Here we go!! My monthly reflection of everything I did, how much I got paid and my successes and struggles as a fairly newish blogger. For those who are new to my income reports, welcome! I’ve been blogging for a year and a half and I am now starting to see results! This month will focus on how to grow blog traffic with Pinterest and sponsored posts. Struggles I like to get the hardest part out of the way first because then I get to leave you with lots of good news. Dollar Store Days of Summer From my previous traffic reports, you know that I like to plan one big viral post each month. I choose my viral post based on what my audience on Facebook responds to. I noticed that every time I posted someone else’s article about dollar store hacks, it went crazy on my Facebook page. One roundup post (a collection of lots of other bloggers’ work) of kid’s activities from the dollar store had a similar gigantic response. I thought, Yes! This is brilliant! I can create my own activities, publish one each day and then compile them all into one fabulous post that will shared around the internet! Brilliant! Dollar Store Days of Summer was meant to be my big series. I promoted it for two weeks prior to publishing on Facebook by using paid ads. I created a separate email list on Mail Chimp so that new readers could sign up to receive a kids activity every day using only dollar store materials. From that promotion, I gained about 45 new subscribers which was really significant for my then list of 150. When I published, the response was “meh.” The posts are still doing ok on Pinterest. They generate about 30 new visits a day, but that’s as a group of 11 posts. Some perform way better than others which is to be expected. Overall, I’m very happy I did the series. My main takeaway is that my material probably wasn’t original enough. It was too much a rehashing of what other bloggers did before me. Income I made a huge decision this past month and it has effected my income dramatically. I’ve decided not to take on any more sponsored posts unless I am truly passionate about the product or company. I want to maintain my integrity and while this may seem like a very harsh way to put it, its true. How will anyone believe a word a say if I put my voice behind every product that pays me good money? I’m banking on my lack of income now translating into more integrity and success later on. That said, I am still working with brands. I have a few campaigns coming up (in fact one I am announcing on Monday) that I am SUPER excited about! That’s the level of enthusiasm I want now with every sponsored post I take on. Successes Pinterest! At a recent blogger meetup, one of the speakers told […]
Hello! This is becoming one of my favorite times of month because it’s allowing me to reflect on what went well and make plans for the future. As a beginning blogger, I searched for the secrets of growing my blog’s traffic. I found many bigger bloggers who published blogger income reports but I couldn’t find any information about how they started nor how they even reached a bazillion page views a month. I plan to someday be one of those bloggers. But for now, here’s how I’m faring. To read it from the beginning, find my previous reports on my Blogging Resources Page. This month, I focused on three things: Creating a consistent style for Whimsicle Re-creating my viral posts Advertising on Facebook Creating a Consistent Style I mentioned in my April Blog Income and Traffic report that I enrolled in Elite Blog Academy. I’m loving it and I’m seeing huge improvements in my site because of it. This month, I overhauled the hero images of 40 posts to make them more marketable and visually appealing. First, I made a list of all my quality content that performed well in the past. Then, I redid the images for these posts. I rebranded the hero images with the three fonts I’ve chosen to represent Whimsicle found in PicMonkey (affiliate link). I also re-edited some of my old photos to brighten them up and re-crop. Canva was my lifesaver in this process! If I didn’t have a good hero image, I purchased one from Canva. You can see an example of the changes I made from the two hero images below.The one on the left is cute, but it’s a tad dark and the text isn’t consistent with the rest of site. I replaced it with a stock image and my fonts. The picture on the right is brighter, cropped closer and overall more visually appealing. Yep, I did this with close to 40 pictures. Blogging is work. Re-creating viral posts In my previous blogging reports, I shared that I found that my posts about kids activities in the Phoenix area performed extremely well. I replicated this kind of post with “30 Affordable Activities in Phoenix this Summer.” See how it did below. Facebook Ads When I saw the response to “30 Affordable Activities in Phoenix in Summer”, I decided to purchase a Facebook ad to promote it further mostly because this post is monetized with my POGO Pass affiliate link. I wanted more people to visit my site and buy a POGO pass. I set my budget at $5 a day. Facebook only charges you if people respond to your call to action. For me, this was clicking the ad to view the post. POGO Pass sales did increase this month. The ad also attracted 120 new Facebook fans this month which is huge for me. Pageviews Now that you know all the work I’ve put in, here’s the result in page views. Two other major events happened in May: One of my posts, What Real Moms Look […]
As a beginning blogger, I searched for the secrets of growing my blog’s traffic. I found many bigger bloggers who published blogger income reports but I couldn’t find any information about how they started nor how they even reached a bazillion page views a month. I plan to someday be one of those bloggers. But for now, the origin story. I have good news! This month, I am in the black with a profit of $92.91. Compared with last month, you know this a step in the right direction. In this post, I’ll show you which posts brought in more traffic, divulge my income sources and expenses and discuss my general strategy moving forward. Pageviews Last month I had a huge viral post which resulted in over 3,000 pageviews in one day. I knew that April would not be as high as March. However, I am very happy with that 9,965 number because it is almost twice of what I was seeing in February. Two posts did very well for me this month. After my Spring Break Activities post hit big in March, my strategy is to do one local post a month focusing on activities that families can do with kids. This month, I compiled a list of Kid Friendly Restaurants that adults also enjoy. I shared this on all the local Facebook groups that I belong to and even though it didn’t hit 3,000 that first day, it performed well. The second high performing post, How to Create a Small Wardrobe, came together rather quickly. I knew my readers liked reading my Stitch Fix posts and I was playing with the idea of creating a minimalist wardrobe. I just didn’t know to structure it. Then, I saw a post from Dallas City Mom’s Blog explode on Facebook. The author threw out all of her clothing and created a “capsule wardrobe”. I thought a capsule wardrobe was a brilliant idea. I knew I had to get my post up fast when the topic was still relevant. So, I sorted through all my clothes, took pictures that afternoon and had the post go live the following morning. Although it didn’t quite have viral appeal, its been a steady source of traffic since it was published. Income Total Revenue: $667.90 Blog Her: $14.71 Google Adsense: $3.19 Sponsored Posts: $630 Pogo Pass Affiliate: $20 Expenses: 547.99 Ticket to Blended Conference: $123.99 Elite Blog Academy: $324.00 PO Box rental at UPS Store: $15.30 CoSchedule Plugin: $10 Other Expenses: $100 (I bought something for the blog and my friend gave me a killer deal) Total Profit: $92.91 Even though it shows that I earned $630 in sponsored posts. The work I did on those posts appeared on the blog in February, March and April. I just happened to get lucky and have all that money enter my bank account this month. As for expenses, I’ve shifted my focus to education and connections as a blogger. I heard so many wonderful things about the Elite Blog Academy that I signed up. […]
Want stress? Try networking. The prospect of networking used to really freak me out. Talk to people I don’t know? About what? Truth is… its incredibly easy to talk with someone about easy subjects: the weather, where they live, how old their kids are… But these are only surface questions. How do you really get to know someone? How do you find out if you connect with them as a friend or if you are a good fit with them in the business sense. Recently, I heard an amazing talk given by Chris Brogan, the CEO of Owner.Media at the Disney Social Media Moms Conference. Having a great conversation simply boils down to two questions. What are you working on right now that makes you really excited? (Think of a problem you are having) I’ve really been stuck with this. What would you do? Easy, right? Yes and no. If you are someone like me who simply had trouble even starting a conversation, these two questions delve deep and are a little off putting if you start a conversation with them. Since I am a huge fan of food, I like to think in terms of dinner courses for metaphors. Every conversation has an appetizer portion. Some convos never go past the appetizer. Its like tapas and a glass of wine and you are off. Appetizer questions show you are polite and welcoming, both necessary things, they just don’t have staying power. These are questions and comments like: This weather is gorgeous. Where are you from? Do you have kids? How many? How old are they? Boys or girls? What are you doing this weekend? Whose class is your son/daughter in? What’s your blog about? (This is always big for me at conferences) Politeness. Niceities. Some may lead to an interesting conversation. Most of the time you will find something you have in common, but usually they won’t lead to anything of substance. However, once you have discussed these easy topics for a few minutes and you decide that this person seems interesting and you want to know them better, you can ask: What are you working on that you are most excited about? The beauty about this question is that you can use it in a personal or a professional setting. You can discuss a project that the other person is working on around the house, maybe a hobby or maybe their career. This question is amazing because it gives your conversation partner a chance to brag in a very socially respected way. You did ask after all! Also, you can find out the coolest things going on in other people’s lives – future vacations, awesome hidden talents, cool people they know. It can really bring up a wealth of information that will keep the conversation going. I’m really stuck with this. What would you do? I love giving advice. Other people love giving advice too. With this question, you show that you value the other person’s experience as […]
The blogging conference. Your job is to make connections, generate new leads, and find new business. I attended MOM 2.0 Summit for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I admit, I was terrified. So many awesome and noteworthy brands… so many ways for me to make a fool of myself. I had no idea what to expect nor how to conduct myself in this sort of environment. Thankfully, MOM 2.0 hosted a newbie session where I asked my burning question, “Walk me through what a conversation with a brand would look like.” Amy Mascott of Teach Mama walked me through it and I used her technique the entire conference. It worked well because I hit every brand, found a few I totally identify with and am now actively pursuing some new partnerships. The basics are: Introduce yourself (be ready to tell about your blog in a short sentence or two if they ask what your blog is about) Find out as much as you can about the brand Exchange contact information Follow up. Let me walk you through it as well. I braved the marketplace during the morning keynote session on the first day. When I searched for a brand to approach, I tried to seek out the booths that didn’t have a big crowd around them at the time. As soon as I saw someone free, I went for it. “Hi, I’m JoAnn. I blog at Whimsicle.” “Hi JoAnn, nice to meet you, I’m _____. Have you heard about (insert business here)?” Usually, I responded with a “No.” or a “Yes, I love it”. The brand representative/ PR rep then launched into their prepared pitch about their product. At that time, they gave me a few samples, had me enter a contest, or do some activity. At MOM 2.0, LEGO let us build name badges out of the LEGO bricks, Vanity Fair fitted us for bras, Safety First had us tweet to win Safety First products. Kia let us drive their cars any where we pleased. They gave us the keys to @kia and said we could take it anywhere. Seriously! #kiamom #mom2summit A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on Apr 30, 2015 at 2:35pm PDT If I was genuinely interested in the brand and the representative had not yet discussed how they wanted to work with bloggers, I asked them: How are you looking to work with bloggers? They then gave me the rundown of everything available. Some possibilities were: sponsored posts reviews of products blog ambassadorships (write a certain number of posts about the brand) Then, I asked for a business card and gave them one of mine. I told them it was nice to meet them and then moved onto to the next booth. At a blogging conference, you are simply gathering information and meeting people face-to-face. As the popular saying goes, “the fortune is in the followup.” After the conference, I sent a follow-up email to each of my brand contacts saying that I enjoyed meeting them […]
The best thing about being a blogger is that you can work where you want and set your own hours. However, this also means a lot of isolation with not much of an opportunity to connect with others in your field (yes, I just called blogging a field). This is why the event we attended a few weeks ago was so amazing. The Arizona Blogger Meetup Group is a Facebook group that connects bloggers from all around the state of Arizona- although most are located in the Phoenix area. Once every few months, the leaders of the group host a meetup where we all get the chat (in-pers0n), eat delicious food, learn from other bloggers in fabulous education sessions and win incredible raffle prizes and swag. Photography in this post that does not appear as an Instagram is courtesy of Photography Hill. This meetup was held at the Shine space near downtown Phoenix. Immediately on entering, our lovely hosts greeted us and gave us truly spectacular swag bag! I didn’t know how amazing it was until I opened it at home. Those details later. The leaders of this event were the lovely Chrissy, Deidre, Kayla and Camille. Please click on their names to check out their amazing blogs! While mingling, we perused the fantastic giveaway table. My favorite was this beautiful necklace from To Adorn: And this one from DownEast Basics: I was not lucky enough to win either. However, I am now in search of a new chunky necklace. I haven’t decided if this is a good or bad thing. We were also treated to some delicious food. I loved these chocolate breads from Proof Bread. After some networking and trading of business cards, we got to pick from four classes that were to be offered for two sessions a piece. Megan and I decided to split up so that one of us could attend each class. My first class was on branding your blog , taught by Reachel of Cardigan Empire. She discussed the concept of being “smashable.” To explain this, she described a coke bottle. If you smashed a coke bottle against a wall, how small of a piece could you pick up and still be able to recognize it as part of a coke bottle? This also pertains to a blog. How small of a section could you look at from your blog and still tell that its yours? Are you consistent throughout? Are readers able to recognize your work, your writing, your photos if they look at only one post? To be smashable, you have to know exactly who you are, what you represent and who you are not. We were given a large list of adjectives and asked to circle five that describe our blog now, five that describe what we are not and five that describe where we would like to be. My second class was taught by Stephanie from Life Created. Stephanie gave us lots of tips for photo styling. I learned […]
We are thrilled to announce that Whimsicle has been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! This blogger award is given by bloggers to other fellow bloggers who keep the blogosphere a beautiful place. We are so very touched, inspired, and humbled to be nominated for ANY award, let alone for the wonderful qualities of this particular award. Once you get nominated, there are few rules to follow, which include: Thank the blogger who nominated you. (Thanks to Amie Jo at Life’s Little Projects for nominating us!) List the rules and display the award. Share 7 facts about yourself. Nominate other amazing blogs and comment on their blog to let them know you nominated them. Seven facts about Whimsicle: Megan and JoAnn are the beauties behind Whimsicle. Both are former teachers. At Whimsicle, we blog for moms and are always looking for guest writers to share their parenting adventures. We believe that family life should be enjoyable. With kids, it can also be a tad messy. Thus, our site is Whimsicle – spelled like Popsicle. Full of fun and slightly imperfect. Megan loves to go on vacation but always gets a nervous stomach and ends up sick upon arrival. JoAnn has run not one, not two, not three, but FOUR full marathons and three half marathons. Megan wants to be like JoAnn when she grows up. We love our fans! You are amazing and we are so happy to go through this crazy thing called motherhood with you! If you would like to know more about Megan and/or JoAnn, please visit our About Us page. We are excited to nominate ten of our fellow bloggers. Many are friends of Whimsicle and we added a sprinkle of our favorites, but all are amazingly beautiful (as well as their authors). And the nominees are: Sarah @ Neroli Blossoms Anne @ Under the Brella Jenna @ Apples to Ziti Holly Marie @ As Cute As a Bug’s Ear Angela @ Popsiculture Marily & Kathryn @ I Heart AZ Jennifer @ Unveiled Wife Sally @ I Take Joy Sarah Mae @ Sarah Mae Charity @ The Wounded Dove Congratulations to all of Whimsicle’s nominees and thank you again to Amie Jo at Life’s Little Projects for nominating us. Because of you ladies we are all able to keep the blogosphere a beautiful place!
If you are a blogger, we hope you will love this post and find it useful. If you are not a blogger, please check out some of our other posts such as: 6 Things You Need to Know About Having A Second Kid How to Make Healthy Ice Cream DIY Light Sabers Perusing blogs one day, I noticed that many bloggers offered readers a free printable for subscribing to an email list. I thought this was genius! But I was stuck on how to make it happen. Through this short tutorial, I will teach you how to give your readers a free printable/ e-book/ resource when they subscribe to your email list through MailChimp.