We’ve made it to the final episode of our blogging series! We’ve already covered the Blogger vs. WordPress debate and SEO strategy. Blogging is a highly effective way to grow your TpT business. That’s why we’ve been working to answer some of the most common questions about starting and running a blog. Our series is ending after today, but we’d love to keep the blogging conversation7 going with you. Join us over at our Facebook page www.growwithusmastermind.com . It’s a great place to get support and advice when you are struggling to build your Teacher Pay Teachers businesses.
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Ok, we know there are some of you that are glad this series is coming to an end because you just don’t want to buy into the idea that running a blog could help you grow your business. Angie and I completely understand. But, we have a little proof to help convince you that it’s worth your effort.
Angie’s recent success
If you’ve been following along with our series then you know that Angie has struggled with keeping up with her blog. She’s been open about it in the podcast. She’s had her website up for years but has only had a few posts on it. Well with the recent blogging challenge that we ran in the Facebook group she was motivated to get consistent with her blog posts.
She posted a few times over the summer, once in September, and twice in October. Her goal is to shoot for two posts each month and to focus on making them high-quality and valuable to the reader. Wait until you hear what happened!
Month to month comparison
April: 4,000 pageviews 250 clicks to TpT store
October: 21,000 pageviews 3,200 clicks to TpT store
If you’ve been saying that blogging can’t really impact your TpT store just look again. The numbers don’t lie. As Angie has gotten more consistent with posting on her site her numbers are going up. She had around an 1180% increase in the number of clicks that she got to her TpT store from her website. Her blog is now her second highest referral to her store. Obviously, these results are super exciting and helping motivate her to want to stay consistent.
Where her traffic came from
While Angie did have several old posts on her blog the vast majority of her traffic from October came from her new posts. She shared a Halloween post that included some freebies and showcased the other resources that she had. She’s working to mix evergreen content (blog posts that are always useful) with seasonal and trending topics.
Angie is great at being active on social media. So, once she had her posts she shared them on her Facebook page and set them up on Tailwind. She had high engagement with her post on Facebook and the clicks were higher than anything she had experienced before on her page. She also received a lot of traffic from Pinterest. Angie likes to create five different pins for each blog post pulling out different pieces of the blog to connect to.
Why blogging works
We’ve touched on this in some other posts, but will touch on it quickly here. Blogging works because it helps to show that you are an expert on what you are talking about. It’s one thing for teachers to find your store and locate a resource that might help them, it’s a whole other thing for them to find a blog you wrote that shows you know what you’re talking about. This helps you to build trust with your audience.
And, if that isn’t enough, having a blog with good SEO helps your target market to find you online. Some of the people that click through your website to your TpT store may never have found you if it weren’t for the blog post they stumbled upon in the search engines.
A few blogging tips
Life is busy and it can be difficult to find the time to write a blog post. That’s one of the things that we get caught up in too. But, here are a few tips to help you out:
- You don’t have to post every day – Or even every week for that matter. There’s lots of advice floating around the internet that might make you feel like you have to if you want results but look at Angie’s results. That was from posting once or twice a month. The most important part is that you post high-quality content that is valuable to your reader.
- Get a plan – Angie admitted that one of the things that got in the way of her blogging was having to come up with what to write about, so she spent some time making a list. She now has her topics planned out for the next two months. When she has the time, she can sit down and write without having to come up with a plan.
Taking advantage of your post
If your trying to grow your TpT business then your ultimate goal is to get people to go to your TpT store. That means when you write your blog post you want to make it super easy for your readers to get over to your store.
Angie is great about including lots of links throughout her post. Make sure that you link your images to your store as well. You don’t want your reader to have to search for a way to buy from you.
It’s also important to remember that your blog can be more than a blog. For example, my blog is only a part of my website. When someone arrives at my homepage they aren’t seeing my blog posts. Instead, they are seeing a way to sign up for a webinar that helps me sell a course that I offer. I average getting around 40 people to signup to my list from my homepage every week. You want to find ways to make your site work for you. That’s what it’s all about.
We talked quite a bit about plugins during our Blogger vs WordPress conversation but wanted to mention our favorites here. There are a lot of free plugins that work great and can help you do a lot for your blog. But, there are sometimes when it’s worth paying for a plugin or the upgrade. If the free one isn’t doing exactly what you want it to, clunky to use, or doesn’t look the way you want it to, then try a paid plugin. The money you spend will be worth the time that it will save you.
With that said, here are a few of our favorites:
Personally, I love every plugin that I have tried from Thrive. They are paid plugins, but it’s a one time fee instead of recurring and they are worth the money in my opinion.
This plugin is a page builder. I used another one for years but it was starting to cause some problems with some of the other plugins that I had on my site so I was getting really frustrated and I wanted to find one that would allow me to make a homepage and landing pages, and then I found Thrive. I love the designs that are available. My homepage looks like I had a professional developer build it, it does what I want it to, and it only took me around 20 minutes to make.
We love ConvertKit when it comes to sending out our email newsletters, but Thrive Leads offers some great features that won us over for getting sign-ups. It allows you to really customize how you want things to look and work. For example, I can set it up so an oopt-infor a writing resource shows up at the bottom of any post or page that I put in the writing category. This is a really nice option when you update things later. Years ago I updated my opt-in and had to go and manually change it on every page that it was on.
Thrive Clever Widgets:
You gain a lot of customization options when you use Thrive Clever Widgets. I found this because I wanted my sidebar to be different base on what my reader was looking at. This allows you to do that with widgets. I use this plugin along with Responsive Grid Gallery (see below) so a grid of related products will show up on posts that are matching. For example, if you are looking at a math-related post on my site the sidebar will feature a grid of other math related products from my store.
Responsive Grid Gallery
This is a free plugin that allows you to make a grid or table of all images – like cover photos for a particular product line. Then, you just insert a one piece code where ever you want the grid to show up. This is also great for when you update cover photos later. You can just go into the plugin to update your image and it automatically updates anywhere you have placed that grid. (Used in screenshot under Clever Widgets for the sidebar and in blog posts!)
This is another free plugin that just makes things look nicer, or “pretty”. It allows you to set up the link that you want to use on your site. Here’s an example of how this works on my site. I do weekly Facebook live trainings. When I link to them on my website I use the link “perforingineducation.com/live”. Then, each week I can update where the link redirects to. It looks nicer than the really long links that are full of letters and numbers and it makes it easier to verbally share with others too.
I used to use Bitly to shorten the URLs that I was sharing but found out that some schools have started to block those links. I was contacted by teachers letting me know that they were unable to access the links.
This plugin is one that is going to make your blogging life a lot easier. There are many times when you are setting something up for your website that you are told to add code to your header or footer. This happens when setting up things like Facebook pixel and Pinterest. It will usually contain vague information about accessing your FTP. If this sounds confusing to you know that you are not alone. But, if you use this plugin you can click the mouse a few times and have it all set up and ready to go. And, it’s free so you can’t beat that.
This plugin is not flawless by any means, but I still think that it’s worth using. It allows me to attach a hidden pin to my blog post. Then, if someone clicks the Pinterest share button it forces that hidden pin to be used.
Make sure things are working for you
Rember that you don’t want too many plugins. If you overload your backend with them they can slow down your site which is bad for SEO. I love plugins and I’m constantly trying new ones, but I only have around 15. And, only half of those are ones that have an impact on my site loading.
Constantly access your site through different devices to make sure that it’s working right. Use your site as a user would. I was on my site last week on a writing page and an unrelated popup came up. It wasn’t something that I wanted there. Because I was checking my blog I was able to correct it. If I wasn’t going through my blog I would have never known about it. That’s why I browse my own site once a week.
Be willing to give blogging a chance. It’s good for getting traffic, and building credibility. Last year I was even contacted by a publishing company about writing a book because they found my website and my blog. I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today in my business if I wasn’t using a blog to help grow my business.
Do you have blogging questions that weren’t answered in our series? Head over to the Facebook page and ask them there: www.growwithusmastermind.com.