I can’t believe this is my life right now! Yep, the subject title is an accurate representation of what’s been going on over here at Lifestyle DiJess.
After getting inundated with tons of DMs from people asking me “how did you do it” and spending several hours over memorial weekend trying to answer them all, I decided to write down exactly how I did it for everyone to see.
Yep, that’s right. I’m about to tell you EVERY SINGLE THING I did to grow this blog and monetize it in just 4 months.
Not only will you learn what I did but why I did it.
But first, let me provide you with a brief background about my own struggles with blogging before my breakthrough. Trust me.
Six months ago (December 2020 to be exact), I was in a REALLY dark place. I was broke with only a few dollars to my name and thousands of dollars in credit card debt from pursuing and then abandoning blogging and business courses.
For four years, I had been desperately trying to start my own business so I could leave the practice of law (I’m a licensed attorney).
The desperation consumed me so much that I eventually quit my job to pursue yet another venture, “a planner business,” but that venture failed too. I didn’t know what I was going to do.
For the first time ever, I didn’t know what to chase next.
I was lost.
I was tired of failing.
I cut out social media and spent many days sleeping my depression away.
I also spent the time brainstorming what I would do next.
My mind kept going back to blogging. Writing was the one thing I thoroughly enjoyed.
So one day, I went on Spotify and searched for podcast interviews with Alex Nerney and Lauren McManus, blogging teachers of Create and Go and the two I trusted and respected from the blogging world.
Alex said something in the podcast interview that changed my world forever and set me on the path that I am on today.
He said, “You know the one thing that keeps newbie bloggers from seeing success?? Is their inability to focus. If they would just learn to focus and not give up, they’d eventually see success.”
He was right.
The one thing I haven’t done all these years is focus…on ANYTHING.
None of my two blogs (yep I had two blogs before this one) worked out because I gave up on them too quickly.
I never actually gave myself a real fighting chance at blogging.
So I made a commitment that day that starting 2021, I would become a focused blogger and commit to going ALL IN for one year.
I would treat Alex and Lauren’s Launch Your Biz Course like I was in law school again – I would listen, LEARN, and APPLY every single thing from the course and work at it like a business for an entire year.
I firmly believed that if I did that, by the end of the year, I would finally monetize my blog…and hey, maybe even go full-time.
To push myself, I decided to create a challenge called the Focused Blogger Challenge – where I would fast from social media for ONE WHOLE YEAR (except for blogging Facebook groups) and sacrifice going out and free time to FOCUS and work at my blog for a year.
There was just one thing left for me to figure out…my niche.
What would I write about?
Disclosure: *This post contains affiliate links which means that I may receive a small commission at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link.
This Is EXACTLY How I Chose My Niche
Warning 1: DO NOT SKIP THIS SECTION IF YOU WANT TO LEAVE YOUR JOB, LIKE YESTERDAY! (IF YOU DON’T MIND WAITING 4+ YEARS, THEN SKIP.
I have pretty STRONG OPINIONS that you should hear. I don’t care how confident you feel about your niche or if your niche is your passion. If you’re a baby blogger or have been blogging for a long time and have seen nominal results, THIS SECTION IS FOR YOU!!
Warning 2: This will be the LONGEST section because it’s honestly the most important. If you can get a good niche down, you’ve won half the battle.
I wish I could take full credit for choosing my niche, but I can’t. My uncle suggested it to me in December 2020.
At first, I thought it was almost a bad idea because I was 10 years out from my freshman year of college and didn’t think I had anything relevant to say.
I also didn’t like the thought of writing to an audience that is known for being broke.
I remember all too well how broke I and all my friends were in college.
How would I monetize my blog if my readers had no money?
He pushed back and said, “No. The fact that you have already been through college is the very reason why you should write about it. This is your area of authority. You know everything about college life and making good grades in college.”
I said…”huh, you’re right. I lived in the dorms all fours year, worked as a resident assistant one year, studied abroad, made straight A’s every semester, founded a student organization, learned to live with random roommates,…the list goes on. Yeah I guess I am an authority figure with plenty to say.”
So I did my research to see if this niche was a profitable niche to pursue.
And this is what you MUST do before you start your blogging business. You must do your research and see if your niche is profitable. Don’t just pray and hope.
It didn’t take long to find that there were many bloggers and content creators who were making it BIG in the college advice niche.
For example, one 23-year-old blogger that is killing it in the niche makes $75,000/month and brings in over 700,000 monthly sessions a month from Pinterest talking about college advice.
I was amazed.
Then I looked to see what on earth she was writing about.
Graduation Party decor.
I realized I was completely wrong about my audience!
People in the college advice niche ARE BUYERS.
They are people with very clear problems (i.e. need essentials for dorm) and are willing and actively looking to buy stuff to solve their problem.
If I got into this niche, all I would need to do to monetize my blog is recommend all the products and/or similar products that I bought in college that I know would help them.
At this point, how I would promote my blog was very obvious.
Yes, my target audience was on Youtube as well but I would be able to juggle Pinterest with writing content much better and I just wanted to be able to focus and master one platform.
This was doable.
Plus, I loved that in this niche I would NOT have to educate my audience FIRST on their need for something.
They were already VERY AWARE of their need. I just had to provide the solution.
I then looked to see how competitive it was to blog in this niche??
There were TONS of vloggers and YouTubers in the college advice niche…
On Pinterest and Google, however…
Only a few handfuls of bloggers…
To my surprise, blogging in this niche is a fairly new phenomenon and so it wouldn’t take long for me to stand out on Pinterest and rise the ranks of Google.
Finally, I looked at how long it took for my competitors to build an audience and start earning a real income from their niche.
Audience – 100K in the first year
REAL $$$ – 1.5-2 years
With this research, it became clear that I could monetize my blog fairly quickly writing in this niche.
I was sold!
So here is what I want you to know about NICHES:
If you want to monetize your blog quickly (and by quickly, I mean within 1-2 years), you need to find a profitable niche.
- ONE: The audience is already very aware of their problem (Meaning you do NOT have to educate them on their problem) AND your readers are willing and ready to buy products that either you create or recommend them to buy.
SO MANY of us are good at finding people with problems but completely FORGET the willing part.
Again, before you decide on a niche, you need to ask yourself and do research to see if people are willing to pay money for the information you are blogging about (!!!)
If not, it will take MUCH LONGER to monetize your blog and wayy wayy longer to make a full-time income, if at all.
FOR EXAMPLE: Say your niche is marriage counseling. Yes, MANY people are struggling in relationships with their spouses.
However, how many couples do you know are gung ho about spending several hundred dollars on a marriage course as a first resort…
or a second resort…
or a third resort??
MOST couples try to figure it out on their own and if they are moved to do something more, MAY buy a book on Amazon or ask Google and let the google gods take them to whichever blog post has the most relevant answer…
But very FEW are willing or interested in going to counseling, much less willing to put down several hundred dollars on a course that promises to help them improve their relationship.
Most people feel like they can figure it out themselves and/or will buy a book and call it a day.
Furthermore, unless their marriage is on the brink of divorce and they’re absolutely devastated that it’s falling apart, most people don’t care too much.
They get into a fight with their spouse, are upset for a few hours, and move on.
It will take A LOT of education and PERSUASION on your part to compel your readers to take the next step, whip out their credit cards, and pay for whatever random product, book, checklist, webinar, or course you got going on.
And sure, are there successful bloggers in the marriage counseling niche?
But ask them how long they’ve been blogging… (*surprise*)
Or ask them what played the greatest part in their growth…(*surprise*)
You may not like what you hear.
But let’s say you’re niche is New Dog Owners.
Your reader just bought a puppy but has no idea what the healthiest puppy chow is.
She is very aware of her problem and wants to fix it fast because she has to feed her puppy tonight, and the next day, and the next day, and the next, and doesn’t want it to die.
Well, you know what the healthiest puppy chow is because you have two dogs who eat plant-based puppy chow and you can provide her with a link to the puppy chow on Amazon.
Guess what, she whips out her card so fast and purchases the chow because she doesn’t want her puppy to die tonight. She is getting the puppy chow delivered in 2-hours too because she has Amazon Prime.
You see how much easier monetizing your blog just became by going after an easy problem that requires way less convincing and education??
BY THE WAY: That’s LITERALLY how I feel about blogging about college advice lol. I literally just say, “Hey! this is the best gift to buy for your college graduate”…and sale!
If you want to monetize your blog fast and you want to leave your job like YESTERDAY, then that’s the sort of niche you want to go after.
- TWO: Their problem is ongoing…not temporary.
The following is an example of a temporal problem that you should avoid going after examples of ongoing problems you could go after…
WRONG PROBLEM TO GO AFTER: Using our relationships example again — most couples have an argument and are upset with each other for a couple of days and are good again for another few months before the next argument.
Not very ongoing…
Not ongoing enough to compel anyone to visit the same blog night after night, opt-in for a relationship challenge, or take a course night after night on something that lasted a few minutes.
RIGHT PROBLEM TO GO AFTER: I don’t know what to make for dinner. That’s an ongoing problem!!! That’s why recipe blogs are a profitable niche. People are constantly wondering what to make for dinner.
RIGHT PROBLEM TO GO AFTER: I’m an expecting mother. This is an ongoing problem too!!… Your mommy blog can walk beside this expecting mommy (and thousands of other expecting mothers) for years to come.
Your blog can help new mommies during their first month, second month, third month,….and the ninth month of their pregnancy…and beyond…
Because she’ll want to know about the best products for preventing permanent stretch marks, the best prenatal vitamins, the best stroller, best crib, best bottle warmer…
Then when the baby’s born, best tips on breastfeeding and best breast pump…
Then when the baby is six months old, the best toys to build motor skills…
Then by two, how to say no without saying no…
And on and on and on.
You see how this mommy will keep coming back to your blog with her credit card ready in hand?? That’s a profitable niche!!
And there are tons of niches just like that.
You just need to be in a niche where you’re on a journey with someone with an ongoing problem.
- THREE: Another thing you can do to see if your niche pasts the “Profitable Niche Smell Test” is to ask yourself if you are writing on a topic that an audience will want to read or prioritize after a long day of work or a long day of class???
Your audience may find star gazing interesting, but may not care two bats about it after a long day of work and so will take MUCH longer to get around to it.
Do you think a mother whose baby is teething and in huge discomfort is willing to search for the best teething product to help her crying new born after a long day of work?
Heck yeah, cuz if she doesn’t buy the teething product, she’ll believe she is the worst mommy in the world!! As such, in her mind, finding the best teething product for her baby is a PRIORITY!!!
NO EDUCATION OR PERSUASION NEEDED. Just tell what her to buy and they’ll buy it.
Just a last few things on Niches:
Look to see how competitive the niche is –
I’m not saying if a niche is highly competitive (like fashion lifestyle blog) you shouldn’t go after it, but just realize that monetizing that blog may take WAYYY longer and you need to be okay with that.
Look into EXACTLY which marketing tool you need to use to bring eyeballs to your site and ask yourself if your willing to use that tool –
For example, I know some niches do better when promoted on Youtube, but if you hate creating videos, your super shy, or both…then the niche may not be for you.
Are you willing to FULFILL what the market is DEMANDING?
This is SUPER SUPER IMPORTANT!!!
Not answering this question upfront caused me to fail at my second blog BIG TIME.
I had a vegan blog, which is an amazing niche by the way due to the popularity and interest in veganism these past few years.
Hundreds of thousands of people every day are constantly searching the internet for vegan recipes because they have no idea what to make for dinner.
And this is where I went wrong.
I thought I was being smart by thinking, “there are hundreds of people out there sharing recipes on their blog but no one actually educating them on how to be vegan the right way. I’m gonna be that person. I’m going to be that person that helps vegan beginners learn how to be vegan the right way and later create a course for vegan beginners.”
I was super excited.
One of the blog posts I wrote was on “The top 10 foods that are high in iron.”
But after a long day of work, WHO THE HECK wants to learn about the top 10 foods high in iron?????
How about on a Saturday????
Ok. Fine. Maybe the person who was recently told by her doctor that she is iron deficient and needs to eat more foods high in iron…She’ll google it and let’s pray she lands on MY BLOG…
But that VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD WILL NOT CARE!!
They just want to know what they can eat for dinner tonight!
They want a vegan recipe that they can make in 30 minutes.
That’s what the audience in the vegan niche was (and is) DEMANDING.
And guess what?? I didn’t care to cook and share recipes on my blog.
So guess who lost??
I wasn’t willing to fulfill the demand.
So don’t miss this.
If you’re writing about your niche from a different angle or different area…but there is very little demand for it (OR very few willing to chuck out money for it) and you want to become a full-time blogger sooner rather than later, then either FULFILL what your audience is ACTUALLY demanding or GET OUT!
To be clear, I’m talking to you if care MORE about leaving your job and becoming a full-time blogger than you are about what you actually write about and you’re seeing very little results…
Yes, you should ALWAYS be interested in what you’re writing about.
You should not be writing on a topic just for the money or you’ll lose steam and motivation quick but just as I have jumped from interest to interest and I was able to find something more profitable to write about that still interests me, with much thinking, you can too!
If you are super passionate about your topic that is not profitable and you don’t mind tinkering away at your blog for five years, you don’t mind hanging out at your 9-5 job for years to come, then forget everything I just said.
But if you’re like, HOLY CRAP, I need to get out of my job like YESTERDAY, this is not the time to be writing YOUR TAKE on something.
This is the time to find a niche where people are READY AND WILLING to take out their credit card and pay for stuff and the topic interests you.
Once you’re a full-time blogger and you’re making enough to pay writers to work your blog for you, then you can go back and tinker away at a niche that may take 4+ years or more to monetize.
Okay, Niche rant finally over.
First Month (by February 13)
After I chose my niche, I chose a theme.
Personally, I CANNOT write a blog post without first loving how my site looks. I just have ZERO motivation. Plus, as I reader, I don’t like reading from a blog that doesn’t look good. It’s a turn off for me.
So I went with 17th Avenue designs.
The theme is simple, SUPER easy to set up (you can be up and going in 1 day), and breathtakingly beautiful. I only paid $45 for mine and I love it!
You get step-by-step tutorials on EXACTLY how to install your theme which you can’t mess up with their easy instructions.
In addition, their customer service is AMAZING. They are EXTREMELY responsive and are super helpful.
Finally, my theme is fast.
As of June 7, 10:21 pm…my website load time is 1 second.
You can learn about your site speed on Pingdom. Just put in your url and within seconds, you’ll know!
If you want my unbiased tip, however, I’ve heard the ABSOLUTE best theme to use is Generate Press.
I’ve never personally used this theme but it is recommended by Brandon Gaille, who is one of the top bloggers if not THE TOP bloggers in the industry.
He brings in over 5 million visitors to his blog every month and says the fastest theme is Generate Press.
Had I known that, I perhaps would have gone with them instead of 17th Avenue designs.
Nevertheless, Generate Press isn’t as aesthetically appealing as 17th Avenue design and I can still have a fast website with my theme so I’ve stuck to my theme.
Choosing a Host:
Honestly, not a lot of strategy went into this. I tried to find the cheapest ones that users complained the least about.
That was Dream Host.
I have had ZERO problems with Dream host and my site takes 1 second to load!
Email Provider –
I went with Convert Kit. Their platform is easy to use and navigate and for the first 1000 subscribers, it’s free!
However, I DO NOT send emails or actively do anything to get subscribers right now.
DO NOT worry about an email list.
It’s ABSOLUTELY POINTLESS to start building one right now since you aren’t getting any traffic to your site.
And even if you do start getting, say 10 people to your site, that’s NOT enough data to figure out if you’re lead magnet is effective.
You’ll just start getting so discouraged that those 10 didn’t opt-in and start second-guessing your lead magnet and feel tempted to change it.
A BIG waste of time cuz again that’s NOT enough data.
Personally, my advice is to FORGET about the email list the first year UNLESS you start bringing in 1000+ visitors a month and you really want to get it going.
You should however keep an email list account open and a basic form so those that do hop on your list have somewhere to hang out until you’re READY to start sending emails out every week.
RIGHT NOW – content and building up your traffic is the MOST important thing.
Once I got my website set up, I went headfirst into Launch Your Biz Course by Alex Nerney and Lauren McManus.
The information that paid the closest attention to was the videos on
- Writing Blog Post
- and the Mindset Video
The mindset video was the video I enjoyed the most because getting my mindset right was huge for me!!
I had failed two blogs before BECAUSE I didn’t have the right mindset and the right expectations.
I wrongly believed that when I started writing, visitors would just come, traffic would just begin pouring in from Pinterest, and I would start making money within a few months. When it didn’t happen, I became discouraged. I began to doubt my blog, my niche, the course that I was taking, etc. I also became a course junkie, hopping from course to course every two months.
But who could blame me?
And if you’ve been feeling this way, who could blame you???
Most of us were introduced to blogging based on outlandish claims blogging experts have made:
- I made $100,000 in four weeks
- Get 1000 subscribers in 90 days
- Go full-time in 6 months
So you can’t help but wonder, what on earth am I doing wrong????
But most of them aren’t telling you the real story.
That they’ve been at it for YEARS and just now had a breakthrough on their fifth blog/venture.
And others have just seen exceptional results.
And if you’re going into blogging hanging on to these claims, you will more than likely get discouraged and give up.
Don’t do that.
Instead, during the early parts of blogging, it’s so important for you to learn how to manage your mind!!
First, know what’s reasonable in the blogging world.
- Most bloggers take between 2-3 years to go full-time.
- Most bloggers do not see any significant traffic from Google until the 8-9 month.
- Most bloggers have about 50 blog posts on their blog before they see any significant traffic from Google. (This is why I’ve been working so hard to get here because I want to have 50,000 readers by the end of the year)
- Bloggers who see success later were focused on one or two platforms early on. Namely, Google and Pinterest. They were NOT on every platform. And you need to realize that if you are on every platform right now, you are losing. You have your hands into everything, but MASTERING NOTHING! This is the quickest way to burn yourself out. Stick to Pinterest and Google or Google and YouTube or Google and +1 Platform and that’s it!!! Cranking out content right now is the MOST important thing.
- Most bloggers earn just a few dollars to a few thousand dollars their first year.
- Things typically take off for most bloggers by the 8-9 month and start seeing real results by the end of their first year!
If you are not okay with these stats, give up now and do something else.
Now you may be wondering…
But Jess, you’ve been a chronic failure up until 4 months ago, how do you know that this is reasonable??
Because I’m a part of this AMAZING FREE Facebook group called Blogging Like We Mean It, where newbie bloggers ask the same questions over and over again about how long does this take, and why am I not getting traffic, and on and on…
Hundreds of veterans come to the rescue every time to manage baby bloggers’ mindset and tell them what’s reasonable…and not just tell them, many of these veterans SHOW them by providing screenshots of their stats.
It helps you feel, wow okay…I’m okay.
I got this. I’m getting ahead of myself.
I just need to trust the process.
Join this group right now if you are not already a part of it!!
This group is HYPER ENGAGED full of amazing questions and tons of amazing answers, wins, and advice to keep you encouraged and motivated every day!
Though I rarely post in this group, just reading the posts has been a huge source of motivation and push to keep blogging.
Anyway, one thing that I learned from Alex and Lauren’s mindset video is that if I have a dream to become a full-time blogger, then I NEED TO be treating this thing like a business and work it EVERY DAY!!!
And so during the first month, I treated my blog like a job and clocked in 40 hours a week on my blog.
Also, because I made it my goal to have 100+ blog posts written by the end of the year, during the first month, I wrote at least 3 blog posts a week.
I also pinned about 5-7 fresh pins a day on Pinterest.
At the time, I was working part-time, so I had the freedom to do this.
I designated one day to just learn and educate myself on blogging and various blogging skills and spent the rest of the week APPLYING EVERYTHING I LEARNED.
So many times, we will fill ourselves up with information and never apply what we learned.
I did not want to make this mistake the third time around.
So I made a rule.
If I learned something in blogging that I wanted to implement, I was not allowed to move on to the next thing until I APPLIED what I learned.
That rule has tremendously helped me grow my blog.
I also set reasonable clear goals I was confident I could hit:
- The first month – don’t worry about traffic, just put out posts
- Second month – 100 readers
- Third month – 200 readers
- Fourth month – 400 hundred readers
- Fifth month – 500
- Six month – 1000
- Get at least 50 blog posts written by my 6th month
- Visitor Duration: 1 min during the first year, 2 minutes by the second year
As for writing, here is how I decided what blog post to write during the first and next few months after that:
First, I thought it was absolutely pointless to go after what was popular during that first month (which was January for me). Pinterest wouldn’t pick it up and Google wouldn’t pick it up in time because my blog was way days old. So I decided to write on topics that would be popular in the next few months and that I would have a better chance of ranking for.
I also decided that I wanted to gear up for the hot season in my niche by writing posts my audience would be searching for during the hot season.
So how did I figure out when the hottest months for my niche is???
Income reports are a gold mine full of information, that you need to be using to your advantage!!!
In almost every niche (if not EVERY niche), you will find bloggers that post income reports and in their income reports, these bloggers share their lowest months and the highest-earning months.
This is a BIG SIGNAL that the high-earning months are the hottest time for your niche.
By reviewing a few income reports in my niche, I found out that the hottest times for my blog are April through August and then picks up a bit between October-December.
As such, in month one, two, and three, I was writing blog posts for the hot months!
That way when the hot months rolled around, I would ride the wave and see my traffic soar.
I also looked to see what affiliate programs bloggers in my niche used to sell products to their audience.
Why guess around with different affiliate programs and hope that one of them converts well with your audience when you can just peek over at your competitor??
I did not want to risk blindly choosing an affiliate program only to be kicked out later for not making a sale, so I studied the income reports and learned that for my niche, Amazon is the highest converting store for my audience.
Then because I knew that April was the beginning of the hottest season for my niche, I decided I would turn on Amazon Affiliate links on my blog in March to get ready for the next month.
This is how I did the first month (January):
- Content: 15 blog posts
- Pinterest: I went from 0 to 36,000 monthly views in 2 weeks but little engagement because I was pinning mostly other people stuff. Then 36,000 to 2.4K monthly views because I gave up halfway through and went ghost for a few weeks cuz I was frustrated lol.
- Visitors: 0 – 3 visitors all from Pinterest
BY THE WAY!!! – I am lumping month 1 and 2 stats together for the first month because my first month actually ends halfway through February (February 13th to be exact since I started my blog January 13).
That’s the only way the stats below will make sense because I haven’t been tracking my progress from January 1-30, and February 1-30, and so on, because that’s not how I started.
By way of example: my first Google report came at the end of February since I started my blog January 13th. See picture below:
SECOND MONTH (by March 13):
- Kept writing blog posts.
- By the way, I wrote at least one affiliate-type blog post for every regular blog post I wrote. I provided (regular) links to the product that I was talking about so that I could still be helpful but did not yet have affiliate links on my blog for.
- Gave up on Pinterest because I wasn’t getting any results. Shame on me. Don’t do what I did. I lost virtually all of my impressions to my account. I focused more of my attention on cranking out blog posts.
- Got an accountability partner from the Freedom Bloggers Group.
- My accountability partner told me to get my butt back on Pinterest so I did.
- Got a full-time job in NYC during the second month.
- So my blogging time went from 35-40 hours to 18-20 hours.
- The goal thus became to write 2 blog posts a week and continue putting out 5-7 pins a day.
- I scheduled all of my pins in advance. On Saturday night, I would spend 4-5 hours creating the pins and five hours Sunday morning, scheduling them out.
- So in total, it took me 10 hours to manually schedule upwards to 100 pins a week.
- Also turned on Affiliate Links a couple weeks ahead of expected April Traffic.
This is how I did my second month:
- Content: 11 more blog posts published
- Pinterest: 2.4 to 13,000 monthly views, engagement way better!!!
- Visitors: Visitors are streaming in, at least one 1-5 readers a day.
- Affiliate Sales: People starting to click on Affiliate links, no sales
THIRD MONTH ( by April 13):
My Pinterest account picked up and I began getting a little traffic but I wanted to know how I could improve outbound links.
So I visited my competitor’s Pinterest account and realized that her pin titles were super compelling and was probably what was motivating most of her audience to click through.
So I decided to learn how to create better pin titles. I thought about reverse engineering what my competitor did by writing down all the ways she wrote her pin titles.
Thank God I didn’t have to do that.
I was super blessed to find that she had a blogging freebie on her website called “79+ Blog Post Title Ideas” There for Blog Posts but I use them over and over again when I’m titling my pins!!
So I took those and wrote my pin titles the same way and my outbound links grew!!! All of a sudden, my audience was finding my pins super compelling.
I also began playing around with words to see what my audience would respond to.
For example, instead of saying “tips,” I said “hacks” and my outbound links jumped!
Finally! I was learning how to speak my audience’s language!!!
One day on Pinterest, I came across another girl in my niche that was killing it.
And by killing it, I mean she was bringing in 10 million visitors to her Pinterest account each month.
And she had only a third of the pins the other competitor had.
What was her secret??? How did she do it??
I decided to reach out to her.
I was afraid she wouldn’t respond because I’m in the same niche as her but I decided that the worst that could happen is she doesn’t respond.
So I went for it.
An hour later, she wrote back an ESSAY long explanation of her Pinterest strategy. I was so thankful!
In a nutshell she said:
- pin up to 30 times a day (or as much as you can)
- put out different designs with different pin titles and descriptions because you’ll never know which one your audience will respond to and cause your pin to take off.
- Pin fresh pins
She pins manually by the way and has only been blogging for 1.5 years. She is bringing in over 300K visitors to her blog and at least 1-3 pins a week go viral following this strategy.
Oh and another thing…she doesn’t believe in the whole space your url out 5-7 days apart, 3-5 days apart, or whatever that rule is. She pins to the same url up to 3 times a day and has only seen growth.
Me too! I pin back to back to back the same url and have only seen growth!!
Anyway, I took what she said and began implementing her suggestions right away.
And guess what???
I kid you not….
My pins TOOK OFF the NEXT DAY!!! I went from getting about 5 visitors a day to getting consistently 10-25 visitors a day, with several 50+ visitor days.
It’s been awesome.
I have been on the up and up since!
UPDATE: As of 6/9/21 – my stats have plummetted due to school being out, summer, and things opening up. By way of example, my cousin who is my target audience because she is a college student, has been traveling with her father. So just imagine what the rest of my audience is doing! They’re on Pinterest less and OUTDOORS more! Nevertheless, I fully expect things to pick back up in about 4 weeks!
Moral of this story.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people in YOUR niche to see how they’ve been growing their Pinterest account.
They will be the ones who will be able to help you THE MOST since they already know what to say and do to get your audience to respond.
Also EXPERIMENT, EXPERIMENT, EXPERIMENT. TEST, TEST, TEST!!
Had I not tested my pins by switching “tips” to “hacks,” I would not have known that’s all I needed to do to increase my outbound links.
During the last two weeks of the third month, I decided to link up my blog posts with affiliate links since April was almost here!!!
Keep in mind that EVERY SINGLE one of my blog post were SEO optimized for Google this entire time. I also used Keysearch to find the right keywords to go after before writing each of my posts.
I never slacked off on making sure my posts were optimized for Google. So don’t slack off in this area either.
Make sure you learn SEO from day 1 so that you have plenty of blog posts that pick up and bring in steady traffic by the eighth and ninth month.
This is how I did my third month:
- Content: 9 blog posts published (I just started working full-time this month so my time to write blog posts went down)
- Pinterest: 13,000 monthly views to about 30,000 monthly views,
- Visitors: 5-10 visitors every day, and a few days of 50+ visitors a day.
- Affiliate Sales: Clicks on Affiliate links increase, no sales
FOURTH MONTH (by May 13):
With all the extra traffic coming through, I made my first five sales in the first three days of my fourth month.
Personally, I don’t have any real strategy behind making affiliate sales on my blog.
As I mentioned above in the niche section, because I’m in a niche where my audience is on a 4-year journey with ongoing problems, all I have to do is recommend the product and they buy.
Plus, parents of college students need very little education on why a Keurig coffee maker, for example, would be a perfect graduation gift.
Anyway, because my blog was making me sales as long as I drove traffic to it, I knew I had a high converting website.
And because I had a high converting website, I knew all I needed to do in order to make more sales is gas up my traffic.
And the best way to do that was to buy another Pinterest Course.
But just not any Pinterest course from ANYBODY.
I wanted to buy a Pinterest course from the College Advice Blogger who was killing it in my niche:
Perfecting Pinterest by Sophia Lee.
Because Sophia, out of everybody, including Alex and Lauren from Create and Go, knows how to target MY audience the best since she is in MY niche.
She knows what kind of buzz words makes my audience responds. She knows what Pin aesthetics are more compelling and attractive to them. She knows exactly what to do to reach OUR audience.
Furthermore, she was and is getting killer results.
As of today, she is driving 700,000 visitors to her blog through Pinterest alone!!
Her strategy is obviously working because college students are flooding to her site every month!
So why on earth wouldn’t I buy her course??
I needed to learn from the best if I wanted to amp up my sales SOONER rather than later.
Especially since my goal is to make $1000 dollars by September.
So I bought Perfecting Pinterest on Friday, May 21st.
I got up at 5am in the morning and began listening/watching her videos, taking notes all the way. I listened and watched on the train to work, at work during my lunch break, when I got home, until I consumed everything.
Then on Sunday Morning, I got up at 4am and IMPLEMENTED every strategy she taught TO. THE. LETTER. and did not stop until 11pm, when every Pinterest strategy was implemented on my Pinterest account.
I haven’t seen any significant growth from implementing her strategies yet…its only been 2 weeks…though “saves” of my pins have gone up 100% (yeah, that’s the actual stat lol !!), which is really encouraging.
People are loving my pins.
But I am confident that when July and August come around, my Pinterest account is going to see MASSIVE GROWTH and I’ll start ranking for many more keywords thanks to this new Pinterest course!
I love Lauren McManus but her lesson on SEO in her Pinterest Avalanche course has NOTHING on Perfecting Pinterest.
There are so many more SEO strategies that you learn in Sophia Lee’s course that I’ve implemented.
I won’t go into detail on that because it’s Sophia Lee’s intellectual property.
Anyway, I am not worried at all that I haven’t seen any significant jump in traffic since implementing Sophia Lee’s course because any course you implement takes TIME.
You need to be patient.
You can’t expect to just see the growth the SECOND you implement it.
Sometimes it happens, but most times it doesn’t.
Successful bloggers KNOW THAT and OWN that. And I want to be a successful blogger too so I’m going to accept that too and just trust the process.
In addition, Pinterest takes time to read and rank your pins!!!
In fact, according to Sophia Lee, it takes 2-3 months for Pinterest to rank them.
Furthermore, right now, my blog is in a weird place where my target audience just ended the semester, they’re out of for summer break, and businesses are really opening up since the pandemic, so they’re not really looking for college advice right now.
As such, the traffic to my blog has plateaued for NOW. I am consistently getting 15-20+ visitors a day (update on traffic given above.)
Come July/August, however, college students will be on the internet like crazy looking for answers and recommendations to their problems. And by that time, I’m hoping to get 30-50 visitors a day.
[place this at beginning of post)
I also continued to crank out 1-2 blog posts (all optimized for Google)
My Pinterest account – 30,000 monthly views to 67,000 monthly views and counting. Pinning about 20 times a day. Averaging 10-20 visitors a day.
The next amazing thing that happened this month is that I made the First Page of Google!
Yeah…I didn’t think I would be able to do this for a LOOOONG time.
I always thought Google SEO was this super complicated thing that takes a whole lot of on-page strategy and a WHOLE lot of outreach for backlinks to increase my domain authority and ONE day make the first page of Google.
But nope nope nope.
I have done NO outreach for backlinks.
My Domain Authority is 1 out of 100 lol.
And at the time I made the first page of Google, my blog was 4.5 months old.
Furthermore, the blog post that made the first page of Google was published only three weeks earlier!
So how did I do it?
Keysearch, Keysearch, Keysearch!!
Keysearch is an AMAZING tool that helps you find good keywords to rank for on Google.
I learned about Keysearch through another blogger who said that she was able to rank several of her posts on the first page of Google using the tool and only paid $13 bucks a month to use it!
I was intrigued because most SEO tools out there charge $99 or more a month!
So I bought Keysearch (the starter plan – that’s literally all I used to rank number 1) and I am so glad I did!!!
Keysearch is the BLOODLINE for all my blog posts. I do NOT write a SINGLE article without first consulting Keysearch to see if it’s even WORTH my time.
And before my time spent working on my blog was drastically reduced due to my full-time job, I didn’t publish a single article WITHOUT consulting Keysearch.
I plan to get back to this VERY SOON…like in 2 weeks because I’m moving SUPER close to work and will have my time back again!!!
(I’m literally counting down the days!!! )
Anyway, Keysearch is literally the most helpful SEO tool I know that DUMBED SEO WAYY DOWN for me so that I can rank on Google.
And that’s what happened!
I literally read and watched all the tutorials and applied everything to the letter about On-Page SEO and in just four months of using the tool…
I ranked on the first page of Google.
Achieving this feat was and is huge for me!
Before ranking on the first page, I felt like a nobody who was trying to be somebody in the blogging niche.
But ranking on the first page has given me CONFIDENCE that I’m moving in the right direction.
It has also given my new and growing brand Lifestyle DiJess major CREDIBILITY in the college advice space!
As such, I cannot stress enough how important investing in Keysearch is if you don’t have it yet. You NEED to make Keysearch a part of your strategy to rank and bring traffic from Google.
Yes Google SEO takes time.
It’s super unsexy because you aren’t getting instant feedback like you do with Pinterest.
But you need to make Google SEO your long-term strategy and implement it from the very beginning so you can reap the MAJOR rewards that are sure to come later, and Keysearch will help you get there. Check it out here, and use my discount code to get 20% off (Use the discount code: KSDISC). This tool is seriously LIFE-CHANGING!
This is how I did my fourth month:
- Content: 7 more blog posts published (43 blog posts total).
- Pinterest: 30,000 monthly views to 55,000 monthly views and counting
- Visitors: Averaging 10-20 visitors a day
- Affiliate Sales: 5 sales!
Amazon Affiliate Proof:
Visitors from Google SEO:
The keyword that I ranked on the first page for was a low volume keyword that is not yet in season so I have yet to really experience the real traffic this keyword might bring my site.
But ranking on the first page and getting these visitors is everything!!! It’s VALUABLE FEEDBACK that I am moving and more importantly WRITING in the right direction.
And for someone who has only been blogging for four months by this point with a DA of 1, I can’t be more than thrilled!! 🙂
I am confident that by my eighth and 9th month, this chart will be VERY DIFFERENT. I expect and hope to get thousands of visitors to my site from Google by then. We’ll see!
By the way, I would show you the keyword I ranked for to prove that I’m on the first page but I’ve learned from other bloggers NOT to do this since competitors in my niche could read this, go after the keyword, and kick me out of first place…
For this reason, I will NEVER show that on my site and you shouldn’t either!
Update (6/20/21 8:41 am): Woke up this morning to check my ranking on Keysearch and found out that I have a SECOND blog post on the FIRST page of Google!!
So as you can see, I am seriously loving Keysearch right now lol and it will remain a part of my “writing blog post system.”
I think I will also make it my goal to get 3 more blog posts on the first page by the end of this year.
Fifth month Stats
I won’t write much here because this blog post is about my first four months blogging but I briefly want to share how I’ve done since then…
Blog posts: 5 more blog posts written (46 blog posts in the fifth month, 47 now)
Things have slowed down TREMENDOUSLY here at Lifestyle DiJess because I’ve had graduations to attend, my husband needed my laptop temporarily to study for his board, and family in town, so my weekends to write have been quashed.
And I’M MOVING! Today (Friday, June 18) I am going to be spending the entire day packing up my apartment, I move on Monday, and will spend every day next week unpacking and getting settled. So nothing will happen for at least another week.
ONCE I’M BACK THOUGH…I’m really be back!! I’ll be closer to work so I’ll go back to 30-hour weeks on my blog.
Affiliate Sales: 30 more items sold!!! (Total 35 sales)
I made $23.52 in commission here.
Look at how much money I made for Amazon??? $695.05!!!
FOR A FIFTH-MONTH BLOG???
Imagine if I was selling my own products.
That’s how much money I would have made my own blog in one month!
Thus, I can’t wait for the time I finally roll out my own products. But I’m not ready yet…or at least, I’m not interested in creating my own products yet.
I want this year to be about building content and driving traffic. I want and need to LEARN about my audience more.
And YES, THESE stats aren’t sensational but I’m so proud and THANKFUL for these sales. I’ve learned in the Bloggers Like We Mean It Group that its typical for bloggers to see only pennies and dollars their first year.
Some may also see between $1,000-$4000 dollars during the first year. It just depends on the niche, depends on how much you know, your experience, and how much time you’re putting into your blog.
My goal is to just get $1000 this year, so yeah! lol
Next year, my goal is to earn $2000+/month by the end of August 2022, which will replace my full-time income at work. I am confident this can be done based on what I know and what I’ve learned from the blogging community.
Anyway, I’ll stop here for now…and provide a full update on my fifth month and beyond at my next update.
Other things That Has Been Life-Changing for my blog these past four months
CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT!!!!
I have already hinted at this before but if you’re a baby blogger, I cannot stress how important it is to start cranking out content and building up your vault of posts.
You need to make putting out blog posts your number 1 focus as that is the FOUNDATION OF GROWTH for any blog.
Having TONS of posts on your blog will allow you to:
- interlink the crap out of your blog posts so READERS actually STAY LONGER on your website
- Google gets the MESSAGE SOONER rather than LATER about what your blog is about and then starts sending traffic your way (this is why I believe I have started getting traffic so early from Google. I had 43 blog posts when I got my first visitor)
- have tons more content to promote on Pinterest, thus increasing eyeballs to your account and your website.
By the end of my FOURTH-month blogging, I had 46 blog posts on my site.
15 were created in the first month so that helped me grow my Pinterest account much FASTER because I had plenty to promote with.
And as I had mentioned before, while there is no proven science for this JUST a correlation, MOST BLOGGERS start getting traffic from Google when they hit around 50 posts.
As such, it should be your BIGGEST goal right now to get to the 50-mark if you aren’t already there.
Of course, you should be optimizing all your posts for Google SEO, and be using keyword tools like Keysearch to make sure you are going after the right keywords.
LONG FORM POSTS
I think it’s pretty obvious at this point but I write A LOT.
(This post is over 7000 words long at this point…)
Before I went to work full time, my blog posts were on average 3,000 words long, and I have plenty of 4000-word blog posts.
Since working full-time, my blog posts have averaged around 2500 words a post.
I write long-form posts ON PURPOSE.
It’s part of my long-term strategy and it should be a part of YOUR long-term strategy too.
Having long form posts makes my readers stay on my blog A LOT longer, which you NEED for Google SEO because it sends HUGE signals to Google that people find your posts helpful or interesting.
These signals will eventually allow my posts to rank higher in Google.
Even if my readers are skimming my blog posts, it will still take them much longer to get through it than if they were skimming a blog post with only 600 words.
And as you probably already know readers are MAJOR skimmers these days.
As such, if your blog posts are only 500-800 words long, YOU ARE SHOOTING YOURSELF IN THE FOOT.
You will find that many readers are only spending 10 seconds on your site and your bounce rate is SUPER high because it only took the readers 10 seconds or less to skim it.
And if your readers are only on your blog post for 10 seconds, this will send a NEGATIVE message to Google that your posts isn’t that good.
The next reason why LONG FORM posts are so freakin’ helpful is for AD $$$ later.
Ad agencies LOVE to work with blogs with super long posts because then they have so much space to work with.
They can spread about 10-20 different ads on your one blog post as opposed to 2 or 3 ads, which will rake in much more money for you!!!
Going back to my girl in the college advice niche that is killing it…
Guess how much she is making in ads alone??
At the time that she was bringing in over 100,000 visitors a month, she was bringing in over $2,000+ in ad revenue.
With 500,000 visitors – $11,000+ in ad revenue.
That doesn’t include affiliate marketing and other products she was selling on her site.
And guess what kind of posts she had???
She is a blogger that WRITES ALOT and so her ad agency Mediavine has a ton of space to work with!!!
Does all of your blog posts needs to be 2500 words or more???
No, not necessarily. There will be some topics that just doesn’t require that many words.
But should you make most of your blog posts at least 2000 words or more??? Heck yeah.
That’s one of the most EFFECTIVE ways to increase reader retention and make more $$$ in the long run.
Now I have a couple of CONFESSIONS to make (You’ll want to stick around for this!!!):
If you’re in the freedom bloggers group and have been following my journey from the very beginning, you’ll know that I said I wasn’t going to buy another course that wasn’t Alex and Lauren’s course, I wasn’t going to listen to a single podcast that Alex and Lauren wasn’t in, or take tips from anyone else but Alex and Lauren for the next year.
I was going to TUNE everything out and just focus on one Guru for the next year until I’ve applied everything and got my blog working and earning me money.
I was so wrong and I’m glad I broke my vow!!! lol
While I do NOT promote hopping and skipping to other gurus and courses, I do think it is super helpful to plug into certain people when you are making strategic moves to move your blog forward and hit your blogging goals SOONER rather than later.
So for example, I knew that the first few months of blogging would be mentally tough for me because I’m just a beginner.
I had no idea what I was doing, or whether my efforts were working, and from time to time I would compare myself to other bloggers who were way ahead of me.
I knew I needed something to keep me motivated and help me push through the period of POOP.
So I listened to the Just keeping Blogging Podcast by Kim Anderson (I listen on Spotify) who literally spends 100+ videos telling you in 100 different ways to JUST. KEEP. BLOGGING.
Meditating on that really helped me push through the period of SUCK and POOP, when I was getting NO feedback.
I highly recommend that you give this podcast a listen if you’re struggling in this area.
I’ve also listened to The Blog Millionaire Podcasts by Brandon Gaille, one of the top bloggers in the industry who brings over 5 MILLION people to his website PER MONTH!!!
I’ve learned SO much from him that has helped my blog become better.
Here are just a couple of resources that I’ve personally used to help me improve my blog:
- 17 Ways to Create Catchy Blog Titles That Drive Traffic
- 10 Ways to Increase the Average Time on Page with Formatting Hacks
I’ve only completed 13% of Alex and Lauren’s Launch Your Biz Course.
I personally only watched the mindset stuff and the Pinterest stuff.
(I already knew how to create my website and launch my blog through an earlier course I bought.)
Now you may be wondering why I’ve only gone that far, especially since I’ve been preaching LEARN. EVERYTHING. TO. THE. LETTER. and APPLY APPLY APPLY. IMPLEMENT. IMPLEMENT. IMPLEMENT.
Well, two months ago I had a light bulb moment.
While I was reading through posts in the Blogging Like We Mean it Group, I read how mom’s found amazing results and were even able to go full-time after taking the “Start a Mom Blog” by Suzi Whitford.
I then muttered to myself, “Man, I wish there was a ‘How to Start a College Advice blog,”….
THEN IT HIT ME!!
That the BEST and QUICKEST way to learn how to start a blog is by learning from someone who has already killed it in MY niche.
And I have that person!
Sophia Lee is a College Advice Blogger who is bringing in over 700,000 visitors to her site per month, has several FIRST page Google rankings, and has turned her blog into a 7-figure business…
By learning from her,
- I’ll gain insight and CLEAR tips on how to write to MY AUDIENCE
- How to sell to my audience
- How to write blog posts that they’ll stay on to read
- How to create pin title and blog titles that MY audience will respond to
- What goals I should be setting at every checkpoint in my journey
- and SO MUCH MORE!
It’s definitely true for me on the selling part.
For example, I had already read through Alex and Lauren’s affiliate marketing module years ago and their recommendations for pitching products to my audience just isn’t necessary or needed for MY AUDIENCE.
Alex and Lauren basically recommend that you present a number of products to your audience and you share the pros and the cons of each product (to show neutrality), ranking them as BEST VALUE, BEST OVERALL, etc…and then finish off by promoting the one that you really want them to buy at the end and explaining why that’s the best.
My audience doesn’t need me to go through that long COMPARE and CONTRAST process about notebooks, backpacks, and graduation cups.
They are perfectly happy with a few short sentences on the product that I recommend and they’ll purchase if they’re interested.
However, what ALEX and LAUREN teach WOULD tremendously help someone in the health niche and lots of other educational heavy niches since they know that their strategy works on their audience.
Nevertheless, you have to realize that with any blogger teaching you stuff, they’re teaching you what has worked from the perspective of THEIR BLOG and THEIR NICHE.
The strategies have been shaped by what has been WORKING FOR THEM but may not necessarily work or be as effective for your blog.
As such, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND, that once you have implemented all the FOUNDATIONAL stuff from Alex and Lauren’s Launch Your Biz Course …
(I have only taken 1 other blogging course so I don’t have too much to compare their course to…but Alex and Lauren did a GREAT JOB WITH THIS!!! SO APPLY APPLY APPLY THE FOUNDATIONAL STUFF),
Look and see if there is a BLOGGER in YOUR NICHE that is killing it and has a blogging course you can take.
And if you have the money to buy their course, then by ALL means, buy the course and start learning everything you can from them. They will be the best ones to learn from since they already know how to speak, write, and sell to YOUR audience.
You won’t have to guess what will work and what won’t work anymore because you will be learning from the person who has done it and is currently killing it in YOUR niche.
You will go so much FASTER with your blog that way and you’ll be able to set goals that are much more reasonable for YOUR niche.
But would if you can’t find a person in your niche that has a blogging course???
Well, that’s okay.
You can also just reach out to bloggers who are killing it in your niche and ask them to show you the ropes.
You may be surprised to find someone who is willing to help.
I know one girl in my niche who has no interest in formally coming out with a blogging course but is more than willing to help anyone who reaches out and asks her.
As I mentioned above, I took her up on her offer and reached out to her and she sent me an ESSAY’s WORTH of actionable steps I should take that helped me tremendously.
So don’t be afraid to reach out.
The next thing you can do is study your competitor’s blog, get on their email lists, and reverse engineer what they did, and take inspiration and direction from what they are doing.
DO NOT COPY them but take Direction. Learn to make it your own.
Anyway, NOW you know why I have decided to buy yet another course…perfecting blogging.
Steps for the Future
- I already told you I WILL buy another blogging course.
- Because I’m so determined to hit at least 50,000 monthly visitors by the end of year 1, I’ve also decided to buy Traffic Transformations, which goes into depth on a hundred different ways to increase traffic. But I won’t learn it UNTIL I first apply everything I learned from Perfecting blogging
- Celebrate 50 Posts!! (At Least That’s the Plan) Almost there!!
- Amp up time spent on my blog. In a week and a half, I am moving CLOSER to work. THANK GOD. My commute is 1.5 HOURS long one way and eats up so much time I could be blogging. Once I move, my time blogging will go from 18-20 hours a week to 30+!!! I’m gonna go SO hard on CONTENT once I get that time back. You have NO idea. LOL
- Possibly Create a Product (Ebook or Downloadable) not sure though because my number one priorty is CONTENT and TRAFFIC.
End of the Year Goals:
- Write 100 Blog Posts
- Bring in 50,000-100,000 monthly readers/month
- Join MediaVine
Update 6/20/21 (12:07 am): I just finished going through Sophia Lee’s perfecting blogging course and she says that it’ll probably take me about a year and a half to build up enough page views (50,000 sessions/pvs) to get into Mediavine. I’m SO glad I learned how much it will reasonably take me to build that many page views in 2021 (since Pinterest ain’t makin’ it easy on no one anymore lol).
That way if I don’t hit at the end of the year, I won’t be discouraged. I’ll keep my end of the year goal for now, work my butt off, and see where I land but NOW my expectations are SUPER MANAGED!
And managing your mind while blogging is something that you ALWAYS want to be working on so you don’t give up on your blog.
Remember….Just…Keep…Blogging. The ones that give up are the ones that NEVER see success in Blogging. Don’t let that be you.
All of my Google Analytics Stats to Date:
As I mentioned above, the ABSOLUTE hottest time for my niche is July and August so I hope to see my first 1000 visitors then! We shall see lol
Anyway, now you know EXACTLY what I did these past four months to grow my blog and what I’ll be doing to continue the growth.
I do not have it all figured out yet.
I fully expect there to be dips. I’m in the teenager phase after all.
But because this is my first year and there is still so much for me to learn, I won’t update this post until January, my one-year blogging anniversary.
I want and need to focus!!
Feel free to hit me up though whenever you like if you have any questions. If something did not make sense in here or I wrote something in error, please please let me know so I can fix it for you and other readers!!
This took two weeks to write (10,656 words!!!) so thank you so much for reading!
I will update this post again at the end of the year.