Well, there goes July. Half of summer is gone, August is here, and I’m currently back in BC! So beautiful here. It smells like greenery and seawater — my favourite.
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July 2016 Wins
Continued growth on Facebook.
Two months ago I began implementing some of the strategies from the book Strategies Worth Sharing, and I continued with them this month. I kind of let it slide a little because I went back to focusing on content and updating old content, so I spent less time brainstorming Facebook post ideas. If you’ve been following on Facebook you might’ve noticed I dropped the ball a little in early July. I’m back on it though, and growth has been consistent as well as engagement! (Yay!)
Nearly doubled my traffic!
This month I implemented Rosemarie’s Pinterest strategy using her Pinterest Strategy Guide, and holy crap — my traffic jumped in the first three days, and now Pinterest brings me over 60% of my traffic! I also saw more people sign up for my monthly newsletter, which was nice to see.
Speaking of which…
I created a freebie for those of you who sign up for my bi-weekly newsletter!
You guys, I am SO EXCITED about this!
I’ve just finished the freebie, How To Identify Whether Something Has Misogynistic Undertones (And What To Do About It). The best part? It’s a checklist! Super easy to use, and it comes from a step-by-step guide for what to do if you’ve figured out that it is misogynistic. I hope you like it! You can get your copy here.
I’m also working on a mini ebook, The Quick & Dirty Guide to Feminism, and another checklist for how to teach consent & how to make sure you get consent!
Aside from the freebies, I send out a bi-weekly newsletter every two weeks, and you get notifications of new posts once a week. My newsletter are basically blog posts that only members of the newsletter can see, about how I’m doing with relation to learning about feminism, my sexual assault, and more related topics — along with a few ways you can use what I’ve learned for yourself. (It’s pretty awesome.)
If that sounds like something you’d like, sign up here! You’ll get the checklist straight away, and when the others are released you’ll get a copy of those as well, in addition to anything new I make in the future!
Reached 1,000 followers on Pinterest.
This technically happened last month, but I forgot to mention it. What a milestone! It’s just been snowballing from there, too — pretty exciting.
If you’d like to see more feminism, queer pride, hilarious quotes & pictures, and info on consent, you can follow me on Pinterest too 🙂
July 2016 Fails
Got a little too excited about social media growth.
I didn’t focus as badly on social media as I did traffic last month, but it took me about a week and a half to remind myself that I don’t need to worry about growth just yet. I probably should have waited to implement Rosemarie’s Pinterest strategy until I had all my old posts updated and ready to go, so that when people see my site it’s all ready.
What I Want To Do Now: Goals for August
Finish updating old posts.
My goal of fifteen posts wasn’t quite as a achievable as I thought, I only got about half of that done — a little more. So I’m going to aim to have a total of 30 posts all awesomely ready to go for the social media growth unit in Elite Blog Academy! Plus, this way when I do my site redesign at the end of the month (!!!) it will all go together a bit better.
Finish off email opt-in freebies.
Again, almost done, but I definitely need this one done by end of the month for my designer. I’m so excited for this redesign!
Don’t forget, if you want in on those freebies, you’ll need to sign up here!
July 2016 Stats
These are my blog stats for the past month, according to Google Analytics. Super exciting — these are my highest yet, breaking last month’s records!
- Pageviews: 4,575 (+2055) — that’s nearly double last month’s views!
- Sessions: 3,626 (+1608)
- Visitors: 3,150 (+1419)
- 18.2% of all visitors were returning visitors — a decrease of 2.1%
- 81.8% of all visitors were new visitors — an increase of 2.1%.
- Bounce Rate (percentage of people who leave right away): 85.88%
- Average Time Per Session: 48 secs (+3 sec)
- Pages Per Visit: 1.26 (+0.01)
- Top Referral Sources: Pinterest brought 62% of my traffic, and the rest weren’t even close!
Holy crap that Pinterest Strategy Guide seriously helped!
I’ve also seen an increase of traffic from search engines, which is neat. I joined a Facebook group where we +1 each other’s posts on Google+, and that increases your rankings in their search engine. Apparently it’s made a difference! Not a huge one, but enough to note, because I was getting no traffic whatsoever from Google — now 8% of my total traffic comes from Google alone. (Again, not a lot, but way more than I was at before!)
These are my social media stats as of August 1st.
- Facebook: 188 page likes (+9)
- Twitter: 959 followers (+29)
- Google+: 71 followers (+1)
- Pinterest: 1,230 followers (+180)
- Bloglovin: 498 followers (+6)
- Email list: 24 subscribers (+6)
July 2016 Posts
If you’re wondering, these are the posts from last month that led to the above stats.
- What the Gender Spectrum Is (And Why It Matters)
- My Sixth Month Self-Hosting My Blog
- 5 Reasons Why You Should Read Jane Eyre
- What Bars Are Really Like For Queer Women
- 3 Reasons Why You Should Teach Your Kids About Sex
- Why Harry Potter Is Feminist
And finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for…
June 2016 Income Report
Media.net ads: $0
Google Adsense ads: $0
Nothing again, but the increase in traffic I’m not worried! I’m excited. I signed up for Google Adsense two weeks ago so I can get better ads on my site, and though I’ll probably only earn a couple bucks a month (I made $0.50 in those two weeks) it’s a good start. Again, the payout isn’t until $100 so it’ll be a while… but no matter! Time will tell 🙂
BoardBooster: $5 USD
Total: $5 USD
This month, I cancelled my paid subscription to Buffer’s services. It’s a really useful tool for scheduling posts on Twitter, but I wasn’t getting enough of a return of investment for it – not compared to BoardBooster. Over 60% of my traffic is from Pinterest, whereas less than 5% is coming from Twitter. So I’ll take the free version, thanks!
This just means I can’t schedule quite as many posts ahead of time, and I can’t vary my schedule on given days. Since I only post once a week that doesn’t really hurt me, but if you need more flexibility I recommend their Awesome Plan — I did find it useful when I was writing 3-5 posts a week!
Also thanks to Rosemarie’s Pinterest Strategy Guide, I cut down to the $5/month BoardBooster plan, which saves me a bit of extra money each month as well. Might as well, since I’m not making much yet! I use the free Buffer and then just have my Facebook page automatically tweet the same posts. It works well so far, and I actually have noticed more traffic has been coming from Twitter now than before.
I have to say, I’m pretty happy with this month in terms of expenses — it’s much more realistic to spend as little as possible at this point, because I haven’t earned anything yet!
How Elite Blog Academy Helped Me This Month
Spend as little cash as possible as you start out.
Okay, EBA didn’t exactly say that outright, but I did learn that from it.
This month I realized that I wasted a lot of money early on reading all sorts of ebooks, signing up for giveaways to gain pointless followers, and paying for services like Buffer when I shouldn’t have.
Now I realize how much smarter it would have been to wait it out until Elite Blog Academy opened their doors, because since I began the course I’ve cancelled so many email subscriptions about blogging, cancelled Buffer, reduced how much I pay for BoardBooster (if you grab Rosemarie’s Pinterest Strategy Guide, you’ll see why) and stopped spending unnecessary money on giveaways and other services.
I always knew I should try to spend as little as possible, because it isn’t smart to overspend on a new business when you haven’t earned anything yet… but now that I’ve reduced my spending and seen so much growth, I realize just how worth it that really is.
It’s a bit of trap, all those websites out there telling what you should buy and do to grow your blog, because look what happened — I spent all my money! That’s what they want, isn’t it? When you buy their products, you’re giving them money.
So I highly recommend that if you want to start a blog, pay for good hosting and get a decent theme and then just write.
That way you spend around $200, $250 max, and then you can wait until you make some income! So you spend that and then you don’t have to pay for anything while you build up your blog. (If you’re in the US, this is especially true. I ended up paying way more because at the time the US exchange rate was brutal for Canadians like me.)
My hosting provider is Bluehost, and I’ve been pretty happy with them. You can check out their pricing here — they have one-year, two-year, and three-year plans, though I recommend the three-year ones because you do get more bang for your buck.
UPDATE Apr 3 2017: Bluehost also no longer offers a pro-rated refund, which means if you sign up for 3 years and cancel after your first 30 days, you DO NOT receive your money back for the remaining time. Not worth it! Go with SiteGround instead for sure. I’m still with them and it’s been great!
I also got a theme from Restored316 for $75 (I paid a little more for a nicer theme), along with Genesis which you need for any theme.
But after you get those, Ignore everything else until you can afford Elite Blog Academy.
The only other resources I would suggest are Rosemarie’s Pinterest Strategy Guide when you’ve got at least 30-ish posts ready to go, and Strategies Worth Sharing for Facebook growth again once you have enough posts. The books are around $50 USD total, and the course is around $500 USD. I’ve learned a lot from these resources and have seen my blog grow from around 1,000 page views a month to now 4,500! Not a lot, but significant.
I will admit I’m doing a site redesign come August, and not waiting until I make income. This is something I think is right for me because I could afford it, but I’ve also pushed this until a year since I started blogging at all, and started saving for it early on. It’s worth the wait because now I know what I want and what my blog is about. I still strongly recommend waiting until you can afford EBA before you do this!
So don’t do anything extra until you’ve got enough posts for people to see!
Because otherwise when you promote your site, they’re seeing barely anything and then leaving.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this overview of July and my rant of advice… see you next month!
If you want to start a blog, check out my post about how I actually set up my blog! I explain it all, including a breakdown of how much it cost me 🙂
What goals do you have for August? Let me know in the comments below!