"Six week hiatus"

 

Welcome back, Partner’s in Fire!  As you probably noticed, we took a six week hiatus from blogging. It’s unfortunate that we had to take this time off right at our 6-month mark and when we were experiencing a steady increase in readership, but alas, sometimes life happens. So what happened that made us take this long break?

Visitors

I love my friends and family. So, when I had nearly six weeks of continuous visitors, I made them a priority. I actually did try to blog for the first week or so, but between working a full-time job and prioritizing my personal relationships, it just started slipping through the cracks.

It was well worth it though, because I spent time catching up with an old friend I had not seen since college. We went out for a few nights on the town, hit up the famous cemetery, checked out some local beaches, and just all around enjoyed hanging out with each other.

I also had the opportunity to visit my favorite cousin, who I haven’t seen in about a year. She was stuck in Jacksonville on business, about two hours away from my house (she’s usually about 12 hours away, so this was quite a change!).  I had to take a weekend to go see her!  We had a great time too, catching up, gossiping about family, and visiting the Ripley’s in St. Augustine. Great times.

The majority of this time off was spent with my boyfriend’s daughter, who lives out of state. I spent a lot of time getting to know her and building a solid relationship with her. We even took her down to Disney World, an experience that I’m sure she will never forget. We had a great time and she even took to calling my mommy! *swoon*. I hope to be her step-mom one day so I consider this time incredibly well spent.

Exhaustion

I’m not going to lie though, the visitors weren’t the only reason for my hiatus. The second reason is that I’ve just been feeling so tired lately. On the few days I had to myself these past few weeks, I haven’t had the energy to do anything; I just wanted to veg out in front of the tv. Yes, I know how terrible that is, but I was just so tired!!  I’d go to bed around 9 or 10 and wake up at 630, still feeling tired. I could manage to make it through my work day, but I didn’t have the energy for much else.

I wasn’t cooking healthy meals, I wasn’t working on my side projects, and I wasn’t doing anything to better myself. At first, I thought I was just tired from all the activity that was going on around me. However, most of my friends convinced me that my level of exhaustion was not normal in anyway. I’m also notorious for being cold all the time, so two of my friends recommended that I try an Iron supplement.

I tried the supplement, and my energy is through the roof! I don’t eat a lot of meat, so I guess I wasn’t getting enough of this important vitamin. I’m happy to report that I feel fantastic now, and I hope that was the only problem.

Related: Partners in Fire is 6 Months old!

I’m back!

So now I’m back after a six week hiatus, and unfortunately (though obviously) my readership has suffered. I will write a 7-month update to go along with all my other updates, but it will be short considering I hardly did anything to support my blog during the seventh month.

But you know what, sometimes you have to take care of yourself first. And sometimes you have to sacrifice some things to build and maintain relationships. I don’t regret my hiatus, even though it probably erased some hard won gains. I’m happy with where I am.

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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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