My Three Goals for 2017: Grow, Finish, Monetize

I have been working on my ReformedHealth.net website for many years. And the biggest obstacle I face is not having enough money to do everything I want to do to make it as awesome as possible.

Last year (2016), my focus was consistency. And I nailed it. I blogged 3 times a week  no matter how tired I was the night before. But somewhere in there I lost focus on WHAT I should be blogging about. I started being controlled by the number of posts I needed to put out rather than a goal, purpose, or plan for what I was writing. There was a plan, it just wasn’t getting me where I needed to be to earn enough money to invest back into the blog — so I could do with it what I wanted. In addition, some of my posts were attracting the wrong kind of traffic and followers.

On a positive note, my traffic grew tenfold: from 3000 visitors in a year to 30,000 in a year. Still not enough to achieve the monetization I desired, but enough to give me hope.

So this year, I will focus on growth, completion, and monetization.

  1. Growth. I want to grow my blog traffic and my email subscriber list. This is going to be difficult because I began with a fatal flaw that I have been trying to correct for sometime — but just have not had the lack of fear to correct. In fact, this one change could cost me ALL my traffic, forcing me to start back at zero.  I need to transfer my blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. I have been geared up for this, but haven’t had the time to take the necessary steps (partially because I had to get a job to support my blogging habit). Site5 is my current host. But I may switch over to BlueHost soon. The only problem is that Site5 bills me by the month. BlueHost requires a big lump sum. It always goes back to the bucks. Since, I may lose my traffic, I need to focus on growing my email list. Presently, I have about 100 subscribers, but would like to grow to at least 1000 this year. (I really need to transfer this site too.)
  2. Completion. ReformedHealth.net exists to share the Biblical Principles of Wellness so you can gain control of your health and be all that God has designed you to be. It is built on a curriculum developed by my husband in the 90’s after recovering from a devastating illness. He found his path to recovery in the Bible. And I have been working with his curriculum and expanding it and making it available online. I want to complete this task this year. In so doing, I will be poised to get it into book form, which has been my goal from the beginning. I want to have a resource to share with others who are sick and hurting so they can find the hope that my husband found in God’s Word. So one goal this year is finish this project.
  3. Monetization. Money is an annoying factor — my primary motivation for blogging is not money — but you can’t blog without it. So I need to try harder and work smarter so I can earn an income by my calling. Parts of me want to give everything away for free, my time, my wisdom, and my knowledge. But in so doing, I am not serving my audience as best I could. Without money I cannot provide the excellent quality material that I so desire. In addition, people have a strong tendency to devalue that which is free. So charge it is. There are many ways to do this while still giving away rich content. I must learn and study HOW to monetize and then implement that which I am learning. I just bought the book How to Blog for Profit without Selling your Soul by Ruth Soukup. Her first line of advice was to get the blog off of WordPress.com and onto WordPress.org. So off I go to do just that. Boo hoo.

If you are a start up blogger, mind set is everything. Here is a FREE eBook to get you started with the right mind set:

31 Tips for Successful Online Marketing, Blogging, and Platform Building

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Avoid This HUGE Affiliate Marketing Mistake

If you don’t want to be de-indexed from search engines — you’ll need to avoid this HUGE affiliate marketing mistake. Thankfully I caught it before I lost too much traffic.

Thrive Market has been my biggest source of revenue from my Reformed Health website. Learn about Thrive Market here. But recently I noticed that even though I was showing a lot of click throughs in my blog stats,  I was NOT registering any clicks on my Thrive Dashboard.

That’s when I noticed that the Thrive Market $100 grocery give-away had EXPIRED! So I clicked on one of the links, and sure enough it was a broken link that went nowhere.

Broken links are big NO NOs in the cyberworld — especially among search engines.

Unfortunately, I had recently changed almost ALL of my Thrive links to the $100 give-away because the landing page was more interactive and engaging. This meant I had a LOT of broken links to deal with. These links had been offline for almost TWO WEEKS! I almost panicked. Instead I cast my cares upon the Lord and sought answers how to resolve the issue in the shortest time possible.

I ran my website through the FREE website Broken Link Checker and found over 800 pages of broken links. This startled me because I have less than 300 pages on my website (but WordPress organizes those 300 pages into around 1500 pages). Then I remembered that I had one Thrive link that appears on almost all my pages — a vertical banner ad in the sidebar of my blog. That was the first link I changed.

Changing that ONE link reduced the broken links to under 100.

Then it was just a matter of changing them one by one until all links were fixed. In the process, I found a dozen or more broken links that were not attached to the Thrive Market.

So, as usual — it turned out to be a blessing is disguise. One broken link is one too many.

Note to self: Run Broken Link Checker monthly or even weekly!

If you are a blogger looking to earn some affiliate commission, make sure to check your links regularly. Also, if you are interested in earning affiliate commissions, check out Thrive Market’s Affiliate Program. It might be a fit for you.

 

The Blog Post That Alienated My Readers (Don’t Make My Mistake)

One of my favorite stories is about a doctor who discovered that “cadaveric material” was killing one out of eight new mothers. This Austrian physician from the 1800’s implemented a hand washing routine for his hospitals and clinics and the death rate dropped dramatically. However, “the medical establishment” of the day thought that hand washing was archaic, superstitious, and too time consuming to implement.

As a result, the doctor went insane, only to be vindicated later.

This favorite blog post had only received one view all year. What a big discouragement to me! So I decide to revamp the headline (which I had written years earlier) from Healthy Blood through Cleanliness: The Semmelweis Principle (boring) to Famous Doctor Goes Insane After Cadaver Kills New Mother.  And I made a wonderful graphic that went with the title. And I made it long so it could double as a Pinterest pin for all my “blogging buddies” to share.  Continue reading