Our 33rd month blogging was freaking epic! Okay, so we still haven’t reached 10K pageviews, and still haven’t made over $100, but we’re getting closer and closer. I think with another few months of consistent growth and awesome posts, we will definitely hit all those milestones and then some!
33rd Month Update
Our readership during or 33rd month improved over last month. We had over 100 users every single day of the month – that’s definitely a first! We actually had over 120 on all but a handful of days – and most of those were due to technical issues.
That dip in the middle of the month was because I didn’t correctly re-install my SSL certificate and briefly lost my “HTTPS” heading. This caused Chrome to block my website, and definitely led to less viewers. Luckily, I was able to fix it the next day, and my viewership started to increase again. The one other point below 120 in the second half of the month was due to a plugin error that destroyed my site for three hours until I was able to fix it. Luckily, all seems to be going well now!
Our viewership from organic traffic is getting better and better. We had a little over 3000 users find us through organic search this month! That’s amazing, and over 500 more than last month. It seems like all the hard work I’ve been putting into updating posts and writing for specific keywords is finally starting to pay off. I’m going to continue to do the same in the future – my goal for September is an ambitious 5000 users via organic search!
Our top page from organic search remains “How to be Twitch Affiliate in 30 Days”. About 60% of our users from organic search started with that page. While I’m happy to be getting so much traffic, I am a little concerned about all my eggs being in one basket. As we finance folks like to say – diversification is key! And that is true of traffic as well.
My next top three posts are all in line with each other – with between 125-150 users per post. These are the same from last month – Animal Crossing is Addictive, Buffy is the Greatest show, and I Regret Getting Pets. All three of these posts got more traffic this month than last month.
In fact, nearly all of my top ten pages got more traffic this month than last month, with the exception of Coast Fire, which had about 15 fewer page views. Having a few more pages creep a tad bit higher in page views each month is one way that we’re going to break that 5000 mark!
Our traffic via direct hits this month was in line with last month. We had a little under 800 users visiting us directly this month. I know a good portion of these hits are from our wonderful subscribers (thank you!) and if you haven’t subscribed yet – you should do so now so that you never miss another post!
But, not all the direct hits are subscribers. I don’t really know where the rest of them come from. I’m guessing some are referrals, and some might be social media posts that don’t get recorded correctly by Google. From what I understand, Google calls any traffic it’s not sure of a direct hit. But I’m more than happy to take the traffic, wherever it comes from!
We had a little more traffic via social media this month than we did last month. Nearly 400 users found us via social media this month – about twice as many as last month!
It’s interesting that sometimes a blog post just takes off on social media. I think all my posts are good, but sometimes you will write something that really resonates with people and get a ton of shares. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened on Twitter this month.
More than half of my social media users came from Twitter during my 33rd month. A ton of those visited my tell-all on financial abuse, but FU money got a decent amount of love as well.
I tried to be active, but I know I didn’t share as much as I should have. To fix that, I decided to schedule some tweets with a plug in. I downloaded “Revive old posts” and I’m going to have it share to Twitter every 12 hours. It may even share some stuff that I don’t even remember writing!
I’ll also continue to share on my own when I have time. I’m sure I can craft a more interesting Tweet than a plug-in can! We shall see which ones get more engagement!
I still don’t think Google analytics is telling the whole story when it comes to Pinterest. According to them, I only have 130 users from the platform. But Pinterest is telling my I have over 100 more. I think this is where some of those extra direct hits are coming from. I’m not sure why Google would report some of them from Pinterest and some as direct hits though, this is such a mystery!
Although I redesigned a bunch of pins to try to improve my views from Pinterest, I actually had less users from the platform than I did last month – if I go with Pinterest’s analytics. Apparently, I still don’t know what will make the people of Pinterest click – but it’s a nut I’m trying incredibly hard to crack.
The one thing that helped drive traffic from Pinterest was getting re-pins, and the best way for me to do that is to share my pins with the Insiders group. I have a lot more engagement on every pin that I’ve shared with them – which just goes to show that sometimes you just need to get your content in front of more people in order for it to be successful.
This is my first-time mentioning Reddit, but I got 35 views from the platform, which isn’t something to shake a stick at! I’m still very weary of self-promotion on the platform, because that can end very badly. People on Reddit can be incredibly cruel and unforgiving.
But, the financial independence subreddit has a self-promotion thread once a week. That’s where I post my newest and best post, and I’ve actually gotten some engagement and some clicks. I’m taking Reddit slowly – I don’t want a ton of hate comments on my blog! But I am venturing into it, and slowly trying to find communities that allow self-promotion.
I did literally nothing with Facebook other than post my latest posts. And it shows with the 4 users that visited us from the platform this period. Somehow though, I did manage to get a handful of new page likes, so I’ll take that as a win.
I actually have plans to do more with Facebook this month, thanks to the Revive Old Posts plugin. It’s going to automatically share an old post for me everyday. It will be interesting to see if having more content posted to the platform will increase pageviews. And the best part is I don’t actually have to do anything now that it’s all set up!
I got a few juicy back-links this month, which actually gave me some referral traffic. A lot of people added Financial Abuse to their round ups for the week, so most of my referral traffic was due to that. Also, do think some referral traffic is listed as a direct hit, because that huge spike in viewers in the middle of the month was the day I got most of those links, so obviously people were clicking them, but Google didn’t record many referrals for that day. It’s fun to try to figure out why Google counts things the way it does!
I am incredibly proud of the content we published this month. Honestly, I think it was one of our best month’s yet as far as content goes. We started with some staycation ideas, since I had just taken one and let’s be real -that’s probably what most of our vacations will look like this year.
But then, we dived into important topics such as financial abuse, personal financial responsibility, and dealing with financial emergencies. Not only are these topics relevant, but I also wrote them to appease the Google Gods, so I’m expecting some organic traffic on them in the next few months (in fact, financial responsibility is already ranking – not high by any means, but getting some organic traffic on a brand new post is a pretty incredible feat!). We wrapped up the month with some insight into what a rich life actually means, and a humorous look at my fixer upper failure.
And these were just the posts I wrote! The syndications from the Insiders group were all amazing too – and it’s nice to be able to share a variety of content on Partners in Fire. I went from two posts a week to 3-4 posts a week just by adding this content to my rotation, and we all know that Google likes sites with more content best.
Big Changes for Partners in Fire
As some of you may have noticed, we made two huge changes to Partners in Fire this month. First, I finally decided to merge my old travel blog, Travels Near and Far, with Partners in Fire. I mean, one of my FIRE goals is to travel the world, so it’s fitting. The merge went very smoothly, and I’m seeing a slight uptick in traffic on those posts. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t SEO optimized, so I have some work to do to get them to rank, but I think it will be easier on the high domain authority site. And, I don’t have to chose which blog to focus on – I can put all my energy into Partners in Fire.
The other big change is a theme update. I finally switched to the Astra theme, which is supposedly one of the most lightweight and fastest themes on the market. Although Google says that site speed doesn’t play a role in SEO, some experts warn that it might in the future, so I’d rather be prepared. It looks very sleek and professional as well!
A minor change I made was giving gaming its own category. As you all know, I think streaming on Twitch is a viable side hustle, and gaming is one of my passions. So, I decided to embrace that and write more about it. Financial independence is about doing whatever you want with your life, right?
How Are We Going to Improve Our Readership
Our readership grew by over 700 users this month -which is awesome! But we want to continue to grow, and we have some plans to achieve that.
Actually, our plans aren’t much different than they were last month. Keyword research is the number one thing, and I already have that finished for my September posting schedule. Gone are the days of writing a post and hoping it ranks! Now, I develop an idea and research the best key words for that idea to get it to rank. I still write about what I want, but it’s more focused for SEO growth.
The second big thing is updating old posts for SEO. As a member of the Insiders group, I get free access to text optimization tools such as TFID and Text Optimizer. I’ve used these tools to make sure old posts are well-optimized for search engines, and I still have a plethora of posts to optimize.
I’m also going to try to build some back links to some of my travel posts – now that they are on a high authority website, that should be a tad bit easier. Here’s to hoping!
This is the second month in a row that I’ve actually made money! Yes, I’ve still spent more on the Insiders group than I made, but if I continue to grow at the rate I have been, that will even out in the next month or two. And my growth is definitely due in a big part to the Insiders! If you’re ready to take your blog to the next level – you need to at least check out their free trial. There’s no obligation to stay, and you get to keep all the links you built!
Here’s my revenue breakdown for this month:
I’m still with the same two ad networks as before, and with my increase in volume I’m seeing an increase in revenue. I made about the same with each network this month, so it’s hard to say I’m going to drop one and continue with the other. Also, they do different things. I chose the ad placement with one of them, and generally just drop some code in each post for a break in text. The other one overlays ads where they see fit, and that’s how we get those bottom banner ads.
I made a few sales with the Amazon affiliate program this month. It’s not a huge amount of money, but it is more than last month, so that’s a win! I plan on writing a few posts that are specifically designed for affiliate sales on Amazon next month, so we shall see if I get any conversions there.
I also joined a few additional programs, and set up a new plug in to keep track of my affiliate links and sales. If I’m going to start turning blogging into a viable business, I need to start converting sales. I’ve heard that affiliates are the best and easiest way for bloggers to monetize, but I haven’t been very successful with it yet. I have a few ideas though that I’m planning implementing in the coming months, so we shall see!
Net earnings: $72.84
Money Mix Insiders – $120
Ok, so I’m in the hole about $48. But you know what, I wouldn’t have made a thing if it weren’t for the Insiders. They are the reason I’m seeing the growth that I am. And if I keep growing at the rate that I’m growing, I should be able to at least break even for September – if not make some extra money.
Partners in Fire is continuing to learn and grow. We have some awesome ideas for September that are designed for both growth and monetization – so hopefully the increases will continue. And as always, we will continue to share the journey with you.
Melanie Allen is an American journalist and happiness expert. She has bylines on MSN, the AP News Wire, Wealth of Geeks, Media Decision, and numerous media outlets across the nation. She covers a wide range of topics centered around self-actualization and the quest for a fulfilling life.