Hello! Today, I have a great article to share from R.J. Weiss. He purchased my course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing back in 2017, and has since grown an amazing website. He now has a six-figure blog that receives around 500,000 monthly visitors. Enjoy!
Before launching The Ways To Wealth in 2016, I read the entire archives of multiple blogs’ income reports. For some blogs, like Making Sense of Cents (which started publishing them in 2013) this meant going through years of old posts.
It was time well spent.
I learned a lot about what worked and what didn’t when it comes to building a profitable blog. And with that knowledge in hand, I set a goal to build a blog that would replace my full-time job.
Fast-forward 14 months and that goal was accomplished. I was comfortable leaving a job I’d held for 10 years.
It’s not like I was knocking it out of the park. I was making about $3,000 per month at the time. Still, with a healthy emergency fund, I decided to take the leap and become a full-time blogger.
Fast-forward even further, to today, and The Ways To Wealth is doing great. It reaches around 500,000 visitors every month and has surpassed the next goal I set for myself — building a six-figure blog.
Over the years, I’ve connected with hundreds of bloggers who had similar goals. Whether they were driven by the desire to leave their current job, travel the world, be their own boss or simply work from home, they wanted to build a blog that would give them the freedom and financial independence to live life on their own terms.
Goal setting is great. After all, it’s through goal setting that we’re able to decide what we really want in life. But it’s the doing — the actions we take on a regular basis — that allow us to actually accomplish the goals we set.
Looking back at my own journey, it’s easy to identify the actions that have produced results. I say “easy,” because when something has worked well I’ve made an effort to do more of it. And to do more of it, I’ve found the best way is to turn it into a habit.
These habits, which I’m going to share with you today, are why I’ve consistently reached my goals for the site.
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The Daily Habits For Building A Six-Figure Blog
#1. Track Daily Revenue And Expenses
The first thing I do each day is record the previous day’s income and expenses.
Tip: I have all my affiliate dashboards saved to a bookmarked folder. I open them all with a single click, and log in automatically using LastPass.
Tracking net income every day is something I picked up from listening to Robert Farrington discuss his day-to-day responsibilities in running the highly-respected personal finance site The College Investor.
Seeing the numbers motivates me. But more importantly, it allows me to keep a close eye on what is and isn’t working. From there, I can make better (and quicker) strategic decisions.
What’s Changed: The more the site has grown, the more partners I’ve added. As a result, managing cash flow has become more complex. For example, some affiliate partners may not pay for 90 days or so after a sale is made. So I’ve learned to keep a closer eye on both actual and future income, with the goal of maintaining healthy cash flow.
#2. Creating Content
During the first big chunk of time I have available for the day, I write. I set a timer for 90 minutes, close all my browser tabs, and begin.
As a blog with no products to sell, the site’s content is the product. The more I work to improve that product, the more value the site provides.
The majority of the time, I’m creating new content for the blog. However, this can come in many forms. On some days it’s new blog content, on other days it’s updating old content, and on others it’s writing an email newsletter or a guest post.
This same idea can be applied no matter the form of content you’re creating. So, whether that’s a written blog post, a YouTube video or material for your online course, it’s important to create something of value.
One of the biggest benefits of creating every day is the fact that online content can build like compound interest. When you hit “publish” on a new piece of content, it’s one more article or video you have that Google or YouTube can index, and thus one more chance to reach a new reader.
What’s Changed: When I was blogging and working full-time, I woke up early to get this uninterrupted writing time in. If there was only one thing I would be able to get done that day, I wanted it to be creating new content.
Today, as I work on the site full-time, I still set aside time in the morning to create. However, I produce much less new content myself, instead focusing on updating old posts for relevancy and revenue optimization.
The Ways To Wealth generates a lot of traffic via search engines like Google.
In its simplest form, my strategy to generate SEO traffic is:
- Create content people are searching for.
- Build links.
I’ve found link building to be so impactful that I’ve set aside time for it in my daily routine. My habit of choice is connecting with the mainstream media, mostly through a free service called Help A Reporter Out (HARO). This is a technique that Michelle has written about in her own income reports.
My daily goal is to respond to three different requests featured on HARO.
Tip: Besides HARO, the other place I’ve found reporters looking to connect with bloggers is inside industry-specific Facebook Groups.
The success rate for being featured in HARO is low, especially in competitive niches like personal finance. So, it’s important for beginners to go in with the mindset that it might take 20 or so responses to get featured. Nonetheless, even if your hit rate is low, this is a significant opportunity to build your blog’s backlink profile.
What else is important to understand is that HARO might not be your daily marketing habit of choice. For some, it might be commenting and connecting with other bloggers, or creating pins to post on Pinterest. What’s important is that you identify what really matters to grow your blog and turn it into a habit.
What’s Changed: Not too much has changed over the years in how I respond to HARO requests. From when the blog started, up to today, I’ve consistently carved out time to respond to HARO pitches.
Weekly Blogging Habits
#1. Track Weekly Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
While I track profit on a daily basis, each Monday I check in on additional KPIs in the hopes of staying on top of trends.
Here’s what I track on a weekly basis inside of a Google Sheet:
- 7-day organic search traffic
- 30-day organic search traffic
- 90-day organic search traffic
- 365-day organic search traffic
- 30-day Pinterest traffic
- 90-day Pinterest traffic
If something seems off — for example, if I’ve lost a lot of organic traffic week over week — I’ll then dive deeper into the metrics to see if I can identify the cause of the decline.
What’s Changed: I’ve found that reviewing the 365-day organic search report is incredibly helpful. It’s easy to obsess over short-term stats, often letting them determine how you feel about the results of any particular day. But seeing the progress I’ve made over the last year always lifts my spirits and shifts my thinking back to a long-term perspective.
#2. Update And Fill The Content Calendar
Every Monday, I have a weekly call with my editor, during which we discuss content strategy and the upcoming week’s content calendar.
Everything we’re working on is stored on a Trello Board:
Running down the list:
- Copyedit + Publish. This is the content that’s set to be published for the week.
- In the Cooker. The content that’s due in from writers this week.
- New Outlines. Outlines that need to be drafted and sent to writers this week.
- Content Upgrades. The old posts that need to be updated throughout the week.
- Other Tasks. This is where we review other content-related tasks that need to be taken care of over the week. A good example here is that when an affiliate changes a certain feature of their offerings, we go back through old posts to update our content.
We then have a “stack” (which is basically a column) for each of these categories. Each article gets an individual “card,” and that card is moved from left to right as it progresses through the different stages of development (from Outline to Published).
What’s Changed: I started using Trello about a year ago, and I wish I had done so sooner. Having every task and project in one place has been a game-changer. Quite a few other bloggers I know use Asana, a related (but more complicated) task management program. Even if you’re working by yourself, I highly recommend learning the ins and outs of either program, which will allow you to scale easily if you decide to add people to your team.
Tip: After we create an outline, we assign it to a writer who drafts the article in a Google Doc. This makes it easy to collaborate, markup the text with revision requests, and track changes. When it’s ready, we upload the article to WordPress using a third-party app called Wordable, which allows you to quickly export Google Docs to your blog.
#3. Batch Create Pins And Other Graphics
I work with a freelance graphic designer who produces any Pinterest images I need for the upcoming week, as well as other graphics for things like content and Facebook. We share a Google Drive folder, which these graphics are automatically added to upon creation.
What’s Changed: The best practices on Pinterest are constantly changing (I’ve found the Tailwind Blog to be one of the most helpful resources for keeping up). I’m now creating a lot more images per post (up to six), depending on how good a fit I feel the content is for Pinterest.
#4. Test And Review
I’m a big fan of testing what matters — so much so that I make time for testing something (and often multiple things) every week.
As for what to test, a few of the easier tests that can make a big difference are:
- SEO titles. Test different organic search titles for blog posts. Measure the traffic difference after one week inside of Google Search Console (where you can view the click-through rate) and Google Analytics (where you can view total traffic).
- Landing pages and email capture forms. If you have a landing page or email capture forms on your site, test different versions.
- Subject lines. If you have a welcome series for new email signups, test different subject lines to see what gets the highest open rate.
- Affiliate landing pages. Affiliates often have multiple landing pages available for you to test. Try testing out a different form of the landing page to see which gets the highest conversion rate.
I have a Google Sheet where I keep track of all the tests I’m running.
Pro Tip: Make sure to keep a copy of the previous version of whatever you’re testing. For example, if you’re running a test on a headline, make sure to record what the old headline was.
Sometimes you’ll get an outsized win for very little effort. For example, I changed a title on a post about making $200 a day that resulted in a pretty big win:
What’s Changed: This is something I wish had done a lot more of when I started. Looking back, an improvement in email capture rate or sending traffic to a landing page that converts better, compounded over the years, would have made quite a difference.
Monthly Habits For Running A Blog
#1. Track Monthly KPIs + Revenue And Earnings Of Each Affiliate
As a general personal finance blog, there’s a lot that we cover on the site. Furthermore, we write a lot of reviews for different personal finance products, apps and services. When you add up the total number of affiliates we have, it’s over 100.
At the start of each month, I record the revenue and clicks for each affiliate from the previous month. What I’m looking for is the earnings per click (EPC) for every affiliate.
This information empowers me to make strategic decisions that positively impact revenue going forward.
Two more KPIs I record on a monthly basis are:
- Revenue per visitor. This is the amount of revenue earned per visitor of the site.
- Average daily revenue for the year. You can take this number, multiplied by 365, to determine whether or not you’re on track to meet your annual revenue goal.
What’s Changed: I’ve spent more and more time with data as of late. There are so many good insights you can learn by having a deep understanding of what is and isn’t working. Often, small tweaks to a page can result in significant impacts.
#2. Set Monthly Objectives
It’s at this point — when I have an accurate understanding of how the site is performing — that I set monthly objectives that move the needle.
What I’m trying to do here is identify what really matters.
A question that’s always been very helpful to me, when it comes to setting monthly goals, comes from the book The One Thing by Gary Keller:
What’s the one thing I can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
Answering and thinking about this question allows me to focus on what really matters. Once I have my monthly objective in hand, I use it to plan for the week, and then for the day.
#3. Bulk Keyword Research
Once a month, I set aside a block of a few hours for keyword research, and for taking a deeper dive into content planning that includes which articles to upgrade (or even delete).
I use AHREFs for a lot of my keyword research. However, as it’s a widely used application, I like to combine it with other tools such as Google Trends to identify keywords that have increasing demand.
On average, we get through about eight to 12 new pieces of content each month. So, it’s a matter of picking two or three different keyword ideas across our main verticals and inserting them into our Trello board.
What’s Changed: Not every piece of content that’s published on the site is going after a keyword. Often, we produce content to complete a reader’s education. For example, as a site that talks about different side hustles, we often mention Upwork as a way to get started. As such, we created a guide to getting your first job on Upwork and send visitors to that article versus straight to Upwork.
#4. Guest Post
One of my favorite strategies for bringing in new readers is guest posting on other blogs. My goal is to publish two guest posts every month.
This does require some outreach effort. However, it gets easier when you have a prior relationship with someone. This is where it helps to communicate in Facebook Groups, connect through email with other bloggers, and attend industry conferences.
#5. Learn Something New
Blogging courses, such as Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, have provided a lot of value to me over the years. My goal is to get through one new course that will improve my skills each and every month.
As the team behind The Ways To Wealth has grown, I view my role as not so much in the doing itself, but rather in the deciding what to do. So, when I take a course, it’s not that I’m implementing 100% of the things I learn. Moreso, it’s about taking stock of the current opportunities that are available and evaluating what’s worth pursuing.
If you don’t have a budget for this, you can easily do it for free.
A few ideas that would work:
- Search for income reports in your niche, and read the entire archive of a blogger’s reports.
- If you’re trying to learn SEO, read every post on Brian Dean’s highly-respected Backlinko blog.
- Read one article a day on a certain area you’re trying to improve in, such as Pinterest traffic.
These are the habits and routines that have made a difference for growing The Ways To Wealth.
Take time now to identify the things that need to be done on a regular basis for your site, and turn those into habits.
For some, that might be guest posting. For others, a great monthly habit might be sharing your story on a podcast.
The strategies will no question change depending on what your goals are.
But what will not change is the fact that the right habits, done on a regular basis over and over again, produce great results.
Author Bio: R.J. Weiss is the founder and editor of The Ways To Wealth, a Certified Financial Planner™, husband and father of three. He’s spent the last 10+ years writing about personal finance and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, MSN Money, and other publications.
What are your blogging habits?
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