Back to the grind of the Monday madness, eh?
I hope you all had a fabulous weekend! Mine was full of family time, food prep, and catching up on some blog work. Six months ago, I enrolled in Blog Genie’s Blog School and I’ve promised you all a post about the program and how it’s helped my little corner of the internet! :)
If you want the short version, here it is: Blog School was/is amazing, and I sincerely urge you to check it out if you’re serious about your blog’s future. (And you can sign up here, and receive a jump-start program on traffic-building)
Now, the long version. ;)
What is Blog School?
Blog School is a six-month “bootcamp” of sorts. I’ve known Rita, the creator behind Blog School, since the beginning of my blogging days! In fact, it was through her that I won the domain for this site. I worked with her that first month to nail down my blog name and look. Without her, Fit and Free with Emily wouldn’t exist. So I obviously had to sign up for her course last year – I trust her knowledge and have experienced her incredible support, first hand.
Once you’re enrolled in blog school, you are added to the Facebook group (for support. and I’m still in there!) and given a secure login to the school site. Each month, a new unit is released. But don’t worry! There are no “deadlines” in this course. You can go at your own pace, and will always have access to the materials. I downloaded all of the work and made myself a handy-dandy binder (which you can see here). Having all the coursework online has been a life-saver when traveling. I can pop open my phone and do the reading anytime!
What can I expect to learn?
Without giving too much away (because hello, you need to pay for this level of in-depth work), here’s a rundown of the units with the topics we covered. Of course, this could change a little for this round (I’m sure Rita is constantly honing and re-focusing), but this is a great look into the program.
1. Foundations (Defining Success, Narrowing Your Focus, Who Are Your Readers?, Stats and Analytics)
2. Design (Intro, Function, Content, All About Options)
3. Content (Shaping Your Strategy, Idea Generation, Your Writing Plan, Search Basics, Keyword Research, One Time Optimizations)
4. Growth (Community, Outreach, Traffic)
5. Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest)
6. Money & Media (Benefits Of Working With Brands, Creating Your Media Kit, The Art Of The Pitch, Tracking Your Money, Reputation Income, Passive Income, Active Income)
My Personal Experience
I am completely blown away by the amount of information that Rita has crafted into this school. Thank goodness it is a go-at-your-own-pace set up, because I spent the first two months in Foundations! The homework on each unit provides amazing insight into your writing and audience. Honestly, I think I could go back to Unit 1 once a year, just to make sure I’m still on the path I want to be on.
I’ve read all the units several times now, but really taking my time with each one. I just finished all the homework for the Growth unit and I feel giddy with excitement. :D Going through the units, especially with the help and support of fellow blog school attendees, has been really eye-opening.
My main takeaways:
Focus in two different ways, actually: FIRST, the focus information of the course. I don’t know about you, but I collect blog tips like crazy. I have One, Two, Three, Four Pinterest boards of blog information and tutorials. The amount of information out there is overwhelming! Being in Blog School was the perfect solution: units and homework in a logical order and with applicable exercises that made sense to MY blog.
Secondly, the Foundations helped me refocus on what I love about blogging, what I want to talk about, and what my readership wants to hear. After following the exercises from the unit, I made some subtle changes that directly influenced my next point…
Before Blog School
On days when I didn’t post: 800 visits
Days when I did post: 1,200
After Blog School
On days when I don’t post: 1,200 visits
Days when I do post: 2,000
And those are just the baselines, not my highest days or even the averages. I know for some bloggers, those numbers look small – but it’s all about % growth. In six months (and I’m not even all the way through all the assignments), I’ve increased my traffic by 60+%!
So …. More Money
Which obviously leads to money. Which is what a lot of us hope for, right? More traffic = more money, obviously. The more you lovely people see my site, the more money my ad network (BlogHer) ads bring in. Before Blog School, I was making maybe $50 a month from BlogHer. Now, it’s a minimum of $100. :)
Making money from FF/E isn’t my top priority (writing good content and creating a community is my #1 goal) but it is SURE nice to be able to pay off those student loans a bit faster each month, buy some new work clothes when mine have holes in them, or put the money back into this blog to make it bigger and better. (I also earn money from other projects, like sponsored posts and affiliate links – like this post).
******** EDITED TO ADD: the graphic should read MARCH 31st. ;) **********
Is Blog School for me?
I think there are three categories of bloggers out there:
1) the beginner bloggers, looking for a way to break into blogging and creating a space that people will visit and be excited about.
2) the plateaued bloggers, who have pinned every. single. blog tip on Pinterest, and are so lost wading through the (sometimes conflicting) information that they don’t know where to turn or what to do. Maybe they’ve switched their design a million times, re-categorized their posts for better SEO, timed their tweets and FB posts, only to see little to no change in traffic or interest.
3) the pro bloggers, who have been at it for years. They have steady traffic, growing potential, and great content delivered on a regular schedule.
If you are a pro, you do not need this school. ;)
Anyone else? YOU NEED THIS. As you probably guessed from this post, I was stuck in #2. Everything was stalled (traffic, content, design, etc) and I just didn’t know how to get back into the groove. Truth be told, I still have A LOT to implement, but that just makes me more excited! I can’t wait to see what this little blog of mine will be like, after completely finishing my blog school tasks.
So, you know, sign up! :) Rita is also offering a jump-start course (FOR FREE) on increasing your traffic this week! Official registration will begin on March 31 and be open for only 7 days, closing on April 6, with the first module being released the following day, April 7.
What about you? Feeling stuck with your blog? I certainly was!
The links in this post contain affiliate links. If you sign up for the blog school with my link, please let me know so I can send you a little thank you! :)