Bang! There it is! We have finally rung in the New Year! Happy 2018 everyone. The Handy Millennial wishes you and yours a healthy, happy and prosperous new year!
Well, now that we got that out of the way, you know what time it is! Time to tell you how this little blog is doing, or probably more accurately, what I actually think about blogging and this still-very-new-to-me hobby.
As you can probably guess, December was an exciting month. It was exciting both because traffic increased and because, well… it was Christmas time!! So as exciting as it is to chat with strangers who share similar passions on the internet, it was twice as exciting to see my family (IRL). Now let’s see what happened and how this shaped my blogging journey.
Blog writing is like pushing a swing
Now one of the things that you must understand, my dear reader, is that blogging is a bit like pushing a swing. Every time you publish an article or tweet or promote on Pinterest, you are giving this swing a push. Some pushes are bigger than others. For example, for a new blogger, publishing a post is a small push, but promoting on social media is a big push. I suspect that this relationship becomes inverted as your experience grows. Why? Probably retention and word of mouth. Stay tuned, and I’ll let you know.
Now the analogy of a blog as a swing is very exciting. Why? Because it means that: 1. over time you can swing the swing much, much higher – exciting!! – and, 2. it means that if you stop pushing then the swing will keep swinging, at least for awhile. 🙂
So blogging is pretty much like this. You do some promotion, visitors arrive. You get more excited and so you promote more. The swing goes a bit higher. But again, as ThinkSaveRetire pointed out, if you stop pushing, you will come back down to earth. And this is exactly what the Handy Millennial experienced in December. After some amazing shares by fellow bloggers and a few gracious mentions in end-of-the-year round ups, the Handy Millennial saw a great big increase in traffic in the first half of the month.
The month starts off with a BANG
And let me tell you, that was both amazing and exciting. Now before we all get hopped up on endorphins here, when HM says big viewership, he means 2,000 views on a monthly basis 🙂
Some of you seasoned folk out there may not find this as interesting, but it still boggles my mind that this many viewers are interested in this site. I was lucky enough to be mentioned on a few awesome blogs like Smile and Conquer, the Budget Epicurean, and Money is Not Taboo!! Thank you all for being so generous! These guys, along with Passive Income MD, the Money Wizard, and Married with Money (from the last month), helped push up my traffic in the first 2 weeks to 1,000 page views. That’s pretty incredible!
Traffic comes down to earth as I take a vacation and people focus on their families.
Now in the second part of the month, we had Christmas. Christmas was a big mental Challenge for HM (with a capital C). Why? Because on one hand, there are many bloggers publishing posts titled “How to keep hustling through the holidays,” or “How to balance life and side hustles during Christmas,” but on the other hand, the Handy Millennial needed a break and his gut told him so.
So while inertia and the internet told HM to do it, I think you all know what won :). At any rate, I’m sure that you, my dear reader, certainly had better things to do than to read this little blog.
So the last original post of the year was about the recent replacement of a splash shield on my car. It always amazes me how things are actually affixed to cars. It seems almost a miracle that they stay together on the road. 🙂
Anywho, the year actually concluded with a wrap-up post of the top 10 posts published in 2017. (I’m still amazed that there is enough material to pick a top ten… but I digress).
Now recall my earlier analogy; as the Handy Millennial stopped pushing the swing, traffic slowly declined. In fact, the second half of December only saw 526 page views.
Good News! We did not hit 0!!!
But there is some good news! We did not hit zero. And that is actually, in the Handy Millennial’s mind, pretty good news. It actually might be better news than the new page view highs. Why? Because it means that this blog is moving along on its own, albeit quite slowly. Kind of like compound interest on your investments. There is some cache of momentum that has been built into the HandyMillennial.com. Awesome!
Finally Figured out the Google Search Console
In another piece of great news, I finally figured out the Google Search Console. For the uninitiated, the Google Search Console lets you 1. tell Google you exist, and 2. check out how people get to your website through Google. I would definitely classify myself as new when it comes to using the Search Console but suffice it to say that I at least can tell you how to get started! Mind you the Handy Millennial is not inventing anything new here, but the console itself is a bit industrial and it takes some time here to really understand what the first email from Google really means. So here are the steps:
- Add you website. Now here you want to check – did you register your URL with a www or not? Make sure to add the version that you registered!
- Select your preferred version. I suspect that more experienced bloggers may have different site name versions. You can choose your primary. If you are new, step 1 should have cleared this one up.
- Select your target country. I’m not yet sure if this setting is exclusionary. This is important because I would like to be open to readers across the world. But if you are blogging about repairing your finances, can you really make commentary about how to do that in another country on another continent? I’m guessing no here (sure there are some basic overlaps, but really readers want actionable advice!) Take a chance and set your home country so that you might appear higher in the search results.
- Submit a sitemap. Now this one boggled HM’s mind for a while. Why? Well because the Handy Millennial is trying to run a clean site. Clean from lots of annoying advertisements, clean from garbage content, and clean from a technical point. So for a while, the Handy Millennial was not sure how to generate a sitemap. It turns out that the Yoast SEO plugin does this for you. So you can take the URL Yoast provides and directly input it into the Google Search Console.
If you follow these basic steps and you produce some good content, then you should get indexed fairly quickly. It happened for the Handy Millennial in about a week. Now what is good content? Well no one knows because this is determined by an algorithm at the big kahuna: Google. But it probably has to do with length of the post and the uniqueness.
Now this was not a very exciting month in Social Media, with the notable exception of Pinterest.
So you will recall, my dear reader, that last month the Handy Millennial embarked on a journey to Pin!!! Pin! Pin!!
If you are not using Pinterest, it’s basically a site that preys on our collective desire to do something easy while seeing colorful pictures. I can say this now in light of all of the negative press that has come out in the past 30 days about social media. If you haven’t been paying attention, Facebook actually admitted (sort of) that it preys on weaknesses in the human brain and that it’s bad for children!
I can imagine one day Pinterest coming out and saying that it preys on people with ADD. But despite all of this, social media – and Pinterest especially – is a good marketing tool, expressly because it was designed to target a weakness in your brain and keep you clicking. Pinterest drives traffic because people scroll through it, click on images they like, and read the corresponding blog posts.
Depending on who you talk to, this is good or bad. Some bloggers say that it is good because it brings lots of traffic. Some bloggers are unsure because Pinterest users typically have a 100% bounce rate and really only look at the one page they came for. Shout out to Sarah from Smile & Conquer for this insight.
So Pinterest has taken off this month, and at the Handy Millennial it is for one simple reason – Board Booster. The Handy Millennial actually signed up for trials on both Board Booster and Tailwind. The blogging community really loves Tailwind but HM doesn’t really get why. Board Booster has an awesome Random Campaign that lets you post to all the boards that you are member of randomly, and it prevents you from pinning the same pin too frequently (you choose the duration). This is great! When this campaign is on, the Handy Millennial received anywhere from 2-10 followers per day. If you turn off Board Booster, the followers simply stop.
Tailwind on the other hand has no such campaign. You need to manually schedule your pins. It also doesn’t refresh pins on your board the way Board Booster does. To top it off, it seems to be more expensive. Someone please leave me a comment and tell me what I’m missing here. (I don’t understand tribes – any help would be greatly appreciated.)
One caveat is that you have to be able to stomach the butterfly interface. If you’re a guy and this bothers you, well, I think it’s time to join the 21st Century. Who cares?
The Twitter on autopilot
Yup, left this one on autopilot. Now what the Handy Millennial means here is that he did not work to expand his audience. Instead he focused on interactions. It has been fun! Additionally, Twitter also experienced the follower rotation that HM talked about last month. Many more real people joined the follower ranks while the tinyurl followers dropped off. Yay!
HM is looking forward to getting back to Twitter this month. It’s a great platform and it’s great for connecting with like-minded folks. Looking forward to connecting with ya’ll in 2018!!
Blogging Month Accomplishments
How the posts are faring
Ok, so after about 2,000 words, it’s time to wrap up the post.
In December, I published 7 posts. The top 3 posts by the numbers are:
Now that’s just one month. Borrowing some knowledge from the top 10 posts of 2017, here is a look at the top 3 posts on the Handy Millennial since the site started. The top 3 posts are:
Let’s see the stats.
My current social media of choice is Twitter. Here are some interesting stats:
- Number of Tweets: 1,155
- Number of times people saw my tweets: 130K (I’m getting used to these numbers, still way cool!)
- Number of times people thought I was interesting: 3,312 (Cool! Let’s reach more people!)
- Number of people who care enough to listen regularly: 402 (Thank you to each and every one of you!)
Also, as discussed above, my Pinterest profile took off. Stats so far:
- Number of Followers: 154
- Number of Boards Joined: 20
And finally, let’s see how the Handy Millennial fared. Did we reach our page view goals for December?
- 606 users that came to my site (+40% from November)
- 879 sessions (38.7% return visitors! Yay! Also, up 32% from October)
- 1,379 page views. (+27% – awesome, didn’t make it to 1,500, but ask me if I care while you pour me another eggnog 😉 )
So there it is! Month four 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!