Traffic & Income Report August 2020

Hey all and welcome to my August 2020 traffic and income report! This is the 22nd month of my blog (I started it in November 2018).

If you’d like to check out any previous reports (they start from the first month of blogging!) check out my blogging reports section.

This month was mildly disastrous, to say the least. I had a site speed optimization done which improved loading time nicely, and the site index optimised, but traffic has been trending down sharply all month.

I had an unexpected week-long getaway to Paris to visit hubby’s embassy to get some paperwork sorted, spent 6 days remodelling the spare room so it could be a combined office/photography space/bedroom for my son, and put my back out.

All in all, not my most productive month.

I’m hoping the steep and steady traffic decline is just part of the fabled summer slump, but it’s hard to tell as my blog is still relatively new and I don’t have much of an idea of its yearly patterns yet. Plus this year is very much not an ordinary year.

I guess I’ll just have to cross my fingers and wait until September to hopefully see traffic start to pick up!

For now, let’s take a look at the (depressingly low) numbers for August. Scroll on down or use the links below to jump to the sections which interest you.

Posts

Posts this month: 2

Just, eek. Bad. I was planning on shunting a lot of photography work to the end of the month, but then my back went out and that was NOT happening. I did manage to update the photos for three other posts as well though.

The lesson to be learned? Start batch shooting more so I have plenty of photos ready to go if something like that happens again.

Apart from the time I was away, remodelling or injured, I also spent quite a bit of time figuring out errors that were popping up on the site from the optimization, and fixing them.

Here’s hoping that next month with the kids back at school (albeit half-days only, and I have VERY mixed feelings about having them at school now…) I can focus on getting out more content.

Traffic

August 2020 70,453 Page Views (compared to 85,950 last month and 10,441 in August 2019)

Yikes, what a decrease from last month. It’s hard to see from the above graph but traffic was hitting a low (for me) 2.5k visits a day at the start of the month, and had decreased steadily to around 1800 a day by August 27th.

The traffic bump on the 28th that increased traffic for a few days was due to my spicy Indian tomato soup being featured in a Buzzfeed article.

On the face of it, when I looked at the breakdown of my traffic sources, there didn’t seem to be any huge changes.

A few percent up or down, a larger decrease in direct traffic ( I had a big bump from Google Discover last month for my vegetarian feijoada).

But by plotting my big traffic bringers (Google, Direct and Pinterest) I was able to see that it was my Google traffic behind the decline. Worrying, but I’ll have to wait for September to and a return to recipe normality after the summer to hopefully reverse it.

You can plot your traffic sources to quickly see the source of any major number changes by going to Acquisition –> All Traffic –> Source/Medium in Google Analytics. Then just check the boxes to the right of the traffic sources you wish to see in the table and click on the “Plot rows” button (to the left of “Secondary Acquisition”.

Email Subscribers

318 (versus 297 in July)

Operation pull-my-socks-up and organise a new subscription platfrom and exit popup did not happen. Again.

But for a valid reason this time, I’m still sorting out some fallout from the optimization and when everything is stable I’ll then be testing new email subscription options, as I’ll need to look at how they affect the new speedy version of the website.

Collage of four recipes with dark backgrounds and text overlay stating august 2020 traffic & income report 1039.19 dollars
(Pin me to read later!)

Push Notifications

1600 subscribers (versus 1600 in July)

Hmmm… Push notification subscribers have stopped increasing as people continue to sign up but others cancel their subscription.

This means I really need to figure out a way of tracking the traffic from push subscribers to see if the return in traffic is worth the investment of the extra loading and script time it adds to the website.

Unfortunately, in Google Analytics push traffic just seems to get lumped in with direct traffic. But given the declining traffic, this month was not a month for me to remove one of my traffic resources.

Facebook

A nice leap in followers this month as I experimented with throwing some cash at boosting posts I thought would do well. Followers have jumped from 4,065 in July to 4,481 this month.

I’d like to try the website traffic option, although I don’t think it will give a great ROI without a product to sell or a good hook to get people to sign up to your email list.

Pinterest

2200 followers compared to 2,100 in July. Nothing impressive there. My Tailwind queue did actually empty at one point this month so it’s not really surprising to see only slight growth there.

Rich pins also need to be turned back on and tested versus having them off but with all the backend technical changes, that was not happening this month. I’m starting to wonder when would be a good “stable” month to test them at all.

Page views grew only by a touch, the same as the previous month (I’m starting to feel like watching a plant grow might be more satisfying), 21,971 views compared to 21,450 in July.

Instagram

508 followers up from 479 in July

Did I even post on Instagram in July? Not sure. Do I care? No, literally seems to make no difference whatsoever.

In fact, I saw a friend (who has been blogging for ten years and has DREAMY photography and is super active on Instagram) talk about really wanting to break the 10,000 follower barrier so she could get more paid opportunities and unlock other features, and it horrified me.

I mean, she makes a huge effort and has gorgeous photography and TEN YEARS later still isn’t at 10K? No thanks Instagram, no thanks.

Income

August Income : $1039.19 (compared to $1464.01 in July)

Ouch. I was hoping to see 1800 this month. Nope. Bit of a kick in the teeth the month after I give up my job to do this full-time, but then again I did not have much time to devote to blogging this month so somewhat to be expected.

RPMs also dropped heavily, coming down from an average of $17.10 per thousand pageviews in July, to $14.73 ($17.82 for sessions).

This year is just completely uncharted territory and honestly I’m hoping this month is the exception to the rule but hey, it’s 2020 so anything goes!

All income mentioned is the gross amount, not my net income, and doesn’t take into account deductions for tax, social security, accountant, expenses, etc.

Review and Goals

Well, for the review part, all I can say is NOT a good month and hopefully, next month will be better. As for goals, I pretty much did not hit any of my goals that I set in July. I only reshot three instead of six recipes, but I did upskill somewhat by studying more about photography which has already had a big impact on my style.

For September, I’m hoping to:

  • Monitor traffic and if it continues to decline investigate why
  • Reshoot older recipes that do well in fourth quarter
  • Work on batching my photography

One of the goals that I did hit from last month was to start trying out recipe videos. And it went horribly. I actually set fire to cumin in one of my video attempts (who knew it was so flammable?).

It became pretty obvious very fast to me that there is going to be a massive learning curve with video and boy am I starting on the lower end of it.

So I’m going to shift starting proper video to January, so I can concentrate all my efforts on updating and promoting existing content and adding seasonally appropriate content for the rest of 2020. For now, those quick Lumen5 videos will do me just fine.


I hope you found this report useful, it was not a very cheery one this time but hey I guess with the highs come the lows. If you have any questions or would like to see other items included in the next report, holler at me down below in the comments

Stay upbeat and keep blogging!

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