Blog Growth Strategies: 12th Month Update

Partners in Fire recorded their growth strategies as an online publication for the first fifty months. While conducting a content review to morph the website from a personal blog into a digital news resource, we decided to keep these updates to help people interested in starting their own platforms. 

Here’s our 12th-month update, edited for grammar, clarity, and to add wisdom from the benefit of hindsight. 

Blog Growth Strategies – Twelfth Month Update

Partners in Fire is officially one year old! I’m so excited to finally reach this milestone. 

Unfortunately, our numbers for this month weren’t as great as I had hoped. We didn’t make it to that coveted 1000-user mark; in fact, we took a huge step backward on total users for the month. 

But we are still trekking along! Let’s see what happened this month to find out where we lost users.

There was a lot of keyword stuffing going on in this post. We used the term “twelfth-month blogging” far too many times, an offense made even more ridiculous when you realize it has no search volume. We edited the term out when it didn’t make sense to use it. 


We stuck to our posting schedule, publishing a post every Thursday and Sunday like clockwork. We also managed to post a weekly episode of “My Boyfriend Sucks with Money,” which has been great fun.  I wrote a bonus post on my one-year blogiversary, which was completely unrelated to finance, but I thought it would be fun to write about. 

It’s my birthday, and I can write what I want to, right? I got decent page views from that, too. 

The podcast lasted less than a year. Although it had a great concept and resonated with many people, the relationship didn’t last. 

The “blogiversary” article was actually good. It was a well-thought-out review of the 90s show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, exposing why it’s one of the best shows ever created. As Partners in Fire morphed into a general wellness and happiness resource, we realized it had more value on the website than many other early, overly personal posts. It got a makeover and is still live on the website. 

twelfth month graph


Our readership took a hit this month. We went from an average of 30 users a day to under 20. We didn’t get any prominent features, which may have contributed to our decline in users. 

Some other factors played a part as well, though. I didn’t comment on nearly as many blogs this month as last and wasn’t as active on social media. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time, as I was preparing for another big move. I would like to say that I’ll do better in December, but I’m actually moving in December, so I doubt that will happen. 

My goal is to stick to my consistent posting schedule.

Running a website alone is a massive challenge, especially when it’s a side business or hobby. Sometimes, it takes a back seat to the other parts of your life, like it did whenever a big move occurred for us. 

Traffic Drivers

Direct Hits

Direct hits were still our number one traffic source this month, with 276 users via direct hits. Most of these come from our email subscribers, who are super awesome and visit whenever we post. We love you, subscribers!! And if you aren’t yet subscribed, just fill in your info to get updates directly to your inbox!

Allen had no idea where the direct hits came from. She assumed it was via subscribers but didn’t know enough about how Google Analytics records traffic to realize she was wrong. 

We don’t know if those 276 users came from subscribers, referral traffic, or bot attacks. 

Organic search:

Organic search was our second most significant traffic driver this month. I think I’m starting to understand SEO! 

This month, we had 190 users from organic searches, which is very similar to the last few months. The same keywords, “Barista fire” and “Coast FI,” drive traffic. 

I should write about those topics more! 

Allen was so close to understanding content clusters, but she didn’t know it yet. She also should have improved the posts over the years, and she didn’t, so they are no longer ranking. 

Many people think blogging is a passive feat, but it’s not. After you write an article, you must market it and constantly ensure it’s still the best resource on the topic. If it’s not, you will lose rankings. 

Social Media

I failed at social media during this period. Last month,  I posted older articles every day, posted on Instagram daily, and posted relevant content on Facebook to increase my following. 

I hardly did any of that this month, and my lack of effort shows with my users. We only had 174 users from social media this month, almost 100 less than last month. I need to find time for social media to get those numbers back up.

We still fail at social media. It’s impossible to do it all as a one-person show. It’s better to stick to a few things and do them well than to try to do everything. 


Pinterest is still a work in progress. We only had 66 users from the platform this month, a slight decrease from last month. I recently signed up for Tailwind’s Smart Loop feature, so hopefully, I’ll start seeing results next month. My Pinterest traffic has been relatively stagnant, even with Tailwind.

Tailwind was the best scheduling tool for Pinterest. However, it mostly helped reschedule old pins. In subsequent years, algorithm updates preferred fresh pins to republished pins, lessening the impact of a Tailwind subscription. 


I did not work on my Facebook presence like I wanted to this month. I did cultivate some good content to share, but unfortunately, other things get in the way, and I forget to do it regularly. 

Still, I did get six new likes this month on Facebook, and I got ten more page views from the platform during my twelfth month than during my eleventh. It’s the only social media platform that gave me an increase in page views this month, so I’m going to count that as a win!

Allen loves creating content to share on Facebook but typically fails to share it. We still have some of the content curated this month on our device, ready to share. It’s been four years, and we still haven’t shared it. Follow-through matters. 


I failed the most at Twitter this month. I had only 47 users from the platform this month, a massive decrease from the 114 I had last month. 

Why did this happen? I have a few ideas. 

First, I wasn’t posting as much older content. Last month, I tried to share an older post at least once a week for fresh views. 

Second, and more importantly, I wasn’t as supportive of other bloggers on Twitter as I was last month. I rarely shared content or retweeted, and I wasn’t as active on the platform. When it comes to Twitter, giving love is super important. I’m going to try to do better next month!

We now use the plugin Revise Old Posts to share our older content on social media automatically, so we don’t have to worry about it. However, with Musk’s platform takeover, API integration is limited. It used to work really well on Twitter, but no longer does. However, Revive Old Posts still works to share content on other social media platforms. 


Instagram was a complete failure this month. Although I did post regularly for the first half of the month, I failed to post during the second half. Only nine users visited the website from Instagram. 

My following even decreased – I was close to 1300, and now I’m back down to nearly 1200. Instagram users are super finicky, aren’t they? I want to do better on the platform, but I don’t think I’ll have the time to create compelling photos this month. I will post a bit, but I’ll focus more of my energy on Twitter and Facebook until I get settled in my new job and house.

Instagram still baffles us. Whenever we commit to a regular posting schedule, we lose followers. We’ve decided it’s not worth the time commitment for now. 

Referral Traffic

This month, we had 52 users from referral traffic, which is in line with last month’s number. However, the referral sources look pretty spammy, so I’m guessing most of these users were bots. 

I will try to do some extra guest posts in the coming months to get better referral traffic (and increase my DA as a bonus!).

There’s a lot of controversy online surrounding guest posts. Some say Google hates them, and some say they’re fine. We don’t know precisely what Google hates, but we have an idea. 

Guest posting for the sole purpose of link building is a no-no. Paying for guest posts to build links is against Google’s terms of service. However, that doesn’t mean guest posting is wrong. 

Partners in Fire has had great success with guest posting. We do it to build an audience, grow our brand, and engage with other content creators. Getting a few backlinks in the process is a bonus. It’s vital to only guest post on websites with relevant topics and to write from a user-first perspective. Don’t jam in backlinks every other sentence, and only provide a link if it helps the user. 


The content I posted this month was unique and engaging, but the lack of users to the site tells me otherwise. I wrote for a general audience interested in saving money on basic items and everyday life (pets, giving thanks, groceries, etc). I don’t know if this has just been written about so much that it’s no longer relevant or if I did a poor job of marketing my content.

 I guess I’ll find out this month when I post more super exciting content and do a better job of sharing it!

Allen was right that the content served a general audience, but she didn’t understand why it failed. 

The content wasn’t good. 

We’ve been reviewing and updating older posts for the past few months, and most of the early content was poorly written or insufficient. The bones were good, but Allen’s writing skills were lacking.  

The articles were filled with grammatical errors, senseless exclamation points, and failed attempts at humor. The content was thin, offering only five examples in an article that should have had at least 15. 

That’s not an insult. Writing is a skill. Everyone will struggle to write great content when they first start. Allen thought her content was good because she didn’t know any better, but after five years, she does. 

We’ve kept many of the old posts, and after a content overhaul, we think they do a much better job of serving our audience. 


I made a few bucks off of Amazon this month! Isn’t that exciting? 

I’m still not making enough money on the blog to pay for anything, but seeing a few more clicks and purchases every month is nice. We are monetizing slowly but surely! 

I will dabble in sponsored posts and research more affiliate programs shortly. Hopefully, I’ll be able to turn this blog thing into a decent income generator someday!

Partners in Fire has never attempted sponsored posts and doesn’t monetize much with affiliates. Though we tried in the early years, we realized that a lot of affiliate marketing involves pushing products we don’t believe in, and we don’t want to do that. 

We still have a few articles with affiliate links, but those are only for companies and products we actually use or believe in. We refuse to push useless products that don’t serve our audience. 

What’s Next?

We will stick with our goal of getting over 1000 users, even though we were far from it this month. 

I know it’s doable! 

It will be challenging this month, though. I plan on moving in mid-December, so much of my free time will be dedicated to packing, cleaning, and getting ready for the move.

 Unfortunately, that won’t leave much time for blogging, but I will stick to my Thursday and Sunday posting schedule! It won’t be easy, but I can do it.


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. 

4 thoughts on “Blog Growth Strategies: 12th Month Update”

  1. Join us in the Blog share at the Rockstar Finance forums in the Bloggers Lounge. Posts are linked twice a month and the next one should be 12/3.

    I get great traffic from those social shares and also the opportunity to read and share others great articles.

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