Welcome to my second traffic and income report, covering February, March and April 2019. Still no income to report, but there will be in the future so I’m sticking with the name anyway…
To quickly recap, I’m writing these reports because when I first considered starting up a blog and doing some research, traffic and income reports were a crucial part of my decision to start one.
I devoured any I could find and was particularly partial to Pinch of Yum’s reports. It was so inspiring to see that having a successful blog wasn’t a crazy pipe dream, but a very achievable aim if you put the work in, (and oh man is it a lot of work).
The only issue for me was that current blog reports are thin on the ground and that many start from a year or two into that blogger’s blogging journey. Hence me tracking my successes and failures from the start. Let’s get straight into the nitty-gritty.
13 posts! Not great considering I’m supposed to be getting two out a week so this number should have been more like 24. However I have decided to cut back on my posting and aim for one a week minimum, two only if possible, due to time constraints.
As I work full-time and am a mum to two young kids, I’m prioritizing spending some time with my family over getting that second post up. It also doesn’t help that as I’m still a new blogger, I have a ton of things to learn and need time to research and learn as well. The breakdown of my posts over this quarter is as follows:
- February – 3 posts
- March – 7 posts
- April – 3 posts
Obviously March was a good month but February and April not so much on the post-producing front. I had plenty of time in April with the Easter holidays, but a friend was over and I was also focusing on auditing the website, updating my theme, and having my logo redesigned (did you notice? I love it!), and of course then I had to get sick…
I have not fixed everything I discovered in the audit yet, but little by little I’ll get there.
- February: Page Views 1304
- March: Page Views 4179
- April: Page Views 3742
- Average Monthly Views: 3075
Drumroll….Traffic doubled in this quarter when compared to the previous one (9225 page views compared to 4808). It’s still not where I would like it to be, but if it doubled every quarter I would be ecstatic!
Traffic dipped a little in February compared to previous month’s levels but shot up in March when two of my posts became extremely popular and were shared a lot on Facebook and Pinterest (chickpea curry and potato pizza).
There was an unfortunate hiccup on the 15th of April where for 24 hours after I updated my theme I didn’t notice that my Google analytics code had been deleted and I was therefore no longer receiving any info on my traffic…
I seriously also didn’t notice for a month that my breadcrumbs had disappeared in the same update, and it’s on my list of things to fix this week (hopefully).
Traffic sources have also changed quite a bit as I have not been submitting as regularly as before to recipe websites, and have been focusing much more on perfecting my Pinterest.
I’m still very much seeing the Google sandbox effect although Google traffic is up a lot, and I’m hoping that as I sit here writing this at the beginning of May (month 7), that by the end of this month Google and I will have a closer relationship.
Other bloggers have reported a massive change in Google referral traffic from months 6 or 7, so it’s not an entirely unfounded hope…
Subscribers continue to go pretty badly…Since I fixed the whole Mailchimp issue and started a new subscriber list, I have gotten a total of 5 subscribers, just one more than in the last quarter. I need both a lead-in/giveaway product to attract subscribers, and a pop-up box to make it more visible, and I’ve known this for a while.
The trouble is that a giveaway or lead-in bonus for signing up takes time to make, which I’m a little short on right now. I have attempted to introduce a pop-up box but could not get my head around the coding. This definitely needs to be resolved over this quarter though, I hear every other blogger tell me that the money is in the list.
If the Google algorithm changed tomorrow or Facebook blacklisted your website for whatever reason, you would still have your list – nobody can touch that or take it away from you.
Growth on Facebook has been steady and more successful than my terrible subscriber numbers. I’m up from 127 followers last quarter to 271 this one. I have been sharing recipes on a few Facebook groups, but know I need to join more and study up on how to get the full benefit of Facebook as a tool for growing my blog.
On the face of it, it may seem like not much has changed with my Pinterest account but boy has it. Last quarter I had 64 followers and 42.4k monthly unique viewers.
This quarter my followers rose to 169 and my monthly unique viewers have hit 237.2k. If you look at the traffic section above you’ll see that Pinterest is now responsible for a massive 39.8% of all people who arrive at my website.
This is great news as Pinterest was the one social media area I had been focusing on this quarter. I read everything I could find on the web about how to increase views and improve strategy and there were two main tactics responsible for the increase in traffic.
- I began pinning more consistently and more often, around 30 pins a day, pinning to my most relevant board first and then to my anchor board and other boards.
- I used the free trial of tailwind and joined five tribes and began scheduling my posts and submitting pins to my tribes.
I cannot recommend Tailwind highly enough. It frees up so much time for me, and the tribes feature gets my content in front of other bloggers in my niche who have audiences that are more likely to gravitate towards my content.
There is a free trial where you get 100 pins, so you really have nothing to lose by trying it out. I’ve honestly never heard of any blogger trying it out and NOT ending up paying for it, it’s THAT good.
I started using it in March and made the decision to upgrade to the paid version in April. You can either choose to pay for the year ahead or pay monthly, which is useful when you haven’t got any money coming in from your blog yet, and you don’t really feel like you can justify a big outlay.
I think I pay around $15-16 dollars a month, which is my only financial monthly spend on the blog apart from ingredients and Adobe (Photoshop is a must, it only costs $9.99 a month). You can check out Tailwind’s pricing (no, I’m not an affiliate – yet) and sign up for a trial, but it’s definitely something I wish I had gotten from the start of my Pinterest efforts.
My second poorly performing section. I have very little interest in Instagram, and it shows. I just can’t stand the whole follow-unfollow thing and incessant messages from businesses offering me ten percent off necklaces… I finished the quarter with 124 followers, up from 87 three months before.
Not great. Instagram is a poor traffic referrer (although some bloggers have managed to get quite a bit of traffic from stories) but it is important for growing your brand and getting partnerships like sponsored posts etc. I aim to have finished perfecting my Pinterest strategy in May, and will then move onto improving another area of social media.
Although my heart wants this to be Facebook, my head thinks it should be Instagram (it’s just embarrassing at this stage that my teenage stepson has more followers than me), and that Instagram won’t be as hard to figure out as it’s not so dependent on other people sharing my content.
Only time will tell, click back in three months where I’ll share what strategies I used and the results.
In the previous blog traffic and (no) income report, I set several goals to hit during this quarter. Did I hit them? Kind of. Some. These were the goals:
- Getting fully up to speed with Pinterest and making pins for every post.
- Working on growing a subscriber list.
- Scrapping the large picture at the top of the blog for a smaller logo.
- Redesigning the site a little (colours, fonts, etc.).
- Increasing site speed.
- Auditing my site using Screaming Frog.
- Photography photography photography.
I’m not fully up to speed with Pinterest yet – I have actually just bought the She Approach to Pinterest eBook, after seeing a lot of glowing reviews about it. It’s also recent and up-to-date which I’ve seen can be an issue with books and courses as you end up paying for a product which is no longer relevant.
I figured I didn’t have hundreds of dollars to drop on a course, but that I was probably still missing out on some important stuff, and wanted to put my Pinterest research to bed so I could focus on another area of my social media strategy. I’ll report back next quarter on the book and its effect.
I obviously didn’t work on growing my subscriber list, and I still need to work on my photography – I even know where to go as every blogger points to the Bite Shot Youtube channel. I did get around to upgrading my logo and did some minor site redesign (still need to do more), audited the site, and made a few changes to increase site speed (lazy loading, etc.).
Therefore my goals for quarter 3 (May – July) are:
- Double my traffic again (hey, why not?). This means that page views for the entire quarter will need to hit 18450, or 6150 a month. I think this is do-able. Wish me luck!
- Finish the She Approach to Pinterest in May and implement everything I learn from it.
- At least figure out how to have a subscriber pop up, for Pete’s sake, if I can’t come up with a subscriber list “hook”.
- Tweak font and colors a little more on the site.
- Work through my list of areas to fix from the audit.
- Increase site speed even more (although fixing issues seen in the audit will also do this).
- Start working my way through the Bite Shot videos.
Here are a few of the websites that have current income and traffic reports and are on my reading list at the moment. They all have current reports, which are invaluable. The blogging landscape changes so much and so quickly that reports from 2015 and before are no longer really relevant, so the fresher the better.
I see a lot of chat about this on blogging platforms and everyone agrees that the golden days of the pinch of yum era are gone when you could easily get page-views. However, back in the day monetizing your page views was much harder than is now, so there is a plus side.
- Recipe This – I love these guys because like me they are expats, in southern Portugal instead of in central Spain where I am but hey, the similarities! We could be blogging twins!
- Salted Mint – A trained chef with Michelin experience and the most BEAUTIFUL photos I have ever seen.
- Elizabeth Chloe – A newbie like me, I started in November 2018 while Elizabeth started in July 2018 and her reports cover each month from January 2019 onward.
- Went Here 8 This – This blog was started in 2016 and still publishes current reports.
That’s all folks! Thank you for reading my report, please let me know if you’d like anything added to future ones or have a question, in the comments below. Happy blogging!