The start of a new year is always a great time to make changes and that certainly is the case for my blog. You may have noticed I have a shiny new domain name and site address, you can now reach the site directly at www.kerrymaymakes.com - eek exciting.
Over the last two weeks I have been getting a lot of traffic so it makes sense to move forward with my blog. So what other changes are happening?
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Happy 2018 and I will see you all soon
This post contains some affiliate links for products that I use and love myself.
I then use the charting monthly page to add my colour codes to the pages to see the posts at a glance. So far it is working perfectly and is much better than last years Blog Planning System as I can clearly see when and what I have posted on the tracker.
Finally I use the actual planner pages to plan the content for my blog and You Tube channel and when specific deadlines are for filming, editing, writing and uploading. I add a simple bullet journal box for started, completed and finished to track when I have completed the posts.
In addition to this I have stuck with last years system of logging my blog stats and setting goals at the end of each month for my blog, You Tube and social media. You can see more about this here:
Blog Planning, Organisation and Productivity
My Word of the Year 2018
My chosen word for myself is:
I made a page in my journal with the key points I want for my year ahead and will use these whenever I am feeling down or losing focus. It will be easier to stop what I am doing for 5 minutes to do something that makes me happy before continuing with whatever the task in hand is. Hopefully it might teach me to say no more often and get me stop and take stock.
2018 Planner Setup
You can see a flip through from the summer of my Uglydori planner here
Travelers Notebook Setup & Planner Flip Through
Make sure that you have a read of the other girls fantastic blog posts as part of the
'Planner Girls Collective', click the bottom of each post to go to the next persons blog post xx
What's your planner system for 2018 going to be? Let me know in the comments and if you have decided on a Word/Words of the Year for the year ahead.
Take Care and Happy 2018,
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I'm going to cut out the jargon, there are NO affiliate links, email list sign ups or selling in this post, just me sharing my tips. Firstly have a look around my Pinterest Page
1. Prepare Your Blog With Google Analytics
So you've got your blog and want to try to gain page views... the first step is to sign up to connect Google Analytics to your blog. It is easy to sign up, just visit the page and create an account, this will now start monitoring your blog traffic. Bookmark the page so you can check on your web page/blog stats. I use the Acquisition tab for most of my analysis and then click social links and or referrals to see how many visitors I have to the blog and where they are coming from. Below is the social acquisition for the last 4 months from May to August and you can see that Pinterest has dominated my page views with very little effort from me. I spend more time promoting on Facebook than anywhere else.
My blog is coming up to a year old and I'm so proud to have achieved almost 20,000 visits and over 33,000 page views in that short space of time. I used to have a successful website years ago and that had a total of 800,00 page views, but that was over the course of around 8 years and it was a slow process driving traffic to the site. Below you can see how my Monthly visitors have grown since I started taking Pinterest seriously.
2. Add SEO Descriptions and Keywords to your blog post
I promise to keep these short... SEO is so important for your blog traffic. Make sure whenever you hit publish or schedule that you have got a title in the SEO section and a description that tells people what the post is about, this will automatically add the description when you pin to Pinterest. Use keywords and long tail keywords that might make searching for your content easier. For example if I am posting about a planner set up, I would use a detailed title in the SEO section that explains more about it, such as Planner Setup - How I Use My Travelers Notebook. This adds extra search criteria, words and categories to your post. If lots of people are searching for planner setup, you need to be sure your site is seen, so adding more keywords increases those chances. You can read more about long tail keywords and why we should be using them on ahref's blog: long-tail-keywords-research
Post titles are important in your Google and Pinterest ranking. How to... or posts with numbers such as 5 ways to... perform better in searches. The description should then have keywords such as planner setup, plan with me in my Travelers Notebook etc, this all helps to narrow down the search and opens it up to a wider audience.
3. Pinterest Set Up
Add around 15-20 different boards to start with and have a board for your best blog posts. Make sure the boards all fit in with your overall blog niche or category. People who are interested in your blog want to see relevant pins, not pins about plumbing if you have a blog about art. If you do want to keep boards that are personal you can set these as secret boards in the board settings. Don't have too many boards, it can be overwhelming for you and followers.
Set your Pinterest account up with a detailed (keyword rich) description, add a suitable and searchable name for each board and add category and description for each board (through clicking board settings which is the pen icon). Make it all look pretty and consistent (I go for pastel and bright colours for my main board image to make it visually pleasing for the visitors). Set the board image again in the settings (you can only do this on a pc or laptop). I will discuss Rich Pins and getting a business account in the next part of the series.
4. Use Tall Pins, Canva and Visme
Tall or long pins do better than small images. The second and third images above are my most re-pinned pins from my blog pages here and here. They have over 8,000 re-pins between them in just a few months and most of my blog traffic comes from these posts. Use a free program on your pc called Canva - www.canva.com to create them. Select Pinterest Graphic and have a play with the templates and try to use your own images to make them stand out from others. Bright and pastel coloured pins perform better than dark or blue (cold colours). Apparently they get up to 60% more pins.
If you want to create long infographics then the tool you need is Visma. This is a great tool for any social media graphics, but the infographic feature is particularly strong. Check them out here - www.visme.co. Read here for a cool feature they have for creating statistical on your website.
5. How to Pin
Don't just pin your own pins, it is important to pin useful content to other boards too, try to link these to your niche. Boards with high quality pins that have a high pin count will do better and get more views. Pin Consistently and Often, this goes without saying. You can't pin a post once and expect it to be re-shared. You need to get it out there, pin it often and re-pin it rather than creating a new one.. I often re-pin pins that have dropped down my board and then delete that pin after re-pinning, this refreshes the pin and brings it back to peoples feed. Try to have around 50-100 high quality pins on each of your boards as this will get you more viewers. It is advised to pin around 25-40 pins a day, a mix of your own and others, it sounds a lot but it is worth doing, besides which I enjoy browsing and pinning. Get rid of badly performing pins - higher pin counts do matter. I prefer manual pinning, but more on this later... told you this was an epic series! If a pin is doing well keep re-pinning it to a variety of different boards and group boards (more on these in the next series).
Phew, I hope you got all that. These are just the beginners tips, give them a go, have a tweak and let me know if they have helped you. You should start seeing the changes to your traffic straight away.
Take Care, Kerry xx
Blog Planning Organisation and Planning Goals for 2018
Blog Planning, Organisation and Productivity
Ooo very excited to say that I have been nominated twice for a 'Bloggers Recognition Award' and have finally got around to posting about it, thank you so much for my nominations Linda over at Linda Memphis Kinda Life and Karla Mae at The Wise Lark (karlacruzado.com), who had this lovely comment to say about my blog:
It's now my turn to spread the appreciation and nominate others.
But first, what is the blogger recognition about anyway?
It’s not an ‘’actual’ award but, it is fun to do among bloggers. We get to be appreciated and we get to show our appreciation to others too! It's a great way to connect!
There are a few rules to follow when accepting this award:
You must thank the blogger who nominated him/her and to provide a link to their blog.
You must write a post to show the award.
You must write a brief story on how his/her blog started.
You must give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
You must select 15 bloggers to pass this award to.
You must comment on each of their blogs to let them know they have been nominated for this award and provide a link to this post.
How my blog started
My blog started in September 2016. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about this as I have already posted about it and you can read this here. Here We Go Again.
Advice to other bloggers - Keeping plugging your blog and don't give up.
My number one advice is don't give up. It may feel at times that no one is reading, but that just requires a little work on your part. Pinterest is your greatest blogging friend. I get up to 200 visitors a day from Pinterest, but it does mean you have to put in the effort yourself getting on group boards and sharing daily. I will be posting a blog post on this at a later date, so keep your eyes peeled. There was a time only a few months where I had on average 18 visitors a day, this now averages 150-200 just in two months. Write great content and stay consistent and you WILL get the readers. Blogging is a great way of making new friends, I have so many new friends in both the UK and Internationally as a direct result of my blog and You Tube channel.
So, without further delay, here are my nominees of the Blogger Recognition Award...
The 15 Nominees (in no particular order)
So there we have it, my nominees - a collection of my favourite blogs, do give them a visit, you won't be disappointed.
Take Care all,
How I track my blog and social media stats:
Part of my planning this year is focused on my blog planning and productivity within my blog and You Tube channel. I have spent a lot of time since September building up my blog and channel, so decided to use one of my planners to plan my posts, filming and editing schedule and to track my site sites and set goals. It has helped immensely with my productivity and it's a great way to see how my blog and social media presence is progressing each month.
Tracking my blog and social media stats:
At the start of the month I write down my monthly stats for my blog including page views and unique visitors, I get the information from my Google Analytics account. I then log subscribers to my blog, Bloglovin, Feedburner and my You Tube channel. Next I move on to my social media stats and log my followers and subscribers and any reason for any decline or inactivity. Finally I log my pins on Pinterest to see how they are increasing (or not) each month.
After this I set monthly goals for each area and at the end of the month do it all again and add a + or - to say whether they have increased or declined and a comment to say how close or by how much they were above target. I have only done January (start and end), but it's working for me and it's great to see how my online presence is improving.
This was last years set up, you can see the new set up here
Planning my blog posts:
I then use the actual diary to keep track of my blog post ideas and to schedule blog writing, taking photos, filming, editing, organising SEO and uploading. I use the codes above to plan the posts and editing schedule and so far this is working for me. It is a bit messy as I was just starting out and adjusted the codes to link to my bujo planning.
I have so far kept this planner purely functional and non decorative (unlike my other planners), however, I have recently purchased the fab You Tube stickers below from Ugly Bug Plans (Ugly Bug-gers) and will be purchasing a Blog Tracking sheet from The Geeky Planner, so that will probably all change ._. I will keep you updated every few months or so.
A short post to say that I have been on TV on BBC1. You can catch the programme from the link below available for the next 29 days. My students and myself are on for the last 5 minutes, but the whole programme is well worth a watch. We feature as part of the DH Lawrence section in the last 10 minutes (see the blog post before this one).
Watch here - The Books That Made Britain
I'm going to be on TV... exciting stuff if a little nerve-wracking. My students are the main reason of course, I'm actually still unsure as to whether I will appear at all. We filmed way back in July as part of workshops with Nottingham University for the DH Lawrence festival which we take an active role in every year. With any luck the students work and rehearsal process will be shown for a few minutes as part of the Sons and Lovers section. So far the festival has seen us performing in all of DH Lawrence's houses, at The Lakeside Theatre at the University and the creating a film for the University's website.
Be sure to tune in on Sunday if you are from the East Midlands region on BBC1 at 15.45.
In other exciting news, I have decided to offer some of my pixel graphics as free printables.
I have a lot of graphics that I have pixelled over the last 15 years and it would be a shame not to offer them up to the Planner World. The graphics will be downloadable pdf files for use in planners for personal use only and can be used to pretty up your pages as stickers. They do unfortunately have my old sites copyright on, but you can cut around most of it. Teaser below...watch this space ._.
KERRYMAY._.MAKES JOURNALING FUN:
I have finally got around to adding some photos to my travel journal from my recent Summer holiday in Spain. I'm still not finished, but will post a flip through video when it is complete.
When starting out in the Blogging World we all strive for the perfect blog hoping that we get a lot of traffic and that it will inspire others. Often it is not that easy and this week has been one of them weeks where things are not going the way I had planned them to go in my head.
The plan for this week was to create a process video for my You Tube channel to show you how I made the art journal background in the picture. I set up my camera, adjusted the area to be lit effectively and had everything all planned out. When I recorded it, it all worked fine until the camera cut out. I didn't panic, calmly pressed record again and thought about editing it later. When it came to the editing I ran into my first problem...the files were too big to be edited on my phone. Not deterred I uploaded the images to my computer and then to You Tube. The large file was just too large and was taking forever, the smaller file eventually uploaded and I went promptly to the You Tube editor. Aargghhh! The video wasn't very clear and was full of shadows and the journal page actually looked awful. I deleted the whole video and gave it up as a bad job, incredibly annoyed at wasting a whole afternoon. (Incidentally if anyone has any tips for my filming please do comment below.)
A few days later, I saw a video Anna Brim (Mrs Brimbles) posted in her group from someone called Jake Parker and it focused on striving to be finished, not perfect. Perfect timing and just what I needed as a push to finish my page. It put everything in to perspective there and then and I realised that actually what I had created was good, even if a little off from my original intention and even though it meant I couldn't update my blog and You Tube, that I was generating material for it regardless. You can watch the video here.
So, what I have learned from all this is that we all have plans for perfection, but what is perfection? What is the perfect blog? Who is to say one persons ok isn't a perfect for someone else. I am going to stop stressing if a video doesn't work out and strive less for 'perfection' and more for 'perfect for me'.
Hi I'm Kerry a Notts UK blogger and a planner, art & creative journal fanatic. Make a cuppa and browse my tutorials, musings and crafty makes.