Blog Growth Strategies – Our Sixth Month Blogging

Melanie Allen, founder of Partners in Fire, kept an online log of her blog growth strategies for over five years. She posted a monthly review showcasing her readership growth and decline and the methods she implemented to grow the website. 

We’ve decided to keep these posts live for posterity but have edited them for grammar, clarity, and to add perspective from the lens of hindsight. 

Here’s Partners in Fire’s progress after six months. 

Blog Growth Strategies for Our Sixth Month Blogging

Partners in Fire is officially six months old!  That means we’ve met the basic requirements for being a real blog!  

It’s an exciting milestone for us, so let’s see how we did!

They say most new website owners quit before the six-month mark, which is why Allen was so thrilled to make it to the six-month mark. 


We ended our sixth month with 477 users, 23 shy of our target. Despite not hitting the goal, I’m happy with the number. 

As I wrote in my 5th monthly update, I knew May would be rough. There was so much going on in my personal life that I didn’t have much time for blogging. I meant only to 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 worthwhile!). 

I was only able to write and publish four blog posts this month! That’s half as many as my target, and I still got 477 users!! 

I’m going to call that a huge win!

Traffic Acquisition During Month Six

Most of our traffic during our sixth month came from direct hits and social media. 

Direct Hits

A little over half of our readers for 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 many of these views are the residual effects of being featured on Rockstar Finance. I would love to find a way to learn where these direct hits are coming from, though (and if you have any ideas on how to find out, please share in the comments!)

Google Analytics is fickle. It doesn’t always correctly record referral traffic. Many of those “direct hits” were probably clicks from the handful of websites that featured the post. Google calls a lot of traffic “direct” when it can’t identify the source. 

Social Media

Social media was Partners in Fire’s second most significant traffic driver this month. We had 187 referrals from various social platforms this month. 

Pinterest continues to be the biggest driver of social media traffic, with 139 users. This is only 35 less than last month, which 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 challenging 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 of running a blog in addition to its strong points.

Monetizing a new blog is hard. Getting readers to a new blog is hard. Getting subscribers takes a lot of work. Many things about blogging are hard, but many prominent 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.

Allen was often overly optimistic about all her failures for the first few years. She always found ways to put a positive spin on dismal numbers. However, she tried to balance that with honesty about how difficult starting and growing a website is.  

The positivity helped her keep going, even when she went for long periods without seeing growth. If you’re going to start a website, you need to look on the bright side of things and truly believe you will succeed. It’s okay to lament the difficulty, but if you don’t think you can, you won’t. 

Challenges in Growing a Website

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 overcoming this small amount of writer’s block and coming up with good ideas for the blog will be my biggest challenge in the coming months.

Writer’s block is a massive challenge for new bloggers. One of Allen’s biggest struggles at this point was niche. At the time, all the SEO gurus constantly screamed that you needed to pick a niche and stay in it. Allen chose personal finance, but continually developing new money topics proved a massive challenge. She slowly expanded, but it took a few more years to realize niche isn’t all that important. Having an overreaching theme is far more crucial. Partners in Fire’s theme is to help people find their passion and fund their lives, so the site includes resources on money, travel, wellness, and everything that makes life worthwhile. SEO gurus would say that’s outside a niche, but we disagree. 

If you’re a newer blogger struggling to find keywords, consider these methods:

  • Expand Your Niche into a broader theme
  • Conduct keyword research with MOZ
  • Do competitor keyword research
  • Look at the “people also ask” in Google
  • Use Google’s autofill feature

Creating a “Challenges” Section

In the initial publication, Allen briefly mentioned her struggle with writer’s block in the “What’s Next” section. We created a new “challenges” section and moved that piece so we could offer insight into overcoming that challenge. 

If we could start over again, we’d include a “challenges” section with each update and offer advice for resolving those challenges. 

Unfortunately, Allen didn’t know how to overcome her writer’s block at the time of writing, but we have five years of hindsight on our side to help you when you encounter similar problems. 

Moving forward, whenever we encounter a “challenge,” we will create a new section for it and offer advice for resolving it. 

What’s Next?

Although summer is going to be busy with all the visitors and vacations I have planned, I will attempt to stick to my blogging schedule. 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.

After six months, Allen was confident she could create a successful website but was still not dedicated to it. She didn’t prioritize it, never invested in it, and still thought of herself as an influencer rather than a website owner. 

It took her a long time to overcome these hidden challenges. 

Author: Melanie Allen

Title: Journalist

Expertise: Pursuing Your Passions, Travel, Wellness, Hobbies, Finance, Gaming, Happiness

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 and is a certified happiness life coach. She covers a wide range of topics centered around self-actualization and the quest for a fulfilling life. 

3 thoughts on “Blog Growth Strategies – Our Sixth Month Blogging”

  1. Congrats on the unique session number! That’s great.

    I keep hearing about pinterest but must admit I’m a little baffled by it. I have goal as a moving target right now.

    Keep going, I think you’re doing great.

    • Thank you! I’m trying, but this blogging is hard work!! Pinterest has been a great boon to my blog, hit me up on Twitter if you have specific questions about it or need some advice! I’m no expert; but I’m working on it

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