This post contains affiliate links.
If you were waiting for this, I apologize. It didn’t entirely slip my mind, but things have been so wild (particularly in blogland). The first 6 months of every new venture are going to be slow, so a couple 3 month bunches will have to do. After this, I’m going to start doing these monthly.
Happy belated 2018!
I started this blog at the beginning of July 2017. Crazy exciting, and I can’t believe how fast things have been moving since I committed to blogging and building a digital business. I want to keep up with writing these blog progs (progress report, get it?) for you all to see how this journey has been going, and for me to document progress, set new goals, and hold myself accountable. No turning back now, it’s on the internet.
Reports like these are exactly what built up my confidence before ditching the 9-to-5 and pursuing a life I love. You might think it’s crazy, but if I can share a little optimism for struggling moms like me, then I’ll be happy! I want to share my own to inform hardworking newcomers of blogging possibilities and how fast (or slow) things can grow.
October to December was an interesting time for me and my blog. I left my accounting position at the tail end of September, and I convinced my husband to let me give everything to my baby and my blog. He’s amazing, because goodness I can be crazy. I realize how ridiculous this blog biz sounds to most people. And I couldn’t care less.
The good: Even though my husband was 1,000 miles away at school, I was able to stay away from an office job, be with my baby, and find my homemaking groove. I truly love being a work-at-home mom. This is the life for me, and not because I’m an introvert (I don’t really think I am?), but because I am such a homebody lol. Can’t fight it! I love my home and I want to enjoy everything I work so hard for.
The bad: My daughter got her first cold! So, naturally, I got it too! Ho. Lee. Shit. Being sick with your SICK 18-month-old *might* be the worst parenting experience I’ve had. A week of screaming baby days (and nights) matched with my own sick misery was a recipe for disaster. Ha! I’ll stop complaining, but the recovery period lasted through Thanksgiving. Ya.
Baby + I went to New York for Halloween, I hosted my 2nd Family Thanksgiving, and got Daddy home for Christmas! Life has been good.
I added “corporate drop-out” to my resume, and started blogging full-time! It’s a lot of work, and I definitely felt the need for some proper guidance. If my blog biz is going to be a long-time thing (and I WANT it to be), then I need to invest in it.
I purchased 3 blog resources that I highly recommend.
After last quarter’s waste on a theme, I had been cruising with a freebie. It was great, but I’m the kind of girl that reallllly like those personal touches (call me “controlling”. It’s true). So I did some research/blog-surfing and ended up going with Divi from Elegant Themes. It’s unbelievable and in a league of its own! I have no complaints whatsoever. It makes me want to start a web design side hustle! LOL it makes me feel sooo techy, and the support is the best in the industry.
THE Pinterest Ebook from Carley at Mommy on Purpose. It is so affordable at $32 (and I scored a Black Friday discount, because I watch for that stuff lol) and absolutely INVALUABLE. Her simple strategy has blown my mind thanks to all the traffic it has brought me. I couldn’t stop coming across recommendations for this book, and I get it now! Plus, her writing style is so fun to read. It’s a win-win. You can check out her book here.
And Traffic Transformation from Lena at What Mommy Does. I am not even an affiliate for this (yet), but she really knows her stuff. Everything in this comprehensive ebook has opened my eyes in ways I didn’t see coming. She has an awesome perspective on traffic and makes the “transformation” so easy to understand and keep you in full control.
Since implementing some of these strategies, I’ve had my first viral pin which got me to 87k monthly page views in January! But I’ll save that for my next post 😉
Mistakes I made
- Screwing up my google analytics
My traffic started picking up, but notice that V low dip in late October – early November? Ya. That was a rookie mistake. My Google Analytics code got lost in a theme update sooooo I that sucks lol. The blog learning curve is much steeper than I expected. Problem solved with the MOST IMPORTANT PLUGIN: Google Analytics Dashboard for WP (GADWP). This is all you need. No plugging codes into theme files or individual posts/pages.
The worst part? My BEST Day in October (534 page views) was not picked up……. Don’t be me. Get the official Google Analytics plugin ASAP.
- Spreading myself too thin with unrealistic expectations
Blogging requires so much focus. Especially as a mom. It’s hard to effectively utilize limited time. I still struggle to find the right balance of writing, promoting, planning, LIVING, and learning. My biggest mistake in this area was underestimately how demanding certain tasks are. For example: starting an email list.
I blocked out an entire week to figure out Mailchimp, only to get what I thought was one day’s work done in that time. You read that right. I spent an entire week doing my “day one” It is very time consuming for a newb, but I eventually figured it out. How?
A free month of ConvertKit! It is all the rage for good reason. Their system is so straight forward and really helps make sense of the logistics behind Email Service Providers (ESPs, incase you’ve seen that mentioned every where). ConvertKit helped me realize that MailChimp is not my friend. It also helped me realize that I need to do some serious research on audience friendly incentives. It isn’t worth the $29 a month for me yet, so I gave Mailerlite a shot.
Mailerlite is so much like ConverKit which is exactly what I needed. User-friendly AF, but FREE! Very good for my bottom line.
- Wasting time on too many platforms
Every blog needs to be everywhere (facebook, twitter, instagram, and pinterest *hint hint*), but the beginning is so overwhelming. Worrying about a massive presence on every platform isn’t necessary for me yet. Some of my favorite sanity-saving advice is to focus on one or two platforms in addition to the blog itself.
I choose Pinterest and Instagram. Primarily Pinterest. I love Pinterest, can you tell?
- Tailwind Tribes!
I got booted from some tribes because I have no idea how Tailwind really works. I haven’t worked too hard to learn yet, either. Been too in love with Divi and finding my “voice”.
Income: 90 (GBP)!
*excluding my copywriting gigs. I purchased a separate domain for my services, AshleyDicarlo.com!
I made 90 British Pounds blogging in December. Totally awesome, and I’m pleased to have made some of my investment back already. It has begun!
Page views (per jetpack, because analytics are skewed) – 12,422
October 2017 – 3,769
November 2017 – 4,644
December 2017 – 4,029
Slow and steady, but just WAIT until you see January’s because eeeeek!
Goals for Next Quarter
Segment my email list
This is a hot item, and it’s been tricky for me. But it’s a long game, and I’m learning everything I can from my fave email guru Meera Kothand. She is such an amazing resource and is so generous with her expertise.
Most importantly, I’m going to redefine my incentives and work on targeting my list. Meaning, I’ll help working moms with specific info, side hustlers with different info, and homemakers with their own!
- My traffic goal for this quarter was 5000 views. And I beat that by almost 150%! What! It isn’t even fair to give myself a goal for January, since I already know what it was. But It wouldn’t have been anywhere near what I actually achieved!
Work on my brand identity
- Enough said. I don’t know who I want to be when I grow up! Forgive me. (Copied from last quarter, and still relevant)
Improve my social media presence
Even though I don’t want to spread myself to thin, I need to be present at least a little bit. I try to spend no more than 1 hour each week on low ROI platforms like twitter and facebook. But I’ll get there.
- Instagram goal was 750, and I beat it! By the end of December I had 802 followers.
- My facebook page is still about a month old, but hasn’t hit 100 likes yet. I’d like to set my goal at 200 likes by the end of December. – FAIL. I have 78 likes lol. Can’t complain. One day I’ll care.
- Pinterest is my home, and I have almost 300 followers. Apparently that doesn’t matter. Ha! My pinterest goal is to organize my boards and join new group boards. As well as limiting my efforts with a scheduler/strategy. – I DID THIS! My boards are clean and more niched and keyworded. I don’t know what my follower count was at, but it is growing!
- Twitter is almost entirely ignored (unless i’m drunk).
I started making money! Stay tuned for my belated but very exciting JANUARY income report!
Thanks for reading!
All the best –