In episode 351, Megan chats to Jessica Burgess about how to focus more on doing what is working and select blogging strategies that help us grow.
We cover information about knowing which trends to follow, where you can pay attention to statistics and which are important, knowing when to be flexible and the importance of tracking your income from the very beginning.
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Bio Jessica is a lifestyle blogger with a heavy focus on easy recipes for busy people! After blogging for 11 years, she’s taken what started out as a hobby blog to a level that she had only dreamed about and today you will find Jessica blogging with a TON of passion and sharing the love by helping others grow their blogs too!
- Do more of what’s working.
- Amplify and take advantage of what you see your audience responding to or Google/Pinterest.
- Look at your analytics to help guide you on what’s working and be sure there’s a return on investment where you’re spending time.
- Why do some keywords rank and others aren’t – glean information from your research on selecting keywords and what platform its gaining traction on.
- Each blogger seems to have one platform that does best for them.
- Testing is very important and do it regularly because things are always shifting.
- Give yourself grace – theres only so many hours in the day and you can’t be everywhere.
- Be sure to look at what did well now and last year. It will help you re-share good content on something you might forgot about.
- Pay attention to your RPMs to give you clues on what to share and what to prepare more of as you promote your content.
- Traffic from one platform vs another may not translate into the same RPM’s.
- Pay attention to where you’re spending (all) your money and the ROI but its crucial. Track all the money you’re spending and look at it on paper.
- When you say no to something that isn’t working and not worthwhile, it opens opportunities to other good things.
Click for full script.
EBT_351 – Jessica Burgess
Jessica Burgess: Hi, this is Jessica Burgess from Fantabulosity, and you are listening to the Eat Blog Talk podcast.
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Megan Porta: Hey food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, the podcast for food bloggers looking for the value and confidence that will move the needle forward in their businesses. This episode is sponsored by RankIQ. I’m your host, Megan Porta, and you are listening to episode number 351. I am so happy to have Jessica here with me today. She is going to talk to us about focusing on doing more of what’s working.
Jessica Burgess is a lifestyle blogger with a heavy focus on easy recipes for busy people. After blogging for 11 years, she’s taken what started out as a hobby blog to a level that she had only dreamed about and today you will find Jessica blogging with a ton of passion and sharing the love by helping others grow their blogs as well. Jessica, super excited to have this chat with you today. How are you doing?
Jessica Burgess: Oh, thank you. I am good. I’m so excited to be here. I’ve been looking forward to it for so long.
Megan Porta: Yay. I’m super excited too. But before we get into this awesome topic, we’d love to hear what your fun fact is.
Jessica Burgess: What was funny is I was talking to my husband and I said, I wanna share a fun fact, but what am I gonna say? Then it hit me and I thought, there’s something about me that people look at me and go, you did what? ? I thought, there it is, that’s what I’ll say. So in 2020, my husband and I decided to go on a summer vacation with our two little kiddos to a place that we absolutely love and we just packed our bags for a few months stay, and we never went home. Still to this day, we have never gone back. So our stuff is pretty much still back in our hometown. We shocked everybody completely because we lived in our hometown all of our lives. That’s where we met and we had so many family and friends and. We just never went home.
Megan Porta: Where is this place that you were at?
Jessica Burgess: We’re in Montana, but we actually have a place in Utah too that we go back and forth. Right at this moment I’m sitting in Montana just looking out at the mountains, at the elk and it’s just so peaceful and it’s so hard to leave. So we are here for good, I think.
Megan Porta: That is amazing. I don’t know if you know this, but Montana is our favorite place in the world.
Jessica Burgess: It is?!
Megan Porta: We are in love with it. We go out there every summer for three weeks and I have a dream to someday soon, within the next couple of years, to have a second home out there. So where are you in Montana? I’m curious.
Jessica Burgess: Okay, so we’re about an hour south of Bozeman., In a very small little town.
Megan Porta: Is it near Red Lodge?
Jessica Burgess: I don’t know how far that is from here. This area is known for the Madison River and you’ve probably heard of that, fishing on the Madison and things like that. We have a family friend that has a ranch here. So we’ve been lucky enough to be able to stay here sometimes, and it’s surreal, so I totally get it. So you and I will definitely have to chat about Montana.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. There’s something about Montana that every time I’m there, it just infuses peace into me somehow. I don’t know how to explain it. There’s really no words for it. But when I come back home and I love Minnesota, it’s great. But it’s just not the same.
Jessica Burgess: I know exactly what you mean and I’ve even said the same thing. I’ve done videos because I have a lifestyle blog. So I talk about what we did over the years, and I have a video on it and it’s a very long video of me just going, Y’all, I cannot explain how peaceful it is. It’s just something you can’t understand until you experience it. So I am right there with you.
Megan Porta: Okay, we are gonna have to continue this outside of this conversation, but I would love to connect with you on that because I feel like I get it and, oh, so cool. That is the coolest fun fact ever. So fun. So you’re here to talk about just focusing on doing more of what’s working and there are many ways to do that. There are many aspects of blogging, lots of ways that we run into that don’t work with our businesses. How did you determine that this was a strategy for you, trying to find what was working?
Jessica Burgess: It wasn’t really an epiphany moment or anything like that. It was more so it’s just my personality. I just, I love in, I say real life, bloggings real life, but in my personal life, doing more of what’s working has always been a thing for me. Whether it’s organizing my home or coming up with some kind of schedule for the kids or something like that. It’s just been a natural thing. But what I did was carried it over into my business and that sounds simple, right? But when you are in the blogging world, which I’m sure so many can relate, there are so many shiny objects and there are so many FOMO moments of fear of missing out because you see somebody say something in a Facebook group and it’s Oh my gosh, I have to be over there now. Or, Oh maybe I should change it up cuz that worked for them. I got caught in that in the beginning of feeling like I had to be everywhere, try everything. I guess it just kind of came to me and was just thinking, but I’m already doing really well by doing this, so I’m just gonna do that and see how it goes. I’ve been blogging since 2011. There have been a lot of new shiny objects that have come on the scene, and what I found was if I just just sat and watched for a little bit, to see how things unfolded. I was one, either so grateful that I waited because it would’ve been a waste of time because it didn’t last very long or, I felt more comfortable moving forward with something because other people have found results for that.
Now, I will say that has backfired on me some. I’m not gonna sit here and act that’s a perfect plan because Instagram was one of those things. I was just like, I am not getting on that train. I do not like that. That’s never gonna become anything. Here we are, brands love Instagram these days, and there are so many good things. People do really well on Instagram. So I have to be careful sometimes and go, if I would’ve jumped on the bandwagon of that, maybe I would probably be more successful over there. But then again, I correct it and correct my thoughts and say, but I’m doing good over here, so why discount that?
Megan Porta: You’ve probably saved yourself some energy too, by not focusing on it. Yes, maybe you’ve lost out on some opportunity, but you’ve saved energy that many others have not.
Jessica Burgess: Yeah. That energy, the time, the money. I mean we gotta think about the money too that gets invested, whether it’s hiring people to work for you over here on this side because you hear that it’s good and it may not be something you should have moved on yet, but I think that’s in any business too. It’s what works for me. I feel like I have some students too, in a blogging group that I have, and I’m always telling them, they’ll come in and maybe say something like I saw this in a Facebook group. Do you think we should start doing that? I’ll just say, just give it a minute . Yeah, just give it a minute. Let’s see how it does. Sometimes it does pay off and sometimes it’s okay, yeah go Now it’s working for a lot of people. Let’s do it.
Megan Porta: I will give you the other side to that. So yes, you could say, Oh shoot, I should have gotten on that bandwagon. But there are people like me who did get on it. I wasn’t there right away. I put it off for a little bit, but I’ve put a lot of energy, effort, time, everything into growing Instagram and I haven’t. It just has never worked for me. Which is fine. It’s just not been my platform. So you could have put your effort there and it could have transpired like my situation. So you can look at it that way too. You don’t know how it would’ve panned out basically.
Jessica Burgess: You don’t. So that’s why I think I’m always so passionate about saying, do more of what’s working because you already know what’s working for you. It may not work for somebody else, but it’s working for you, so why not do more of that or focus on that or amplify and take advantage of what’s already working. I think that for me and my story, which of course can look different from so many. I listen to your podcast and I hear you talk about SEO a lot and stuff too. I think about how SEO started working for me years ago, and when I do more of that, it’s really paid off. Maybe something else like Facebook or something like that may take off one day, but it’s like your Instagram and honestly my Instagram. I can put so much work into that and it’s never really worked. The word I can think of is gangbusters for me, those haven’t. Facebook or Instagram. But SEO has. So I keep pouring into that and it keeps paying off. If something changes one day, then we shake it up and we try something else. But yeah, we all have so many things to do in a day, and we only have so much time to do it. So I choose to focus on what’s already working and I really encourage others to do that too.
Megan Porta: Where do we start? So what things can we start looking at to see if it’s working for us?
Jessica Burgess: One thing is I always suggest looking at your real time traffic. What’s funny about that is I just switched over to the G4 Google Analytics. Last week, I just switched over. So that is very new for me. So depending on when somebody’s listening to this podcast, this could very well change. But when I was talking to the person that helps me with technical stuff on my blog, the real time traffic on this new analytics does not look the same as my old one. He said, it’s a totally different reporting thing right now. It’s showing you how much real time traffic is in the last five minutes instead of right in the moment. So it’s gonna take a mind shift or a new learning, I think, strategy to look at that. But when I talk about looking at real time, something I’ve learned over the course of watching that, and I’m not saying I’m addicted to it, right? We can all get addicted to sitting and watching our analytics. But what I’ve learned is when I log into my real time analytics at a certain time of day, I can tell if something’s not right. So with that, I think that’s just a great way to make sure things are on the up and up. Say at four o’clock, if there are not a certain amount of people on, I’m going, wait a minute. My site may be down, or if I see a lot of people on, something took off. I need to find out what happened so I can do more of that. I use real time traffic sometimes if I share something on Facebook. I do a lot of recipes on my lifestyle blog. So if I post a recipe in a Facebook group and I get a lot of people on my blog at that moment, I’m gonna know, Oh, that group is really good. Or, oh, that group really likes that recipe. So I just pay attention. That sounds so simple, I know. But so often we get so lost in the weeds and caught up in everything that we sometimes forget to pay attention to the small things that make a big difference. Paying attention to the little things like that, making note of it and going, Oh, okay, I know that Instant Pot recipe does really well in that group. I’m gonna put a note down because tomorrow I may share another Instant Pot recipe in that group. Just the little things like that,man alive, the traffic can really grow. Or whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish, whether it’s email subscribers or whatever it is, just those little bitty things can really add up.
Megan Porta: That is such a great recommendation. We don’t have to be a slave to it. We can pop in a couple times a day just here and there. We don’t have to sit and stare at it for hours on end.
Jessica Burgess: Yes, exactly. The next thing was just maybe if you’re focusing on SEO and things, If you notice, you start ranking for something in SEO. Granted, things can vary. It can be a different keyword, It can be something that makes it, why is that one ranking but something similar is not. But I think it is important to pay attention to, hey, why did that one rank? Is it because it was something that I didn’t RankIQ? Was it something that I found in Keysearch? Was it the way I formatted it? Was it because, and this is probably very not argumentative, but a topic that gets different people have different opinions about it.
Megan Porta: Controversial. A little bit?
Jessica Burgess: Yeah. Thank you. Good word. So on the topic of authority in Google, right? Some say, Oh, there’s no such thing. Some say, oh no, there’s a difference. If you rank for that topic in Google, maybe Google sees you as an authority. It goes back and forth, but pay attention to those things and test things out. So if I have a recipe that does really well on Google, maybe I’ll use the same kind of ingredient, main ingredient, and try it again. Does that one rank in Google? Maybe it’s the interlinking between the two. Maybe it’s the topic, who really knows. But again, paying attention to those things and testing things out to see if those work.
Megan Porta: There is magic in that. I started doing that about a year ago and it has paid off in dividends. So I had no idea why certain topics were taking off for me. I thought it was because of X and I then learned that it wasn’t. So then I figured out, oh, Google actually likes a totally different aspect of this post. So I started focusing more on that. Now there are certain categories that I write about that take off almost immediately. If I wouldn’t have paid attention to that, I never would’ve figured that out.
Jessica Burgess: Absolutely. I love that. Again, I think we get so distracted sometimes or just, Oh, we just have to get it all happening and going and sometimes if we really pay attention, like what you’re saying, it can really pay off big time.
Megan Porta: Yeah. What do you think about other platforms outside of Google and paying attention there?
Jessica Burgess: So I fully believe that, we touched on Instagram and Facebook already, but there are, I feel like each blogger probably has that one platform that does really well. I have friends that do amazing on Facebook. Mine is okay. It’s nothing to write home about. I have friends that make full-time with just their Instagram. So it can vary for each person. But in this world, the new social media platform that comes out, for instance, TikTok, I cannot get on board with. Who knows maybe one day it’ll happen. But I choose to focus on the social media platform that works for me. Pinterest works for me right now. Facebook kind of works for me. But other platforms just, I don’t see the return on investment. I use that word or that phrase a lot because if there is not a return on investment, then that means I do not wanna make very much. I’m not saying I’m not on it, but I don’t wanna spend a lot of time if there’s not a decent return on investment for that. So I think it’s really important that people pay attention to which social media platform that’s working. What’s sending traffic? You can look in your Google Analytics, you can pay attention to your engagement, your insights and things like that to help you figure that out. Then if something’s already working on one of those platforms, do more of it. Is it a certain recipe that’s doing well on Pinterest or on Facebook in a certain group, maybe try sharing a similar recipe on that or whatever. The testing, I know the topic of this is to do more of what’s working, but I ultimately believe we have to do some testing to figure out what’s working. Look at our stats and look and see what is working before we can know. The FOMO. Everybody feels like they have to be on every single social media platform. I run a successful blog by not doing that. I know I have a lot of friends that have successful blogs by not spending hours and hours on every single platform out there.
Megan Porta: So I know a blogger who just blogs and focuses on SEO. He doesn’t even have accounts on Instagram, Facebook. He’s successful. It’s great. It works for him. I’ve always envied him because of all of the time I wasted. Not to say that, I’m glad I have an Instagram account and I’m glad that I’ve established a Facebook account. I’m not saying that I would’ve done anything different necessarily. I envy that. Just the fact that he doesn’t have to manage that and it’s not even an option. He doesn’t have an account, so it’s like such a relief for him, I imagine. So it is possible to do that.
Jessica Burgess: It is. And I also think that being creative and doing what you love is really important too. So I have some friends that they’ll say to me, Jessica, I don’t get a return on investment through, let’s say Instagram. But I love talking with my community over there. I love doing X or whatever it is. I get that because if we don’t feel creative or fulfilled, which is probably the reason many of us started blogging in the first place, it’ll feel like work, right? So we also need to make sure there’s time for those things that we enjoy doing. So whether it’s a student or a friend, I’ll say keep doing that. You feel fulfilled, you feel creative, and that’s really important. So maybe just throw a link in every now and then.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Sometimes doing the bare minimum on a certain platform is enough and you can get decent traction that way. So like you said earlier, I love this, that you do need to experiment a little bit and play around, see what works, see what doesn’t work. And if something absolutely doesn’t work, cross it off of your mental list. You do not need to go there for a period, like maybe revisit it later. But I love the idea of crossing things off, it gives you permission.I do not need to go there. Doesn’t that feel good when you know that you don’t have to go somewhere?
Jessica Burgess: Absolutely.
Megan Porta: Oh, I love that. Let’s see, what was I gonna ask you about social platforms? I was gonna, Oh, don’t you feel like doing everything on all the platforms just spreads you so thin that you can’t possibly put all of your energy in one place? So it’s really not effective anyway, so I think your strategy is really smart. Pick one or two that are working, put your energies there and let the others fall away because you can’t do everything. You can’t do it all. And you won’t do it effectively if you try.
Jessica Burgess: Oh, I totally agree. It’s really easy. To get overwhelmed. I’ll have conversations with newer bloggers and they’ll say things like, how do you even do this? How do you get all of this done? Because the internet is open 24 hours a day. So that’s a good thing and a bad thing where we can’t sleep at night and we wanna write a blog post, we can, we don’t have to wait for the business to open. To go in and do something, which is nice for the flexibility and the freedom and things like that. But it can overwhelm you if you let it. Oh my gosh. I haven’t been over here today, and maybe I should go over there. Yeah, I completely agree. So we have to put that guard up and go, Okay. Nobody, I don’t know anybody that has more hours in the day than I do. So they’re not doing everything. If it looks like they’re everywhere, they either have a lot of help, or there’s an area in their life that I’m not seeing that’s probably suffering from it. So we have to give ourselves grace.
Megan Porta: Yes, for sure. Oh my gosh, so much grace.
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Megan Porta: There are always people behind the scenes, even if it’s not a VA or social media manager or something like that. There are people helping all of us. We have spouses, we have families to help us clean and do dishes, and there’s always people behind the scenes. I think that’s something that we forget. We just assume that everyone else is succeeding and they’re shining on their own. They’re doing everything. That’s not the case. I think that’s such an important topic, maybe for another discussion, but I just wanted to highlight that a little bit.
Jessica Burgess: Yeah. I’m glad you did.
Megan Porta: Yes. Then something else that I touched on earlier. Pulling out those topics that were working and it required digging. It didn’t just pop out to me one day. I had to dig and figure out why Google was putting certain posts on page one. I didn’t know it, so I dug and figured out that there are certain topics that I’m just, I don’t know, well known for in Google’s eyes. So how do you recommend other people sort through that?
Jessica Burgess: I know we’re talking about Instagram a little bit probably because I have such a bone to pick with it. But it’s one of those things that, to use it as an example, my Instagram account, they do not like my recipes. But Google loves my recipes. So I had to figure out not only okay, what topics do well for me in SEO, I had to figure out which social media platforms preferred which topics. So I know that the majority of us here are probably food bloggers, but my Instagram followers do not like it. They like to watch my life in Montana or maybe how I’m cooking for the ranch hands or something like that, so it ties in. But for so long I kept posting recipes on Instagram. It would just die once I had posted it. Then I would go to the insights and look and see, oh, they really don’t like my recipes over there for some reason. Focus on that. Why put in so much effort? Why not share my life about cooking? So it’s the same kind of thing, but it wasn’t really sending traffic. Then on Facebook, they love my recipes or my newsletters. They love my recipes. And so again, I think it’s digging in. I made this mistake early on. I blanketed, if that’s a good way to say it, my entire blog, thinking that everyone on every social media platform liked everything I did. I had to come to terms with that, that’s not the case, and I’m okay with that. But it was important to segment out and separate who liked what. Then again, looking at that going, Oh, you like this over here. That’s all I’m gonna show you then instead of wasting my time sharing you and trying to force you to like certain things. How do you figure that out? I think we’re very fortunate and lucky to have tools like Google Analytics to tell us what people are looking at on our blogs. Instagram has insights for us and Pinterest has insights and we’re really lucky to be able to have access to those tools to figure it out so we’re just not throwing spaghetti at the wall. So I really recommend looking at it. Time after time my students will say, I had no idea this wasn’t getting any traffic and I have been spending so much time promoting it over there. Or, if we don’t follow up and look into it we may be, again, throwing spaghetti at the wall and just not really moving the needle forward. We’re just trying to get by. But if we can be more strategic about things and figure out who likes what then I have seen exponential growth in focusing on that.
Megan Porta: I love this. I avoided statistics and insights for a really long time. I don’t know why. I try to nail down, like, why did I do that? I really don’t know. I have no answer, but I just did. I avoided it. But once you start digging in, it’s not so scary. It’s not so overwhelming or daunting, and there is a lot of information in those insights. Do you recommend doing this on a regular basis, like weekly or how often do you recommend people do that?
Jessica Burgess: Unfortunately, I’m a stats nerd. But I will say I’m a lot like you and the fact it took me a really long time. I resisted it and I don’t know why either. But I’m a stats nerd now because why? I’ve seen, now that I know what tends to work, I get, for lack of a better term, obsessed with the idea of seeing if it’s still working. So I think it depends on the stat. If it’s real time, I’d look at my real time at least three times a day.
I look at my monthly traffic once a month and see which posts did well. I use RankIQ’s feature of the check rankings. I look at that about once a month and try to figure out what’s doing good, what has maybe gone down in rankings. So I think it depends on what you’re looking at. If it’s Instagram insights, I avoid that like the plague. So that’s once every six months and go, Oh, okay. I really encourage my students and things when it comes to stats. Look at what did well last month because it seems like with Google Analytics in particular, we are often surprised at what did well last month, and it’s so easy to miss that and look at what did well last year during this time. There have been so many times that I was thinking, oh, it’s Labor Day. Oh, it’s not really Christmas. It’s not really that big holiday that should send a lot of traffic. But I’ll notice that the barbecue recipe did well. Oh my gosh, I haven’t thought about that barbecue recipe in forever.
Maybe I should send out a newsletter on that. Just being able to see and using the proof that something did well last year, why wouldn’t it do well this year? Now, of course there are different circumstances I guess, that something may not do as well. Maybe something went viral on Facebook or went viral on Pinterest or something. But a lot of times we can forget because we have so many irons in the fire and it’s so easy to forget about some of the little things that could turn out to be really big things.
Megan Porta: Wow, that was amazing. I loved that. That was gold. Something else you could do if you are wanting to boost Q4 traffic is go back to the previous year Q4 and see what worked then. Because we’ve likely forgotten now that it’s definitely not Q4, but it’s coming upon us here soon. So maybe we could boost those posts or write some similar posts or something like that.
Jessica Burgess: Yeah. And one other thing that I wanna mention is that I know people are with different ad networks and things like that, but paying attention to the RPM is something that I found very interesting. I don’t wanna say super successful because your RPM can fluctuate in things. But sometimes I may not realize that a certain blog post gets a really good RPM. So looking back at what you’re saying last. At quarter four last year, which post had really high RPMs. Is there a reason for that? Is it something to do with the holidays and maybe you can go back and sort and see and come up with a game plan of how to promote those posts? For sure, because who knows, maybe it’ll have a really high RPM again this year.
Megan Porta: That is so great, and I’ve actually started doing this recently. So I’m with Ad Thrive, so I go into my dashboard and once a week I sort by, so I go to, let’s see, RPM by page I think it is, and then I sort highest to lowest. Every week I’m blown away because I have a few that are like $300 RPM. Like what? That’s insane. So what I do is I try to pull a few of those really ridiculously high ones out and update them quickly. So then I have my VA post it on, like she’ll do an idea pin for Pinterest and she’ll do a web story and then we put it in the newsletter. This is an experimentation process. So I don’t know how this is quite going yet, but it’s something I’m experimenting with because I think there might be something to that, but just doing those little experiments like that, even if it’s like a low RPM and you wanna boost it and figure out why it’s low. Just figuring out what’s working, what’s not working. Just creating your own little experiments.
Jessica Burgess: I’m with Mediavine and I asked them a while back, and don’t quote me on this because I don’t remember exactly, but I said something like, Hey, one of my blog posts says it has a $200 RPM or something. Kinda like what you were just saying. Does that really mean I’ll get $200? They did tell me that it can really vary. Sometimes you get some out of whack RPM amounts because of the formula and based on some situations or whatever it may be. Because what I’ve done is like what you said too, I’ll think, Oh my gosh, I’m gonna promote that on Facebook like wildfire today. I’ll do that and then the next day I’ll look at my ad income and go, that wasn’t what it said, it was .
Megan Porta: Yeah. I did ask about it too. Cause I was like, this can’t be right. I think AdThrive’s response was similar. It was like, sometimes it can balance out. If you have really low page views, a high RPM can be the balance. It’s unattainable. But my theory was like, maybe I can promote the heck out of it and then get some juice before the RPM goes down. I think it actually did work with one of my recipes. I had a chocolate bundt cake with raspberries and the RPM was like almost $200. The following week I looked and I did earn quite a bit of revenue from that one after boosting it. So I don’t know. It doesn’t seem to be consistent all the time, but again, experimentation.
Jessica Burgess: Again, it could be one of those things that, Oh, I forgot I even had that blog post or that recipe. So it’s just a nice reminder of, hey, maybe I should show that one some love. Somebody else is, apparently. I also found out that I didn’t realize until gosh recently, that RPMs can differ based on where the traffic comes from. So I would promote and promote on Facebook only to expect way higher add income the next day if something went viral. Then I realized, or I actually found out from Mediavine that maybe I may not make as much for the RPMs from Facebook traffic as I would from Google. So I really started taking that into consideration. It really helped me not be so shocked, I guess, the next day thinking, Oh, I should have made more than that. Oh no, it was Facebook viral traffic, so maybe that’s why it wasn’t what I was expecting or something. So that was really interesting to me. Some people didn’t know that. So that’s something I’ve been trying to keep in mind too and tell my students that’s something really important to keep in mind is we’re doing more of what’s working. To also note, hey, that may not be exactly what we’re thinking we’re gonna get it If it’s not the same RPMs from Google traffic as maybe say Facebook traffic.
Megan Porta: Also from different countries, if you get a lot of traffic from another country, it’s not going to be the same as from the US. So that’s something to keep in mind as well. Something that I discovered recently actually, when I was going through this whole RPM experiment was that if you have certain words in your post that are either alluding to violence or threats or sexual content or alcohol, those can be flagged by advertisers. So those will typically get lower RPMs. So I went through a bunch of my posts that had really low RPMs and I found a few common threads, and it was like, could this be the reason? I reached out to AdThrive and they were like, Yeah, definitely. One of the words was addicting. So that alludes to drug use. So I removed all of those instances and I replaced it with something completely just benign. Then another word that really surprised me was irresistible. All of these words I was. Or something else was like killer, these are killer brownies. That is not good. Do not use killer as a descriptive word. I do that all the time. Or if your lingo is to say, these brownies are the bomb, which I don’t really talk like that, but I know a lot of people do. That’s bad. Take the bomb out. If you have anything, like I have a crack brownies recipe that has super low RPMs. Now I get it. I think I said something there. If I were a crack addict, these would be like, Oh my gosh. So I need to completely rename that post. But I never thought about these things. So I just look at all my written content now with new eyes and know that if you just go make a few tweaks, if it’s not a big deal to you to use a different language, do it because you’re gonna increase your RPMs.
Jessica Burgess: That is such a great tip and something I need to look at when we get off this call.
Megan Porta: Yeah. I mentioned this in one of our Clubhouse rooms that we do on Thursdays, and everyone was like, what? I use that word all the time. It might be worthwhile to try. Not every advertiser is going to flag those words, but enough that it’s going to make a difference. If you make changes across the board, you’re gonna make improvements. So something to mention. Kinda off topic. Sorry about that, but I thought it was very valuable, so worth mentioning.
Jessica Burgess: Absolutely.
Megan Porta: What do you think about seeing what’s working with your money? I know it’s not super fun to talk about tracking money, but tell me your thoughts on that.
Jessica Burgess: Yeah, gosh, talking about finance is one of my least favorite things to do, but everybody has to at some point, right? We have to talk about it. We have to look at it. We can’t ignore it. And so I think that one of the best things that we can do is we can look and see how much is going out. So whether you are paying for something that you really don’t use, maybe you are spending way more each month. Sometimes I buy content for my blog, and so sometimes I may get to the end of the month and say I didn’t realize how much money I spent on buying content this month, and so I’ll go back and look and think, I’m not buying any content next month. It was so easy to comment on something on Facebook, it said, Oh, I’ll take that one and I’ll take that one. Then before I know it, I’m talking to my husband and he’s saying, how much did you spend?
Megan Porta: Yeah. That’s funny. It’s like shopping.
Jessica Burgess: It’s a return on investment typically when you put money into your business and things like that. But if we don’t track it or we don’t pay attention, then I feel like it’s something that could get out of hand. But on a more fun note with finances, I think it’s important to, again, what we’ve been talking about this whole time is to do more of what’s working. I’m someone that typically doesn’t like to spend a lot of money, so it was really hard for me to invest in my business in the beginning. But when I started to see, hey, I can hire this person to help me write a post, or I can hire this person to make a recipe for me, and that frees up my time and then my return on investment makes sense. So paying attention to what you’re spending your money on, is it working? Do you have a return on investment or the opposite: are you spending money on something that’s not working, and is it time to nip it in the butt? So again, it’s not a very fun topic, but I think it could be crucial for the success of a business, as in any business.
Megan Porta: That was a total game changer for me. Once I started tracking everything that came in and everything that went out, completely changed the game for my business. Because I found that I was putting energy toward projects that were delivering very little return. I was like, Whoa. Really alarming to see that and sad but then I knew it was like, I was aware and then you can move forward and make changes. I completely dropped some streams of revenue from my business because of that. Because I was like that’s silly. Why was I holding onto that one? But in your mind, somehow you think, Oh, it’s gonna be worth it. It’s gonna change, or, I’m doing great with this. But when you have it on a spreadsheet or on paper, It’s so revealing. If you are listening and you’re not tracking what’s coming in and what’s going out, that is going to be a huge game changer for your business. I strongly encourage everyone to do that. Even if you’re making $200 a month and you’re spending $20 a month, whatever it is. Don’t you think so, Jessica? That is so vital.
Jessica Burgess: Oh, absolutely. I also think it goes to, kinda like what you were saying, tracking maybe some projects you were working on. Let’s think about affiliates. I can’t tell you how much time I have spent trying to share a week full of outfits or something on my Instagram from the lifestyle portion of my blog. Then I got the reports back and I made 60 cents and I thought I just spent $200 on dresses for affiliate revenue and that did not pay off. So now I strictly do it just for creativity and because I love sharing things like that. Sometimes we think, I should spend an hour writing a post on this because of the potential of affiliate income. Let’s hold on. Let’s see what type of product makes better affiliate income? Is it this or is it that? So really paying attention to how much you’re making for a certain type of product or whatever it is. Whether it’s creating a product to sell, like what you were saying, or maybe trying to make affiliate income, or maybe it’s what you said too of a certain post may not have a very high RPM because of a certain reason. Here we are trying to hit our heads up against the wall trying to promote it and make money with it, but we have to really figure out, is money coming in for it? Let alone what money is going out in our business, what money is actually coming in and why. Do we need to change some things with that?
Megan Porta: Versus how much energy are you spending? One of my things that I thought of was when I did this, when I started tracking, I had done a few cooking classes, so I don’t know, an hour and a half long cooking class. I literally spent the entire day leading up to it, working on this. Prepping, getting my kitchen clean, getting everything ready, making sure the ingredients, grocery shopping, chopping, whatever. It was so much work, and so when I saw in paper that I made like $40 on this venture, I was like, Oh, wow. Compared to the time that I put into it, it was really frustrating. It was humbling. Okay, I need to stop. So I immediately stopped doing those. So just things like that where you know, they drain you, the projects or whatever you’re doing is like draining or you are spending so much energy on and you’re not getting a return. Those are the ones you have to remove from your life and say no to.
Jessica Burgess: Yes, it can be hard. It can be very hard.
Megan Porta: But when you do that, I find that new opportunities and projects come in.
Jessica Burgess: You’re right.
Megan Porta: Allows that other window to open so that you actually have opportunity for new things that serve you better.
Jessica Burgess: I totally agree.
Megan Porta: Okay. What else do we have, Jessica? Is there anything else that we need to pay attention to? Anything at all on the whole spectrum of blogging?
Jessica Burgess: I don’t think so. Of course I feel like you and I could talk for hours, talk blogging. Everybody’s blog can be different, whether it’s the type of food they’re blogging about or just the topic in general. But I truly think that doing more of what’s working even though it may look different from you than it does your best blogging friend, just try to, I hate to say keep your head down because I think it is important to look and see what everybody is doing, but just to remember and to pay attention to. What is working and doesn’t it make sense to focus, whether it’s your, think about your personal life, right? So if you wanna improve your marriage or if you wanna improve your health, when you focus on it, it can flourish. I think it’s not any different for your blog and your business. Do more of what’s working, focus on what is working already and amplify that and why not? If it’s already working, it can benefit you more. Why spread yourself too thin, using your words, trying to be everywhere at once. So I think that’s just my biggest takeaway from that.
Megan Porta: Jessica, you dropped some massive gems and now that we talked about bombs, I’m gonna say , you dropped some massive bombs, but seriously, some of the stuff you said is just so novel, ands I think words that we haven’t spoken on this podcast. So appreciate your time. This was an amazing conversation. I absolutely loved it. Thank you for being here.
Jessica Burgess: Thank you.
Megan Porta: Do you have a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with today?
Jessica Burgess: Yeah. I don’t think it’s necessarily a quote, but again, it goes hand in hand with just my process of thinking, but something I always encourage others to think about, thinking about baby steps. Again, we can be so overwhelmed in the blogging and online world that sometimes we feel like we have to get it done immediately or we have to work on all the things. But I have found that when we focus on the baby steps, it can really lead to big accomplishments, whether it’s writing one sentence on a blog post and saving it and putting it away for later when you feel more energized to write it or whatever it may be. It’s okay. Not everything has to be done at once. We don’t have to learn everything at once, but focusing on the small things can really add up to big wins.
Megan Porta: You and I have a lot of similarities. I strongly believe in that as well, so I love that we ended this way. We’ll put together a show notes page for you, Jessica. If anyone wants to go look at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/fantabulosity. Okay. I love the name of your blog. Tell me how you came up with that.
Jessica Burgess: Oh, it’s so embarrassing. , not really, but gosh, back years ago. I think everybody in the blogging world probably knows You sit down, you’re like, that’s gonna be the name. Know it. Then you go to buy the domain and somebody already has it, and you’re crushed. You had your heart set on it. So after many moments of that, of beating my head up against the wall going, everybody has the name I want, I thought, what are some words I always say? So I always said, fabulous. I always said fantabulous and fabulosity and all these things. I thought, I’m just gonna make up my own words. So I know nobody has that domain. So I did it one day. I just did some chicken scratch on a piece of paper and I said, Hey, that kind of flows. Gosh, however many years I’ve been blogging, now people say, What does that even mean? I don’t know.
Megan Porta: I don’t know. But it works.
Jessica Burgess: It works.
Megan Porta: There is a ring to it. It’s catchy. I really like it. I had that domain that I wanted so badly too. Yummilicious was mine. I really wanted it. It was like, it came to me one day and I was like, Okay, if that domain is taken, I’m gonna be so sad. So I actually contacted the person who owned it. They were like, Yeah, for $2,500 or something ridiculous at the time. I was like, there is no way I’m paying you the money, but good to know. Okay, so tell everyone where they can find you beyond your blog. So social media, cetera.
Jessica Burgess: Yeah, you can really find me under Fantabulosity pretty much everywhere. The good thing about coming up with a random name is, if you start typing it in, usually there’s not a lot of people out there. So yeah, you can find me on any of the social media platforms and I’d love to chat with you. Thank you.
Megan Porta: Your name isn’t more random than mine. Pip and Ebby. That’s way less descriptive. People are like, What is a Pip and an Ebby?
Jessica Burgess: Love that too.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Thanks again, Jessica, for being here so much, and thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. Please share this episode with a friend who would benefit from tuning in. I will see you next time.
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