Growing a Blog – Blog Traffic Post #2 Oct. 2017

Ah, month 2. Last week I introduced to you my new series on traffic reports for new bloggers. This week I will update the statistics and ramble on about some of the new observations that I have on Blogging.

Both my blogging and my understanding of blogging isΒ  improving

As I mentioned last week, blogging is anything but easy. This is because combining a bunch of easy tasks into one giant task does not actually make the total task easy. So what changed for me in October?

Clearer Writing

October was a turning point for the Handy Millennial. On the writing front, the Handy Millennial greatly improved the formatting of his posts. How? Simple! (It’s all simple, I’m telling you!) I downloaded a plugin. So many times in blogging it seem that plugins are how things are done. In this case, the Handy Millennial downloaded an SEO plugin called Yoast.

If you are blogger you are probably familiar with this. If you are not, this is a piece of software that yells at you (via a big red dot!) when you have long sections, don’t keep focus in your post, and, generally, when you ramble. Yoast has given me the idea to use more sections, to shorten my paragraphs, and to add tags and keywords.

While all of this might be good for Google (I’ll keep you posted; I have yet to be indexed), it’s actually been great for my writing. What do you think? Are you enjoying my new writing style?

Strict Schedule

I noticed that the traffic on my website seesaws as the posts come online. I thought I would add a little predictability for my readers by advertising that new posts occur on Mondays and Thursdays. (Shout out to Millennial Revolution and Financial Samurai, where I initially read about this strategy.)

This is a bit of double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s great for the readers. I can literally see readers loitering around the blog anticipating new posts. On the other hand, declaring so publicly that the posts WILL occur on a pre-set schedule is a bit daunting. Luckily I have a large backlog of ideas from which I can pick.

Greater Interaction

October was a good month for the social aspects of blogging. I have made a few acquaintances in the blogging community and I look forward to developing my relationships with them. My social media following has increased, and MOST importantly, the number of comments on my blog have increased.

I really do value and appreciate each and every posted comment. Please do let me know how I am doing, both positively or negatively. Well, if it’s too negative I might flag you – I want to keep the tone on this site optimistic.

Additional Social Media

I’m experiencing a bit of FOMO when it comes to social media. I love how my current Twitter following and blog audience are growing, but I can’t help but think that I should be doing more. That second part is making work-life balance pretty difficult on top of my full time job and my relentless hobbies that power the Handy part of the Handy Millennial.

This month I added a Facebook Page. Using this page, I experimented with Facebook advertising. I spent a grand total of $25. My conclusion is mixed. Facebook is the largest social media website in the world. But their advertising is far from clear.

For example, Facebook says I got 49 clicks on one of my posts (paid). But I did not see 49 clicks in my Google Analytics. Interesting… After some brief googling, I found out that MANY people have this problem. Some people complain that they paid for thousands of clicks but only saw a few in Google Analytics.

So my jury is out on Facebook, but I will probably keep it going in some fashion moving forward. This might be a good place to put some money to work once I actually get around to trying to monetize this blog.

Now without further ado, let’s see how the stats are going.

Blogging Month Accomplishments

October was my second full month of blogging. It was a more predictable ride. I am much more sure of my voice, I seem to be hitting the right note for my audience, and I am rapidly scaling the learning curve.

In October I published 9 posts. The response was mostly good. My top 3 posts by the numbers are:

  1. Should I be using a pre-paid cell phone?
  2. The Move: What’s worse, death, taxes, or moving?
  3. Why I’ll be buying my next car with a car loan.

Interestingly, we can now start tracking which of my posts have been most popular since the blog started. So far we have 23 published posts through the end of October. The top 3 posts are:

  1. Shave like Grandpa
  2. A Brief History of Retirement
  3. Should I be using a pre-paid cell phone?

Social Media FTW

Social Media continues to be a big part of my life. In fact, this is a little scary. If you allow them, Twitter and Facebook can literally suck up all available time you have.

This is pretty easy to understand; after all, it’s much much much easier to check Twitter than to actually do creative work. And since the Handy Millennial is a knowledge worker, he needs to sometimes physically LOCK his phone away so he can actually do his real job.

But as a tool for connecting, social media has been awesome. The Handy Millennial thoroughly enjoys all the interactions and really appreciates his fellow bloggers. Blogging has taught me, on a visceral level, that we are truly better together than we are alone. So let’s all empathize more, and judge less πŸ™‚

We all know this, but once you feel the lift from the blogging community, you will truly KNOW this. The personal finance blogging community is especially important for this.

A big thanks to Rockstar Finance for being the focal point of the community!

So let’s see the stats.

My current social media of choice is Twitter. Here are some interesting Stats:

  • Number of Tweets: 617
  • Number of times people saw my tweets: 59.5K (Wow!!! How is this even possible?)
  • Number of times people thought I was interesting: 2,392 (Cool! Lets reach more people!)
  • Number of people who care enough to listen regularly: 230 (Thank you to each and every one of you!)

This month I also added a Facebook page. I’m not really sure if I should be splitting my attention at the moment. For this reason, I am mainly sticking to Twitter, but doing just enough to keep the Facebook page going. Here are my Facebook Stats so far:

  • Number of Page Views: 36
  • Number of Page Likes: 17
  • Number of People Reached: 2,009
  • Number of Post Engagements: 110

Visitor Stats

Twitter and Facebook are supposed to be pushing traffic towards the actual website, so here are the updated visitor numbers for October:

  • 267 users that came to my site (+59% from Sept. Wow, I’ll take those if they compound!)
  • 336 sessions – Importantly, that includes 36% return visitors! Yay! Also, up 25% from Sept.
  • 582 page views. (+34% – awesome, let’s go for 1,000 πŸ™‚ )

Spam bot attack!

I did have to tweak these Google Analytics numbers a bit. On Sunday 10/29, I was hit with a Spam Bot attack that had 50 sessions, 50 page views and 1 user. Why this might be helpful to somebody I will never understand. If you are a blogger and you know what these spam bots do, please leave me a comment and clue me in!

Because of the bot, the numbers you see here are adjusted down by 50 sessions, 50 page views, and 1 user.


So there it is! Month two of blogging! As usual I would love to hear from my fellow readers and bloggers. Let me know how I’m doing; all comments, questions, suggestions are welcome!

38 thoughts on “Growing a Blog – Blog Traffic Post #2 Oct. 2017

  1. Keep up the good work!

    Do you use anything to schedule your Twitter/FB posts? I’ve been using Buffer – ten bucks a month, though they do have a free version – and it saves me a ton of time on social media which is nice.

    A tip I’ve learned: don’t bother moving to another social media platform till you master one, or decide to give it up. If you feel good about Twitter then move to FB, but if you’re shaky on FB don’t try to add Pinterest or Instagram until you feel comfortable. Tackling a few things at a time will improve your chance of success with all of them. For that reason I haven’t really gotten into Pinterest yet.

    The schedule thing really helped me, too. It can be a little daunting at times but honestly if you miss a post then you miss a post. The world keeps on turning and you can pick it back up πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Dave! I really appreciate the support and the great advice you’re giving here. I’m currently on Hootsuite but that’s twice as expensive as Buffer. I’ll be checking Buffer out when my trial runs out. I completely agree with your slow and methodical approach. Too much and you’ll burn out. This being said, I’m wondering if I should double down on Facebook or go with Pinterest. The common blogger wisdom seems to be that Pinterest drives more traffic. I’d be curious to hear in the comments what people think about FB vs Pinterest. I’ll probably try to work on the consensus platform next. I do really like Twitter though, its great to get in touch and discuss with people.

  2. Keeping a schedule is where I struggle with the most. I know I want to do it – but I always end up missing my deadlines, so I pretty much just post it whenever I can.

    For sure, keeping up a schedule will help. The main thing is to just keep producing content. I feel like that’s half the battle!

    1. Hi Financial Panther, thanks for stopping by! I think you’re right, half or more of the battle is producing content. Social media is distracting but very helpful in spreading the word about your existence.

  3. Itβ€˜s really great to see your progress. Iβ€˜m pretty sure a routine like yours is the way to go. I would love to have one of my own. However, working full-time and being a dad keep me from even thinking about something like a weekly posting habit. Instead, I just try to work on an article whenever I can free up some time and focus on the quality of my postings. That keeps me motivated.

    – David

    1. Hi David! Thanks for stopping by! – Especially because of how busy you are. It must be very tough to work full time and to be a dad AND to be a blogger. For me just blogging and working is keeping me more than busy. I think that blogging is cumulative. Consistency helps, for some reasons search engines care about updates, but overall its quantity and quality. This is all just to say keep on keeping on! I look forward to checking out your blog!

  4. Keep up the good work! I had a voucher for 30$ worth of facebook of advertising so I used it and got like 42 clicks. I’d rather be active on twitter or facebook groups, it gets more traffic.
    Since starting my blog my profile visit as grown 868% and my impressions… 287%!
    I think being active on social media is important, to create relationships with other bloggers so they reblog your posts which could lead to more views. Do it genuinely though, dont fake being interested in their stuff just hoping they’ll RT your stuff. Bloggers are smart, they see through BS pretty fast!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Celine! I’ve been watching your blog. You are certainly doing great! I’m looking forward to your podcast!

  5. Keep up the solid effort! It’s slow going at first, I’ve been stuck at 3k page views per month for 8 months, but it begins to pick up!

    1. Thanks Eric! I appreciate the inspiration! How long have you been blogging? Are you seeing it pick up from 3k views?

      1. I just finished my 11 month here in November. November was my best month because I was picked up by Rockstar Finance. 7000 views!

        Consistency is key!

        1. Hi Erik, Thanks for stopping by! Wow 7,000!!! That’s incredible. Keep up the good work. I’ll be stopping by to read this traffic report on your blog!

    1. Hi DM, thanks for stopping by! I’m glad you are enjoying this series. I am as well, both because I can retrospect on how things are going and because it brings so much interaction with other bloggers. To answer your question, so far my biggest success has come from Twitter. I think that the downside to Twitter is that they have a hard time monetizing it. This downside is actually an upside for bloggers. This is because the difficulty comes from an openness and a dynamic content flow that really benefits new content creators and makes it easier to spread your message. Facebook is a bit more closed, they have done a nicer job monetizing which means the bar to get in is higher. I’ll keep trying and report back in a month on how its going!

        1. Thanks DM! I appreciate you stopping by again! I’m also glad you found this useful. Some might disagree, but I suggest you dive in head first. Skip all the special Millennial investing apps and just start with a nice simple portfolio – example 3 or 4 fund. You can always tweak later. Getting started is the biggest hurdle!

  6. I’m certainly no expert, but the trends I have noticed.
    I began with most of my traffic from Facebook, because my friends were checking out the blog. After a couple of months, the only people coming back were close family and people in the relevant group (parents of high school/college kids). I paid 5 bucks a few times to promote posts and it helped a little. Facebook seems to be really trying to get me to buy more advertising. They show my posts to less and less people, even when the first viewers are interacting. I’ve thought about just shutting down the JumpStart FB page. I’m not putting any money or time in, but the referrals just keep declining.
    Twitter is paying off and growing.
    Google is beginning to send some traffic.
    Brokegirlrich sat morning sends some traffic.
    Rockstarfinance has probably become my best source of traffic.

    I’ve enjoyed your blog. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks Mr. Jump Start! I appreciate seeing you back! Seems like we have the same observation about Facebook. It’s probably good to keep it going in the same fashion but Twitter is just much much better and more open. I never told anyone at home about this blog so I’m trying to grow it on its own – scary! So I’m hoping I don’t see the same drop off you saw. Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on what works and I look forward to chatting with you here more!

  7. I’ve liked the variety of your posts so far, mixing finance with other things like handy do it yourself tips. Thanks for providing us this website as a service!

    1. Hi Bob! Thanks for stopping by! I’m glad you find the mix interesting, I’m hoping to reach as many people like you as possible!

  8. HI handymillenial,

    As a new blogger (about two weeks) I really appreciate this tracking method you’ve used. I think it’s a great idea to schedule when your posts will be coming out and your twitter page definitely shows how much time you’ve been on there posting, retweeting, liking, etc. I will be doubling down on the amount of time I spend on twitter and I hope to reach solid numbers within the next month or two! Have you watched any videos/trainings on SEO? Will definitely be using some of the tools you recommended!

    Thank you

    1. Hi S.S. thanks for stopping by! It means a lot to me that someone as new as you has both taken the time to read my blog and see me on Twitter! Speaking of Twitter πŸ™‚ just a word of caution, I found it quite engulfing. It can easily take over your life.

      To answer your question, I have not watched any SEO videos or trainings. I probably should but I’m learning at a really rapid pace right now and I will probably wait a bit for things to sink in. Right now I’m just focusing on making the content as good as possible πŸ™‚ They say content is King even when it comes to SEO. I guess I’ll be finding out!

  9. Congratulations! I’m in month four and am still amazed by how much I have learned. Pats on backs to us!! I publish every Tuesday and Thursday. It can be intimidating but it keeps me honest. To easy to put it off until the post is β€œjust right”. Good luck in your third month!

    1. Hi Jenny! Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your encouragement and I really enjoy interacting with you on Twitter when we get the chance. Good luck to you too! I look forward to reading more from you!

  10. Love what you’ve got going here! Being “handy” will serve you and your readers well. Savings are huge, as you know, when you can DIY.

    I am intrigued by the idea of advertising your posting schedule. Mine happens to be the same – Mon/Thurs. I may experiment with that and see how it goes. Best, HM!

    1. Thanks Cubert! I appreciate you stopping by again! I am flattered by your compliment and I appreciate you taking the time to say it.

      I can’t take credit for the idea of advertising the schedule πŸ™‚ I saw that on Millennial Revolution – Thanks FireCracker and Wanderer! I’m still undecided as to how much it has helped. My readership is growing but its not as saw toothy in Google Analytics as before. My off days are starting to be fairly strong as compared to my posting days. But I think it has made a big change in my attitude towards blogging. I feel much more committed at this point.

  11. Those spam bots certainly are annoying. Remember last year when Russian hackers were putting strange messages in people’s Google Analytic results? That was beyond bizarre.

    1. Hi Joe! Thanks for stopping by. Last year I wasn’t too tuned into Google Analytics (I was the year before) so I missed that episode. I still would love to know what they get from it! I’m going to have to just start reporting the stats as is because I got another 10 fake page views this month. Its getting complicated to track.

      By the way, you are my first commenter with a github blog. That’s pretty awesome!

      1. That Google Analytics hack was the strangest thing. It was Russian hackers, and they were promoting Trump with custom URLs, generally with the name of a referring source or it’s URL. That referring source didn’t always exist, the hackers just figured out how to submit any string they wanted for either page name or URL in the referral results.

        I like the github blog system. It’s free and built on a system called Jekyll that builds the HTML ahead of time. The downside versus a WordPress blog is there’s not a back end, at least not in the same sense, so things such as commenting have been a challenge.

        1. That’s weird! Glad I wasn’t logging traffic for that time. Although this strategy keeps working, why on earth people still click all links they see is beyond me. But hey, I guess if someone makes money it will survive.

          It’s nice that Jekyll precompiles HTML, I wonder how this compares to the WordPress plugins. I hear that loading speed is critical for page rank in Google.

  12. Hey HM,

    I’d love to swap guest posts with you if you wanted. I think this is a great way to increase exposure πŸ™‚

    Keep it going, you’ll be crushing with consistent effort

    1. That’s an interesting idea. Let’s chat offline about possible ideas. Although I may need a bit of time with the holidays and such this month.

  13. Nice month. Glad to see you are growing so fast for just starting. I also like Twitter the best as far as social media and networking goes. It still drives the most traffic from a social media standpoint too. Interesting to see you experiementing with paid ads. Do you plan to contine that in the future? That would be a cool statistic to see since I don’t know many people that do it. Keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Dividend Daze! That’s a great question! It’s all about reach. You can do some organic reach, but the newer you are the tougher it is to get reach. In my opinion putting money into it helps because you get to reach new viewers that would otherwise have had to network to. Every bit helps. The trouble is that it’s expensive. I’m going to do a bit of it but after I learn how to make a bit of money on the blog. My goal is to have it be self-sustaining.

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