Growing a Blog – Blog Traffic Post #4 Dec. 2017

Blog Traffic month 3.

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

** Shout out to Laine from The Green Purpose here. He pointed out to the Handy Millennial that the sitemap is pretty important for indexing.

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.

Social Media

Now this was not a very exciting month in Social Media, with the notable exception of Pinterest.

PinterestBlog Traffic is helped by 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.

But Pinterest does bring users, and for now the Handy Millennial is in growth mode. More eyes means more potential repeat readers, and this is a good thing in my book.

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

Blog Traffic leads to 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:

  1. Why everyone should FIRE
  2. The Move Story
  3. Blog Traffic Post #3

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:

  1. Why everyone should FIRE
  2. The Move Story
  3. Blog Traffic Post #2

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

Visitor Stats

Blog Traffic leads to visitor stats.

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 sessionsย  (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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Conclusion

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!

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.

23 thoughts on “Growing a Blog – Blog Traffic Post #4 Dec. 2017

  1. Great job HM! And good for you for taking a break, even as a new blogger. I did the same in November when I went to Hawaii…but no eggnog!

    1. Thanks Caroline, and thanks for stopping by! Did you write about Hawaii? I seem to remember a post about it. I will definitely have to go check it out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Good for you taking time off and actually enjoying the holidays. As blogging is rarely the best use of your per hour time if youโ€™re simply looking for a cash producing side hustle, itโ€™s important to keep it fun. Glad to see youโ€™re back at it though! Iโ€™m enjoying following along.

    1. Thanks Angela! It was definitely a struggle to actually take the time off. But it was very worth it. I feel like a new person. You can definitely get yourself worked up trying to run faster and faster. I will try to keep myself to just having fun this year (although I can already feel myself getting sucked in!) I’m looking forward to a great year with you guys :).

  3. Keep at it! My traffic plummeted when I took a week or so off, as well. Got back to posting and had the best week stretch so far that I’ve had ever, with an exception of when one of my posts got shared on r/childfree recently.

    Blogging is definitely the long game. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m trying to work my way up to 10k page views a month by the end of the year! Small potatoes compared to some, but it’s a huge number to me!

    1. Hi Dave! Thanks for stopping by! I was just musing about traffic when you go away. It’s interesting. This really shows you that content is king. You can promote all you want but if the articles aren’t there it doesn’t matter. 10k views is pretty great! Have you guys hit a year yet? I seem to remember you saying so. I hope to have 200 visitors per day in year. That’s a pretty good achievement!

      1. I started in April, so a bit less than a year. Right now I’m about 200-250 page views on days I post, and 150-175 on days I don’t.

        I’d really like to be at double that; that’d get my ~10k goal hit which would be great!

        1. Those are some great numbers! I was trending at 50-60 a day for the first half of December. It was very exciting.

  4. We definitely reciprocate this motivated feeling to grow like crazy coming out of the holidays. You’re still having great success even with the time off — keep it up! I love the swing analogy.

    1. Thanks Alex! And thanks for stopping by! I will do my best to keep it going this year ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. If you find out what the hype is about Tailwind, let me know, I’m in the same boat as you. I did the free trials for both of them too and actually just decided to dive into the paid version for Board Booster. It seems way more time effective not having to manually schedule each one with the random and looping features. Not only that, I found Tailwind was more complicated to figure out how to use for such a simple task.
    I’m loving BB for now!

    1. Thanks Laine, I appreciate the comment. I will keep you posted. BB is awesome right now, butterflies and all.

  6. Happy 4th month blogging anniversary! Your report is super detailed and helpful to other bloggers.

    I had a huge dip in Dec too. People were out and about instead of reading blog posts ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Thanks Ms. FAF! I really appreciate you stopping by! This was my thought too. Despite the irresistible lure of the PF blogging community, I guess Christmas does exist :).

  7. Nice job! You’re growing quite nicely. One suggestion if you go on vacation or need a break–line up a couple guest posts ahead of time. I have a few reserves just in case I get too tired or am going away. Best decision ever.

    1. Thanks Luxe! I really appreciate that! That’s a great idea. I’ve been so wrapped up in the admin part of this that I haven’t had enough time to build up a reserve. Maybe I’ll scale back on some things and works on a post reserve. It really looks like I need it now.

  8. I am enjoying these blogging updates, especially the parts when you talk about technology like the Google site console. Keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Peerless Money Mentor! I appreciate you stopping by. Interesting read. I’m still shooting for that elusive Rockstar feature :).

    1. Unfortunately no ๐Ÿ™‚ that was during my blogging break and I decided not to break my break so to speak.

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