was pretty easy to gain followers and a lot of your traffic was dependent on your followers. Then they changed things up and it got harder to get followers and it was more Pinterest SEO focused.

Now it seems like they have settled somewhere in between. 

Recently Pinterest came out with a “Following” tab where users can go to ONLY see content from accounts/boards that they follow. 

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This is not the primary feed that they see, but they can click over to that tab and view just the pins from the people they follow. Pinterest is all about user experience so they want to give them that option! 

To help grow your followers you can use a plugin like Milotree that encourages blog viewers to follow your Pinterest account. 

Now don’t worry if you are a brand new blogger with a tiny new account! There is still hope for you. It’s called Pinterest SEO. 

Pinterest SEO

In this post I cover 7 ways to improve your Pinterest SEO, but here is the gist of it. 

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and Pinterest works like a search engine. You need to add relevant keywords and terms to your boards, pins, and descriptions so Pinterest can understand what your pin is about and show it to the right people. 

The biggest thing to remember is KEYWORDS! 

Think of a few keywords that are relevant to your post that you would want to come up for in Pinterest’s search. Then take those words and make sure they are in the name of your blog post, your Pinterest description, and even better if they are in the name of the board you pin your pin to + in its board description. 

Always pin your pins to the most relevant board first. Usually, this is going to be one of your personal boards first. 

So for example, if I was pinning my pin about natural ways to induce labor I would pin it first to my board Labor & Delivery Tips. From there I would probably pin it to my Pregnancy Tips board and to a few other relevant boards before scheduling it via Tailwind to my niche group boards. 

This helps tell Pinterest early on that it is related to Labor & Delivery and Pregnancy. Then hopefully as other pinners pin it they will pin it to other similarly keyworded boards to strengthen that keyword to Pinterest. 

Helpful Resources

Getting started can be overwhelming, but here are some resources to help ease the process! 

Courses: 

Mom Blogging Mentor Ebook: This is my 170+ page ebook that walks you through the steps of how to effectively start your blog. Everything from choosing your niche, setting up your theme, monetization and more! 

 

Mom Blogging Mentor Ebook + Course: If you want a little more guidance grab the ebook + course bundle! You will get the ebook + the course that has over 40 lessons, bonuses, and worksheets. This is the most affordable in-depth option out there! 

 

Pin to Profits: My five-course bundle goes way in-depth with over 80 lessons, worksheets, and bonuses that will teach you how to effectively grow your traffic income and subscribers.

This is so much more than a Pinterest course. You'll also learn about affiliate marketing, building successful email funnels, and how to scale your business (& income!)! 

Tools: 

Canva: Canva is a free graphic editing software that I use to create my Pinterest graphics. They have free stock photos, tons of font choices, and you can save your templates to go back to later. 

PicMonkey: I have used PicMonkey for almost 7 years now! They are another great photo editing tool that has a few more photo editing capabilities than Canva.

You can check out PicMonkey here. 

Tailwind: I’d seriously be lost without Tailwind. I can literally schedule a pin to all of my relevant group boards in less than 30 seconds. It is a huge timesaver and a must-have resource for anyone that wants to grow on Pinterest.

You can get a free trial of Tailwind here. 

Post Planner: This is a lifesaver when it comes to keeping fresh content on the other social platforms while you focus on Pinterest. They have super affordable plans starting at less than $10 a month. Their content recycling feature is worth that alone! 

Milotree: If want a way to increase your Pinterest followers check out the Milotree app. You also can use this to grow your email subscribers and followers on different social platforms. 

JQuery Plugin: Make sure that you have a “Pin it” or “Save it” button on your website so it is easy for your readers to share. The one that I use is called JQuery and it is free! 

SiteGround: If you haven’t started your blog yet, but want to or if your site is running slow (which can tank your traffic) definitely check out SiteGround. I am using their hosting to run my Today Mommy site and I have been super impressed.

Click here to check out SiteGround or here to view a tutorial on how to set up your hosting. 

Phew! I think that is a new record for the longest post ever here on Moms Make Cents! I hope it was helpful to you and answered your questions about what is working for new bloggers right now. 

If you enjoyed this post please share! 

 
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