Well, hi there. I’m taking a break from my maternity leave to bring you a three month update on Jane and the New Blog. Since it’s been a while, or you might be new to the series, here’s a bit of information about the New Blog Experiment.
The New Blog launched on August 10th, 2015. This post is documenting the blog’s fourth, fifth, and sixth months of blogging from November 10th – February 10th.
The New Blog is going to remain anonymous because I want all the traffic to the blog to be “organic”. I refer to the New Blog’s author as Jane. Here are some bullet points facts about the blog.
- It is a healthy lifestyle blog: posting recipes, workouts, and other well-being related posts.
- Jane has never blogged before
- The blog’s platform is self-hosted WordPress
- The blog is using the Genesis framework + Restored316 theme
- Jane usually publishes new content 2-3 times a week
- Jane works on the blog for about 15-20 hours a week.
Goals for the New Blog
- Have a social media following and newsletter list before going “live” CHECK!
- Steadily grow traffic and following without plateauing. So far, CHECK!
- Earn at least $2,000/month by the end of one year (working only part-time on the blog) Still getting there.
Photo credit: #creativeconvex
Oh boy am I excited to share all the exciting happenings for the New Blog! Jane is on FIRE. Onto the update.
A report on Jane and the New Blog during months four through six.
The fourth month of blogging, November 10th – December 10th
November was a good month for Jane and the New Blog. Jane is a food blogger and November is naturally a time most of us think about food. The New Blog had a good size spike in traffic the week leading up to Thanksgiving.
The fifth month of blogging, December 10th – January 10th
The New Blog was featured on Buzz feed twice right around Christmas, which gave her some nice traffic and exposure.
Jane invested in Tailwind. Tailwind is a Pinterest scheduling app that not only schedules your pins, but the analytics are amazing. This one was my recommendation because I absolutely love Tailwind. It will free up your time and ensure that you are a consistent pinner. On a complete side note, I recommend only pinning (or scheduling) 10-30 pins a day. Pinterest Scheduling Frequency
Jane was featured in other bloggers’ round up posts. Jane has hosted round up style posts on her blog since month two, but it was fun to have her featured in other bloggers’ round ups. They weren’t always huge traffic spikes, but they are still bringing in consistent traffic.
She spent most of her time behind the scenes working on a massive freebie for newsletter subscribers. Being a healthy living blog, she knew that the new year would be a great time to launch the freebie. She did a great job pre-marketing it and got a good response when it went out the first week of January.
Take a look at how providing a quality freebie helped her email list:
January was a good month for Jane’s email list. Which leads us in to the month six.
The six month of blogging, January 10th – February 10th
I gave Jane homework to look into guest posts options. She did and was able to guest post on a popular blog during this time frame. We were both pretty bummed with the results, only seeing a handful of visitors to her site the days following the post. 🙁
That’s okay though, because… drum roll please…
Actually, I’m just going to show you the graph before I type another word:
BOOM. Pinterest, baby.
Jane had a post that went Pinterest viral. Here are some interesting things about this huge Pinterest spike that I think we can all learn from.
- The post has been pinned over 80,000 times
- Jane’s post was written in November and the pins did not gain traction until the beginning of February. What if Jane had deleted that pin that didn’t have repins in November? What if the other bloggers did? She wouldn’t have hit 6,000+ hits a day. The way the smart feed works, I do not recommend deleting under performing pins. Therefore, I say don’t delete pins.
- The majority of the traffic came from the home page. Also known as the smart feed. Tailwind gives a good explanation on how Pinterest decides what shows up in the smart feed. In short, Pinterest looks at Domain quality, pin quality, and pinner quality. For all the yummy details check out their post: Why Aren’t My Pins Being Seen? As more and more people pinned the post directly from Jane’s site, Pinterest started recognizing it a great pin and started bumping hers (and others) older pins.
Another thing Jane started doing during this time frame was submitting recipes to the Today Food Club. One of her recipes was featured in a round up, and one on the front page. Unfortunately, this didn’t bring very much traffic (only 19 visits)- but is great exposure and it made Jane’s day. It’s important for us bloggers to have WINS that make us feel great.
Jane took advantage of her high traffic numbers this month and applied for influencer networks so hopefully that will provide opportunities for sponsored campaigns in the future.
Month six brought in a total of 62,079 visits (sessions) – that is a 1371.07% increase in three month! Definitely explanation point worthy. (Month three’s total sessions were 4,220.)
Six Month Traffic and Follower Report
Since the New Blog is half way through our year experiment, let’s look at Jane’s growth in a a six month overview.
Note: all accounts started at 0 at the beginning of the New Blog Experiment, except for Pinterest which had about 500 followers.
- Twitter – 543
- Pinterest – 1336
- Facebook – 582
- Instagram – 828
- Newsletter Subscribers – 786
Traffic Graph for the first 6 months
Isn’t that a beautiful chart? This is the New Blog’s overall traffic for the first six months, viewed by months. I like changing how I view analytics, it gives us a better view on growth.
Traffic Overview for the First Six Months
Top 10 Traffic Referrals for the First Six Months
Pinterest is obviously The New Blog’s main source of traffic. Pinterest traffic is notorious for having high bounce rates though. The viral pin increased her bounce rate significantly. We’ll continue to work on ways to reduce the bounces from that viral pin. Facebook continues to bring in steady traffic for Jane and the bounce rate for Facebook hovers in the 50% range.
Income and Expense Report
$115 1 year Tailwind
Total blogging expenses so far: $346.35
Wahoo. There’s something to report here.
- Nov 10 – Dec 10 = nada
- Dec 10 – Jan 10 = $8.88
- Jan 10 – Feb 10 $50.56
Total blogging income so far: $59.44.
Obviously, there is a long way to go before Jane’s blog hits $2,000 a month. What do you think? Can bloggers make that kind of money during their first year of blogging? HAVE YOU? Share in the comments below.
Goals for the upcoming months.
Define a style for her graphics. I will be the first to admit that I have held off on defining a graphic style for Pinterest. To me, it seemed boring. But that’s where I was very wrong. Having a style does not mean that every picture you design looks the same, it just means they have a cohesive blend. It means that people will recognize your picture by its style and branding.
My friend Kate did an interesting study on branded/styled images verses random pictures. You should check it out.
Also, I should note: you don’t have settle on a style the first time. Keep experimenting until you find something you love and catches on fire with the social sharing.
Evaluate how the top dogs in her niches are making money and see if we can incorporate some of those into her own blog. Remember, our goal is to have Jane make $2,000 a month by the end of the year. I am still confident that she’ll get there. The first 6 months (let’s be honest, year) are hard work. Work that you’re doing for nothing (in the monetary sens). It will start to pay off though, we just have to figure out the right fit for her. Which brings me to the next goal Jane has:
Jane is brainstorming products/courses/services she can create and sell on her blog. There is good money to be made online through affiliate marketing, ads, and sponsored posts – but creating your income stream is becoming the biggest way bloggers make money online.
Takeaways to apply to your blog.
Be confident, assertive, and friendly.
One of Jane’s biggest strengths is Jane. I am constantly impressed by how she takes action to make things happen for her blog. She doesn’t wait around for things to happen – she makes them happen. She’s also friendly. She is kind and sweet in her replies to comments. She has created friendships with others online and they help support each other.
(Jane, do you read my posts? Know this: you’re doing great!)
Look at your analytics in a 6 month chunk.
Sometimes, it is hard to see growth when you are only looking at a month or two weeks. Set your analytics to show the last 6 months, then change the view to weeks or months.
You don’t need a ton of Pinterest followers to get a huge spike.
Pinterest is drifting away from the social aspects and becoming a true discovery tool. You can have great success on Pinterest without having a huge following. Jane’s huge traffic spike is due to one post that went Pinterest popular. I haven’t found out which keywords she’s ranking for, but I’m pretty sure it’s either ranking in a search term or showing up in one of the popular feeds. Focus on posting quality content, with great descriptions and titles. Then, pin those on relevant boards.
*There are affiliate links in this post.
I was just looking at those stats well done. That pinterest traffic had a very high bounce rate but still that is what you can expect. I do like how your facebook traffic seems to have a good time on site also.
Wow! Congrats on your traffic Kristie! I came here from the SERPs and your content was exactly what I was looking for!
Thanks for the tips! I’ll bookmark your site so I can come back for more as well.
Allen Hudson says
Very true… First 6 months is like the sad and hardest part for any blogger. I too have gone through the same. Only determined bloggers will come out with flying colors…
Kristie Hill says
Best, and most true comment. Getting past 6 months is a major accomplishment.
Hello, Kristie. Thanks for a good post. I never knew about Tailwind. Right now, I will look it up. A blog that is less than 6 months old is considered to be a new one. Therefore, nobody should expect any serious volumes of organic web traffic during first six months of blogging. For this reason, it is necessary to use other traffic sources such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and so on.
What made you start blogging in the 1st place? And do you notice more traffic from search engines, or Pinterest?
Blogging is always hard in the beginning but a beautiful labor of love.
I have followed this blog from the beginning and cannot wait to find out who it is at the end of the year. I wonder if I have found her yet! I have not yet launched my blog but plan to in the next few days/weeks. Have social media set up and am just trying to build a little content first but watch for me at grannywithablog.com! This series has been such an inspiration.
In His Love,
Kristie Hill says
HI Honey, I’m so glad this post has inspired you. I have an update on her coming soon!
Love all of this! Graphs, numbers, links. Makes my heart happy. Thanks for sharing about branded images too!
Kristie Hill says
You’re very welcome Kate!
Natasha Solae says
Ahhhh this is so much fun! I am definitely going to be tuning in for this entire blogging experiment! Now going to read what happened during the first three months! Thanks so much for sharing!
Kristie Hill says
You’re welcome. It has been an exciting adventure to see the New Blog grow.
Love following along with this series! Those page views are amazing! How are you guys doing it?!
Kristie Hill says
This month, she’s getting pageviews by the discussed methods: Pinterest, submitting her site to sites like the today show, networking with other bloggers – which leads to being featured, etc. Make sure to check out the other posts in the series to see what we did in previous months to get traffic. 🙂
Erin - Suburban Simplicity says
Since I’m just slightly behind mystery blogger Jane in my blogging journey, this is all good information. I am doing most of the things you mention here (except I use BoardBooster), but my traffic is significantly lower. However, on the positive side, I’ve made just slightly less in revenue than her. Beginning this month, I will be a monthly contributor to a couple much larger blogs, so I’m hoping that will increase my exposure and bring some additional traffic. Any tips on getting featured on sites like Buzz Feed? Also, thinking about taking the EBA course, thoughts? Thanks, Kristie! Pinned
Kristie Hill says
A few thoughts:
Congrats on making some cash! That’s always exciting for a new blog. I have full confidence in you Erin. I have never taken the Elite Blog Acadamey course myself, so I can’t vouch one way or the other. I think Amy Lynn Andrews has a post review on her site about the course though.
What do you hope to get out of the course?
As for being on other sites: Look for sites in your niche that feature other blogs and make friends with them. That’s a good start. I know Jane joined a facebook Buzzfee/Bloggers support group where they feature each other in buzz feed articles. You could also look into curating your own buzz feed list. You never know when buzz feed will feature it.
Also highly recommend curating your own round up style posts on your blog every now and then (don’t over do it). Here’s a great post on creating your own list type round up post: http://boostblogtraffic.com/traffic-hack/
Expert roundups are great too: http://boostblogtraffic.com/expert-roundup/
Hope that helps!
Lutetia Flaviae says
I’m so glad you’re posting the New Blog 6 months update! These results are incredible! Congratulations Jane!! I’ve been trying Tailwind and BoardBooster free plan. I must say, I’ve gained more followers with Tailwind so far. But, the looping feature from BB is quite appealing. Do you have any thought on this? On another hand, although experiencing an audience growth, the traffic to my blog has been lowering a bit. So, I don’t know if they are worth buying at all now.
Kristie Hill says
I do have a few thoughts for you. First, I don’t think that using a scheduler is causing you to have less traffic. Pinterest wide – most bloggers are noticing a decrease in Pinterest traffic this month.
Tailwind is my preferred scheduling tool because of its analytics, great support and my schedule of recommended pinning times.
I am not a fan of the looping feature on board booster for many reasons. One being that I think that too many duplicate pins might eventually make you look like a spammer. Right now, Pinterest isn’t dinging people for it, but since it is such a new platform – you have to plan for the future. I think it is important to offer fresh new content on Pinterest, even if that means pinning less.
If it’s not in your budget to use a scheduling tool, just make sure to be diligent in pinning 10 times a day and you’ll be just fine. I like using a scheduling tool because I can batch work. I set up my pins once or twice a week and then work on more important things other days of the week.
Lutetia Flaviae says
Your point is very interesting! I think my main problem is that I’ve gained followers while recreating pictures especially for Pinterest. So when I was doing that I pinned about 5-6 pictures from my blog every day. Since I’m done, I’ve only pinned pictures of my new articles. I’ve started pinning other pictures from all the posts even if they aren’t 100% pinterest friendly. I guess it’s better than repinning the same pictures all over again. Thanks Kristie!!