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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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?
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 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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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!
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!
Well 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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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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