A few weeks ago, I sent a question in my “five for Friday” email to for-profit blogging insiders that asked if anyone wanted to work with me one on one.
One person who reached out was Jenna, from AtHomeWithKids.com. She agreed that I could write about our conversation so you can all learn from her. My advice is tailored toward Jenna specifically, but if you’re ready to kick your blog into high gear, I’d love to hear from you.
Blog Coaching Client Jenna’s Goal: Replace her Salary Using Her Blog
We started by talking about Jenna’s background. She’s a teacher, taking time off to be a stay-at-home mom to three kids. She started her blog in 2016 as a creative outlet and a way to help parents connect with their kids throughout our hectic lives.
Her writing is lovely, and she tells stories in a way that I felt like I was sitting in her living room.
Things Jenna is Doing Right
There’s a lot to love about Jenna’s site. Her sidebar tells you who she is and makes you feel welcome. Her blog posts are easy on the eyes (meaning you can scan them and read them), and her target is clear. Here are the four things Jenna’s already doing right:
1. Posting Consistently and Finding her Voice
Jenna’s posting new content two to three times a week, which is great for so many reasons. It’ll help the search engines find her, it’ll give people somewhere else to go when they come to read one post, and, most importantly, it’ll help her figure out what she wants to write about. There’s no real way to figure any of this out ahead of time. Where’s the intersection between what lights your fire and what people want to see? Only one way to find out! Keep up the great work, Jenna.
2. Creating Content that Helps People
Her posts all have a point, which is both important and overlooked, especially when we’re first starting out. It’s easy to think that your blog is an extension of your diary, and people will want to read whatever pops into your head, but that simply isn’t true. Jenna either knew that ahead of time or figured it out at the beginning, which is impressive. When you write a blog post, always consider your reader. What will they get out of reading this? If you can find something of value, even something like laughing at a story from your life, that the reader will take away, your post is much more likely to be shared than if you’re sitting down to ramble, and put a title up that says something like, “Tuesday Thoughts.”
3. Focusing on Monetization
Jenna has taken a few courses (she didn’t mention which ones) about monetization, and she said that she tries to make every third post an affiliate post. Her affiliate posts range from in-depth reviews of a product or service (see her post on Republic Wireless here) to interviews with course designers (see her post on Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing here). So far, she’s seeing returns, but, of course, she’d like to see more. Her primary revenue source right now is affiliate marketing.
4. Focusing on Pinterest
She 10X’d her traffic in just over one month by working on her Pinterest profile. Want to grow your traffic using Pinterest, too? Read this guide to get started. We didn’t talk about the specific things Jenna worked on to get her traffic to spike, but she mentioned creating alternate pin styles and working with automation tools to bring more exposure to her posts.
Things Blog Coaching Client Jenna Needs to Work on
These four things are a strong foundation to lay. Now, let’s talk about the five things she needs to work on in order to level up.
1. Get a New Fancy Theme
Jenna was using a free theme, but I convinced her to take the leap and buy a premium theme. I forgot to take a screenshot of her home page before she started redoing her theme, but it already looks so much better! She’s using the Market Pro theme from StudioPress. For more on my stance on nicer themes, read “Why You Should Buy a Premium Theme for Your Blog.”
2. Create a Compelling Brand
I’ll get into this in more depth in an upcoming post, but every blogger needs a brand. And what’s more, every blogger has a brand … even if they didn’t define it themselves. The images you put on Facebook. The links you retweet on Twitter. The colors you use in your website. They’re all components of your brand, and it’s worth taking the time to define your brand thoughtfully instead of allowing it to come about by default will help you be seen around the internet. It’ll help people remember you and your website. If you want to go through the steps, there’s a new ebook in the shop: Guided Brand Discovery Workshop.
3. Start Thinking About Creating a Logo
Once she’s done the work creating her brand, a logo should come together more or less naturally. Logos are a great way to bring your name/website to the top of people’s minds.
4. Write a First Draft of an Ebook
When we talked about the different ways to monetize, I asked if Jenna was going to create a digital product. I’m a big fan of creating digital products, even though they’re not nearly as lucrative as affiliate marketing. But the big difference between creating something yourself vs. writing about someone else’s company is control. You control everything you own. So we brainstormed (okay, that’s overstating things a bit — Jenna already brainstormed an idea and had part of a rough draft done!) ideas for an ebook, and she said she’d have something by the next time we talk. Nothing is going to stop her.
5. Decide Whether it’s Time to Get Serious About Email
Jenna has taken #1000in30, but she’s not sure if she’s ready to make the switch. Why not? We talked about where she is on the “make money on the internet” continuum. Right now, she has a pretty fun hobby that is earning a little bit of money each month. It’s awesome! But because she hasn’t spent much money on it (aside from a domain, hosting, and a theme), it’s still in hobby mode. ConvertKit costs money. Real money. Every month. And hobbies that come with monthly fees feel a lot more like part-time jobs than hobbies. So it’s up to Jenna. Soon the time will come where she decides to treat her little blog like the business it is. My guess is that day will come after she has a few more months of high traffic and finishes her ebook.
Blogging, like so many things, is half mindset and half putting your head down and doing the work. I’m excited to check in with Jenna in a month and see where she’s heading!