Blog Growth Strategies – Eleventh Month Update

Partners in Fire shared monthly status updates on traffic growth for the first 50 months of its existence as an online publication. 

Here is the 11th-month update, edited for clarity, grammar, and to add additional insight into the strategies from the position of hindsight. 

Eleventh Month Update

Wow, eleven months! 

There is only one more to go until I’m a “real” blogger! We were so close to our goal of 1000 views this month—only 50 users shy of it! 

We had about 250 more users than last month, so that’s a huge win! Maybe I’ll get that big 1K for my first birthday! That would be awesome! 

Read on to find out what we did during our eleventh month.


We did a fantastic job keeping up with the posting schedule during our eleventh month. We published ten posts this period, one every Sunday and Thursday and a bonus guest post by Ryan from Arrest Your Debt. We tended to have the most visitors on the days we posted.

We also started a brand-new feature this month, the podcast “My Boyfriend Sucks with Money.” We’ve published three episodes and are confident it will be a breakaway hit!

The podcast, while well-received, only lasted a few months. The host’s relationship didn’t last (mainly because the boyfriend did suck with money), and there was no benefit to continuing. 

We also realized that trying to grow both a podcast and a website simultaneously spread the owners too thin, so Allen decided to focus on blog growth and put podcasting on the back burner. We hope to get back into the podcasting arena someday. 


Our readership was fairly consistent this month. We averaged about thirty users per day and only had two days with less than twenty users. 

Our worst day saw 15 users, and our best day saw a whopping 165! I’m pretty sure that was due to ESI Money sharing one of our posts that day, so thank you! That was a significant outlier, though, because we only had between 25 and 45 users on most days, a slight increase from last month.  

"eleventh month"

Traffic Drivers

Direct Hits

Direct hits were our number one source of traffic this month. Almost half of our users came via direct hits. Many of these were from our mailing list (subscribe now if you haven’t yet to get updates directly to your mailbox!). 

For some reason, whatever ESI did to drive users to my site was recorded as a direct hit. I’m not tech-savvy enough to understand it, but I know that the article they shared got tons of direct hits on the day they shared it.

I would think it would count as a referral, but who knows how this newfangled tech stuff works?

Allen’s honesty about her ignorance is refreshing, but Partners in Fire would have grown much faster if she had learned how the “newfangled tech stuff” worked. Google Analytics often records traffic as Direct when it can’t determine where it came from. 

Social Media

Social media was our second most significant traffic driver this month. We had 259 users from social media, almost 100 more than last month! 

It shows that being active on social media does produce results.


Twitter was the biggest traffic driver from social media. One hundred fourteen users came from Twitter, almost three times as many as last month! That’s amazing! 

I think a big portion of this was my one day of commenting on other people’s blog posts. 

Who would have thought that being supportive would lead to people supporting you? It’s crazy how that works out.

When this update was initially written, blog commenting was a common practice. Unfortunately, with the proliferation of spam, bots, and angry commenters, many website owners have decided to turn off commenting. 

Some still allow it. Commenting on blogs is a common “SEO practice,” but we wouldn’t recommend it. Don’t comment to get a backlink. Only comment on blog posts if you genuinely want to build a relationship with the writer, enjoy their content, and have something to add to the conversation. 


My Pinterest traffic is growing slowly but surely. We had 87 users from Pinterest, a modest increase from last month. 

I’m still trying to design better pins that people will want to share (and click on!). I’ve been using Unsplash to find excellent images and Canva to create beautiful designs, but I need to work on my call to action.

 I need to make the words so compelling that people can’t help but click! It’s a work in progress.

Partners in Fire stopped using Unsplash. We now use only paid image services, like Canva Pro and Shutterstock. The paid services offer protection against unscrupulous players filing false copyright claims or using an image shared on a free platform without permission from the original owner. 


My Facebook performance still needs improvement. I have 119 likes on the platform, which only translated into 42 users this month. My Facebook presence needs some work. 

I’m trying to share other people’s blogs and fun financial memes to keep my page engaging and relevant, but finding the time is not always easy. I’m still chugging away at it, though!

Partners in Fire stopped worrying about Facebook. It didn’t seem worth the effort. However, some website owners have had massive success with the platform. 

It’s crucial to share a variety of content, not just links. Also, Facebook likes to keep users on its platform, so it may devalue posts linking away. It’s a best practice to limit links and put them in the comments when you use them. 


Instagram is the only social media platform that saw a decrease in users this month. I had only 14 users from Instagram this period, three fewer than last month! 

My Instagram following keeps growing, but it’s no longer translating into page views. Maybe one day, I’ll get to the 10K mark and be able to add links to my story! 

That will be a great day!

Instagram has made many changes since 2018, and we haven’t kept up. We don’t use the platform much anymore. 

Organic search

Curiously enough, we had the same number of users from organic searches this month as last. I searched Alexa for my keywords, and people found my site after searching for “Barista Fire” and “Coast FI.” Yay for relevant searches! 

SEO hasn’t been the easiest thing for me to figure out, but I’m working on it, and I think I’m getting better little by little.

The reality is that Allen was awful at SEO during this period. She refused to pay for a keyword research tool and thus didn’t do any keyword research. On the plus side, she didn’t overoptimize the posts, which probably helped them rank. 

Neither of these posts currently ranks in the top 10 of the SERPS, though they are indexed and ranking in the twenties. They haven’t been updated in years. 

If your post ranks well, competitors will notice. They will write a better post on the topic, hoping to beat you in the SERPS. If you don’t constantly update and improve your articles with new, fresh information, they will fall in the rankings. 

Referral Traffic

We only had 54 users from referral traffic this month, a drastic decrease from last month. On the plus side, many of those were from other blogs, so that’s much better than the spammy referral traffic I was getting in the past! 

I think most of these were due to my diligence in commenting on other blogs (since you have to leave your URL to comment), proving once again that helping others helps you, too!


We did a great job posting interesting, helpful content this month. It was wild that I started writing about a stock market crash right before stocks began losing! I’d like to say I predicted it, but that would clearly be a lie.

 The articles were very timely, though, which helped translate into pageviews. I also posted a blogging award article this month, which I received no views on. I guess most people don’t find those types of articles helpful. However, I will still write them because it’s a great way to support other bloggers, which is one of my main goals.

Partners in Fire stopped publishing blogging award articles. They serve no purpose and are barely a step above a link-building scheme. Allen was correct that no one enjoyed these articles but was wrong in her commitment to continue writing them. 

Blogging awards are the chain letters of the blogging world. Someone “nominates” you and nine other websites, then writes an article with a short blurb about each and a backlink. Then, each of the ten websites “pays it forward” by thanking the original poster and nominating ten others (all with links, of course). 

They serve no value to the readers. We removed every “blogging award” article.


We are working on monetizing Partners in Fire via affiliation. Last month, we posted about skincare, and this month, we posted about online shopping. Although those posts have generated clicks, very few have resulted in sales. 

The powers that be generally say that you have to have between 50 and 100 daily users before seeing affiliate sales, and we will get there soon. I’m hoping my articles with affiliate links are still helpful and entertaining, as I only want to add value for my readers.

Allen experimented heavily with affiliate sales in the first few years with little success. The problem was that she pushed affiliates that didn’t relate to the website’s purpose and didn’t focus on SEO for affiliate sales. We’ve removed most of the early affiliate-heavy content that doesn’t serve readers. 

She didn’t want to focus on SEO for affiliates because that doesn’t serve users. However, she should have thought harder about the website’s ultimate purpose and whether the affiliates she pushed served that. They didn’t. 

We don’t do much affiliate pushing anymore, as most products that claim to help you “find happiness” don’t. We share our affiliate links on products and books that we’ve found helpful for pursuing hobbies, like journals, drawing tablets, art supplies, etc., but we don’t push them heavily, thus not earning much via affiliates. 


We got our Patreon up and running this month. The primary purpose of the Patreon account is to support the podcast so we can get it hosted on big platforms like iTunes and Spotify. Unfortunately, we don’t have any Patreons yet, so if you love the podcast, you can be our first!

We never used Patreon. Although it’s a great resource for website owners to make money, it was too much work for us at the time, so we didn’t pursue it. 

What’s Next?

We are going to stick with our goal of getting over 1000 users. We were so close! We only need to average 34 users per day to get there, and with our average daily users slowly creeping upwards, we can get there.

6 thoughts on “Blog Growth Strategies – Eleventh Month Update”

  1. Have you looked at sharing in of your content on Reddit? I see that’s not a social media platform you are focusing on, but if you’d like traffic in a pinch to get you over a hump, it can do the job. I do find the traffic to be less quality with higher bounce rates and lower durations. But I’m also not quite sure I have it figured out yet. I find a subreddit that accepts link posts which relate to one of my posts. Then I post it.

    Great job continuing your growth from past months.

    • Hey Stephen, I’ve thought about posting on reddit but I don’t want to be spammy. I’ve only ever posted on the “blogging” or whatever sub reddits, I’m not sure where else I could post that wouldn’t be against the rules. Maybe I’ll research it more, I have heard it can be a great driver of traffic if used correctly!

  2. Thanks for sharing, I love the insight! I’m a new blogger and finally got all my social media accounts set up. After sharing my FB Page to my news feed I realized how important it was to promote my website. Now I have Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram set up and plan on feeding them content as well.

    • Hey Gregory! Thanks for stopping by! It can be hard to manage all of the social media counts, I try but its hard to keep up sometimes. But Social Media is the best way todrive traffic, especially in the beginning!

  3. Very interesting. I just started my blog last week so my analytic numbers are very sad, but I do enjoy reading posts like this so please continue to do so and it’ll be fun to see your growth.

    • I think it will be fun to see my growth too haha!! Blog numbers are always sad at first. It usually takes over a year to see any growth. Keep on chugging, the numbers will come!

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