I am really really excited to be writing this. Honestly, I am super excited to be putting pen to paper and putting down the steps I took to turn my Kid Food Blog from a hobby to paid employment in 6 months. The reason being, I would love to see more kid food blogs making it. Kid food people are literally the best people, and the online world will only be better with more kid foodies doing well!
Of course, I also have an ulterior motive. What I have learnt over the past 6 months of intentionally growing my blog and social media is that a blog is not an island. A kid food blog does better if it networks with other kid food blogs and a kid food blog will do even better if the other kid food blogs are also doing really well on social media.
Oh, and yes, there is perhaps another ulterior motive. In this blog post you will find links, and yes some of them are affiliate links. They are links to the courses and resources that I have found made a difference to my Kid Food Blog and social media. Using them costs you no more, but it does obviously help me out with another revenue stream!
A couple of things you should know about me before you move on. I am a geek. Always have been and always will be. I am quite studious. So for me, my blogging upswing hasn't been purely because of luck. I have been quite intentional about it and I have invested in courses to speed up my progress. Because that is the type of person I am. I am a take a course, learn from the expert's type person.
My Traffic Stats
I have taken these from my google analytics, I've included January as this is before I became "intentional" about my blogging and social media. By that, I mean it was before I allocated time to it every week. In February I started blogging/working on my social media 2 half days a week.
Unique Page Views
Google Organic Search Traffic
The end of February was very exciting for me as that was when I hit 30k unique page views in a 30 day period, which meant I was eligible for the Mediavine ad network and ads went on to my site. This meant I started making money from traffic. You can see total traffic has increased steadily with my August traffic sitting 800% higher than January. Happy Days!
My traffic goal for 2017 was originally to be a 100k page view per month blog by year end. I have upped that and hope to now be a 250k page view blog by year end. My traffic has been increasing across the board, with significant increases from Facebook, Pinterest and Google Organic Search.
My Social Media Following
I was a bit of an idiot and haven't recorded my social media followings every month. I do have copies of old media kits though, so, I took the data from those, as I know they were correct at the time. Although the months for the traffic statistics above don't align entirely with the months of my social media following stats, I am sure you can get the picture.
The biggest increase in social media following has come from Facebook, although all platforms have been increasing. I focused heavily on Facebook in the first quarter of 2017, applying what I learnt from a course I completed at the end of 2016. Pinterest was my focus in Quarter two, and yes for me that meant taking another course. (Because that is what I do). In this quarter I am eyeing up SEO as the traffic source to target.
Let's talk Facebook
My plan is to pass on hints and tips about what I have done to turn my kid food blog into my job. Because, like I said right at the start, it is actually beneficial for me to have more kid food blogs thriving and doing well.
Over the next few months I will share what I have done on each social media platform, both my successes and my fails. But today I am focussing on Facebook.
Essentially my Facebook growth is down to one thing. It is down to a course I took at the end of 2016, a course led by the phenomenal Rachel Miller.
My Facebook page growth September '16 - August '17
I took the course in November 2016, if you look at the graph my page was totally flat before then. At that time I was sitting at 3k fans. With very little budget ($32NZD) and just using the course strategies I got it to 10k in Feb, from then, once I started dedicating regular time to it, it has just rocketed along! 82k today. That is 82k page likes, I have 84k people following my page. I would say 98% of that is organic growth. I do boost occasionally but typically for my sponsored posts, most posts on my page do their thing organically.
I had to include this little graphic, a random person made it for me, it is my Facebook page growth graph, worked into the coast line of my home town! Ha ha
(edit, honestly the numbers change daily, today, right now, (1st September 9am NZT I have 85,707 followers and 83,721 page likes) That growth from the graph above the day before, is 100% organic, no ad spend, no boosting, my page just grew as that what it does now! I'm not sure what day you will read this, go and check out my page My Kids Lick The Bowl (It's probably grown again)
Because of my Facebook page, my blog now employs me part time. I make an income
- Brands pay me for sponsored posts
- Brands pay me to create freelance content
- My blog makes ad revenue
I am focussing on Facebook in this post because The Facebook Page Growth Strategies course I took is now open! It only opens for new intakes every few months. But for the next seven days it will be open! The course is priced at $497 for this opening. It is very popular so the cost has increased with each intake. $99 first round, $297 second round and now $497, but still worth every penny.
What the course taught me
- How to set up my page so that I tick all the boxes for Facebook, so that Facebook likes it (you know all those page settings boxes that you never know what to put in them, turns out it matters)
- What words to avoid in my posts so that Facebook will show them to more people
- How to share content on my page that my readers will love but that also "juices" my page, by juice I mean, and this is a very technical term, how to get Facebook fairy dust for my page so that my posts are shown to more people on Facebook without spending money
- How to invite 100s sometimes 1000s of people to like my page off the back of my posts (a totally free tactic)
- How to gain likes from suggested pages, i.e how to get my page suggested to people who have liked other pages similar to mine (This is the golden ticket)
- How to make my posts go viral... there is actually some strategy behind it
- How to monetise my Facebook Page and blog
- How to boost strategically, I don't do it often, but now I know how to boost cheaply and effectively
If you do sign up for the course, please get in touch with me. Send me an email, I have a few groups for kid food bloggers who have or are taking the Facebook course. It is much more fun to work on it together.
I get it, $497 might not be in everyone's price range. (Although trust me, when I say the course cost in my case has paid itself back in spadefuls. As your page size increases, your ability to earn will too, look back at the ad earnings from my site, the $497 has easily been covered. Not to forget the sponsored post earnings I now get offered. My last sponsored post contract was for $1550.
But do not fear there are also some great free resources from the Facebook Page Growth Strategies Course available too.
The free facebook group
There is a brilliant free Facebook group with tonnes of amazing information in it about growing your page. Rachel shares hints and tips in there often. You can learn a lot for free if you just watch and listen to what is going on in there
The facebook bad words list
Did you know there are quite a few words that affect your posts reach on Facebook? i.e if you include them in your post, Facebook automatically shows the post to fewer people. Before the course I had no idea!! But there is a list of them available for free.
Free 4 day workshop
Rachel also runs a quick and dirt free 4 day work shop, enough to get you started, enough to get your page starting to move in the right direction!
Ok, so that is my spiel, But honestly it is not just a spiel, this course has made an amazing difference to my Facebook Page. The course closes soon. Be sure to jump on board if you think it is right for you.
In my next post I'll be running through some info on food video for Facebook. I have had some success with this so will share what I know. Viral videos are great for a Facebook page and I have had a few now!