"eleventh month blogging"

Eleventh Month Update

Wow, eleven months! Only one more to go until I’m a “real” blogger! We were so close to our goal of 1000 views this month – only 50 users shy of it! We also had about 250 more users than  last month , so that’s a huge win! Maybe I’ll get that big 1K for my 1st birthday!  That would be awesome! Read onto find out what we did during our eleventh month.

Posting

We did an amazing job of keeping up with the posting schedule during our eleventh month. We published 10 posts this period, one every Sunday and Thursday and a bonus guest post by Ryan from Arrest Your Debt. And wouldn’t you know, we tended to have the most visitors on the days we posted! We also started a brand-new feature this month, the podcast “My Boyfriend Sucks with Money”. We’ve published three episodes so far, and are confident that it will be a breakaway hit!

Readership

Our readership was fairly consistent this month. We averaged about thirty users per day, and only had two days with less than twenty users. Our worst day saw 15 users, and our best day saw a whopping 165! I’m pretty sure that was due to ESI Money sharing one of our posts that day, so thank you! That was a major outlier though, because we only had between 25 and 45 users on most days. That is a small increase from last month though, and a small increase is still an increase, so I’ll take it!

"eleventh month"

Traffic Drivers

Direct Hits

Direct hits were our number one source of traffic this month. Almost half of our users came via direct hits. Many of these were from our awesome mailing list (subscribe now if you haven’t yet to get updates directly to your mailbox!). For some reason, whatever ESI did to drive users to my site was recorded as a direct hit. I’m not tech savvy enough to understand it, but I do know that the article they shared got tons of direct hits on the day that they shared it. I would think it would count as a referral, but who knows how this newfangled tech stuff works.

Social Media

Social media was our second biggest driver of traffic this month. We had 259 users from social media, almost 100 more than last month! It just goes to show that being active on social media does produce results.

Twitter

Twitter was the biggest driver of traffic from social media this month. We had 114 users from Twitter, which is almost three times as many as last month! That’s amazing! I think a big portion of this was my one day of commenting on a bunch of people’s blog posts. Who would’ve have thought that being supportive would lead to people supporting you? Crazy how that works out.

Pinterest

My Pinterest traffic is growing slowly but surely. We had 87 users from Pinterest, which is a modest increase from last month. I’m still trying to design better pins that people will want to share (and click on!). I’ve been using Unsplash to find awesome images and Canva to create beautiful designs, but I need to work on my call to actions. I need to make the words so compelling that people can’t help but click! It’s a work in progress.

Facebook

My Facebook performance is still lacking. I do have 119 likes on the platform, but that only translated into 42 users this month. Obviously, my Facebook presence needs some work. I’m trying to share other people’s blogs and fun financial memes to keep my page engaging and relevant, but it’s not always easy to find the time. I’m still chugging away at it though!

Instagram

Instagram is the only social media platform that saw a decrease in users this month. I only had 14 users from Instagram this period, three less than last month! My Instagram following keeps growing, but it’s not translating into page views anymore. Maybe one day I’ll get to the 10K mark and I’ll be able to add links to my story! That will be a great day!

Organic search

Curiously enough, we had pretty much the same number of users from organic searches this month as we had last month. I did a search on Alexa for my keywords, and as it turns out people are finding my site after searching for “Barista fire” and “Coast FI”. Yay for relevant searches! SEO hasn’t been the easiest thing for me to figure out, but it’s something that I’m working on and I think I’m getting better little by little.

Referral Traffic

We only had 54 users coming from referral traffic this month, a drastic decrease from last month. On the plus side, a bunch of those were from other blogs, so that’s much better than the spammy referral traffic I was getting in the past! I think most of these were due to my diligence in commenting on other blogs (since you have to leave your URL to comment), proving once again that helping others helps you too!

Content

I think we did a great job of posting interesting, helpful content this month. It was crazy that I started writing about a stock market crash right before stocks started losing! I’d like to say that I predicted it, but that would clearly be a lie. The articles were very timely though, and I do think that helped translate into page views. I also posted a blogging award article this month, which hardly received any views. I guess most people don’t find those types of articles useful, however I am still going to write them because it’s a great way to support other bloggers, and that is one of my main goals.

Monetization

We are working on monetizing Partner’s in Fire via affiliation. Last month we posted about skincare and this month we posted about online shopping. Although those posts have generated clicks, very few have resulted in sales. The powers that be generally say that you have to have between 50 and 100 daily users before seeing affiliate sales, and I think we will get there soon. I’m hoping that my articles with affiliate links are still helpful and entertaining though, I only want to add value for my readers.

Patreon

We also got our Patreon up and running this month. The primary purpose of the Patreon account is to support the podcast so we can get it hosted on the big platforms like I-Tunes and Spotify. Unfortunately, we don’t have any Patreons yet, so if you love the podcast you can be our first!

What’s Next?

We are going to stick with our goal of trying to get over 1000 users. We were so close! We only need to average 34 users per day to get there, and with our average daily users slowly creeping upwards, I think we can get there.

What are your thoughts? What else can we do to improve our readership? I’d love to hear your ideas!

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"tenth month"

Partner’s in Fire did pretty well during our tenth month. However, we didn’t meet our goal of a thousand users and we had about 150 less users than last month. What did we do wrong there? 

Outside of not reaching our user goals, we had some big blog wins during our tenth month and did a lot of things right.  Read on to find out what our strengths and weaknesses were during our tenth month blogging!

Our Tenth Month

Posting

As I mentioned in my ninth month updated, I skipped three blog posts this month due to a trip to Germany. Outside of that, I stuck to a very consistent posting schedule. We published seven blog posts this month; publishing every Thursday and Sunday that I was home. I do think that consistency is important when blogging (or you-tubing, podcasting, and pretty much anything that requires a return audience). If you stop providing content, people will stop coming. I learned that the hard way during my six-week hiatus, so outside of planned vacations, I hope to not skip anymore blog posts. It was extremely hard this month though, because I also had a good friend visiting from the other side of the country for five days. I sacrificed a small bit of time with her to ensure that I stuck to my posting schedule, but good friends are understanding and supportive of your goals. 

Readership

I knew we were going to struggle with readers this month due to the vacation, even as I was hoping it wouldn’t happen. You can clearly see in my stats where my average daily users dipped for a few days in the beginning of the month. Other than that, my readership remained fairly consistent during the course of the month. I had between 20 and 40 users almost every day during this period (except during vacation time). What I found interesting was the fact that I lacked the huge spikes in readers on certain days that I had last month.

I think this is kind of a good thing. Those spikes generally corresponded with a lot of spammy looking user registrations, which I didn’t get a lot of this month. I’m hoping that means the majority of my users this month were real, engaged visitors rather than robots.

 

"tenth month update"

Traffic Drivers

Organic search

Organic searches were our biggest driver of traffic for the first month ever. We had 203 users from organic searches this month!  I think this increase is due to the fact that our domain authority is steadily growing. For our first few months, our domain authority was at a paltry one. When you typed Partners in Fire into a google search, you’d have to scroll through pages upon pages of firefighters to find our website.

I recently checked my domain authority, and it was at 20! I know that’s not great, but it’s way better than one!  Also, I ran a google search of Partners in Fire on a computer without the website in the cookies, and we were the first result!  Apparently, we are doing something right with SEO.

Unfortunately, I still can’t see what people are searching for that brings them to our site, but they tend to stay for more than a minute and look at more than one page, so that must be good!

Direct Hits

We got quite a bit of traffic through direct hits this month as well. We had 175 users come to us directly during our tenth month. I think this is because we are slowly but surely increasing our subscribers (I think the pop-up, although annoying, has helped!) and people are remembering our name. That’s what I’m going to tell myself anyway.

Social Media

Social media was only our third biggest driver of traffic during our tenth month. We had 162 users from social media this month. This is obviously quite a decrease from the 244 we had last month. With my vacation and my friend visiting, I wasn’t as active on all of my social media pages as I was last month. I’m definitely ok with that though. I sacrificed some time with my friend to post an article  and market it at least once, but I wasn’t going to sacrifice more time with her to participate in Facebook groups and remain active on Twitter and Instagram. She is more important to me than marketing, and I’d definitely make the same choice again.

Pinterest

Pinterest was our top social media traffic driver during our tenth month. We had 72 views from Pinterest, which is the only traffic source that increased during the period. Thank you, Tailwind! I use Tailwind to schedule my pins, and my queue is full weeks in advance. So technically, I was still active on Pinterest even though I wasn’t doing much else.

Twitter

I still love twitter, and it was the second largest social media driver of traffic this month!  We had 46 users from twitter, which is only twenty less than last month. This is great considering I didn’t post as much!  I think that really goes to show how important it is to engage with and grow your Twitter community.

Facebook

I had less than stellar performance with my Facebook page this month. Only 27 users came from Facebook, a huge decrease from the 81 we had last month. Unfortunately, I think the main reason for this is the content I was producing this month as opposed to last month. Our friends and family were really interested in my shift in mindset about having kids, and a lot of them found those articles via Facebook. Unfortunately, those relatives aren’t as interested in becoming a Twitch Affiliate or Complaining on Twitter.

However, people in other communities are interested in those topics, and I’m not just writing for our families. I’m writing for myself, and for everyone else. Not everyone is going to care about every topic that I write about, and that’s ok.  Finance is  related to almost every facet of our lives, so there are thousands of things to write about. I’m sure most people will get some value from at least one of my topics. At least that’s what I tell myself.

Instagram

I had half the number of users from Instagram this month as I did last month. Only 17 users came from Instagram during this period. And I even tried to post consistently!  I think that I had the same problem here as I had with Facebook…Instagram users (at least the ones in my community) seemed far more interested in articles about children than they did about the content I was producing this month. Like I said above though, that’s ok. Different people like different things. My Twitter audience (where I have gamer friends) loved my article about Twitch. My Instagram audience did not. In the future, I may try to take this into consideration and avoid posting content that a certain community may not care about.

Referral Traffic

We had 157 users come from referral traffic this month. Unfortunately, I think the majority of this traffic is spam, because it has the highest bounce rate of any traffic source. This is really bringing down my average! Not all of it is spam though. We got featured on Little Bytes News somehow, which brought some decent traffic, and we also got a bit of referral traffic through two awesome financial blogs, Tread Lightly, Retire Early and Wise Money Home.

Blog Win for the Month

Though we had less users this month, we did have one awesome blog win. We are working towards monetization, and to that end I posted an article about skincare with affiliate links to products that I use and I strongly believe in. We actually had a few people purchase the products that I recommended! I’m so happy that I can provide useful information, and that our fans trust us enough to try something that we recommend. Thank you so much for your continued support, and I promise you won’t be disappointed with the moisturizer.

What’s Next?

We are going to stick with our goal of trying to get over 1000 users. I don’t have any vacations or visitors planned for the month of October, so I should be able to stick to the posting schedule and remain active on all of my social media accounts. We also have a bunch of useful, interesting, and engaging content planned for the month, which I’m hoping will attract even more users!

We are still going to work on monetizing (hosting a blog isn’t free you know!) through affiliate links, but we are also going to sign up for Patreon to see if we can at least recoup our hosting fees through donations.

Our biggest new project is a financial Podcast. We did a practice run this week which I think went really well. We are going to rely heavily on Patreon for the podcast, as monthly hosting fees can get costly. Be on the lookout, it’s coming soon!!

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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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