Mission, Vision, Plugins And A Plan — Blog Income Series (Week 2)

Let me state that it’s not easy to make money from blogging. Don’t get me wrong, it’s doable but as with everything you have to put in the time. You have to research, experiment and especially go outside of your comfort zone. I have yet to earn a single dime from blogging.

In the coming week I will focus on marketing my blog to get more than the 10–50 users per article I’m getting today. After that I will research what alternative route to ads I want to take to make money.

Steps since the last article

This article isn’t about what steps I’m going to take though, but those I’ve already taken. As I mentioned in the previous article, I will try to go through each step in detail. Because I want others to be able to copy me, and get the same result. I.e. make money from blogging.

First I want to share a blog called ProBlogger by Darren Rowse. A friend of mine told me about his site and it’s an awesome site for bloggers. There’s over 2 000 free articles over there! The blog contains everything from how to start a blog, create content, find readers, build community, make money, be productive, understand technology, and get work. So definitely go check out the site. The articles are well written and detailed. But I’m still looking for a case study, or an extremely detailed article. My guess is that some of his books might be more detailed.

Articles — When to publish them and how often

While browsing ProBlogger, I found a post when to publish your article. In When to Publish Blog Posts – Timing Considerations, Darren writes that you should avoid publishing your articles on weekends and big holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. If he has an important article he likes to publish it on either Tuesday or Wednesday. He also mentions that he likes to publish them in the morning.

I also found another article by Darren, How Often Should You Blog?. Here he writes that it’s better to write one, two, or three per week rather than every day. I can agree. If I’m reading blogs that have longer articles they tend to end up in my reading inbox until I have time to read them. But if a lot of articles that are released at the same week from many blogs I skip reading some articles. If a blog often posts shorter articles I usually unsubscribe from their blog.

In that article he also mentions that it’s better to write a few longer articles than many smaller ones. I agree. I’d rather read two articles containing 2 000 words each, than five articles containing 500 words each. Thus I’ve decided to write 1–2 articles every week. And I want those articles to be around 750–2 000 words. I’m not limited to write articles within this range though. In fact this article is over 3 000 words. In general I try not to write articles shorter than 750 words, since I find those often lack value.

Writing a 1 000 word article takes around 3 hours in total for me, including editing and marketing. So that should be roughly 8 hours per week I need to write if I publish 2 articles per week. That’s quite a lot of time since I only want to spend 7–10 hours per week on the blog. And I still need to market and improve the blog, not just write articles.

I’ve decided to publish the articles on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Preferably Tuesdays if I only publish one article that week. But it depends on holidays etc. There might also be a time when I decide to publish an article on another day if it’s an event I’m writing about.

But I have two article series I’m writing about now. That means these will take up most of the Tuesday and Thursday slots. For now I’m OK with this as I don’t have time to write three articles a week. But in the future I might publish a specific article series on Mondays. I also think it can be a good idea to have a specific day in the week or month for readers to look forward to the next part.

Domain and Host

For you old readers you might have noticed that I’ve changed domain to https://matteusmagnusson.com. I decided to move domains because this domain is more professional than my previous domain. I also registered http://matteus.blog to redirect to https://matteusmagnusson.com. My thoughts went something like this: “It would be cool to have a .blog domain :D. Because when people have asked me about my blog in the past I’ve wanted to have an easy and cool website address.”

Although the domain is still not easy to spell, since my name is foreign, heck it can even be hard for some Swedes for that matter xD. That got me wondering if I should buy an easy address like abcd.blog just for simplicity. But I still want the domain to have something with my real domain to do. Maybe mama.blog xD (4 characters is a minimum requirement for .blog addresses).

Siteground host provider

My hosting choice landed on Siteground (Affiliate link. If you’ll buy a service I would be really thankful if you go through this link. My first attempt to make money through my blog 😀). In hindsight it was an easy choice; you get a great product and support for a low price. I’ve been very pleased with Siteground so far. They even called me to check if I needed help with anything.

I didn’t try the one-click WordPress setup since I migrated my website from my old server. You could get help with doing this, but because I’m a computer nerd I wanted to try it myself. I find that I make a lot by doing these stuff myself. Then again if I weren’t that interested in knowing the nuts and bolts of every software I use I would’ve asked for their help.

Securing my site

In January 2017 Google Chrome will list sites without https or TLS/SSL as not secure. They want to force the web to become secure. So securing my site was one of the first things I did after migrating it. I must say that Siteground makes this extremely easy. It was more or less just a one click action. And it’s a free service for all subscription plan.

To make your site secure with Siteground.

  1. Go to your cPanel
  2. Under Security click Let’s Encrypt
  3. Select the site you want to secure
  4. Click install

Having a secure site means that no one can intercept your traffic see what’s on your site. This means someone can’t spy on you and intercept your password.

Marketing

The mission and vision with my blog, books, and workshop

After a mastermind meeting with some fellow business friends I noticed that they had a mission and vision for their product. I didn’t have one, and I know it’s crucial to have one if you want to succeed with your business. I find it important so that I keep on track and don’t develop the product, or the blog in this case, in a different direction than I’ve intended. The vision will change with the product, but the mission should at large stay the same.

I also find it useful for keeping technical or explanatory articles personal. I have a tendency to write impersonal for those topics. But as I write impersonal the soul—if you want to call it that—disappears from my articles. And it’s the soul that makes them fun to write 🙂

Mission

My mission is the same for all media

  • Aspire people to take charge of their lives by taking action
  • Bring new weird ideas to people, and thus expand their box of possibilities
  • Find new like-minded friends
  • By providing value, make enough money to make a living.

Blog vision

A place for unique weird personal development ideas. People connect with my authentic and heart-centered posts. They always find something new and inspirational. Through the articles they get motivated to take action of their lives. Because of this I want to have some sort of call to action at the end of each article.

I will be blogging about whatever interests me at the moment and I want to share my personality and writing style through all my articles. I.e. I don’t want to make them generic. Sometimes I might also use the blog as a journal to figure stuff out.

Book vision

The books are very practical and down to earth. Everyone can read them (although the books aren’t for everyone) and there’s a sense of simplicity over them. This allows people to feel in control of their life, get inspired, and take action.

Workshop vision

Guide people through life challenges, help them find a sense of community and that there are other people like them. I want to use the workshops to find new like-minded friends.

Who are my readers?

It’s important to know who you readers are. Why? That allows you to tailor your writing to your audience. To be honest I didn’t pay any attention to this at all before; because I didn’t grasp why it was important. But if I want to create great content and help people I need to know what they are looking for in my articles, or at least some of my articles. That’s one of the reason I wanted to do an extremely detailed series of how I’m going to make money from blogging. Because I myself would want to see a case study with a step-by-step guide. So I’m writing for people that want to read detailed articles.

It now hits me that I have different kinds of readers for different kinds of articles. For example I can blog about polyamory, but that has nothing to do with how to make money from a blog. A question I need to ask myself (in the future) is if I want to split this blog into many niche blogs instead.

My ideal customer

This section describes my ideal customer. I think of my ideal customer as someone who reads all my articles, buys all my books, goes to all my workshops etc. At the same time I my ideal customer is someone I want to attract to my life. I.e. what kind of people would I want to have more in my life?

The next week I’ll flesh out my ideal customer into a persona to help me visualize my ideal customer. The persona will contain a name, picture, occupation, interests, hobbies, etc.

Having a persona in mind when you write an article, a book, campaign, or ad makes the message personal. (How to Create Reader Profiles/Personas to Inspire and Inform Your Blogging).

My ideal customer is like me. She loves personal development, learning, growing, experimenting, and applying ideas. She’s between 22 and 36 years old. She’s highly empathetic and helpful towards people and want to make a difference in the world. She takes action when action is needed. She’s polyamorous and doesn’t have any kids at the moment. She’s playful and sexually experienced and like to discuss different ideas. She defines herself as weird. She’s spiritual in a mindfulness way. She runs her own company, or want to start her own company. She’s introverted, but at the same time want to connect with like-minded people.

Ads

I decided to not have any ads on my site, at least for now. I found this article (13 Reasons Why Blogs Ads Suck for Monetizing Your Site (And What to Do Instead)), which explains why you shouldn’t have ads on your site. Essentially I came to the conclusion not to use ads because I don’t like ads on blogs myself and I want to keep my blog as clean and simple as possible. In the future I might add some specific ad for products I can recommend myself, but for now they’ll have to wait.

Facebook groups

I joined some Facebook groups for bloggers. I’ve joined two of them so far, but haven’t been active in them yet. Ideally I’d like to find a Facebook group for bloggers where you can’t promote your own articles, only have discussions. I’ll come back when I’ve tried out these, and when I’ve found a good discussion group.

  • OddBloggers — Use this group to boost your post, ask and answer blogging related queries
  • Bloggers Worldwide — Comment exchange, FB Like/Shares, retweeting, G+ shares

Google Trends SEO

Google Trends is a tool for search engine optimization (SEO). It allows you to see the trend of one or multiple keywords, and how they stand against each other.

I use Google Trends to decide which title I want to use, and if there are certain days or week during the year that are better to publish some articles. For new articles (that aren’t part of an existing series) I use start by coming up with three different titles. I then check Google Trends which titles or wordings would be more popular. Let’s say I want to write an article on the important aspects of personal development mindset. What happens if I change personal development to self improvement, or self help? What about aspect vs mindset?

As you can see it’s a lot more popular to search for self help instead of personal development. The definition of self help isn’t the same as personal development though. So in this case I need to make sure that I can use self help, if not would go with personal development.

As mentioned, I also use it to check when certain keywords are trending. For example I’ve recently written an article on how to celebrate. If I search on Google Trends I can see that how to celebrate trends on holidays, especially on new year. I can now decide whether I want to wait until new year, or publish the article now. It’s not a good idea to blindly trust Google Trends, but it gives you more data to make an informed decision.

Site

Plugins

This plugin list is regularly updated to keep it fresh.

  • Contact Form 7 — Makes it easy for people to contact me
  • Cookie Notice — Cookie Notice allows you to elegantly inform users that your site uses cookies and to comply with the EU cookie law regulations.
  • Google Analytics Dashboard for WP — Displays Google Analytics Reports and Real-Time Statistics in your Dashboard. Automatically inserts the tracking code in every page of your website.
  • Jetpack by WordPress.com — There’s so many uses for Jetpack. I use it for the advanced spellcheck, more analytics, improved comments, and related content (that comes at the end of each post).
  • MailChimp for WordPress — Subscribe to mailing list
  • Posts By Tag — Allows me to list all articles with the same tag. I use this for articles series such as this one. For an example, scroll to the section Articles in this series in the bottom of this article.
  • SG CachePress — Allows me to use Dynamic Cache and Memcache on Siteground.
  • WordPress Popular Posts — Displays your most popular posts/articles in a widget.
  • WP Word Count — Fun tool to count the number of words I’ve written in all articles.
  • Yoast SEO — Helps both with SEO optimization and it improves my writing since it highlights overly complex sentences, passive voice, etc.

Cache

In Siteground I’ve enabled Static, Dynamic, and Memcache. This makes it a lot faster to load the pages, and it also takes up less resources on the server (meaning more users can be served). For optimizing my site I check https://tools.pingdom.com. According to this site I still have some improvements I can do on my site to make it faster.

Typography

A while back I read about typography in Redesigning StevePavline.com – Part 5 when Steve Pavlina redesigned his site. This made me increase my font size to 20px with a line height of 30px. I make sure all headings take up one, two, or three times the line height so that it’s easy to read. There’s a lot more work to do here, but I figured this would make a great start. I will continue to improve on different elements when I notice it’s out of alignment with the rest of the site.

Ebook

The first action for my ebook is to find an interesting topic I want to write about and at the same time it’s useful to my readers. This proved harder than I initially thought. It was hard to gauge what people are interested in.

I tried to google for “personal development topics”. I tried looking for sites like ask.com—a site where people can ask questions—and see if I could find the most popular questions. No luck finding a feature like that. I know there exists at least one site with such a feature, but I couldn’t find it. The last thing I tried was to write “how can I” in Google’s search bar and see if there was any suggestion I could use.

When I couldn’t find what the market was looking for I turned to my previous articles. I tried to figure out which of those articles could be expanded and made into a full ebook. That’s when I remembered about the self improvement subreddit. I went there to see if I could see a pattern for what people usually asked for.

There were a few questions with a common denominator: Find your inner calling or how can I find meaning in life. It’s a topic I’ve written about, and was already thinking of writing another article on that topic. I’ll go with that topic for the first book 🙂

I also decided to decrease the word count goal of my ebooks. I initially thought that 30k words would be around 50 pages. Turned out it would be more like 150 pages xD. So I decided to make the first ebook around 10k words and the second one 15k words. That should be relatively simple to write for me, even with a busy schedule 🙂

Summary

It feels like I’ve done quite a lot of research and that I on my way to make money from blogging. Still I have a long way to go, and a lot of experiments to conduct to create a sustainable income from blogging. My next steps will be to get more readers and find a way to make money from blogging.

What about you?

I’m eager to learn more about you. In that way I tailor my articles to your needs and answer your questions 🙂

  • Where on this journey are you?
  • What are the obstacles in your path?
  • Is there anything you want to know more about?

Links

Articles in this series

Keep in touch

In a nutshell, the weekly newsletter includes

  • Summary of articles, videos, and other content. So you only have to read or watch content you find interesting.
  • Experiments I might do in the future. The newsletter is where I ask you what you'd like to know from the experiments, i.e., you will directly shape the experiment 😉
  • If I want to create a product (app, coaching, program) I'll ask you what you want from it, i.e., shape the product 🙂
  • Tailor the weekly newsletter to what you want to see more. For example, if you want to see what books I'm reading, or have shorter (or longer) summaries. You have the opportunity to shape the newsletter to your needs.

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