ninth month blogging

 

Partner’s in Fire killed it during our ninth month! Maybe this is what happens when you start growing as a blog and post consistently! Let’s see how we did this month and how we got there.

Posting During our Ninth Month

We stuck to an extremely consistent posting schedule during our ninth month. We were able to publish a blog post every Sunday and Thursday during this period.  I think that this consistency really helped us grow our readership, and it is something that I will strive for in the future. However, I am still going to live my life. This month, we already skipped a few posts due to a trip Germany. I’m sure my 10th month readership will suffer slightly due to the vacation (we will have to wait and see about that!) but traveling is one of my FIRE goals, and it’s not something that I am willing to give up. Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to schedule blog posts so that I can automatically post while I’m away, but that would mean having posts queued up and ready. Unfortunately, I’m not that organized.

Readership

We killed it with readership this month! This was our first month with over 500 page views (not counting our feature on Rockstar Finance, which was amazing!).  We had 843 total users for the month.  The best part is that it was fairly consistent. We had spikes in users on the days that we published and we had between 10 and 20 users on the days between posts. There’s a lot of room for growth here, but since we are still new and just came off hiatus, I’ll take it!

 

ninth month stats

 

How we increased the readership

843 is a huge increase from the paltry 276 that we had last month. I think the biggest reason for the increase was the consistency in posting that we talked about above. However, I also think this month’s content was interesting and valuable to a wide range of readers. I think talking about having children drove a lot of my family and friends to the blog as well. The lesson here is that great content leads to increased readership. But people have to be able to find the great content, so how did we make our content visible?

Social Media

One of the biggest drivers of traffic during our ninth month was social media. We had 244 users from our various social media platforms. We focus on the four big social media platforms, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.

Facebook

My awesome boyfriend invited all of his Facebook friends to like my page, which led to a nice increase in page likes. But I also started posting more (and better) content on my page. I’ve been sharing interesting finance articles, memes, cartoons, and pictures in addition to my own blog posts.  In the past, I had only been sharing my own articles on my Facebook page, and to be honest it looked a bit spammy. Sharing more than just my own articles has led to greater engagement on my page and more organic likes. Also, because people have come to trust my page to have interesting content, I am able to convert more page likes into blog post clicks. 81 of my 843 users came from Facebook this period, the highest of any of my social media avenues. I still have a long way to go on Facebook, but I think this is a great start.

Pinterest

Our second biggest social media traffic driver this month was Pinterest, with 67 views. I’m still not entirely sure how to use Pinterest correctly, but I try to make pretty, appealing pins with Canva and I schedule my pins with Tailwind. I still use the large group boards, even though there are rumors floating around that Pinterest doesn’t like them. Maybe one day I will learn how to use Pinterest more effectively, but it seems to be working pretty well for time being.

Twitter

Oh, how I love my Twitter community. It was the first social media platform that I started working with, and it is still one of my favorites. People on Twitter are so supportive with their follow threads, social media threads, chats, and all-around engagement.  Although it’s not the top driver of traffic, we still had 64 users from it, which makes it a close third. But to me, Twitter is about more than driving traffic. I use Twitter to talk to like minded people, share my random thoughts, and find interesting articles to post to my Facebook page.  I look forward to continuing to build my Twitter community, and to finding new Twitter friends to engage with.

Instagram

Instagram is a platform that I’ve largely ignored until this past month. My ex-boyfriend had built a following last year when we were still together, and I really didn’t want to deal with it. But I know that it can be a great driver of traffic, so this month I dug in and started working on it. First, I had to curate my followers/following. There were quite a few inactive accounts and “bot” accounts on those lists. Next, I increased my posting. I made a concentrated effort to post to Instagram at least once per day. I try to post a variety of image types and am working hard on my hashtag game (although I think that still needs improvement). So far, my new commitment to Instagram has been successful. We had 34 users from Instagram this month, a huge increase from the big fat zero of previous months. As we continue to grow our Instagram account, this number will only increase.

Other Traffic Drivers

We had a lot of referral traffic during our ninth month, and my major concern is that some of this might be spam. Unfortunately, I do not know how to tell the difference between a spam user and a legitimate user. And even if a user was referred from spam website, does that mean the user was a spam user? I honestly don’t know the answer to that. But I do have the A-kis-met spam blocker activated, so at least the spam users can’t do much damage.

We also had some users come from organic searches, but unfortunately the keywords were not provided, so I can’t really tell what people are searching for when they find my blog. The last chunk of users during our ninth month came from direct hits. These are the folks that are subscribed to the blog and get the e-mail updates, and the ones who type our URL directly into the search engine. I’d like to think that we have a few fans who do that, but let’s be honest those are probably mostly me.


What’s Next?

Our goal for this next month is to get over 1000 users. It will definitely be a challenge, especially with the vacation we took for the first week of the month, but we have a lot of interesting content planned so I think it’s very doable.

We are also going to continue focusing on building our social media platforms, especially Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. What we are currently doing seems to be working, so we are going to stick with it.

Another thing we are going to work towards is monetizing Partners in Fire with a few more affiliate articles (non-spammy and relevant, of course!). Maybe someday we will even write some guides and do some sponsored posts!  I don’t think we are quite there yet though.

Our biggest focus is to continue to provide useful, relevant, interesting content for you, our readers. Without you, we wouldn’t be anything. We greatly appreciate your continued support. Here’s to another great month!

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"eighth month blogging"

Partner’s in Fire is officially eight months old! Unfortunately, we were on hiatus for the majority of our eight month, and our blog statistics really show it. Man, I thought month seven was bad!  It’s very interesting to see how badly the blog performed at the start of the hiatus versus how poorly it performed towards the end though. Our readership declined every week during our time off.

I think the biggest lesson learned here is that the longer you take off, the more your blog will suffer. Need a two-week vacation? I think the blog will be just fine. But if you are just starting out blogging and take more time off, be prepared for a drastic cut in your readership.

Let’s get to how we faired during our eighth month blogging!

Posting

Since my eight month was pretty far into my hiatus, I did not post very often. As a matter of fact, I only published three blog posts from June 27th through July 27th, and they were all at the tail end of the period. That’s a pretty epic failure on my part. But, as I’ve said on numerous occasions, you need to take care of yourself first. If that means you can’t post for a month or two, so be it. Blogging will be ready when you are!

                                                                           

Readership

Not surprisingly, with our lack of posting anything for almost six weeks straight, our readership took a huge hit. The first post I published was on July 19, which only gave me 7 days to improve my readership for the month. Obviously, that is not enough time. Our readership dropped drastically during this period, in fact it was our worst month since our first month!  We only had 276 users for the period, 62 less than in month 7th. That’s really freaking bad! But, on the plus side, you can clearly see in graph that as soon as we started posting again, our readership started to improve. We only had one day with less than 10 users during the week that we started posting again. So the lesson here is if you take a break, your readers will return when you do. And that’s super comforting.

 

"eighth month stats"

 

What’s Next?

Partners in Fire is really trying to move on from this break that we took and get back some of the momentum that we lost. Honestly it isn’t easy seeing such a huge decrease in pageviews, but knowing it was mostly my own fault helps.

We have a lot of interesting (we think!) topics to blog about moving forward, so we are hopeful that we will be able to stick to a regular posting schedule for the majority of month 9th. Month 10 will be rough, because I have a week-long trip to Germany planned, so I’ll probably skip at least 4 blog posts that month. But it will be interesting to see how taking two weeks off will compare to taking six weeks off.

Moving forward, we are going to focus more on Instagram, Facebook, and monetization. Any tips that you can think of that would help us in any of those three areas would be greatly appreciated!

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"7th month blogging"

 

Our 7th Month

Welcome to our 7th month update!  Or, as I like to call it, that time that I took a six-week hiatus from the blog and didn’t see any growth! So, I guess instead of an update, here’s a blog post about what happens when you work super hard on your blog for six months and then stop doing anything for about six weeks!  Can I pretend that I did this for research?

Technically, I’m about a month late on this post. I was supposed to publish an update around June 27th-ish, and here we are all the way in the middle of July!  Sorry about the lateness!  

Posting

I only wrote two blog posts (three if you count my 6-month update) during my seventh month blogging. I published my last post for the period, Making the Decision to Move in Together, on June 10.  That means from June 11 through June 27th, I had no new content being posted to the website. Fail! But given that, let’s see how we did!

Readership

Spectacularly, we had 338 active users during our seventh month blogging. That’s only 139 users less than the month before, when I was actively working on it!  338 is not a good number by any means, but I don’t think it’s terrible considering my lack of effort.

"7th month blogging"

Monetization

Its super hard to make money blogging if you don’t blog.  Funny how that works out, isn’t it?  I did manage to get two clicks to my Amazon account (no sales though) and my Google Adsense account is going strong at thirteen bucks!  Go me!  I still haven’t seen any results from any of the other affiliate programs that I am a member of, but I don’t really utilize any of them much either. I think that in the fall, when all the craziness of summer dies down, I’m going to focus on affiliates and see if I can make something happen with them.

 

What’s Next?

We are now half-way into our eighth month, and this is only my second post (I’m sure my eight-month update will be amazing as well!). It’s hard to say what’s next, but my barrage of visitors has stopped for now.  I am also feeling much better, so hopefully I’ll be able to stick to a decent posting schedule for the remainder of the summer. I do have a trip planned for the beginning of September though (I’m going to Germany to watch my friend get married!), and that’s only a month away so I’m sure that will result in some missed posts. But like I said before, we can’t sacrifice our lives to blog!

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Blog Growth Strategies for our Sixth Month

Partners in Fire is officially six months old!!  That means we’ve met the basic requirement for being a real blog!  This is a super exciting milestone for us, so let’s see how we did!

Readership

We ended our sixth month with 477 users, just 23 users shy of our 500 users target. I’m actually really happy with that number. As I wrote in my 5th month update, I knew May was going to be rough. There was so much going on in my personal life that I didn’t have a lot of time for blogging. I meant to only skip three posts, but my sickness lingered longer than I thought it would and the SCUBA classes were way more time consuming than I anticipated (But definitely worth while!). I was only able to write and publish four blog posts this month!! That’s half as many as my target, and I still managed to get 477 users!! I’m going to call that a huge win!

Where are our Users Coming from?

Direct Hits

A little over half of our readers for the month of May were direct referrals. That usually means that someone sent a link over email, or someone directly typed in the URL. Most of them were on my post the Worst Financial Mistake of My Life, so I’m guessing a lot of these views are the residual affects of being featured on Rockstar Finance. I would love to find a way to learn for sure where these direct hits are coming from though (and if you have any ideas on how to find out, please share in the comments!)

Social Media

Social media was the second biggest driver of traffic to Partners in Fire this month. We had 187 referrals from social media during our sixth month.

Pinterest continues to be the biggest driver of social media traffic, with 139 users. This is only 35 less than last month, which I think is fabulous considering I only posted half as much. Twitter was second, with 26 referrals; which is not a lot at all, but again, I hardly posted anything.

Monetization

It’s difficult to include a section on monetization each month when I’m not succeeding at monetization, but I think it’s important to discuss the challenges with the blog in addition to it’s strong points.

Monetizing a new blog is hard. Getting readers to a new blog is hard. Getting subscribers is hard. A lot of things about blogging are hard, but a lot of big bloggers won’t tell you that. Hell, a lot of the smaller bloggers won’t even tell you that. You have to love doing it first, and I do. The money part, if it ever comes, is just a bonus.

What’s Next?

Although summer is going to be super busy with all the visitors and vacations that I have planned, I’m going to attempt to stick to my blogging schedule. I think I would have destroyed my goal of 500 users this month had I actually posted the full eight times. I’m going to try harder to do that this month.

One of my limitations right now is a bit of writer’s block. I do have a few article ideas that I’ve been kicking around, but not enough. Sometimes more come to me, and sometimes they don’t. I think that overcoming this small amount of writer’s block and coming up with good ideas for the blog is going to be my biggest challenge in the coming months.

What strategies have you used to help grow your blog? What are your biggest challenges? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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"Blog Growth"

Blog Growth Strategies for our Fifth Month

Readership

Wow our readership exploded in month five!  But only for a day really haha. We ended the month with a whopping three thousand users!  It’s a new record!

How did we get so many users?

Partners in in Fire was lucky enough to get featured on Rockstar Finance this month!  Our article The Worst Financial Mistake of My Life was featured in Rockstar Finance’s April 10th Features! I’m not really sure how it was chosen, heck I didn’t even realize it at first!  I thought something strange was going on when I kept getting legitimate comments on the article.  So, I did some online digging, and found my post on the Rock Star Finance main page! Super Exciting Stuff!

After an amazing day of lots of page views, we were also featured in The Financial Diet’s weekly round up!  What an amazing week for Partner’s in Fire!

Posting

I did an excellent job of sticking to my posting schedule this month. Unfortunately, I got sick during the last week and skipped posting on the last Thursday. I even had everything drafted up and ready to go, I just didn’t have the energy to do all the social media posting or to proof read, so I decided to wait and post it next week. Sometimes life happens, and that’s ok.

Social Media

Obviously, the majority of our users this month came from Rockstar Finance and The Financial Diet (Thanks again guys!). But we did pretty well with our social media platforms as well.

Our Pinterest referrals are really picking up steam. We had 174 referrals from Pinterest this month, almost 100 more than last month!  It outpaced Twitter for the first time ever! I think that Tailwindaccount really is starting to pay off. It hasn’t led to monetary conversion yet, but page views need to come first.

With 96 users, Twitter was our second biggest social media referrer this month. We didn’t do as well on Facebook this month as we did last month, but I think that is because I skipped sharing a few of my posts on Facebook. I didn’t want anyone to take offense at things that weren’t meant to be offensive, so I decided not to share.

Monetization

Affiliates

Though being featured on some major Personal Finance sites led to lots of page views, it did not lead to lots of affiliate clicks or sales. We did have a handful more clicks to Amazon than in previous months, but it did not generate any sales.

Our other affiliates, such as Flex Offers and Clicky Homes, still haven’t generated much interest. I think the reason for that is because I refuse to sell products I don’t believe in, so I’ve greatly limited the types of campaigns I will run from Flex Offers. Clicky Homes is a great program, but it is only useful to a small subset of the population (realtors). I’m ok with both of those things though, I know that if people visit my site and actually click through to an affiliate, it will be useful to them. That’s more important to me than making money.

Ads

You’d think that with over 3000 pageviews, my ad revenue via Adsense would have increased. That was not the case. I think I only have Adsense ads on a few of my pages, and those were not the pages that got the views. According to Adsense, I only had about 300 pageviews during the last month. This was not enough to make a dent in our earnings.

I don’t want to destroy any user experience I have, so I’m not going to change the way my ads are laid out. However, if you are interested in monetizing via google ads and notice a discrepancy between your Google Analytics pageviews and your Adsense pageviews, this may be something worth looking into.

What’s Next?

I totally destroyed my goal of getting 500 users for this period!  But I know I got super lucky with that amazing feature, so I don’t think 3000 views every month is sustainable. Partner’s in Fire did get a few extra subscribers from that though, and I’m getting better and better at Pinterest, so I think getting to 500 without any special features is totally doable this next month.

I am keeping my expectations low though, because I have a lot going on in my personal life this month, and I know I won’t be able to stick to my posting schedule. I have SCUBA lessons next week which are going to take a ton of time (but will so be worth it!) and I have a girl’s trip to Vancouver coming up, so I won’t be posting at all that week. Can I get to 500 while skipping three posts?? That’s the goal, so we shall see!

What strategies have you used to help grow your blog?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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Blog Growth Strategies for our Fourth Month

Readership

This fourth month was Partner’s in Fire’s first month with a decrease in readership. According to Google Analytics, we only had 459 users as compared to 516 during out third month. However, given all that happened this month, I think that’s still pretty freaking awesome!

Why did our Readership decrease?

I’m fairly certain that the main reason for our decrease in readership is the fact that Jonathan and I broke up and mutually decided that he shouldn’t be a part of the blog. In previous months, he was sharing the posts on his personal Facebook page and gaining users from Instagram.  Most of his Facebook friends who were supporting us by reading the blog decided to stop following when he was no longer a part of it. I totally understand this though, and I kind of expected it. I knew I’d have to work harder to gain and maintain readers, and I’m working on it.

"4th month stats"

I’ve also been enjoying my life a bit more and that means I’m dedicating a little more time to going out and having fun with my new boyfriend and my friends than I was before. Unfortunately, I don’t have an unlimited amount of time, so that means I spent a bit less time on the blog. But I’m actually really happy for the first time in a long time, so I’ll take the trade-off. I’m sure when the buzz wears off I’ll be able to focus more on blogging.

Posting

Another reason why (in my opinion) our readership decreased is that I didn’t exactly stick to my posting schedule. I missed a Sunday. We only lost a few users as compared to last month, but I’m sure some of it was due to the missing post. However, I went out of town that weekend and had a blast in Orlando, so I don’t regret not posting. You have to enjoy your real life first.

Social Media

The majority of our users are still coming from Social Media. The top referrer this month was Facebook, with 102 users coming from there alone. I think a big portion of that was due to my friend from Tread Lightly, Retire Early posting The Worst Financial Decision of My Life in a group dedicated to helping women in Finance (Thank You!). I think another part of that was my real friends and family’s interest in what was going on with Jonathan for all those years. Either way, I appreciate all the support.

Twitter and Pinterest were neck in neck this month!  I had 85 users from each platform. This is the first time that my Pinterest stats are even close other stats, so maybe using Tailwind is starting to pay off. It’s definitely something that I’m going to keep working on moving forward, and I can already see the potential for amazing growth through that platform.

Monetization

Affiliates

Monetizing the blog through the use of affiliates still isn’t bringing in any income, but I’m still working on it!  We did get a few clicks to Amazon this month, but none of them resulted in any sales. None of the other affiliate networks that we’ve been utilizing has resulted in a sale yet either, however I rarely include them in my blog posts. I don’t want to be spammy or sell products that I don’t believe in, so although I am a member of these affiliate programs, it’s hard to find products that fit with me and the themes of my post. I’d rather be authentic than make extra money pushing products I don’t believe in.

 

Ads

We are still using Adsense to generate ad revenue for our blog. Currently, we’ve made about thirteen bucks with it (one dollar over last month, woot!). We are  still hoping to get enough unique visitors and pageviews in the next few months to upgrade to a better ad program. I keep eyeing mediavine; but I don’t have nearly enough users yet for that!

What’s Next?

My goal for my fifth month is the same as my goal was for this month…get to 500 users on my own!  I was super close this time (I only missed it by 40 users!) so I think I should be able to get there if I stick to my posting schedule and participate a bit more in my Facebook blogger groups (I’ve kind of neglected them this month unfortunately; maybe that’s another reason why my numbers were a bit lower).

All in all though, I’m super happy with the progress that Partners in Fire has made during the four months that we’ve been a live blog, and I’m looking forward to continued growth in the coming months.

What are your favorite blog growth strategies?  Leave a comment and let us know!

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"blog growth strategies"

Wow, three months of blogging in the books. I am halfway to becoming a real blogger! Let’s see how I did!

Blog Growth Strategies for our third Month

Readership

The blog readership is continuing to grow, slowly but surely.  According to Google Analytics, Partners in Fire had 516 users during this month, compared to 305 during month two and a paltry 89 during the first month. We are chugging right along!

How did we increase our readership?

A lot of our users are still coming from our various social media platforms, and we are continuing to grow and expand these while maintaining the sense of community. Two hundred seventy of our monthly users came from social media. Our top performing platform this month was Facebook, and that was due to both of us sharing our posts regularly on our personal pages. Sometimes building a following starts with your own network.

We also got quite a few direct hits (198!) during this third month. A large portion of that was J publishing his struggles and sharing them with people that he used to know. A lot of his friends and family didn’t know about his bipolar disorder or his struggle with alcohol, and they were interested to learn those things.

"blog growth strategies"

Posting

I’m pretty amazed that I (mostly) stuck to my posting schedule this month.  I only missed one day; and considering how crazy this month has been I’ll count that as a win. Instead of posting that day, I redid the “About Us” section and changed some photos around on the blog. It was cathartic and a good move for me personally.

Things are a bit calmer in my personal life now, so I should be able to stick to Sundays and Thursdays for month four. Here’s to hoping anyway!

Social Media

We are still doing amazing things with social media. A huge portion of our traffic came from Twitter; and although I didn’t gain a ton of new followers this month, I’m super happy with the community that I’ve built there.

We killed it on Instagram. We increased our Instagram following by over 600 followers!   I really think our Instagram game and engagement helped increase our traffic this month. Although Google Analytics only recorded 18 referrals from Instagram; I’m going to venture a guess and say that number is a bit higher. You can’t directly link from Instagram to a website; so I am fairly certain some Instagram users indirectly copied and pasted the URLS that we posted with our photos. I’m guessing this because I don’t think all 198 of the direct referrals were due to his friends reading about his drinking problem. But hey, they may have been. It’s hard to know for sure.

This was also my first month as an official Tailwinduser. I’ve seen an uptick in my traffic from Pinterest, but it isn’t a crazy amount yet. I’m going to continue plugging away at it and hopefully we can grow from there.

Monetization

Affiliates

I am still working on monetizing the blog through the use of affiliates. We actually aren’t doing too badly on Amazon!  We had 16 total clicks and 4 ordered items from Amazon in the last 30 days; and made about five bucks total. Obviously, that isn’t enough to gain financial independence; but it’s a great start! Although I’m pretty sure most of it is still from the list I made; but I’m ok with that, I’m super happy that we were able to put together a list that helps other bloggers!  I’ve been paying it forward as well.

I’ve utilized the other affiliate programs too, but so far we haven’t seen any results from them. We are members of Flex Offers, Share-A-Sale, and Clicky-Homes affiliate programs, and although we’ve received a few clicks; we haven’t had any sales from those platforms.

Ads

We are still using Adsense to generate ad revenue for our blog. Currently, we’ve made about twelve bucks total with it (and they don’t give you a payout until you reach 50). We are hoping to get enough unique visitors and page views in the next few months to upgrade to a better ad program. I keep eyeing mediavine; but I don’t have nearly enough users yet for that!

What’s Next?

This next month is going to present a unique challenge for me. With Jonathan and I no longer living together, he will no longer be contributing to the blog. He insisted on still managing the Instagram account, but we will see what happens with that.

For this next month, I’m going to continue to focus on improving as a writer and I’m going to focus heavily on gaining traffic from Pinterest. I’m hoping to maintain over 500 users for the month on my own; without the help of Jonathan’s network. I think it’s doable!

What are your favorite blog growth strategies?  Leave a comment and let us know!

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Well, here we are at two months in!  It just flew by, didn’t it? I feel like we made some great strides towards growing our blog in this second month, but let’s see how we did!

Blog Growth Strategies for our Second Month

Readership

We really improved our readership over this second month!  According to google analytics, we had 305 individual users during this second month, as compared to 89 during our first month. That’s an increase of 216 readers!

How did we increase our readership?

The majority of our readers are still coming from Twitter. One of our major blog growth strategies has been continuing to grow and develop our Twitter community. Seriously, I love the PF Twitter community! 

I also started a free trial of Tailwind early in the month, and we have seen a pretty nice increase in traffic from Pinterest. However, just adding pins isn’t enough. Another thing I did to boost the traffic from Pinterest is create better pins. I started using high quality photos from Unsplash and worked a lot harder to improve the aesthetics of my designs, which I think that was a huge success. We went from 2 referrals from Pinterest during the first month to 22 by following this strategy.  I  bit the bullet and signed up for a paidTailwind* account for the year, so hopefully our Pinterest traffic will continue to grow. 

 blog growth strategies

Posting

I think sticking to a regular posting schedule for this month also helped contribute to our increased readership. We posted twice per week (generally Sundays and Thursdays) so that gave us a total of seven posts for the month. I think it’s easier to get users and page views if you have new, relevant content to share at least on a weekly basis.  You can seem kind of spammy if you are re-sharing the same content over and over, but sharing things regularly keeps you on people’s radars. It’s a thin line!

Social Media

We totally kept up with the killing it on social media game for our second month. Partner’s in Fire has over 1000 Twitter followers and almost 500 Instagram followers!  We even increased our number of Facebook likes by a tiny bit even though that wasn’t a major focus (maybe once we get over 1000 Instagram followers we will focus on Facebook!) The best part about this is that I feel like the Twitter community is even more engaging as it was before. I’m definitely achieving the goal of maintaining an engaging follower-ship as the numbers increase!

Education

We are still learning so much when it comes to blogging!  I’ve done much better with Canva and creating images – I just learned that using the blog banner template makes the featured image look way better! I’m creating multiple pins per blog post rather than just re-pinning the same image.

We are also learning a lot about SEO. There are a few really cool keyword research tools that I’ve been utilizing to help me find better keyword phrases (though that’s not really transferring to pageviews yet…I’m still learning!)

My writing skills have greatly improved over the past month. I’m regularly getting green readability scores after my first edit, which is great!  During the first month all I saw was red! I’m learning how to separate my content into easily digestible sections, rather than just posting a huge wall of text. I think that really enhances the user’s experience!

Monetization

Affiliates

We added a bunch of affiliate links (tastefully, I hope) to the blog this month to begin the process of monetization. We know these things take time, but thought think it’s best to get started as soon as possible.

 

Amazon

One of the limitations of  using Amazon as a new blogger is that the Amazon* affiliates program kicks you out if you don’t have a qualified sale within the first 6 months.

Luckily for us, we did get a few Amazon sales this month!  We got them by being supportive of other bloggers.  Being supportive and lifting each other up is seriously the best way to start.  We reached out to our Twitter friends asking for links to their affiliate stores, so that when we need something from Amazon, we can support them. I started my list and bought the thing I needed from one of my blogger friends (and will continue to use the list every time I need something) and miraculously, someone decided to pay the favor back and purchase something through our store!

Related: Are you interested in starting a blog but don’t know where to begin? Check out the Blogging For Dummies series on Amazon. This series can always be counted on for relevant, useful advice*

                                                                

We also created a google docs spreadsheet with a huge list of bloggers that we can support, so if you are interested in having it or adding your blog to it, please send me an email (melanie@partnersinfire) and let me know!  I’m not going to post the list on this blog because I don’t want to get banned from Amazon. I don’t think having a list is specifically against any of their rules, but why risk it?

 

Other Affiliates

We also signed up with some additional affiliate programs, to include Clicky-Homes* and Flex-offers. Flex-Offers is interesting because it’s a website that’s just a conglomerate of affiliate links. You have to register to access the website, and then you have to apply for each company you’d like to partner with. Most of the companies that are members aren’t really applicable to the field of personal finance (lots of retail) but I did sign up for a few of the travel affiliates and incorporated them into my travel blog.

Ads

We are still using Adsense to generate ad revenue for our blog. Currently, we’ve made about twelve bucks total with it (and they don’t give you a payout until you reach 50). We are hoping to get enough unique visitors and page views in the next few months to upgrade to a better ad program.

What’s Next?

Our goals for February are to work really hard at alternate forms of marketing. My biggest challenge is E-mail marketing.  The goal is going to be to get ball rolling on e-mail subscribers, though I’m not entirely sure how to do that yet.  It’s probably going to take a lot of research, but I’d love your input! Also, if you aren’t already subscribed, don’t forget to sign up in the side bar!

My other big goal for this month is to continue growing our readership. I want to increase by 200 readers again, so that we have 500 total users for this next month. It’s a hefty goal, but I think its achievable. 

I also signed up for the Share-a – Sale affiliate program. I haven’t used it yet, but I’ll be sure to add it to my updates for next month!

What are your favorite blog growth strategies?  Leave a comment and let us know!

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Hey folks! Transparency Disclosure- Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. That means I’ll receive a small commission if you decide to click on it and buy something. Don’t worry, it doesn’t cost you anything extra!

First month bloggingWell ladies and gentleman, Partners in Fire has been an active blog for one full month!  We made it!  We actually kept up with it for the first month!  I think that’s a feat in and of itself!  Though the true test will be to see where we are 6 months down the line…don’t most people quit before the 6-month mark?  I kinda did that with my travel blog. I didn’t exactly quit, but I didn’t make it a priority either. A travel blog is a bit harder to update and maintain in my opinion though. It’s hard to get to all those places while working a full-time job! Its way easier to find things to write about for a lifestyle and personal finance blog.

So how did we do during our first month blogging?

 

Posting

We also did a great job with posting regularly this first month. We’ve published 4 posts, including this one!  We are both working full time and I’m still trying to work on Travels Near and Far in my spare time; so we really hustled to get all these posts up. I’m proud of that.

Related: Check out our First Blog Post – Getting Lucky with Real Estate

Social Media

I think our greatest achievement during the first month blogging by far was our social media presence. Social media is incredibly important when blogging. It’s the best and easiest way to market a blog! I think we killed it on social media.

We have 700 Twitter followers (though I started on Twitter three weeks before we published the blog, so I’m kinda cheating), 350  Instagram followers , and almost 30 likes on Facebook. But its not all about numbers. I feel like we’ve build some amazing communities and partnerships with our social media presence. I’ve meet some amazing members of the personal finance and blogging communities via Twitter, and I’ve learned so much from them already. I love how supportive everyone on Twitter is! My goal is to build the Twitter account but maintain the sense of community that I’ve cherished so much. I’m hoping to build that kind of community through the Facebook account as well, and Jonathan is building it through Instagram. The community is so much more important than the number.

Readership

Well, as is to be expected, our readership isn’t stellar. According to google analytics, we’ve had about 89 users in our first month (most of that was due to my awesome work in getting 500 Twitter followers…a lot of you were super interested in that!). Jetpack on WordPress gives me far different stats; according to them we’ve had over 346 users! I think I’ll go with Jetpack when I make my media kit! Though I think Jetpack counts each time I look at it as a unique view. I’m guessing that’s a big portion of the discrepancy. Oh well.

I do, however, think that 89 users for the first month is fantastic!  I’m super happy with that number. When I first started my travel blog, it took over 6 months to reach 80 users. I feel like we are way ahead of the game with this one, and we can only get better from here!

first month blogging

Education

Another huge achievement is how much I’ve learned during this first month!  I learned how to use Canva to make pretty images for Pinterest. I’m learning how to increase my Pinterest presence, and how to leverage that to drive traffic to the site. I’m learning how to take better pictures, and how to use the free pictures available online. These are things I never even considered with the travel blog, and I’m very grateful that I’ve found the resources to learn them now. Blogging seriously increases your skill sets in so many different areas!  It’s amazing.

Related: Are you interested in starting a blog but don’t know where to begin? Check out the Blogging For Dummies series on Amazon. This series can always be counted on for relevant, useful advice*

 

                                                                

 

What’s Next?

The next step is to monetize the blog. During the final days of this month, I signed up for a variety of affiliate programs. Our goal is to chose partners and products that add value to you, our readers. We are also trying to avoid being spammy about it. We hope to increase our readership, even if just by a little. Maybe we can get to 100 for the month! I think that would be awesome.

We will see what the new year and the new month brings us!  Wish us luck! Thanks for being with us on this journey!

 

*Links with this next to it are the affiliate links that we talked about above. We appreciate your readership!

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Gaining Twitter followers is hard! Then again, gaining followers on any social media site is hard. But let’s stick to Twitter for the purpose of this post, because apparently I’m pretty good at getting Twitter followers (not so much when it comes to other social media sites).

I started my Twitter account for my new blog, Partners in Fire, on November 5. I remember because I used that date as my birthday (that’s not my real birthday!). By November 30th, I had over 400 followers, and I made it my goal to reach 500 Twitter followers by my Twitter Month-aversary. And guess what? I did it!!

How did I gain 500 Twitter followers?

How did I accomplish the difficult task of gaining 500 followers during my first month on Twitter? It actually isn’t that difficult, but it does take a lot of time and effort. Here’s the short-list if you want to get right to it:

1. The Basics
2. Engagement Engagement Engagement!!
3. Like Follows Like
4. Content is King
5. Hash it up
6. Support Groups

1. The Basics

Let’s start with the basics. First, you want an actual profile picture and cover photo. They can be avatars, pictures of pets, pictures of you, whatever. But nobody wants to follow an account that has the general Twitter egg as the main photo. That screams bot to me, and it probably screams bots to many others.

Next, you want to write a bio. Just tell us something about yourself! Followers want to know that you are a real person. I personally don’t like to follow accounts with a lot of emojis in their bio because in my experience, those have been the spammiest accounts. But you do you on that one, my personal opinion isn’t relevant to your brand. Last, it never hurts to put your website in or to have a pinned tweet.

So now that we’ve covered the bare bones basics that you all are already doing anyway, let’s get to the real tricks.

2. Like Follows Like

The best way to get followers when you are brand new is to follow similar accounts. By similar, I mean in size and in content. Let’s take my @partnersinfire Twitter account for example. I’m using this account to promote a financial independence and lifestyle blog. Therefore, I should be following small-time bloggers who are also looking to grow their audiences. I should also be following people who are into related topics: finance, saving money, budgeting, etc.

One tip that I always see on other “how to gain followers” posts is to follow the big shots in your field. I don’t like this advice. When I’m trying to gain followers, I don’t focus on following the giants in my niche. Mr. Money Mustache is one of the most popular financial independence bloggers in the world. He has amazing content, but he also has over 80 thousand Twitter followers. He’s not going to be excited about getting one more; and he probably won’t follow back. In fact, he’s only following about 50 people. It’s better to follow smaller accounts who are in the same boat as you are. Follow people who are just starting out with social media and who are trying to grow. They are much more likely to follow you back, and they will be an integral part of the community that you are engaging with. Their followers list is also a great place to look for new followers.

3. Engagement^3 (that’s engagement times 3!)

In my humble opinion, engaging with other Twitter users is the number one path to growth. By engaging, I mean commenting on their posts. Likes and Retweets are nice, but the person isn’t really going to remember you or acknowledge you if that is all that you do. Who are you going to remember, the person who opens a door for you or the person who tells you that they love your bag? It’s the same concept. If you want other users to notice you, you are going to have to comment on their posts.

What kind of comments should you make? The beauty is that it doesn’t really matter. You can write whatever you think of. I sometimes agree with the original commenter, or write a funny story about how that comment relates to my life. Sometimes I even disagree, but I always do so in a polite and respectful way. The only way to mess this up is to be rude, offensive, dismissive, or generally negative in any way. The point of Twitter (for us anyway) is to be positive, create a brand, and spread a good message. We don’t want to made anyone feel bad. So keep you replies positive, even if you disagree with something.

4. Content is King

We’ve all heard this a billion time when it comes to blogging, but it is true for getting Twitter followers as well. You want to post interesting, engaging things on Twitter that your followers and potential followers will appreciate. This is often a struggle for me because I don’t know what to Tweet about. What should I say? Will people like that? Will I get hate for this Tweet? Has this been said before? Will people actually engage with this? These are all questions that I have asked myself before Tweeting. But it really doesn’t have to be that hard! My Tweets usually fall into six categories.

 

twitter feed
An example of my Tweeting method. You can see I have humor with a quoted tweet, a promotional tweet, and a poll with an interesting question

 

 

Questions

This is probably the format I use the most. I ask Twitter questions all the time. I ask blogging questions, I ask social media questions, I ask finance questions. I’ll ask any type of question on Twitter. People love to answer questions! And sometimes people follow you because they want to know the answer too. I mix it up between asking a straight up question and running a poll, because as we know in the finance world, diversification is key. It’s important on Twitter too, you don’t want to bore your followers!

Pictures

Everyone likes to see pretty pictures every now and then. And I’m sure a bunch of research shows that Tweets with pictures tend to get better engagement than Tweets without. So show some pictures! Share a cat or dog picture every now and again, or share a picture of your every-day life. Followers like to know that you are a real person.

Promotional

Of course, if you are like me and every blogger ever, you are using Twitter to promote yourself. So, some of your original Tweets should be about you! Share your latest blog post, share something positive that happened in your life, share your social media accounts, share your wins (and your losses, Twitter can be incredibly supportive!). But make sure this isn’t the only thing you are doing. We have all seen accounts where all of their posts are self-promoting, and they just look spammy. Nobody is going to want to follow that.

Humor

I try to be funny every now and then. I figure if I can get someone to laugh, they may want to follow me. I’m not a comedian (though I laugh at myself a lot) and my blog isn’t a comedy blog, but its always good to keep people engaged with a bit of humor if you can.

 

I thought this was hilarious!

Passionate subjects

I really don’t want to use my Twitter account as a soapbox, but sometimes I think it is important. There are a few issues gaining national attention that are extremely relevant to the blogging community and to our lives in general. I can’t help but to Tweet about them. The best example is the Net Neutrality issue. I’ve been regularly Tweeting about this issue on all of my Twitter accounts, because it is an extremely important thing that affects all of us. It probably also gets me a few followers, which is just bonus.

Quotes

Another great way to post engaging content is to quote other people’s Tweets. Instead of hitting the easy Retweet button, add your own spin by quoting the Tweet. General Retweets are fine every now and then, especially for important topics, but they don’t add any value. They don’t add content to the conversation. So instead of hitting the Retweet button, quote the tweet and add your own spin. It doesn’t have to be anything profound. You can quote a Tweet and say how much you agree with the original author.

A great thing about using this method is that the original author will receive a notification, and will often engage with your quoted Tweet. They won’t do that with a Retweet. I  try to limit simple Retweets to topics that I am incredibly passionate about and supportive thread Retweets (more on that later).

5. Hash it up

You have amazing content that you have written, but how are you going to get people to see it if you don’t have any followers? Twitter has an easy solution to that: hashtags! Hashtags are a great way to get your content seen by other people who share your interests. The important thing is to keep your hashtags relevant. I tweet about Financial Independence a lot, so I use #financialfreedom, #fire, and #finance. But if I’m asking a question about blogging, I won’t use those; I’ll use general blogging hashtags.

People do actually search hashtags. And they engage with you if your tweet is applicable to the hashtag discussion. I know a Twitter user who will use the hottest trending hashtag on every tweet, even if it is totally unrelated. This is not a good way to gain followers.

Searching hashtags is also a great way to find accounts to follow. When I was at a paltry 0 followers, I searched related hashtags that I mentioned earlier to find related accounts to follow. It works both ways!

6. Support Groups

For the most part, fellow bloggers are the most supportive people out there. Find fellow bloggers to follow and engage with, and they generally follow and engage right back. They don’t even have to be in your niche. I joined a “bloggers follow” thread and gained about 30 engaging followers within an hour of joining. These amazing Twitter users run blogs on all sorts of topics, from make-up to lifestyle to travel to living with traumatic injuries. Everyone supports each other and reads each other’s blogs. In addition to gaining a bunch of followers I gained a wealth of information on a huge variety of topics! You can follow the account @bloggerstribe to get a start on finding some supportive bloggers to follow.

Not all groups are equal

Be careful with follow threads though. Very Careful! I made the rookie mistake of thinking that all follow threads would be like the amazing blogger follow thread that I chanced upon. Oh how wrong I was! I joined a regular “follow thread” and it was a huge mistake. It was one of those “follow everyone who Retweets this to gain followers” things. So I Retweeted it and followed everyone else who did. Bad idea. First of all, most of them didn’t follow back, so I didn’t really gain many followers. But the worst thing about it is that my feed was suddenly filled with spammy Retweets of “follow for this” and “gain followers this way”. All of the awesome content that my real Twitter friends were publishing was drowned out. I promptly un-followed everyone who spent their time on Twitter re-Tweeting for followers.

 

This was the "follow thread" that I made the mistake of retweeting

What was the difference between the blog thread and the general one? The blog thread had real people involved who were genuinely trying to grow their brands, their blogs, and their Twitter accounts. They cared about engaging because it was more than just a number, it was themselves. The general “follow thread” was filled with accounts (people or robots, who knows?) that were just trying to gain followers. They didn’t care about having relevant content or engaging with people, they just wanted the largest number of followers possible. To be honest, that’s not the type of account that I want following me anyway. I want people who follow me to be interested in what I have to say and to engage with me.

Get to Twittering!

Growing your Twitter following really isn’t that hard. If you follow similar accounts, engage with other, post awesome content, use relevant hashtags, and join some support groups you will be able to gain at least 500 Twitter followers each month! So what are you waiting for? Get out there and Tweet it up!

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