Analytics feedback is a powerful way to determine what’s working and what’s not working with your content creation.
See how I chose what to publish on my woodworking blog and how analytics has helped me revamp my content calendar and blog focus.
Enjoying this series?
It’s all about how I’m turning a hobby site into a money-making blog.
See all the posts in order
Listen to the Podcast
My Original Plan
When I flipped Heartwood Art from a site about carving to a woodworking site, I had high hopes for it to be a real money-making side gig to BlogAid.
If you’ve been following this series, you know that I did a LOT of content research prior to even buying my woodworking tools and setting up shop.
My plan was to document the building of that shop, including multiple workbenches, tool and lumber storage, and more.
And then I planned to document all of the things I was going to build for my new house.
Evergreen Content is King
The hope was that all of that evergreen content would put me more in touch with the bulk of what my clients do in their online world.
They are foodie, craft, and lifestyle bloggers whose content is evergreen and even seasonal.
This evergreen content site is truly another world compared to BlogAid where nearly every piece of content has an expiration date because site tech changes so frequently.
Building Content Silos
Another content and SEO tactic I wanted to try with the woodworking site, that I could not do well on BlogAid, was to build content silos.
I had 3 types of silos in mind.
- The smallest silo would be to take one build and split it up into a series of posts and videos.
- The medium silo would be to have a page with each series on it to point all of the related posts to.
- The largest silo would be to have a page of builds that all point to those individual build series pages.
Video, Video, Video
One of my most ambitious plans with this site was to make a video for every post.
The plan was for it to be my proving ground that video, and its unique SEO, garners more eyeballs and traffic to your site and helps it rank higher.
Because the content on BlogAid is so transitory, it has never done well on Pinterest.
But, because woodworking is evergreen, and very visual, I thought my woodworking site might give me the chance to play the Pinterest game and finally see what everyone raves about with the traffic from it. I have yet to dive into Pinterest deeply, and from what I can tell, that bubble has been popping all year and I may have already missed the party.
I also joined several woodworking Facebook groups which gave me a whole list of frequently asked questions that I could create content for as in-depth answers.
And then, of course, evergreen content does very well on YouTube. And videos also do well in Google Search, as it features YouTube videos on page one.
That was the plan.
Here’s the reality of what I’ve learned.
The Time Investment is Insane
Y’all didn’t tell me that these build posts would take 20 hours to do!!!
I gained a whole new respect for the time investment my clients have in their blogs, especially those who keep to a schedule of at least one post a week.
I also learned that I couldn’t work on this side-gig nearly as much as I wanted to because of that time investment.
And that put me more in touch with beginner bloggers who have the mindset about the site not making money yet, so they can’t justify spending time and money on it.
I don’t have that mindset, but I can see it from here!!!
Bigger Content Silos Work Better
I chose to split my builds into a series of smaller posts for 4 reasons:
- More titles = bigger keyword footprint
- Shorter videos = better view times on YouTube
- Posts series, especially with videos = longer time on site
- Focused topics = more posts to share
And the content silo pages for those builds are well visited because of the series too.
Plus, they get clicked like crazy on my tip top silo that has all of the builds.
Smaller Silos are Not Worth It
Y’all know that I do in-depth training here on BlogAid. That’s why you love my tutorials so much.
Well, I took that same attitude with my woodworking builds, as so many of the ones I saw during my initial research left out too much detail of how to do things.
I was shooting for the beginner woodworker folks and intended to share all of the details as a way to set me apart.
That plan backfired with the smaller builds.
They simply don’t deserve a series of posts.
And too much info just bores the audience.
More than anything, those builds don’t deserve the extreme time investment on my part to make the tutorial.
That’s especially true with the way I storyboarded the videos.
I learned real fast that it’s better to shoot in silence and do a voiceover instead of explaining what I was doing as I made the video.
With the silent videos, I could speed up the playback time to shorten the video.
And now I’m storyboarding for an all-in-one and done video that is still under 5 minutes instead of 3 videos at 5 minutes each.
It just takes way too much time to produce multiple videos for a single, small build.
Because of the extreme time investment on the blogging side, I’m actually 3 builds ahead of what I’ve been able to find time to post.
And I’ve totally lost all the enthusiasm for those prior builds at this point.
So, I need to shorten up the video and blogging process so that I can post as I build.
Share a Concept Instead
What else I came to understand is that most woodworkers just need a concept, not minutiae details.
Each builder is going to customize the piece to their needs and ways of working that make the most sense to them.
So, now I know why other bloggers leave out so much – and that it’s okay to do so.
Low Search Keywords are the Bomb!!
It turns out that hardly anybody in the woodworking niche talks about that topic.
So, I’m getting all of the search results for it.
And once folks find me via that search, they subscribe to my YouTube channel and then jump all over my site too.
YouTube Stats are Blowing Up
Heartwood Art is far outpacing BlogAid on YouTube.
I get at least one new subscriber a day – and while that doesn’t sound like much – it’s on just 20 videos, and I have barely even posted to YouTube the last half of this year.
And, it has been my proving ground that video SEO does indeed work.
Because the info I share on the BlogAid YouTube channel is so time dependent, I just have a flash of viewership there – especially on videos like What’s New in WordPress 5.5 and such. And then it’s over in about a week and that video sits on my channel and does nothing for me other than bring down my watch time stats throughout next year. That’s because the way YT stats work is across all of your videos.
And if I remove those videos, then YT punishes me for that too, as it looks like I’m gaming the system.
So, for my upcoming Video SEO course, I’ll be using the evergreen content on Heartwood Art as my proof that it works.
And that meets one of my big goals for this woodworking site.
Avoid Saturated Niches
The individual posts from my bigger builds are doing very well for traffic when I use them to answer questions in Facebook groups.
I can also see a spike in YouTube subscriptions, Instagram followers, and email sign ups when I share in those groups too.
But, the bigger topic of how to build a workbench is super saturated everywhere. And I’m not ranking for that at all.
So, it doesn’t really help me to continue trying to compete with a series of posts on a big build where there are literally thousands of others doing the same.
Shop Tips from an Old Lady
I’m still going to document my shop builds. But, I’m not going to do them as a series, or at least do them as a shorter series.
What I am going to focus on more are individual shop tips, like how to use certain tools.
That is where my awesome teacher skills can really shine.
I have positioned myself between the pretty young lady woodworkers and the bubba contractors.
My down-to-earth delivery, and my accent, and my overalls that y’all love so much, work well for me with this type of instruction video for beginners.
That persona works extremely well for women woodworkers who are intimidated by the other personas teaching this same thing.
So, I’m shooting for a specific avatar that will vibe with who I am and what I have to offer them.
Shop tips are super focused and might do well, we’ll see, as that’s a crowded niche thing too.
But I want to try and then see what the analytics tell me.
I have just begun to scratch the surface of making seasonal builds.
My first one was jumping on a hot trend for 2020 with wooden jack o’lanterns.
It’s a scrap wood project that is insanely easy to make, and fun to do with the kids.
So, that one project has a lot of marketing angles I can go after.
Christmas decor is the same way. But it also has opportunities for a broader content silo that requires intermediate woodworker skills too.
So, my plan is to make a focused tutorial on that skill that I can then reference in the build post.
Building jigs to help make these things is another angle I can take, as it is also an intermediate skill level.
It’s just all part of me documenting my journey as I learn woodworking too.
And this way of doing it expands my audience.
Show Me the Money
I could have just run Heartwood Art as a hobby site. But I wanted to prove that I could make money with it.
I set up Amazon links for the woodworking tools and supplies I use.
And it has been very interesting to see what folks buy. I’m delighted that for the most part, they do buy woodworking related stuff.
That tells me that I am hitting my target audience and that they do spend money.
I want to expand my options with that to also include affiliate links from Home Depot, as they are crazy focused on competing with Amazon now and are offering options for either same day home delivery or store pickup same day. That’s going to be very appealing to woodworkers who are excited to get started on the project I just inspired them to create.
The Bigger Money
Right now I make about $10-12/mo with Amazon affiliate links.
But the real money from this woodworking site is indirect.
Because of what I’ve learned by doing it, I’m more in touch with my BlogAid clients and their needs.
During the theme revamp, I flipped Heartwood Art to Gutenberg. That gave me everything I needed for examples in my Gutenberg Ninja course to show folks how they could build their whole site and all of the unique landing pages for it, plus how to make the most of Reusable Blocks and other advanced features.
And now that I have more builds, Gutenberg is going to make is so very easy for me to change my home page from a focus on blog posts to a focus on types of builds instead.
I also now have the proving ground for how content silos work. And I was able to add that workshop to my DIY SEO course.
And now I also have all of the data I need for the upcoming Video SEO course to prove that it works too.
Right now those courses are mainly purchased by my site audit clients.
But, I’ve been pivoting BlogAid in 2020 to start regarding my courses as individual niche sites and I’m finally putting the marketing money into it with ads to drive cold traffic well beyond the reach of what BlogAid normally focuses on.
So, while affiliate marketing isn’t making me much money from the woodworking site directly, my other products and services are most definitely making me more money indirectly.
Has it Been Worth Doing?
Without a doubt!!!!
Besides the changes I’ve already mentioned, I need to make a few more tweaks with how I run Heartwood Art.
My ultimate money-making goal with it is to do massive artwork pieces that sell for $2000-$3000.
What I’ve been doing with the site is documenting building out my workshop and learning the tools and techniques I need to make those big art pieces. I was an internationally recognized carver, not a woodworker. I still have a lot to learn.
And I need things for my house still, like bookcases and night stands and a raised dog bowl feeder for Zak.
So, I’m going to use those projects to continue improving my woodworking skills and creating nice evergreen content for the site.
But what I need more than anything is more time in my shop. It’s a major stress reliever and an amazingly good outlet for my creativity. I dream it, plan it, build it, teach it.
By shortening up the time I spend on posts, I hope to have more time in the shop building new things, and less time at my desk creating posts. After all the hours I spend at my desk with BlogAid, there’s a real limit on how much more after-hours time I can even do that.
I’ll Keep You Posted
I also want to report on my progress with this journey more often too.
I know many of you have been following this series with great interest.
Let’s hope more, shorter builds equate to more posts and videos.
And we’ll see what being more consistent with publishing on that site turns into.