How do you find the courage to just keep going when your entire world is falling apart?
Unfortunately, I was tested in June of 2018, and after earning almost no money on my six-month-old blog, I almost called it quits.
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I’ll share my past experiences as a quitter and how I overcame the urge to give up on my blog when my life (and marriage) was turned upside down. But first, a little back story:
Seeking Stay at Home Mom Jobs
I’ve always been drawn to entrepreneurship and really wanted to “be my own boss”.
When I was just 20 years old working at a bank in Oklahoma, I was sold on multi-level marketing as a side hustle opportunity.
The Director, who roped me into it, drove a beautiful pink Cadillac, and I thought, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
A few days later, I was taking out an unsecured loan at the bank I worked at with an interest rate of 18% to buy inventory for makeup that would eventually be sold back to the company for a 50% loss.
After 8 years in banking, I obtained my real estate license as a great way to work from home and help provide for my family. I earned a decent income for a while but experienced burnout and quit actively pursuing buyers and sellers.
Then a few years later, we decided that having three kids in daycare was just too expensive for me to justify working outside the home.
I was sold on an opportunity to lose weight and coach others to a healthier lifestyle. After a year of posting workout selfies and attending the company summit, I quit coaching.
Contrary to my first experience, I hadn’t lost money in this MLM business, but I didn’t earn anything, either. When it came time to do my taxes, I had earned exactly $0 after reinvesting all of my income back into the company.
I finally realized that while I had a strong desire to be an entrepreneur, multi-level marketing was not the path for me.
Overcoming the Quitter Mentality
The common denominator here is that I had become a quitter. I had quit my banking job to sell real estate. I quit multi-level marketing because I didn’t love the business model. And I had quit real estate when I realized that you have to be available 24/7 for clients.
I had even started a blog two different times but soon became overwhelmed, allowing the domains to go to auction.
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When I joined Elite Blog Academy, I was bound and determined to make a go of it. For nearly ten years, I had felt the itch to start a blog, and I was tired of being that person that quits and makes excuses.
Just as my six-month-old blog was gaining traction, I found out my husband had been unfaithful. My world came crashing down like an empty, abandoned home that had been condemned and demolished.
At that point in my blogging journey, I had reached 19,000 page views in a single month, and I was on a great, steady pace of growth.
This affair left me feeling hurt, angry, sad, depressed, worthless, and everything in between. For the next several months, I tried writing, but I just didn’t feel like I had anything positive to share.
My blog might have gained 3 (mediocre) blog posts between June and December.
“Just as my six-month-old blog was gaining traction, I found out my husband had been unfaithful. My world came crashing down like an empty, abandoned home that had been condemned and demolished.”–Melissa Blevins, @perfectionhangoverJust as my six-month-old blog was gaining traction, I found out my husband had been unfaithful. My world came crashing down like an empty, abandoned home that had been condemned and demolished. --Melissa Blevins, @perfectionhangover
5 Things to Focus on When You Feel Like Quitting
When I was finally ready to get back in the game, I needed a strategy. These five actions helped me grow my blog and increase my income by almost 10x when I felt like throwing in the towel, and I believe they will help you, too!
Focus on SEO
One of the very first blog posts I wrote was optimized for SEO and ranked on page one, position 2 of Google (right below the company). It ranked for multiple variations of the keyword and continues to be one of my most visited articles.
I learned early on that you must optimize articles in order to receive organic (unpaid) traffic from Google. As a result, while I wrote almost no new articles for the blog for six months, I still received 10,000 sessions every single month.
Another reason to focus on SEO is that social network referrals from Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter are unreliable.
We find ourselves “bending the knee” to updates and algorithms while praying that our blogs won’t take a hit.
Optimizing for SEO is a much safer bet and gives bloggers a steady pace of traffic for years to come.
Take Care of Yourself
Learning how to manage your time as a business owner can be challenging. Add kids and spouses and day jobs into the mix, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed.
The Pareto principle states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your activities. Time Blocking is a great way to prioritize tasks.
Focus on the tasks that will yield the best results and learn to let some activities fall to the wayside.
Also, if you’re going through trials and tribulations, take a moment if you must. The best gift I could have given myself and (my readers) was the gift of time to heal.
The Pareto principle states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your activities. Focus on the tasks that will yield the best results and learn to let some activities fall to the wayside.#ebawisdomThe Pareto principle states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your activities. Focus on the tasks that will yield the best results and learn to let some activities fall to the wayside.#ebawisdom
Perfect Your Pinterest Profile
Even though Pinterest is rather unpredictable, it is an amazing source of traffic that should be utilized by most bloggers.
I compare my Pinterest profile to my blog and optimize similarly. For example, the bio section on your Pinterest profile could be compared to metadata for a blog. Use keywords to describe your business.
Boards should be titled with keywords and have a keyworded description that tells Pinterest what types of pins belong on each particular board.
Each pin leads pinners to a specific blog post and should be optimized with a keyword-rich description and relevant hashtags.
It is so vital that you take some time to learn how Pinterest works. If you’re not feeling like you’re in a place to create new content right now, focus on creating new pins for your old blog posts. Publish new pins every single day (even if they point to older articles).
Update Outdated or Poorly Written Blog Posts
I bet if we all went back to the first 15-20 posts we published, we’d find some articles that could use a little TLC.
- Go back and update some of the original articles on your blog. At this point, I’m sure you’ve learned so much since you started blogging. Repeat keyword research and add headers with supporting keywords in paragraphs.
- Update pins and featured images. This is especially important if you’ve updated your blog theme and featured images with text are not appearing properly.
- If you’ve changed your domain at any point, you need to go back into the old articles and update the pin images. I place my blog URL at the bottom of every pin in case it is stolen (and also for branding purposes).
I migrated my old domain to Perfection Hangover this year and am slowly working on going back to the original articles to update the pins. BONUS: This gives me extra content to add to Pinterest. Every new pin created is a chance for virality!
Apply to Better Ad Networks
I made a serious mistake last year that cost me dearly. Most bloggers know that Adsense income doesn’t pay the bills. As soon as I reached 10,000 page views in my 4th month blogging, I should have joined Monumetric. I lost out on a good amount of income as a result.
When I finally joined Monumetric, my ad revenue was hundreds more than it had been with Adsense.
To make things better, I finally reached 25k sessions and was accepted into Mediavine, increasing my ad revenue to $769 in my first month. Comparatively, the entire lifetime of having Adsense ads on my site, I earned a total of $375.68.
When you have reached the monetization stage, in Module 3 of EBA, applying for Mediavine ads can be a lot more lucrative than Google Adsense. In just one month, I have learned more ways to optimize my ad placement and increase revenue.
Not sure where to get started? Here are some tips on how and when to monetize your blog.
Shift Your Mindset and Just Keep Going
My old self would have given up on blogging after only earning $1,500 in an entire year (especially given the fact that I was completely unmotivated), but I kept telling myself that $100 per month income could turn into $1,000 per month, and sure enough it did!
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In one of the most difficult moments of my life, I leaned hard on my faith and prayed for God to help me forgive my husband so we could heal through this horrible betrayal.
And even though my blog sat on the back burner while we attended marriage counseling and made some major life changes, it was still there, ready for me to pick back up when I was ready.
That was the moment I stopped being a quitter. I refused to quit on my family, and by the grace of God, my marriage was salvaged.
If you are struggling and questioning the will to continue blogging, remember you have to take care of yourself first.
Don’t forget to apply to better ad networks as soon as you reach threshold minimums. Even the smallest amount of income can be a light when you’ve lost the drive to keep going.
Last, but not least, remember why you started blogging. Visualize yourself on the other side of this as a stronger writer who empowers and helps others.