How My Blog Grew In 2016

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It’s been a year since I wrote the post on how my blog grew in 2015.

A whole year !

Now here we are at the end of 2016 and I can honestly say that while I am not where I want to be, I am certainly not where I used to be.

Last year I talked about how this blog evolved from being a place where I would just talk about how I was selling courses on Udemy or books on Kindle to being one where I began to focus on how solopreneurs could come and learn how to use social media and blogging tools to grow their online presence from scratch.

I am happy to say I have kept up with that theme and definitely beginning to see my very own tribe build around what I have to share.

Are you ready for some brutal, curtains-drawn honesty in this post ?

Let’s do it !

How My Blog Grew In 2016

Traffic

2016 started off really slow. By February, I began to feel discouraged about my blog and actually did not write for a few months. I picked it back up in April and haven’t looked back ever since.

Shortly after I came back from my mini-hiatus, in May I re-did a post I had written back in December 2014 and that post EXPLODED. To date it has been re-pinned 20,000 times and it is still my most visited post on a daily basis.

2 other posts went viral around the same time and along with the post I described above have been the main drivers of traffic to the blog.

Here’s how traffic to the blog in 2016 compared to traffic in 2015.

how my blog grew

My average traffic for 2015 was 3,000 page views per month.

My traffic goal for 2016 was to reach 10,000 page views per month.

My average traffic/month by the time December ends will be right around the 18,000 page view-mark. I went over my goal by 8,000 page views and that was with me skipping blogging for all of February and March.

My traffic goal for 2017 is to reach 100,000 page views per month.

Lessons I Learned Here :

  1. The sky is the limit for ANYBODY. If I can grow a blog from oblivion to the point I’ve been able to grow it with a child, hubby, church AND my work as a biomedical researcher, so can you.
  2. Don’t believe the hype. You will hear me say this over and over and over again. Hyped-up headlines that make you feel like a failure if you haven’t reached 100,000 page views with your blog in 12 months should not make you feel less of a blogger than the next person. I don’t doubt that you can grow your blog to that level in less than a year BUT we all have different life circumstances and there are sometimes secrets behind the the scenes we simply don’t know. So, please focus on YOUR work. You will grow. I promise.
  3. Pinterest is currently TRAFFIC GOLD and doesn’t show signs of slowing down any time soon. Most of my traffic came from Pinterest and while I have a good Pinterest strategy currently going, I am working on doing an even better job with my Pinterest strategy. One of those things has been my investment into BoardBooster which allows you to schedule pins/re-pins. That being said – as biz/blog owners we should never put all our eggs in one basket thus I also plan on focussing more on SEO strategies to allow the search engines to bring me a healthy stream of traffic.

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E-mail Subscribers

I set a goal to reach 2000 subscribers by the end of 2016.

I did not reach that goal but I did go from around 165 subscribers to 541 subscribers at the time of this writing.

Honestly, with the amount of traffic I was getting especially towards the end of this year, I expected to have grown beyond this point. However, these results also tell me that I need to be a better job with my converting readers to subscribers.

This year I depended solely on my main blog pop-up and a few content upgrades to gain subscribers. I realize that I absolutely need to re-do my opt-ins and I am also moving towards including content upgrades in every single post I write from now on.

Content upgrades are a LOT of work. But they are the kind of work you will be rewarded for when you get a lot of hits on a blog post and the subscribers come pouring in.

E-mail Subscriber Goal : 10,000 subscribers

Social Media Following

Twitter : 1922 (from 1450 in Dec 2015)

Facebook : 1330 (from 1224 likes in Dec 2015)

Pinterest : 2300 (from 531 followers in Dec 2015)

Periscope : 718 ( from 469 followers in Dec 2015)

Youtube : 92 subscribers (from 34 subscribers in Dec 2015)

Not sure what you should be posting on social media ? 25 Social Media Post Ideas for Your Calendar >>> CLICK HERE TO GRAB THE FREE PDF

You can tell from the numbers that I really focussed on Pinterest, can’t you ?

I will say this : Facebook is a BEAST to grow organically unless you really have something go viral or you use very well-targeted ads.

Even though I added over 250 followers to my Periscope, I did not do a lot of Periscoping this year.

Here’s why.

While I absolutely LOVE live streaming and especially so with Periscope since it’s integrated with Twitter, it is not as searchable as a blog post or a Youtube video in search engines. And since I only have so much time, I decided to focus my energies on building a strong main platform – in my case, my blog – first and THEN as more revenue comes in and my time gets freed up a bit more as a result I will get back into the live-stream game.

I however do use Facebook Live to host a weekly class inside my Solopreneur Brain Trust Community and those have been going quite well.

Youtube is a platform I want to grow alongside my blog in the coming year. It does involve a lot of planning & work to put a 5-minute video together (I have so much respect for movie producers !!!) but I am willing to do the work because I’ve gotten a foretaste of how you can successfully use video to sell your products and services on Youtube. In the coming year, behind my blog and Pinterest, this is the platform I look forward to growing the most.

Goal for 2017 : To reach 10,000 followers on Pinterest , Twitter & Facebook. To grow my Youtube channel to 5,000 subscribers.

Finances

Helping people is the main reason I blog and the income that results from it is a close second.

This year was great. I am not going to give absolute numbers here on the blog for reasons I will keep close to my chest.

I am however glad to announce that I made between $500 and $1500 in extra side income as a result of the blog each and every single month this year.

I did this mainly via my social media management business, selling courses on Udemy and via affiliate commissions.

My costs were actually super minimal too :

So basically for around $53 per month, I was able to run my online side biz. You just can’t find that type of low cost in ANY type of business model.

{{Ready to start your own blog ? Here’s my tutorial on how to start a blog for less than a cup of coffee}}

I realize that $500 or $1500 in side income may not seem so impressive to some people but it made a HUGE difference to my family and me to have that extra income stream.

It meant we could afford a fully paid trip in April without having to depend on a credit card.

It meant I could buy gas to get around the city for church-related work.

It meant I could buy my son things he needed without having to worry that my salary would not cover it.

If you start something and are able to make an extra $500 to $1000 for your family from that thing, don’t let anyone tell you, you are lame for “only being able to make that much”.

Never let anyone put you down for the results you get for your hard work especially if you are a person who is pressed for time and has other equally important responsibilities.

As long as you do your best and you invest in the right tools at the right time, you will grow from your “meagre” sounding side income to full time income if you don’t give up.

My financial goal for 2017 is to hit $10,000/month by December.

Online learning to jumpstart your future.

Tools I Invested In

I feel very strongly about this –  if you are ready to up-level your online biz growth in the coming year, you need to invest in the right tools.

Key phrase : invest in the RIGHT tools.

To be honest with you, sometimes some tools are just a waste of your time if you have not grown your blog beyond a certain point. In the past, I have come away more CONFUSED by buying certain courses and tools than I was when I first bought it.

Thus my word of caution to you is to decide whether you are ready or not for whatever tool it is you are considering on purchasing. And then, when you do purchase it, please, please, please do your best to implement what you’ve learned.

Knowledge is only becomes power when it is used. So don’t think possessing LeadPages or ConvertKit or buying into B-school alone is enough to make you successful. Actually USE those tools and you will see the results.

Here is the list of tools I invested in this year to help me move along with my blog and business.

Hootsuite – for scheduling and managing social media clients. The $15 plan is plenty for what I need and if you ever think about becoming a social media manager, I highly recommend this tool above others because of how powerful Hootsuite actually is.

Mailchimp – This year, because I wanted to start putting new subscribers into an auto-responder sequence that would have me chatting with them for a number of days after they had signed up for my list, I made the jump from the free Mailchimp plan to the paid plan.

I am glad I did.

Boardbooster – Simple , powerful and effective. That is how I will describe this Pinterest scheduling tools that has saved me SO MUCH time and yet still makes sure that the right traffic is getting to my blog daily.

Thrive Landing Page Builder – I had been eyeing this tool since the end of last year and finally took the plunge to buy it. I’ve used it to create pages like my thank you page that shows up after a subscriber signs up to my list and this one here for my social media manager mini-course sign up.

I love this tool for many reasons but one (apart from it taking away the headache of actually building a landing page) of the biggest reasons is because for a one-time fee, you get access to landing page templates that are designed to convert visitor into subscribers based on tests the creators of Thrive themselves have done.

And of course it integrates with several e-mail service providers (Mailchimp, Aweber, ConvertKit etc).

{{Check out my mini-tutorial + review of Thrive Landing Page Builder.}}

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course – During the last quarter of 2016, especially after noticing how much of an opportunity I was missing with some of the my blog posts that went viral, I decided to work on building my affiliate income revenue stream. Michelle from Making Sense of Cents has been making over $50,000 per month with affiliate commissions this year and so I decided since she had the result I wanted, I would buy her course to help me along.

Best course I’ve invested in so far ! Within a few weeks of implementing what she teaches in her class and I am well on track to replacing the cost of the course.

The Facebook community that comes with the course is also invaluable as some big name bloggers are a part of the community and give really valuable insight when you need it. If there is ONE course I would suggest you go through in the coming year as a blogger who wants to make good affiliate income, this course is it.

Affiliate Marketing the Smart Way – This tool is actually free and was provided by Pat Flynn – arguably the King of Affiliate Income. He gives some great basic insights to making bank with affiliate marketing as well.

Kindle Unlimited – Readers are leaders.If you want to grow as an authority in your niche, reading (or listening to books using a tool like Audible) needs to be top on your list. I decided to subscribe to Kindle Unlimited because I realized that if I was going to create content that was unique, fresh and helpful, I was going to have to learn from the experts who have gone ahead of me.

For just $10/month Kindle Unlimited gives you access to 1 million titles – umm, worth way more than $10 to me. Now, granted, not every book out there is on Kindle Unlimited. And so to find the books I don’t find on Kindle Unlimited, I use Scribd ($8.99/month) to fill in the gaps.

I cannot recommend either reading tool enough especially if you want to give fresh, authoritative perspectives to your audience.

{{Try Kindle Unlimited or Audible for free for 30 days}}

Tools I am planning on investing in

I plan on investing in these 3 areas next year.

  • SEO
  • Tools that will help me write better copy
  • How to set up evergreen sales funnels with e-mail.

These are all things I was NOT ready for last year. With the my own personal growth and the growth of this blog this year, I finally think I am ready to start investing in these tools to help me explode my growth next year.

Other Cool Things I Got To Do

I totally crashed Fincon 2016 in San Diego !

Well okay, I did not actually sneak my way in but one of my favorite podcasters, Nick Loper was coming into town for the conference and so had a small meetup for his fans who live in San Diego at the hotel. It was really nice meeting him in person.

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On my way to the meetup, I met Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche in the hallway and took a photo with her !

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And then more recently I met Shade Y. Adu in person in Los Angeles for the Big Money Speaker Bootcamp.

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There is something to be said about being at these types of events : you come away energized and very encouraged from all the business brain power you are surrounded with.

I plan on attending at least one major blogger/business conference in 2017.

Wrapping It Up

And that is how my blog grew in 2016 !

There is so much room for growth and improvement. I am honestly looking forward to starting 2017 with a a loud BANG.

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It's been a year since I wrote the post on how my blog grew in 2015. A whole year ! Now here we are at the end of 2016 and I can honestly say that while I am not where I want to be, I am certainly not where I used to be.

How did your year go ? What are you looking forward to in 2017 ? Let’s hear it in the comments.

 

  • Elna Cain

    Gee!

    I love posts like these. That’s awesome you have some big goals. Is set my BHAG too for this year (very similar to yours!)

    Found your post on Pinterest! I heart Pinterest too!!

    Elna at TwinsMommy.com

    • Hi Elna – interestingly I have been following your story through your Elna Cain blog and TwinsMommy as well. You are pretty phenomenal and glad you could leave me a comment today.

      Yes, Pinterest is amazing ! I discovered it’s potential back in 2015 and haven’t looked back 😀

      Enjoy your weekend !

  • TorahCents

    GEE!!! Such an amazing blog!!! We have to catch up…sooner than later! I’m so proud of what you’ve accomplished!