I officially launched the blog on July 27th and posted the first couple of posts. For the sake of argument, I’m going to pretend that the blog wasn’t active for the last four days of July and just include that in the August blog progress update.
So, what went well and what didn’t go well in the first month of operation?
Thankfully my traffic has grown since inception.
I ended up with 2,315 page views for the month. My average time on page is 01m29s, which I would like to improve. My cornerstone articles such as Lessons Learned in Real Estate show much better page times with nearly four minutes (so you have to assume people are actually reading it).
My performance rating on Pingdom is pretty good, earning a “B” and a score of 80. The page load time of 1.89-seconds is low enough not to annoy most people. I did some optimization WordPress with Autoptimize and a caching plugin to achieve this.
My bounce rate seems high at around 70%. This may be the way I’m driving some traffic, so I’ll just have to wait and see if it improves. I did get rid of the lightbox pop-over that tries to get you to sign up for the mailing list today. It’s possible that makes people leave the site right away as it might seem a little spammy.
A blog would be nothing without content. I wrote 11 posts in August (okay, technically a few of them were in July as I pointed out earlier). I’d like to try and keep this pace going forward – approximately two posts per week. I’ve read conflicting things about frequency of posting: some say be absolutely regimental and publish, say, three times a week. Some say just write naturally and everything will fall into place eventually.
By far the most popular post was “Real estate investing lessons learned”. This was mostly because it received quite a lot of attention on Reddit where I posted it as being useful for the r/RealEstate subreddit.
Probably the thing I’m most proud of is growing my Twitter following. I believe that I had 813 Followers at the end of July which is a definite improvement over zero at the beginning!
I didn’t buy Followers. I just followed a simple but effective plan to grow them organically. It was a lot of work, but I consider having a good Twitter following key and it does drive some blog traffic when new posts hit it.
I’m going to leave how I did it for a post on marketing your blog and hopefully I will have doubled my following by the next update.
Pinterest seems to be something I just can’t crack. I closed out the month with 23 Followers.
I have started to make graphics for pinning, including optimizing the main blog image and infographics. Pinterest seems to be something I’ll have to come up with a plan for and execute that better in September.
My Facebook presence is non-existent aside from having created a page. There’s too much going on for me right now to focus on this and I’m not sure how much traffic it would drive right now versus Twitter and Pinterest.
I’ve decided not to do anything on Google + for the moment. I already have my hands full with the three other social networks and I don’t see a huge gain in adding Google +. Maybe I’m wrong.
Advertising and Affiliate Networks
On my second try, I was approved for Adsense. My guess is I didn’t have enough content the first time I tried and was rejected because of that.
Whilst my Adsense revenue has been very little so far, I did cross the $1 threshold which felt good psychologically. What I really need to drive going forward are clicks, which in turn requires greater traffic.
I originally had Bluehost ads allover the site whilst I waited to try and get approved from Adsense. When I got approved for Adsense, I pulled them all down. I’ve down gone full-circle and put a Bluehost banner back in the header. Their affiliate program pays pretty well, so I’d like to see what I can drive in terms of revenue.
I’m set up with several affiliate networks including Amazon. Amazon seems out of place on this site, it’s not like they have personal finance products. The one affiliate network that I really wanted to have, which I can’t mention by name, rejected me. A friend in the industry said my blog is too young and I don’t have enough visitors, and that’s why I got rejected. I’m going to keep trying on that one periodically as it would reap huge rewards if successful.
I did some work with a gentlemen from the U.K. on SEO. I could just wait and see what happens organically, but that could be months. It’s still too early to really see what gains I’ve made, but I am getting more organic search now – although that could just be a coincidence.
As search engines are so intrinsic to your overall traffic, it’s worth paying attention to this if you’re starting a blog! Again, more details in the forthcoming post on marketing your blog.
One thing I’ve found in learning as much as I can about SEO in the past month as I can: you don’t need to go after the high traffic keywords. It’s better to go after several low traffic keywords and get a first page ranking. I’m trying to rank on a mixture of keywords that get low, mid and high traffic to hedge my bets. Surprisingly, I already rank for some things on Bing. But who uses Bing? 🙂
It’s been a busy first month and I’m happy to have made some inroads. But there’s still lots to do and it’ll be interesting to see how my stats look for September.
For September I’m going to focus more on content and, more importantly, quality and length of content as I believe the current Google algorithm rewards that. Nothing under 1,000 words.
Just starting or established with a blog as a side hustle? Share your experiences in the comments.