Blogging

What Three Years Of Blogging Taught Me

(Last Updated On: November 22, 2020)

Wow I can’t believe I have three years of blogging behind me. November 2017 was when I first created Plain Jane Lifestyle. Fast forward to November 2020 and I realize I have accomplished more than I could have hoped for when I initially started this blog.

But I as always I want to progress and grow.

This page contains some affiliate links. That means I may make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

Feel free to take a look at what my blogging end of year round-ups have looked like so far with What One Year of Blogging Taught Me and What Two Years of Has Blogging Taught Me.

Writing these end of year wrap-up blog posts have become a tradition for me now. I find that its a good way to reflect on what worked and what didn’t, as well as to plan for the year ahead.

So without further ado lets take a look at what three years of blogging looked like for me.

For those of you that are new here, welcome! I would like to preface this post by explaining that blogging is not my full time job. I do this on the side, part time on nights and weekends.

I hope this will give a good reflection of what part-time blogging looks like for the average person.

The Goals I Set For Myself Last Year Were:

  1. Increase blog traffic to 3000 visitors per month
  2. Write four blog posts per month (basically a post a week)
  3. Increase my Instagram and Twitter followers and bring more referrals from these two platforms to my blog.

Goal #1 – Accomplished

I am very happy to say that in 2020 I was able to achieve this goal. For nearly two years of blogging I was averaging about 500 visitors to my blog each month.

I know that in order for my blog to achieve a monetary level of success at some point I would need more traffic.

I am happy to say that in the Spring of 2020 I hit 7000 visitors per month. Since that time I have never dipped below 3000 visitors per month.

So What Changed To Bring More Traffic?

I decided to invest in purchasing the manual pinning e-book Pinteresting Strategies by Carly Campbell. I am now also an affiliate for this product and am proud to be. It really did change my blog for the better.

Below is a screenshot that shows of the months leading up to when I implemented the manual pinning strategies. You will notice in March of 2020 I had a huge increase to 7000 views per month.

Since that time it has dipped to 3000-4000 views per month. I am still diligently working on additional traffic strategies.

Screenshot of my blog traffic, notice the increase in March 2020 to 7000 views!

To read my full review of Pinteresting Strategies and how it exploded my blog traffic, check out my post here.

Goal #2 – Accomplished

I had stated that I wanted to publish four new blog posts each month. I am happy to say that over the past year I exceeded that goal.

Instead of publishing only four blog posts per month, which would equate to 48 blog posts for the year, I published 53!

Writing Content Ahead Helped Me Meet This Goal

Instead of sitting down each week and purposefully writing a blog post to go out that same week, I started to plan my content way in advance.

On the weekends I would dedicate hours to write blog posts and even schedule them so they automatically get published on Fridays.

“Planning ahead is key to being consistent.”

-Plain Jane Lifesytle

If You Don’t Plan Ahead, There Are More Opportunities For Failure

The truth is that writers block is a real thing. Being motivated and being able to keep thinking up new blog posts can be a struggle at times. But if you are always ahead of the publishing deadlines the stress won’t be as heavy.

Goal #3 – Missed

I came up very short on my last goal of increasing my presence on Twitter and Instagram.

What wound up happening was even more drastic than I had planned.

Instead of increasing my presence on these two platforms I did a 180 and cancelled both my Instagram and Twitter accounts.

After three years of blogging I realized that if something is taking more time and energy than it is worth, its time to let go.

I know there are a lot of bloggers out there that utilize all of those social media platforms and have found ways to utilize them to bring tons of traffic to their blogs.

But for me, I need to focus on what is working, and those were just not working.

Instead I have been focusing on Google SEO traffic, Pinterest and YouTube. Admittedly my YouTube needs some work.

Income Report For 2020: Blogging Expenses & Profits

I keep track of all of my blogging expenses in a handy excel spreadsheet. Feel free to download a free copy from my freebies section of my blog. The formulas have already been established, so all you need to do is enter your expenses and earnings.

This is very helpful to keep track of where money is coming and going. It is also a good habit to do from the beginning.

Once you start earning more than $400 per year you will need to start filing taxes. You can read all about the legal side of blogging in my post titled Why You Need To Think About Blogging Legally.

How Much I Made and Spent Running This Blog In 2020

Let’s start by looking at the money I earned through affiliate sales. I earned a total of $140.15.

I earned $100 through my web hosting affiliate Siteground. Siteground is one of the highest paying affiliate programs. I make $50 per affiliate sale when someone uses my affiliate Siteground link to start a blog.

This year I made two affiliate sales with Siteground.

Siteground Affiliate sales

Above is a screen shot of my Siteground affiliate sales in 2020.

Siteground sends affiliate earned commissions in about 30-40 days after the transaction is made. You can have your commissions sent directly to your PayPal account.

I also made $60.10 with the affiliate program Pinteresting Strategies. However, I don’t actually see that money in my bank account until I hit the payout threshold of $100.

But you can see from my screen shot below that I have earned a net commission of $60.10.

Screen shot of my affiliate income with Pinteresting Strategies E-book

Advertising Money Earned

I was so thrilled to be accepted to Google Adsense’s advertising program this year.

On August 11th I started making some passive income through advertisements.

If you want to read about how to get approved for Google Adsense, checkout my post here.

Google Adsense, like the e-book affiliate program Pinteresting Strategies also has a payout threshhold of $100.

As of mid-October, I am on track at earning around $30 a month. Which means in about three and a half months I should finally earn money through the ads show on this blog.

My hope is that as my traffic continues to increase, so will my income through ads.

Screen shot of my Google Adsense revenue from August 11th – October 16th 2020

Since implementing Google Adsense on my blog back on August 11th 2020 to the time of writing this post in mid-October I have earned $60.79.

In 2020 my blog earned a total of $220.89.

I know it is not a huge amount, but I am encouraged by the fact that I have earned some money and I am projecting my blog to be profitably in 2021.

How much money did I spend on this blog?

The truth about blogging is that it is an investment. While it does cost a significant amount to keep it running I believe these expenses will be worth it once I start making a profit.

Let’s take a look at how much running this website costs after three years of blogging.

$55.76 – Ebooks

$42 – Tailwind Scheduler

$219.83 – Hosting renewal, domain renewal and domain security protection

In 2020 I spent a total of $317.59

As you can see, I obviously spent more than I earned on this blog. But I am okay with that. I know that blogging is not an overnight success. But I am encouraged by the potential this next year brings.

As A Side Note…

Some of you may be wondering why I have spent money on the Tailwind scheduler this year when I talk so much about the success of manual pinning.

Here’s the reasoning behind it.

It is absolutely true that I think my traffic success in 2020 has been helped tremendously by the methods of manual pinning strategies.

But with that said, I can’t help wonder if Tailwind would just give me that extra boost my blog needs.

As you can see from my traffic earlier, I have been able to achieve between 4000-7000 monthly viewers. While I am so happy about those numbers I know there is more traffic to be gained and I haven’t been able to increase that amount in six months.

That is why I have been testing out Tailwind.

Even the author of the ebook Pinteresting Strategies Carly Campbell experiments with Tailwind. So, I am giving it a try as well.

I will be sure to write a full review of Tailwind after I have completed my experiment with it. So, stay tuned for that!

Looking Ahead: Goals for 2021

I am so excited for 2021 and where this blog can go. I also love making goals for myself as it keeps me on track of where to focus.

Running a blog has so many layers to it, and after three years of blogging I know that I can’t do everything.

Therefore I will pick three goals to focus on in 2021.

Goal #1:

I want to increase my blog traffic to 20,000 visitors per month. Currently I receive about 4000-7000 visitors per month.

Goal #2:

I want to make $100 per month with this blog. If I can do that, and then build on that I will be very happy!

Goal #3:

I want to create an e-book and sell it. I am hoping that testing some manual pinning methods along with the assistance of a scheduler that I can drill down what works best for traffic growth. I would like to focus the e-book on building blog traffic and creating wealth from a blog.

Final thoughts & key takeaways from blogging in 2020

One thing that I realized somewhat recently towards the end of this year is how important writing long form blog posts are.

The longer your blog post is, the more opportunity you have to earn more money from ads on your blog.

Also, when you have a longer blog post, I’m talking 1,000-3,000 words, you become more of an expert on a topic. This increases the amount of times that others will link back to your article as a top source of information.

The longer the blog post, the better.

One of my best posts this year by far was my blog post titled, The Top Five Ultimate Work From Home Job List.

This post was actually a little over 1,300 words but it grossed more page views than any other post so far this year.

Screen shot of total page views for my most popular post in 2020

I know that the perception is that people have a short attention span and rarely read through a long article. However, if people are generally interested in what you are writing about then they will continue to read.

My most popular content has to do with money.

When I started this blog I thought I would mostly write about good coffee and travel. However, I started writing about additional topics that included recipes, health and finance.

I found that my traffic spiked whenever I would post an article about money. Anywhere from money saving tips, how to invest in the stock market or budgeting.

This tells me that I should write more about personal finance in 2021!

In Conclusion I Hope You Have Enjoyed This Round-Up Of What Three Years Of Blogging Looked Like

I am truly so excited for 2021 and hopeful that this next year of blogging will be my best yet.

three years of blogging
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