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How To Build A Successful Blog From Scratch: Four Month Update

If you read my first update, you’ll know I’ve started a new authority site case study with both a site that I am building and one that my student is building. In my last update, I talked about how we started putting buying guides on the site (the prime way we will make money).

In this update, I focus on what comes next as well as how both sites are performing 4 months in.

I also want to remind you that this case study isn’t just about how to build a successful blog from scratch but also to show that you don’t need much time. Neither of us are working on our blogs anywhere close to full time. You don’t have to work a zillion hours to grow a profitable blog.

Ready?

If you haven’t read my last update, make sure you read it now here before continuing.

Want to start your own  site? Click here to download my New Blog Checklist. It tells you what to concentrate on in the beginning to set you up for SEO success so you don’t need to spend all your time online.

Site 1: Four (and a half) months in

In my previous updates, I covered:

  • The monetisation strategy behind my new blog
  • Buying my domain name and creating my blog
  • Getting “starter content” up on my blog
  • Reserving my social media channels
  • Getting the site looking ok
  • Link building
  • Email list building
  • Starting to publish buying guides and making keyword plans

Want to see all these steps so you can follow them yourself?

Click here to download my FREE New Blog Checklist.

My strategy

I think at this point it is also useful to reiterate my strategy for this blog.

It’s to make it profitable as fast as possible – BEFORE I spend a lot of time on it. 

The biggest complaint I hear from bloggers (including from myself) is that they don’t have enough time.

I say the biggest problem isn’t having enough time, it’s not using the time we have wisely.

I want this blog profitable so that I’m getting paid for any time I spend on it before I spend more than a few hours a month.

To do this, I’m definitely following the 80/20 rule when it comes to prioritising what I do. I would also prefer to focus on medium-term strategies that bring in passive income than focusing on short-term gains that means I’m a slave to the blog.

I’m also doing everything as fast as I can so it’s good enough. Not perfect.

I’m also outsourcing anything that someone else could do because my time is precious, I’m confident I will get the money back and more and if I don’t think a task is worth spending money on then why do I think it’s worth my time?

Once the site is earning enough money that I can afford to spend time on it then I will reconsider what direction I will take next. I like that I will focus on what exact direction the blog will take, who my target audience is, how I will help them and how else I will monetise at that point. That’s when I will also consider bringing in social media promotion and work on my email marketing.

This is in direct contrast to how I built blogs in the past – where I would sink every moment I could and try to be visible everywhere. I now know that just leads to frustration and burn-out. Using proven strategies is by far the best way while ignoring everything else.

But back to the update…

Between the three and four month updates, I:

  • Went on a 5 week trip of a lifetime to Europe for our first white Christmas.
  • Wrote an article about Christmas in Switzerland
  • Outsourced some more buying guides
  • Added Google AdSense

In the video below, I describe and show what I did. This was filmed at the 4.5 month mark so it includes what had been completed in the previous month and a half.

This is the time period when the traffic started growing.

My next steps were:

  • Adding more buying guides
  • Optimising the advertising
  • Adding more links (ALWAYS!)

Note that the following table is at the four month mark whereas the video above is at 4.5 months – so the traffic would be a lot higher had I taken the reading from the end of January instead of the mid point.

Month 4 Traffic And Earnings

Traffic: 313 users (up from 282)

Earnings : AUD$0

Costs: AUD$620

($30 for stock photos, $310 for writing and approximately $280 for 10 hours of my team member’s time. You could save on this by hiring from less expensive countries or doing the work yourself)

Site 2: Four months in

Site 2 is being built by DNW community member, Leanna.

She has two big goals for her site:

  1. To become THE authority site on her region of the US
  2. To make a full time income from her blog starting with affiliate marketing

Unlike my site, Site 1, which I started in September last year so I am giving updates on how it was performing 4 months in, Leanna is working on this site now and is 4 months into building it RIGHT NOW.

Leanna is currently working on only two things:

  1. Building links
  2. Writing articles to keywords. Some of these are based on ones that will convert well as affiliate articles and some are based on building her site up to be the authority on her region.

She is doing a great job and already has about 60 links published or nearly published and 25 keyword researched posts.

To give you an idea how much time this is taking, she is currently working 10-12 hours a week.

Month 4 Traffic And Earnings

Traffic: 652 users (up from 182)

Earnings:  $23 (up from US$0)

Costs: $12

(KeySearch subscription – keyword research tool)

Looking for a list of exactly what to do for blogging success?

You can currently get a two-month action plan of exactly what to do to grow your blog’s traffic and income when joining Build Blog Freedom.

Click here for more details.

How is my blog progressing at it’s ten month-iversary?

As mentioned above, Site 1 was started in mid September so it’s ten months old already.

June was its best month yet – it made about $600.

More and more people are buying on Amazon Australia and my conversion rate is increasing – although it’s still less than 1% (I would expect over 5% in other countries!).

Traffic is down a little bit in July so far, but I have done some troubleshooting and have a plan to work on that – you’ll have to keep reading these updates to find out what! Or join Build Blog Freedom where everything is shown and taught.

I hope this update has inspired you and shown you what is possible.

I also hope it helps you understand what solid steps you can take with a new blog to start growing it in the least time possible.

You can have blogging success.

I’ll show you 🙂

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You can read my next update here.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this case study in the comments below or let me know in the DNW Facebook group!

About the Author

Sharon Gourlay is passionate about working online and helping others to follow in her footsteps. She left Australia with her young family at the end of 2014 determined to grow an online business. She succeeded and now supports her family of 5 to live their dream lifestyle.

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