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500 Posts: Living and Sharing My Passion

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500 Posts: Living and Sharing My Passion // Budget Fairy Tale{Image Source: White Rabbit Photo Boutique}

This is my 501st post here on Budget Fairy Tale. I wanted to write something big and meaningful for my 500th post, but the timing called for my New Years post to be shared first, so lucky 501 will have to do.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much I enjoy writing about Disney and weddings and whatever’s happening in my life, and interacting with all of you, and how happy and relaxed I feel now that I’m focusing the majority of my energy on my blogs. I’m also reading Gary Vaynerchuck’s book CRUSH IT! (affiliate link) which also talks about living your passion. Gary talks about how, thanks to the internet, anyone – literally anyone – can make money by sharing their passion, no matter what it is. As a kid obsessed with Disney, and a young adult obsessed with weddings, and an older adult obsessed with Disney Weddings, I never would have imagined in a million years that I could turn that passion into a paycheck. Not that it’s an easy road, because it’s not, but we all have that option if we want it bad enough. And I do.

When I started blogging two and a half years ago, I wasn’t quite sure where I was headed with it. I knew I had a lot of thoughts I wanted to convey, and information about Disneyland weddings I wanted to share. I knew I wanted to keep blogging after the wedding but didn’t quite have a clear picture of what that meant. But I read something on another blog that if you want to start a blog, you should just do it. Don’t wait until everything is perfect. Because a year from now, you’ll wish you started a year ago. So start now. And I’m glad I followed that advice, because if I had waited for my vision to be crystal clear, none of this would be here. I wouldn’t have some of the amazing friends I have now, wouldn’t have experienced Disney Bride meet ups and blogging conferences, and I wouldn’t be as happy as I am.

What I’ve learned from 500 posts

For my 500th post, I want to look back and I want to talk numbers a little bit, because I don’t think enough bloggers do that. My blog isn’t big by any means, but it’s growing pretty much month over month, and that’s what I’m focusing on. The growth. Everyone’s blog grows differently, and this is a glimpse into my path to 500 posts.

500 Posts: Living and Sharing My Passion // Budget Fairy Tale
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When I started my blog, I monetized with Google Ads even though no one was reading it. It was mostly for my own amusement.  After 5 days I earned a penny. I remember sending a screenshot to Mr. BFT and said something about the start of my empire. One day in August, someone actually clicked on one of my ads for the first time and I made 79 cents. By the end of August I had made nearly a dollar. I laughed really hard about it but Mr. BFT said everyone has to start somewhere.  In February 2013, a year and a half after I started blogging, I had finally reached the minimum payment threshold of $100 and was able to cash out my earnings. I know $100 is nothing, and at the time I had made way more than $100 with other types of monetization, but getting that Google check was pretty cool. And to think, if I had waited to monetize until I had a large following like some blogging experts suggest, I wouldn’t have received my first check when I did.

500 Posts: Living and Sharing My Passion // Budget Fairy Tale
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Naturally, the timeline chart of my Google Adsense earnings looks pretty similar to the timeline chart of my monthly visits. There are a couple highlights I want to point out:

  • After 11 months of blogging and growing a respectable following, I had a really nice boost in July 2012 when Gala Darling linked to one of my posts. The day before, I received 64 visits to my blog. On the day she linked, I received 419 visits, and 208 on the next day. It didn’t take long for my traffic to go back to “normal” levels, but boy that was exciting. (I still get a couple hits every month from that post.)
  • In May 2013, a couple of my posts were really popular. The post I wrote about honeymoon planning in Toulon, France ended up getting a ton of traffic and “Toulon France” was my top keyword referral from Google that month. I also wrote about the Sixth Floor Balcony Experience and the new In-Park Disneyland Weddings, and those posts went over very well among the Disneyland brides who follow my blog via social media.
  • In June, the next month, I discovered adding Search Descriptions to the back end of your posts will help your posts show up in Google search results. I started doing this and my traffic soared month after month until November (see below).
  • In July I discovered I could create targeted ads in Google so they showed ads more relevant to your content. My Adsense revenue doubled from the previous month.  This has to do with my traffic climbing, but also more people were clicking on ads (which brings in more money). I cry real, literal tears when I think of all the potential money I could have earned if I did this at the beginning.
  • In November and December 2013, I admit I neglected this blog a little bit while I was setting up and promoting Inspired By Dis, and that neglect is reflected in my numbers and revenue for those two months. A tough lesson!

I’m not sure if any of this is interesting to anyone else, but I sure find it fascinating.

Lessons learned for the next 500 posts

  • My most popular posts are ones that have gone crazy on Pinterest, like my DIY Bridal Gown Hanger and Sexy Disney Halloween Costumes, and Google, like my Honeymoon planning post about Barcelona (“Barcelona” was my second highest Google keyword, even higher than “Disneyland Weddings.” I have no idea why or how though, because when I search Google for “Barcelona” my blog is nowhere to be found). The tough thing is, it’s not easy to predict what will go viral on Pinterest or Google! So basically I just need to keep writing about the things I want to write about, and some of them will stick. Such is the mystery of social networking.
  • I am getting a lot of traffic through my RSS feed, even though I do nothing to promote it. I have had my RSS button in my sidebar since the beginning, but that’s the extent of my efforts. I’m thinking of adding a link to the end of every post, or re-install my Hello Bar to lead people there.
  • I need to do a monthly newsletter. I need to do a monthly newsletter. I need to do a monthly newsletter. (Maybe if I repeat it enough times, it will actually happen?)
  • My “Real Weddings” label is my third top visited page/post. I get it – you like your Real Disneyland Weddings. I do, too. And I really want to feature more of them. So I need you to send them to me.

Reaching my 500th post here feels really weird. I remember so vividly when I first started the blog. I was really excited about it even though I could not have predicted the path I have gone on since then. I hope the next 500 posts (and beyond) continue to inform and entertain you. Thanks for sharing my passion with me.

About Mindy

Mindy Marzec is a life-long Disney fan who grew up in Los Angeles. She started This Fairy Tale Life to share Disneyland travel tips for adults. When not at Disneyland, you can find Mindy at home snuggling with her cats and re-watching Thor: Ragnarok for the billionth time.