As a blogger, it’s really hard not to look at your numbers and wonder how they can get bigger. If you’re anything like me, you track your stats daily. Some days are better than others, some days are worse. Shoot, some months are better than others, and some months, I’m thinking to myself, “Why did I get into this again?!”
It’s tempting to look around at the income reports published by others and see their stats, their traffic, and income all higher than yours. And you wonder why your traffic isn’t higher….why your income isn’t higher. What do THEY have, that you don’t.
You work your blog hard. It’s quality content. You’re trying your best. You have a family to raise. It’s not like you can spend every waking second on the computer getting ahead, and you wouldn’t want to anyway.
In your mind, your blog is awesome and you can’t figure out why you don’t have more traffic.
Focusing on Traffic is Hurting You
I know because I do it too. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in numbers that we miss the whole picture.
We’re so focused on traffic, on getting to the next level, because, after all, doesn’t more traffic equal more income?
NOT necessarily! You’d actually be surprised.
Sometimes my blog earns quite a bit of money and those months happen to have great traffic, but a few months my blog has been at over 600,000 in traffic and I earn a lot less money.
Some months are better than others, some seasons are better than others. Even though summer months are supposed to get less traffic, my traffic went up last summer, and yet, I still didn’t earn near as much last summer as I did throughout the rest of the year. I think summers just pay less personally and it’s not always a matter of how much traffic you drive to your blog.
There’s someone that I know who makes $25,000+ every month and her traffic is literally 225,000. Or another blogging friend of mine who makes $10,000 and gets 350,000 in traffic.
It doesn’t really seem, to me, like traffic plays a part in it. Yeah, it’s more ad income, but the other things are all variable.
For me, I have very few ads on my blog purposely. I don’t really care for ads, so a while back, I deleted over 25+ of them! This cut my income $60,000/year, but I didn’t really care. I’m not here for the money; I’m here for you.
Don’t get me wrong….I’m not saying that if a blog has a bunch of ads, they are all about the money. But, what I AM saying is that for me…I have been able to get to the level I’m at and this is my long term plan to cut ads off my site as I go. My dream is to one day have 0 ads on this site, and I’m working hard to earn income in other ways to be able to provide that to you.
So, if traffic doesn’t necessarily equal income, why do we focus so much on our traffic? What is it, about getting more traffic that inspires us to want to get more of it? Is it notoriety? Is it knowing we are reaching a million or two million readers every month? Is it a keeping up with the Jones’ thing?
In our aspirations to get a lot of traffic, we can become blinded by the more important things.
What would it matter if you got a million in traffic, but your family never saw you?! You were too busy working all the time that you rarely see them.
What would it matter how much traffic you were getting if you were earning $10,000/month and able to live a good life? When earning that much, do you really care about numbers at that point?
What about all the backbiting and backstabbing that goes on amongst bloggers. No doubt if you’ve been blogging for very long, you’ve been hurt by SOMEone at SOMEtime. The mean bloggers don’t care who they step on as long as they get more traffic, more fame, more money, more recognition. It’s sad really. Being traffic-hungry can turn very nice bloggers into bullies. Yes…I’ve seen it!
I think that while it’s nice to have traffic (who doesn’t want more?!) we have to always keep our eyes on what’s important. For me personally, that’s teaching every woman in the world that she CAN stay home with her kids and quit the 9 to 5 if she wants to. That’s inspiring women to take action and go after their dreams while I show them I’m going after mine.
Yes, traffic is great and fine, but IF WE LET IT, it can suck our focus and steal our time away as we strive to get more and more. We always must be balanced.
Am I perfect in this area?
No. I’ll be the first to admit it. I struggle greatly (because I am unmarried) to be a work-a-holic. In my mind, I justify working so much in order that I set my family up for a good life. Recently, I’ve been convicted that needs to change. I need to stop my work-a-holic tendencies and I immediately started making changes. I went from working 80+ hours a week (yes, a week) for 3 years straight, to working part time.
I gotta say it’s been nice. I’ve been so much more concentrated on what I do on the blog. I’ve been letting go all the petty stuff that always calls my name and just focusing on the woman God is growing me to be. I’m a lot happier and peaceful….and I’m having a lot more fun in life.
Because here’s the thing…the tyranny of the urgent will always be there. There’s always going to be a list a mile long of the things that you NEED to do RIGHT NOW on your blog to grow it and get ahead. But, I’m telling you, it will never stop. Even if you got everything done on that mile-long list, give it 2 days, and there’d be another list a mile long.
In blogging, I’ve learned to focus on the top few things that I know I need to do and let everything else go. If I have time for the other things, that’s wonderful and sometimes I do. But, if I don’t, that’s okay too, because blogging is a marathon, not a race. It’s long term. It’s helping other people around the world and it’s something that I want to do forever.
You want to set up your OWN priority list according to your own long term goals for your life, but for me, my list looks something like this:
Answer as many emails (and comments on the blog) as humanly possible
Spending 30 minutes to 1 hour a day answering and getting through as many as I can. I do this FIRST thing in the morning on my blog. Why? Because I think of it like the firstfruits of God. YOU are why I’m here. YOU are the reason I blog. YOU are my firstfruit and I want to give MY BEST TO YOU. It’s important to me. And so, that’s what I do every morning.
This may seem weird to include praying in this list, but it’s who I am. I could not be where I am today without God. So, everything I do on the blog is prayed about. I wake up every morning and before I even answer emails, I pray. I tell Him that this is HIS day, I ask Him to show me how HE wants me to spend it. What activities does He want me to do…how can I minister to others hearts and make a difference in the world for His name. I take about 30 minutes to an hour in prayer, just listening to Him and asking Him to lead and guide me.
What I have found over time in doing this is this beautiful relationship with my Creator. He is not silent. Never quiet. He’s always convicting me and showing me, leading and guiding me. Every day. I also take even more time throughout the day and go and pray. Usually when I need a break from working, I’ll go pray for 30 minutes. So, by time the day is done, I will usually get in at least 3-4 chunks of 30 minutes of prayer time and seeking Him.
When I’m in the midst of a huge trial, I’m usually found in prayer all day long with a couple hours of working in between, so that it’s flipped.
At night, I will listen to a sermon (sometimes with my kids), or read my Bible for an hour, or study out a passage He’s convicted me to study in detail. Right now, He’s leading me to study out Psalm 23 and next, it’s Samuel.
This is how I keep myself on track for walking in the spirit and staying close to God. I’m in constant communication with Him all day long. This is also how I know that my blog stays on track to His will and that I’m always trying my best to be found within His will, on the road He wants me on, going where He’s taking me.
I love to write. I’m a writer. Always have been. Always will be. And since I type 65 wpm, I can bust out a post pretty quickly. I work in batches. So, let’s say I have 16 posts I have to get done for the month. I will take a day or two and write them all in WordPress. Just free form, no editing at all.
Then, I’ll take about a week to go through and edit and spell check them, add in my links, create the graphics, and schedule them. I generally work on the easiest posts first. Then the harder ones, I save until last. I do this because it makes me feel like I’m covering more ground quicker, and motivates me to stay on track.
When a post is getting too long (when it hits 4k words or more) that’s when I start thinking of the post in terms of an ebook for Amazon. So, I’ll go back, finalize it, and it usually becomes an ebook. This method has always really helped me. I can literally get all my posts done and scheduled the first week of the month, work really hard, and slack off or work on projects that get me ahead during the rest of the month, depending on how motivated I am at the time. 🙂
Every night at 6 pm – 7 pm, I’m found online pinning for about 5 minutes. I do this manually and it’s something that I’ve really found helps.
Once a week, I will write up the newsletters. These are very important to me. My newsletters are where I go deeper into who I am and what I’m about more than anywhere else online. I’ve always done that from day one and I’ve found that you guys REALLY like it. Because I get so personal in there, it’s really difficult for me to write them so I usually delete several drafts before I actually come up with one I can send. I get shy or scared and think…what if I say the wrong thing…what if someone takes it wrong…what if it’s sharing TOO much…what if it offends someone…
I’ve found that the more traffic you get, the harder it is to put yourself out there, but ultimately, I try my best to just be myself and put myself out there as much as I possibly can and pray for the best.
My personal assistant
I have an AH-MAZING personal assistant (and I’m not just saying that!) named Katie, who does so much for me. She takes care of a lot of the social media stuff for me (I do my own commenting and any comments you guys leave on social media are seen by me personally), helps me find links for posts, creates my ebooks for me, edits old posts, sets up some posts for me (like the calendar ones that are super simple), and does a lot of other misc. tasks that help me as well. Since she does all of these things for me, I can focus my time on all that I do, and so we work as a perfect-in-harmony team.
What is most important to you? What are your top 3 long term goals and how can you take the steps TODAY for the rest of the year to achieve them?
Listen, we should work our blogs, and work them hard, and it’s okay to care about your traffic. We should put in a lot of effort if we are to be blogging for income. But don’t let all that crowd your life. Don’t let that striving become striving for the wind and leaving all else behind. Work-a-holics don’t just happen to men, they happen to women too. I know because I am one of them and it’s the biggest area of my life that I constantly have to keep in check because I genuinely LOVE my blog and working it so much. It’s fun for me!
What is your biggest focus in life? What is the number one thing you want to accomplish before you die? How can you make sure that you never become a bully to other bloggers? A mean person stepping on anyone in your way to climb that ladder to the top? I can pretty much guarantee you that those bloggers will never make it to the top. They ooze meanness and readers and other bloggers alike, can tell what their priorities are based on their actions. What do YOUR actions say??? It’s a question that I’m constantly asking myself to keep myself grounded. What do I, as a blogger, want to be known for? My kindness? My love for others? Or a money-hungry, traffic-chasing vulture-like attitude?
Where are your priorities today? Do you have a good balance or do you find yourself focusing on traffic too much?