Hi! I’m Elna, a Millennial mom to twins who works from home as a freelance writer.. I decided to stay home and take care of my twins in the fall of 2014. I also help stay-at-home moms and mom bloggers become successful mompreneurs.
My plan last year was to create courses. I succeeded in creating Ready Set Blog for Traffic. But, I also wanted to create another course about starting a blog. I let that idea sit as I didn’t want to create just another start a blogging course that was either too on the surface or way too deep for a brand new blogger.
But, my husband wanted to buy some established blogs. Since we own several blogs, his expertise is in niche blogs and he wanted some more blogs. So I posted in my Mom to Mompreneur Facebook in December of last year:
And in January of this year a blogger reached out to me and wanted to sell her blog. This was a great opportunity as this blog was getting some visits a day (less than 50 a day), had social media profiles and even two Facebook groups.
So we ended up taking the blog and sat on it for several months. We didn’t do anything to that blog.
During this time I stood firm on an idea for a start a blog course and started creating video lessons and bonus materials.
I was in a groove. I was excited and couldn’t wait to share this with my followers.
A Change Happened Personally
During this time (early this year), we decided this was the year we would move. The place we are living in is just getting to small for this big family of four. So on top of finding a house, I was creating course lessons and my husband was sitting on this new blog.
In April of this year, my husband and I were talking about this new blog we picked up. It was a parenting blog and since parenting content isn’t something I’m really interested in writing about, we had to come up with a plan for content creation.
Since lifestyle blogs and guest posting is a strategy for traffic and monetization, we decided to try this out. So we made the blog – Imperfectly Perfect Mama – a completely contribution blog.
This means I have many mom bloggers’ voice on this blog, sharing their mom stories and amazing tips.
When Things Changed
Recently I received some messages about my business plan being too similar to another blogger. I’m not one to copy other bloggers. In fact, other bloggers copy me ALL. THE. TIME.
You know, there’s no copyright on a blog post idea.
And although you want to create original blog posts, you don’t want to waste hours wrestling the “what to write about” fairy to the ground.
So when you’re filling up your idea bucket, cheating and stealing both work fine. Because when you do it right, nobody will ever know where you got your ideas from — by the time you write a post or a pitch, it’ll be your own.
To get you started on the path to your own endless reservoir of blog post ideas, I’m going to show you one of my favourite tricks for generating new ideas fast.
In general, your ideas – whether written, talked on a Podcast or video, or on a Pin image – aren’t copywrited.
And as a freelance writer I know this. So when I see others with similar Pin styles or similar content, I know that the whole blogging world isn’t some unique place where every single blogger shares brand new ideas.
I mean SEO and blogging is years and years old and the only new things stemming nowadays are about social media platforms and tools/services.
It truly takes YOUR EXPERIENCE to turn something that has been blogged about thousands of times into a unique idea.
So, when accused of copying others isn’t something I take lightly.
Without going into what happened, this experience made me turn off on course creation – right now – and made me focus on what is really important.
My New Plan Doesn’t Involve Courses
Something that I really enjoy doing is creating course lessons. I’m a creative person and love designing new things whether it’s a Pin graphic, course lesson or blog post.
But, after all of that, I decided to take a break from course creation for Twins Mommy (I will still create courses for my other blog, Elna Cain). I started blogging so I can spend time with my family.
So, with this new plan I plan on spending more time with my husband and twins so that I can build assets rather than create a job for me.
With a new blog, there are so many things to focus on. But, building your foundation for growing your blog should be your primary focus.
For many of us, that means knowing our:
Blog traffic number
Number of email subscribers
Number of sales per day
Knowing your numbers is probably the most important thing to know about your blog. If you don’t know how much viewers you’re getting per month or where your traffic is coming from, it will be hard to build your list and grow your income.
Let’s look at #1 tool you need to gauge how your blog and business is doing.
It’s a free blogging tool also! Score.
It’s Google Analytics.
What Is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics allows you to track your blog’s analytics like who’s visiting your site, where your traffic is coming from and much more.
This information can help you make important decisions that could end up allowing you to grow your email list and sell products and more.
For example, many bloggers that do traffic reports will take a screenshot of their pageviews. They are using Google Analtyics for this. It’s a tool every blogger should have and know how to use.
How to Set Up Google Analytics on Your WordPress Blog
Note: in the video, I tell you to create a new “identity” for your blog. This is a personal preference of mine – creating a new “identity” for each of my blogs and treating it as its own entity.
This usually means a separate Gmail account, a separate Google Analytics account with ONLY the one blog in it, a separate email service provider (like ConvertKit) account, separate ad network accounts, etc.
You might be wondering why this is a good idea.
For me, I see doing this means you don’t cross contaminate your business with your personal things, and you don’t cross contaminate one business/blog with your other businesses/blogs. Since my business focuses on creating niche blog sites, I need to create a new identity for each of my blogs.
Also, if you ever decide to sell your blog/s someday, it’s much, much easier if you have everything self-contained.
One more thing, the video also prompts you to use a WordPress plugin, but you don’t have to (it just makes things super easier). I usually just sign in to Google Analytics from my browser.
How to Set Up Google Analytics on Your WordPress Blog - YouTube
But, that doesn’t mean I can’t glean some helpful and useful information from the website data Google Analytics tracks for me. Let’s look at six key metrics (+ a bonus tip) that can help you figure out if your blog is growing or not.
Note: if you installed Google Analytics on your blog, it will take a month or so to understand your data. That’s why it’s important to set up website data as soon as you start your blog.
Also note that while you can view your Google Analytics in your WordPress backend and as an app on your phone, the information I’ll be showing you is from the Google Analytics website.
1. Your Pageviews
If you go to Audience > Overview, you will see data about your visitors.
The default data is set to monthly, but you can set the time frame however you want to. I particularly look at two metrics from here: total pageviews and sessions.
Pageviews are the number of pages users visit on your site. The data also includes repeated visits too.
Sessions include periods of time a user is actively engaged on your blog. So clicking on your blog, scrolling on your blog, reading your posts, etc… It’s just a “visit” that can consist of multiple pageviews and each view isn’t counted individually its considered a “session.”
The number of sessions is important if you want to display ads on your blog. The bottom tiered entry is 25k sessions.
Smart Mom Ideas is a blog that I want to place ads on, but I only have 17k sessions.
Some bloggers pay attention to the bounce rate. This indicates if people are engaged on your site. So, having a higher bounce rate means the users are coming to your site and leaving quickly.
If your bounce rate is low, that means the users are coming to your site and staying on your blog longer.
In the beginning, your bounce rate will be high just because you don’t have a lot of content on your blog! Also, if Pinterest is your main traffic driver, your bounce rate may be high as well.
The more I rely on Pinterest, the higher my bounce rate becomes, but the other metrics like email sign-ups, sales from my courses and pageviews all tell me that I have an engaging blog.
Note: Google Analytics gives you a definition of each term on the page.
2. Source of Traffic
Go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium to view where your traffic is coming from.
I generally look at my top 3 sources of traffic: Pinterest, Google, and Direct.
It looks like 34% of my traffic is from Pinterest. This number fluctuates based on my pinning schedule. In the beginning, you will primarily have Pinterest or some other social media platform as your main driver of traffic.
Google, or organic, traffic doesn’t come into play until about a year after you start blogging (for some skilled bloggers, it can be much sooner).
For example, Smart Mom Ideas is a new blog (just a year old) and here are the sources of its traffic:
This blog has over 82% of its traffic coming from Pinterest. Google traffic is practically non-existent, but since Smart Mom Ideas is now over a year old if I:
In Google Analytics go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals.
For this metric, you need to click on the other pages to see what blogs are linking to you. Your first page will mostly be social, and if you’re lucky, popular sites (or sites that primarily feature your blog’s link).
For example, Contena and Tailwind are big sites that link to me.
Here are some more referrals:
Here you can see one of my clients, Blogging Wizard, linked to me as well as The Penny Hoarder and This Tiny Blue House.
These are signals to Google telling them that Twins Mommy is a valuable blog.
For you, it can help you with blogger outreach.
For example, if you click on one of your referral links, you can see the URL.
You have to place the front end of the URL in your browser and then copy and paste the rest.
http://thepennyhoarder.com(paste the rest of the URL).
You can then share that on social media.
And if you’re lucky, they may comment back! That’s the beginning of blogger outreach.
5. What Your Popular Pins Are
For most new bloggers, Pinterest is going to be where you can gain the most traffic in a short amount of time. So, it’s a good idea to know which pins are bringing you the traffic.
Go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals > (click on) Pinterest
Each pin you create (whether it’s an alternate pin for a blog post) will have a unique URL. So you can have one pin with hundreds of different URLs depending on how many times it’s been scheduled on Tailwind or others have pinned it from your blog.
With this information, you can create more pins for that popular post with the popular pin, and you can share those popular pins on Pinterest to make sure they remain popular.
6. Your Real-Time View
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE watching my live view. This is who is coming to your blog right now!
Go to Real-Time > Overview
For example, it’s Wednesday at 11 am and here is my live view:
This can give you a snapshot of what’s popular for that time, which post is trending or getting a boost in traffic and it can also help you identify the best times for traffic on your blog.
For me, Twins Mommy’s high traffic times are usually later in the afternoon, but it’s nice to get a bump here and there.
Since I have several blogs, I have several real-time views I look at to measure my traffic on a per day basis.
Some might say that’s a little geeky and over the top, but remember, my business relies on building and growing niche blogs as well as growing my credibility in this blogging world!
Bonus: How to Remove YOU from Tracking in GA
I don’t know about you, but I like visiting my blogs a lot!
But, there’s one thing that happens when you set up Google Analytics – it starts tracking whenever you visit your blog!
This can skew your traffic numbers, so you have to exclude you from the analytics.
You can do this easily with the WordPress plugin I used in the video tutorial.
Go to Tracking Code > Exclude Tracking.
From here click on administrator (and if you run a blog with guest posters, like I do with Imperfectly Perfect Mama, make sure to tick the other boxes too!).
There Ya Go!
If you’re brand new to blogging, setting up Google Analytics is your best friend. Trust me; it will help you understand what your audience wants from you.
This information can help you plan your entire blogging strategy too!
Let me know in the comments how you use Google Analytics for your blog!
For a a long time, I was able to blog once a week consistently on my freelance writing blog. But I got busy with client work and creating courses that weeks would go by without me writing a blog post.
But, of course, with the shiny object syndrome I often get, I decided to start a new blog. For me, starting a new blog gives me a boost in creativity, which allows me to enjoy what I’m doing and continue to pump out content for all my blogs and my clients.
Now, with all my blogs and projects, I have to come up with content for:
My main blogs – that’s three blogs I have to maintain (the others I have guest posters)
One of the things Pinterest LOVES is new content. These are new pins on Pinterest. But, you know what? You can LOOK like you are creating all this brand new content for Pinterest just by creating new pins for old blog posts.
I create new pins for the posts that are doing well or need a boost in traffic.
When creating multiple pins for the same blog post try to:
By creating a new looking pin for an old post, you can reach a new audience that might be attracted to this new type of pin of yours. This can help grow your Pinterest followers and blog traffic.
Now, while you aren’t putting a new piece of content on your blog, new people will be coming to your blog, and that’s all that counts, right? New people means more traffic, new comments, and more email subscribers.
3. Create a Similar Post That You Already Wrote
A lot of my freelance writing clients ask me to write about Pinterest:
The first reason is that roundups can grow your audience. If you feature other bloggers or blogs in your roundups (and notify them you featured them), those bloggers will share your post to their audience.
You can effectively grow your traffic, email list, and income with roundup posts.
The second reason is that they are easy to create since you aren’t really creating any content – just curating content.
So this frees up time for you as a mom blogger but also helps create fresh content for your blog. The only thing you need to do is: