Facebook: Organic Growth Podcast with Michael Stelzner

I had the pleasure of chatting with Michael Stelzner from Social Media Examiner in his Social Media Marketing Podcast about Facebook and the journey that Kids Activities Blog has taken to arrive at our current FB community of over 585,000 fans.

Organic Facebook Growth with Holly Homer

I want to thank Michael for letting me tell our story…y’all know how I love to chat.

Please hop over to Social Media Examiner for Facebook Organic Growth:  How to Defy the Odds and Grow a Huge Facebook Community!

7 Days of Pinterest Adventure – Join Me!

As many of you know, I have been concentrating much of my social media time on Facebook over the last few months.  It has been worth my time and energy and the resulting blog traffic has been awesome.

Pinterest strategy

The problem is that you can’t be EVERYWHERE at once.  So, some of my other social media profiles have suffered…

anyone following me on G+ right now probably believes that I am dead.

This week I am taking back my Pinterest account from quiet slumber.

I am devoting 1 hour per day to the account and writing about it here at B2B so you can join me if your Pinterest has also been sleeping!

On your mark, get set, go…60 minutes on the clock.

What I did today – DAY ONE

First 20 minutes -

  1. Deleted boards – I went through quickly and deleted 15 boards that I was a contributor, but hadn’t pinned anything in 6 months.  I figured if I hadn’t used it, the space could be given to someone else!  I have over 100 boards…so it is getting a bit ridiculous.  I have a feeling I will be able to delete a few more as I get deeper into this, but for now 15 seems a lot lighter!
  2. Renamed a board – I had one board that I started that I hadn’t used much.  It had good content, so I renamed it something that was related, but would get more use.
  3. Look at my secret boards – I haven’t used these much, so I was unfamiliar with what I was thinking when I started them!  Getting re-acquainted with the possibilities…

Second 20 minutes -

Pinned/scheduled my new blog content {6 pins} and found 15 other quality pins to schedule/share from other blogs/websites.

Last 20 minutes -

I found my largest 3 boards and because they are all boards that I am a contributor to, I read the description/instructions and wrote those down!  I created a “schedule” to use them to their fullest potential finding posts that fit the boards and either scheduling them or adding them to a spread sheet that will make it an easy share later this week.

Whew.  OK, I feel like I have just scratched the surface of what needs to be accomplished, but the good news is that there are solid pins going out today and for the rest of the week on my top 3 boards...and tomorrow is another day!

DAY TWO

After day one, I realized how big this job was going to be!  So, my main project today is to get a bit more done without feeling completely overwhelmed.

Baby steps.

Today, I spent the majority of my time finding the rest of my top 10 boards – the ones that seem to get the best re-pin rate.  The funny thing is that it isn’t always a numbers game.  Some of my smaller boards do better than the larger ones.

But, I wanted to identify my top 10 boards {that I am a contributor too} so that I could have those with a scheduling plan by the end of the day.

Oh, and I also noticed this morning when I looked at my blog live Google Analytics is that the morning is REALLY low for Pinterest traffic.  I don’t know if that is because I don’t pin in the morning to my blog or if it is just a low traffic time.  I am going to schedule some early morning pins for a week or two and see if I can change that pattern at all.

Check back tomorrow for…

DAY THREE

 

The Business of Blogging

Have you ever thought about HOW much time you spend on each part of blogging?

One of the things I both love and hate about blogging is that there are SO many things involved.  Blogging seems deceptively simple.  It really is at its core – if you are just writing for yourself.

Business of blogging - Business 2 Blogger

But when you are wanting OTHER people to read what you wrote, then things can get difficult.

The actual WRITING process is sometimes the easiest part!

Oh, and then you need good photography.

Oh, and then you need to promote your post.

Oh, and then you need to be an expert in affiliate advertising, sidebar ads and sponsored posts if you want to sustain your writing.

Those are some pretty big OH’s!

But I am not done.  If you are an expert in affiliate advertising, sidebar ads and sponsored posts, then suddenly you are running a small business.  You are invoicing, collecting and navigating the tax implications.

And as you grow, there are contract workers, employees and so many more taxes…

The good news is that you don’t have to learn this all at once.  You start with the writing.  And then the photography.  Or start with the photography and then the writing.

Once that is covered, then start learning social media one by one.

Once that is covered, then you are going to have to dip your toes into business.

*flinch*

I started with setting up an LLC.  I had a lawyer do it because I am not very good at staying awake through legal jargon, so I didn’t want to be responsible for something crazy being in there that I was supposed to “catch”.   My business is also set up as a “S Corp” which I don’t completely understand, but it supposedly has some additional benefits – but be sure you understand what type of business was set up because there are different tax forms for different types of LLC’s.

Once you have an LLC, you can set up a business bank account which will help you keep your personal and business separate.

My next step was to figure out how to pay people.  I use a payroll service because they file all the fancy tax forms that need to be completed.  For my non-US contributors, I use paypal.  It only took me a month to do the research on that!

For expenses, I put EVERYTHING business-related on my business debit card.  It makes it easy to see everything going out on the bank account and paypal.  That way I only have two different lists to keep straight!

For invoicing, I use quick books or paypal.  We have had to start reconciling paypal because more and more clients are willing to pay that way – it is good because it is fast, but it can be a bit of a challenge for bookkeeping.

I love the ad networks like Adsense that do a direct deposit a week or so after the end of the month.  Unfortunately, many ad networks do not do that and worse, they are 4-6 months behind the times.  I just got my February check for one of them!  February!  It is JULY!  I don’t even REMEMBER February.  What I recommend for that is keeping a spreadsheet of ballpark numbers you login and get from your ad network dashboard at the end of each month.  That way when they send {or don’t send} a check 5 months later, you will know if it is right or you need to make a call.

My motto with everything is just to do a little every day.  That has been really important in the business aspect of blogging.  It is too overwhelming to try and tackle everything at once…so make a little progress every day and before you know it, you will be running a business!

 

Why is My Website Down?

The alternate title to this post is, “Why is my website so slow?”!

wake me when my website it back up

Oh hosting!

Silly, silly hosting!

It is something that you only think about when things go wrong.

Often, very very wrong!

I had a little chat with B2B’s own Shauna Callaghan about hosting woes:

I think the bottom line is that HOSTING SHOULD NOT BE DRAMATIC.  If yours is, please consider a change because it is my guess that you are now at the level where it is holding you back.

Oh, and to get a hold of Shauna, check out her website for additional hosting information.  The other host that I have had a really good experience with is Synthesis.  I am sure there are others, but those are the ones I can personally recommend.

 

Dream the Impossible Blog Dream

I am going to pause our usually informational conversation here today and get a tiny bit mushy about blogging.

Dream the Impossible blog dream - Business 2 Blogger

 

I have been blogging now for around 7 years.  It started kinda accidentally and then has lead me on a very winding journey to the place where I blog today.

Often I hear people say that we need to set goals!

A 5 year plan!

A road map to future success.

Hogwash.

There is no way I could have even come within a million miles of setting a goal to be where I am today.  To be able to see it as a possibility 7 years ago.  5 years ago.  Or even 13 months ago.

When asked where I see myself in 5 years, I now answer, “it hasn’t been invented yet”.  Because that is now my experience.  That is now my story.

I am a full-time blogger.

Who saw that coming?

Because of my blogging, there is a book in bookstores with my name on it.

Couldn’t have predicted that!

Let’s plan as far as we can easily see, master what we know, follow opportunity as it leads and live the dream we couldn’t have planned.

{Group hug}

Declare Conference August 7-9 in Dallas Texas

I am super excited to be part of the Declare Conference again this year.

Declare Conference

The Declare Conference 2014

Declare is a faith-based conference for women that will be held in the Dallas area August 7-9.  The weekend includes several speakers {including ME} and sessions to offer tips to help you grow as a blogger, find your voice, learn to really connect with your readers, increase the impact of your words, and make the most of your online platform.

I am Speaking and Leading a Lab

I am really excited to be doing an optional 3 hour lab on Thursday prior to the official start of the conference.  It will be a VERY informal learning session.  We will start with some Facebook, G+ and SEO basics and then answer YOUR questions from there.  Bring your laptop!  We will work on YOUR blog and social media empire.

Then on Friday I will be speaking – Facebook Doesn’t Hate You:

It is time to stop taking poor Facebook exposure personally, and take action to build your Facebook page into something that can’t be ignored.  Holly Homer will walk you step by step through the game rules that she and Rachel Miller have discovered through building their page.  Their journey started last October with 13,000 fans and has grown by over 400,000.  This isn’t magic, it is a strategic way to play the game!

More than You Wanted to Know

Declare speaker badge

Silly facts about me:

Favorite book:  Anything by Steinbeck or Kinsella {what can I say?  I have diverse tastes}

Coffee or tea:  Coffee, except for Chai tea which is absolutely my favorite.

Dream vacation:  Snow skiing or hanging out at the beach.

Night owl or early bird:  I get up and work several hours before the kids get up.

Little known fact:  My favorite class was Gross Anatomy and I spent a summer teaching in the human cadaver lab in the afternoons and spent the mornings on dissection.

I hope to meet you in person…I promise no dissection will be involved.

Click here for more information.

Using Social Media Stats for Blogging Goals

Last week we talked a little bit about Google Analytics and how it can help your blog to ACT on what you find.

Today I want to take that a little bit further and look at some social media stats and how that can help your blog.  Stats are everywhere these days and we should recognize the power of these stats and capture them for GOOD!

listen to what social media is telling you - B2B

Hashtags

I love hashtags on Twitter & G+.  And although this doesn’t qualify as a “statistic”, I think it is something that we should consider when blogging.  If you are consistently using a hashtag on social media, you may want to take a second look at whether you are regularly WRITING blog content with that as a keyword.

With the hashtag being searchable, it is a VERY good idea to have your name associated with a hashtag in your genre, but don’t leave your blog out of the loop!  Create consistent content using that keyword too!  This proves to Google that not only do you interact with that hashtag online, but you aren an expert in it because you are writing about it as well.

Top Pins

Pinterest’s analytics are getting richer by the year.  Many third party apps are also helpful in analyzing Pinterest stats.  Viral Tag, Ahalogy and Curalate are all things that I regularly use to help me determine what my most popular pins are at any given time.  But you actually don’t need super fancy graphs because what you can find under “analytics” in Pinterest is pretty awesome.

Pinterest - Most Clicked AnalyticsMy favorite page in analytics is my “most clicked” pins.

It is one thing to have a lot of re-pins, but if they are not consistently being clicked on, then what is the point?  My bottom line is to generate blog traffic which means people actually have to CLICK OVER TO THE POST!

Once you find which pins are generating the best click-throughs, then it is easy to create content that fits well with your blog and delivers visitors from Pinterest.

Top FB Posts

Even if your top FB posts are not from your blog, you can learn what is resonating with your fans!  I click through to the POSTS page in FB insights:

FB Insights Page AnalyticsWhile it is helpful to look at the orange bar to see how many people saw that post on my page, when I am looking for things that are important to post about on my blog, then I check out the blue bar.  The blue bar is going to reflect the number of click-throughs to my blog {or someone else’s blog}.  Notice a theme here?

What good is social media for bloggers if it isn’t driving blog traffic?

You may have a good answer for that, but in order for me to justify my time and energy on a social media platform, I need to see results in the form of passive income generated from my blog!

While the pink bar looks good on my FB page – likes, comments and shares – it is the blue bar that is working on my blog’s behalf.  I take a look at what I am already writing that is doing well and what might be a formula to improving other content.

If you are not familiar with FB stats, you might want to watch my FB math video.

 

 

I Have All These Stats…Now What?

One of the things that I love about blogging/social media is the ability to measure nearly anything and almost everything!

I know exactly how many people are on my site RIGHT NOW!

I can tell you how many FB fans I picked up yesterday!

I can report the number of people that viewed my G+ page!

now what - Business 2 Blogger

So many glorious numbers.

So much incoming data.

Measure!  Measure!  Measure!

There is way more data than you could ever analyze, but the good news is that you don’t need all that data.  In fact, you probably want to pick out a few data points and then use the measurements to make some changes.

Acting on one or two measurements a week can add up quickly to increased stats!

You might have different goals for your blog and find that other stats are more important to you, but these are a few things that I check when I dive into my Google Analytics.  I will tackle some other stats in the future.

Google Analytics

I start on the LIVE {oh how I love LIVE} and see what posts are being read at any given time.  If there is something unexpected, I take a deeper look.  For instance, last week I noticed that a picnic roundup we had published 2 months ago had a sizable number of visitors for an old post.  Turns out that it was being pinned and re-pinned over on Pinterest sending a good amount of traffic.  I took that information that people were LOVING picnics at this very moment and posted it to my FB page.  Guess what?  People liked picnics at that very moment on FB too.  This picnic frenzy developed into a good flood!  And I would have missed the opportunity to capitalize on picnics if I hadn’t looked at those stats and taken action.

I then look at my monthly traffic graph.  On this, I am mostly looking for trends.  Big dips or bumps.  If it is something that can be explained, I just skip it.  If it is something that can’t, I dig a little deeper into that particular date.  I like to do the date comparison to see if I can figure out what might be happening.  If it is on a weekday, I usually grab the day before or after to compare it to.  If it is on a weekend, I might grab the same day from a week prior.  This has helped me figure out some trends.  It has helped me figure out what days of the week seem better for certain types of content.

Referral sources are next on my list.  Again, I am looking for trends – is Pinterest traffic growing or slowing?  What sites are in my top 10?  What sites are in my top 20?  Am I spending my online time proportionately with the amount of traffic they are referring?  This is one of the reasons why I don’t spend any time on Twitter.  I found that Twitter wasn’t even in my top 50 referral sites, yet I was spending 10 minutes of my time on it!  This is also how I can justify spending an hour a day on FB because it is my biggest referral source.   The other thing I try and do is look at the other blogs that are sending me traffic…how sweet of them!  Linking back to some of their amazing content in a roundup or post on the same subject or stopping by and pinning or sharing some of their content is a nice way to say thank you!  The bigger they get, the more traffic they will send you!

The last thing I regularly look at is what are the top search term posts.  Let’s say several of my top search terms were all related to homemade peanut butter.  What I would plan to do is follow that up with a new post in the next month that reinforces to Google that I really am a homemade peanut butter expert.  So I might write a roundup linking to my original post – Top 10 Homemade Peanut Butter Recipes.  Or maybe using the term in a different way like “Homemade Non-Peanut Butter”.  Search engines love consistency!  It is the way you thank Google for sending you traffic…confirm that you aren’t spam!

The main thing is choose one or two things to look at and then do something with that information!  Even if what you did, doesn’t change the course of your blog forever, you will learn something!

 

 

 

Planning Blog Content Based on Your Blog’s Size

I am really excited about what we are talking about today!

planning blog content

It is a video that Katie and I made a month or so ago.  It is a subject that I keep thinking about because it impacts every day of our blogging lives.

Katie has been blogging for about 10 months {about 6 months of really working at it}.

I have been blogging for about 7 years {about 6 years of really working at it}.

Even though we blog in the same “space” of kids activities & parenting resources, because our blogs are of different ages and sizes, our content plan is different.

In this video, we discussed:

  1. Creating sharable content for different platforms depending on your social media influence.
  2. Search engine optimization – what to consider even when you are beginning – to build for the future.
  3. The editorial calendar {insert ominous music here}.

Anyway, I am pretty sure that you will get something out of this no matter where you are in your blogging journey.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave them on the video or below!

Growing a FB Page from the Beginning

OK, so I have been talking a lot about FB lately because my life is a little consumed with it at the moment.

A girl has to spend her time on what is working at the moment!

lets start at the very beginning

But I understand that the bigger my page grows, the more people will say, “that works for her because she has a big page“!

It is a bit of a catch 22.

So!  I thought it would be fun to chat with someone who is in the early phases of building a FB page to see what is working and what might not.

The truth is that strategies have to be fluid on any social media platform these days.  The more we can learn from each other, the better equipped we are to change our path as necessary.

My interview about FB today is with Dayna from Lemon Lime Adventures.  Her FB page has grown over the last few months to 4200+ fans.  She is doing a lot of things very thoughtfully and reaping a larger fanbase.

My blog FB page continues to grow with another milestone within reach.  I hope this conversation about what we are doing will be helpful to you!

Please let me know if you have any questions answered on future videos!