5 mistakes I made on my blog this month

February 2017 Blog Traffic Report

February Blog Traffic Report_5 Mistakes I made_Pin

This traffic report is extremely difficult for me to write. I don’t know how else to describe February other than, Hot Freaking Mess! Seriously, from beginning to end, it was a total mess.

Instead of sharing the traffic and lead generating strategies that worked and the tools I used, I’m sharing 5 mistakes I made this month. Hopefully, you can learn from me and avoid these mistakes on your own blog.

5 Mistakes I made on my blog this month_FB

Please note this post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you click them and make a purchase.  This is, of course, at no cost to you, and I only share products that I use and love myself.  Please read my disclosure for more information.

If you’re pressed for time click here to skip to the tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) summary.

The month began with a violent stomach bug ripping through our family. I turned 35 this month and celebrated with a puking child whose gift to me was to pass on her illness three days later. Awesome!  

That illness worked it’s way through our house for two weeks straight. Then, when the puking stopped, Mother Nature showed up with 70-degree, sunny days for a week straight. In February. In Kansas City.

When nature blesses you with a perfect day in February, you enjoy every second of it playing outside. Needless to say, my business did not receive the best I had to offer this month. Initially, I struggled with the fact that I wasn’t able to give my business my full attention, but as the days continued to pass, I realized it’s OK to slow down when life throws you curveballs.

Those curveballs caused me to make a lot of mistakes. First, I’ll share my blog traffic results and briefly address traffic driving strategies I used. Then, I’ll dive into the 5 big mistakes I made this month.

February 2017

  • Traffic & Subscribers
    • Page views: 6,276        
    • Users:   2,793         
    • Subscribers: 416
    • Conversion Rate: 15%
  • Traffic Sources
    • Social: 64%
    • Direct: 22%
    • Email: 8%
    • Referral: 4%
    • Organic Search: 2%

The screenshot below is comparing February with the previous 28 days.

February 2017 Blog Traffic Report-Sessions

Overall, I am very pleased with the results as I was expecting a decline in traffic and users. Instead, my traffic and users increased and my bounce rate decreased!

However, my conversion rate decreased, which means I didn’t add as many email subscribers to my list this month. After a little digging, I suspect it’s because the articles I wrote this month didn’t have strong calls-to-action. I’ll address this more in the Mistakes I Made section.

Before I address the mistakes I made, I want to briefly talk about my traffic driving strategies from February.

TRAFFIC DRIVING STRATEGIES

I didn’t make many changes to my traffic driving strategies this month. I stuck with the tried and true strategies I outlined in last month’s traffic report.  

Social Media

Pinterest was once again my workhorse, generating 80% of my social media traffic and representing 51% of the total sessions from February. Facebook again came in 2nd and Twitter and Instagram trailed far behind.

February 2017 Blog Traffic Report-Sources

Instagram

Last month, I reviewed the charts from my Traffic Tracking Spreadsheet and realized my Instagram strategy was not working. As a result, I have temporarily quit Instagram.

This is a perfect example of why you should rely on data, not emotions, to make strategic decisions. Supposedly, tons of people in my niche are killing it on Instagram. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for me. I’ve analyzed the data and it says my Instagram strategy sucks!

I could test new strategies, but this blog is my side-hustle and time is limited. I don’t have the time to create tons of content for Instagram and try to figure out what works. At the end of the day, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.

To save you time and energy, I’m sharing my growth tracking spreadsheet with you! You can download it from my Freebies Library. If you don’t already have access to my Freebies Library, click the button below to gain instant access and get this spreadsheet.

Social Media Tracking Spreadsheet CTA

5 MISTAKES I MADE

1. NO EMAIL STRATEGY

The first mistake I made was no email strategy. Last month I had people flying onto my email list to get my social media content calendar, but I never sent a single follow-up email introducing myself or letting them know what to expect from me.

I knew I needed to email my audience more, so I sent my first email to my list on February 6th. I announced my new freebies library and linked to my January traffic report. I was proud of that email!   

I hit send and held my breath. Then, about 30 minutes later, it happened. Someone marked my email as SPAM! Talk about a knife through the chest. I was devastated. SPAM?!!! How could they do that to me? They opted-in to my list! Do they not know the impact a SPAM report has on a business?

And then, I got another one. I was left speechless. I moped around the house all evening. After a lot of thought, I realized those SPAM complaints were my fault. Even though I was emailing people who gave me permission, some of them opted-in to my list over a month ago and never heard from me again.

Those 2 SPAM reports motivated me to get my act together and write an email to be sent to my list 24 hours after opting-in to download free resources. I introduce myself, share helpful resources, and let them know what to expect from me. I also invite them to unsubscribe if what I’ve shared doesn’t excite them.

At the time of writing this, I only have one email, but I plan to create an entire sequence of emails to build a relationship and provide tons of value to my new subscribers. I use MailerLite for my email client and it allows me to create behavior-based automations for a fraction of the cost of most email clients.

If you’re not already a subscriber – click here to join and you can see the exact email sequence I send 24 hours after you join my list! You’ll also get access to my Freebies Library full of helpful resources to market your business.

2. GUEST POSTING

This mistake upsets me more than any other mistake I made this month because it ate up a lot of my time and was a big, huge flop! I’m an efficiency freak so a little piece of me dies when I feel like I’ve completely wasted or lost time.

And like the SPAM fiasco, this mistake was completely my fault.

Earlier this month, I heard multiple Podcasters tout the benefits of guest posting and connecting with other bloggers. When a blogger I follow emailed that she was accepting guest posts, I decided it was the perfect opportunity.

Fast forward three weeks and that guest post has driven NO ONE to my blog. When I review my google analytics and look at the referral traffic from that blog I got one freaking person. And you know who that one person was? Me, it was me!  

I did all that work and I did not see any return whatsoever. Initially, I wanted to blame the blog, but I realized that it was 100% my fault. When I attempt to guest post again, I will do two things differently.

First, I will write a guest post that positions me as an expert. The post I submitted this month was about podcasts for female entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, that topic does not position me as an expert in anything and it surely doesn’t tell readers I teach Pinterest and digital marketing strategies.

Second, I will reference related articles throughout the post with links back to my website. In my podcast guest post, I did not include any links back to my website. I expected people would scroll to the bottom, read my bio, and be so interested they would click to my website or my social profiles.

I just laughed out loud when I re-read that last sentence. I’ve been a professional marketer for over 10 years and I still make rookie mistakes. The key is to forgive yourself for not being perfect, learn from the mistake, and keep moving forward.

The key is to forgive yourself for not being perfect, learn from the mistake, & keep moving forward.Click To Tweet

3. NO CLEAR PURPOSE, GOALS, OR PLAN

This was by far the biggest mistake I made this month. First, I want to clarify that you don’t need a clear purpose or goals to launch your blog. Just launch it and start churning out content. Over time, you’ll be able to define exactly what you do and who you serve.

I knew my purpose and goals, but I didn’t have a well-defined plan around my purpose or goals. I wrote blog posts based on what inspired me that week. I tackled new strategies based on what I felt like doing in that moment. I charged forward into each week not having a plan.

I knew my purpose and goals, but I didn’t have a well-defined plan around my purpose or goals.Click To Tweet

Take a look at the four blog posts I wrote this past month:

As you can see, my purpose is to teach Pinterest. However, none of my Pinterest posts offered a content upgrade. I did not provide additional value or incentive for readers to jump on my email list – which is why my conversion rate dropped this month.

I have since signed up for Asana, a free project management tool. Trevor and I have outlined a 90-day content plan focused on teaching bloggers and side-hustlers how to use Pinterest to quickly grow their blog. I now have a strategic plan in place around every piece of content I create – and that feels good!

4. PLACING ALGORITHMS OVER AUDIENCE

I didn’t realize I was making this mistake until I started writing this blog post. For some reason, the thoughts did not flow freely for this post. I complained to Trevor that I was struggling to write it.

He was baffled. He thought it should be the easiest post I write because I’m just sharing what I did this month. That should be super easy, right? In theory, yes. But, after talking it through with Trevor, I realized I was focusing on the headline and keywords.

Many experts recommend keyword research as the first step in writing an article. Identify your keywords, write your headline, and then write your article. I heard that advice so much this past month and found myself taking that approach for this blog post. Big mistake! It completely crippled my creative process.

I am choosing to completely ignore that advice! Here’s my advice, write with your audience in mind, not algorithms, and let the creative juices flow. Worry about the headline & keywords once your post is written.

Write with your audience in mind, not algorithms. Worry about headline & keywords later. Click To Tweet

5. TACKLING TOO MUCH, TOO FAST

If you’re a side-hustler like me, you likely understand this mistake all too well. I am constantly biting off more than I can chew.

For example, I will listen to a podcast on the way to work and learn something I want to implement in my business. I have a 9 – 5, so it gets pushed to that evening or the weekend. Then, I listen to another podcast on the way home from work, and learn another shiny new thing I want to tackle!

Repeat this process five days in a row, and you have a recipe for disaster. On second thought, maybe this mistake should be “listening to too many podcasts!”

This mistake caused me to build my email list with no follow-up strategy, submit a half-assed guest post, write blog posts with no clear purpose, and worry about advanced tactics and strategies long before my foundation is built.

This month was a hot mess of mistakes, but I’m grateful for those mistakes. In reality, they were valuable lessons and opportunities for growth. I’m excitedly charging forward with a clear plan and well-defined strategies!  

Be grateful for mistakes. In reality, they are valuable lessons and opportunities for growth.Click To Tweet

So long February. Bring it on March!

TL;DR SUMMARY

February Traffic & Subscribers

  • Traffic & Subscribers
    • Page views: 6,276        
    • Users:   2,793         
    • Subscribers: 416     
    • Conversion Rate: 15%
  • Traffic Sources
    • Social: 64%
    • Direct: 22%
    • Email: 8%
    • Referral: 4%
    • Organic Search: 2%

February Blog Posts:

5 Mistakes I Made:

  • No follow-up to my email subscribers
  • Guest posting without a strategy
  • No clear goals, purpose or plan
  • Writing for algorithms, not my audience
  • Tackling too much, too fast

What big mistakes have you made with your blog? Comment below and let me know!

About the Author:

Angie Gensler teaches online business owners how to use Pinterest to drive traffic, generate leads, and increase sales. She is a seasoned marketing professional focused on keeping it real. This means real simple tutorials and resources that cut out the confusion and provide actionable tips. She is passionate about her family, dance parties, and creating a life worth living!
  • Moïse

    Love this post and your blog! I like the fact that you see it’s your fault that 2 people marked your mail as spam.
    I’m looking for a place to guest post as well so thank you for saving me for some mistakes that I otherwise definitely would’ve made.
    By the way, thank you for liking my Facebook page 🙂

    • Hi Moise! Thank you so much. I’m so glad you liked it. It’s not fun to publicly admit mistakes, but I’m so happy to know it has helped you! I’d love to hear about your first guest post experience. Let me know in the facebook group how it goes.

      • I can understand that (it will be my turn to do that on may first, when I share my new monthly blogging goals and review the ones of March XD)
        I’ll definitely let you know 🙂

  • Katherine Sullivan

    Love the transparency! Message me, I have a few ideas how we can drive some traffic to you 🙂

    • Hi Katherine! Sounds great, I will do that! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to guest post and I’m sorry I didn’t use that opportunity more wisely 🙂

  • Bailie

    Thanks for sharing! I’m new to blogging and these are some great tips!

    • Thank you Bailie! I’m so glad you found them helpful!

  • Erika Ravnsborg

    Yeah I know the feeling but don’t beat yourself up. Everyone makes mistakes

    • Thanks Erika, and I agree. The trick is to learn from the mistakes and keep moving forward.

  • Steph

    Enjoy the honesty of this post. I think recognizing your mistakes, taking responsibility, and being resilient enough to adjust is key to growing! If we never failed, we would never learn. Reading this made me realize I need to be better about keeping it touch with my email list, some weeks I do better than others, but even a quick newsletter is good – at least they’re seeing my name in their inbox. Keep up the good work! : )

    • Hi Steph! Thank you so much for your comment. I love that you said if we never failed, we would never learn. That’s so true and a great reminder! It’s good to know that getting honest and sharing my mistakes is helping others.

  • Emily Bendler

    I love the transparency of this post and the advice you gave! Excellent!

    • Hi Emily! Thank you so much, I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

  • Robert James Koyich

    Angie! Rad post! There are a few things I like about this post you made. You shared your intent, you shared your results, and you also kept it in a shorter post (It took five minutes of my time that I’m glad you got!). Also seeding for you, the way I found this post was through Lewis Howes’ mastermind group.
    Very cool Madam!! Keep at it!!!

    • Hi Robert! Thank you so much for sharing what you liked and how you found me! It means a lot to me that you took the time to share specifics – it’s extremely helpful! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post!

  • Robert James Koyich

    (PS… your comment of your mistake to list other posts is one you corrected… I have three other tabs of your work to follow up with now!)

    • Awesome! You just made my day. =) I hope you enjoy the other posts as much as this one.

  • Kara Beutel

    Great post! Lots of ideas for the rest of us to implement as well (or improve if they’re there but not quite up to snuff yet *cough* my email intro series of just 1 email *cough*. Looking forward to the Pinterest posts! 🙂

    • Hi Kara! Thank you, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. We’re in the same boat on the intro series! Want to be accountability buddies and we can each try to add a second email this month? If so, let’s chat about it in the Facebook group!

  • Shelley Dennis

    Thanks for your honesty! Sharing makes you a human sacrifice- now the rest of us know to avoid these mistakes 🙂

    • Hi Shelley! That’s hilarious, I never considered myself a human sacrifice, but you’re right! Glad I can do that to help others. =)

  • Hi Kayla! I’m so glad you enjoyed it and found it helpful. Let me know if you ever have questions throughout your blogging journey!

  • Thanks for sharing the info! Super helpful, especially for people like me who are struggling to get their blog really going!

    • Hi Caitlin, I’m so glad you found it helpful! Be sure to check out my posts about Pinterest. That’s the strategy that’s working to drive my blog traffic.

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