Growing a Blog – Blog Traffic Post #3 Nov. 2017

Blog Traffic month 3.So we’ve somehow hit Month 3 in this blogging adventure!

If you’ve been keeping up, you may have noticed that these traffic posts are some of my most successful posts to date. For this reason, I assembled them on their own special page, naturally titled Blog Traffic Reports, so that they are easy to find.

Now I’ve been thinking about why?, of all the things that I write here on the Handy Millennial, are traffic reports the most interesting to ya’ll? Well that’s a great question and I didn’t get clued in until I listened to the Do You Even Blog podcast with the Busy Budgeter (#9 if you’re curious). Here Rosemarie clued me in! For you new bloggers, blog traffic reports are about how you get people to your site. And blog income reports are about what is currently working in terms of bringing money from you blog.

OK, duly noted – so then without much ado, let’s see what we have learned in Month #3 and what is working right now!

Developing consistency and focus while learning the game

November was the second month that I was consistently posting two days a week. It’s becoming a bit of a chore. For those of you who never advertised your posting schedules, I see what you did there. At the same time, I think that the consistency has helped my writing style, my audience engagement, and growth. Something about putting yourself out there by promising to produce twice a week seems to resonate with readers.

Learning Blog Style Writing

Blog Traffic is aided by good writing.Now a major theme at the Handy Millennial has been learning how to write blog-style articles. That’s easier said than done because learning to write in the blogging style is different than any other writing. How so? Well, is a blog post an essay? Kind of, but try to put up 2 pages of 5 paragraph style work and see what happens. Is a blog post a scientific article? Not really. You might link to some sources but by and large you are talking about things that you do not have a formal certification in. This is why you shouldn’t believe 100% everything you read. How about a newspaper article? Definitely not! Who is your secret source?

Yoast has been a big help because this plugin asks you to add headers, limit words under each sub-header, add keywords to stay on topic, etc. The end result is actually something that (a) looks like a blog, and (b) is readable in the same way that people expect to read a blog. It definitely takes longer to make each post like this, but the end product is much better. In fact, these days I actually start by planning out the post via headers and then fill out the rest. One of my finest works with regard to this was the recent post on using FIRE to learn how to plan. The great feedback I’m getting on this tells me that I may finally be coalescing on a way of writing that is most helpful to my readers.

Assembling Content in Topic Themes

A second major theme at the Handy Millennial has been grouping my posts into themes. These most naturally group into things that I actually enjoy – DIY, cars, personal finance, and inspiration. So in a way, one could say that the Handy Millennial is developing his niche. The funny thing about this is that if you asked me 3 months ago what my niche would be, I would have been stumped.

Blog Traffic is aided by making things easier to find.That’s pretty interesting because step 1 in most “How to Blog” articles is to pick a niche. For the new bloggers out there or would-be bloggers that are interested, I would offer the following backwards advice: Start writing; your niche will find you. That may seem flippant and it does assume that you have the perseverance to write for a while until something clicks in your brain, but for me, picking a direction at first has always been a challenge.

To start shaping the blog a bit more, I have assembled my posts into courses. I’ve updated the page School of Life and added a personal finance course and automotive DIY course. If you’ve been here since day 1 (wow, you’re awesome!), I am also slowly making my way through 21 days to being handy. Many of those posts will be done in the colder months.

Interacting with other bloggers

Another major theme of November has been blogger interaction. After reading on multiple blogs about commenting, I finally decided to get serious about this. Now at first, just like all other aspects of blogging, this is a bit bewildering. See, there is a big list of blogs, and they are constantly being updated. How should you choose where to comment?

Blog Traffic increases by leaving comments on other sites.

At first, I commented on posts that I thought were interesting as they arrived via the Rockstar Finance feed. This quickly became overwhelming because I was getting comment replies and interactions from many different sides. But what I realized is that commenting is really about making friends with other bloggers. If you are new, stop and take in this for a moment. Commenting is really the main way that bloggers interact (at least at first). Later on you might go to FinCon, exchange emails, meet for coffee, whatever; but at first, no one knows who you are. Commenting is like walking up to someone and saying “Hello” but without the awkward “what do I say now?” moment.

So with this in mind, I now focus my commenting. I focus on bloggers that I find interesting and bloggers that are my friends. Hint! You won’t be #2 without being #1 πŸ™‚ I think this is how it work IRL too, right?!

Now obviously I can’t comment on every post, but I try to keep up at least somewhat. So who are these blogging buddies that I have? Well, check out the comments on this post below! (if you are reader #1 – so sorry!)

Mentions on other blogs

Blog Traffic is helped by other bloggers.

Now speaking of other bloggers, wowsers… November was month where a few bloggers decided to add me to their blog roundups! WOW! First of all, I’m so honored that you thought something I wrote was worth it. Second, that is so generous of you! (Aside for new bloggers: when a blogger adds you to their round-up, they are really sharing their followers with you. And for a new blogger that is absolutely incredible!)

So here are my shout-outs to Passive Income MD, My Money Wizard, and Married with Money. You guys rock!! For my readers, if you haven’t seen these blogs, they are all awesome and you should check them out. If you’re curious about what they liked, here it is:

Before I leave this section, I also want to thank everyone who has helped me by tweeting or re-tweeting my posts. I really appreciate the attention and help from each and every one of you! If you have any ideas on how we can help each other to promote content, please reach out.

Social Media

Blog Traffic is helped by social media.

OK, now let’s talk about social media. I love and hate social media. I love social media because without it, this little exercise would be exactly like running by yourself on a hamster wheel. Social media, and in particular Twitter, have been invaluable for finding you all (and for you finding the Handy Millennial). I hate social media because it sucks up your life. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to connect with ya’ll, but the Handy Millennial is one guy and there are hundreds of millions of Twitter users constantly logging on to chat – day gone.

Shout out to Cubert from Abandoned Cubicle for his recent post on this. It’s true, we all know it, but we are all stuck. I certainly don’t want to promote the Handy Millennial with Lamp Post stickies. So until I get as famous as the Financial Samurai – social media, I love you!

Decelerating Facebook while starting Pinterest

Now not all social media is created equal. If they struggle to monetize, then they are probably the newbie blogger’s best friend. Example, Twitter – awesome!!! No start up cost, you can use free trials on auto-tweet promotion services, you can let people know you exist, all for free!

Facebook

Facebook? Basically a money-making juggernaut, pay to play baby. The Handy Millennial is more or less a passion project right now. I’d love to leverage the power of Facebook, but I’m simply not paying money for advertising. If the Handy Millennial does make money some day, it’s pretty much guaranteed to go into more advertising – remember, reach matters.

Now I know some of you might say that you can post on Facebook groups and so on. But look, Facebook makes you spend your time or your money. That’s the gig. For my money at the moment, Twitter is better.

So I will maintain posts on the Facebook page, but I won’t really be spending much money or time promoting it.

Pinterest

Blog Traffic is helped by pinterest.While I’m decelerating Facebook, I’m starting Pinterest. Pinterest is a BEAST! to quote one of my blogging buddies, who shall remain nameless unless they identify themselves in the comments. Why? Because it’s hard to get followers, and the secret lies in the group boards. Group boards are not all equal: group boards whose collaborators have large followings – GOOD! Otherwise, meh.

Of course, you can grow your own starter board (and you should), but that takes time. So what you have to do is email lots of people asking them to get on their boards. Here I want to give a shout out to Sarah from Smile & Conquer, and Broke Young and Scraping By, for helping me to get started on group boards. You guys are awesome!!

Also, a shout out to a couple new bloggers who are banding together with me to get going on Pinterest: Jason from Winning Personal Finance, Melanie from Travels Near and Far, Laine from The Green Purpose, and Defined Sight. (If I’m forgetting someone, please accept my apologies).

To all you guys that have helped me so far, you guys rock!

The Twitter churn

Last but not least in my list of social media, is Twitter!! Twitter!! Love love love twitter. It’s where I got started and where most of my readers come from. I use Hootsuite to automate the post promotions, and I aim to spend my time on Twitter actually interacting with users.

One funny thing that happens is when users react to my auto-tweets. It’s almost like they are testing to see if I really am around. Well, I am! πŸ™‚

Now this works really well because my followers are growing fast! Even readers that were with the Handy Millennial from the early days already are surprised at some of the older posts that they see.

One interesting aspect of Twitter is how your following grows. People really liked my comical sketch of the learning curve so I will repeat it here, but this time leverage it in growing a Twitter following.

Blog Traffic is the direct result of Twitter.

See, your Twitter following is just like your learning curve. Your followers grow fast, then slow, then fast, then slow… repeat ad-nauseum. So what gives? Well, you see my dear reader, Twitter is full of other people trying to promote themselves just like you. So what happens is, when you produce some notable content, you generate some buzz. This buzz leads various marketing/consulting/advice businesses to follow you. They are hoping you sign up!

This kind of gets me wondering: do they think I will suddenly wake up and think “OMG I could buy some marketing advice, I DIDN’T KNOW this was possible!!” Well, if you are such a marketing agency, and you are reading this, I already know you exist! Surprise!!! But this is not my job, and I will not be paying you for your services. Thanks πŸ™‚

So what happens is, these people will slowly unfollow you as they realize you won’t be buying their services. This leads to a slow drain on the number of your followers. Sometimes, even though you are getting lots of attention and you are promoting yourself, you feel like you are stuck on some X number of followers.

For example, the Handy Millennial has 905 followers right now. This has been steady since last Wednesday despite the fact that I was included in 2 blogging roundups and received numerous tweets and retweets. So what we have here is a slow rotation from marketing followers into real followers. This, of course, is much desired and welcome.

The important point here for new bloggers is that you will meet these levels of follow resistance, but they will pass. Just keep at it!

Blogging Month Accomplishments

Blog Traffic leads to accomplishments.

How the posts are faring

Ok, so this post is getting longer and longer; let’s get to the point, shall we?

In November I published 9 posts. The response is great and growing. My top 3 posts by the numbers are:

  1. Growing a Blog – Traffic Post #2
  2. Protect Your Investment Accounts
  3. How to Save Water – Part 1

Now that’s just one month. Let’s look at which of my posts have been most popular since the blog started. So far we have 34 published posts through the end of November. The top 3 posts are:

  1. Growing a Blog – Traffic Post #2
  2. Shave like Grandpa
  3. Growing a Blog – Traffic Post #1

Let’s see the stats.

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

  • Number of Tweets: 1,015
  • Number of times people saw my tweets: 72.3K (Wow!!! How is this even possible?)
  • Number of times people thought I was interesting: 3,625 (Cool! Let’s reach more people!)
  • Number of people who care enough to listen regularly: 424 (Thank you to each and every one of you!)

Also, as discussed above, this month I also added a Pinterest profile. Stats so far:

  • Number of Followers: 61
  • Number of Boards Joined: 3

Visitor Stats

Blog Traffic leads to visitor stats.

And finally, let’s see how my site fared. Did we reach our page view goals for November?

  • 433 users that came to my site (+62% from October)
  • 666 sessions –Β  (40% return visitors! Yay! Also, up 98% from October)
  • 1085 page views. (+86% – awesome, but now I’m a little scared to make a new goal. How about 1,500? πŸ™‚ )

 

Conclusion

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

Lastly, if you liked this post and are enjoying this blog, please help the Handy Millennial by following on Pinterest and Twitter.

Blog Traffic leads to more feedback.

37 thoughts on “Growing a Blog – Blog Traffic Post #3 Nov. 2017

  1. Great month! You have more Twitter followers than me and I’ve been doing the Twitter thing since June or something like that, haha. Keep it up. πŸ™‚

    I need to be much more diligent on promoting my blog in other spaces. My growth hasn’t been what I’d like it to be. I should do some more guest posts πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Dave! I really appreciate that! I’ve had the most luck with Twitter and I’ve definitely focused on that. It helps that Twitter feels the most like you are interacting with other people. Have you ever done a guest post? What was the traffic like after you did it?

    1. Thanks Mr. JumpStart! I really appreciate it and congratulations on getting over 1,000! Its just a number, but it feels like a great achievement!

        1. I had the same experience! Right before Thanksgiving I thought I wasn’t going to make it. It makes me wonder about Christmas. I might just take the time off between Christmas and the new year. It’s probably better to come back refreshed than to drive yourself crazy looking at traffic thats just not there.

  2. This is a fun post because yes it is about how well Mr. Handy Millennial is doing, but it is also chock full of tips on how we can do this for ourselves. So kudos to you!

  3. Great month! I really like Twitter too because it feels like I am making friends. I like Instagram too but I find people unfollow quickly or it seems like it ebbs and flows more.

    1. Thanks Gen Y Money! I appreciate you stopping by. I think in general social media is much more challenging than people give it credit for. A lot of it has to do with playing nice and having bloggers support one another. It seems to be most easily done on Twitter. I have no experience with instagram. I actually haven’t really seen anyone advocate for it.

  4. Awesome work HM! Great to see twitter is working well for you. I really just got started with it and am getting a grip I will take some of your suggestions and run with them!

    1. Thanks DM! I’m glad you find this useful. Let me know how things go for you!

  5. Great round up! It’s nice to see other bloggers just getting started and see their progress. πŸ™‚

    Always nice to see other people with the same love/hate relationship with social media. I’ve almost stopped using it for personal stuff, and then blogging has me back into the hamsterwheel again, and it’s bigger and hairier than ever!

    1. Thanks Kristine! I really appreciate that. I want really on social media before. To be honest, I wasn’t missing much. Social media is more about the marketing than you. This is even admitted but the creatures of Facebook. Just last night I heard an interview where they talked about how social media exploits a weakness in your brain. But almost everyone had bought into it, so if you want to be in marketing, you need to be in it.

  6. Awesome post! I’m learning a lot by just reading what is working for you. I share the same sentiment when it comes for both FB and Twitter. I only recently (2 weeks ago) focused on twitter and it’s amazing! BTW, I’m also a blogging newbie, just 5 months in. I wonder if I should start tracking my progress like this? We’ll see. πŸ™‚ Keep these posts coming, they serve as inspiration and drops of knowledge and tips. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Gina! I really appreciate this. Please do start tracking your progress. I’d be very excited to learn from you πŸ˜€

  7. Congrats Handy!

    Great job keeping up the great content and consistency. I can imagine the burnout can be quite real when it comes to blogging but just know there are people out there (like me) that really enjoy your stuff. I have learned alot in these last few months and you definitely have a reader in me. I also agree that social media can become all consuming very easily. It is a hard balance to find for sure.

    Good luck!

    -Taylor

    1. Thanks Taylor! I really appreciate you saying this! I think the burnout is definitely real as you describe it, but for me it more comes from the thought – does this matter and am I actually making a difference to anyone. So comments like yours really make me happy!

    1. Hi Jason, thanks for stopping by! I’m game, let’s team up on Pinterest and in blogging. Feel free to PM me anytime. I fact, I’m going to start right now, by adding a back link to you in this post here.

  8. Wow, good for you! This post is so informative and helpful for another newbie following closely behind you, as I consider myself to have blogged (β€œseriously” and consistently) for one full month now. I’m definitely taking notes πŸ˜€ and love your twitter interactions!

    1. Thanks Emilie! I really appreciate that! Sometimes I’m a little slow at figuring out what its all about, but once I did I tried to make this as informative as possible. I’m glad you are enjoying the content and the interactions! Please say hi anytime!

  9. Nice work, HM! You’re definitely following the right path, here. I only wish for me, I could keep up with Pinterest. I found myself spending half my time creating the pins vs. writing content, so I had to sadly tuck it away for now. In the future I hope to get back to it.

    Keep up the great work!!!

    1. Thanks Cubert! I really appreciate this comment. I feel exactly the same way as you about creating Pins vs writing. The writing already takes up so much time and I think its quite important. I’m hoping to work up to say 30 unique pins. I’ll make just one per post as I write the post. Then I’ll give tailwind a try and have it auto pin for me. I’ll let you know how that goes.

  10. Hey that’s me! Haa! Thanks for the shout out, I was reading this just to read and saw my name jump out. I appreciate it!

    I hear you on the Pinterest struggle to get going. It’s so powerful for leads but hard to really take off and get followers. In a past blogging life, I had a DIY blog and it was SO much easier to gain followers. I had a few viral posts that really catapulted my blog. Every other blogger is about home style and DIY though so it felt easy to get a following. The problem was my interest in DIY faded but I learned how much I loved blogging. Personal finance has always been a passion of mine so I knew that was my true topic to go for. I’ve been surprised seeing that it’s more difficult in the PF realm vs DIY. BUT, from my past experience, I know we just have to keep pushing through and it’ll pay off big time!

    1. Hi Laine! This is very interesting. I did not know this about you. I’ll add a link here to your blog. Maybe a few people will hop on over. I’m curious, how long write you do your last blog? What kind of audience were you seeing at the end?

      1. Hi HM! I did it for about a year (I think it came to 13 months). At the end I was seeing a fairly substantial number of visitors about 18,000 monthly, mostly due to Pinterest. I never monetized anything and didn’t take advantage of the viewership I had. I eventually got bored of the DIY though because it was really just constantly doing projects for posts. Everything is for a reason though! I fell in love with blogging and learned a ton. Now on my second round I realize the opportunity for monetization and am blogging more strategically than just posting. Learning is half the fun!

        1. Good points here Laine! That’s some great traffic after 1 year. I can see how you would get tired of the DIY projects. Luckily I’m placing this blog somewhere between DIY and PF. This gives me a bit of wiggle room when I get tired of DIY stuff. I’m curious I have a bit of a weird thing going on. Every couple of days Google crawls me but I haven’t been indexed. How can this be? Is there something on here that prevents indexing?

          1. Hmm that’s strange. I’m not sure if something would be preventing it but it’s more likely that you haven’t done everything for Google yet, like submit sitemaps. Are you using Google Webmasters? Check it out if not and when you verify your site, it sends you a first message that is helpful with a list of stuff to make sure you’ve done.

          2. Hmm, you’ve got a point there. I didn’t put up a sitemap yet. That’s because I need to find a tool to generate one. I’m pretty sure I hit the other points in that email. Great idea!

  11. I have the awkward “what so I say now” phase with commenting πŸ˜‚.

    In person interactions are so much easier for me but I’m working on it!

    1. Well thanks for leaving me a comment :). I appreciate hearing from you anyway πŸ™‚ Hope you had a Merry Christmas and are planning something great for NYE!

  12. Great post and thanks for sharing your blog development and milestones. You’re doing great for being 2 months in.

    I am in the midst of putting together my blog, so I you being open and honest about your experience. I am curious how long it took you to get to launch? I’ve been banging away at creating content and developing my site over the past two months and the plan is to launch February 2018, if all goes smoothly.

    All the best and keep up the great work!

    Mr. Prairie FIRE
    P.S. Follow me on Twitter and I will keep you update on my launch – @PrairieFIRE_CA

    1. Hi Mr. Prairie Fire! Thanks for stopping by! That’s a great question. When I first set up the site there were so many things to do – make design choices, write posts, learn how to write a blog, promote, etc. etc. Just opening WordPress was overwhelming. So one day I realized it would never launch (it was actually about 2 months in). I basically decided to take a cleaver to all the choices. I picked a nice simple theme, cut out 75% of the choices and just hit launch.

      So far so good. But I’m also learning that perfect is the enemy of good enough – IRL. My philosophy is better out then never. So I’ve revised some articles after the launch but mostly it’s been well received. I’m looking forward to seeing your site!

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