44th month blogging

Blog Growth Strategies – Our 44th Month Blogging

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They say that the summer is the worst time of the year for blog traffic and that July is typically the worst month of the slump. Everyone is out vacationing, enjoying the outdoors, the warmth, the long summer days, and nobody is inside reading blogs. That checks out because our 44th-month blogging wasn’t that great.

However, it also wasn’t terrible. We were pretty much consistent with last month. While we didn’t quite reach 10K pageviews, we were pretty dang close! If this is a “summer slump,” I can’t wait to see what the fall will bring!

44th Month Update

Readership

Our traffic was consistent. Two hundred users a day is about average, and we had a handful of days under that. Most of the low points were weekends, which would support the theory that it’s the summer causing the pageview slump more than any algorithm change. 

Traffic Drivers

Organic Search

Organic traffic accounted for just over half of our total traffic this period. We had a little over four thousand users finding us organically through search engines.

We’ve been putting a lot of work into link building and SEO, but we also understand it’s a long-term game. It can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months for Google to start ranking new posts, so the things we are working on now may not show any gain for a while.

That’s okay, though, as we started this process nearly a year ago. The posts we wrote with SEO in mind last year are finally started to gain some traction, and I really believe that we will see an explosion of organic traffic in the next few months.

Top Pages

There aren’t any changes to our top five pages. How to Become a Twitch Affiliate, Reaching Coast Fire, FU Money, How to Gain Twitter Followers, and Alternatives to Twitch still take up the top five spots. As I said, though, all of these posts are over a year old.

One interesting exception to this rule is our number 8 organic traffic driver, Discord Emotes. We published this post in the spring, only four short months ago, and it’s already starting to rank. This shows that although, in general, it will take over a year, you never know. Sometimes you write a spectacular post that Google can’t help but rank. Hopefully, this post will shoot up to the top of page 1 in the coming months, and we’ll finally have a new champion driver of traffic!

Other posts are starting to pick up steam as well. Our posts on Capture Cards, Generational Wealth, and How to Avoid Being Taken Advantage of as a Female Breadwinner are all in the top 20 and were all written within the last 12 months.  

Direct Hits

Direct hits continued to be our second biggest traffic driver. This is from people coming directly to use with our URL or coming via our email list. Make sure you sign up, so you never miss another post!

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We had over 1500 users find us directly this month, which is a little less than last month. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to determine exactly where this traffic is coming from, but I’m not going to argue with it!

Referral Traffic

We had about the same amount of referral traffic this month as last month, but most of it was due to our hit post, Honoring Our Grandmothers. This post was featured on both All-Star Money and Campfire Finance. I’m so glad that this post resonated with people the way it did. I feel like sharing my grandmother’s story and promoting women’s rights here is one small way I can honor her. I hope the post made her proud.

Github also continues to drive some traffic, as does MSN and a handful of other sites. I love to see referral traffic because that means links to Partners in Fire are all over the web!

Social Media

We did not do well on social media this month, which wasn’t even for lack of trying. We only had 350 users finding us from all of our social channels combined!

Pinterest

I thought I was doing better on Pinterest. I was pinning consistently up until the last week of the month. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to increase traffic from this platform. Traffic declined even with the effort.

There’s been a lot of talk about Pinterest’s algorithm constantly changing, and even the experts aren’t able to keep up anymore. The platform seems like a confusing free-for-all where some folks get lucky, and some don’t. However, some think that the overall traffic decline could be due to the traditional July slump in traffic. Pinterest is, at its core, a search engine, so the lower traffic this period could easily be due to fewer people searching. The fall will be a good test of whether this is the case or not.

I do plan to keep trying on the platform, at least a little bit. The plan is to keep pinning fairly consistently, at least a few times per week. We shall see if this helps increase my traffic from the platform or not.

Twitter and Facebook

Twitter and Facebook made up the rest of my social media traffic (most of it anyway, some other sites sent onesies and twosies). I do not see much traffic from either channel, but I’m also not focusing on using either for traffic. I see any traffic I get from either site as a bonus.

I did try to increase my reach on Facebook this period by running a Facebook ad to get page likes. While I did get about 50 more likes, it did not result in a traffic increase. In fact, I had exactly the same amount of traffic from Facebook in July as I did in June. Still, I think the experiment of running a Facebook ad was worthwhile. I learned that Facebook ads for page likes aren’t really worth the money, so I won’t be investing in those anymore.

Twitter has still been a great networking tool. I’ve made a ton of connections on the platform that have led to guest posts, collaboration opportunities, and interview requests. I generally use the platform for this, and any traffic I get from it is a bonus!

Content

We published a ton of awesome content this month. I published (mostly) all my own posts again, and they were killer! We started with an epic post on How to Find Your Passion because finding your passion is the first step to achieving a passion fire lifestyle. This post also heavily promotes our epic Etsy product, the How to Find Your Passions Worksheet Bundle.

Next, we published a post on Creative Writing Prompts, which ties into The Arts, a staple of Passion Fire. This post is also meant to drive folks to our Esty store, as we’ve created a few genre-specific creative writing prompts, which are available for sale on Etsy.

We threw in some fun this period as well, with posts on the best retro games, deep-sea fishing, and the best creative hobbies to pursue. Almost everyone can find something fun in one of these three posts. We rounded out the month with a post on Abstract Art for Sale, which showcases some of my own work and helps people find the pieces that work best for them, and a post on the different types of journals available to fill out some of our journaling content.

All in all, it was an epic month with a wide variety of killer content.

How Are We Going to Improve Our Readership?

We are still working hard on SEO to improve our readership. Link building continues to be one of our biggest priorities.  We are leaning heavily into HARO this month to try to score links from some larger publications, but those are difficult to come by.

One of the best things I ever did to help improve my SEO game was to join the Money Mix Insider’s SEO Hustle program. Not only do they offer a mastermind group dedicated to helping with every part of the blogging journey, but they also offer some really great SEO tools to help you with on-page SEO and help you get your content syndicated on other websites. It’s been such a great experience and has helped me immensely. They are still offering a trial period of three months for only a buck a month, so if you need some help growing your blog – be sure to check them out! They’ve rolled out some exciting new features these past few months that I really think will help all the members grow.

Monetization

We made close to $200 this month! But we spent over $500, so we are in the hole for $350 this period. I believe that it takes money to make money, and the costs this month were worthwhile for future growth (except the seventy dollars in Facebook ads – worth it for the experiment, but not for growth!).

We almost made enough to cover our recurring costs, which are only $210. I invested a little more money this period to publish a press release on our new post and Etsy product, How to Find Your Passion. The hope was that this press release will help SEO on both the post and the product and drive sales to the Etsy store. Unfortunately, that didn’t pan out this month, but we all know SEO is a long-haul game, and I’m hoping that post will start ranking in 6 months rather than 18 months.

We made money in a variety of ways. This period saw a tiny increase in ad revenue, and we also made a few affiliate sales and sold a few copies of our creative writing prompts.

I know it seems weird to include Etsy sales with blog revenue, and I often side-eyed bloggers who included seemingly unrelated income in their income reports in the past. However, I never would have created an Etsy store if it weren’t for my blog, and I use my blog to drive traffic to the store. These are digital products I’ve created because of my blog, and I’m simply hosting them on Etsy for sale. So, in my opinion, it counts as blog income!

Continued Growth

With all the awesome content and SEO work we are doing, I think we can get 30K pageviews in September. I know it’s only two months away, but the summer slump will be over, which will lead to a natural increase, and these two months of SEO hustling will give Partners in Fire the boost it needs.

I’m up for the challenge, and I love that you’re along for the ride!

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