Summer 2018 Updates and Reports

Blog Update | Sep 2018: 6 Months, 0 Dollars, 6,000 Pageviews

Here you are. Welcome back to My Early Retirement Journey. It’s that time again. Time for my next blog update. I think I will probably just do 1 or 2 more of these until I really decide to aggressively monetize my blog. Otherwise, I’m not sure what purpose they serve as I didn’t necessarily start my blog to garner pageviews and earn income. As of now, I should be able to FIRE or seek a sabbatical without relying on side income.  Well let’s get into it!

Related content:

To recap, I published my first post 20Feb2018 on Blogger. Since then I have been to Bluehost and back…twice. Then I went back to Blogger with my personal domain purchased from Bluehost. After 100 posts, I decided to commemorate my progress by going back to self-hosting. This time I tried Siteground. Both Siteground and Bluehost are now my affiliates, so please feel free to click through one of my links if you are interested in starting a blog. The starting part is easy, but more than that it’s pretty fun.

Related content: 

Overall, I have to say I still really enjoy blogging. This hasn’t changed. I like writing and I like creating content. Even though it’s annoying, I even like searching different ways to attract more traffic to my blog.  Less so after the summer I just spent trying different things to drive traffic to my blog. It’s not time wasted because I wanted to know I at least tried. I still write and create content because my original reason for starting this blog was to create a space for single girls like me to be a part of the conversation. Enough chatting, let’s get down to the details for which you came.

To Refresh Your Memory: Month 3 Blog Update (posted 05Jun2018)

Expenses (to date):
$14.99 (est) to keep my domain after leaving BlueHost

Blog Traffic (via Blogger) 
date range: 20Feb2018 to 28May2018
Pageviews (all time): 4,853 (**Blogger which counts my pageviews, far less without that)
Subscribers (total): 3 (up from 0)
Revenue (all time): $0.82 (via Google Adsense)

Posts published (total):  41
Posts scheduled (upcoming): 17

Month 6 Blog Traffic and Income Report

Accurate as of 28Aug2018.

Expenses (to date):

$14.99 + $143 = $158

Note: Bluehost Domain + 3-year hosting plan from Siteground

Blog Traffic (via Google Analytics)

date range: 20Feb2018 to 27Aug2018

Pageviews (all time, via Analytics)): 6,104 (up from 1,601)
Subscribers (total, via feedburner):  8 (up from 3)
Revenue (all time, via Adsense): $2.18 (up from $0.82)

Posts published (total): 118
Posts scheduled (upcoming): 9

Screenshot from Google Analytics

Notes.

Top 5 Posts

  1. Why Yes, This Is My $300,000 Student Loan Repayment Plan: REPAYE 2018
  2. How Being A Victim of Identity Theft Helped Me Take Control of My Finances and Pay Off $30,000 of Debt in 2 Years
  3. Review | 3 Free Spreadsheets You Might Want To Try
  4. Why I Love My Roku So Much! (Cable-whathat?)
  5. A Bajillion Tiny Little Indisputable Facts About Life In Your 30s

Posting Schedule:
I generally post at least twice a week. My default goal is 1x/mon like the first personal finance blog I ever read. This will likely be accomplished once I have said everything I needed to say, but for now since blogging is so new, I still have so much left to say! Most prolific month was August 2018 with a whopping 30 posts and counting; Jul 2018 = 23 posts; June 2018 = 22 posts. August was meant to be a little sparse but I had some old posts I had written since April sitting in the queue.  When I started to see the blog taking a different direction, I wanted to get those old posts published before I started heading down that new direction. I am gaining a little bit of focus as I frame my posts around my life as a single girl. I am literally the only one I know in this season of life.

I also started a Wednesday weekly post that I post every Wednesday. I give real time life updates every Saturday. For pre-planned posts, I tend to schedule them Tuesdays and Thursday to space them out. I’ve published a couple comics after being inspired by another female blogger’s comic site. Those were really fun!

Social Media Engagement
Joined Twitter 20May2018:  95 Followers (up from 20 Followers)
Joined Facebook 19May2018: 15 Followers (up from 1 Follower on My Early Retirement Journey Page)
Joined Pinterest  08Apr2018: 10.3k monthly viewers; 289 Monthly Engaged; 63 Followers (up from 207 monthly viewers; 6 Monthly Engaged; 25 Followers)
Joined Bloglovin 22Jun2018: 12 followers (new)

I still use IFTT to automate my posts to Pinterest boards, less so now that WordPress will automatically publish posts to Facebook and Twitter.  I had a soft goal of tackling social media as a summer project and I gave it the good single girl try – a little half-hearted, a little purposeful. As suspected, driving traffic from social media requires a lot more engagement than I’m willing to do at this point, especially in regards to Pinterest.  I try to only check social media like FB and Twitter once a month.  For Pinterest I tried a couple things – IFTT automation, the free Tailwind trial (100 pins), creating 40 boards from 10 up from the first 4 I had. I joined two or three group boards.  My Pinterest interest has swiftly taken a back seat. I still intend to pin with IFTT automation and am including 1 pin a week on my blog-chore chart for Fall 2018. We shall see.

Traffic Generating Ideas, thus far

  • Pinterest, Pinterest automation, Tailwind – no real marked success
  • Guest posting – success
  • Posting often (more than 1x/wk) – success
  • Rockstar Finance Directory and Forums – success
  • Linky parties/ Co-Hosting Linky Parties – got a few social media followers

Previously (from Month 3 update)

  1. In April 2018 I was pretty active on RockStar Forums. I subscribed to their directory as well.  This summer I may get more active. The newness died down and so did my interest. – SUCCESS
  2. I requested addition to the Women of FIRE Directory. – SUCCESS
  3. I requested addition to Women Who Money Directory (sorry can’t locate link). – SUCCESS
  4. Commenting on other blogs (typically: Making Sense of Cents, Millennial – Revolution, Frugalwoods) – SUCCESS
More thoughts on things I tried that worked (or didn’t)
  • Guest posting
    • Scotch Street = 3 views via referral according to Google Analytics
    • Chief Mom Officer = 30 views via referral according to Google Analytics
    • The Financial Diet  = 300 views, although it’s not listed as direct referral traffic, my pageviews went up the day after my post was published on their site
    • *Love for Thirty Project = no identifiable referral traffic, but moderate spike in traffic shortly after appearing on their site (about 90 pageviews), unknown if related.
  • Thoughts: Submitting on The Financial Diet was the easiest and got me the most pageviews, so I will focus my attention on selecting and or writing at least 1 post a month that would be a good fit for that site. I think it’s a good match because a) they have some of my target demographic and b) they write things I enjoy reading.  Also, it was easy because I didn’t have to write new content for submission.

  • I didn’t notice this in my last update or if I did I don’t remember, but I get a decent amount of traffic from Rockstar Finance Directory, according to Analytics and even a little bit from Rockstar Finance forums.  Per Jetpack, the Directory generates my best referral traffic to date since being back on WordPress, followed by Tread Lightly, Retire Early, and a couple sprinkles from Women Who Money. Jetpack is a lot easier for a technophobe like me to glean data.
  • For some reason, being back on self-hosting/ WordPress has increased my visibility and pageviews are trending upwards.
  • Fails: Sent a quick line of interest to Business Insider for their Real Money series with no response.
Changes you might have noticed
  • Switched to new platform.
  • Changed blog design and focus.
  • Added affiliates with Bluehost and Siteground (in addition to Walmart). Won’t inundate you with more links. I know…missed opportunity. But I figure you’re tired by now.
Personal Markers of Success
  • I shall consider my blog a success when I can get twelve actively engaged readers. Why 12? Well, the way I see it if twelve was enough for Jesus’ tribe, twelve is good enough for this single girl! By actively engaged I mean not just other bloggers sharing their website link, but twelve people actively checking in on each other and doing life together, albeit virtually. Maybe I’ll get there by the end of this year, or at my one year mark around March 2019. Maybe a few more years after that.
  • I shall feel like I met my objective if at some point in the future someone I know in real life forwards me some content I created. That to me will mean not only did my content reach its target audience (single girls like me) but that my toil and labor was worth it.
Next Steps
  • Continue to post regularly, default goal: 1x/mon
  • Continue to try different things until I can get in a groove to find that 20% effort that generates 80% of outcomes (whatever that maybe)
  • Submit monthly (maybe) to The Financial Diet
  • Set-up IFTT to pin to 3 more priority Pinterest boards
  • Have 3 to 5 products in the Single Girl Gift Shop by Halloween 2018
  • Thinking of adding a Sunday weekly post on church notes

 

Your turn…how has blogging been going for you? Any tips, stumbles, or triumphs?

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2 Comments

  1. I can’t work out how to get any traffic from Facebook so well done on getting those 15. I keep forgetting to schedule posts to FB so that might not help. You’ve done so well after all the problems you had at the beginning and you are knocking out those posts! I’ve dropped to one a week as I couldn’t handle the stress and time it took. Pinterest is a major time suck – might need to invest in Tailwind shortly – got to monetise first though!

    1. My Early Retirement Journey says:

      FB is the easiest. Are you not on WP? They post to your Facebook page automatically within WordPress. So if you’re not taking advantage of that…that’s just silly. But I think you’re getting your best traffic from Pinterest so no real losses there for you I suppose. You have certainly cracked Pinterest!

      As for posting schedule, my goal is once a month. The first personal finance blog I read was Root of Good and I loved that he was averaging $1500 mon with just monthly financial updates. So that’s where I would like to be. I think by year 2, I’ll probably slow down to monthly posts, but right now it’s like a new relationship so it’s still exciting.

      I didn’t know you weren’t using Tailwind after BoardBooster closed its doors. If Pinterest is your main traffic driver, it seems like a natural progression. What are your plans for monetizing, I wonder, or is that for your next blog update. I’ve noticed the e-course and the subscription leads! You’re pretty much a pro at this point 😉

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