When I started researching the perks of blogging for business purposes I become obsessed with reading income reports from other bloggers. I was annoyed with the lack of detail they gave sometimes or how vague they were with the details on how they actually accomplished their growth. While I haven’t had a ton of income growth yet I still wanted to share the things I have learned, tools I use, and how much things have grown since I started this journey! Bare with me, this post is a lengthy one but I promise it is FULL of helpful information! Make sure you comment below with any questions about details I might have left out!
Blogging for Business Report
Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that when you click on the tools are sites I mention I may get a small credit or commission at no additional cost to you! All information given is my honest opinions and I only recommend items I actually use!
TOOLS I USE:
Bluehost.com – Guys, if you are wanting to start up a blog or any type of site this is an amazing hosting option! SUPER AFFORDABLE! (I’m talking like less than $4!) Also comes with free domain, free site builders, one-click WordPress install and 24/7 support! Woot woot!
WPengine.com – When it comes to hosting, these guys are the real deal. They work with amazing world-class brands and offer amazing customer service! Their plans are a little more pricey than Bluehost but if you have big plans for your business this is honestly the way to go! The cool part is that it is risk-free for 60 days so you could always give it a try and make sure it is the right fit for you!
WordPress.com- Honestly, this one was a no-brainer. There are several ways to run a site but WordPress is honestly the only way to go. Offers the most flexibility and customization options! It takes a minute to learn if you are wanting to do everything your self but I can tell you from experience, it is worth it to take the time to learn how to run your own site then have some template that limits you!
Jetpack.com- I am pretty sure several bloggers out there will disagree with me but I prefer the JetPack plugin analytics over Google Analytics. As someone who is self-taught, it is easier for me to comprehend as well as use to analyze my growth. All the numbers and functions you need are there and it is built right into your site! You can view some of the Desktop and Mobile screenshots below in my “Growth” section of this post.
Tailwindapp.com- I could easily do an entire blog post about this site and how I use it to grow my Pinterest reach. I used it free for a month then caved in and signed up for the yearly package. This allows me to schedule, re-pin, and publish an unlimited amount of pins per month! I can sit down and schedule two weeks worth of pins in a day and not have to waste hours of my time pinning! LOVE IT! You can read more about how I use this below in the Pinterest section.
BoardBooster.com– I don’t use this as much as Tailwind but it does have a few features that I love such as the ability to loop old pins on my boards. Combining the usefulness of both sites has truly grown my site traffic immensely!
Canva.com – This is my goto for creating Pinterest graphics, Ebook covers, flyers, and other documents! They have tons of templates for you to choose from and the free option goes a long way! I did have to upgrade recently to their “Canva for Work” due to the templates and re-sizing I needed for all the blogging I was doing!
PicMonkey.com – Another great option for creating Social Media images, blogging graphics, charts and more! I use this and Canva on a daily basis!
Editorr.com – I love to talk and to share information but sometimes getting those thoughts typed out isn’t as smooth as I would like it to be. This lovely site checks all my posts for grammatical errors as well as suggests editorial changes. You can even chat with one of their editors and ask advice if you are stuck on how to make your posts flow! LOVE THEM!
Squareup.com – After doing tons of research I decided to use Square to process my invoices and sales. I started using this when selling my magical lipstick and fell in love with their site. The first $1000 in sales a free of any processing fees! You can use my link to also receive free processing and help me earn more free processing as well! WIN WIN for everybody! >> CLICK HERE FOR FREE PROCESSING <<
AFFILIATE PROGRAMS I LOVE:
ShareASale.com- I signed up for TONS of affiliate networks when I first started but this is the ONE for me. It has tons of great partners to choose from and I have gotten approved for almost all of them with little to no traffic starting out! They also have a great app for Google Chrome that allows you to easily grab links from partner sites you are using which really helps cut down on the work of researching links and codes for your site. My favorite companies to work with so far are The Land of Nod, Project Nursery, Lulu’s, Mod Cloth, Dock A Tot, and Tailwind!
How To Make Your First Affiliate Sale in 24 Hours! – After spending hours on Pinterest researching, listening to podcasts and watching webinars, I stumbled upon this Ebook. It cost me $25 dollars and it is the best money I have ever spent. I learned how to use Pinterest to make money without actually having to blog affiliate links. I made my first few sales within a few hours and I am still growing my passive income on Pinterest. I highly recommend this Ebook. Seriously… It’s fantastic and so simple you will be like, “Wow… why didn’t I do this sooner!”
AWIN.com – This is an affiliate network that I signed up for honestly just to use ETSY.com. I was denied from their program on Share-A-Sale but was approved on Awin. Weird, not sure why, but hey… whatever works!
EBATES – While this isn’t really a blogging tool unless I am giving advice on how to save and earn extra cash, I still use this on a daily basis! In my first week of using this site, I earned a $30 check! Literally, all I did was do my usual online shopping from places like Amazon, Target, and Groupon. This site allows you to earn cashback on ALL your purchases and when you share your link with friends you BOTH get extra cash! They pay via check or Paypal!
Swagbucks – This site is similar to EBATES but also offers ways for you to earn extra cash by completing surveys or watching videos. I like to pull up the videos on my computer and just let them play while I am cleaning the house. It takes a while to save up the points to cash in but we love using this for Amazing and Target Giftcards! (We also use this when saving for Disney!)
Amazon.com – Since becoming a mom 90% of my purchases are made online and most of those are by using Amazon Prime. Literally the best yearly membership you can buy. So of course when I decided to start blogging I signed up to be an Amazon Affiliate so that I could share my favorite products with my viewers and earn a little extra cash at no additional cost to anyone! If you are interested in getting started in affiliate marketing, Amazon is the way to go.
Travel Planning Services – While I have always been interested in running a blog, promoting my Travel Planning Services is what really drove me to actually starting one. My Services are 100% FREE to clients when they book their trip through me and I get paid after their trip from the resort or hotel where they vacationed! Win-Win for everyone, right?! While I can book pretty much any type of vacation out there, I have decided to focus on Disney Destinations and Sandals All-Inclusive Resorts. I am truly obsessed with their “product” and have the most experience and training with these companies. (You can read more about my Disney history HERE)
I focused on writing posts that would attract viewers interested in these destinations as well as running a booking promotion for the month of September. Here is an example of my most popular posts during my first two months:
I also started a Facebook group exclusive for those who are planning a Disney vacation or just love talking about Disney! It is small but has been so fun and super helpful for my traveling families so far! You can join >> HERE <<
Pinterest – After many late night hours of research, reading blogs, watching webinars, signing up for Free classes… I learned that Pinterest was obviously where I really needed to put most of my marketing focus! I pulled tips and tricks from various different bloggers and their free courses and developed my own strategy. Obviously, I am still learning what actually works and how to best manage my time but here is what I have been doing the past few weeks….
Once I have published a new post I head over to Canva or PicMonkey and create about 5-10 different images for that post. I only put one or two of those images in the post and all the other images I upload to Tailwind. Tailwind allows me to upload tons of images at once, add a description, and schedule them to be posted on multiple boards as well as Tailwind Tribes. I will click the “Shuffle Queue” button so that all of my pins don’t go out at the same time. I then go and make sure I have scheduled at least 30-70 pins per day just on Tailwind with about 10 of those pins being my own.
I didn’t believe it at first but pinning content from other sites gets your profile and your pins more attention! I was so skeptical because I didn’t see how sharing another bloggers posts would help me, I mean they are technically competition right?… well I still don’t fully understand it but some of my most popular boards are those filled with others content and my pins are still the most repinned and clicked on!
Okay, another part of my Pinterest routine is BoardBooster. You will find a TON of posts comparing BoardBooster Vs. Tailwind and while they pretty much do the same thing there are features that I love about each. Tailwind is my GO TO! I use it daily from creating pins, scheduling pins, to finding pins in my tribes to re-pin.. but what it can’t do that BoardBooster excels at is looping my pins! What this means is that I choose boards from my profile that BoardBooster will automatically grab the older pins on those boards and re-pin them. This keeps your pins fresh and so they don’t get lost in the crowd. LOVE THIS FEATURE!
You probably saw me mention Tailwind tribes a few times. Guys, I am obsessed with these. They are free for anyone to use even if you aren’t using Tailwind already! I read a lot about joining Group boards on Pinterest and while those can be great sometimes just to get a pin out to different viewers, the repin rate is super low. Tailwind as created what they call “Tribes”, similar to a group board, people share their pins and in return repin others that are in the Tribe. I love it because I can go through my Tribes and schedule pins that are actually relevant to my niche without searching on Pinterest. It is harder to explain.. much easier if you just try it! You can join my “All Things Disney” Tribe and see how you like it! >>JOIN DISNEY TRIBE HERE <<
Facebook Groups – This is another section that could be its own blog post altogether. This has been a HUGE traffic driver for me! I joined TONS of blogging and entrepreneur Facebook groups, read their rules (learned this the hard way after getting blocked for “Self Promotion” from a group) and made a list of when each group ran certain threads and which threads I wanted to participate in. My favorites to participate in are the Blog Shares, Pinterest re-pins, and Facebook post comments! This took a ton of time to figure out and I feel like is really valuable information…. SOOO I have created a document that lists ALL the groups I have joined as well as what threads they run and when you can post! >> CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD LIST <<
Building my Free Resource Library – This is still a work in progress but I put together a few checklists, planning guides, and wrote a short Ebook to offer to those interested in planning a magical Disney vacation! I plan to create even more DIY templates, Worksheets, and more Ebooks on certain topics for all types of travel. This is taking a lot of time but I feel like has so much to offer and it is completely FREE to my readers! I never want to spam people so never saw the importance of an email list until I finally started sending out newsletters. I discovered that people LOVE getting exclusive information and to learn about things before you post about them on your blog! So my goal is to continue growing my library which helps grow that email list and gain more loyal followers! >> CHECK OUT MY FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY <<
HOW MUCH DID I GROW?
I have an obsession with analyzing my analytics. WordPress has an app for your phone that also shows your Jetpack dashboard so I am able to easily track all sorts of things throughout the day!
INCOME VS EXPENSES:
I am still putting a lot of work into my site so my Expenses are a little higher than they will be later on. However, I am super excited about my affiliate programs taking off and booking more of my services so I am not focusing on these numbers too much just yet.
Tailwind – $15 Monthly
Canva – $10 Monthly
“How to make an Affiliate sale in 24 hours” Ebook – $25
Website & Hosting – I paid this a year ago for two years so I am not including this in my expenses for these last two months.
Share A Sale – $74.50
Amazon Affiliates – $27.13
EBATES – $30
Travel Services – about $1,700 of booked services. However, I don’t get paid for these until after my clients travel so the payouts are random.
So there you have it. While of course there is way more work and detail behind blogging to grow your business, this gives you a good idea of what I am working on. I would love to hear from you! Let me know if you are thinking of blogging or if you are already blogging!