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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Reflecting Back on 2017: Year in Review

Reflecting Back on 2017: Year in Review  via  www.productreviewmom.com


Can you believe how quickly 2017 flew by?


2017 was a year of taking a seat back and enjoying the fruits of my labor.  I'm content with where I'm at in my life and accomplished goals rather quickly than I expected.


I told myself, I want to create a space that would give me the freedom to spend more time with my family, so the beginning of my blogging career (2008) I busted my butt to get to a place in my life where I'm at now, living my dreams.




The Good


Again, for the 3rd year in a row, I made over $100,000 with my blog (before taxes and other fees).  However, I will say I did make less than last year, but I'm okay with that.  I'm not the type that gets greedy needing to make all this bunch of money to be happy or feel successful.  As long as I'm making at least $50,000 a year, I'm financially stabled and can continue to provide for my family without needing an outside job.


So, you're wondering, how am I able to make so much with my blog? 😲


Here's the thing, when I first started blogging, I was taken under the wings of Seth Godin, best selling author, entrepreneur, blogger, former dot-com business executive, and his team over at Squidoo (Hubpages bought them out) taught me ways to make money with my writing.


Seth's team showed me the power of storytelling, being authentic, to help draw in my readers.  And the way they taught me to earn money with my writing is through affiliate programs like Amazon and eBay.  So basically, share your story around whatever product or service I'm  promoting.


Currently, I have evergreen posts that earn me money, morning, noon, and night because I'm sharing my personal stories around the services I promote which grabs my reader's interest, instead of sounding like a salesperson.  Also, some of the posts have gone viral which landed me in several national magazines as well.


Speaking of magazines, this year I was featured in another one, First for Women sharing about how I make extra money as a product tester through survey panels.  It's like I've been the Top Go-To Person for that subject because all of my magazine features has been about product testing.


Here's a tip I want to share.  If you're looking into starting a blog or vlog and wish to dominate a niche, blog/vlog about a specific topic and stick to it, so you can become the go-to leader of that topic.  This is what helped me.  I'm consider the niche of reviews on my blog and helping those who are not bloggers become reviewers as well.


But I will say I expanded my blog with other topics, but still focused on my primary niche first before I converted.


Other good things that happened to me this year I was a guest on a couple of podcasts, with two of my awesome blog sisters, Janet and Antionette.  That got me out of my comfort zone, sharing my story live with all of their listeners.  I'm genuinely thankful to them both for having me on their shows and would love to be a guest again.


Blessings upon blessings flowed down on me with giant blogs featuring me and were interviewed.  I must say, although I focused more on my personal life, still I achieved quite a bit.  Also, I'm grateful to work with brands that already fits my lifestyle.



Reflecting Back on 2017:  Year in Review  via  www.productreviewmom.com


The Bad


Now, 2017 didn't go without a hitch; there were some bumps in the road that had me wanted to scream and throw in the towel.


For those that know the blogging world know about Google Adwords, or heard the word before.


Well, back in 2016 after reading Daymond John's book, he mentioned about Facebook ads and Google Adwords to help give your business a boost.  I decided to start doing both Facebook ads and Google Adword ads to build more traffic to my blog.


Daymond's idea worked like a charm with me having my highest payout year to date back in 2016. However, this spring, Google sent me an email stating they had to shut down my ads because ads didn't follow their guidelines.


I called Google Adwords 1-800 number to see what policy I violated.  Google gave me the runaround until finally, I figured the problem out myself after doing a Google search.


Come to find out that Google Adwords does not allow affiliate marketers to create advertisements on Adwords; they consider my blog a bridge website, meaning, if my blog is mainly to get people to go to another site, I can't use Google Adwords.


So, my income took a hit.  That made me so upset, but I put more of my focus on Facebook and Instagram ads.  That seems to be going just okay for me.  We'll see how 2018 will be for me when it comes to creating advertisements.


Another downer of 2017 is Google doing the whole HTTPS update.  My blog is through Blogger.com, and I'm using a custom domain, right now Blogger does not have the option to upgrade my site from HTTP to HTTPS if I have a custom domain, so my blog is showing, "Not Secured"  on Google Chrome which is scaring away my visitors thinking my blog is not trustworthy.  And with that problem, my income took another hit.


I heard Google is working on securing custom domains, but when it happens is yet to be determined.  But rest assured you're safe using my site since I'm not an e-commerce website collecting personal information, so having HTTPS is not needed.  I'll be patiently waiting for the update.


Reflecting Back on 2017: Year in Review  via  www.productreviewmom.com

The Ugly


So, enough with Google problems, I'm having another issue I've been dealing with for the past couple of months.


I'm an affiliate of Escalate Network and been chasing down my payments they owe me for the last three months. 😤 Escalate Network use to be a good network to work with, never having a problem getting paid.  Now, I get the runaround with my affiliate manager who says I'll get paid, but she just doesn't know when.  Needless to say, if I don't receive my money by the end of the year, I'll be taking legal actions.  Don't play me when it comes to my money!


I've contacted their primary phone number which goes to voicemail every time; their mailing address seems bogus, looks like they scammed a lot of affiliates.  That's the downside of being an affiliate marketer, at times a company may go under, and you're out of luck.  Very important to never put all your eggs in one basket in any industry you work in.


There has been a bunch of pettiness going on in the blogging world, and I do not like it at all.  Bloggers talking about one another behind blogger's back, yet smile in their faces like they're friends and what not.


Bloggers are going to PR Reps and bashing other bloggers in hopes to blackball them to build themselves up.


I even found out that someone is running their mouth about me saying I don't even make a lot of money blogging.


Look, I don't have time for the fake high school drama.  I'm all about my business, and a lot of these bloggers need to find them some business to mind, their own!  Stop hating on me because they can't get their blogging life together.  If they would stop bashing and maybe come together with other bloggers, we can all come up together.


Mess like this is precisely why I keep my blogger friendship small.  People that know me know I'm as sweet as can be, always helpful, never charge when they want to pick my brain, but yet we got these Negative Nancy that wants to see me fail.


So, to those who read this and got a problem with me, suck on an egg!  It takes more energy to hate than being supportive.


I know this post is going on and on, but I experienced a lot in 2017.


Reflecting Back on 2017: Year in Review  via  www.productreviewmom.com

2018 Word of the Year


2018, my word is Refocus.  Refocus on what made me enjoy blogging in the first place, sharing my thoughts and opinions.  Also, sharing more of me, and what I'm all about.


I'm starting to get the hang of doing in-the-moment type videos on Instagram, and I'm getting great engagement that way.  That seems to be what's popular in the social media industry, live video.  So, I'll need to start tackling that. 


Question for y'all, what would you like to see more of on this blog?


Thank you, everyone, for your continuous love and support.  Because of you all, you make me continue with this wide open space year after year!



Cheers to 2018!  🍻 See You Next Year!


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7 comments

  1. Bravo! You are awesome! What a great year Lou❤. Keep on doing it big. Thanks for the shout and I enjoyed having you on segment. You are always welcomed!

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    1. Thank you Janet! You're awesome as well. And you had a great year too! I hope in 2018 we can finally meet up, maybe do lunch.

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  2. Ooh wee! YOu've had a great year and I know there are good things to come in the new year. Okay, I didn't realize about the httpsb thing. I'm sure that's effecting me too. Your tips are always so good Lou. I love reviewing stuff too so your reviews are always a hit with me.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks girl! Yes, I know you're on Blogger too and it's affecting both of us. Also, if Google doesn't update HTTPS for Blogger soon, it'll start deranking us on Google searches. I really don't want to move to Wordpress, but if Google doesn't fix custom domains to HTTPS, I may have no choice but to move over.

      I love your reviews too girl! Your photos are so beautiful and you're straight to the point and honest.


      We'll both have a great year in 2018, I'm claiming it!!!

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  3. Wow you’ve had such a great year and it has been so much fun to watch! I hate the cattiness of some bloggers and it’s such a waste of time. Love your word for 2018!

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    1. Thanks girl! Yes, the cattiness has gotten really bad lately, I wish we all can come together as unity and uplift one another, so we can all grow. Hopefully, that will happen in 2018.

      I look forward to your yummy dishes in 2018! Your Instagram always have me drooling. 😋

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  4. Love your blog. I came by to get some tips on how to go about my new blog. Think you can take a peek at mine and tell me what you think? I’m new to the blogger community.
    http://thelifeofnitab.blogspot.com/?m=1

    ReplyDelete