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What it’s really like six months into launching a blog. In this post I share web traffic and social media stats, income, expenses and lessons learned.
Hello and welcome! It’s been over six months now since I launched this blog. The time has flown by. 🙂 I’m going to approach this progress report slightly different than the ones in the past. Starting with a quick review of September’s progress followed by a 6 month overview.
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Review of September Goals
Continue progress reports. Success! Although the next progress report I have scheduled will be for the 9 month, 2016 year-end review. Which will give me some extra time to focus on the holidays. 66 days and counting until Christmas. 🙂
Reach minimum of 4,000 page views. Fail! I was close to reaching 3,000 page views a month in August. However, website issues and pulling back to 1 post per week has decreased my page views in the short-term.
Focus on getting posts done further in advance. In Progress! One post per week has helped with this; however, as I mentioned above less content = less views.
Branch out and network with bloggers outside of the finance niche. In Progress! Engaging with other bloggers on social media primarily.
Grow Twitter followers with advice from Solving Finance & Stefan at the Millennial Budget. In Progress! Check out Stefan’s Twitter Guide: The Fastest Way to Grow Your Twitter Following.
Research social media policies on giveaways. Success! In fact, I’ll link some resources here:
September proved to be another challenging month — losing some of my momentum.
Traffic & Social Media
As I described above, most of my stats have dropped in September and I’ll continue to see a drop into October. If you look at the two big drops at the beginning of September, you can see when I was working through website issues. It was so slow, no one could access it. Check out the lessons learned further down in this post.
But I’m confident that once I ramp back up to 2 posts a week and continue to engage on social media, I can get back to month-over-month growth starting in November.
- E-mail subscribers – 16 (+4)
- Pinterest followers – 415 (+45)
- Facebook page likes – 129 (+6)
- Twitter followers – 339 (+40)
- Instagram followers – 80 (+12)
- Top post this month – Oh So Simple Creamy Cucumber Dip — month after month this continues to be my most viewed post.
Revenue (Cash Basis) – $25 from surveys.
Earnings (Not Yet Paid – Cumulative) – $220.90 ($185 Bluehost – to be paid in October, $11.03 Google Adsense, $10.92 Amazon Associates, $7.65 Surveyspot, $6.30 Opinion Outpost)
*Please note these are online expenses only. Other blogging costs can involve supplies and groceries, etc. Even though I try to work most of my recipe posts into our day-to-day meals.
6 Month Review
It’s amazing what you can learn in six months. The amount of resources available for blogging is overwhelming. For me it still boils down to trial and error.
This chart shows the traffic from when I launched through the end of September. In the very beginning you can see the spikes driven from experimenting with Pinterest ads. And the large spike at the end of July is a freak amount of referral traffic driven by Pinterest. 🙂
- 50 posts published in six months. My posts range from 500 to 1200 words. At an average of 750 words a post that’s close to 38,000 words. Enough to publish an e-book.
- 2 guest posts. I have to give another shout out to Tennille at Two Kids and a Budget & Rob at Money Nomad for the opportunities.
- Over 12,000 page views, close to 5,000 users.
- I’m gaining moment on Pinterest with re-pins and profile follows. Especially in the recipe department.
I compiled a few major lessons learned that I think will help new bloggers. And/or small business owners setting up an online presence.
Website Lessons Learned
In late August and early September I learned first hand why some people are apprehensive about using WordPress. Even though WordPress is a really popular platform especially for bloggers.
WordPress issued update 4.6.1 in late August which in turn made my website load incredibly slow for users. Not to mention made it almost impossible for me to add new posts. I went through and optimized all photos which didn’t fix my issue. Then I deactivated all the plug-ins on my site and it worked. I went through and activated them one by one — and found that my recipe plug-in was conflicting with the new update. I couldn’t find another recipe plug-in that retrieved the data stored in an acceptable format. So the next step was to create the look of recipe cards without any type of plug-in.
Long story short — plug-ins are great tools to add functionality to your website, but they can also cause major issues. So my advice is to use plug-ins from reputable sources who are always updating code to align with WordPress updates.
Google Adsense Tips
Early this month I found some really great tips for optimizing Google Adsense. I’ve seen a substantial increase already in October. We’ll see if the trend continues — I’ll let you know in my 2016 year-end review.
In this chart you can see the activity pick up in the month of October. $4+ dollars is the most I’ve seen in one month. Given at this point in time it’s not a huge deal, but imagine when I’m able to significantly increase my page views.
Here are the tips I’ve found useful.
1) Block ad categories in the “Allow and Block Categories section” based on what you think your readers will be interested in. Pay attention to your earnings % column. For example, if you are earning in a certain category, you may want to avoid blocking it.
2) Last but not least, block low earning ads using the following reference: Increase Adsense Earning by Block 300+ URL-Booster Trick. This website includes a list of URLs to copy/paste in the block URLs section in Google Adsense.
Link Domain Email to Free Gmail Account
I started by linking my domain email to a $5/month Gmail business account. Don’t make this same mistake. 🙂 Link your custom domain email to a free Gmail account. Here is an awesome video tutorial from Bluehost.
Wrapping It Up
My biggest takeaways of my blogging journey so far — don’t let other bloggers fool you on high income reporting, it’s a ton of work and takes a lot of patience. You should really love sharing information and ideas with people. Income is not going to pour in. But it has been fun to prove out some of the online income opportunities!
Thanks for taking the time to check out the latest progress. I hope you find the information useful. In the comments, please let me know your thoughts, questions. Thanks for stopping!
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