blogging plans

Growing My Blog: The First Steps

Firstly I’d like to start by thanking you all for the support on last month’s blog plans post when I shared my plans to push myself and make this blog all that I think it can be and my sole source of income. I had so many lovely messages, it really does make a difference to know that you’re behind me and my plans to grow my blog, thank you.

I also had quite a few of you asking me questions about my plans and expressing interest in following me on this journey, which is why I’m writing this today. I thought it might be something that you’d like to read about, whether you’re a blogger looking for ideas (or pitfalls!) or a curious reader, and blogging all that I’m up to will also help to keep me on track.

The plan is that I will pop over here once a month and share a progress report on the actions I’ve been taking and whether it’s actually making any difference. Fingers crossed! I know that initially, it might be a two steps forward, three steps back situation as I make some changes, but hopefully it’ll all come together at some point. I guess you’ll find out with me.

OK, it’s only been 2 or 3 weeks, so I thought it would be a good idea to start here, at the beginning, and share what I’ve been doing and a few of my plans for next month. I’ll then pop back and see how I’ve actually got on with them.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you click though and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you. 

Plans To Boost My Blog

I think the first thing to recognise is that I’m not starting from scratch here. This blog has been running for 7 years and so it hosts a fair bit of content and has a relatively decent blog and social media following. If you’re reading this as a new blogger, I am coming at this from a certain stage. The blog is doing OK, it’s served me very well, I just want to challenge myself to really get it moving now and have some more fun with my content.

The Planning Stage

As such, the first thing I’ve done is draft up a huge, and it is huge, mind map of my ideas. It’s all on paper, of course. With pretty coloured pens.

This plan breaks down the key areas that I’d like to develop, areas I must work on and ideas that I’d like to launch.

Now, if you know me well, you’ll understand that coming up with this mind map was the easy part. Creativity, ideas and positive thinking have always been my thing. However, impatience is also quite high up there on my list of ‘attributes’ which means that I now have stacks of challenges and projects I know that I need to work on, and want to work on, but only so many hours in the day. It frustrates me!

I took a breath and started prioritising it all. If some of this is a bit too in-depth, scan and grab the bits you’re interested in! I just know that if bloggers are reading it, they might want more details so I’ve tried to be as helpful as I can possibly be for everyone. 

blogging plans

The Priorities

I have prioritised on the basis of two concepts; the things that are relatively quick wins, and the things that I need to establish early on as I’m in this for the long game. The aim in both cases is to increase my traffic, email subscribers and social followings. The latter two are key as they should boost the first and an increase in my traffic, the right traffic, should in turn increase my income. How? Ads, sales and affiliates. I would imagine that an increase in traffic and followers would also bring more lucrative collaborations and sponsorships, however that would be cherry on top stuff, it is not what I’m shooting for here. 

Blog Actions

As such, here’s what I’ve ticked off in so far:

Signed up to a new email provider and embarked upon an email list course

I spotted a free course and thought I would give it a go. I do already have a subscriber list with Mailchimp. I enjoy putting together my newsletters and I do receive a good response from my subscribers. It’s a chance for me to talk just to them and I like to keep them chatty and light. 

As such, I am keen to develop this area and I am completely in love with the new interface that I use from Flodesk. It’s actually got me really excited about designing forms and emails and for those of my lovely readers who have already signed up, I do hope you enjoy the emails I’ve been sending out to you, I am very excited about them! 

If you’ve yet to join in, here you go!

 

If you’re a blogger and are looking for a new email list provider, I do have a Flodesk 50% off sign up link here. Along with the ease of use and visuals, I have been drawn to them as their fees don’t go up incrementally as your list grows, as with most providers. For me, this is a huge plus point as I want to grow this list and chat to my readers in this way. I don’t want to be put off doing this or find myself having to cut my list down due to fee brackets increasing every few thousand subscribers. 

Flodesk are in beta stage so they are taking loads of feedback on board from us users and there’s a very responsive and active Facebook group you can use too. There are enough features already working perfectly for me, having sent out several emails via automatic workflows and then my first couple of newsletters. I have received positive feedback, and my open rate has increased from my Mailchimp opens. I am impressed, and it is so easy to use and pretty! 

I managed to create my first freebies for my email lists and I came up with two different options that I have been promoting and I have grown my list by over 25% just since I started using this mid-August. This was all a learning curve, and I am still learning, with lots more plans in the pipeline. 

Changed my blog theme

I knew that I wanted to change my blog theme to improve site speed and user experience for you all. My header, logos and colour themes have stayed the same as I still really like them, it’s the theme that the blog is written on that is different now. I spent some time researching various themes for WordPress blogs and settled on this, the Astra theme. It was recommended in almost every article I read and is particularly beneficial for sites with a WooCommerce integration, which I have with my shop. We will see how it goes! I also stripped back some of my plugins, for the same reason.

I do have a few ideas for creating a completely different look blog, but that’s for a couple of month’s time now, look out for that. 

blog planning

Brainstormed content ideas

This is the fun part for me. I started this blog to create content. I enjoy writing blog posts and I absolutely love sharing things that I think will be useful or inspiring to you. That is why I do what I do. 

I plan to create content around providing you with helpful ideas, tips and processes for family, home and garden life, along with sharing all things #bringbackpaper. 

I spent time thinking about what you might want from me in the future, the kind of content that I can see you enjoy and the things that I am passionate about sharing. I now have content ideas to pack my blog until November so I am all set for some time! That said, I absolutely want to share things that you want to read about, so as well as comments here, my inbox is always open if you’d like to message me with requests and suggestions. 

Designed new products

This is one of my favourite things to do. And I discovered last month that I could do it all myself and I now cannot stop coming up with new designs and adding them to my shop

I am enjoying doing this, as you can probably tell. It’s fun to come up with fresh ideas and I have invested in Canva Pro so that I can do this. This is a worthwhile investment for me as I design all of my Pins there, create my printables and colouring sheets there and now my products. It’s integral to all of my plans and work going forward and I love all of the extra options I have now that I have upgraded. If you’re a blogger reading this, I would recommend this as it represents fantastic value to me. This is a link to the Canva Pro programme and details. Canva does have plenty of free options to use too, and then the Canva Pro programme has a 30 day free trial, so you might want to jump in and test out all of the features and then decide what you feel suits you best. 

I also improved the functionality of my shop. All of the products are now named and tagged and it all actually works properly, as my sales are proving, phew! I can already see traffic finding its way to me, so something must be going right! 

I plan to regularly add products to it and I know I’ll love doing this. Here are a few of the latest designs in the range, it’s a fun shop if you love books, stationery, happy mail or plants

bookworm and stationery addicts gifts

Worked on my Pinterest game

Pinterest is a search engine, it’s not really a social platform. Most of my blog traffic does already come from Pinterest, so this is not all new to me. I prioritised this area as Pinterest can turn traffic in quite quickly, compared to the work that I still have to do around SEO which is a longer game.

I read a fair few Pinterest best practice posts and signed up for a course which I’ve now completed. Of course, this research has also involved enacting all of the recommendations that I found. There has been plenty that I have learned, I’ve changed how I do a few things and I now better understand the ins and outs of the platform.

I have used, for at least a couple of years now if not longer, Tailwind to schedule my content. I would recommend this if you’re a blogger as I can get lots scheduled in one session to pin at optimum times (and I have a great US readership so I’m not always awake when they are!) and then don’t have to then think about pinning all week. I just add 3 or 4 fresh pins a day after that. 

Planning for my YouTube channel

I have a YouTube channel, but I haven’t uploaded any new content to it for a couple of years. I plan to start uploading fresh videos again soon, so I had my friend Emma help me out getting a few things set up and ready there and I’ve been asking for new subscribers a few times as I’d like to get a little momentum going ready for my new videos.

I also got myself a PO Box address set up ready for this, as I would love to feature your happy mail on the channel, so send it on over (only letters and small envelopes please!) I’m at Jocelyn Reading, Unit 45483, PO Box 15113, Birmingham, B2 2NJ, UK.

The kind of things I’ll be uploading will be organisation tips and printables, stationery hauls and inboxings, happy mail and maybe plants and gardening will sneak in too from time to time! If this sounds like it’s your thing, please do go ahead and subscribe and I’ll be sharing videos again soon.

Watched and read more about SEO than I can say!

SEO is something I am going to live and breathe over the next few months. I have a decent amount of traffic coming in, but the vast majority of it is from Pinterest and social. I really need to make the most of those search engines if I am going to hit the levels that I’d like to and so that I don’t rely on just one main source. This one is going to take the most work and the longest time, so I will be chipping away behind the scenes here week in week out. I hope it works.

In addition to this, I have also ordered a full site audit for my blog, it’s scheduled in for October. At this point I can see quite a few changes coming in, both behind the scenes and here on the page, but I’ll share more about that when the time comes. 

Asked for some feedback

I have started to gather some feedback around the kind of content you would like to see from me and the sorts of products that you want me to work on. This is proving to be really useful and it is helping me to further prioritise what I am doing and shape my ideas. I would love it if you would share your thoughts with me too, it’s only a short couple of minutes survey, just click here and it will take you to it. Thanks for having your say!

The little and often stuff

I have then made a start on the ‘little and often’ stuff. What I mean here, is that going forward I will be improving SEO on individual posts, along with a fresh pin image, on a daily basis. I’ll probably aim to do 5-10 weekly. I’ve got a lot of posts and I’m working from the top down.  I have also been consistently sharing and chatting on social media, as I enjoy talking to you all there.

Other extras

I’ve joined a few useful Facebook groups, to share content or pick up ideas and advice.

I have joined the Amazon Merch programme and have a few products uploaded to their market place. 

how to grow a blog

Blog Growth Plans For Next Month

Email development

This will feature a lot next month as this is still a bit different for me and I want to make sure I get it right and send out useful emails to you all. I will also trial a few new opt-in offers for sign ups and play around with how these work. 

Research

I plan to start to read up on affiliate marketing and join a few networks. This is for plans a little further down the line. 

I’ve had some feedback around the kind of products that you’d like me to create, so I will start looking into some of those options. 

I have an idea for something completely new to me to try, so I need to spend time working out how I can actually do this! 

Products

I will get a new product line into the shop, or possibly two or three, depending on how much time I have. I will then start actually promoting the range properly, which is all new to me. 

I also want to begin working on my first digital product. I have several ideas in my mind for this so I will have a play around with a few of them and see how they turn out. I’ll then get ready to launch my favourite option and keep all fingers and toes crossed that you like it!

Content

I want so start getting new videos up on YouTube and get back into the swing of building time into my week to do this. As you can see from my channel, I did get into the habit of regular uploads before and I can’t recall what happened to cause me to stop, so I’m sure I can get back to it again.

I will continue to work on and learn SEO. This is never-ending! I will be updating posts most days and tracking any progress.

Create and promote new content, the bit that I love to do. This is always going to feature on this list, and I do have content plans for the month mapped out, I now need to actually write, create and photograph them all. I hope you enjoy them.

And that’s it..,for now.

So what do you think? Am I on the right track in terms of delivering to you the things that you want from me? Actually, as I look back over this, I can see that I have covered quite a lot of ground over these first few weeks. As well a creating my blog content, of course. No wonder I am feeling tired! Would love to know what you think?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you click though and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you.

2 thoughts on “Growing My Blog: The First Steps”

  1. I’m new-ish around here, but definitely feel you’re on the right track. This blog post was thorough, and even though I’m not a blogger, I found it very interesting. From this post, I took your survey and also subscribed to your YouTube channel. I’m curious about what you will be developing as “my first digital product”. I’ll be watching for it. Good Luck on it all!

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read through and your ongoing support across my channels, it’s really appreciated. And yes, that product is coming very soon!

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