How my approach to blogging helped me earn thousands per month in passive income; how I prioritized learning about data; and committed to doing what my audience wanted.
I’m feeling called to write about this lately as an act of gratitude for all that I’ve had in my life as a result of… my blog.
I’m going to admit that I used to carry a bit of guilt around it – because being ‘just a blogger’ wasn’t something that I had ever aspired to do or be and, for a time, I let myself feel small because of it.
I also let others make me feel small – but that is entirely my own doing.
Today I want to talk about the steps I took in the early stages of growing my lifestyle blog that contributed to its overall success – both in terms of blog growth and in terms of revenue and income.
My guess is that after this post, it will make sense to write another about all the millions of things I did wrong – because trust me, I made lots of mistakes… that I’m still working on fixing!
But here it goes –
Blogging is a fabulous way to bring interested people into your business, basically for free. In the business, we call this Organic Traffic and it’s like the holy grail of growing your business.
It’s the kind of traffic you get simply by creating strategic content that the Internet (and your ideal client) likes to read and engage with.
You don’t need paid ads or a PR strategy to get organic traffic. You just need to start thinking a little differently about how you can create something that will grow over time.
Here are some of the key things I did very early on in my blogging career that set me up for ultimate success with organic traffic generation:
In the early days, I set a schedule and stuck to it no matter what
Sort of like what I’m doing now with this blog series on this site. I committed to blogging come what may.
If I was doing a DIY Project that failed, or was half-way finished, I’d write about that. I’d write about the lessons I’d learned at the halfway point and the reasons I thought the project failed.
Strategically, what this was doing for me was two-fold.
Committing to blogging establishes a working muscle in your mind and body where you start to think like a blogger. You’ll hear yourself say things like ‘that’s a post!’
It also creates a critical mass of content on your site that can be used to increase technical credibility like domain authority, SEO back and interlinking and, of course, my favourite Pinterest content.
I owned my site as soon as possible
Still to this day, clients will come to me with a blog on a free platform like Blogger or WordPress.com and I will insist they switch to a blogging platform they own and completely control.
I switched to a self-hosted WordPress site for DIY Passion as soon as humanly possible. Yes, there is a cost involved, which, in the beginning is low.
And you need to have the capability to control your entire site if you are going to fully monetize it. That’s just the way this works. You need to make the commitment and spend the money in order to make the money.
Platforms that I have had blogs on and work with clients on include:
I do not recommend Wix for blogging – but that’s a whole different can of worms.
I learned about analytics as soon as possible
I made a point to install Google Analytics and learn how to run and read a basic report.
Without the ability to understand who is visiting your site, you will have no strategy to monetize. And while the idea of learning GA is frightening to some, recent updates to the platform have made it super simple to understand.
If you are nervous about INSTALLING Google Analytics, then I encourage you you to follow some basic tutorials and install it yourself before seeking out assistance. You can do it!
I host an Intensive blogging program called The Blog Academy and in it, we go through the basics of installing these essential components on your site.
But why is it important to read your analytics? Because that is how you know what content is working and what your readers’ behaviour is! Then you can duplicate that content in a meaningful way to grow your audience.
Note: I also recommend learning the companion to Google Analytics, which is called Google Search Console. This is the tool that will help you see what search terms people are using to get to your site. This is invaluable information when you decide to crank up the strategic content creation.
I installed, or in some cases invested in, plug-ins that made sharing and reading my content easier
Because the best way to grow your blog organically is to have other people share your stuff. In the beginning the plug-ins and tools to add things like Related Posts and side bar suggestions were TERRIBLE. But overtime, they have become better and better.
(You can see a great example of how a plug-in will add Related Posts to a blog at the bottom of THIS post. I use a Related Posts plug-in that scans the rest of my content to insert thumbnail images of content you’ll probably like based on the fact that you’re reading this blog).
Plug-ins that you should consider installing (WordPress only)
I went all in on Pinterest and SEO very early on
I just knew that I didn’t like growing my page using Facebook and Instagram. Neither of those places feels good to me. AND my Analytics started to show that my content did really well on Pinterest and Google.
So once I had the inkling in my heart and the data to back it up – I went all in on both of those platforms and started to crank out content to feed them first.
What did this look like?
Creating a separate and robust Pinterest strategy that we still use on DIY Passion to this day. We have tweaked it over time to adapt to some of the changes on the platform and we have experienced lulls in traffic – but overall the general strategy still works and is easy to implement.
Note: I no longer run the Pinterest strategy for that site. I have hired out. But the woman who does the work runs the same strategies that I use. I am running the Pinterest strategy for this site myself because it’s still growing.
Learning to write for SEO
This is a hard nut to crack for most bloggers, but once you crack it, it’s a skill you will have that will serve you very well.
I have taken three in-depth mastermind style programs on writing for SEO. I’ve also taken an intensive on User Design when it comes to page scrolling and keeping people on your site.
I started to implement all of that knowledge on DIY Passion and watched some key posts skyrocket in the Google rankings.
Now, is this a rapid growth tactic? No. It’s not. It can take up to 90 days to see any results of SEO work in terms of traffic, and even then, you can easily be outranked by a competitor.
But the traffic overtime is worth it. This is the type of writing that will give you a solid base of ORGANIC traffic to your site.
Why are Google and Pinterest blog readers so great?
I’ll just finish for now by answering this question! Readers who land on your site or blog from either Google or Pinterest (and to a certain extent Youtube) are great because they have what we call Searcher’s Intent.
They have actively told a search engine their problem by typing it into the search bar and your content has been served up as the solution.
They WANT to read what you have to say and when people arrive on your site in that frame of mind, they are more likely to engage with you.
Have I covered everything I’ve ever done to grow my site in this post? No way! But I’ll continue to share my strategies with you and invite you to consider new ways of telling Stories that can (and will!) impact your businesses bottom line.
Blogging is a fabulous way to bring interested people into your business, basically for free.
If you want to deepen your understanding and unlock the PROCESS for creating content that works for your business and for your personal brand, jump into Stories for a Year.
I created this program to be accessible, affordable and super useful for anyone who feels stuck and in the starting blocks when it comes to content creating and story.
In Stories for a Year, you’ll get:
Stories for a Year is your incredible blogging and content creation resource to get you beyond that blinking cursor!