Wow, I am so humbled to have been nominated for a Blogger Recognition Award! Thank you so much to Jane from ABFAB Travels for the nomination. She’s a newer travel blogger who I first met on Instagram. Jane’s been super supportive and she’s a great blogger to connect with on all of the platforms.
The Blogger Recognition Award is given by bloggers to recognize others within the blogging community. It’s a great way to recognize each other for the hard work we put in. It’s also a great way to support the bloggers we know and love.
Thank the Blogger who nominated you (me!)
Write a post as to why you started your blog
Include 2 bits of advice you would give to other bloggers
Nominate other bloggers and comment on their response
Why I started Partners in Fire
I started Partners in Fire for two main reasons. First, I really wanted to help people with money. Finances are such an important topic, and it really does encompass every part of people’s lives (hence the lifestyle portion of the blog). I want everyone to be able to get on a path towards financial independence. I want everyone to live the life they want.
My second reason for starting the blog is that I wanted to start a side hustle. I’m not one of those who is going to pretend that I don’t ever want to monetize my blog. I definitely want to monetize, but in a way that’s beneficial to my readers. I never want to be spammy, but I do want to turn Partners in Fire into a legitimate business one day. I’m nothing if not honest, right?
The best piece of advice that I can give a new blogger is to stick with it. Blogging takes time! You may hear stories of bloggers getting thousands of page views in their first month blogging, and although that can happen, it’s the exception, not the rule. It takes most bloggers six months to a year or more to increase their domain authority and start getting organic traffic. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I’m in my 11th month of blogging and just achieved a domain authority of over 20 and I’m just now starting to see organic traffic through google. Stick with it and they will come.
The second piece of advice I can give is to find a niche that you can write about regularly. My first foray into the world of blogging was a travel blog, travels near and far. I love to travel, and I love to write, so I figured it would be a no brainer! I enjoyed writing it, but unfortunately, I just don’t travel enough to sustain a travel blog. However, one of my Fire goals is to travel the world, so I’m keeping the travel blog active and I’ll go back to writing for it when I have more time to travel. In the meantime, I’m loving running Partners in Fire. I have so much information to share on finance and living life, it’s been a year and I’m not out of ideas yet!
Its so hard to pick nominees for the Blogger Recognition Award! I’m going to go with my favorite smaller bloggers to hopefully help some of them increase their domain authorities (some of you may have higher than mine, I don’t know, I’m basing this off of when I met you!) My nominees are:
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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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