When I first started this blog I had already had my own little side business as a web designer since 2001. It kept me busy but being behind the scenes for other bloggers left me really unfulfilled… I wasn’t working for myself on my own project like I wanted to be. So, I started Grandma’s house DIY as most bloggers start: Without a clue as to what I was doing! Sure I knew how to set it all up, update it and keep it running smoothly but I hadn’t ever done this before! I read everything I could from other bloggers on how to do this but I never felt like any of them were very specific on a day to day basis. So, this is what I do every day that made me hit 15,000 pageviews a month exactly one year after I started blogging. (Note: I have never paid for advertising right now my costs are $30 a month for Boardbooster and $120 a year for hosting – I have a self hosted WordPress blog on Directnic.com)
Every day I look for bloggers like me to support, pin and follow across all of the social media platforms that we share by browsing my Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Hometalk, Instructibles and Instagram feeds. I share a lot of other bloggers’ content constantly! I am also ALWAYS on the look out for other link parties and submission sites that I can join as well. I generally follow over 200 other bloggers a week but I won’t share or support anything that I don’t love. Every morning (after I get a cup of coffee) I sit down, go through all of my email and then check the website and all of my social media platforms for anything that might need my attention. I try to reply to every comment and thank anyone that shares my work or mentions me on their own sites etc. And then, what I move on to next, depends on the day of the week it is:
Put together, write, finish and publish a blog post that is the “meat and potatoes” of my blog (such as this one), which is either a Tips & Tutorials or a Before & After. After publishing the post I also publish it on Hometalk and Instructables (if the post is right for them) I then pin all of the images off of the post into all of my Pinterest boards that relate. I then submit the post to Digg and Stumbleupon and then I tweet about it and I share it on my Grandma’s House DIY Facebook page.
I then enter in all of the Monday Link Parties that I know about. (See below for more details.)
I host a link party so I put my Wednesday link party post together every Tuesday. I visit all of the links that have been added to my party and then pin and comment and follow every blogger that participates. This is also when I choose the winners. I write the blog post and then schedule it to publish on Wednesday morning.
I then enter in all of the Tuesday Link Parties that I know about. (See below for more details.)
With my link party post already live I now go to it and submit it to Digg and Stumbleupon, I tweet about it and I share it on Facebook and pin the corresponding Pinterest image and pin the favorites.
Because I don’t have a blog post to put together on Wednesdays I take this day to submit one of my “Meat and Potatoes” blog posts to my list of Facebook group boards and DIY submission sites (diyideacenter.com etc.) I found them all by doing searches on Google and I am ALWAYS looking for more places to submit.
I then enter in all of the Wednesday Link Parties that I know about. (See below for more details.)
I put together my Friday blog post which is one of the following three: a free house plan/design, a post about our week/what we’re up to or an Inspiration board bringing together a few of my favorite other bloggers’ projects. I schedule it to publish the next day (Friday) morning.
I then put together my Sunday newsletter which includes all three of the new posts I published this week and one old one. (See below for more details.)
I then enter in all of the Thursday Link Parties that I know about. (See below for more details.)
With the new post I created yesterday now live I pin all of the images across any of my Pinterest boards that are relevant. Then I also submit it to Digg and Stumbleupon and then I tweet about it and I share it on the Grandma’s House DIY Facebook page.
I then enter in all of the Friday Link Parties that I know about. (See below for more details.)
Weekends I really don’t like sitting down at my computer. Usually I enter in all of the Saturday and Sunday Link Parties but, sometimes, I don’t even get that done and Monday I play catch up. Honestly weekends are the only real time I get with Joe and the only other real time I have to work on my house/create more content for my vitally important “meat and potatoes” blog posts. I also usually do all my photo shoots for my posts on the weekends too.
“Meat and Potatoes” blog posts. When you read the “how-tos” about starting a successful blog just about every one of them tells you that you first have to be blogging about something you are passionate about. Everything I blog about I would be doing whether I was blogging about them or not and I think anyone reading my blog can tell that I can’t wait to get home and tackle some crazy project I’ve been thinking about. My meat and potatoes blog posts are literally what I want to be doing every day when I grow up! If I had any advice for someone who wants to start a blog I would tell them that the first thing they have to do is figure out what their “Meat and Potatoes” blog posts are going to be about.
I have a master list of about 150 link parties that I submit to every day. One thing you must remember about link parties is that you should never share the same post there more then once so you’ve got to be ORGANIZED. My master list has the URL of where the link party is at, the day it starts and every post I’ve ever submitted there. I usually open four of them in my browser at a time, submit two posts to each of them (updating my master list as I go) and then I go through every party clicking on as many other posts as I can, pinning them and then following the blogger on all of our shared social media platforms. (I have a pretty specific niche and I don’t share anything I don’t love but I always try to open at least three or four other links in every party.) Yes, this can take hours, most days I have 25-30 link parties I submit to. If the blogger stops posting their link party four weeks in a row I delete them from my list and remove their button from my site unless they posted about going on vacation or something. When I find a new link party I add it to my master list and then add their button to the bottom of all of my blog posts. If the blogger features one of my posts I tweet and post about my feature on Facebook, tagging them in it, including a link to their party and I also thank them in a comment on their site.
I use Mailchimp for my newsletter service and am really happy with it. It has a free WordPress sign up plugin so I don’t have to touch a single email. I put it together including my three blog posts from this week and one older one using their corresponding Pinterest images. My “meat and potatoes” post gets the biggest image and is front and center of course 🙂 (Every post I make has one big and pretty Pinterest image that includes my brand that I also use in my newsletter.)
Social Media. I get nearly 40% of my traffic from Pinterest but looking at the kind of niche my site falls in that shouldn’t be very surprising to anyone. I work hard on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram but none of those three come close to providing the kind of traffic that Pinterest pushes my way no matter what I do. I use BoardBooster and it really stream lined my Pinterest game: I pin over 120 pins a day using Boardbooster across 48 boards.
65% of my traffic comes from three places. Pinterest gives me 40%, Hometalk gives me 13% and the DIYIdeaCenter gives me 12%. The rest of my traffic is spread out from hundreds of other websites. I’ve been a part of Hometalk since the beginning of my blog and I owe almost every one of my “viral” posts to them, they love DIY bloggers and they love posting our stuff when we share it with them, they share it in their newsletter and they also share it often on their Facebook page, they are so good to us! DIYIdeaCenter is similar to Hometalk but it has a more serious and slightly less “Crafty” feel, my projects fit in really good there and, just like Hometalk, they treat bloggers who share on their site REALLY well! I can’t stress it enough to new bloggers: You must find OTHER websites to submit your posts to! If I had not found Hometalk or the DIYIdeaCenter I don’t think I would have half the traffic or followers that I do today. I’ve had similar moments where one of my posts hit hard on other sites too, BlogHer drove a good 1,000 hits one day and Stumbleupon once sent nearly 2,000 to me one day!
Find other places to share your posts: Facebook groups, other websites, link parties etc. Be patient. Have a schedule on when you post and stick to it. Stay very organized on where you have shared your posts: make lists. Find other bloggers like you and support them, pin them, follow them, share them, cheer them on and be GRATEFUL if anyone ever does the same for you. Reply to every comment with kindness. If you have trolls then you’re doing something right! Take your blog, your schedule, your lists and your posts with the utmost of seriousness.
My long term goal: Replace my day job with my blog by year 4. No I don’t have any plans of leaving my day job but my dream is to be able to work from home someday between the blog and refinishing furniture. (And also to be able to devote myself to having ourselves a real farm with ducks and chickens and a big garden.) Right now I’m making around $200 a month between Media.net, Google Ads and Amazon Affiliates. It is amazing how much that money has been helping us since Joe started his own business!! I still feel like I have a TON to learn about this blogging business but, so far, it has been a lot of work but also a bunch of fun!