Ahhh 2017, you were good to us. Our family brought home a new little bundle of joy, I had the amazing opportunity to grow my relationship with a wonderful non-profit organization and started a new blog (this one!). One top of all of that goodness, Swaddles n’ Bottles knocked it out of the park in terms of pageviews and income.
I started Swaddles n’ Bottles in October 2016, so this was my first full calendar year of blogging. As I sit down to write this post, I have my goals that I wrote in January opened and my notebook where I have tracked my stats sitting on my desk. I have to admit, I did not realize just how far the blog had come in the past 12 months.
Here’s a quick look at my January stats:
- Pageviews: 168,146
- Instagram Followers: 1,900
- Pinterest Reach: 240k
- Income: $3,408
Now take a look at December 2017:
- Pageviews: 428,000
- Instagram Followers:22,000 +
- Pinterest Reach: 2.6 Million
- Income: $11,180
Just like many other moms out there who have started a blog, I had big goals, big dreams and zero experience when it came to blogging, social media or building websites.
Yet, through educating myself, a lot of trial and error and hundreds of hours of work, I have made it to where I aimed to be: reaching millions of fellow moms and making a full-time income doing it, all while staying home with my babies.
Let’s jump into how it all happened. I’m going to breakdown every area of income and offer some insight as to how I grew specific areas of my blog.
There are 3 ways I made income in 2017: Affiliate marketing, ad and my own products. But first, let’s talk pageviews.
Here’s a look at my January 2017 Stats:
And here’s a screenshot of my December 2017 pageviews:
Pinterest is still my #1 source of traffic. While I could go on forever about Pinterest and how it works and why I love it and why I hate it, let me try to just be brief on why you should be focusing more of your time on Pinterest in 2018.
Pinterest is the 3rd LARGEST traffic referral site on the internet.
Pinterest is FREE.
Pinterest has the ability to bring in buckets of traffic to you site… IF USED CORRECTLY.
Pinterest operates on an algorithm. This algorithm takes many things into account: Your profile, your activity, your popularity on Pinterest, your website, and most importantly, those keywords! In my first 12 months of blogging, I dedicated so much of my time to figuring out how I could use the algorithm to my benefit to bring in pageviews. The I wrote it all down and am sharing it with anyone who wants it! Check it out here.
While I love Pinterest with a big piece of my blogging heart, I was ready to start loving other traffic sources too. To be honest, it scared me that SO much of my traffic came from one source.
What if the Pinterest algorithm changed BIG time? What if Pinterest was lost forever? How would my intended audience find me? So I started working harder to increase my Google search ranking. In January 2017 I brought in 323 pageviews from search traffic:
And December 2017:
That’s a 40,000 pageview PER MONTH increase! SEO- I LOVE YOU!
So how was it done?
In September 2017 I did a major re-vamp of my SEO tactics on Swaddles n’ Bottles. First order of business- Install HTTPS. If you are with Bluehost, here is the step-by-step tutorial on how to do it.
It Is no secret thet Google places high importance on secure sites. Adding a security certificate to your website is quick, free (depending on if your host provides them for free) and 100% worth it.
Next on my SEO to-do list was revamping old posts. Here are some areas I focused on:
Using Longtail Keywords
I utilize the free version of Yoast SEO on all of my blogs. For my focus keyword, I use long tail keywords.
It can be tough to choose the best keywords, but there are other areas we will discuss in a bit where you will be able to utilize more key words, so focus on picking your stringest one for the Yoast focus keyword. “Easy homemade lasagna recipe” is an example of a strong longtail keyword. “Lasagna” is no where near as strong. Try to think in terms of what your idea reader would be typing into the google search bar.
Speaking of Google, it can help you come up with your keyword! Start by typing some of the focus words you are planning on searching and let it fill in the rest with suggestions. These suggestions are what people have previously searched for so it is a great insight into the minds of your audience!
As mentioned earlier, it can be tough to pick just one longtail keyword. Here’s where you can use all of those left over keywords that didn’t make the cut- your Tags. You can add individual tags to each post. There is no limit to how many tags you can add. This is where you can really go long tail keyword crazy!
Quick tip- if you are going back through all of your old posts and adding tags, there is no need to go into each individual post to do so. You can use the “quick edit” option when viewing the list of all your posts and add the tags there! I was able to add them to all 105 blog posts on Swaddles n’ Bottles in just a few hours!
Adding a H1 title to my posts
Google bots are sent out to websites to “crawl” them for information. The H1 tag is a major way that these bots gather information. I have been slowly going through my posts (starting with my most popular) and ensuring I have the title of my post write in a H1 title tag at the very top. This helps google better understand what your post is about so they can feature it in the appropriate searches.
This is an example of an H1 title tag.
I add my H1 tag by using the drop down option in the far left corner of the edit toolbar
There is so much that goes into SEO and I am constantly searching, learning and applying new techniques to different areas of my blog. As always, I’ll share what I use that works! For more details on SEO, read the complete guide I wrote here.
I love affiliate marketing! My top producing program is Amazon, followed my Share-A-Sale. Here’s a quick look at my January 2017 income on Amazon:
And 12 months later, December brought in more than $3,600 that amount!
I spent a lot of time this past year digging into my Amazon Analytics to see what my audience was buying. Not just what they bought through my links, but what they were buying that WAS NOT my link. This shows me what they are interested in, what problems they need solved, what peaks their interest, etc. Funny story, at one point this year I noticed a certain clothing item was being purchased by my readers about a dozen times a month. The funny thing was, I owned the same item they were buying and I loved it! So I knew this was obviously something my readers were searching for, so I wrote a blog post on it. I now sell close to 100 of these products a month! Your readers are telling you so much through your analytics, you just have to take the time to read it!
Enhanced Pitch Paragraph
In Mastering Affiliate Marketing, we dig into the 6 different types of affiliate links you can use to promote a product and how you can combine these to create a killer pitch paragraph. This year I really focused on perfecting this and using it anywhere and everywhere I could. If you want to check out the details on the pitch paragraph, you can do so here!
January 2017 Income: $897.35
December 2017 Income: $4,364
My ad income is based off of my pageviews and ad campaigns running in the month. My ads are controlled by AdThrive. And when I say “controlled” I mean they literally do everything for me. From placing the ads to analyzing which are working best and updating them with new campaigns, they do it all!
Prior to working with AdThrive, I was with Google AdSense. While it has been a LONG time since I was with them, I still remember a few of my methods to increase my income:
- Ensure you have one ad above the fold on your page.
- Have at least 3 ads on each page (the limit they allow may have changed?)
- I used a plug-in called Ad Inserter back in the day to automatically put my ads on every single post instead of manually putting them in.
- Edit the type of ads you allow on your page to those that best fit your niche. They are more likely to click on them!
I’m happy with the way things ended for 2017 and I am SO ready to jump into 2018. Here are a few areas I am aiming to improve in come the new year:
In December, I landed my first paid post on my Instagram account with a BIG brand (you can see the post here). I landed this by doing something incredibly simple and I am still shocked it paid off the way that it did.
In November, I posted a picture of my daughter playing with a toy that this same brand makes. Then, I tagged the brand in it.
The next day, I had an email writing in my inbox from their marketing company letting me know they would like us to help them promote new products they are launching. I couldn’t believe it!
Shortly after I posted the photo, a second company reached out and stated that based off of the engagement they say on the Swaddles n’ Bottles account, they would also like offer a paid campaign. This was also a company who has been widely discussed on my blog.
in 2018, I would like to really expand my collaborations with brands we are loving and using on a daily basis in our home. I would like to have a minimum of 3 collaborations each month.
After 14 months of some serious work, Swaddles n’ Bottles basically runs on auto pilot. I will continue to publish 2-3 posts per month. I would like to use the extra time I now have to continue to help others grow their blogs and meet their goals. Over the past month, I have been one-on-one coaching two new bloggers (one in the parenting and pregnancy niche and one lifestyle blogger) and have been so fulfilled with helping them! I’ve helped them grow their audience, increase their income and even helped them both through some tough technical aspects of their site. If you would like to read more about the blog coaching services, you can do so here.
I hope this posts helps you in some form or fashion when it comes to meeting your blogging goals!