Blog Report – Month 4: +700 Subscribers

Month 4 Blog Income and Traffic ReportMy fourth month of blogging came to a close on June 9th, and I’m excited to share another detailed blog income and traffic report to show how things went. Crazy as it sounds, this is the month I’ve been waiting for. There were times this month that the blog really felt like work and I missed some of my goals. It was hard, but it was bound to happen and it showed me that I can power through the tough times and self-doubt.

As a reminder, I plan to do monthly blog income and traffic reports every month for the first six months based on when I started (February 10, 2017), then switch to calendar months. I love writing these reports and sharing them with the blogger community. It provides accountability for me and allows other bloggers to see what is working and learn from my mistakes. Plus, I love snooping on other people’s reports, so it is only fair that I publish my own! Anyway, on to what you came here for, the month 4 report!

*This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures.

Month 4 Successes

  • Grew my email list.  This month I was focused on building my email list, as that is the step I am on in Elite Blog Academy. My goal was to get to 600 subscribers and I reached 720! I stepped outside the box a bit to up my subscribers and created a Money Master quiz. Then I bit the bullet and completed my first targeted Facebook ad (another EBA assignment) and saw my email list start to grow. I ran the Facebook ad for about 10 days in total and it drove the majority of my increase from 264 to 720!
    • I used TryInteract for my quiz building, which was easy to use and looked professional embedded on the site. My one complaint is that it didn’t have an option for two-factor authentification. This meant that some of my email subscribers that ended up in ConvertKit were fake emails. Each day I had to go through and run the emails through an authentification site and delete the bad ones. Annoying, but the vast majority of the emails were real.
  • Got ahead on blogging.  Over Memorial Day weekend I did something I never, ever thought I would do. I let my husband take our son away for the weekend without me, so I could work on the blog. It was really hard for me. There was a whole lot of mom guilt going on taking a long weekend away from my family. However, it allowed me to get almost 4 weeks ahead on blog posts and prepare my first email challenge. I was lucky I did it because work got busy in the weeks following, along with a bout of bad migraines, so I had to take some days off on the blog. Today I’m still about 2 weeks ahead, and my goal is to maintain that through July.
  • Made Rockstar Finance’s Up & Coming blog list! I love Rockstar Finance. The community is amazing, I am on the forum almost every day, and it has let me meet some really incredible bloggers. So when I saw Mama Fish Saves on their Up & Coming Blogs list a little over a week ago, I was honored! There are some true rockstars on that list and I have a lot to live up to now!

Month 4 Learnings

  • If this is going to work long-term, I have to do what works for me. Midway through this month, before my Memorial Day writing weekend, I was drowning. I had a few days where I wasn’t feeling well, I was busy at work, and I was completely overwhelmed by my posting schedule. I was writing every night, but it meant I was falling behind on all the other things it takes to run a blog. So, after much agonizing, I reduced my post schedule by one post a week. I’m much happier now and am so glad I bit the bullet to create a schedule that works better for me.
    • I’m a perfectionist and have a very hard time admitting when something is just too much. I felt like I should be able to maintain a 4 post a week schedule so was killing myself to do it. The thing is, there is no one blog schedule that works. MWF works for a lot of personal finance bloggers, but I know there are bloggers that post daily and some that post once a week. This is a customizable platform and I finally started to embrace that this month.
  • I need to schedule more social media ahead of time. The only social media platform that saw regular posting this month from me was Pinterest, and that was only because of Tailwind. I completely lost my step with Twitter and Pinterest and had days, even sometimes two-day stints, where I didn’t post anything on either platform. I thought I would remember to Tweet something a couple times during the day, but was busy at work and would forget. My goal for Month 5 is to schedule in an hour once a week just to set social media. That way, I know my accounts at least stay active on a regular basis.
  • Sometimes you have to ask for help. Early on this month, I noticed that my site speed had gotten really slow. Like so slow my husband was complaining about it and he’s my biggest fan. So, I decided to switch hosts and move to Green Geeks from Bluehost. I had heard great things and that I should be able to get a refund from Bluehost for my unused hosting time. However, about 10 days after the switch, my site was somehow even slower! My time on site kept going down! I was so frustrated and didn’t know where to start to figure out what was wrong. Finally, after having someone ask about getting a bunch of errors when trying to leave a comment on my site, I asked for help. I reached out to Grayson at iMark Interactive (who is amazing) and he was able to identify and fix my problem in about an hour. Goodness knows how long it would have taken me to fix. I was so happy to have the issue off my plate that I didn’t think twice about the cost. (Which, as you’ll see below, was very reasonable at $87!)

Month 4 Numbers

Here we go! The meat of the post. Time for me to own up to how I am really doing, in black and white.

Traffic Report

Posts: 15 (-17%)

Halfway through this month I reduced my posting schedule from Monday, Wednesday, Friday with a Weekend Wisdom on Satuday to Monday and Thursday with a Weekend Wisdom on Friday. 4 posts a week, plus a newsletter, was just too much to keep up with. I am happy with the new schedule and glad that it gives me more time to plan guest posts, challenges, and other fun stuff for the site!

Top posts for the month:

  1. Why You Should Invest, Even in Peak Markets
  2. The Worst Financial Advice We’ve Ever Heard
  3. Month 3 Blog Report

My favorite post of the month, Choosing the Best 529 Plan for Your Family, was number 4 but I would have loved for it to see some more traffic. There was some fun analysis that went into that one! But you can never know what hits home with people.

Pageviews: 14,423 (+8%)

This month’s traffic numbers slightly lagged my goal of 15,000 pageviews, but I am happy with any increase given the major features on Budgets are Sexy and Business Insider last month. Having my Why You Should Invest, Even in Peak Markets post get featured on Rockstar Finance this month definitely helped me catch up to Month 3. What saves me in Month 5? Who knows!

What was concerning this month was seeing my bounce rate and session duration fall off significantly. Originally I thought it was site speed, but the lower stats have continued even after switching hosts. It is something I will keep an eye on in Month 5 and see if I have to make some changes.

Sessions: 9,599 (+45%)
Users: 7,476 (+55%)
Bounce Rate: 81.02% (+23%)
Session Duration: 01:20 (-43%)

Email subscribers: 720 (+173%)

My goal this month was to grow my email list to 600 subscribers and I blew right past it! The vast majority of the increase came from my Money Master quiz and the Facebook ad for it, which was a lot of fun. I was worried that with such rapid growth, especially with email growth from a quiz and not organic signups within posts, my list stats would go down. Luckily, for now, open rates and click throughs on my weekly newsletter are hanging strong! If you want to subscribe to the weekly newsletter, sign up here!

Blog comments: 156 (-20%)

This decline is even worse than it looks because in Month 3 I was not responding to each and every blog comment, which I was doing in Month 4. I attribute this drop off both to fewer posts and my decline in commenting on other people’s blogs. When I first started Mama Fish I had a goal of commenting on at least 3 other posts a day, which I have not been doing recently. I’m thinking I need to step that back up to increase interaction and support other bloggers.

Twitter followers: 1,512 (+17%) – Facebook likes: 530 (+9%) – Pinterest followers: 742 (+11%)

I saw upward creeps in all my social media accounts this month, but I really should have dedicated more time to it. I was definitely guilty of having days where I forgot to schedule any posts at all. Oops! Things to improve on in Month 5.

Net Income Report

Net income: -$559.11– ($406.31)

Revenue: $0.66

Expenses: -$559.77

Revenue breakdown: 

Just two small Amazon affiliate book purchases here! While I am a member of a bunch of affiliate programs, I don’t stress them and definitely haven’t created any plan to include links in more posts. Something to think about down the road! There isn’t much to break down here! 95% came from Amazon’s affiliate program from recommending books, while $0.20 came from Grammarly, which I use for every blog post!

The affiliate programs I am in that I want to keep highlighting over time are Grammarly,  PicMonkey, Tailwind, and ConvertKit, which I use every single day, and FamZoo, which remains my favorite allowance system for kids. I will keep joining programs as I come across them!

Expense breakdown:  

$223.87 – Facebook ad for my Money Master quiz. This brought in a ton of subscribers this month and was definitely worth it.
$204.00 – TryInteract annual subscription. What I used to make the quiz! It was really easy to use and integrate with ConvertKit. I highly recommend it!
$45.35 – This month I moved my hosting to Green Geeks from Bluehost. I was having a lot of speed issues with Bluehost and things have been much better since I switched over! I have to call Bluehost for a refund for the remainder of my hosting on their platform, but I wanted to make sure the switch was running smoothly first.
$87.00 – So, I am terrible with technology. Excel I’ve got mastered, but I’m lost with anything else. Which means I totally screwed up the hosting switch to Green Geeks even though they gave clear directions (in the success email it said to finalize everything I had to change the code for my nameservers, which I didn’t do). Luckily, Grayson from iMark Interactive was able to save me. Thank you!!

Goals for Month 5

  • 15,000 pageviews
  • 1,000 email subscribers
  • Launch first savings challenge
  • Maintain Monday/Thursday post schedule with Weekend Wisdom each Friday

Summer is known to be slower for blog traffic than other seasons and I’m already starting to see some really dead traffic days. To account for that, my traffic goal for July is more about maintaining traffic than anything else. I am hoping to keep putting out well-researched posts, with a few seasonal summer posts, and keep developing the blog during these slower months. Can’t wait to see how Month 5 goes!

How do you think I did in Month 4?  Any suggestions or big challenges for Month 5?  Let me know!

This post was proofread by Grammarly.

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9 Comments

  • Andrea June 12, 2017 at 8:58 am

    I love your monthly blog reports! You’re so thorough which is so helpful to me, even though my blog isn’t going to be a finance blog. Thank you for doing them!

    Reply
  • Ms. Frugal Asian Finance June 12, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Wow congrats on another successful months! I’m so impressed with the number of your subscribers and social media followers. I started my blog about 2.5 months ago, and I’m no where near such numbers. Thank you so much for all the great tips!

    I wonder what caused your page to be so slow. I like writing blog posts but really don’t like dealing with technical problems either. -_-

    Reply
  • Alicia June 12, 2017 at 10:39 am

    This is amazing! You are going to be making an income in no time. Keep up the good work!!

    Reply
  • Melissa June 12, 2017 at 10:45 am

    This is such great news, and you deserve to be featured on Rockstar Finance because your content is rockstar material! 🙂 Keep it up, fellow EBA member! 🙂

    Reply
  • High Income Parents June 13, 2017 at 12:09 am

    This is a great resource for new bloggers. Maybe this could be an e-book in it self for you in the future! “Six months to grow your blog”. 🙂
    Keep it up. We started around the same time and you definitely inspire me.

    Reply
  • Katie@MySweetHomeLife June 13, 2017 at 3:53 am

    I found this on Pinterest but am a fellow EBA student- sounds like you’re doing super well with the subscribers in particular. I’m inspired. I can so relate to when your favorite post doesn’t do as well as you’d hoped. I have a couple like that that were actual game changers in my own life and wish others could benefit. Thanks for sharing your blog report- great read 🙂

    Reply
  • MMP June 13, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Off to a great start! Let’s hope with the increase subscribers, you can turn that loss into a profit in the near-term. Continued success!

    Reply
  • Olka June 14, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Wow 🙂 Congrats 🙂

    Reply
  • Lily @ The Frugal Gene June 16, 2017 at 5:04 am

    Amazing job!!! This is really an inspiration and you work so hard for it. 700 subbies…that’s crazy! I’ve been aiming for page views when really I should take the more important step to build subbies.

    Reply

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