January 2017 Traffic & Revenue Report for my Travel Blog

What? Has Yeys.com dwindled into being nothing more but a home for monthly reports for another blog? Yup! So it has! Basically, this is me keeping notes of my travel blog here, and whoever may be reading this is welcome to take a peek. Why am I even doing this? I explained it all in previous reports.

January 2017 report

In fact, don’t be surprised if future updates may not be frequent. As I mentioned in previous posts, some huge things are happening with my flagship site and my time and energy are needed there. For now, I keep on blogging in my travel blog as well, just because I enjoy the diversion (and the traveling!).

What was January like?

I managed to post four times during January which I think is pretty superb, all things considered. My post about the Best Family Hikes in the Canadian Rockies used a mix of our own experiences and some research done in preparation for another visit to the region this summer. I then blogged about a nice short trip we’d made in December to a local stream in: Visiting Nahal Taninim Nature Reserve in Israel. We’re going to Paris in a couple of months time, so I had to research Versailles and turned that into yet another blog post which we’ll be using ourselves really soon: Visiting Versailles With Kids – The Cheat Sheet. Finally, in another stroll down memory lane, I described a side trip we made in 2013 while visiting Yellowstone National Park in the post titled Quake Lake: See it while visiting Yellowstone!

I’m happy with all four posts. They’re long, thorough, richly-illustrated and a good mix of regions and personal accounts vs. future trip notes.

Looks like visitors were happy too, judging by the numbers!

The blog received 6,045 page views in January, compared to only 2,064 in December! That’s almost three times more traffic! Unique visitors went from 1,859 to 4,825! Pretty neat, isn’t it? The trend is clear –

January 2017 traffic report

That traffic is still more than 90% Pinterest traffic, thanks to Tailwind. I keep working at it, creating good pins and scheduling approx. 10 pins a day, about a third of them promoting my own blog.

Actually, I suspect things could have been better.

Look at what happened in January 15th –

Yup. The site was down. Too much traffic meant it exceeded the bandwidth limit and the account was suspended. By the time I fixed that, the site had been down for almost 24 hours. Judging by the influx of traffic the following day, I wonder if maybe it was a spike in traffic at the beginning of the 15th, corrected by Pinterest and somehow penalized for the site being down. If that’s the case, the stats could possibly have been even better.

I could feel the change in the comments section as well. There were four comments from genuine visitors (i.e. not family friends or fellow bloggers). That made me happy. Engagement is important and it’s also just fun to get to know your readers.

Revenue and profits

The blog is only monetized with a single adsense ad in the sidebar and the occasional affiliate link to booking.com. Nothing to report on the affiliate front which isn’t surprising considering the amount of traffic (it’s still very low, trends or no trends).

Google adsense revenue came to $5.98.

Expenses were the same as last month:  $15 for hosting and $15 for my tailwind subscription. So, no profits but hey, I did have some fun not making money with this blog!

Plans for February

Honestly, February and March are panning out to be so super busy with my flagship site (which has 10X more traffic a day then this blog gets in a month…) that I’d be lucky to keep posting more than a couple of posts a month and maintaining my Pinterest presence. In all likelihood, I won’t post another report here before April, so if you’re following my progress, don’t hold your breath!

I hope 2017 is turning to be awesome for everyone. Leave me a comment if you have any questions or just let me know how January was for your blog!

December 2016 Traffic & Revenue Report for my Travel Blog

December was a good month! Here’s what happened with my travel blog this month, how and why. All is revealed in this month’s Traffic & No-Revenue-(yet!) report.

My Traffic & Revenue Report - December 2016

Why am I posting these reports?

In a word: Accountability. To myself, first and foremost. I started this blog as a way for me to keep track of a larger project where I tried to manage no fewer than six blogs. That was in addition to my flagship site and another private blog. Somehow, this seemed feasible back in June 2016 but obviously, it really wasn’t.

So, three months ago I made the decision to focus on just one of the blog. That happened to be my travel blog, just because that was my favorite niche of all to write about. And writing about what you love does matter! Posting the monthly reports actually helped me keep track of things, so I still use Yeys.com (this blog!) for that. I hope others may find the occasional tip or idea helpful too.

So, what was December like?

Not too shabby, actually. I managed to meet my goals and published six posts that I’m happy with. I blogged about why traveling with kids can actually be surprisingly awesome and shared tips on how to make it that way. Sharing my list of things to do in Seward, Alaska came next, followed by an extensive guide for visiting the White City of Tel Aviv. Our experiences traveling in the US, combined with some in-depth researched, helped me produce this list of 13 day trips around Las Vegas. I was researching for our own trip to the Republic of Georgia and that turned into a nice trip reports roundup post, which was nicely shared on Twitter. Finally, I really enjoyed writing about a spectacular place we’ve been to in 2011 and may be returning to this summer in the post about Natural Wonders in Banff National Park, Canada.

I’m happy with the content of these posts and the nice pinnable images I made for them. They’re already getting some traffic and I have a feeling more will come in the future, as the pins make the rounds.

So, what do the stats look like?

They look kinda pretty, all things considered. Traffic went up by about one third this month!

December Stats

Pageviews for the past months –

September: 439

October: 1156

November: 2017

December: 2643

Most of the traffic is still coming from Pinterest, thanks to Tailwind! Search engine traffic is also climbing up nicely, with Google having sent the blog 273 visitors in December, compared to 143 in November.

Speaking of Pinterest, let’s take a look at the Social Media metrics. You may remember I only started tracking them last month, so this is the second month of actual documented data.

Pinterest: 434 followers (was 394 a month ago).

Twitter: 136 followers (was 76 a month ago).

Instagram: 289 followers (was 245 a month ago).

In total, we’re talking about 859 followers, compared to 715 the previous month.

No huge growth on any of the channels but at least the growth is there. I didn’t put a lot of time into promoting on any of the networks, other than Pinterest. The Pinterest rewards are in the form of traffic to the blog, even if the number of followers hasn’t grown dramatically.

What about the revenue?

Revenue this month was a whopping $3.54 from the single Adsense ad in the blog’s sidebar.

Expenses included the same $15 for hosting and $15 for my tailwind subscription. So, overall the travel blog is definitely not making any money. I’m ok with that. Considering this is a side project for me, I’m not expecting any profit at all at this point.

Goals for January and for 2017

Hey, Happy New Year and all that!

It’s been an interesting year for me, re-learning the ropes of blogging. I can’t go into too much detail here but 2017 is going to be huge for my flagship site with a new project underway. For the travel blog, this means I may have more limited time to write and promote. We’ll see how things go though.

We’ll be traveling in March – Paris & Berlin for 10 days – and if all works well with my flagship site, we may be traveling to Alaska in the summer. That means less time for the blog while I’m on the road, but oh, so much to write about once we get back home!

So, I can’t really commit to anything in 2017 but I can set goals, or at least outline what I’m hoping to achieve.

I think a realistic goal in terms of content production will be 4 new posts each month. If I can make it to six that will be awesome, but I suspect four could end up being a challenge as well.

Traffic-wise, with only four new posts every month, I think a goal of 5000 monthly pageviews by March 2017 is what I’ll be shooting for. That’s doubling current traffic in Q1, so wish me luck!

Goals for January 2017

There’s quite a lot to do, so I’m going to put it all here in writing.

1. Post 4-6 new blog posts.

2. Establish a mailing list registration box to start capturing subscribers through existing traffic.

3. Continue to grow my social media channels.

And if you happen to be reading this post, leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Happy new year, everyone! Live long and prosper!

November 2016 Traffic & Revenue Report

Time to check the numbers and see what November was like and why. Join me as I go over my travel blog‘s stats for the past month and my plans for December.

November 2016 Traffic Report

Ack. What a month. I spent the past 10 days or so out of commission. A bad case of back pain kept me away from my desk for a week and a half. I couldn’t even use a laptop in bed. I did whatever I could through my phone and let me tell you, that’s not nearly enough.

Today is the first day for me to actually be sitting in front of my desktop computer for more than half an hour (though the miracles of modern pharmacology!) All three of my blogs (two of them mentioned here, the other being a travel blog in Hebrew) are in dire need of new content. My flagship site stayed afloat thanks to the dedicated team of volunteers who manage the community but I still need to work on the 2017 Q1 content plan and I’m behind on content production and social media marketing there as well.

The pressure is on!

So, I’ll try and keep this post short. I have an additional post in the works about creating a social media strategy for my travel blog. Hopefully I’ll write and publish that one within a week or so. Today, I’m going to focus on the actual traffic and (non existent) revenue report.

As you may recall, I started blogging in June about my Blog Revival Project where I attempted to resurrect six of my old blogs. Within four months, I realized I was stretching myself too thin. I also manage one very large community website and once the initial energy boost subsided and I went back to 40-60 hours of work every week, the blogs suffered.

So, last month I decided to put four of those blogs back on the back burner and focus on the one I enjoyed the most, which happened to be my travel blog. I also keep blogging here on Yeys.com, documenting my progress and what I learn about blogging.

To keep things simple, I’m going to stick to monitoring the travel blog in these traffic & revenue reports from now on. It should be more interesting to take an in-depth look at a single blog. So, let’s dive into the numeric porn. Don’t worry, it’s very softcore as there are no profits at this point.

What I did during November

I was aiming for 6-8 posts during November but with my debilitating health problems I only managed to crank out four. I posted about an up and coming possible destination for us in Visiting Sanssouci Park & Palaces: All you need to know and about a local national park and UNESCO heritage site here: Beit Guvrin National Park in Israel – A Visitor’s Guide. Following a lot of research I came up with this awesome list for the post titled Love science? 18 places you have to see in London. And finally, a combination of our trip report and tips for visitors in Visiting Pikes Peak? Here are 7 things you need to know. 

So much for content creation.

Promotion-wise, I kept up my Pinterest promotion efforts. Thanks to Tailwind, being under the weather has not affected pinning one bit. I had already joined a bunch of group boards and so pins go out into the world and receive shares and clicks.

I also started posting on Instagram and Twitter more often (hey, it’s one thing you can do quite well from your phone!).

Crunching the numbers for the Travel Blog

Time to look at the stats!

Traffic wise this has been another good month! Pageviews went up by 80% compared to October.

November Traffic

That’s the second month in a row of almost doubling traffic and it’s almost entirely thanks to Pinterest traffic. I posted here about my Pinterest strategy and here about applying Tailwind to carry it out. Applying the new strategies began in October and clearly, it’s working well.

sixmonths-traffic

More than half the traffic came in from Pinterest. The rest is a combination of links in comments left on other blogs, a bit of entirely spontaneous Facebook and Reddit (!) traffic and some search engine traffic.

Since social media is so crucial in the traveling niche and in preparation for boosting efforts on Twitter and Instagram, here are some figures for December 1, 2016. I’ll elaborate more on these – and on social media goals – in a future post.

Social Media Followers for the travel blog –

Pinterest: 394

Twitter: 76

Instagram: 245

Facebook page: 0 (a page exists, entirely unutilized)

It’s all about the money (not really!)

Ok, so let’s take a look at expenses and income.

Expenses this month included hosting. Since I use a VPS for hosting, I’m going to calculate hosting for the travel blog at $15 a month.

Tailwind was the other expense this month at another $15.

So, a total of $30 for expenses.

The income side of the equation is even shorter. Basically, I don’t really actively monetize the travel blog yet. I’m not going to worry about monetization before it reaches the 100 daily pageviews range.

I do keep one small adsense banner in the sidebar, mostly to keep track of things and get some visuals in there. That ad made $0.55 in November.

As you may notice, I’m not overly concerned about the money at this point. Blogging is a marathon and not a sprint. It’s taken me three years to make a living off my flagship site and I don’t expect the travel blog to be much faster. Building an audience takes time.

My goals for December

What this blog needs the most is more content. Promoting on Pinterest is all very well but I need to have content to promote there and to lure in search engines. I’m going to shoot for 8 new posts this month but considering how November went, I’ll be happy with 6 quality posts.

I also want to push forward on social media. I’m not setting any concrete numbers as goals at this point. I’ll do that once I create an organized social media strategy. So, it’s a rather amorphous general direction for December, more than anything else.

I have an invitation to write a guest blog post on another travel website. I hope I’ll get around to doing that as well. This won’t happen unless I fill up my quota of 8 quality blog posts because I strongly believe good content belongs first and foremost on my own blog. But, if the stars align and I find myself with extra time on my hands, I may move ahead with that as well.

It may not seem like much but I have a more realistic outlook now and I know I’ll be able to dedicate 10-15 hours a week to this blog. At best and assuming good health. Within that timeframe – this plan actually seems quite ambitious!

Looking forward to seeing other bloggers’ reports for November and hearing about your plans for the last month of the year! Leave me a comment and let me know how your own blogging journey goes.

How to develop a social media strategy for a new blog

Thinking about creating a social media strategy for your blog?

In this post I’ll show you why you need a social media strategy and how to find the leading principles for yours.Social media strategy: find the best one for your blog

If you google for the term “social media strategy” you’ll get plenty of results. The problem? Most of these resources target larger businesses rather than blogs. In fact, most seem to address social media account managers, the kind that businesses pay money so that they’d run their social media presence for them.

Sure, the principles of social media promotion are the same for a small blog or a huge shopping website. However, when it comes to implementation, most bloggers can’t afford to invest the same amount of resources (mainly time) into social media. That means we bloggers have a different angle on social media promotions – one that needs to be taken into account when it comes to forming a strategy.

 

What’s a “Social Media Strategy” anyway?

It’s almost a buzzword – or buzz phrase – at this point, isn’t it? As bloggers, we can’t afford to be sidetracked by buzzwords, so let’s take a look at what this concept even means.

“Social Media”, that’s the easy part. Well, relatively easy. The difference between blogs and other types of businesses is evident here as well.

Some experts define pretty much any online presence that’s not a shopping cart as “social media”. Brick-and-mortar business actually consider blogging as part of their social media strategy! Not very helpful for our needs, is it?

For a blog, social media means using online social networks as a promotional tool. The strength of these networks almost always lies in the potential for virality. It’s the digital age equivalent of traditional “word of mouth”.

There are other benefits to having a strong presence in social networks. Basically, it’s expected of you! Your “value” as a blogger is determined – among other things – by your social media presence. For your followers, it’s a chance to show their support and – if needs be – to access you directly.

Ahh… but what do we mean by “strategy”?

As a former military officer, I know just how important strategy can be. As a commander, you are given a certain set of circumstances: an adversary with certain strengths and weaknesses, and a fixed amount of resources you can utilize. The trick is lies in “how“. Just throwing whatever you’ve got at the enemy is a recipe for disaster.

In the military, “strategy” usually applies to higher ranks but the principle is the same. Use your resources in the best possible way to get what you want. Translated into the business world, it means “work smarter, not harder”.

Now, let’s bring the two concepts together. Social media strategy is about utilizing your available resources (time, energy, money…) to get the maximum rewards from your promotion efforts on social media.

Why social media strategy for blogs is different

Blogs are a unique niche in online publishing. As a blogger, you are your brand. You’re essentially trying to market yourself and convince people of your content‘s value. Yes, many bloggers sell their own ebooks and most use affiliate marketing to monetize their blogs. Still, these products are not on the cover of your brand. You are.

Add to that the fact that most bloggers operate as “a one-person-show”. Most of us can’t afford social media account managers. In terms of resources, it’s a whole different ballgame for us.

So, does that mean you should just wing it without having a cohesive strategy? I don’t think so. In fact, I think that investing some time in coming up with a good social media marketing plan is crucial. You have to analyze your specific situation so that your resources can be allocated in the way that best helps your blog.

How to create a social media strategy for your blog

Not all blogs are the same and not all bloggers are the same. As as you read through the following suggestions, think about how you can adjust them to your own situation.

5 Basic Steps for Creating a Social Media Strategy

1. Set the right goals

Think that your only goal is to gain traffic? Think again.

Sure, we all want increased traffic for our blog but that may not be enough. Here are additional possible goals you could set for your blog’s social media efforts. Here are a few ideas:

Making actual sales

If you’re trying to sell a specific product then direct conversions from your social media accounts may be a better goal than simply getting traffic. That product could be your own ebook or e-course. It could also be something you’re promoting as an affiliate. Either way, it’s something that you could be marketing directly via social media channels, so actual sales may be a goal in its own right for you.

Networking with other bloggers

I’ve seen tutorials address similar companies and brands in the same social media platform as “competitors”. That may be a good mindset if you’re Coca Cola. It’s a terrible way to look at other bloggers in your niche though, especially if your blog is new.

Think of fellow bloggers in your niche as people you want to network with. Have a positive attitude about it. Some social media channels are golden where it comes to interacting with other bloggers. Even the busier ones tend to reply to mentions, so you can reach out to them that way.

Attracting potential sponsors

I recently started promoting my blog on Instagram. I discovered a great platform, that I actually enjoy using.

Unfortunately, direct traffic from Instagram sucks.

Listen to this: I invested quite a bit of time this month creating good photos, writing nice descriptions, adding the right hashtags and posting and interacting on Instagram every day. I gained more than a hundred new followers this month and people say they really like my photos. Success, right?

I checked my stats and lo and behold, the number of direct visitors from Instagram is 1. One single click through from my profile to the blog. I asked fellow travel bloggers and apparently, that’s the norm. Your instagram followers rarely visit your blog.

Why do it then?

In the travel niche there’s a lot of interaction between brands and bloggers. Brands can sponsor your trips or pay for reviews. And what sponsors love seeing is a large social media following, including on Instagram.

For a travel blog, creating vibrant social media accounts with a large following – especially on Instagram – is a goal in its own right. Regardless of traffic or sales.

 

2. Which social media networks are right for your blog?

 

Facebook or Twitter? Pinterest or Instagram? Tumblr or Snapchat? So many options out there, it can get very confusing.

In term of sheer traffic volume, Facebook rules. Unfortunately, I’m talking about the sheer traffic volume that goes through Facebook. Not necessarily the traffic that gets sent your way. Just because everyone’s on Facebook doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good promotional channel for your blog.

Which goes to show that in determining the right networks to focus on – size doesn’t really matter. So what does matter?

Your goals matter!

Remember how we said that your social media strategy could have more than one goal? Choosing the right platforms should be directly linked to those goals.

For example, in the travel niche, I found that Twitter and Pinterest are good places for me to network with fellow bloggers. However Instagram is where industry brands (potential sponsors) are more active. For traffic, so far Pinterest seems to be the most effective.

Your goals aren’t everything though.

Your resources also matter

If you’re a solo blogger who manages his/her own social media marketing, then the most crucial resource here is your time. And my experience shows that just like with blogging about what you love, marketing on a platform that you enjoy is key here.

For example, I love Pinterest and have used it for my own needs long before I started promoting my blog there. I feel like I’m in my element there and putting time into Pinterest promotion is something I enjoy. That means I’m more likely to stick with it for the long run.

You need to find what social media platforms you enjoy and take that into consideration when shaping your overall social media strategy.

3. Assess where you’re at

You’re probably not really starting from scratch, right? Chances are your blog already has at least a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Maybe you also have some form of presence on other social media platforms as well.

Part of establishing a social media strategy has to do with a simple tally of where you’re at. If you already have a significant following in a particular network  that could mean putting more effort there will give you better ROI on your time.

4. Estimate your resources

As a blogger, your resources are most likely to be your time. How much time can you realistically put into social media marketing?

Keep in mind that this isn’t just occasional social tweeting. Once you decide on an overall strategy, you’ll need to actually work on your chosen platform. That means, among other things –

  • Preparing some sort of plan for each platform
  • posting at regular intervals for a long period of time.
  • Crafting your messages – Depending on the platform, that could mean copywriting, image editing or both.
  • Replying to mentions and direct messages.
  • Actively interacting with others.

Can you do all of the above on one social media network? Two? Three?

Spreading yourself thin is a real risk, so an accurate estimate of your resources as a blogger is crucial.

A word about maximizing resources

You may in fact have more resources than you think. If you’re still thinking about social media marketing in terms of merely operating a Twitter account from your phone, you may be underestimating your abilities.

There are many tools that can help you implement your social media strategy. From wordpress plugins that encourage post sharing, to social media schedulers.

I currently use Tailwind for scheduling Pinterest pins and it’s working really well for me. I also use a free Hootsuite account to keep a flow of tweets coming out at regular intervals. Some platforms – such as Facebook – have built in post schedulers. Others – like Instagram – try hard to prevent you from using schedulers. Each social media network is different but there are almost always ways to automate at least some of the work.

5. Plan to adjust your strategy down the road

When it comes to social media marketing, setting measurable goals is easy enough. Metrics are available, you just have to look at them and see if you’ve met your monthly goals.

What happens if you fail to meet your goals though?

Determine a point in time – perhaps quarterly – for reassessing your overall social media strategy. This reassessment should include every item on this list, only this time, you’ll start with the third item: figuring out where you’re at.

Once you have those numbers, look at your goals once again and see which ones – if any – have been met. Then you need to check which networks perform better than others for you and try to figure out why. Next, take a hard look at your resources. Have you been able to dedicate as much time to social media marketing as you had planned to?

Changes across these parameters – your goals and resources – may mean you’ll have to adjust your social media strategy. And don’t forget to schedule the next reassessment. Through constant fine-tuning, you can reach the best social media strategy that actually works for you!

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear your opinions about social media strategy and what helps you create the best one for your blog.

 

October 2016 Traffic & Revenue Report

Blog traffic and revenue report - October 2016Three days into November, it’s time to look back and see what happened in October. Yup, you’re looking at my fifth blog traffic and revenue report!

Time to check the results of having switched from trying to revive six blogs to focusing on expanding just one of them.

Just in case you’re not familiar with my blog revival project,

Here’s a quick recap –

I’m a an experienced web publisher, returning to blogging after focusing on other aspects of our industry for the past several years. Back in June, I started an experiment where I tried to revive six of my old blogs which had pretty much died out. You can read all about that project, its goals and strategies in this post.

Sometime in August I came to the inevitable conclusion that I was spreading myself too thin. Keep in mind that this is not my main gig. I have a flagship website with well over a million monthly visitors and that one always remained the core of my business.

When I started the blog revival project, I enthusiastically spent 40-50 hours a week on that. Which meant a total of 80 weekly hours in total (sometimes more). Then life intervened and forced me to slow down. I lost steam and with fewer hours, the blogs suffered.

Sometime in August, I reassessed the project and decided to put four blogs back in the freezer and focus on just one of the original six. I chose the travel blog – TripMemos.com – because that’s really the niche I enjoyed the most and felt most connected to.

Yeys.com – this blog – continues on as well, just because it helps me keep track of things. Hopefully other bloggers find nuggets of helpful advice here as well.

So, what happened during October?

The most exciting news is that the travel blog finally took off! By that I mean an increase of 151% in pageviews, from 459 in September to 1156 in October! Unique visitors increased by 223% from 245 to 792!

This is what it looks like in Google Analytics –

tripmemostraffic

What happened? Where did the traffic come from?

Most of the growth is Pinterest-driven. My intensive Pinterest promotion efforts have paid off!

I applied the various parts of my Pinterest strategy but I have no doubt the key ingredient here was the constant daily pinning. How did I do that? In a word: Tailwind. If you’re considering Pinterest promotion, check out my post about using Tailwind: How I doubled my Pinterest traffic with Tailwind.

While most of the growth came from Pinterest, search traffic has also increased. The numbers are still very small but search traffic went up by 110% from 57 pageviews in September to 120 in October. Call me old fashioned but that makes me really happy.

Of course, the fact that I blogged more during October helped too. Seven new posts in the blog, compared to only 4 during September. More hooks in the water means more traffic – now and in the long run.

What about the other blogs in the Blog Revival Project?

I didn’t really touch any of the other blogs that were part of the Blog Revival project. Zero posts, zero promotional efforts. That didn’t mean zero traffic or revenue, of course.

In fact they made a total of $35 in October, compared to $22 in September. Most of that was in Amazon revenue, from the Home Decor blog. I posted the boring details below, so if you’ll keep reading you can see where every cent came from.

Traffic went mostly down, as was to be expected. The fact that the blogs made more money with less traffic isn’t a huge surprise. First, the numbers are small so fluctuations are bound to happen. Also, it’s the last quarter of the year which means there’s more money in advertising as an industry and it trickles everywhere.

Unless I’ll somehow get back to work these blogs, I expect traffic to dwindle back to close to zero within a few months. By the way, if anyone reading this interested in buying them, I’m open to offers. Just drop me a line in the comments and I’ll send you an email.

October 2016: Expenses

Short section here this month. Other than hosting, the only expense was Tailwind (and it really paid off!) If you sign up using my link here, you’ll get a free trial month and so will I, so thanks in advance!

Tailwind – $15

Hosting $20

Total expenses: $45

Traffic & Revenue Per Blog

Feel free to skip this tedious section. Not only is it tedious, it’s about cents rather than dollars.

Here, click to skip the boring details and get to the summary of this post.

Blog #1 – CatPicsBlog.com

Posts made during October: 0

October traffic – unique visitors:86 Pageviews: 117
September traffic – unique visitors:115 Pageviews: 144
August traffic – unique visitors: 107 pageviews: 164
July traffic – unique visitors: 184 pageviews: 262
June traffic – unique visitors: 52 pageviews: 106
May traffic – unique visitors: 126 May pageviews: 215

October Adsense Revenue: $0.30
September Adsense Revenue: $0.05
August Adsense Revenue: $0.87
July Adsense revenue: $0.03
June Adsense revenue $0.30
May Adsense revenue $0.51

October Clickbank revenue:$0
September Clickbank revenue:$0
August Clickbank revenue: $0
July Clickbank revenue: $0

Blog #2 – CatsGoShopping.com

Posts made during October: 0

October traffic – unique visitors: 297 pageviews:  729
September traffic – unique visitors: 367 pageviews:  1041
August traffic – unique visitors: 686 pageviews: 1271
July unique visitors – 635  pageviews: 1,442
June unique visitors – 124  pageviews: 415
May unique visitors – 161 pageviews: 323

October Adsense Revenue: $6.68
September Adsense revenue: $1.30
August adsense revenue: $0.43
July Adsense revenue: $0.38
June Adsense revenue: $0.16
May Adsense revenue: $0 (blog had no ads)

October Amazon revenue: $2.28
September Amazon revenue: $0
August Amazon revenue: $1.20
July Amazon revenue: $0
June Amazon revenue: $0.47
May Amazon revenue: $0

Blog #3 – Gifts4Kids.net

Posts made during October: 0

October traffic – unique visitors: 65 pageviews: 94
September traffic – unique visitors: 56 pageviews: 99
August traffic – unique visitors: 47 pageviews: 92
July unique visitors – 68 pageviews: 107
June unique visitors – 56 pageviews: 120
May unique visitors – 36 pageviews: 167

October Adsense revenue: $0.11
September Adsense revenue: $0.06
August Adsense revenue: $0.18
July Adsense revenue: $0.02
June Adsense revenue: $0.01
May Adsense revenue: $0.01

October Amazon revenue: $0
September Amazon revenue: $0
August Amazon revenue: $0
July Amazon revenue: $0
June Amazon revenue: $0
May Amazon revenue: $0

Blog #4 – Home-decor-hub.com

Posts made during October: 0

October traffic – unique visitors: 252 pageviews: 416
September traffic – unique visitors: 257  pageviews: 378
August traffic – unique visitors: 353 pageviews: 565
July unique visitors – 276 pageviews: 450
June unique visitors – 351 pageviews: 580
May unique visitors – 402 pageviews: 754

October Adsense revenue: $0.51
September Adsense revenue: $2.03
August Adsense revenue: $1.18
July Adsense revenue: $0.24
June Adsense revenue: $3.79
May Adsense revenue: $2.66

October Amazon revenue: $21.55
September Amazon revenue: $17.19
August Amazon revenue: $18.54
July Amazon revenue: $17.11
June Amazon revenue: $3.48
May Amazon revenue: $17.51

Blog #5 TripMemos.com (the LIVE blog)

Posts made during September: 7

October traffic – unique visitors: 792  pageviews: 1156
September traffic – unique visitors: 237  pageviews: 439
August traffic – unique visitors: 212 pageviews: 452
July unique visitors – 152 pageviews: 318
June unique visitors – 72 pageviews: 339
May unique visitors – 151 pageviews: 151

October Adsense revenue: $2.55
September Adsense revenue: $0.17
August Adsense revenue: $0.56
July Adsense revenue: $0.04
June Adsense revenue: $0
May Adsense revenue: $0

Blog #6 Yeys.com (this one!)

Posts made during October: 3

October traffic: unique visitors: 103  pageviews: 331
September traffic: unique visitors: 156  pageviews: 384
August unique visitors: 255  pageviews: 663
July unique visitors: 403  pageviews: 795
June unique visitors: 168  pageviews: 377
May unique visitors: 136 pageviews: 151

October Adsense revenue: $0.67
September Adsense revenue: $1.27
July Adsense revenue: $0.15
July Adsense revenue: $0.92
June Adsense revenue: $0.02
May Adsense revenue: $0

Total October Revenue & Profit

Expenses: $45
Revenue: $34.65
Profit: $-10.35

To sum up this report

This new strategy seems to be working quite well! I’m going to keep investing my time into expanding and promoting the travel blog!

As for Yeys.com, promotional efforts will be limited but I am still going to use it for the following –

November goals and plans

The plan for November focuses on the travel blog. I want to –

  1. Post 6-8 new posts, all of them optimized for search engines, as well as Pinterest.
  2. Increase the blog’s Pinterest following. Currently I’m at 305. I hope to double that by the end of the month.
  3. Join more Pinterest group boards. Currently posting to 7. Hoping to turn that into 15 by the end of November.
  4. Develop a presence on Twitter and Instagram as well. These two, along with Pinterest, are where travel bloggers are at. Still not sure about how much traffic they can actually generate but networking is important as well.

Expect posts about Twitter and Instagram here on Yeys.com too! After all, this blog is about sharing the lessons learned from my research and experience.

How about you?

How was October for you and your blog? What are your plans for November? Leave me a comment to let me know.

How I doubled my Pinterest traffic this month

Actually, more than doubled! For the past few weeks I focused promoting my travel blog on Pinterest. The good news is that I more than doubled the traffic for that blog! While my Pinterest strategy included several components, I am pretty sure I know which one made the greatest difference: Tailwindapp. Let me tell you what happened with that.

How I doubled my Pinterest traffic in one month (actually, more than doubled!)

My Pinterest strategy

In early September I came up with my Pinterest strategy for that blog. To recap, it included several components –

  • Set up templates for pins
  • Add long SEO-oriented descriptions to all pins
  • Make sure pinnable images have appropriate file names and ALT tags.
  • Experiment with a variety of pins
  • Join Pinterest group boards for even more exposure

Later that month, I had to deal some more with the question of how exactly to join these Pinterest group boards.

I’m happy to say that I have indeed been “Pinteresting” quite a bit these past few weeks! I spent a few hours coming up with templates for my pins (which were later adjusted, based on performance). Fortunately, there were only 35 blog posts in the blog which is quite a manageable number for re-doing images. So, I went over each and every blog post and created new vertical graphics. ALT tags and descriptions were also added, not a problem.

Group boards proved to be more of a challenge but I think I may have cracked it eventually. I now collaborate on 7 good group boards and hope to join more in the future.

Do you know what the main challenge was though?

I had to actually pin stuff. Regularly. Several times a day, every day. Now, this was a problem. I have ADHD and there’s only so many times I can repeat a task without getting so bored I just give up on it.

The Solution: Tailwind

That name – Tailwind – kept popping up in blog posts about successful Pinterest promotion. With a free trial, there wasn’t much to lose, so eventually, on the 11th of September, I signed up for an account.

What Tailwind does

Simple enough, really. It’s a pin scheduler. I’ve been using Hootsuite for Twitter for awhile now, so the concept wasn’t new. Sit down and enter a batch of pins along ahead of time, then let the software pin them for you at pre-scheduled intervals.

The trial version allows for 100 pins and suggests pinning 4 times a day, so that you’ll see the effect over twenty-something days. Well, I could see the results within a week. This is what the traffic looked like on Google Analytics.

tailwindapp-on-ga

I upgraded to the paid version

It was obvious that regular pinning was paying off. I saw an immediate increase in all parameters: The number of followers, number of re-pins and – as you can see above – actual traffic to the site.

With a monthly plan costing only $15, it made no sense to wait. If it ended up not working, I could just not renew for an additional month.

Once I upgraded the account, I boosted the schedule to 8-10 pins a day. This is what has happened since –

My Pinterest account for that blog skyrocketed. I keep getting likes, repins and followers. And traffic follows –

tripmemos-analytics-2

In the last screenshot, I added search traffic as a parameter, just to show you how this is not Google traffic. Google traffic stays as before. This is purely Pinterest traffic.

Granted, some of this is due to other aspects of my Pinterest strategy. More quality pins to share is a cornerstone of Pinterest success, no doubt. But these pins need to be put out there, in front of people’s eyes, in order to get people to click. And this is where Tailwind brings home the bacon.

Why I enjoy working with Tailwind so much

I thought I’d mention why I enjoy this product so much.

1. It has an awesome interface

As I said, I’m used to scheduling tweets using Hootsuite. It certainly makes life a whole lot easier. That said, Tailwind’s interface – which does essentially the same thing – is way better.

It’s a very intuitive and user-friendly drag-and-drop interface. There are tons of features there but they manage to keep the essence simple and effective. All you have to know is how to use the following three elements:

The Time Table:

This is where you can see all of the daily time slots. Just drag-and-drop and click and play around with it to easily set up the time slots you want your pins to show up on.

tailwindapp-schedule

Once you’ve set up your time slots, you’re done with them. Any image that you add to the pinning queue will simply get the next allotted time slot. No need to start specifying the date of publication for each specific pin, like you do with other schedulers.

Sometimes I want to pin 10-15 images from a single post but I don’t want to flood my feed with that post. Not a problem with Tailwindapp. I can re-shuffle all of the pins in my queue at any given time.

Of course, you can also manually set a time and date for a pin. You can also “lock” down specific pins, to keep them on date when re-shuffling your pins. Easy does it.

The Tailwind publishing extension:

I’m used to the Pinterest Chrome extension, so switching to the Tailwind one was a breeze. Basically, you install an extension for your browser which creates a small icon in your toolbar.

If you see an image that you want to add to your pinning queue, you hover above it with your mouse and click the Tailwind icon which shows up. You can also click the icon in your toolbar, which will bring up all of the images on the page. Just choose the ones you want to pin to add them to your queue. Easy as pie.

If that’s not enough, Tailwind works with the Pinterest interface, so the blue Tailwind button shows up on pins. Can’t get any easier than that.

The Tailwind queue:

Finally, the pin queue is where everything’s at. If you want to change, delete, edit, re-position or do anything else with a scheduled pin, it’s right there –

tailwindapp2

Again, drag-and-drop! You have a mini-version in the right side where it’s easier to re-arrange pins by dragging them around, or you can use the main column for more information and functions.

I’m not sure if their interface has won any awards, but it’s definitely award-worthy!

Oh, and if you’re wondering how I can find 10+ new pins every day for a blog with only 35 posts? In a nutshell, I pin good stuff and not just my own.

2. Proactive support

I’m not sure how large Tailwind is but it feels small. And I mean that in the best possible way.

A friendly welcome email was there when I signed up. Then again when I upgraded the account. It offered video tutorials and a general invitation to ask for help. Obviously, these emails are automated but when I replied with a question, I received a fast, helpful and friendly reply. In addition to video tutorials, they also offer articles, seminars and pretty much everything you need to get going.

3. They’re a Pinterest Marketing Developer Partner

That means Pinterest approved Tailwind and approves of Tailwind. To me, that’s huge. For one thing, it means I won’t be getting into trouble for using it. There’s nothing shady or “under the table” about Tailwind, so no risk of a penalty, now or in the future. It also means they have inside information on how the platform work and they probably generally know what they’re doing…

There you have it.

Give Tailwind a try yourself!

If you’re using Pinterest at all – give Tailwind a go. It’s completely free to try. Just sign up for your free account and schedule your first 100 pins and see just how awesome their system is!

And yes, I haven’t mentioned this before but these are in fact affiliate links in this post, so thanks in advance for using them!

Questions? Comments? Bring them on! I’d love to hear about our own experiences with Tailwind and/or with other schedulers, so do leave me a note in the comment section!

5 Quick Tips That Can Help Increase Your Productivity

Got lots of ideas but having trouble getting things done? Feeling creative but find it hard to sit in front of the computer and actually work? You’re not alone. I’m just like that too. Over the (many) years I picked up a few tricks that helped me dramatically improve my productivity. Sharing them here today, in the hope that they will help increase your productivity too. While the first four are very effective, it’s the fifth that has truly changed my life.

Increase your productivity with these five quick tips

1. Shut  the world out and get comfortable

Virginia Woolf knew what she was talking about when she wrote A Room Of Her Own. Man or woman, we all need our private little corner where we can work.

If at all possible, literally shut the door and put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on it. Leave your phone out of your office room too. I know it’s hard but trust me, it’s doable.

If you’re addicted to Facebook or Twitter, log out to make it more difficult to “just take a quick look” while you work. If that doesn’t help, use a software that blocks Facebook for a set period of time.

Make sure that you’re comfortable and the temperature is right for you. Turn on the heat or the air-conditioning as may be necessary. Have a bottle of water on your desk and drink regularly. Staying well-hydrated can actually help you focus and increase your productivity.

2. Outsource boring tasks

I bet that when faced with a task that you find interesting, nothing can stop you. Maybe it’s coding a new app, designing on Photoshop, setting up a new social media campaign or tweaking your server. To each his own.

Also, most things are usually fun when they’re fresh and challenging. Once they become routine, they become boring. And let me guess, boring means you come to a halt, doesn’t it?

See if and how you can outsource the boring stuff. Don’t have the budget for outsourcing yet? That’s ok. You can still increase your productivity: Simply come up with a strategy that includes more of what you find interesting and less of the boring stuff.

For example, maybe you hate doing social media but love tweaking pages for SEO? You should either outsource your social media campaigns, or come up with a strategy for your blog that involves less social media and more SEO. At least until you get to the point where you can outsource.

3. Schedule breaks

Breaks are important, both for your body and your soul. The problem is that once you sit down and finally manage to focus on your work, you may forget to take breaks. Alternatively, your break is on your mind so much, you keep checking the clock and can’t focus on writing.

Let someone – or something – else watch over the clock. I’m using a little piece of software called WorkRave. For me, five minute long breaks every 50 minutes work well. You can program it to your own prefered schedule.

Stretch during your breaks. The older we get, the more important stretching becomes, but really, at any age, if you’re trying to work on the computer for several hours a day, do your back a huge favor and stretch properly once an hour. Your body will thank you.

4. Use a task list app

I would not be able to manage any of my work without my ToodleDo. At the beginning of each month, or actually a few days before that, I go over my content plans and create tasks for each one. I enter other tasks as they pop up, when I take up new projects. This is what it looks like –

Increase your productivity using a task list

Toodledo is a powerful tool. You can schedule recurring tasks, put them into folders, design goals (and see how close you are to completing them) and more. I use the free version and it’s good enough for me (I did pay a few bucks for the phone app, so I have everything synced on my phone as well). It doesn’t really matter which software you use – just use something to keep yourself on track and increase your productivity.

Ready for my fifth tip? I hope it won’t upset you too much.

5. Consider getting a diagnosis and medication

Yes, I’m talking about ADD/ADHD.

Earlier on, when I mentioned that it’s probably easier for you to focus on things that interest you, where you nodding your head? Some people think there’s no way they can have ADHD because they can really focus well on things that interest them. The kind of “not getting up from your desk for 10 hours and forgetting to eat and drink” focus? Guess what? That’s classic ADHD.

How about when I talked about creativity? Are you creative yet having trouble with translating those awesome ideas into actual work? Is that especially true with long-term projects? Do you find that it’s easy to put in tons of work in the first few days or a project but then you can’t. Just can’t. Hitting that wall again and again.

I honestly suspect that most bloggers suffer from some form of ADD or ADHD. Five years ago, I got my own official diagnosis. That was a couple of years after both my sons got theirs.

If any of the things I just mentioned ring a bell do yourself a huge favor and get tested for ADHD.

Don’t self-medicate!

Don’t just go ask a friend for Ritalin pills. It does not work like that. You have to be properly diagnosed and then have a doctor help you find the exact drug and the right dosage that works for you.

Finding the right medication can be challenging. Many people just pop in a Ritalin pill they got from a friend, feel awful with the side effects and vow to never try the meds again. That’s because they went about it the wrong way. Maybe adderall would be better for them, or maybe they need a different dosage. Or maybe you don’t really have ADHD, and maybe there’s something wrong with you physically that should be treated (that’s why a blood panel is needed before confirming an ADHD diagnosis).

Your doctor also needs to monitor your ongoing health when you’re taking stimulants. As with every other medication, they can have adverse effects. Not to mention, these are prescription drugs, so it’s illegal to just “borrow” them from your friends.

Get yourself tested and properly treated. Trust me, if you do have ADHD and if you find the right meds that work for you, nothing can increase your productivity more than that.

My own productivity skyrocketed thanks to these

And yes, the last one was certainly the most effective. The ADHD diagnosis – at the age of 40 – wasn’t easy to deal with, emotionally. However, it really made everything fall into place. It helped me realize why some techniques were working so well for me and why others were failing.

When I finally found the medication that worked for me (not easy!) things changed quite drastically. I can get so much more work done in a day when I take my pill. You know how you sometimes wish you had more hours in the day? If you’re ADHD, then the right medication can do just that for you!

I hope my fifth tip won’t upset you too much. There’s a lot of misconceptions and prejudice against using pharmaceuticals to increase your productivity. If you happen to be someone who can benefit from that – and not everyone is – then hopefully this post has at least made you consider the option.

As always, leave a comment and let me know what you think! Any tips or tricks you can share about how you increase your productivity? I’d love to hear them!

September 2016 Traffic & Revenue Report

It’s time for the monthly traffic and revenue report! I have a bit of an unusual report this month, so this is how today’s post is going to work –

I’m going to quickly take you through my expenses and earnings of the Blog Revival Project which you can read more about here. Spoiler: It’s nothing to write back home about.

Then I’m going to tell you about another blog of mine which I started monetizing in July and made over $700 in September!

For dessert, I’m going to apply some insights from that blog to the Blog Revival project and share my plans for the coming months. Another spoiler: Things are going to change around here.

september-revenue-report

First, it’s time to take a hard look at the numbers and put together an honest and detailed report about September, tracking the traffic and revenue figures for the six blogs monitored in the Blog Revival Project.

September 2016: Expenses

September was all about Pinterest. You can read about my insights in these two posts: How to promote a new blog on Pinterest and How to get Pinterest traffic using group boards.

I also spent money on two Pinterest-related service this month. First, I bought access to 45 group boards on Fiverr. Yup, people will sell you group board invites on Fiverr. I have no idea if it was worth it or not, but I was getting frustrated so I figured “what the heck” and paid up. We’ll see how that particular investment pans out.

My second investment seems far more promising. I opened Tailwind accounts for pre-scheduling my pins. I’m going to blog about Tailwind soon but for now, let’s just say I’m impressed with the initial results. So much so that I upgraded my Tailwind account for TripMemos.com.

The Tailwind Plus plan costs $15 a month but I only had one 1$ deducted from my credit card this month. That’s because you get a $15 credit if you use a link like this one to sign up. That is an affiliate link of sorts. It means that if you sign up, you get $15 to your credit which you can use for a free month of the upgraded plan too. I’ll get a similar bonus to use towards my own account, so thank you!

Other than that, it was just the usual $20 for monthly hosting costs.

As far as I can tell, I didn’t have any other expenses on the blog revival project this month.

Total expenses: $66

Traffic & Revenue Per Blog

In all honesty, feel free to skip this tedious section. It’s tedious and it’s about cents, rather than dollars.

Here’s the bottom line: Traffic went down pretty much across all six blogs. Revenue followed suit. The numbers are small to begin with, so I think we can safely ignore the actual revenue figures. The important thing is this: I’m still waddling through very shallow water with these blogs. Here, click to skip the boring details.

Blog #1 – CatPicsBlog.com

Posts made during September: 4

September traffic: unique visitors:115 Pageviews: 144
August traffic: unique visitors: 107 pageviews: 164
July unique visitors: 184 pageviews: 262
June unique visitors: 52 pageviews: 106
May unique visitors: 126 May pageviews: 215

September Adsense Revenue: $0.05
August Adsense Revenue: $0.87
July Adsense revenue: $0.03
June Adsense revenue $0.30
May Adsense revenue $0.51

September Clickbank revenue:$0
August Clickbank revenue: $0
July Clickbank revenue: $0

Blog #2 – CatsGoShopping.com

Posts made during September: 4

September traffic: unique visitors: 367 pageviews:  1041
August traffic: unique visitors: 686 pageviews: 1271
July unique visitors: 635  pageviews: 1,442
June unique visitors: 124  pageviews: 415
May unique visitors: 161 pageviews: 323

September Adsense revenue: $1.30
August adsense revenue: $0.43
July Adsense revenue: $0.38
June Adsense revenue: $0.16
May Adsense revenue: $0 (blog had no ads)

September Amazon revenue: $0
August Amazon revenue: $1.20
July Amazon revenue: $0
June Amazon revenue: $0.47
May Amazon revenue: $0

Blog #3 – Gifts4Kids.net

Posts made during September: 3

September traffic: unique visitors 56 : pageviews: 99
August traffic: unique visitors: 47 pageviews: 92
July unique visitors: 68 pageviews: 107
June unique visitors: 56 pageviews: 120
May unique visitors: 36 pageviews: 167

September Adsense revenue: $0.06
August Adsense revenue: $0.18
July Adsense revenue: $0.02
June Adsense revenue: $0.01
May Adsense revenue: $0.01

September Amazon revenue: $0
August Amazon revenue: $0
July Amazon revenue: $0
June Amazon revenue: $0
May Amazon revenue: $0

Blog #4 – Home-decor-hub.com

Posts made during September: 2

September traffic: unique visitors:257  pageviews:  378
August traffic: unique visitors: 353 pageviews: 565
July unique visitors: 276 pageviews: 450
June unique visitors: 351 pageviews: 580
May unique visitors: 402 pageviews: 754

September Adsense revenue: $2.03
August Adsense revenue: $1.18
July Adsense revenue: $0.24
June Adsense revenue: $3.79
May Adsense revenue: $2.66

September Amazon revenue: $17.19
August Amazon revenue: $18.54
July Amazon revenue: $17.11
June Amazon revenue: $3.48
May Amazon revenue: $17.51

Blog #5 TripMemos.com

Posts made during September: 5

September traffic: unique visitors:237  pageviews:439
August traffic: unique visitors: 212 pageviews: 452
July unique visitors: 152 pageviews: 318
June unique visitors: 72 pageviews: 339
May unique visitors: 151 pageviews: 151

September Adsense revenue: $0.17
August Adsense revenue: $0.56
July Adsense revenue: $0.04
June Adsense revenue: $0
May Adsense revenue: $0

Blog #6 Yeys.com (this one!)

Posts made during September: 4

September traffic: unique visitors: 156  pageviews: 384
August unique visitors: 255  pageviews: 663
July unique visitors: 403  pageviews: 795
June unique visitors: 168  pageviews: 377
May unique visitors: 136 pageviews: 151

September Adsense revenue: $1.27
July Adsense revenue: $0.15
July Adsense revenue: $0.92
June Adsense revenue: $0.02
May Adsense revenue: $0

Total September Revenue & Profit

Expenses: $66
Revenue: $22.07

Profit: $-43.93

So, what happened in September?

September was crazy busy here with all kinds of personal matters. I blogged about it here. I know that I also complained about August having been too busy. Which makes me wonder if maybe this level of “being busy” is just what my life is like on average. Maybe it was June and July that were less busy and now things are back to normal?

Whatever work time I had went into my flagship site and another side project which I will expand on in a minute. The six Blog Revival Project blogs suffered.

How I made $700 from one blog this month

I mentioned another side project. It’s a project that made me very happy this month and also made me re-think.

Yes, it’s yet another blog. I haven’t mentioned that blog so far because it’s not in the English language and I never actually considered it to be “work”.

Over the past seven years, we traveled across 44 US states for a total of more than 12 months. Five years ago, before our first long road trip (5.5 months long!) I created a blog because, well, that’s what we bloggers do, isn’t it? It had two purposes –

  1. To store all the information I gathered about various destinations in the US and Canada.
  2. To share our travel stories as they took place, mostly with family and friends.

Can you guess what happened?

The blog began to attract more and more traffic. People began using the information and following our trips. I kept getting questions from people and I blogged about the answers. The blog has become an authority resource in its niche. It currently has thousands of posts in it and it gets an average of 200 daily visitors, even when we don’t travel.

Believe it or not, I never bothered with monetization, or even tracking stats properly. One in a blue moon I took a look at the server internal stats and that was it. I figured the Hebrew-speaking market was too small to bother with.

Monetizing my personal little travel blog

The Blog Revival Project taught me so much about blogging that I realized two things. First, that I have a gem of a blog on my hands, done just the right way, and second, that it may be possible to monetize it after all.

I joined two affiliate programs for products that I personally use and recommend. One is a car rental agency and the other is a hotel reservations site. I’ve been recommending them anyway, and they had affiliate programs, so why not? I didn’t expect much. Between my traffic and this being a local market, I figured an extra $100 a month would be nice. That was in July.

I was wrong. During August, that blog had close to $300 in revenue! In September, it went past the $700 mark!

Color me surprised!

color-me-surprised

You know how you struggle with the question of whether or not monetization will drive your readers away? Not only did it not do that, but I keep getting comments from people thanking me for the opportunity to give something back “to the blog”. Win-win!

Why did it work so well?

It worked so well because I – almost inadvertently – applied what I was preaching.

This blog contains high-quality content which my readers find very useful for their own needs.

I have many hooks in the water, i.e. hundreds of posts. Possibly over a thousand by now.

This is definitely blogging about something I LOVE. I could write daily posts if I had the time. I think that passion comes across.

So, what does that all mean for the Blog Revival Project?

I think it’s time for some changes. In fact, I think they’re already happening.

Three of the project blogs are definitely going into the deep-freeze. I don’t really have the time to post regularly, let alone promote them. Also, I found out that I don’t really enjoy working on them and if that’s not enough, they’re not making any money which pretty much seals the deal. Bye bye, CatPicsBlog, CatsGoShopping and Gifts4Kids. At least for now.

I’m going to focus on what I love the most: Travel blogging. I’m going to keep blogging on TripMemos.com and promoting it, mostly via Pinterest. I’m also keeping this blog, Yeys.com. It’s a useful tool for me, even without generating any revenue. It’s my own “notebook” for those notes that I need to make when researching blogging topics. This is where I can “think out loud” about blogging. Accountability is another benefit. Had it not been for this blog and these monthly reports, I probably would have lost track of my projects by now. So, yes, Yeys.com is staying!

Hopefully, managing fewer blogs will make it easier to actually grow them. The results I’m seeing with my Hebrew travel blog with just 200 daily unique visitors are very encouraging.

That’s the plan, Stan. At least for the coming month. Wish me luck (and leave me a comment!)

 

 

 

How to get Pinterest traffic to your blog using group boards

Pinterest group boards offer a way for bloggers to increase their traffic. They simply have a larger than average following and if you can join them as a contributor, you can put your pins in front of thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of people.

I mentioned group boards a couple of weeks ago in my post about forming a Pinterest strategy for promoting my blogs. One of my goals was to join at least four group boards in September. I’ll be posting a report about my experiences with Pinterest promotion this month (they’re good!) but I can tell you already, I failed on the group boards traffic front.

I waltzed into this unique arena entirely unprepared. Having read one or two blog posts, I plunged right into the deep water. It’s fair to say that I drowned. Not a single invitation came in.

Time to regroup (pardon the pun) and focus on the do’s and don’ts of group boards on Pinterest. Today’s post is going to be all about Pinterest group boards traffic and how to get it flowing into your blog. It’s based on extensive research and reading dozens of blog posts on that very topic. I found a few real nuggets of great advice out there, so happy to share them here. Grab a coffee, this isn’t a short post.

How to generate blog traffic from Pinterest group boards

What are Pinterest group boards?

Group boards are Pinterest boards where several pinners add on-topic pins. These usually draw in more followers, so if your pin gets up there, you’ll get more clicks and more traffic.

Sounds good? It is, according to many a blogger. The problem is how to tap into that board groups traffic source and as is the case with all good things, it’s not easy.

How to join Pinterest Group Boards

Your goal is to join quality on-topic group boards. The kind that will get your awesome pins in front of tens of thousands of users who will then click through to visit your site and also repin to share the awesomeness with their followers. The viral effect and all that jazz.

Group boards provide you with one special ingredient in your Pinterest recipe: The ability to instantly reach a large number of people. It’s like using instant yeast for your bread instead of culturing your own sourdough.

Group boards are the yeast in your Pinterest recipe
Group boards are the yeast in your Pinterest recipe

In order to get that instant yeast magic, you have to do three things –

  • Find quality group boards in your niche.
  • Get invited to said boards.
  • Pin to the boards (without getting kicked out).

Let’s break these into more manageable questions and address them one by one.

How to find quality Pinterest group boards?

Bloggers recommend many ways to find good Pinterest group boards. Some recommendations keep repeating themselves but a few have suggested some ideas that seem to be less utilized. Here’s the complete list –

1. Use Pingroupie

Pingroupie is a directory of Pinterest group board. They crawl Pinterest to find boards that have more than 2 collaborators, more than 250 followers and more than than 50 pins. When all three criteria are met, the board gets listed in their database. Their website says the last crawl was 3 months ago.

You can search Pingroupie by category and keyword and sort the results according to the board’s size, number of repins and other parameters. Most bloggers recommend using this as your first tool for finding group boards in your niche.

Not everyone does, though. Kara Gorski says that the days of Pingroupie are over and it’s no longer an effective tool to find the right group boards for you.

My own impression is that it can still be useful for that initial comb-through but the results must be carefully assessed for quality.

2. Search Pinterest for board groups

When you search Pinterest, you can switch between four types of results: All pins, your pins, people and boards. So, you can basically search for boards in your niche by entering the keywords. It used to be possible to see at a glance which of the boards were group boards, as the little group icon used to show up in the search results. This is no longer the case.

However, if you add the word “group board” to your keyword, you can still get good results. For example, I searched for travel + group board and got this –

Travel group boards

As you can see, these are all group boards.

3. Just Google it

Pinterest is indexed by Google, so in principle, that could be another tool you could use. It’s how Windy City Bloggers find their group boards. I haven’t had very good results with that. It’s doable but you have to comb through many results that aren’t actual group boards relating to your topic. This may be a good option in some niches, or if you’ve run out of boards using the other methods.

4. Check the profiles of other Pinners in your niche

This is a time-consuming way but quite a few bloggers swear by it. Free Borboleta calls it “stalking” her favorite bloggers. The gist of it is –

a. Find the bloggers you like in your niche and track down their Pinterest profiles.

b. Scroll down their list of boards and look for the group boards they participate in (they’re usually at the end).

These would be your best niche group boards.

Mariah Halthoff goes even deeper down the rabbit hole. Once she finds a good group board, she goes to the profile of that board owner and scrolls down to see which group boards they also contribute to… and so on, and so forth.

5. The Facebook group

Apparently, there’s a closed Facebook group for bloggers/pinners who are also looking for group boards. It’s recommended by SimplePinMedia. I haven’t tried it yet but it has several thousands of members so it looks promising. They have rules on how to join so read those carefully if you’re thinking of doing that.

How to assess the quality of a group board?

Now that you know how to find hundreds – maybe thousands – of Pinterest group boards, should you really try to join them all?

Obviously not. You want to focus your efforts where you can see actual results. Here’s what makes a quality board for our purposes  –

  1. A lot of followers – the more the merrier.
  2. Daily pinning activity.
  3. A high number of repins (a sign of quality followers with an interest in the niche).
  4. Matching topics.

How to ask for an invite?

At this point, we have a list of quality on-topic group boards. How do we start pinning to them? Alas, to do that you have to be invited to the board. There are several ways in which you can try to get invited.

1. Read the blog description and look for instructions.

If the blog owner is looking to get more contributors, they’re going to say that in the blog description and tell you how to contact them. Usually, they’ll have an email address you can write to.

2. Track down the board owner.

Can’t find the instructions? You could try contacting the board owner directly. His or her Pinterest profile may indicate where you can find their blog which will probably have a contact form. You can also try finding them on Twitter and sending them a message there.

3. Find a contributor that you know

If you already have a strong presence in your niche, you can try skimming through the list of contributors. You may find someone that you know. If the board allows for contributors to invite other contributors, you can contact your new bff and ask for an invite.

There’s a trust factor here. These people need to really know and trust you because if they invite a spammer into the board, they’re putting their own place as a contributor as risk.

Which is the best way?

I prefer to work with boards that clearly state how you can join them. For two reasons. First, it’s less time consuming. You don’t have to spend time tracking down their blog or Twitter account. Secondly, if they don’t have a clear description on how to join, they probably aren’t looking for new contributors at this point. I’ve actually read an angry comment by a board owner complaining about people who bother her with requests via her blog/twitter.

How to improve your chances of getting invited?

Ahh, lots of tips and tricks here!

1. Prepare the ground

At the very minimum you have to be following the board itself and the board owner. Technically, they won’t be able to add you unless you follow both the board and them personally. They probably won’t bother with telling you to – they’ll just ignore your request.

It’s best to be following the board for awhile and show some level of involvement. Repin, like and comment pins. Try to interact with the board owner through pins, preferably by commenting. Make sure you’re responding to what the board owner himself/herself pinned recently and not just to pins by other contributors.

2. Write a good request

When it’s time to make the request, write a short and concise one. Things to mention include –

  • Who you are, including a link to your Pinterest profile and the email address that’s associated with your Pinterest account.
  • Why you’re interested in the topic of the board.
  • The fact that you’re already following them and the board.
  • If there are rules to pinning to the board, mention that you’ve read them and will be following them closely.

3. Use your Pinterest email address to send the request

That means you should send the email from the same email address that you used when you signed up for your Pinterest account. The board owner will be inviting an email address, not a user. If they end up sending the invite to the email address you sent the email from and that’s not the same as your Pinterest email address, you won’t be able to use the invite.

4. Have a great Pinterest profile.

They’ll check that, so make sure your profile is ready to be inspected. What you need is a good username, picture, description and a list of beautiful active boards with lots of on-topic pins in the same niche as their group board. If you’re serious about getting Pinterest traffic, you should have those anyway.

5. Have your own group boards

Having your own group boards means you’re a team player. You’re willing to manage a board like that yourself and reciprocate. Make sure the boards have some content and that the description includes clear instructions on how to join.

Good practices after you got accepted

Let’s say you got accepted. Hooray! You worked hard on getting there, now don’t blow this away. Here are some good practices to follow that will help you become a positive contributor and avoid getting kicked out.

1. Follow the board rules.

If there are any rules that are clearly stated, follow them. Board owners don’t want to deal with editing and deleting pins. When someone breaks the rules, it’s easier to just kick them out.

2. Stick to on-topic pins.

Read the board description and stick to it. Let’s say your niche is travel and you got invited to a board group about road trips in the US, don’t pin your general “advice for budget travelers” post there. Pins should be very specific to the board’s topic.

3. See what others are pinning and follow suit.

Is the board all about beautiful pictures? No text on pictures, just inspiration? Pin similar materials yourself. On the other hand, if everyone else is focusing on detailed guides, or infographics, then stay in tune with them and add similar pins yourself.

4. Pin often but not too much.

Find the goldilocks zone for that specific board. Some boards have rules about how often you should pin but even if they don’t, avoid flooding the board with your pins. If you’re not sure, ask the owner what they prefer.

5. Contribute – don’t just promote your pins

Repin lots of great content to the group board and not just pins that link back to your blog. This is just plain good netiquette. Contributors are there to help create a rich and diverse board on the topic, not just to promote their own sites. Also, according to Brittney Llynn, the current Pinterest algorithm will penalize you for simply pushing your content onto group boards and leaving. Your pins will have a smaller chance of being seen by the board’s followers.

6. Repin from the board

There are several reasons for you to repin other people’s pins from the board, as Blog Ambitions explains. First, it’s helping other contributors which is basic good karma. Secondly, the more repins the board has, the better its score in the Pinterest search algorithm. By repinning from the board, you’re helping to promote it – and that includes promoting your own pins too.

Generating Pinterest Group Board Traffic: The Plan

I’m going to give this another try and be much more methodical this time around.

So far, I just grabbed some boards off Pingroupie and mentioned in comments to pins that I’d like to join them. Zero response and now I can see why. It’s time to get more serious about this. As I mentioned in my previous post, this month I’m focusing on promoting my travel blog, so here’s the plan for getting Pinterest group board traffic to that blog.

1. Create a spreadsheet with 10 travel-related Pinterest board groups that meet the following criteria –
a. More than 5000 followers.
b. High rate of repins.
c. Owner has instructions about how to join (telling me he/she is actively looking for contributors).

2. Follow these boards and the board owners.

3. For one week, visit these boards daily, repin at least 2 pins from each one and leave at least one comment. Preferably, on pins by the owner.

4. Contact each of these board owners via email (as specified on their board) and ask to join as a contributor.

In two weeks time, we’ll see how this pans out. Expect a report back from the trenches sometime in mid-October.

How about you?

Are you using Pinterest? Are you a member of any board groups in your niche? I’d love to hear about how you joined and what your thoughts are about the tips in this post! Don’t be shy, leave me a comment!

Touching Base – Mid-September update

I wonder if I’m currently suffering from jet lag. No, I haven’t traveled to a different timezone. Still here at home. However, I’m right in the middle of one of the most hectic – and fun – weeks I ever had.

The Challenge – A Super Busy Week

For the past four days, we’ve hosted friends who are visiting our country. Not only did we get to enjoy their company, we also traveled with them almost every day. There’s nothing quite like seeing your own country through the eyes of a first-time visitor. It was fun and also gave me ideas for new posts in my travel blog (not to mention the trip reports and pictures themselves which will also become travel blog posts at some point!)

Yesterday evening we went to a family wedding which included a dance party. We danced, we drank (moderately and responsibly!) and crashed back in our own beds at around 2AM. At 5AM there was a knock at the door. My Dad and his lovely wife returned from a year and a half long trip in South America and made our home their first stop. It was wonderful to see them but I sure could have used this specific morning to sleep in. My brother and my sister both joined my father and step-mother as they woke up and we all had lunch together. They left about an hour ago and so I’m finally here, sitting by my desk and blogging.

The week isn’t over yet!

Tomorrow we’re meeting more friends who are currently visiting our country. The following day? Oh just a small get-together of 30-40 friends in our home…

I think that this week brings a level of social interaction which suggests I may have some social skills after all!

What about my work? What about the Blog Revival Project?

Well, I’m afraid that pesky thing we call “life” came in the way once more.

I knew this would be a busy week, so I pre-scheduled posts for a few of the blogs. I had meant to do that for all six project blogs but alas, only managed to pre-schedule posts on four of them. The blog you’re reading right now – Yeys.com – is one of the two that I just didn’t get around to posting in. Almost two weeks with no posts <insert sad smilie here>.

(I would have used an actual sad smilie, but some RSS readers take these smilies and use them to feature your posts with. Your post ends up with a huge blurry yellow smiling face for a cover image. Scary stuff!)

Of course, there’s more to blogging than just writing posts. I regularly comment on other people’s blogs and promote my blogs on social media. Not too much of either happening this week, I’m afraid.

So, I’m touching base here today to boost the blog with a new post and let everyone know where I’m at. I’m at home, having fun but not working as much as I should be!

Taking a break is not all bad!

I may be feeling tired (almost jet-lagged) today but that’s a very temporary thing. At the same time, I feel mentally refreshed and even rejuvenated by spending time with friends and family and by traveling around the country.

I find myself toying with ideas for posts and almost writing them in my head. I know there are some awesome new posts about to be added to my travel blog! Looking forward to putting it all into writing next week!