Let me fill you in on another blogging tip: Q4 (Oct-Dec) can be the best quarter of the year for blog traffic and income. Find out how to optimize your blog strategy to end 2019 strong without working around the clock.
I’ve been blogging for a long time, almost 6 years on this self-hosted WordPress blog. And in 2016, I decided I wanted to pursue blogging to make money working from home. So why was my Q4 traffic and income so blah last year?
The 4 Mistakes I made in my Q4 Blog Strategy Last Year
1. I started too late!
I’m a very thorough, detail oriented, methodical and data digging blogger. I tend to overanalyze and overthink before I really get going on a blog post…or newsletter…or social media post even. Looking back at my planner, I bought 2 blogging monthly memberships and 1 big blogging course between September 1 and December 31. (that’s on top of the tons of blogging resources I already have)
I spent a lot of time on the monthly memberships, one which I love, totally think it’s worth it and am still in and one which ended up being a total waste of time. I spent a lot of time organizing and coming up with plans and finished off Q4 with a dismal 4 blog posts. That big blogging course I took and loved? I completely missed the boat and didn’t start until end of January!
2. I worked on the wrong things!
Pinterest is HUGE for Q4 and I did not create as many new pins as I should have.
I didn’t work on gift guides…or Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas posts and pins…or take advantage of what people are looking for in Q4. * Face palm*
I worked on 2019 planners and productivity related posts and with that big blogging course I took in January, January was my best month in traffic. Which is great. But I still missed how to serve my audience in the busiest shopping time of the year!
3. I lost focus!
Focus is always a problem for me. I tend to start working on a blog strategy, get distracted by other bigger and better bloggers telling me what to do, and start chasing that instead.
So even though I knew I needed to work on all those things in #2, I ended up letting my FOMO win and lost my focus.
So here’s what you (and I) need to do instead to get our blogs optimized for Q4:
1. Start NOW! Write down your blog strategy for Q4.
Don’t worry we’ll cover it in much more in detail further down in the post. How can you best serve your audience in Q4? What do they love to buy? What do you know they need to help with their biggest pain point even if they don’t know it yet?
2. Work on the RIGHT things: Pinterest and SEO, baby.
That’s what’s going to get you traffic to your blog and subscribers to your email list.
This is the best course I’ve found on Pinterest and SEO* and it covers finding that sweet spot so you are at the top of the search results on Google and Pinterest at the same time! It’s only on sale at certain times of the year so I recommend jumping on it when the sales cart opens again.
I bought it last September and am kicking myself for not doing it as soon as I got it! The course also has graphic design in Canva and Photoshop bonus module so your pins pop and a Seasonal Content Boost module to get the most out of Q4. I’ll be redoing both of those this week. She even offers a Mediavine challenge periodically to help her students qualify for Mediavine. So many have succeeded, it’s my turn to get it done!
Since that course isn’t open for enrollment right now, this FREE Traffic and Monetization Challenge* can help you in the meantime.
3. Focus on what you decide to do.
Don’t get distracted by all the noise. Follow your instincts for how to best serve YOUR audience and turn them into loyal fans.
So let’s do this. Ready to get started?
5 Steps to Develop a Q4 Blog Strategy that Will Boost Your Traffic and Income
The first step is to developing your action plan, I like the term “profit plan” that I got from Haley, because it reminds me it’s my plan to make money blogging.
Take it from me, planning is awesome, it helps you break down those big scary goals into manageable pieces. But it can also be overwhelming when you put too much on your plate or unexpected things keep coming up that derail your momentum.
So how do we develop a profitable blog strategy? I’ll walk you through what I’m doing and my favorite resources for goal setting and profit planning.
1. Set the time period.
I’ve been doing 12 Week Year*/quarterly planning but I’m seeing there might be some benefit to starting smaller. I tend to bite off more than I can chew and then get down on myself when I can’t do it all.
Things change so much week to week in my personal life and health that monthly or weekly action plans might work better for me.
How often do you need to create and fine tune your blog strategy and profit plan?
2. Set your income goal
Next, set your income goal. Your income goal depends on your personality and whatever motivates you to keep going and build on it.
If you’re a go-getter and not easily discouraged if you don’t make your goal, then absolutely aim high!
If you’re lacking confidence, overwhelmed or tend to give up if you don’t make your numbers, then make your goal more reasonable and achievable. Once you achieve it, you’ll realize you can do this and build your confidence, momentum and grow your income from there.
With my oldest son attending college, my aim high income goal is to earn his tuition. My reasonable income goal is about 20% of that.
What’s your income goal?
3. Break your goal down into the most actionable and impactful steps.
Think about what specific tasks can impact your goal the most. What 1 to 2 activities must you do to earn that income?
For example, if you want to increase your ad revenue, your focus should be on SEO and Pinterest so people find your posts and publishing content that keep people on the page longer. Add images, words or videos to lengthen your posts.
If you want to increase your affiliate income, your focus should be on writing affiliate related blog posts and your email list because the fans on your email list are the ones most likely to buy from you.
If you want to increase your product income, your focus should be on creating products that are laser-focused to your audience’s needs and writing killer copy on your sales pages.
Well, I could go on but you get the idea.
My September blog strategy is to increase affiliate income. So I will be catching up on writing affiliate blog posts and get back to consistently emailing my list. My Q4 action plan includes getting my shop launched to sell my digital planners and printables.
What are the most impactful tasks you can do to achieve your goals?
4. Keep it Simple!
Ok, look at your list from #3 and think about the simplest way to achieve it. If you’ve got a laundry list of things to do, cut it back to the bare essential. Or prioritize your list so the most impactful and income-generating things are done first.
My short list of priorities:
1. Write one planner review post per week.
2. Write one gift guide or Christmas themed post per week.
3. Email my planning and productivity segment weekly on Mondays.
4. Email my blogging segment weekly on Wednesdays.
5. Email my entire audience weekly on Fridays.
Once those priorities are done. I will either work ahead for next week, work on a blogging course or sneak in some creating new pins time.
5. Schedule the time you need in your favorite planning tool to get. it. done!
Now that you have your priorities written out, estimate how long each task will take, batch together similar tasks and plan it out in your favorite planning tool.
From my list:
1. Write one planner review post per week (estimated time to complete = 8 hours, they are really thorough 4-5k word reviews!)
2. Write one gift guide or Christmas themed post per week. (estimated time to complete = 4 hours).
3. Email my planning and productivity segment weekly on Mondays (estimated time to complete = 2 hours).
4. Email my blogging segment weekly on Wednesdays (estimated time to complete = 2 hours)..
5. Email my entire audience weekly on Fridays (estimated time to complete = 2 hours)..
Total time to complete this list = 18 hours
Means I have 2 hours of cushion or extra time to work on new pins, completing courses or working ahead.
Next, block off the hours in your favorite planner to achieve this. Here’s when I plan to work:
Monday through Friday 5am to 7am and 2 to 4pm (20 hours)
Weekends I will work on catching up on anything not completed, getting ahead or creating and scheduling those new holiday themed pins to boost Q4 traffic.
By the way, my favorite planning tools right now are the Simplified Planners (I am using a Dapperdesk* for my blog/biz planning and just ordered a sky blue one for 2020) on paper and Asana for digital.
I noticed that the problem with digital for me is once the Asana task deadline passes, the notification is out of sight and out of mind. The paper planner is better at nagging me because when I see something hasn’t been checked off, it annoys me until I get it done. Do what works for you to remind you of what needs to be done.
6. Keep track of your traffic, income, wins and lessons learned!
Track your traffic and income so you can see the results of your work. And don’t forget to track your wins and lessons learned along the way!
I have this 12 Week Year action plan that you can use as a blog strategy template you need a place to track your goals, action steps, stats and wins and lessons learned. It’s in view only mode so be sure to click on File, then Make a Copy to save it to your Google Drive and edit to your heart’s content.
I’ve been tracking the same things on the notes pages of my DapperDesk* since I always have it with me when I blog and love flipping through the pages like a daily business diary to refresh my memory and record my journey.
So that’s how I’m developing my blog strategy to make my blog more profitable for Q4. Proper planning, execution and focus is what you need to make this Q4 your blog’s best traffic and income yet!
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