Are you ready to boost your blog and finally start monetizing it?
There’s nothing more refreshing than a brand new year to set some big goals and make sh*t happen. I am right there with ya with plans to take my blog to new heights this year.
Whether you want to drive more traffic to your website, grow your audience, monetize your blog, or just get more organized, this post is going to help you head in the right direction with my top growth strategies you need to be using in 2018.
Keep reading for a roundup of twelve (YEP TWELVE) strategies to focus on this year to grow your blog and make money!
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase by clicking on one of my links, I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, that will help me continue to bring you valuable content. Thanks for supporting In Search of Sheila! 🙂
Get a Pen and Paper
Before we get started, I want you to get out a pen and notebook.
Okay, your notes app will do.
But really. I want you to achieve your goals this year. And you’re not going to do that by sitting here and just reading this blog post.
You need to take action.
Each strategy I suggest has a “next step” option at the end to help you figure out what to work on.
When we get to a section about one of your goals, pay close attention to the action steps and write down what I tell you!
Got that pen and paper?
Let’s start.12 Growth Strategies to Achieve Your Blogging Goals This Year Click To Tweet
What’s Your Blogging Goal?
This post is structured into four different types of goals most bloggers usually set for themselves:
- increasing blog traffic
- growing your audience and/or email list
- sticking to a consistent posting schedule
- monetizing your blog
Write down your goal or goals on that paper. We’re going to figure out a game plan for you to reach it.
GOAL #1: Drive Traffic to Your Blog
I am willing to bet that the most popular goal many new bloggers set is to increase their traffic.
I mean, we all want more traffic. No matter what stage of the journey we’re in.
1. Create Kick-Ass Content
Before we start this party, I want to play a game: take a shot for every time I say the word “content.” You should have taken two shots at this point.
I’m a stickler for this one.
Without awesome blog posts, why should anyone read your blog?
If you’re a very new blogger and don’t have much content on your site yet, I would focus on this area the most.
But Sheila, what do you mean by kick-ass content? What IS it?!
Kick-ass content (also known as good content or valuable content) is content that serves a purpose. It helps you achieve your goals such as boosting your traffic.
More importantly: it helps your readers by solving their problems or answering their questions regarding the topics you write about.
AND LASTLY. Kick-ass content is share-worthy. People want to talk about it and tell everyone how awesome it is.
If you want to boost your traffic, you NEED to spend time building a solid foundation of valuable content on your blog. Otherwise, why should people show up in the first place?
One thing I want to add is that the word “content” encompasses more than just blog posts. It also includes your social media posts, newsletters, products, services, and basically anything you CREATE.
My point is, make it all totally kick-ass.
YOUR NEXT STEP
If you’re a new blogger or maybe have been feeling a little uninspired with your blog, I want you to look over your blog topics. If you were someone showing up to your blog for the first time, would you tell other people about your most recent blog post? Why would you?
These are questions to help you figure out how “valuable” and share-worthy your posts are. Readers want to share blog posts that help them, inspire them, or make them feel a certain way.
If you find yourself looking at your content and don’t see any reason why someone would share it, go read this blog post to help you figure out what your audience does wants to read.
2. Spend Less Time Writing Blog Posts, and More Time Promoting
One huge myth that I used to believe is that you need to post a certain amount of times a week to be “successful” and increase your page views.
This is totally FALSE.
When I cut back from posting three times a week to ONCE a week my traffic skyrocketed.
Granted, this was after I rebranded my blog, but the main point is that since I spent less time writing, I had more time to promote it.
Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re probably not a full-time blogger yet which means you don’t have all the time in the world. I know I don’t! With a full-time job I need to prioritize my time as much as I can.
And most of that time does not revolve around writing blog posts.
It also revolves around making sure I promote it on my social media channels, optimizing my SEO, writing weekly newsletters for my email list, engaging with my audience, working on projects to reach my goals, and planning.
Lots of planning.
YOUR NEXT STEP
Figure out how much time you can devote to your blog each week and manage your time accordingly to work on strategies to increase your traffic while also working on other tasks such as writing, posting on social media, etc.You don't need to write more to grow your blog, you need to PROMOTE more. Click To Tweet
3. Supercharge Your Pinterest Strategy
The last area to focus on for traffic-boosting magic is Pinterest.
I’ve written several blog posts about how amazing Pinterest is for increasing your traffic, and it’s the #1 reason my blog has dramatically grown in just 6 months.
The hype is real y’all.
No matter if you’re a newbie or a seasoned veteran, Pinterest is always changing and it’s a good idea to be on top of your strategy.
For me, my Pinterest strategy hasn’t really been tweaked since I rebranded. That’s about 6 months.
I’m still getting consistent traffic, but if one of my goals is to INCREASE my traffic, Pinterest is one of the areas I would focus on the most.
YOUR NEXT STEP
If you need to start from scratch I recommend checking out this blog post. I go SUPER in-depth about how to create a Pinterest strategy and many bloggers have even told me there is so much good info in that post that they couldn’t even find in paid products they’ve referenced.
Been blogging a little while longer? It’s time to review your analytics and see what’s working and what’s…not. I bet you’re probably in a group board or two that’s doing nothing but taking up space. Time to ditch ’em.Blogging newbie or a seasoned veteran? Pinterest is always changing, so it's a good idea to always be on top of your strategy. Click To Tweet
GOAL #2: Grow Your Audience / Grow Your Email List
I know that a lot of bloggers want to work on growing their audience this year. This may involve increasing your number of returning visitors, getting more people on your email list, or increasing your social media following.
Good thing I know a thing or two about audience and email list-building!
4. Build Your Brand
First things first, you need to hone in on your personal brand. It’s really where the audience-building starts.
The secret weapon to turning visitors into loyal fans depends on how well you can connect with them…through your brand.
If you haven’t created a brand for your blog or you didn’t know you needed one I suggest you focus on this BEFORE tackling anything else.
Readers really want to know the person behind the blog. It’s time to come out behind the computer screen and really show yourself off.
The best way to do this is through your branding. And no, not just your logo and colors. I’m talking about your story, values, messaging, and how you make your audience feel.
Beyond feeling a type of way about your content, they also want to feel part of a community.
When you figure all that stuff out you need to infuse into everything you post online: your writing, social media, newsletters, videos…everything.Want to grow your audience this year? You NEED to focus on growth strategy #4! Click To Tweet
YOUR NEXT STEP
If you need to work on your branding (or don’t have one at all!) I recommend that you check out this blog post next. You’ll get a step-by-step guide (plus FREE workbook) to start crafting your brand today.
If this is a high priority for you, write that down on your piece of paper.
5. Create Irresistible Opt-In Freebies
This one is for all y’all out there who want to grow your email list this year.
Last year my goal was to reach 1,000 subscribers. I started my list in February and reached my goal by September.
How did I do it?
I focused really hard on creating opt-in freebies that spoke to my target audience.
Freebies that were so irresistible, visitors couldn’t leave without handing over their email address to me.
You can do this too and I have LOTS of resources to help you:
- if you don’t have an email list, creating one should be your#1 focus! I have an in-depth guide to get you started
- this post will help you create your opt-in freebies step-by-step
- and this post has 7 ideas to get your juices flowing (plus real-life examples!)
I know, I know. It’s a lot. And it WILL take some time. Make sure you bookmark all those posts so you can come to them later when you’re ready!
Since getting your email list off the ground is a lofty project, I suggest blocking out at least one month and even an entire quarter (depending how much time you have) to get your email list set up.
Building your list is definitely a journey, but it’s WORTH IT. Trust me.
YOUR NEXT STEP
Create an email list-building game plan. Do you need to start one? Bookmark this blog post and schedule in an hour to read through it with the free workbook at your side.
Already have an email list? Start brainstorming some opt-in freebie ideas with help from this post.
Write down what you need to do next!
6. Do Live Video
Live video and video in general, is going to be HUGE in 2018.
Again, readers want to connect with YOU and the best way to do that is with video.
The best ways to do this is through:
- Instagram stories and Instagram live
- Facebook live
- YouTube videos
I personally LOVE interacting with my audience through video. Yet, I know that it scares a lot of bloggers.
My biggest tip is to just do it. Simple advice really, but the best way that I tackle anxiety is to stop thinking about it and just DO IT.
I’ve hosted several Instagram and Facebook lives and also held two workshops last year. So you can say I’m kind of well-versed in how to do them strategically.
Video is honestly the BEST way to connect with and grow your audience. I really hope more bloggers embrace it this year and do it!2018 is all about connecting with your audience. Video is the BEST way to achieve that. Click To Tweet
YOUR NEXT STEP
Jot down some ideas for your first Instagram or Facebook Live. What would your followers be interested in seeing?
GOAL #3: Stick to a Consistent Posting Schedule
If you’re the kind of blogger who has always posted when you felt like it, you’re not the only one. This was my style too for many, many, many years.
When I started to focus on actually growing my blog, I realized that I needed to publish my content more consistently.
Not only was it good for my readers so they knew when to expect posts from me, it also helped me stay on top of my life.
And I need all the help I can get.
Now that I’ve rebranded and am focused only on delivering top-notch content for you guys, I can’t write my blog posts the night before (and God forbid the day of LOL) anymore.
It takes me a pretty long time to write my blog posts (longer than you probably think) and with my 9-5 and lifestyle, I rather skip a post entirely than stress myself out.
That’s why I need to have a game plan for my content. Let’s go over a few strategies to help you post more consistently this year.
7. Pick a Damn Day and Time and Stick to It
I’m just going to shove some tough love in your face and tell you to just pick a damn day already!!
I know that posting when you’re inspired and motivated is good for the soul, but if your goal is to post more consistently…it’s time to cut the free bird crap and get into formation.
YOUR NEXT STEP
On your piece of paper, write down the days when you have the most time in your week available. These are going to be your new posting days. Consider it done.
8. Create an Editorial Calendar
If you’re ready for the big leagues, it’s time to plan ahead and create a schedule for your blog posts.
You can map out a month, quarter, or even an entire year in advanced. Up to you.
In a nutshell, creating an editorial calendar involves brain-dumping your ideas and then plugging them into a calendar.
I would start with just a month. Get out a piece of paper or Google doc and brain dump ideas for blog posts. Next, get out a calendar. I like using a paper one, but Google Calendar is great too.
Then figure out how many posts you need for that month. Start assigning post topics to certain days.
Boom. Editorial calendar.
YOUR NEXT STEP
Write down a day when you can block out a few hours to sit down and create an editorial calendar for your blog!Want to post more consistently this year? You need these 3 growth strategies to help you make a plan! Click To Tweet
9. Theme Your Months
Theming your months can work alongside or totally separate from creating an editorial calendar.
Before I actually started plugging in blog post topics to a calendar, I came up with themes for my months. Then when I sat down to write I selected the topic based on the theme I chose.
One month was all about Instagram. Another was about email list-building.
This month is about blogging growth strategies.
Not only does theming your months make it easier to plan ahead, it creates a good flow on your blog. And people love a good blogging flow.
YOUR NEXT STEP
What’s one category that aligns with your blog topics that you can write about in different ways? Write it down ’cause that’s a THEME!
Here I am planning out my goals and projects for 2018!
GOAL #4: MONETIZE YOUR BLOG
The last goal I want to cover is monetizing your blog. It is generally the next big step after driving consistent traffic and growing your audience.
It’s also one of my big goals for 2018!
Whether your big goal is to quit your 9-5, make 6-figures, or to make your first $100, you need to approach these goals with a lot of intention and strategy.
10. Create an Income Strategy
An income strategy is what will make your those big scary numbers with a dollar sign in front of them much more realistic and achievable.
To create a successful income strategy you need to know how much money you want to make, but you also need to be aware of how much money you can make from your blog.
My biggest tip is to start small and gradually increase over time. $100 is always a good starting place.
The next (and important) step is to create an action plan: how are you going to make that $100? Sit down and map out the entire journey, whether you want to land a paid sponsorship or create your first digital product.
YOUR NEXT STEPThink it's impossible to make money with your blog this year? Not with growth strategy #10! Click To Tweet
11. INVEST IN TOOLS AND EDUCATION
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: in order to make money, you need to spend money.
I just reviewed my overall blogging expenses for 2017 and it’s pretty up there! I mean, most of that money was spent on a new laptop and camera, but you will need to spend a little dough on your blog in order to make money from it.
This can be as little as buying yourself a domain name, going self-hosted, or investing in an eBook, online course, or a 1:1 session with a coach or strategist.
The good thing is you don’t need to dish out thousands of dollars all at once. Review your goals, identify what will give you the best return on investment, and commit.
For me, the best investments I made last year to grow my blog was my email service provider, online courses, and my MacBook Pro of course.
YOUR NEXT STEP
If you’re not sure what to invest in for your blog go check out this blog post that outlines 7 investments that I think are worth every penny!
Saving the best for last…time to get a little woo woo.
I know the m-word, Law of Attraction, and visualization have become buzz words recently, but it isn’t a trend guys.
Manifesting is when you connect and communicate with the Universe. You tell it what you want and it sends you messages to take action.
This doesn’t sound as out there as it seems, I promise!
Just the other day I manifested my first eBook sale of 2018. It had been a week since my launch sale ended, and I was feeling super bummed that no one was buying it.
Well, the problem wasn’t my lazy marketing strategies…it was because I stopped sending messages to the Universe. I hadn’t done any manifesting in weeks!
That morning I took 5 minutes and visualized making one eBook sale. I got specific and very detailed.
I envisioned my morning routine…what I wore…making my coffee…and sitting down at my desk where I opened my inbox to see a sale transaction.
Later that day I opened my email and had my first sale of the year!
YOUR NEXT STEP
Manifesting requires commitment and a desire to learn more about. It’s a lifestyle. I suggest doing some research and start the learning process today!
Although I have a few favorite Law of Attraction resources, the person who really helped me start applying it to my blog is Krista of Blog Beautifully. I suggest checking out this post she wrote on manifesting with the Chalkboard Method!
You can also follow me on Instagram. Since sharing my eBook manifesting story on there, my followers have become super interested in learning how to use it to grow their blogs.
I’m going to be sharing a lot of tips over on my Stories. Click here to follow along!
What Do You Need to Focus On?
And there you have it! 12 COUNT THEM 12! different growth strategies to focus on this year to reach your blogging goals.
Now…if you’re focusing on boosting your traffic and growing your audience this year, I got something that you’re going to love!
In my eBook Blogging with Purpose, my goals are to help you gain clarity and confidence in your blog and come up with an action plan to reach your goals.
And I want to give you a free chapter!!
The title of the chapter is “To Niche or Not to Niche? Finding Your Blog’s Focus and Target Audience.”
Here’s a sneak peak of what you’ll learn in this chapter:
- the pros and cons of having a niche and if it’s right for you to have one
- the pros and cons of not having a niche and how you can be successful without one
- how to identify your target reader with fun exercises!
- how to find your blog’s focus with my Special Focus Formula
SIGN UP BELOW TO GET YOUR FREE CHAPTER NOW!
Download your free chapter!
Get your free chapter to learn how to grow a successful blog with or WITHOUT a niche!
Now, I’m turning it over to you: what are your blogging goals and what strategies will you be working on to reach them? Leave a comment below!
And please share this post on Pinterest to help other bloggers reach their goals!