It’s been too long since I did my last post. Last month I announced that I’d landed a new job. I started three weeks ago and it’s been an intense few weeks. There is much to learn in my new job and the company is split between the U.S. and New Zealand predominantly which has required some early mornings to make calls to the states. It’s created a change in my routine and I’m still adjusting. The intensity of the job in itself has left me flaked out at the end of the day as well.
I have prioritized the job over my blog this month. It’s important I get a handle on my role and build relationships in the business and acquire knowledge early. I’m also taking some unpaid leave to spend time with my son throughout Christmas and January so it’s even more important I make an early impact.
Despite the lack attention this month has seen positive gains. This is due to the work put in during previous months and hopefully demonstrates to you the power of earning a passive income through a blog. If you want to get started with your own blog and earn some income on the side I recommend you check out this post which will show you how simple (and cheap) it is to get started.
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Why I’m publishing monthly income reports
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I’m hopeful these reports will motivate, inspire and encourage readers like you to start being sensible with your cash. The aim of the blog is to help you find ways to get out of debt or earn extra income.
My online income reports detail my activities for the month. I share what I’m doing, what’s working, what’s not working and how much I’m earning. It’s a journey, I hope you will follow along. Please sign up to my mailing list to keep up to date on my progress.
October 2016 Online Income & Traffic Report
Her last month’s goals:
- 6 new posts published
- 20,698 Sessions
- 18,107 Users
- 27,747 Page Views
- 4,000 Twitter Followers
- 4,000 Pinterest Followers
- Mailing list increased to 2,350 subscribers
- Product or monetization plan completed
I didn’t manage to create six new posts, prioritizing my new job became top of the list.
I set lofty targets for site traffic which perhaps could have been achievable if I’d spent time writing more posts and promoting them. I still saw some improvement over last month’s traffic, however. More on that in the relevant section below.
I failed on all other goals also, which is a real bummer. But l still made gains which, with little to no attention, has been awesome.
Let’s dive into the details:
Growth Hacking Social Media
I set high targets to hit 4000 followers this month, by month’s end I hit 3438 followers, an increase of 627.
Pinterest has been the only platform I’ve given some attention to this month.
Despite the positive gains I missed the goal. Really, the goal was somewhat over ambitious in the first place given growth rates over previous months.
Really, the goal was somewhat over ambitious in the first place given growth rates over previous months. I can’t be hard on myself here, 627 followers in a month is a good rate a growth.
I’ve continued to use BoardBooster to automate a lot of the work. This is one hell of a time-saving tool that gets results. If you’re running a blog this would be the first tool I’d tell you to put in your blogging toolbox.
I’ve also spent some time using Tailwind a little more. In previous month’s I’ve had a tinker with it but I’ve never really sat down and focussed on learning how to use it to maximum effect. I spent a full evening on it this month and I have to say, I’m impressed. I’m sure I’ve still got much to learn but I can see some big differences between Tailwind and Boardbooster. Both are timing saving in their own right. Both have differing features. I’m currently using the free version of it but it’s likely I’ll upgrade to the paid version of TailWind soon as I can see some real power in it. I also think that it’s worth using Tailwind and Boardbooster together.
Still, there’s a marked improvement in impressions of pins from my website appearing in other people’s feeds. I started to tinker with Tailwind mid-month, so maybe there is something of an improvement. There’s a 70% improvement in impressions, which is impressive.
This trend carries over to pins being clicked with an 88.5% click through improvement.
The jury is still out on Tailwind despite the possible sign of improvement.
I’ve done nothing with Twitter this month but increased followers by 33 to 3657. That’s roughly 350 users short of my goal. That goal would have been achievable if I’d put some effort in.
That’s roughly 350 users short of my goal. That goal would have been achievable if I’d put some effort in.
I’m still very much on the fence with the platform, to be honest. I had some great conversion rates through Twitter a while back but it requires so much hard work which is difficult when you have so little time.
Again, Facebook has remained untouched and there’re dire results. I’m almost tempted to remove this section going forward. I will return to Facebook at some point but I’d rather focus on other
In terms of site traffic, I think this month has been impressive given the lack of posting and promotion. Traffic was generally on a 15% increase across the board. Here are the usual stats:
I’m pretty pleased that I hit just below 20,000 page views. On the last day of October, I was hanging out for that to fall over the line before I went to sleep. It never quite got there.
I know page views shouldn’t be the measure of success, my opt-in rate should be, but it would have felt like a milestone to hit 20,000 page views in a month!
Whilst I set some ambitious targets for traffic this month I have to admit I wondered if they were achievable from the outset. Last month I had a spike in traffic when I page went a little viral on Flipboard (see the orange spike) and I doubted I could replicate that. The spike alone was worth about 1800 page views in a single day. I’m quietly happy I increased traffic by 15% despite not hitting my goal by a long shot. It’s good progress and consistent traffic.
Mailing List Growth
My mailing list continues to grow too.
I’ve grown by 932 subscribers to 1979 by the end of the month.
That’s pretty impressive!
I sent out my first email since moving to ConvertKit. I’ve not emailed subscribers in a while. When I used Mailchimp I would send an automated message when a new post was published. ConvertKit sucks a little in this regard. I can’t send out an email about a single post because it includes the whole post. If I want to do that I have to do it once a week and it includes all the links since the last send.
After I sent my latest email I experienced a number of unsubscribes. Given the gap between sending emails out, I wasn’t a bit surprised about this. I embrace unsubscribes. I don’t like emailing people who don’t want to follow along and learn something.
I mentioned a couple of month’s ago that I wanted to improve the look and feel of the site. I’d been looking at branding and really wanted to get a designer to fix up my header, add a bit of color to the site and provide me with some brand guidelines that would just add a little bit of professionalism. I had a designer in mind last month but contact wasn’t going so well.
I finally got some traction with him on some ideas but these were completely off the mark to what I had in my head, but not necessarily to the brief, I’d put together. I was going to try to sharpen up the brief or be more prescriptive but then I happened to come across usertesting.com.
If you own a blog you must give this a try. In short, I signed up to get two free videos of random users testing out my site. They are asked to talk through feedback as they answer a specific set of questions and describe their thoughts and feelings as they navigate your site. In the past, I’ve used hotjar to record sessions, but having someone speak as they navigate, giving you live feedback is awesome. These videos proved incredibly useful. Both users liked my layout and design and one guy said the header made the site seem personal and authentic. He then went on to say if it looked more “corporatey” or “professional” he may not trust the site as much.
So, I’m at an impasse.
I’d REALLY value your thoughts. Do you think I should look at making changes to my header?
Income has been pretty good. With growing traffic levels my Adsense income starts to venture into territory that’s somewhat satisfying. $30 a month is enough to be useful. I also had two sign ups to Bluehost. Here is my income this month:
- Bluehost – $150
- Adsense – $29.64
I’m still paying for Melyssa Griffin’s course. I think the last payment for this course is next month.
So, this month I cut a profit for the first time in a little while.
I have to work on this, though, it’s been slow going and that’s totally my fault.
Next month I’ll be paying around $49 a month for ConvertKit due to my email list subscriber levels. I need to make enough money to cover that. I don’t want to be using any of my own money on this site if I can help it. I’m doing my utmost to bootstrap this site!
I have strong ideas on how I want to monetise my blog. I want to start with an ebook and then naturally, after taking Melyssa Griffin’s course, I want to set up a course.
I think the reality is I may have to wait for the Christmas period to put some consistent effort into producing either of those. Nevertheless, I’ll put it on my goals to try to make a start. I have to keep focussed on my job for now as a priority.
Next Month’s Goals
For next month I’m going to reuse my goals from this month. I’m going to remove the traffic goals and try to focus on getting some blog posts published.
- 4 new posts published
- 1 guest post published
- 4,000 Twitter Followers
- 4,000 Pinterest Followers
- Mailing list increased to 2,350 subscribers
- Start writing an ebook
How do you think I’m doing so far? Are you running a blog and care to share any growth tips?