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Welcome to my traffic and income report for November 2020, the 25th month of my blog! I’ve been tracking my traffic and income (when it started coming in!) since the start (November 2018) so if you want to check out my other income reports, head over to my blog income reports section.
Posts this month: 5
Last month, after being down and out with a virus, I had intended to work on getting some more posts out and batching photography to speed up my process.
Unfortunately this month I was sick the first two weeks as well. It turned out that the virus I dismissed had actually been viral encephalitis! I definitely did not bounce back as I normally would have, had killer headaches, was sleepy all the time, and on strong painkillers and anti-inflammatories.
So that knocked down my progress quite a bit. Having said that, I did try out batching for the last two weeks and managed to get out at least two posts a week, one of which was a much-needed post update for my fried spaghetti recipe.
So batching photography was a success for me, although I still haven’t managed to be as consistent as I would like with improving my photography. Sometimes despite planning the shots, my ideas don’t translate as well as I’d like to the actual photo, it’s different from what I wanted, so that’s definitely something I need to be working on.
November 2020 85,516 Page Views (compared to 87,618 last month and 28,390 in November 2019)
Traffic this month was fairly stable, especially considering there was one day less than the previous month, and it did tail off somewhat towards the end of the month.
I was disappointed that it didn’t increase as I’m itching to pass the 100k mark and was hoping for at least over 90k this month, but last year there was also a similar trend for November, and December was even lower, followed by great growth in January.
From what I hear that’s fairly typical for vegan and vegetarian blogs so it will be interesting to see what December and January bring.
I guess this also means that I really need to focus on more seasonally appropriate content and developing a content calendar in 2021.
No huge change in my main traffic sources this month apart from organic Google search traffic being slightly up, and direct traffic and Pinterest traffic being slightly down. I’m still not hugely comfortable with the changes that have taken place in my traffic this year.
I used to be at roughly a third each for Google, Pinterest, and Facebook, and while a lot of the changes have been because my Google traffic has increased (and I’m not knocking that!), it is worrying to have so much of your traffic dependent on any one channel and therefore at risk from algorithm changes.
Welcome to my “Social” section where I combine information on growth and tactics used across my social media channels.
Email subscribers 355 (versus 349 in October). I really meant to organize something with an exit pop-up this month but didn’t, so it figures that it’s the usual bare increase.
Pretty fed up with myself at this stage for being lazy about this so in December it’s do or die time to add an exit pop-up that doesn’t conflict with my Mediavine ads.
Before joining Mediavine I had an exit pop-up with Mailchimp which was very successful but as it clashed with ads I had to remove it and have still not got around to replacing it (shameful, I know).
Facebook followers 5270 (versus 5072 in October). My Facebook followers are increasing at a nice steady pace. Although I don’t see a huge amount of traffic from it yet, it is my favourite social platform personally and the place I prefer to spend my personal time.
Having said that, jeez I don’t know why but the keyboard warriors are out in force on Facebook more than my other platforms and it’s the place you tend to see the meanest comments.
I’m hoping to get a VA (Virtual Assistant) within the next few months and have them deal with social because a mean comment really ruins my day.
I think the “star” of November was a comment on a post about my recipe for vegan sage and onion stuffing saying that the picture of it in stuffing ball-form looked like “little virus balls”. Thanks for the feedback, not.
Pinterest followers 2495 (versus 2400 in October). Pinterest follower increases tend to continue to be about a hundred a month. Followers, there are not as important as other platforms but it is important that they are high quality.
Pinterest has been pretty difficult of late, steady but no increases no matter what I do, next month I’m planning on experimenting with a boosted pin or two and seeing if that makes a difference.
Last month I experimented with having my rich pins turned off and then on again and then off again for a few weeks at a time and the results are pretty conclusive – I should leave them turned off.
This might be because I have a few posts that pull in quite a bit of traffic (e.g. my peanut chaat) that have such simple ingredients that people don’t need to visit my website at all, so it’s really dependent on your content and you should experiment for yourself.
Instagram followers 577 (versus 550 in October). Not my favourite platform. I live outside the US so it doesn’t bring me any sponsored post opportunities and to be honest, it’s not a place that makes me feel great about myself so my efforts here are absolutely minimal and stretch to trying to remember to post the odd picture of a recipe.
- November Gross Income: $2075.92(compared to $1753.58 in October)
- November Expenses: $145.51
- November Profit: $1930.41 (before tax and social security)
(I get paid in American dollars so for the sake of coherency even though I live in Europe, all amounts on this page are in USD)
- $34.52 – Accountant (based in Madrid, Spain). This is a monthly set fee I pay and they file and organize all my taxes and make payments on my behalf and remind me when I need to send things. Well worth it.
- $9.99 – Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan. Lightroom and Photoshop are 100% necessary for editing my photos and making process photo collages and Pinterest images.
- $34.95 – BigScoots WPO Starter plan. Quality hosting makes all the difference.
- $13.60 – Keysearch. A solid affordable SEO tool is crucial to any blog looking to get attention from Google.
- $14.99 – Tailwind Plus. I’m planning on scaling down the number of pins I make but Tailwind still allows me to save hours of time as I can schedule a month’s worth of pins in half an hour. Totally worth it.
- $27.47 – GeneratePress theme renewal. I use GeneratePress as my theme as it’s one of the lightest ones out there. Beforehand I was on the paid Kale theme but it was quite heavy when it came to loading, didn’t update automatically, and was generally quite a pain. I’m still waiting for the epic Mediavine Trellis theme to be released to me so at around 30 bucks a year, GeneratePress has been a great stop-gap.
- $9.99 – Udemy course on building a niche website business from home. It feels like I’ve been waiting forever to get onto Mike Pearson’s (author of Stupid Simple SEO) highly recommended niche website course. I’m itching to break out into some easier (not recipe related where you have to make and test and shoot your own stuff) websites and get them aging so I snagged this course for a steal on Black Friday and am about halfway through and enjoying it so far. It’s been super helpful for figuring out the niche, which was my main problem.
I’m really happy with the fact that even though my traffic was slightly down I earned quite a bit more this month as RPMs (Revenue Per Mille) started to soar in the second month of the last quarter. Still burned a bit to not increase my traffic so as I said before, next year I really need to concentrate more on getting more seasonal recipes ready.
My average RPM for November was $30.16 per 1000 sessions ($25.30 per 1000 pageviews), compared to $24.44 per session ($20.30 per pageview) in October.
I joined my lovely ad network (Mediavine) partway through November of 2019 so from December onwards I should be able to make some comparisons to income earned – this month it wouldn’t make sense as I only got paid for part of the month and there is also a ramp-up period where all your ads get filled.
Review & Goals
So, last month my goals for November were:
- Create a basic checklist for minimal “social” work necessary to free up time for content creation, e.g. 4 pins instead of 20 for each post.
- Start Amazon and other affiliates.
- Focus on recipe creation and photography (must be more than this month).
- Improve photography skills (particularly setting up and planning photos).
Due to some updated info on Pinterest, which I’ll go into more in my December report as I learned of it towards the end of the month, I definitely reduced the number of new pins I make and currently only make 2-3 per post.
I also scaled down my Facebook work and still saw roughly the same amount of traffic. This doesn’t mean that working smarter and increasing my time in this area wouldn’t yield results, but it definitely solidifies my intent to just focus on creating content for the time being.
I totally did not start Amazon or other affiliates, and I really really need to. just like depending on one traffic source is living dangerously, so is just depending on one income source (ads for me).
I did focus more on recipe creation and content albeit within a limited timetable given the fact that I was still ill.
I worked a little on photography and planning photos but frankly not as much as I should have.
So for next month (December) my tentative goals will be:
- Aim for ten-twelve new posts and batching photography.
- Read all my favourite photography resources (Nagi Maehashi The Food Photography Book, Tasty Food Photography by Pinch of Yum) and check out all the goodies on the Bite Shot youtube channel.
- Organise an exit pop-up for subscribers. No excuses.
- Start with at least one affiliate, no excuses.
I’ve also started an unofficial to-do list for 2021. In an ideal world I would triple my traffic by the end of the year but given growth so far, I’m going to aim for about 2.5 times what I have now. So by the end of December 2021 I should have 175k pageviews (I mean, I’m not going to turn up my nose at more…) minimum.
This is going to necessitate much more content, higher quality photography, capitalizing on content I already have, and basically brooking no excuses.
So some other things I’d like to accomplish during the year (but not to the extent that I’ll sacrifice content creation) are:
- Develop a lead-in for growing my subscriber list.
- Learn how to effectively engage with my list and send out emails once a month.
- Implement Google web stories.
- Start a Facebook group for The Fiery Vegetarian.
- Start a second website (non-recipe niche).
- Learn about and fully implement affiliates.
- Hire a full-time VA to help with social media and video editing.
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 in the comments. Or just drop a line to let me know you stopped by!
Enjoy the season and an early happy holidays to everyone!