successful blog

We spend a lot of time fielding questions during our Twitter chat, FreshChat about how to make a blog successful. How do you implement a monetization strategy that produces a meaningful income? Flourishing bloggers have put in the time and consistency necessary to build their site into a profitable business. Most of the grunt work is done upfront, causing many to fizzle out before they see the fruits of their labors. Upon a recent request to host a FreshChat about “best practices for setting up a profitable site”, I thought it would be fun (and motivating!) to put together a case study to help us teach others how to build a successful blog.

So, without further adieu, meet our test subject, is my running blog that I started back in 2012. It has seen better days, for sure. Admittedly, I have been one of those bloggers who knew the steps to take but lacked the patience and consistency to see them through. Life changed, that’s all I can say. Laid out below is the current state (and current stats) of Ugly Finish. As you can see, this isn’t a fresh start, but rather a resurrection attempt on a site that’s nearly obsolete. Along with implementing consistent content and social media strategies, we’ll also need to do a little bit of clean up to the content that is currently there. We will document each step and share how it helped us on our journey toward a profitable site.

Why Ugly Finish?

It was important to me from the very beginning to choose a niche for my blog and I researched several options including family organization tips, green living, and travel. Finally, I settled on running. When I started Ugly Finish back in 2012 I had just begun running and was excited to develop a community around that niche market. Running is a fairly inexpensive sport; all you need is a good pair of shoes. Any runner will tell you, that is total crap. Runners spend some serious chip on gear and race fees. I’m convinced this is for the sole purpose of masking how difficult running can actually be. (I’m a slightly bitter and conflicted runner.) At any rate, I was happy to enter a niche that has earning potential through affiliate practices. Queue in the case study and action plan…

Build A Successful Blog Case Study

Each month I’ll post my current stats, next month’s goals, and the action plan I’ll put into place to reach them. I’ll also close the loop with an update on what action steps I accomplished from the previous month’s plan. If you have questions, advice, or encouragement please feel free to comment! I’d love your feedback and support. I’ll catch up with you again next month with an update!

Current Stats & January Goals

Current Stats:

  • Pageviews: 475
  • Unique Visitors: 306
  • Email Subscribers: 2
  • Facebook Page Likes: 68
  • Facebook Page Follows: 66
  • Facebook Group: 21
  • Pinterest Followers: 65
  • Instagram Followers: 58
  • Twitter Followers:120
  • Affiliate Programs: Amazon, Jack Rabbit

January Goals:

  • Pageviews: 1000
  • Unique Visitors: 750
  • Email Subscribers: 100
  • Facebook Page Likes: 150
  • Facebook Page Follows: 100
  • Facebook Group: 50
  • Pinterest Followers: 150
  • Instagram Followers: 150
  • Twitter Followers: Removing Twitter from my focus for now.
  • Paid Placements: 0
  • Apply for 2 Brand Ambassador Programs
  • Affiliate Sales: 1 Amazon Sale (to complete acceptance into their affiliate program)

Action Plan


  • Publish 2 blog posts / week (or 1 blog / 1 vlog combination)
  • Include Amazon affiliate links in one post / week
  • Implement an email incentive
  • Implement a lead generator plugin
  • Send Email Newsletter once / week
  • Upcycle one existing article / week to include Amazon affiliate links


  • Update 2 articles / week using Yoast SEO plugin
  • Update all external links in those articles to “no follow” links
  • Create a Sitemap

Social Media:

  • Promote Upcycled Content
  • Post once daily to Facebook page
    • Go Live once / week
  • Research and test multiple Facebook Ad Audiences
    • Spend Facebook Ad budget of $50.00
  • Post once daily to Facebook group
    • Go Live once / week
  • Post daily to Instagram
    • Implement IG theme
  • Engage daily on Instagram
    • Comment on 10 pictures
    • Follow 5 accounts
  • Pin 3 articles / day on Pinterest
    • Implement pinning schedule through Shareist of existing content
    • Schedule repins of upcycled affiliate content
  • Start a YouTube Channel to record race reviews and product demos
    • Publish 2 videos / month

In the Real World:

  • Attend fun runs and join local running clubs
  • Register for a race
  • Talk about Ugly Finish and pass out stickers (with permission)

Monetization Goals

Affiliate Marketing:

  • Ad Jack Rabbit affiliate banners to website
  • Minimum 1 Amazon Sale
  • Research and apply to 2 ambassador programs
    • Detroit Freepress Marathon
    • Feetures

Influencer Marketing:

  • Apply for any applicable opportunities through the marketplace


  • Publisher ToolKit
  • Shareist
  • Mailchimp
  • SumoMe
  • PicMonkey
  • Yoast SEO Plugin
  • FMTC Disclosure Plugin

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Amy Powell

Amy Powell

Influencer Engagement Specialist at Fresh Press Media
Amy is our Influencer engagement specialist. She'll be in touch when you register in the marketplace with helpful tips to get you started. Amy loves hanging with her hubby and two boys, running, bad karaoke, and purchasing domain names.
Amy Powell

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