Income & Traffic Report Feb 2020

Hey all and welcome to my traffic and income report for the 16th month of my blog! Unlike with some other income and traffic reports, I began reporting on my blog’s progress from the first month (November 2018).

Previously I did quarterly reports as there wasn’t that much to report. But I increased my traffic enough to qualify for Mediavine (an advertisement network with a prerequisite of 25,000 sessions to join) in late November 2019.

I kept the quarterly format for November, December, and January, and am now making the switch to a monthly format. You can find links to my previous reports, in order from the oldest to most recent, below.

Below you’ll find the navigation to all the sections of this report, don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you feel like there’s something I left out that you’d like to see in future reports!

Why I do these reports

I started this blog in November 2018, a few months after starting a job as a content editor. Learning about SEO on the job had made me realize that anyone could do it, and had demystified the success of blogs to me.

I also really wanted a sidestream of passive income. I loved cooking and writing, so a food blog seemed like a natural fit. I spent all of September 2018 scouring income and traffic reports to see how feasible making money from a blog could be.

I discovered that not only was it feasible, but you could also actually make really good money from it. Also, that in no way was having a successful blog like playing the lottery – if you did your research and dedicated yourself to it, success would pretty much be assured.

In October I then started prepping for launching the blog in November, and the rest is history!

One thing that did frustrate me was getting an idea of what growth could look like, as well as initial earnings. This was because a lot of bloggers don’t start traffic and income reports until they are already earning substantially, usually a few years into their blogging journey.

So I decided to start my reports from the beginning, so others could learn from my mistakes and see what growth and income potential there is in a blog. Also because maybe, just maybe, it might inspire some people to start blogs or if they were on the verge of throwing in the towel, to keep going.

(Also because that’s what Pinch of Yum did with their reports from the start, which pretty much inspired a LEGION of bloggers!)

Posts

Posts this month: 6

This is much better than previous months (in January I only managed 4), although not quite near the 8 I was hoping for. I got out 4 new posts, and 2 overhauls of some terrible older posts.

Yay! Now to try and hit 8 posts in March. I’m settling into a groove of getting one new post and one older updated post out each week.

As my site is still quite new, it might be a better idea to just push out new content but a) I just don’t have the time for two new posts each week and b) those older posts are just embarrassing and are sucking domain authority from the site.

Traffic

February 2020 Page Views 37,984 (compared to 1,304 in February 2019)

This month I only made a slight gain on my January traffic (37,752) which was a little disappointing. On the bright side, at least my traffic didn’t decrease and when comparing it to last year, WOW!

Traffic sources stayed pretty steady with an increase in Pinterest traffic. This is an area I’m really starting to put a lot of effort into so I’m happy with that increase. Less so with Facebook, which I have also been working quite a bit on and not seen much traffic gains in.

Subscribers

182 (versus 171 in January)

Ah subscribers. This month sucked. As I pointed out in my last report, I’ve seen a big slowdown in subscribers ever since I had to get rid of my MailChimp subscriber popup.

While ConvertKit has one that is compatible with Mediavine ads, I’m not near the stage yet where I’m willing/able to shell out a few hundred a year for my mailing list.

However, I did read an interesting titbit on the Food Bloggers Central Facebook page (if you’re a food blogger and you’re not in it, join now, you NEED to be there!) regarding push subscribers used by a well-known successful blogger.

So I jumped on board and signed up on the evening of the 27th, and in just 2.5 days I got 27 subscribers, so it’ll be really interesting to see how that grows. I’m using the free plan with One Signal if you’re interested in trying out push notifications.

Pin me! Sharing is caring…

Facebook

This quarter followers increased to 1979, up from 1522 last month. I’m pretty happy with that growth as I’ve been making more of an effort on my Facebook page, and I’m DYING to see what happens after 2000.

This is because I’ve heard from some other bloggers that their reach really increased after 2000, so I’ll be eagerly watching my reach growth in March.

I tried out using a free scheduling tool (Later) for Facebook and Instagram both in February, but honestly, it seemed more effort than it’s worth right now. Maybe the paid version is better?

So I’ve gone back to manual scheduling and it’s serving me fine for now. I try to get out a post on my page every day and share a post to five Facebook groups. To this end, I made a spreadsheet so I could better keep track of my scheduling, and I also weeded out underperforming groups.

Pinterest

In January I finished up with 1000 followers, and in February I managed to increase followers to 1129. I’m also getting some great interaction via comments and photos on a lot of my pins so I’m happy with this.

March is definitely going to see a big push for me on Pinterest though.

Instagram

291 followers (up from 280 in January)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I really dislike Instagram. To be successful on it you really have to put in a lot of work and be present on it and it’s hard to get traffic from (although some bloggers with squillions of followers get good traffic from the swipe-up feature).

I barely remember to post to it and as I write this it has occurred to me that I have 2 or 3 posts I haven’t shared on it yet. Hence my less than spectacular results. Oh well. Smell ya later Instagram.

DA

DA: Still 26. Boo. I know it takes time to grow your Domain Authority (an important factor in how well you can rank) but mine has been stuck for months. The only real way to improve this, aside from my site aging naturally, is to get more links so that’s something I’ll need to keep in mind.

Income

February income: $497.55 (compared to $344.86 January)

I am pretty happy with my February income considering my traffic stayed pretty much the same but my earnings increased by 44%!

If every month saw these kinds of increases I would be pretty happy within a short amount of time. The reason for the increase is that my RPM (Revenue Per Mille, usually based on sessions) increased as we left the advertising doldrums of January, and I also started video this month.

The average RPMs for The Fiery Vegetarian in January were just €11.53, but in February they increased to €16.40.

I had been putting off starting video for ages, but finally caved and threw some simple Lumen 5 slideshows up on the blog and my Facebook, and boy, they actually accounted for about 20% of the money I made this month!

At the moment Mediavine ad revenue is my sole source of income. Over the March-April period I will also be looking into starting affiliate income, but right now I really just want to concentrate on getting more content out and increasing my traffic.

This is my gross income, not my net income, and doesn’t take into account deductions for tax, social security, accountant, Tailwind, Adobe monthly expenses or groceries (although we do eat everything I make and I usually incorporate it into our weekly menu).

Review and Goals

In my January report I set goals for February that included:

  • Do the Mediavine RPM challenge.
  • Add video.
  • Sort out a Facebook scheduler.
  • Continue implementing everything I learned from the Pinning Perfect course and make new pins.
  • Read Nagi from Recipe Tin’s food photography book.
  • Increase traffic a minimum of 10% (but aim for 20%).

I added video, tried a scheduling tool for Facebook (ultimately didn’t like it) and went over the Pinning Perfect course again (but didn’t make too many new pins). For those of you who don’t know, there were some big changes in Pinterest in January and these were reflected in a course update.

I didn’t meet any of my other goals but that’s all good, they’re just there for me to keep moving forward. For March, my goals are going to be:

  • Make 10 new pins a day.
  • Make 7 new videos a week.
  • Read Nagi’s food photography book.
  • Begin mastering artificial light photography.
  • Get out two posts a week – one update, one new.
  • Change the ugly cover image on my Facebook page (shudders at the horror).

I have a lot of lighting issues in my apartment and am super fed up with it as well as rushing to get all my photography done during a certain time of day, so I’m looking forward to starting to take photos using artificial light.

My first paycheck from Mediavine (Yayyyy!!!!) is winging its way towards my bank account already so in a few days I’ll be purchasing lights, another tripod, another diffuser, reflector, and a few other essentials.

There’s not that much to be done on the website at the moment otherwise. I’m planning on making a static landing page in the summer when I have more time, as my current one does not look great.

When I do, I’ll totally be enlisting the help of Jack, a brilliant web designer who has also saved my bacon a million times over the last few months when there were problems with my site. The latest issue was that my menu button didn’t work on mobile (mega-increasing my bounce rate).

Literally, in five minutes, with just some custom CSS, the issue was fixed. If you want a site redesign or just a few small changes (or are close to tearing your hair out over indecipherable issues like me) I warmly recommend contacting him.

You can get in touch with him via his website contact page and you’ll get a quick response.


I hope you found this report useful, if you have any questions or would like to see other items included in the next report, holler at me down below!

Happy blogging (we have TOTALLY got this!)!

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