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Blogging Monthly Review: I Grew my E-mail List by 50%

I’m introducing a new series called the “Blogging Monthly Review” where I’ll be sharing my blogging & creative biz updates each month.

I share with you what tips and strategies I used to grow my blog and email list by 50%! Find out what worked and didn't work for me. #bloggingtips #bloggingreview #bloggingupdate

Ever wonder what bloggers do to grow their blogs?

When you see bloggers with thousands of followers and are living a sustainable income from their creative business, do you ask yourself how they got to where they are today?

I sure do.

Because I know that they, too, started from somewhere.

All blogs start off with zero views and zero followers.

Whilst I am far from thousands of followers, I want to keep track of my progress to see what works and what doesn’t.

By keeping track of what I do, I am able to focus on a growth mindset versus getting stuck comparing myself to other bloggers.

I’ll admit I used to get a little jealous when I see other bloggers and influencers with thousands of views and living their dream lives.

I’m done with that comparison trap and I’m done with feeling sorry for myself because I know I am capable of becoming a full-time content creator. I just have to focus on what matters and focus on my progress.

I love reading about other’s progress reports, so I thought I’d do one too.

When you don’t track your wins, you forget that you’ve made progress.

You forget to celebrate them.

And part of sustaining that momentum in growing your creative business is to track your progress.

How will you know what direction to take or what steps to take if you don’t know where you’re headed?

It’ll be like you’re driving aimlessly hoping to arrive at your destination, but you don’t have a map to guide you with which path to take.

You’ll feel all over the place and unsure if you should focus on one thing or the other.

Also, when you track your progress, it will feel good to see how far you’ve come.

So let’s get cracking!

My Blogging Monthly Review

This whole blogging thing can get super overwhelming because there are so many things you feel like you should focus on, but really, what do you need to focus on to grow your creative business?

My statistics at a glance:

Bounce rate: 76.21%

Average time spent on my site: 1:14 mins

Total number of subscribers: 57

Instagram followers: 782

Instagram engagement rate: 39%

Facebook page followers: 1980

Twitter followers: 446

YouTube subscribers: 107


Bounce Rate

One of the first things I look at is my bounce rate.

The bounce rate tells you how long a person stays on your site before he/she “bounces” out of the page.

It tells me how interested people are in my content.

My bounce rate improved in February.

It lowered to 76.21% compared to last month’s bounce rate of 81.7%.

With bounce rates, the lower the number the better.

Why?

This means that people stayed on your blog longer.

Last January, the average time that people spent on my blog was only 33 seconds.

I felt bad when I saw that number because last December, people spent an average of one minute and 56 seconds.

I had to investigate why people were leaving my blog after 33 seconds.

Was it because the blog posts I was writing were shorter than my previous posts?

Maybe my content was not engaging or relatable enough.

Because I wanted to improve my bounce rate, I focused on creating longer articles (though I tried not to pressure myself with the word count!) and made my posts readable by writing one to two sentence paragraphs.

I’ve been accustomed to writing chunks of paragraphs because I’m also a creative writer and love to write books, but writing for a blog is totally different from writing a book.


Top Performing Posts

Though I only post weekly, eventually I want to publish twice a week to help increase my blog traffic.

In order to know what to post, I look at my top performing posts for the previous month.

These are:

WHY YOUR BLOG ISN’T GETTING VIEWS AND HOW TO FIX IT

HOW TO BE A SUCCESSFUL CONTENT CREATOR AND START A BLOG

9 WAYS TO CELEBRATE SELF-LOVE THIS VALENTINE’S

BLOGGING RESOURCES I LOVE AND USE TO GROW MY BUSINESS

Since tracking my top-performing posts in November, I saw that the majority of these top-performing posts are those under the content creation bucket.

This tells me that this is the type of content that people like to read, and starting this February, I’ve shifted from rotating my topics of content creation, self-love and travel to focus more on content about growing one’s blog.

Moving forward, I’ll continue this strategy of focusing on posts about content creation.

E-mail subscribers

The next thing I look at and track are my e-mail subscribers.

Over the years, a lot of emphasis has been put on building one’s email list.

If you want to make money with your blog, it’s important you build and hone your e-mail list.

Why?

Your e-mail list is something you have complete control of.

If all social media networks shut down tomorrow or were hacked and you had to delete your profile, you’d lose all your followers.

However, your e-mail list won’t disappear overnight if these social media sites shut down.

What’s more, sending an e-mail to someone is more personal and he/she gets to choose to really read your message versus scrolling their social media feed and ignoring or (not seeing) your posts.

In February, I was able to increase the number of subscribers by 50%!

This is major progress for me because it’s been my goal for the last few months to get my first 100 subscribers and as of February 28, 57 people have subscribed.

What helped me grow my list by 50% are the following:

  • I tweaked my graphics for my freebie
  • I also ran a one-day Instagram stories advertisement to drive traffic to my Instagram page. (I’ll talk more about this later!) But basically my intention of running an Instagram stories ad was to drive traffic to my Instagram page and if those people who clicked my page are interested, THEN they click follow. It was an added bonus that some of these new Instagram followers also became email subscribers because of the freebie I linked in my profile.

Instagram Review

My Instagram account was stuck at 750-760 followers and I really wanted to grow it since Instagram is my favourite social media platform because of how creative you can be on this platform.

I toyed with the idea of either boosting a post or doing an advertisement.

However, I was also reluctant to spend my hard-earned money on ads because there’s never a guarantee that it’ll work the way you want it to.

There are many factors to consider in running a successful advertisement.

There are courses dedicated to Facebook or Instagram ads. That’s how much you can learn about it!

And I was by no means an expert in this field.

I also had tried Facebook ads in the past and they didn’t really work for me and I felt like I had wasted my money.

Honestly, I was afraid to place an ad through Instagram stories because part of me felt like this was like I was “buying followers”, but this wasn’t the case.

I was merely advertising an Instagram story that linked to my Instagram profile; my goal was to drive traffic to my Instagram profile.

View this post on Instagram

There are lots of things to consider when you’re starting a blog and want to be a successful content creator. It is vital l to know why you pursue a project and to remind yourself of this reason. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Ask yourself this: Is creating content a hobby or do you want it to be a business? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Your answer to this question will be your guiding light throughout your whole content creation journey. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Again, this goes back to why you’re doing it in the first place. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If you want to be a successful content creator, then you have to have that mindset that your blog, your YouTube channel, or whatever platform you’re using to create content is your business. Think of it like a creative business or think of it as a job where you get to be creative. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Don’t get put off by the idea that in order for you start a business, you must have a business degree or a PHD. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When you think of your platform as your business, then you approach it with a business mindset. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ You’re likely to stick it out and push yourself to achieve your goal, which is to create your dream life and be able to travel because of your creative business. You’ll find the time to work on it because it’s important and because you want to succeed. It’s your path to a life you absolutely love. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Sent via @planoly #planoly #girlbosslife #bossgirlbloggers #blogging #bloggerph #creativeentreprenuer #solopreneur #blogtobiz #creativebiz #creativebusiness #mindsetmatters #businessmindset #blogginglife #bloggingcommunity #bloggerstribe #bloggersgetsocial #bblogrt

A post shared by Izzy | Blogging Side Hustle (@izzmatias) on

Whether or not a person chose to follow my account was up to them.

I wasn’t ready to invest a lot, so I said I’d give it a try.

I shelled out P100 pesos (approximately less than $2) to test it out.

However, before I placed an advertisement, I tweaked my Instagram profile.

I edited my profile description so that people who clicked on my page knew what type of content to expect; and at the same time I’d also refined my focus to growing a blogging side-hustle.  

I then made my call to action clearer.

My old call to action was “Get your FREE Successful Content Creator’s Start a Blog checklist

My new one is “Learn how to create a successful blog”

Once I was ready, I chose to do split testing to see which of the two graphics I had created would perform best.

When I had my winning graphic, the ad restarted and ran for a day and I saw the followers come in.

What I also noticed was that my email subscribers also increased the same time as this.

This made me super happy!

Again, running an Instagram stories ad worked because:

1) I was super clear about what they can expect when they follow me and

2) I had a clear call to action & refined my copy

In January, my Instagram engagement rate was 123%

Engagement rate can be computed as follows:

[ ( Likes + comments ) / Total number of followers ] x 100

In February, my engagement rate had dropped severely to 39% because:

  1. In January I posted 15 times whereas in February I only posted 5 times
  2. I focused more on follower count rather than posting more
  3. I focused on posting more in Instagram stories vs posts

I’ll admit what led me to this shift was because I felt like people weren’t engaging with my posts as much as I’d like them to. I prefer getting comments over likes because that’s when I know that people are interested in my post.

Facebook Review

My Facebook Page lost 2 followers compared to the previous month.

I don’t focus on growing my Facebook page since at the moment I want to grow on Instagram, so I mirror my posts.

This means that I simply repost my Instagram posts and promote the blog post for the week in my Facebook page.

Moving forward, I want to schedule posts this whole March to promote my previous posts & mix it up with a bit of content from other creators.

YouTube Review

In terms of subscriber growth, my YouTube channel has been stagnant.

I’ve had 107 subscribers since last year, but this year I’m starting to update it frequently because I’m documenting my journey on SwoonReads.com in the hopes of getting published.  

If I look at other data such as my watch time and views, it increased in February because I uploaded 2 videos.

Twitter Review

Twitter is my social media superstar.

When I talked about how to increase blog traffic, I shared about how Twitter was an unexpected contender when it came to growth.

For a long time, my Twitter account was not growing, so I wouldn’t spend time updating it.

However, when I decided to use Buffer to schedule my posts out in advance, I saw my follower count increase.

Because I want to keep increasing my blog traffic, I did a few things to increase my Twitter activity.

This includes following retweet accounts, interacting and following fellow bloggers, as well as using relevant hashtags.  

I’m excited to see my Twitter account grow, so I’ll definitely continue what I’ve been doing and strive to share more content from fellow bloggers.


Pinterest Review

Though I invested in Tailwind since November and have seen my Pinterest account grow in just a few months, it’s only this month that I started religiously tracking my progress.

Tailwind is one of my favourite resources in growing my creative business because it’s helped me go from a thousand monthly Pinterest views to over forty thousand!

As of February 28, my Pinterest monthly views are at 41,000!

There are a lot of things I tried out last month in Pinterest such as:

  • Updating the keywords I use in my bio to include “blogging side hustle”
  • Tested out new Pin designs
  • Invested in Elna Cain’s Pinterest course
  • Made an active effort to share my Pinterest account and engage with fellow bloggers on Twitter
  • Researched which Pinterest group boards I can join
  • Continued scheduling posts via Tailwind and
  • Applied the 80-20 rule with my content; 80% of the pins in my board are from my blog and 20% are others; I used to only share content from other people but then I realised how was I supposed to drive traffic to my blog if I didn’t promote my own pins? It’s kind of common sense, but I didn’t realise it right away.

Though I have more than forty thousand views on Pinterest, these Pinterest views are not mirrored to my blog traffic, which means there are still things I have to improve on.

Why is it that my Pinterest views are much, much higher than my monthly page views?

And though Pinterest has become my biggest traffic referral, what can I do to increase the number of page views coming from Pinterest?


Other blogging updates

As part of the GetCraft community, I get invited to collaborate with brands.

It’s been a while since a brand has approached me, but on the last week of February a big travel brand expressed interest in working with me.

I can’t share the details yet, but I’m so excited to see where this goes. Hopefully in the next blogging update post I can tell you what it’s about!

Now that I’ve shared with you my progress, it’s time to plan ahead. These are the things I’m committing to doing this month.

Looking ahead: March plans

This month my main goal is to increase my website traffic to 2,000 average monthly views

How I plan to achieve this:

  • Take Elna Cain’s Ready Set Traffic course to really increase my traffic since my Pinterest traffic is not translating to my website traffic
  • Continue updating and testing pin graphics that resonate with my target community
  • Join more Pinterest group boards
  • Test out multiple opt-ins to increase subscribers
  • Continue engaging in Facebook groups and Twitter threads to connect with more bloggers
  • Post more in my Instagram feed to increase engagement and update Instagram stories to promote my blog content and give value
  • And continue doing what has been working so far!

I share with you what tips and strategies I used to grow my blog and email list by 50%! Find out what worked and didn't work for me. #bloggingtips #bloggingreview #bloggingupdate

PIN THIS!

And that’s it for my first every blogging monthly review. Over to you! What has been your biggest blogging win this month?

If you enjoyed this post, please share. Every share counts and helps me grow this blog. Thank you so much for your support! 🙂

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18 Comments

  1. livingonroots says:

    This was great! I had no idea about the bounce rate… I am offto mine to check that out. Thank you for the info- I have pinned this to refrence back to!

  2. I love how detailed you are! This will be of great help to me in growing my engagement and subscribers!

    Xoxo,
    Laura || afinnontheloose.com

    1. Thank you, Laura! 🙂 Best of luck in growing your engagement and subscribers. 🙂

  3. Really helpful post. I’m a newer blogger too and it’s so easy to get caught up comparing yourself to others. I’m busy building up my following and some days it’s harder than others. Ultimately I enjoy what I do but I’d love to make this more full time

    1. Thanks, Emma!! Good luck with your blogging biz. Yes it can be hard building a community, but don’t forget to take breaks to recharge. You can do it! 🙂

  4. Such helpful information, I need to start my email list! Do you mind me asking which provider you are with?
    Dani x

  5. Shannah Holt -Mastering Mom Chaos says:

    Way to go! You have put in a lot of time and effort and are now starting to see the rewards of all your hard work!

    1. Thank you, Madi! Yes, it’s so easy to get into that comparison trap, and I think it’s one of the reasons why I’ve been feeling like I haven’t done enough when I know I shouldn’t compare my journey. Here’s to focusing on a growth mindset. Cheering you on! 🙂

  6. Wow! I really love how transparently you write about your experiences and processes! It’s incredibly helpful! Do you enjoy writing about blog growth?

    1. Thank you, Rob! Glad to hear that it’s helpful. 🙂 Yes, I enjoy writing about blog growth.