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.

 

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!)

 

 

 

August 2016 Traffic & Revenue Report

August is over which means I’m officially halfway through to the first milestone the Blog Revival Project. Time to look at the stats and see what traffic and revenue were like during the month of August.

August Traffic & Revenue Report

What’s the Blog Revival Project? That’s just me trying to bring six blogs back to life by doing what bloggers do: create quality content, promote and monetize. I started in June, exactly three months ago, and my aim is to generate at least $200 in profit from all six blogs combined during the month December 2016.

You can read more about the project’s goals and strategies here.

So, let’s take a look at the numbers. I’ll then offer my own insights as to what’s going on and why.

Expenses in August 2016

Almost no expenses in August. I only paid for hosting, a total of $20.

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

Total expenses: $20

Traffic & Revenue Per Blog

Let’s dive into the specifics for each blog with the following metrics: number of blog posts made during August, traffic stats and revenue stats. In gray, you’ll find the traffic and revenue stats for the past three months so you’ll be able to see the progress made (or lack of, in some cases).

Blog #1 – CatPicsBlog.com

Posts made during August: 6

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

Revenue:

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

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

Blog #2 – CatsGoShopping.com

Posts made during August: 6

Traffic: 

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

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

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 August: 4

Traffic:
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

Revenue:
August Adsense revenue: $0.18
July Adsense revenue: $0.02
June Adsense revenue: $0.01
May Adsense revenue: $0.01

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 August: 4

Traffic:

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

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

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 August: 6

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

Revenue:
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 August: 6

Traffic: 
August unique visitors: 255  pageviews: 663
July unique visitors: 403  pageviews: 795
June unique visitors: 168  pageviews: 377
May unique visitors: 136 pageviews: 151

Revenue:
July Adsense revenue: $0.15
July Adsense revenue: $0.92
June Adsense revenue: $0.02
May Adsense revenue: $0

Total August Revenue & Profit

Expenses: $20
Revenue: $23.11

Profit: $3.11

So, is this good? Bad? Maybe ugly?

Looking at the bottom line, you could say it’s a positive trend. In fact, this is the first month with an actual (positive) profit. The total is only three dollars and eleven cents but hey, that’s better than a total of -$291 in July and -$563.73 in June.

August's profits

If you look at revenue alone, the picture isn’t very rosy. Revenue hasn’t gone down but growth is painfully slow and let’s face it, at this scale, it’s pretty random too.

Revenue growth

As anticipated, fewer posts meant less traffic –

Traffic trend

In fact, this is actually better than what I had expected, considering that I only published a total of 32 posts across the project blogs in August. Compare that to a total of 54 posts in July – a decrease of more than a third – and the traffic looks surprisingly good.

Losing steam comes at a cost

August was a difficult month for me. I was overwhelmed with work and was getting too close to the dreaded burnout point. To avoid that, I deliberately slowed down and the Blog Revival Project paid the price.

I’m worried, to be honest. I wonder if maybe I have bitten on more than I can chew. Maybe six blogs is too much and I should have focused on three, two, or maybe even just one?

At this point, I’m sticking with all six blogs

Yes, I can see some blogs are doing better than others. I can also tell by now which blogs I enjoy more (which is just as important because I do believe that blogging about what you love is the key to long-term success). However, I still think blogging is a marathon and not a sprint. Three months is just way way too short a time to tell much about anything. So, I’m going to keep at it. I’m going to take it one month at a time and we’ll see how that goes.

You can read here about my plans for September. I’m going to keep the cycle of posting and promoting on all blogs, paying special attention to TripMemos.com this month (my travel blog). This basically means more posts there as well as developing a stronger Pinterest presence and a more robust mailing list.

Overall August was a mixed bag in terms of results: a slight decrease in traffic due to slowing down but a (very) slight increase in revenue. Let’s hope September will blow away the summer fatigue and I’ll be able to push forwards on all fronts.

Here’s to a fresh, crisp and fruitful fall!

Have a great fall!

I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!

Do you think six blogs is too ambitious for a side project? Should I stick with all six until December or maybe I should lose the excess baggage sooner rather than later? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. Don’t forget to tell me what your August was like too!

September Plans for the Blog Revival Project

Wow, it’s been three months since I started the Blog Revival Project. Time sure flies when you’re having fun. It flies when you’re not having fun as well. Generally speaking, it just flies faster the older you get.

The older you get, you also tend to digress more. Sorry about that!September plans

What’s the Blog Revival Project?

In a nutshell, the project involves taking six nearly-dead blogs, with hardly any traffic or sales, and trying to get them back on track. My goal is to get a total of $200 a month from all six blogs put together by December 2016. That would be six months into the project.

I have nearly two decades of experience in web content publishing under my proverbial belt but in the past six years I focused on a single (albeit successful) project where I am in charge of content creation and editing. I discovered that there’s a learning curve attached to getting back to my old position as a jack-of-all-trades blogger.

I’m keeping track of project progress in this blog by posting monthly traffic and revenue reports and blogging about various aspects of the project.

Whew, I think that I’ve filled the nutshell to the brim! If you want to know more you can browse through posts relating to the Blog Revival Project.

Today I want to talk about my plans for September.

I had neglected to do that in time for August and I think that contributed to me feeling a bit overwhelmed during the past few weeks. Time to get the old train back on its track, shovel in some coal and get things chugging away nicely once again.

Time to give my travel blog some TLC!

If remembering other people’s posts happens to be your superpower – and if you’ve bothered reading that post – you probably know that September is going to be dedicated to developing and promoting this blog: TripMemos.com.

Which makes me very happy. This happens to be my favorite blog of the six!

You see, I LOVE traveling. We’ve traveled quite a bit in the past seven years. Our list includes 44 US states, three Canadian provinces, the UK, France, Switzerland and Italy. The list of places we want to visit in the coming decade is even longer!

Our family, exploring the Athabasca Glacier in Canada
Our family, exploring the Athabasca Glacier in Canada

I also dread traveling. My inner neurotic hobbit wants nothing to do with travel. It just wants to dig deeper into its safe burrow and never ever leave the shire.

This constant inner struggle means I tend to put a lot of time and effort into planning our family trips. Researching destinations is something I enjoy doing and have become fairly good at.

I think I have a fairly good grasp of the joys and challenges of traveling and that’s something I can share with people. I get so many people asking me about destinations that we visited. I also put a lot of work into planning our future trips. Why not just blog about that?

Using my own blog – can you beat that?

We’re planning a long road trip next summer. It’s going to take us from California to Alaska and back. While researching routes and options, I already created these three blog posts:

Alaska Bucket List: 13 destinations you must visit (Including a map)

What to see and do along the Alaska Highway

What to do and see along the Stewart-Cassiar Highway Route To Alaska

This week it suddenly dawned on me that it’s time to start booking motels for August 2017. Alaska is very expensive and by booking a year in advance you can get more affordable accommodation. Browsing through hotel booking sites I realized some places were filling up as soon as they opened for registration. Panic ensued!

How do I put together an itinerary fast enough to start booking? At the very least, I needed to create an itinerary for August which would cover the first leg of our road trip, up the Stewart-Cassiar Highway.

Fortunately, there’s this really awesome blog that covers just that. It’s called TripMemos.com and has this oh-so-practical post about What to do and see along the Stewart-Cassiar Highway Route To Alaska.

stewart-cassiar-highway

And since I happened to be the one who wrote that post – insert smug smile here – I knew I could trust the content! Whew! I went back to that post and used it to quickly create our itinerary for August. I then moved ahead to booking the hotels.

The TripMemos Travel blog: September Action Plan

So, what will I be doing to improve TripMemos in September?

As you may (or may not) recall, I have previously made a list of possible action items for blog promotion. When focusing on a specific blog for a month, I go over that list and decide which items to implement.

At least, that was the original plan.

Three months into this project, I have a better sense of what works and what not so much. More on that in future posts but for now, let’s just say that while I have moved forward with some item s across the blogs, I also know that I’m not going to rush into implementing others.

All in all, here’s my task list for Trip Memos this month –

1. Write at least 8 quality blog posts

I want to create a good balance of destination guides based on our own experience and posts exploring potential destinations that we want to travel to.

2. Focus on Pinterest as the main social media promotion channel

I have already set up a Pinterest channel for the blog. I need to figure out the best strategies to promote this channel, as well as ways to join travel group boards.

3. Look for niche-specific forums for travel bloggers (not travelers)

There are many great travel bloggers out there. I want to connect with them to learn more about what they do and how they promote and monetize their blogs.

4. Continue to comment on travel blogs (as I have been doing for the past 3 months)

This one is easy. I read a lot of travel blogs, sometimes as part of my research when writing a post. Leaving a comment is common courtesy.

5. Set up a magnet lead for the mailing list.

I have already bought the Thrive Leads plug-in. I’m going tolook into installing it on this blog too. My expectations aren’t very high though. In fact, I may even just forego installing the plug-in and just use Mailchimp’s solutions for setting up the magnet lead. Either way, I need to figure out what I’m going to put in the magnet lead first…

So much for the travel blog.

I also have five other blogs in the Blog Revival Project.

And remember, I have my flagship site to run as well (which in fact is where most of my work time gets sucked into).

It’s ok though. No panic. And no more animated GIF’s in this post either. I promise!

For the other five project blog, the plan consists of –

1. Posting 4-6 posts in September in each blog.

2. Promoting each post by commenting on blogs that offer commentluv links.

An aside: I’m going to blog about commentluv. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a WordPress plugin that allows blog commenters to get one extra link back to their latest blog post (in addition to the link to their blog). Give it a try by commenting on this post.

Voila, there you have it.

It’s going to be another intensive month with a total of 30-40 posts in the blog revival project. If that sounds like a lot, keep in mind that I wrote no fewer than 54 posts in July (we’ll see what the count for August ends up being like).

Time to flex and crack my fingers!

What are your plans for September? How are you coming along with your own projects? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Mid-August Report: Losing Steam To Avoid Burnout

If you’ve been following the Blog Revival Project you know that my strategy basically looks like this –

  1. Post on the six project blogs.
  2. Regularly promote via social media, blog comments etc.
  3. Focus on one blog each month and push that blog forward.

By “push forward”, I mean invest time (and funds, as may be necessary) to improve on infrastructure. This could mean setting up social media accounts, creating a lead magnet for the mailing list or improving the way the blog looks.

July was dedicated to working on blog #1 and things went according to plan. I worked hard on implementing all of the planned action items during July and the monthly report showed a nice increase in traffic and revenue.

By “working hard” I also mean posting a total of 54 blog posts in the six Blog Revival Project blogs. Keep in mind that this project is not my core business. I also manage a fairly large website in a different niche which gets well over a million unique monthly visitors. I kept churning out quality content for that site as well. If that’s not enough, I also have one more online project that’s not covered in this blog.

All in all, I wrote more than 80 pieces of content in July. Then I promoted them. I also did infrastructure work on blog #1, remember? And let’s not forget life itself. You know, living with a loving partner, two wonderful kids and now a cat too (yes, we adopted a cat!)

Losing steam… to avoid burnout

One of the challenges of the Blog Revival Project was burnout. When I started the project in June, I found myself working for 70+ hours a week. I knew this would be hard to keep up with for the long run but I was having too much fun to stop.

I am fully aware of the danger of burnout.

It has happened to me before. Almost twenty years ago while working on my very first web publishing project, I reached the burnout point. It was nasty. From working on my project around the clock I moved to the point of not being able to take another single look at it. It took me months to recover.

I don’t want this to happen again. Ever. So, this time I kept looking for the telltale signs of burnout approaching. I could see them early this month. Too many tasks, too little time, too much pressure. Working is no longer fun. Not good.

Burnout

Instead of reaching burnout I decided to lose steam. Deliberately.

Losing steam isn’t the same as burning out.

Losing steam means slowing down.

I believe the metaphor originally relates to locomotives – losing steam means the train slows down. However, in this case, I like to think of it more in terms of a pressure cooker.

Losing steam to avoid burnoutThe higher the temperature the more effective your cooking. The problem? If you cook for too long at too high a temperature, your pressure cooker could explode. You have to deliberately (and carefully!) use the safety valve to lost some of the steam and depressurize the cooker.

Losing steam and slowing down is crucial in the long run.

Which is what I’ve been doing in the past two weeks.

I’m still working. Have worked almost every day this month but for fewer hours. I prioritized my tasks and focused on my flagship site.

I also –

  • Traveled with my husband and kids to watch the meteor shower in the desert
  • Spent time with extended family
  • Worked on our investment portfolio (which I may blog about at some point)
  • Helped our new cat adjust to his new home
  • Prepared our travel plans for 2017

Time to regroup

This post is the fifth content item that I’m writing today. Playing catch up with all of the blogs isn’t easy! They now all have fresh content, I’m happy to say.

Whew!

Now it’s time to regroup and plan ahead. Time to gradually pick up steam again.

Back when I started the Blog Revival Project I had wondered if maybe I’m biting more than I can chew. The jury is still out on that question.

Maybe six blogs is too much for a “side gig”. Should I cut down to three blogs? Or perhaps slow down the pace but keep all six blogs going?

For now, I’m going with the second option, keeping all six blogs in the project but slowing down the pace of posting to once a week. If and when I find that I have the time and inclination to push the publication schedule back to two posts a week, I will.

My plan for picking up steam looks like this –

  1. Fill up on fresh posts on all blogs (done today).
  2. Re-adjust content plans on all blogs for one post per week.
  3. Schedule posts in advance for one week ahead – one per blog.
  4. Add a second blog post for the same week on some of the blogs.
  5. Still have time? Find a blog to focus on and give it the TLC treatment.

That’s it for now. No deadlines either. It’ll happen when it happens. It’s summertime and I’m trying to relax!

Summertime relaxation

As  always, I’d love to get your feedback! Have you ever reached burnout? How do you regulate your work flow to avoid that?

How to find the best lead magnet for a blog

Part of my blog revival project includes building a mailing list for each blog. Time to work on mailing list growth and utilize lead magnets. Most online advice on lead magnets is geared towards product marketing. I need something a little different, so it’s time to sieve through the tips and ideas and find out what makes the best lead magnet for a blog.

Best lead magnet for a blog

This post covers the basic definition of a lead magnet and the adjustments needed for blog promotion. It also includes a list of 10 lead magnets formats and how they can be applied by bloggers.

What are lead magnets anyway?

The “lead” is a basic concept in marketing theory (and practice).

Salespersons crave access to potential clients. A “lead” is simply a way to gain access to a client. Traditional leads include phone numbers, physical mailing addresses and even ways to meet people in person to pitch them your offer.

In the digital realm, leads are usually ways to contact a potential client via email. Working en masse, the tool for connecting with these potential clients is often an automated mailing list.

How does that relate to blogging?

We all work hard on getting blog traffic. The problem? Once visitors arrive, read the post and – hopefully – get what they came for, they may disappear forever.

Oh, no! Gone forever?

Ahh, but what if during that brief visit you somehow managed to convince them to give you their email address? You have a way to get them back again! Woohoo!

You can communicate with them again in the future, offer new content and maybe even sell them a product or service. You have your lead!

The question remains: How do you get a visitor to sign up? What can convince a visitor to let you into their inbox?

Which is where the magnet comes in…

If you want to get your visitor’s email address and turn him or her into a lead, you need to offer something in return.

For some people and some blogs, getting updates about new posts can be enough. However, if you aim at getting more visitors to subscribe, you need to offer more than that. You should create something which will attract people to your mailing list like flies to honey! Like iron chips to a magnet! Hence, the term “lead magnet“.

Lead magnets exist all over the place in traditional marketing. They are items or services given for free, or almost for free, in return for getting a person one step closer to becoming a profit-generating client.

So, what makes the best lead magnet for a blog?

Unlike some forms of traditional marketing, in blogging we focus on building a relationship with our audience. For many of us – myself included – the mailing list is first and foremost a way to get return visitors and augment a long-term relationship with our readers.

A blog’s lead magnet doesn’t have to be geared towards selling a particular product.

A lead magnet for a blog should ideally –
  • Build trust between the blogger and the reader.
  • Establish the blogger’s expertise the field.
  • Engage the reader and encourage him or her to reach out again to the blog when they need more advice.

To do that, the lead magnet should provide readers with added value. Something that relates to your blog’s theme and expands on what your posts provide.

How much value should a lead magnet for a blog provide?

My impression is that this is niche-specific. In the blogging niche, the competition is harsh. With so many free offers jumping at readers from every direction, you have to fight for their attention and for their email address. You want your lead magnet to stand out by providing even more value than the competition.

A lead magnet for a blog: Which format to use?

Ok, so now we know what a lead magnet is and that it needs to provide a visitor with enough perceived value so that they are willing to give you their email address in exchange.

The topic should relate to your blog. In fact, some lead magnets can even be post-specific (which means lots of smaller lead magnets, spread across your blog).

But what about the format? Lots of ideas bouncing around, so I created a list, with my own observations about whether or not these would make a good lead magnet for a blog. They may be awesome as lead magnets for a company that wants to sell you life insurance but will they work for augmenting your blog’s mailing list?

1. A PDF version of a post

This is probably the easiest lead magnet of all to create. It simply means wrapping up your post and saving it as a PDF. However, its added value is limited. All of the information is there on the page, why “pay” with an email address just to download it again?

2. A tip list/checklist

Relatively easy to come up with (assuming you’re an expert). Short and concise which saves your readers’ time, enhancing its value. It may be too little in competitive niches but could work well in others.

3. A “recipe”

By that I mean, a list of instructions for creating something which relates to your niche. It can be an actual recipe in a cooking site. It can be a design plan, a gaming walkthrough or a cross-stitch pattern. Depending on the value tag of the recipe, this could be a good magnet in some niches.

4. A template

This is a great lead magnet for a blog that deals with design or publishing. It’s a bit like a recipe, only set up for a simple customization by your readers to fit their own needs.

5. An E-book

A short helpful e-book could make a good lead magnet. It’s important to let the reader know in advance what the ebook covers and how long it would take them to go through it. You don’t want them overwhelmed by an e-book that’s too long or disappointed by one that is too short.

6. A webinar or workshop

Giving readers access to a past webinar can work for some niches. I’m not sure access to an actual live webinar makes a good lead magnet. It’s too much value for this stage. However, access to recordings of past webinars may work.

7. An online course

Joining a course can work only if you have no added costs for bringing on new students, or if you established a clear way of monetizing the course. Otherwise, this seems to be too much of an investment for a lead magnet.

8. Giveaways/raffles

This is a very interesting type of lead magnet. With giveaways/raffles you give one expensive product and your readers give you their email address for a chance to win. Choosing a prize that relates to your niche and has enough perceived value is critical here.

A raffle/giveaway is always limited in duration. Which means you need to be sure you will actually be getting enough traffic to generate enough signups. otherwise, you could end up giving away a prize worth $500 for 50 new emails.

There is also a cost to setting this up. Rafflecopter and similar services offer a very limited free service. If you really want to make the most of a raffle/giveaway, you will probably need to upgrade. And then of course, there is also the cost of the prize which needs to be much more valuable than a usual lead magnet.

9. Quizzes

With quizzes, your lead magnet is usually the end result. A quiz usually takes your reader through the process of answering all the questions and then asks for their email address. With some quizzes, the results are blocked until the email address is provided. That’s not a good approach in a blog as it can frustrate your readers and alienate them.

However, a quick quiz that generates a positive outcome has other benefits for a blog. It’s a tool for viral sharing, for example. So, as an added lead magnet, it can work to enhance your mailing list. I wouldn’t use it as the main lead magnet in the signup form.

10. Coupons and discounts and real-world freebies

Offering a coupon or a discount is not a classic lead magnet for a blog. A coupon usually relates to a product or service. Your readers need to actually be interested in that product in order to sign up.

It may work for bloggers who blog solely to promote a certain service or product but otherwise, it is too far removed from the idea of providing a lead that focuses on creating trust in your brand as a blogger.

Choosing the best lead magnet for my blogs

I started this process because I wanted to experiment with a lead magnet for one of my blogs. It’s even in my task list and you can read all about that here.

I am going to use a simple tip list as a lead magnet for that blog. I think it should make a good lead magnet for a blog, being relatively quick to put together and hopefully providing my readers with just the needed amount of added value.

Next, I will be looking at signup forms to see how to make sure visitors to the blog do not miss out on my awesome free offer. Stay tuned for more, I will very likely blog about that as well 😉

Thanks for following through with the post. As always, your comments are welcome!

Time To Give Blog #1 Some TLC

The recap: I’m on a mission to revive six different blogs. All of them withered away over the past few years because I was busy with a separate project.Time to bring them back to life!

You can read more about the goals and the strategy here.

I’ve put together a generic list of actionable blog promotion items. They cover content creation, branding, social media and additional promotion strategies. As per the master plan to take over the world revive the blogs one by one, I’m going to start in July with CatsGoShopping.com.

What's in store for CatsGoShopping?
What’s in store for CatsGoShopping?

Today, I’ll go over the list of blog promotion ideas, analyze which to apply to CatsGoShopping and how.

I’m going to bold in green the items that make it into my to-do list and in red the ones I decide not to deal with this month. Bolded in gray are the items that I’ve already accomplished or that I already do on a regular basis, so there’s no need to add them to my to-do list.

Content creation

  • Create a content strategy and a content plan
    Check. All of my blogs currently have a content strategy and content plans. For CatsGoShopping, the plan includes a weekly post about a cat-related product, a weekly “eye candy” post and a weekly “something else” post which could be a blog round-up or a post on something else related to shopping for cats (I have lists of ideas to choose from).
  • Come up with ideas for SEO-worthy posts using a tool like LongTail Pro.
    Since I already have a content plan in place, I’ll use LongTail Pro mostly to fine-tune titles and key phrases targeting within the chosen themes.
  • Keep posting at a constant frequency.
    Check. Three posts a week it is.
  • Write engaging posts with a good readability score.
    Check. Using Yoast SEO for instant feedback on readability.
  • Write appealing titles (and check with a tool like this one).
    Check.
  • SEO content with a plugin like Yoast SEO.
    Check. I need to be careful not to over-optimize though.
  • Optional: Create repetitive features (such as weekly picture or quote).
    Check. Weekly cat picture post + weekly product review.

Branding

  • Decide on a color palette and a font (or two fonts) for the blog.
    I’ll be looking up palettes and deciding on a final one today.
  • Get a logo.
    I’m going to look up a designer on Fiverr and buy a logo for $20-$50.
  • Create photoshop templates for featured images.
  • This is something I can do once I have the logo.
  • Use an appealing “about me” write up, including a good picture.
    Check. Already done.
  • Apply colors, logo, picture and write-up across social media platforms and directories and in mailing list.
    Will be done following logo design.

Social Media

  • Formulate a social media strategy.
    I need to tread lightly here as I can’t spend too long on social media, so strategy focuses on some amount of automation. It includes:
    Pinterest – Using my existing account which already has 1K+ followers and pinning three times a week, two images at a time.
    Twitter – I’m going to set up an account for the blog and then have it auto-tweet new posts. I will follow other niche bloggers on that account but won’t have time for a more personal form of interaction. Will follow up on mentions etc but not much else.
    Facebook – The blog already has a Facebook page. Automated posts only there too.
  • Set up social media accounts as per the strategy and use tools such as Hootsuite to put it into place.
    Adding the following to my to-do list:
    Create Twitter account and automate posting.
    Pinning task 3 times a week.
  • Join forums and online communities relating to the blog’s niche.
    Nope. Not at this stage. This is one of the most time consuming ways to promote a blog. With the exception of webmaster forums, online communities are highly sensitive to spam. This form of promotion only works if you’re already an established and contributing member.

More Promotion

  • Comment on other blogs in the same niche. 
    Already doing that and will continue to this month. I have a recurrent task of commenting on least 5 blogs a day.
  • Mailing list: Set up a content strategy (automated RSS vs. newsletters).
    At this point, I’m going to stick with the existing RSS-generated mailings for blog updates. I won’t have time to manage an actual newsletter.
  • Mailing list: Set up a promotion strategy (type of blog ads, pop-ups and lead magnets).
    Major item here. I do want to experiment with different types of subscription forms, including pop-ups. I also want to experiment with a lead magnet. These are all aspects I don’t have prior experience with, so there’s a learning curve ahead.
  • Create giveaways/raffles with appropriate prizes.
    Another major item which I’d like to experiment with. I’m going to set a lower priority to this task because I’m not sure I’ll have time left to properly organize a raffle/giveaway.
  • Set up a guest blogging strategy. Who to approach and how to approach them, depending on your niche.
    I don’t think guest blogging is necessarily a bad way to promote a blog but it is time-consuming. I also have a hunch that it may not be the right time for this specific blog and in this niche. I think I’d like to network some more before asking people if I can guest blog for them. If I get an offer, I’ll take it. However, I’m not going to actively promote this at this point.

The Final To-Do List

Looks like I’m doing well on content creation. I just need to consistently keep at it.

As for actual promotion, the focus this month will be first on branding and a bit of social media. Then I’ll tackle a couple of big tasks: the mailing list and (if I have time) giveaways/raffles.

So, my new tasks for July are –

  1. Decide on a color palette and a font (or two fonts) for the blog. (7/5)
  2. Get a logo. (7/10)
  3. Create templates for featured images. (7/12)
  4. Set up Twitter account and put that on auto-pilot. (7/12)
  5. Apply colors, logo, picture and “about me” write-up to Twitter account, Facebook page and mailing list. (7/12)
  6. Experiment with other types of subscription forms for the mailing list. (7/15)
  7. Experiment with lead magnet for the mailing list. (7/20)
  8. Create giveaways and raffles with appropriate prizes. (7/25)

This in addition to the repetitive tasks for this blog –

  1. Post 3 times a week. Quality, engaging posts, SEO’ed and with catchy titles.
  2. Pin 2 images, three times a week.
  3. Keep commenting on niche blogs. Three comments a day linking back to CatsGoShopping seem like a good target.

Is this doable within 10 hours a week or have I bitten more than I can chew? I guess time will tell. I’m going to report back by the end of the month, along with the monthly traffic and revenue report. Stay tuned and if you have any tips, ideas, thoughts of commiserations to offer, please do so in a comment!

How To Resuscitate A Blog: The Complete Action Plan

A recap: My current project is to revive six blogs and turn them from dormant – semi-dead – blogs into active profitable blogs. You can read more about this project here where I outlined the overall goals and strategy. Now is the time to delve into the actual tactics. This post sums up a list of actionable items that will help me bring these blogs back to life.

Blog revival action plan

The original title of this post was “How to resurrect a blog”. However, my blogs aren’t entirely dead. They are only in a coma 😉 What they need is methodical CPR from a dedicated paramedic (that would be me!).

Each blog is different. They are in different niches and target different audiences. They will therefore need slightly different action plans. Each plan would be geared towards getting the blog that elixir of web life: content & traffic. The one area which won’t be covered here is monetization. I don’t think it’s a good idea to focus on monetization of a comatose blog. I want to get a significant amount of traffic coming in first.

This post will therefore be a generic checklist for all the possible steps which could help in the resuscitation process. If you’re struggling to jump start your own blog, by all means, feel free to use the list!

Content creation

  • Create a content strategy and a content plan. Write them down.
  • Come up with ideas for SEO-worthy posts using a tool like LongTail Pro.
  • Keep posting at a constant frequency.
  • Write engaging posts with a good readability score.
  • Write appealing titles (and check with a tool like this one).
  • SEO content with a plugin like Yoast SEO.
  • Optional: Create repetitive features (such as weekly picture or quote).

Branding

  • Decide on a color palette and a font (or two fonts) for the blog.
  • Get a site logo designed.
  • Create photoshop templates for featured images.
  • Use an appealing “about me” write up, including a good picture.
  • Use colors, logo, picture and write-up across social media platforms and directories and in mailing list.

Social Media

  • Formulate a social media strategy.
  • Set up social media accounts as per your strategy and use tools such as Hootsuite to put it into place.
  • Join forums and online communities relating to your niche, especially any that are for bloggers in your niche.

More Promotion

  • Comment on other blogs in the same niche. Making a genuine contribution and focus on interacting with the blogger as well as with other commenters.
  • Mailing list: Set up a content strategy (automated RSS vs. newsletters).
  • Mailing list: Set up a promotion strategy (type of blog ads, pop-ups and lead magnets).
  • Create giveaways and raffles with appropriate prizes for your niche. Find sponsors if possible.
  • Set up a guest blogging strategy. Who to approach and how to approach them, depending on your niche.

These are the items I came up while brainstorming. Since only one brain was involved in the storm (my own!) I’d love to get some feedback. If you have other ideas which you think can help me resuscitate a blog, please do add them in the comments. If you come up with something that’s a good fit for my blogs, I’ll work them into the list and give you credit (including a link back).

So, what comes next?

If you’ve read my post about the project strategy, you may remember that I’m going to focus on one blog every month from now until December. I will still be posting on all of them, generating quality posts in line with the content plan devised. However, in terms of branding, marketing and promotion, I’ll be focusing on one blog at a time.

The first blog to receive the full CPR is CatsGoShopping.com. I am going to take this checklist and go over each action item to see if and how it can be applied to that blog. The result will be a plan, broken into tasks with the appropriate schedule to follow up on each one. That is the only way to deal with a strategy: break it down into manageable tasks and set up a timetable for them.

And guess what, I’m going to post that plan here as well!

The challenge: Set feasible & realistic tasks

Sure, the best thing would be to have Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook accounts for each blog, all with fresh interactive constant updates. Unfortunately, there are only 24 hours in the day. There is no way I can effectively manage so many active social media accounts for so many blogs. Remember, I have another huge website to take care of! Not to mention an actual life which includes a husband and two kids!

Social media is just one aspect. The same goes for every other parameter. At this point, the blog revival project is a one-person show, so there is a very real issue of potential burnout too. While more may be better for any blog in the short term, less would be better for the long run.

Again, I’d love to get more ideas! If you have any leave me a comment, will ya?

The Blog Revival Project: Setting Goals & Strategy

It’s time to reveal my current project in all its glory and provide the framework of what I’m trying to do: Revive six dormant (practically dead) blogs and turn them into successful revenue-generating blogs. In this post, I’m going to introduce the participating blogs and present my goals and the strategy I plan to use.

The Blogs Revival Project: Goals & Strategy

I started this project about a month ago. At first, I was hesitant about revealing the names of these blogs. Why? Good question. I think I was just used to the “old-times” when webmasters-turned-bloggers used to work in stealth mode. I’ve decided to change my ways and embrace the new approach of openness and  transparency. In fact, as soon as I have the final data from Google Analytics and Adsense, I will post my first painfully honest revenue and traffic report!

So, with that in mind, it’s time to reveal the six blogs and share my goals as well as the strategy I’ve come up with for this project.

Drumroll…

The Blogs!

Six blogs are included in this project. First, I’d like to present them and explain where they stand now.

#1 CatPicsBlog.com

This blog is all about beautiful cat pictures. I buy the pictures to avoid any copyright issues. I know quite a bit about cats and cat care, so I try to add some additional information and useful tips.

This blog was launched almost 7 years ago. According to the Google Search Console it currently has 1,428 incoming links.

I stopped working on CatPicsBlog five years ago. Since then traffic and revenue pretty much died out. I started posting again in March 2016 and have picked up steam and moved to daily posts in June 2016.

#2 CatsGoShopping.com

Yup! Another cat blog! This one focuses on shopping for cat products and services.

It was launched almost 8 years ago with posts promoting Amazon products. It too was abandoned about five years ago. I took up posting again in March 2016.

According to Google Search Console this blog currently has 315 incoming links.

#3 Gifts4Kids.net

Another shopping blog, this time about choosing the right gifts for children. Every post offers one product or more, all with Amazon affiliate links.

It’s not a very good domain name but it is almost 11 years old and has 41 inbound links. I posted on this blog sporadically over the years, up to 2012. I picked it up again in March 2016.

#4 Home-Decor-Hub.com

This blog is a mix of posts about principles of home design and posts about specific products on Amazon you can use for home decor (mostly the latter).

The domain is hyphenated and isn’t one I would choose today. Still, it’s one of my older domains – almost 12 years old – and has no fewer than 1524 incoming links. I’ve been adding posts intermittently since 2008.

It gets the most traffic of the six blogs in the project but revenue has dropped dramatically to pretty much zero over the past couple of years.

#5 TripMemos.com

A fairly new domain, for a change. I decided to get into the traveling niche because we love traveling and have made two very long road trips with the kids. The domain is 3 years old and I only got around to developing the blog last year, so it has very few old posts and most of the posts were made after May 2016.

#6 Yeys.com

This blog you’re reading right now! An ancient domain name bought 11 years ago just because it was a 4-letter.com with a positive sound to it. I’ve used it for various projects over the years. It has 186 incoming links but its current incarnation is very young.

I launched Yeys.com as a blog for me to post about my projects in May 2016. At first it was just to have a place on the web where I can keep my “notes” and rant away. I’ve been inspired by other bloggers to take this one step further and the result is what you’re reading right now.

Setting The Goals

So, now that you know what we’re working with, on to the goals.

These six blogs currently make a total of close to zero revenue. You can take a look at the stats in the June 2016 Revenue & Traffic Report. Trust me, it’s not even worth clicking through for the numbers themselves: Each of the six blogs has 300-500 pageviews a month.

In that respect, they are brand new blogs and I need to start from point zero.

What I have is 18 years of experience developing websites and blogs. You can read here about my personal life, why I stopped developing my blogs five years ago and why I’m embarking on this project at this point.

My experience makes me 100% positive you can make money from blogging. I also know it can take awhile to get to that point with any new (or renewed) site. It’s taken me three years of hard work to start making money online when I started out back in 1998.

With that in mind, I’m trying to set realistic goals for this project.

My goal is to get the six blogs to make at least $200 in December 2016.

That’s for all of them put together. Too much? Too little? I’d love to get your opinion in the comments section!

Plotting A Strategy

Managing six blogs takes some coordination. I can’t do everything for every site everyday so I need a good plan that will help me focus my efforts. Each blog has a different niche or angle. They therefore should be promoted and monetized in different ways.

I took pen to paper and wrote down my current stats and my goals for each month in 2016. I also wrote down what I think would be the best strategy for each blog in terms of content creation, marketing and monetization.

Next, I wrote down a “Grand Scheme” plan for the next six months. I intend to focus my efforts on a single blog each month. During that month, that blog will receive the TLC it needs to “take off”. This could mean a new logo, promoting social media accounts, guest blogging, creating freebie products to promote the mailing list with, etc. It may include new monetization methods if by that time it will have significant traffic. The order I’ve set up is this –

July: Cats Go Shopping

August: Gifts For Kids

September: Trip Memos

October: Cat Pics Blog

November: Home Decor Hub

December: Yeys!

This does not mean I’m going to put the other blogs on hold while focusing on just one. All of the blogs will be getting the same kind of attention in terms of content creation, basic promotion and possibly even monetization. It’s the more time-consuming major processes that will be dealt with one blog at a time.

Stay tuned for my next post where I’m going to detail the items that will make the actual Action Plans for each blog and for the Revenue & Traffic report!

If you’re reading this (and I realize not too many people do), I’d love to get your feedback on my project! Do leave me a comment – I may be “old and wise” but I could still use some encouragement!