Income & Traffic Report March 2020

Welcome to my traffic and income report for the 17th month of my blog! I began reporting on my blog’s progress from the first month I started publishing posts, November 2018, after being inspired to start my food blog by other blog reports.

I was hesitant about publishing for this month, with everything that is going on in the world right now, but I guess this report could still be useful for others, maybe in the near future if not right now.

You can find all my previous blog reports in the reports section of The Fiery Vegetarian.

Below are some quick links if you’d like to navigate to a specific section of this report, rather than read me waffling on. Don’t hesitate to let me know any feedback you may have about any information you’d like included in future reports.

Posts

Posts this month: 9

I’m pretty happy with getting this amount of posts out. I’ve been faithfully updating and reshooting photos for older content and putting out new content 50:50.

I saw a sizeable increase in my Google traffic this month which had been stagnating for a while. Why?

A lot of food and recipe blogs have seen a boost in traffic due to more people being at home and having time to cook. I’m also convinced it’s due to increasing the value of the real estate on those old posts.

I spent March getting to know my new artificial light set up better, using my new overhead tripod and reading Nagi from RecipeTin Eats Food Photography book.

I have been pretty pleased with the improvements I’m seeing, and although my photography is not amazing yet, it’s way better than it used to be. I mean, check out the difference in this recent reshoot and the old photo!

(Old photo on the left and new one on the right)

Better photos are, in turn, increasing the blog’s CTR (Click Through Rate) on Facebook, Google, and Pinterest.

It would be great if I could get that amount of posts out in April, but everything is:

a) A bit nuts right now.

b) I’ve been merrily burning the candle at both ends with the kids at home, hubby away on a business trip and then having difficulties getting back (terrible timing, I know), teleworking and pushing hard on the blog so I definitely feel a bit of burnout coming on.

Traffic

March 2020 Page Views 67,063 (compared to 4,179 in March 2019)

My page views this month leaped up considerably when compared to my February traffic (37,984).

The peak on day 10 was some luck where what I thought was a pretty basic, good but unimpressive post (still a favourite recipe of mine, easy vegan garlic bread) went viral on Facebook.

It just goes to show that no matter how long you have been in the food blogging business, you can never tell what will do well!

On paper, looking at traffic sources compared to February, it looks like sources stayed more or less the same.

However, this month I made an effort to get posts out on Facebook nearly every day, in addition to sharing regularly via Facebook groups, and this made a big difference to my Facebook traffic.

I enjoy Facebook but it definitely requires a lot of consistency and work when compared to Pinterest, and if you stop for a few days traffic will tail off.

Email Subscribers

200 (versus 182 in February)

Sigh, subscribers. Still terrible growth. I’ve seen a big slowdown in subscribers ever since I had to get rid of my MailChimp subscriber popup (due to a clash with Mediavine Ads) and am planning to look into ConvertKit soon to fix this issue.

Push Notifications

281 (versus 27 in February)

In late February I started trialling push subscriptions using OneSignal. The results pretty much speak for themselves, given that I now have more push subscribers than email subscribers!

It was really easy to set up, is really easy to use, and is free. I highly recommend trying out push subscriptions if you haven’t yet.

Collage of four food images for Pinterest traffic and income report March 2020
Pin me to read me later!

Facebook

This month followers increased to 3,314 up from 1,979 in February. I posted on Facebook every day, mixed up my post types, and shared to at least five groups a day (well, most days).

I’m super happy with this growth but wow, it’s definitely much more of an effort to get traffic and followers from Facebook.

I really need to look into a course on how to better manage and get the most out of Facebook and am hoping to look into this more in April.

Pinterest

In March I finished up with 1,300 followers, compared to 1129 in February. Views hit over 1.1 million, which okay I know, it’s a bit of a vanity metric but that number made my heart go pitter-patter!

This month I focused on getting fresh new pins out and aimed for ten a day – didn’t quite happen but I definitely got around 50-60 out each week.

Pinterest strategies can take a few months to pay off but by the end of the month, my weekly views had already increased from 3,816 to 5,196.

Instagram

326 followers (up from 291 in February)

Still not caring about Instagram, and recently realized I haven’t even got up some of my recent photos on it. The only thing I like about it is that it can be a nice way to get in touch with blog viewers as they tag me in their lovely photos.

Income

March Income : $888.08 (compared to $497.55 February)

In theory my March income looks great when compared to February’s income, with a steady increase in earnings since January.

In practice, I cannot imagine this increase will be reflected in the months to come. RPMs (Revenue Per Mille) fell heavily throughout the month and I went from a high of €22 to around €9-€11.

This was despite making new videos nearly every day of the month.

The uncertainty regarding the worldwide economy right now is having a knock-on effect on advertising revenues and will no doubt impact them severely for months to come at the very least.

The average RPMs for The Fiery Vegetarian in January were just €9.13, but in February they increased to €13.10 (these are the RPMs for page views not session views, in previous reports I had used the RPM per thousand sessions).

March RPMs clocked in at $13.26 on average, which I would imagine would go down to around €10 next month. We’ll see, I’m not thinking too much about income at the moment and trying to focus on the benefits of being able to at least grow traffic right now.

Mediavine ad revenue is my sole source of income at the moment, and I keep meaning to look into affiliate income but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I did sign up to several affiliate networks during March so hopefully this month I’ll finally figure it out a bit more.

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

I had set several goals for March but did I meet any of them? Let’s take a look:

  • 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.

For once, I actually did meet most of my goals! I did get a new video out most days and 10 pins MOST of the time.

I read Nagi’s amazing food photography book which was really the most helpful resource I have found yet, especially when it came to quickly figuring out artificial light photography.

I’d still like to reread it a few times to soak up all the useful knowledge and work a bit more on lighting and composition. I changed my Facebook cover and got out two posts a week. Check and check.

For next month I’m aiming at a short list of goals. I’d like to:

  • Hire a VA (Virtual Assistant – Surprise!).
  • Examine, update and edit my Pinterest Boards.
  • Research Facebook Strategy

The big thing here is hiring a VA – with revenue down but traffic up I think the wisest thing for me to do right now is to concentrate on growing my traffic and for that I need help.

I recently noticed that my more general Pinterest Boards are not doing so hot when it comes to repins, so I’m going to be digging back into my Pinning Perfect Pinterest course content to audit my boards and improve performance.

I’m still absolutely winging my Facebook strategy based on tips and clues so I’d like to look into some well-priced courses or do some more research, and then hand Facebook over to my new VA.

With training to do, lots of learning needed, burnout beckoning and everything that is going on, I don’t think April will be a hugely productive month when it comes to posts and social media but it should be a useful one that will set the tone for the next few months.

I also ordered a new 35mm camera lens and an Instant Pot (yay, finally!) which should be here early April so I am excited about using them for the blog.


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!

Stay safe and keep blogging!

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