Last Updated on October 13, 2021 by scottkandh
Next Wednesday, March 6th, 2021 marks the 8th anniversary month of blogging. This post, Self-Reflection after 8 months of blogging looks at the past as well as looking into the future to see what can lay ahead and to make monetizing my blog a monthly income hopefully within a year’s time-frame.
Unfortunately, blogging is a lot of hard work and sometimes it’s a matter of are using the right affiliate links in the right places.
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I’ve only made $120 in blogging so far from a total of four referrals.
I didn’t start the blog with the hopes of making much money but then I constantly hear about this blogger making x amount of money in their x month of blogging and I say to myself: “Self, what am I doing wrong that other bloggers are doing and making money?”
I started my blog for several reasons.
- To inspire others to build their Pinterest followers.
- To showcase my Pinterest boards, especially Norman Rockwell paintings.
- I wanted to have a creative outlet for making Pinterest graphics or to feature my favorite pins.
- To earn a passive income for my wife and I.
I’m a believer that if you try hard enough and keep being persistent, the persistence will pay off.
Set up your blog correctly!
I spend a fair amount of time on my blog, usually an average of 40 hours per week or more.
I’ve got a fair amount of blog posts that I’ve created (183 all in all). If your blog falls into the same category as mine that you’re not making money from your affiliate links, it’s time to reexamine your posts and see if you’ve got the links in the right places. Ensure that the affiliate link you’ve added to your article coincides with the subject matter.
By setting your blog up correctly you’ll have the opportunity for your blog to earn money for an unlimited amount of time.
If you go to Pinterest and look at blog reports that other bloggers have done you might notice that most bloggers seem to turn their blogs into profits around the one-year point. I’m getting to turn that corner soon so I’m getting my blog ready for that point “BEFORE” it arrives by establishing SMARTER goals (see SMART Goals).
As my friend Brittany from Uptown Sage says (to reinforce that – making substantial profit doesn’t happen overnight):
“Building a business takes a long time, especially a profitable one. However, with the right set up and motivation for success, almost anyone could (do) this.” Uptown Sage
February 2021: Traffic Report
The table below shows a summary of my blog’s traffic report and goals for February. The goals were written on the 7th of February, 2021.
I encourage you to copy this and update it for yourself for your monthly goals:
Monthly Goals – February 2021
|Posts (@ 177)||190||183||No|
|Subscribers (@ 44)||45||43||No|
|Pinterest Impressions (monthly)||140K||161K||x|
|Tailwind Engagement Rate||10%||9.6%||Close|
|Tailwind Community member||+1 (@ 12)||13||x|
|Affiliate Links (Total)||12||33||x|
|Tailwind Affiliate (@ 8) clicks||9||17||x|
|Canva Affiliate (@ 0) clicks||1||0||?|
|Monster Insights @1)||2||0||?|
|ShareASale Affiliate (@ 0) clicks||1||0||?|
|TV Store Online (@ 1) clicks||2||3||x|
|Checks Unlimited (@ 1) clicks||2||2||?|
|Buycoolshirts (@ 1) clicks||2||2||x|
|WPONline Support (@ 0) clicks||1||0||?|
|Hollywood Memorabilia (@ 0)||1||0||?|
|Optin Monster (@ 0) clicks||1||2||x|
|Bluehost (unknown – *)||NA||NA||NA|
|Siteground (unknown – *)||NA||NA||NA|
- I’m a firm believer in establishing SMART goals. One of the problems is that off of the top of my head, I haven’t regularly been checking to see how many clicks have been attempted to the last two affiliate links. You can’t have a SMART goal without a measurable means to track the goal. More than likely it’s within the website, so I’ll need to hunt down that information and keep it in a handy place. Writing out this list made me feel pretty good to know that I have an ample list of Affiliate links. The trick now is how to get my visitors to click on the Affiliate links.
Therefore, in March I’m going to find the best Affiliate Link Masking program that only not works with texts but also works with images as well.
At the bottom of the table above, I’ve added a list of my Affiliate links (mostly from ShareASale). Most of them are at only 1 click and I added a few new ones that don’t have any clicks. So my goal is to get at least one extra click for all of my affiliate links. I did read that it’s suggested to put your affiliate links in the sidebar. I’m not advocating putting each and every one of your affiliate links in the sidebar. That would cause people not to click on them if there are too many. But picking your top three or four might be not overdoing it.
By having more affiliate links, you increase the likelihood that your visitors will click and buy from one of your affiliate links. The trick is to place them well without overdoing it. You don’t want to get too carried away with your affiliate links. Place them where they are applicable and try to tie them to your post. (i.e. Spiderman link with Marvel Comics or favorite superheroes).
What’s the difference between sessions and pageviews?
Sessions represent a single visit to your website.
Pageviews represent each individual time a page on your website is loaded by a User.
A single Session can include many Pageviews.
I don’t have a plan in place to promote on Facebook (Group or Page). Although I have created both I haven’t seen any increase so it’s on the backburner at the moment. But next month will require a hard look at these two areas to promote them. I don’t know enough about Twitter to learn how to promote it.
At the present time, traffic gets to my website by the way of Pinterest. I have other social media platforms that I’ve signed up for but I rarely use them such as: Instagram and YouTube.
The overall point that I would suggest to new bloggers is to pick at least one social media and grow your presence in “that” medium. I’m a huge fan of Pinterest, so my emphasis is in that arena.
Other popular social media platforms to consider are: DeviantArt, TikTok, Linked In, Tumbler, and Snapchat.
Here’s a link to 101+ Social Media Sites that you need to know in 2021, especially if you’re into blogging.
I’ve taken all of the precautions and measures to lower my bounce rate, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why they’re still high.
An important element on blogging involves social marketing. Visit this post: Content Marketing Strategy tips to create better content for your blog.
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To succeed as a blogger, you need to have a good knowledge of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how to use strategies to market your content. After you’ve published your post, your only 50% done. The remaining 50% is the process to market your blog post content. This (the marketing aspect) is the part that helps to bring traffic to your blog. In the above post, I provided my best content marketing strategy tips to market your blog’s content.
For a before and after comparison of my sessions and pageviews I’m including snapshots from my overview report for the month of January 2021. You can do the same. Where you notice spikes is where you’ve been consistent with posting your blog articles and/or images to promote your blog. The snapshot is my overview report for the month of January 2021.
Below is my Pinterest Performance over the last 30 days.
I’ve applied for several other affiliates and most of them were approved. I’m hoping that I get a sale or two for the Star Trek memorabilia on my Star Trek – The Original Series post.
So far, my earnings are:
Tailwind – $15 (one at $15). My e-mails reflect three; however, the program only reflects one so I have to go with the one.
Constant Contact – $75
Total = $90.00
Currently, I don’t plan to put in my expenses until “after” I’ve proven to myself that my blog is profitable (which for “planning purposes” is July 1, 2021). Nonetheless, here’s a table for you to use for your expenses:
|Hosting ($ )||Paid for by: ☐ mo. ☐ yr.|
|Domain ($ )||Paid for by: ☐ mo. ☐ yr.|
|Canva||$ 12.95 monthly|
|Profit (Revenue – Expenses)||$|
Unfortunately, at the present time, my profit exceeds my expenses. But the goal is looking forward and the next four months are heavily concentrated on monetizing the blog with affiliate links and finding the best affiliate link masking program.
Goal #1: One of the goals I’m making for myself is to make a PinArtwork Blog Growth Planner and have it ready by the end of March. It’s now available.
Goal #2: I’ve been using this awesome program for months (Canva) and hadn’t realized that they had an affiliate link. Sometimes you need to dig deep into the weeds to find out if a link you like has an affiliate link program. Now I need to sit back for a couple of days and wait to find out if I was approved. It has been approved, Yippee.
Bloggers, if you plan on creating graphics for your blog, this is a must-have utility. Try out Canva Pro for a 30-day free trial period.
From what I’ve heard digital products are the number way to make money with blogging. I need to explore different avenues to build some digital products, for example:
Blog’s Upcoming things
1. I’m putting less emphasis on blog posts (creating an average of 1 -2 posts per week). The main focus for the next several months is to have pins completed for two of my blog posts. I’m planning to make 10 pins per day for the 300+ Motivational Quotes and then I’ll switch over to the Norman Rockwell paintings and get those all done.
I’ve added a new page for M*A*S*H. I’ve got an incredibly long way to go and I’ll be adding one season per month so it’s going to take me a long time to finish this page. But I have got the introductory pins for the seasons 1 – 4 and the featured pin.
2. To-Do list item: Put all of the plug-ins that I use on the Free Resources Library page.
Pinterest Challenge for March 2021
Here’s a summary of the Pinterest strategy that I’ve been using and will continue to use:
I challenge myself to pin regularly on Pinterest, in order to gain more blog traffic (and hopefully more subscribers).
- Pinning at least 40 times per day (Comprised of:)
- 25 miscellaneous pins from Tailwind to Pinterest boards.
- 10 through Motivation and Inspiration – this is on-going and will continue until I’m finished – ETA is May or June 2021).
- 3 through Faith (on hold at the moment)
- 10 new pins in Norman Rockwell paintings (on hold at the moment)
- Add a minimum of 100 pins per month with Tailwind Create (avg 3 day)
- Therefore, I’m creating approximately 13 fresh new pins per day.
- Following people that have a blog similar to my niche.
If you like my blog, please consider joining my Tailwind Community. The link is provided below for you to join. I look forward to seeing you in my Community. This Tailwind Community is for most niches. Please keep it clean and follow the Tribe rules. I have a dozen Group boards that cover a variety of popular topics. I would love it if there were more participants in the Community to have your pins and mine grow.
I’ve purchased a couple of books to learn Photoshop skills (that are currently at the Beginner level). My Star Trek pins have taken off so I’d like to create some more pins that have a similar great quality for Star Trek The Original Series and Star Trek The Next Generation. I know how to do the basic select subject but I need guidance on putting the finishing touches so that the picture blends together nicely. I have an idea what I want to do but I need to dig deep into the weeds of the program so that I can master it to have professionally looking pins for Star Trek.
By the numbers
As I mentioned earlier (in another post), I had nearly 700 followers, I’ll plan on closely analyzing this information when it gets closer to July of 2021. That’s a long way for now. Hopefully, with a new Pinterest account, I’ll still be able to get at least 500 followers. I’ll give myself another five months to grow my following and I can look at the stats in May 2021 to see if I’ll be looking at 500 or 1,000 followers as initially planned for July 1st, 2021. It appears that with 340 followers as of February 26th, 2021 I should be able to reach my July 2021 goal of 500 – 1,000 followers.
The number of followers has drastically declined after the holiday season which I’ve read is typical for Pinterest and might pike again around July. My goal is to get 45 Pinterest followers per month which averages 1 1/2 per day. Since I didn’t reach my February goal for Pinterest followers, I’ve adjusted the remaining months so that my goal is attainable.
|July 2020||16 Oct 2020||Nov 2020||Dec 2020|
|Pinterest Followers||0||466||700 > 75||153|
|Jan 2021||Feb 2021||Mar 2021||Apr 2021|
|Pinterest Followers||May 2021||June 2021||July 2021||August 2021|
|Pinterest Followers||Sept 2021||Oct 2021||Nov 2021||Dec 2021|
Using Tailwind to schedule pins
I would recommend Tailwind to anyone who is serious about working on their Pinterest account to drive more traffic to their blog.
Tailwind has developed a new program that allows you to create a batch of beautiful pins in no time at all. In less than a 2-hour time-frame, I was able to create 32 pins (about 1 pin every 4 minutes). This would have normally taken me a lot longer and the Tailwind Create program churned out a whole bunch of “suggested” pins for me to schedule.
If you want to be a perfectionist, you could ideally take a screen shot of the pin and make it in Canva. Sometimes, the pin has a little too much detail, but 9 times out of 10 I take the pin right out of Tailwind and schedule it as is (without making any modifications. If you’re a blogger, I’d highly suggest that you check out this program.
Did it work?
From Nov – Jan 2021, I noticed a substantial marked improvement in the visitors to my blog and subscribers. Now I just need to get some information about what’s the correct thing to do when people subscribe to the blog. I’ll share that information with you when I find out. I’ve sent out some e-mails but haven’t gotten any nibbles. But it’s worth a try.
Things I have learned during my eight months as a blogger (that weren’t mentioned earlier).
- I’ve learned how to very effectively use analytics within Pinterest Business and look at top pins and top boards.
- I’ve learned to look more closely at Link Clinks (and they’ve already changed the name on Pinterest) to Outbound clicks.
- To get traffic to blog posts it’s necessary to promote the post on Pinterest or Facebook. An easy way to make new pins is with Tailwind Create. But it needs a few “existing” pins to make new pins. My suggestion is to have a steadfast 10 pins per each blog post.
My blogging achievements
These are things that I am proud to have achieved in the last 8 months:
- One of my blog posts (Star Trek – The Original Series pins) has reached the magic number of 700 total shares and it’s rising by an average of nearly 50 shares per day. I’m guessing that by the end of the month it’ll be well over a 1,000 Total Shares. I’m so happy that this blog post has gone through the roof w/ more than 2,000 total Social Shares. Awesome!
- My blog has been nominated for “Best Newcomer of the Year” for the Infinity Blog Awards 2021. I’m excited because this competition is one that would let the world know my blog’s worth and value. Furthermore, the nominee, finalist, or winner badge/status should increase the trust my customers have for my blog. I eagerly await the announcement of the 2021 finalists awards on March 15th, 2021. Note: 2020 awards were canceled during COVID. I don’t plan to post the badge/status until after I’ve been notified of the results.
- Wrote and published more than 160 posts to cover Pinterest and SEO.
- Consistent posting usually one post every 2 – 3 days.
Goals for my blog’s ninth month
- Continue working on the Motivational and Inspirational pins
- Continue working on Faith pins (I’ve been lax on these pins) on hold
- Continue working on Norman Rockwell pins (on hold).
- Goal of a total of 6,500 pins by 3/31/2021. As of 2/26/2021, I’m at 6,054.
- Goal Engagement Rate of 12.5% (in Tailwind). As of 2/26/2021, the rate is at 9.6%. Ultimately, your end goal is to have a Rate of 100% but that’s very long term (year’s out).
- Get at least one season of M*A*S*H pins done on the Complete Blog of M*A*S*H.
- Earn money from my Affiliate programs (mainly Tailwind and Bluehost) on-going. I need to be more diligent in this arena. But right now without people subscribing I’ve gotten a little lax in this arena. So it’ll require another look if I start getting some more subscribers.
- I was surprised that I have 13 Affiliate links (see Monthly Goals at the top). That number of 13 affiliate links happens to coincidentally match the total number of clicks. So I’m keeping a close eye on the number of clicks (that’s available to be seen in ShareASale) to watch for an increase in numbers. I’m not expecting to see much of a difference so even one or two extra clicks is a step in the right direction.
- The good news is that my Affiliate link clicks raised to 33 so it’s a positive step in the right direction. I’m still looking for that magic pill that will transform the clicks into purchases. I should have taken the blue pill.
This your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.
What is the Matrix? – Morpheus
I wrote a post that might interest you called: How to use Affiliate links to Monetize your blog.
- Now that I have 43 subscribers I need to be very diligent in this area and I’d like to figure out a way to at least making $100 by the end of my 1st year blogging. It’s something to shoot for. So I’m going for all of the gusto. In March, I need to take it up to the next notch.
Goals in a year from now
- Strongly hoping for at least 500 to 1,000 Pinterest followers, July 1, 2021.
- Overjoyed if I have at least 12 subscribers on the Blog.
- Seeking for 15 fresh pins/day, hoping to have 10,000 pins / 500 repins.
How long have you been blogging for?
If you’re a blogger, drop me a line (Bloggers helping Bloggers). I’m hoping to hear what kind of ideas you might have to collaborate to build each other’s blog. Also, I’d greatly appreciate it, that if you liked this post to please pin one of the pins from this post. Thank You.
Related posts that you might want to read on my website: