When I first created Thrifty Hustler, I didn’t have a solid blog strategy. Blogging was not part of the main priorities back then. I am an online seller (I sell second-hand goods online) and online selling is my first priority.
Warning: 3368 Words ahead! LOL! 🙂
A Brief Background on my Blogging Journey
I created Thrifty Hustler when I discovered the awesome world of Personal Finance. I wanted to have a platform that I can use to connect with PF people that I want to be influenced by. But, since the blog was not a priority back then, I had had a long hiatus in the past which I never minded. I didn’t bother opening my blog for 11 months from 2019 to early 2020. I didn’t even do any WP, plugin, or theme updates.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, my online selling sales disappeared in the first two months and remained slow in the succeeding months of 2020. And because of the lockdown, there’s nothing much to do at home and I decided to start writing again.
I started writing again last April 2020 which is just a month before my Blog First Anniversary and from then I created and followed a barebone strategy for this blog.
I had a long hiatus again from mid-July 2020 up to mid-October 2020 because most businesses slowly opened up and I was able to resume my online selling operations. And even though sales are slowly coming back, it’s still far from what it used to be.
I found myself having so much time in my hands from mid-October to December 2020 and I was able to continue to write articles and read and learn more about blogging.
Fast forward to today, the traffic has improved dramatically and exceeded to the point that I have decided to implement a December 2021 plan right now.
2020 Blogging Traffic History
I’m going to share with you the Pageviews that this blog had in 2020 before we talk about my blogging strategy and how having a blogging strategy will help you grow even a new blog.
I wasn’t actually paying any attention to Pageviews and I’m more concerned with the number of users I receive. That’s why in my past Blogging Reports, you will see that all the screenshots were about the number of users.
However, a couple of days ago, my Adsense plugin stopped working. What a bummer, right?!?
And even after trying a variety of troubleshooting steps, I couldn’t make it work. Adsense ads do not appear in-content on all of my posts but they do appear on the Sidebar and below the Header.
I don’t know what got into me. Probably I just got tired of troubleshooting for hours and, instead of continuing to fix the issue, I have decided to look for alternative ads implementation and found Ezoic.
After reading about them and their requirements, I have decided to apply. One of their requirements was 10,000+ Monthly Pageviews and when I checked mine, I was surprised that I already have met their requirements.
And in just a few hours, I received an email saying that I got approved (never thought that it’s going to be that fast). Anyway, I’m gonna skip talking bout Ezoic for now and I will stay on topic. Feel free to read my review about Ezoic if you want to learn more about it.
Initially, I was planning to stay with Google Adsense until December 2021 because, in my mind, I will not reach 10,000 Pageviews until that time. But lo and behold, it turned out that I have reached and have exceeded that already last month – December 2020.
Here is a screenshot of my 2020 Pageviews:
And here’s a monthly breakdown of my 2020 Traffic:
Thrifty Hustler's 2020 Monthly Pageviews
However, it seems that my content strategy which is included in the barebone blog strategy that I have created for 2020 is working.
And I’m projecting that January 2021 traffic is even way higher than the December 2020 traffic. My projection is based on the daily traffic that I’m getting from January 1 up to January 8, 2021.
My Blog Strategy for 2021
Due to the unexpected changes such as the growth of traffic and the continuous low sales output of my online store (online selling is still my main priority though because I love doing it), I have decided to tweak my 2020 Blog Strategy.
Here’s my 2021 Blog Strategy Outline, you may copy the strategy if you want or tweak it to suit your own needs.
Focus on Content
If there’s one thing that I have learned in 2020, it is that Content is Still King!
No high-quality content, no traffic.
Although in my experience, it’s not really as simple as that because of the cut-throat competition in the blogging world. There are millions of blogs out there and there are millions of blog posts created daily around the world. Your content needs to stand out and that’s where the challenge starts.
Helpful and Relevant Contents
People search Google, Yahoo, and any other search engine to find something that could help them answer their questions. It can be about money, recipes, or just basically anything under the sun.
Regardless of your blog niche, focus on helping people thru your blog post in the best way possible.
SEO Optimized Contents
If the content is King, then SEO is its publicist LOL! 🙂
SEO helps you get your content out there. I’m not an SEO expert and that’s why this is part of my 2021 strategy which is to learn more about SEO and to optimize my content without sacrificing the quality of my posts.
If there’s one thing that is clear to me now, SEO is not just about the number of times you repeat your keyword in your posts. It’s about a lot of other variables.
But, ultimately, it all boils down to making sure that your content is the most relevant answer to a search engine user (people who searched Google for example).
Your Own Voice
As bloggers, we are also consumers of information online. And we all know, that there are tons of available information online that talk about similar things. If there are ten posts from different blogs that answer the same question, which one will you gravitate to the most after reading all of them?
We tend to gravitate towards the one that we can relate to the most.
Using your own voice and being true to yourself helps your personality transcend from the words that you’re typing on your blog.
This is one thing that I’d like to keep going on for my blog. I’d like to continually share my own experiences in the topics that I think I have some knowledge and experience in such as (but not limited to) online selling.
My initial target is only 2 high-quality contents every week. However, because I have so much available time on my hands now because of the slow sales that I’m experiencing with my main gig, I find myself writing more.
You don’t have to write 2 articles per week if your time is very limited. But, try to write a high-quality article at least once a week.
Aside from hoping that Thrifty Hustler would be known for being a website that provides helpful tips about frugal living, online selling, and other side-hustles, I honestly have not exerted that much effort yet in establishing my online brand. This is also one of my priorities this 2021.
In the meantime, I will be writing content that focuses on what I want this blog to be known for – frugal living and hustling, most especially online selling preloved clothes which is what I mainly do in my life.
Focus on Overall Audience Satisfaction
The content is the main reason why someone found our blogs on Google. But since I already put content as one of the main categories in my blog strategy, I will not cover it here anymore.
One of the things that I need to improve on is my blog’s loading speed. Now that it has more content, pictures, graphics, and ads, it slowed down a lot. This is one thing that I will be working on this year and it’s one of my main priorities.
The thing is, even if you have the most amazing content if your site will not load on their smartphones or laptops, then they’ll have no way to read it. Unless of course, you have set your RSS feeds to display the full post. If you do this, then they will be able to read your full posts in full on whichever feed reader app they use. But it also means that the traffic will not be on your website.
Improving the speed of a blog or website is a technical thing and will cost me some money, so I’m going to save some money for this one.
I know that the content is the main reason why people go to websites or blogs, but I don’t think that it will hurt if I’m going to improve the visual aesthetic of my blog. I’d like to make it look nice and presentable to help improve their overall experience.
This is one of my hesitations with ads because sometimes, too many ads make the page look very cluttered. This is something that I have to think of very carefully in order to balance monetization with customer experience.
Improve Marketing Efforts
I’m not going to mentioned SEO anymore even if it’s the most relevant line item here since I already mentioned it earlier. However, SEO is just marketing your content to search engines.
There are other sources of traffic available to bloggers such as Social Media, email lists, etc. Some people that I know of are even getting more traffic from Social Media than from search engines.
I’m not active in Social Media but I’d be including this in my 2021 Blog Strategy especially Pinterest. Pinterest has been popular in the past few years and it continues to be popular until now due to its ability to generate massive traffic for some bloggers. I am going to, starting this month, share my new blog posts in all Pinterest groups that I am a member of.
This is something also that I did not pay much attention to when I started since my focus is on Content Building. This year, I’m planning to improve my efforts in attracting more email subscribers. And I’m starting it now, so if you have not subscribed yet, please subscribe using the opt-in form below. LOL! 🙂
Aside from SEO, Social Media, and Email Lists, I also intend to learn more sources of traffic this year. I’m going to share this with you guys once I become familiar with the other sources. Some possible sources that I have read of include, FB Ads, Instagram Ads, Guest Posting, Blog Commenting, etc.
Initially, I was planning to start thinking about monetization next year. As I mentioned in the past, I’d like to concentrate my focus on traffic building. But with the continuous increase in traffic, I realized that I can probably start experimenting with a variety of monetization strategies as early as now.
I will be sharing with you also the ups and downs of my monetization experiments in the next few months.
As of now, I started signing up with a variety of affiliate companies and I found out that there’s very little to work with within my region unlike for the bloggers who live in the USA, Canada, and the UK. It seems that affiliate marketing is not yet a big thing in the Philippines.
This will be a big challenge for me but anyhow, I’m excited to try it.
In the meantime, I’ll just put Ezoic ads on my blog until I figure out which monetization strategy is best for Thrifty Hustler.
Continuous Learning and Improving
What I know now will be obsolete in just a few days or in a few months. Blogging is a very technical thing. It’s not just about writing content. There’s so much technology going on in blogging.
Luckily, there are bloggers who share their blogging journey and learnings. I actually find it easier to follow the instructions from fellow bloggers than from the websites of the products or service providers themselves.
How to Make a Successful Blog Strategy
Identify your Blogging Goal
Before you start a blog, ask yourself why you want to start a blog. The reason behind your decision to start a blog will be your guiding force in creating a blog strategy. Of course, you can tweak your blogging goal as you go along, but it will be such a tremendous help if you are clear with what you want to achieve from blogging.
When I started, my goal was just to have a blog so I can use it to network with PF bloggers. But since I have experienced growth and I now have some proofs of concept, I tweaked my goal and I’m now aiming to grow this blog and use this as a platform to earn additional income.
Create a Blog Strategy Before you Create the Blog
I wish that I have learned this when I was starting. I could have saved a lot of time and I could have achieved better results. But there’s no use crying over spilled milk. So, learn from my mistake. 🙂
The strategy doesn’t have to be grand. It can be a simple barebone outline that enumerates what you have to do in order to achieve your blogging goal/s.
Again, this is something that you can tweak every now and then, so don’t worry if your strategy may look simple at first.
Your blog strategy should contain specific goals and action plans with a timeline for each category:
Content: Why? Because content is the life of a blog. Without content, there’s no blog. This should be at the core of your strategy. Actually, this should be your main priority.
If you are a full-time mom/dad, a full-time student or employee, and if you don’t have that much time to tinker with your blog, then just focus on consistently creating amazing and helpful content at first.
Niche: Identify your niche. Who do you want to write for? Who is your target audience? Identifying your niche can help you streamline a lot of your blogging processes including content, design, branding, marketing, and monetization strategy.
Design: I believe in the power of an awesome design. If you’re not yet familiar with designing a website then just install a basic template and focus on creating awesome and helpful content. You can change the template or customize your existing template as you go along.
Branding: What do you want your blog to be known for. If you have not decided on this one yet, at least think of what you aspire your blog to be in the near future. You can improve this also as you go along.
Marketing: This is an important aspect of blogging. Blogging is not just about writing articles, there’s a lot more to blogging than meets the eye.
Monetization: If you’re a hobby blogger and if you just want to blog and not monetize it then you can skip this step. However, if you want your blog to be a future source of additional income for you and your family then include this in your blogging strategy.
Implement and Execute your Strategy
The only way to test if your blogging strategies work or not is by implementing and executing your strategy.
You can set a longer timeline for each goal to avoid getting burnt out early.
Personally, I have set a very long timeline for me to learn building traffic. Initially, I gave myself 2 -3 years to learn the ins and outs of blogging and traffic building before I start monetizing. But, as I have mentioned earlier, due to some changes in other variables, I have decided to implement monetization stuff now and see where it goes.
I know that my timeline (2 – 3 years) is such a long time to learn blogging and traffic generation but blogging is not the only thing I do. I also have a full-time business that I have to attend to aside from the other important personal aspects of my life that I also have to take care of.
But, if you have more free time at hand, then perhaps you can shorten your learning curve and implement multiple ideas at once.
Another way to shorten the process of building a blog is by outsourcing some of the tasks such as writing articles. But this is something that I don’t recommend especially for beginners.
I believe that before you outsource anything, you should have a clear idea first of how it works. This is very important to keep in mind so you could provide clear and effective instructions once you start outsourcing the tasks.
Track and Analyze Your Progress
Luckily, this is something that is quite easy to do especially when it comes to traffic. Google Analytics is a free service provided by Google that can help you track the overall performance of your blog.
One of the things left for you to do is to use the various analytics data provided by websites such as Google and Pinterest Analytics and analyze it to find opportunities and areas for improvements.
One of the things that I track is my content production. As of now I only able to write a maximum of one article per day. I usually spend around 4 – 5 hours creating an article and other graphics that I used for social media marketing such as Pinterest Pins and Instagram Posts/Stories.
Rinse, Improve and Repeat
As you go along, you will start to notice things that work for you and things that don’t work for you. Some bloggers that I know have decided to focus solely on a few Social Media websites and just ignore the other platforms for the time being due to time and energy resources limitations.
Some also do not publish new blog posts as frequently as others.
There are lots of variables that you will change and improve as you go along. The important thing to bear in mind is to keep on learning new stuff online as it will greatly improve and speed up your blogging process.
Final Thoughts and Additional Tips
One of the things that I always keep in mind is to keep learning the best practices from other bloggers. In my spare time, I read blog posts, web articles, Tweets, watch Youtube tutorials and other helpful information available to me online about blogging.
And once I find ideas that I think suit my blog best, then I study that idea and implement it on my blog.
I hope that you learned a thing or two from my blogging journey and I will try my best to share other helpful information as I go along in my blogging journey.
Maybe you’ll find it weird that the graphics I chose for this post are about recreational activities such as rock climbing, mountain climbing, and chess. For me, blogging feels like that most of the time, it requires grit, skills, strategy, and continuous learning and effort to master it.
So if you’re new to blogging, keep in mind that it really takes a lot of time to grow a blog. So don’t be too hard on yourself if the blog is not gaining traction in the first few months/years.
Do you have additional tips? Feel free to share your insight about the topic in the comment section below.