Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blog growth and learning review

This picture is of a Golden Orb Spider who has built her web in our garden. She is about the size of an adult hand - so pretty impressive, but harmless to humans.  Anyway - she has nothing to do with my topic today - other than I wanted to add a photo - and I think she's amazing!

But back to this post!
Now that it's the end of July, which has been a month of consolidation for me so far as my blog goes, I thought it would be a good time to review what I've learnt so far about growing my blog - and the effects I've seen from the actions I've taken.
I also thought it would be nice to bring together everything I've learned into one post - so it's easy to find for anyone else who might find the information useful and/or helpful.

Social Media
This is something that I'm still learning about and know that the more I learn and put into it - the more I'm getting out of it!
I learned how to add a facebook like and tweet button to my posts.  I have seen since adding these that I do get traffic from facebook and twitter sometimes - when someone has liked a post.  So this was definitely something worth doing.  It makes it easy for other people to share something they like on my site with others.
I also added a 'stumbleupon' button several months ago, which I hadn't really seen any response from.  That is until last week, when someone 'stumbled upon' my post on how to make a reusable fabric sandwich wrap.  This brought me DOUBLE my regular traffic stats for 2 days straight!
So those little buttons are well worth the effort of adding to your posts!
Here's a link with more info about adding a stumble upon button:

I've also been using my facebook page more this month.  I've never been much into facebook on a personal level, but I'm getting quite into it with my blog - as another way to show and tell others about things I find about the internet, to give other bloggers a shout out, and  of course, another way to promote me and my blog!

I've still not got very far with twitter - so if anyone finds it a useful blogging tool - any tips or advice on how to use it would be much appreciated!!


After learning how to check my Google Page Rank  (which is essentially how important Google views your site to be, based on links and popularity) I was thrilled to see mine go from a 1 to a 3 in the space of one month (June) as I pushed and promoted my blog.
I added my little button to the sidebar of my blog to show my ranking - and was so very disappointed to see last week that I've dropped to a 2!!  Not sure why - and I can't find a decent answer on Google, but since my stats are still growing, I've decided to focus on that, and just keep the page rank button out of curiosity!

Photos and Presentation

I don't have a big expensive camera - but I'm learning how to edit and improve my photos with software and also in how I present the photos.
I learned how to add a border to photos on my posts - like the green one around the spider picture at the top of this post.
I've also been taking more care with the composition of my photos - and just a few days ago had another of my photos accepted on craftgawker.  (after many rejections).  They only accept really good photos - so I take it as a compliment that I've been on there twice now - especially since it's a good source of traffic! 


Joining and becoming active in forums that cover the topic of your blog is a great way to find new friends and bring in more traffic to your blog!  I get so much inspiration from the forums I spend time on, and also gain traffic back to my blog for the things I share on the forums.
Again the more you put in yourself, the more you gain from this.
I also discovered that you have to think outside the box here - and spend time on forums that may not be the main topic of your blog - but do cover some aspects!
I mostly go on sewing and crafting forums - but since I noticed traffic coming from a forum about saving money, I now look at that type of forum and also environmental ones too - as I cover lots of upcycling and recycling of clothes and other fabrics!

Sponsorship and Advertising

This is another aspect I'm still learning on. (well ok - I'm still learning about everything, but this one especially!)
I've got Adsense adverts and a couple of affiliates on my sidebar - which are slowly earning me small dollar amounts - this is increasing as my traffic increases.
I'm also now offering advertising space - but know I need to go and ask companies - not just put up the space and hope!!!  This is a weakness of mine - not being too confident with the sales side of things!  But I will push past this and make an effort!

I now have guest posts and some sponsorship and giveaways going on.  It's really nice to be able to feature other talented bloggers - and my blog is growing big enough now that I feel I am offering exposure by featuring their work here. 

Generally with this - I'm watching other blogs - keeping reading, and just trying things to see what works and what doesn't!


I looked at this in a post in June - and was surprised at the difference the words you use can make!
I do try to check what words people do search for most - and make use of that info in my posts wherever possible.  It's not always suitable - like when I'm putting out a tutorial, but it is definitely something to bear in mind.

Joining forces with others

I have learned that I alone am not enough to grow my blog into what I want it to be! (an income producing business).
As with any business, you need a team.  Aside from my now regular guest post tutorials and linky parties - where I can showcase other people's fabulous creativity, I am lucky enough to have teamed up with 4 wonderful ladies to produce our Creating Success Worldwide hop.  Every week we co-ordinate our many different time zones - on all 5 continents to provide a tour around the World of creative people - with the added bonus of a hop where everyone who comes along can add their own blog link and join in too,gaining new friends and followers. This is still in its infancy - but is slowly growing, and it's great to be working with others on such a fantastic project.  Each week I still go around all the posts with a sense of pride that we're all working together and co-ordinating our efforts so well!

Email newsletter

One last thing I have to mention that I figured out was how to set up an email newsletter.
I used a free service called Mail Chimp.  After a few frustrations trying to figure it all out - I'm now extremely happy with it.  I set it up so that all my new subscribers get a free PDF pattern for my Kathryn Bag (see top of my sidebar if you're interested).  It's nice that this happens automatically - and it's easy to send out my weekly newsletter - in a great easy format.
Again - I'm still learning with this - but it's nice to be able to see the statistics of who is opening the emails I'm sending and which links they're clicking on so I can see what people do and don't like!

Phew!!  That's a lot of info - but good to review it all - and hopefully clear for others to get something out of it too!

Now my targets for July in terms of my blog were:
To increase my monthly pageviews to 30,000 - which I have achieved!! Yippeee!
To increase my number of folowers to 1000 - which I have almost done, and am happy with my progress there.
And finally to make $100 profit somehow!
Unfortunately the money is still eluding me!

So  that will be my focus for my August challenge..
For more details on that and how I'm going to go about achieving this - come back tomorrow!  I hope you'll follow along again as I try to push myself and my blog further - and share what a learn along the way!


  1. Always an interesting read your posts Jill. Thanks for all the links and info. I am enjoying watching you grow.

  2. Wow, what a 'creative' site and you have so many wonderful craft tips. Thanks for sharing this. Hope to see more. Visiting from 'wild wed' blog hop.
    Hope you can come on over and join the Spanish quest.
    Have a wonderful weekend,
    Español para Niños (Spanish for Kids)

  3. congrats on all your reached goals and on the other that soon will come!

  4. Congrats on 2 out of three! Wonderful roundup post of all your discoveries!

  5. Fabulous progress again this month Jill! Hope that August is anther great month for you.

  6. Oh, this is such a really, really great post! I am also doing the same things for my blog. But with the links provided here, at least it will be easier for me to research about what i am about to do..

    Thanks Jill!

    Smiles from,

    Andy at

  7. I'm finally getting around to reading this post. I wanted to make sure I had no distractions so I could take it all in.

    It's such wonderful information, and in a month or two I think I'll be implementing some of your ideas!

    I also just checked out my google ranking and I seem to have gone from a 0 to a 1 since you first made the post about google rankings! YAY Me!!

    I'll be setting my August challenge later today, so come back and link in with me.

  8. Thanks for all of this great info-I just printed it out!

  9. ooh lots of useful stuff here thanks. something I find useful is altering your html so that links open in a new window (or people follow your links and might not come back) there's some tips here on how to do it.

  10. Jill , I really enjoy looking what you are doing you are so talent, I fell inlove of the notebook and pencil folder, I got it down load, but could you give me the inches I am not good at cm. sorry, I do a lot of sewing and etc, could you email me
    I email you but came back said you don't have y7 so I hope to hear from you

  11. Have you come across It allows you to create a series of buttons for twitter, facebook, stumbleupon etc... which will the appear on every post. You don't need to enter the code every time you write a new post.
    I've just installed it in my blog and it was really easy (& free) to do. Thought it might be something for you...

  12. Wow. That is really interesting. At the moment I just focus on having the energy to write a post!

    I've recently started using Twitter more regularly - but only because I got a new mobile phone and so I tend to upload my favourite photos there while I'm out and about. I'm still learning about #tags and so forth :)

  13. This was really good, honest information. I can't wait to hear more of your blogging tips in the future Jill!

  14. Thank you for sharing this. I am looking to gain some readership on my blog and appreciate the advice. I'm also learning more about twitter and trying to put that to use. It's great to find these types of posts to learn about how others are doing it.
    Girlfriends Are Like Shoes

  15. I just recently started a blog and I haven't tried to get advertisers yet but I'm still trying to get more visitors. I found you on the Creating Success Around the World blog hop. Please consider following me at Thanks!


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