Here it is, you guys: my second ever blog growth and income report. What share this? Like I mentioned the first time around, I have absolute confidence that Home Beautifully and I will go a long, long way. I’m determined that this side venture could not only add purpose and passion to my life, but also bring in some income as well. With that in mind, I want to be transparent with my own analytics, successes, and challenges. Want to learn more about how this blog is growing? Keep on reading to dive into July’s 2017 blog growth and income report.
Blog Growth: How Many People Read Home Beautifully?
In order to understand this question, let’s look at both active users and pageviews, which are two metrics you can view using Google Analytics. Let’s first look at the active users.
Blog Growth by Active Readers: July 2017
What does this mean? It means that 1344 users have stopped by in the last 30 days. Also, more people are swinging by each day. We’ll talk about how and why in a bit!
But how does this compare to before? Well… If you remember in January, I was super excited to hit 1500 active users. Here’s a graph that shows my active users from January to July.
Blog Growth by Active Readers: January to July 2017
See that big old dip in the middle? That’s called morning sickness. But seriously, during the first trimester of my pregnancy, I just couldn’t do much other than take care of myself. No DIY, no blogging, no social media, NOTHING. And I relieved myself of the guilt, because honestly sometimes it’s hard enough just to get through, know what I mean?
[bctt tweet=”Being a whole person is better than being a halfway blogger.” via=”no”]
Around May, once we settled into California and I entered the second trimester, I picked up where I left off and have slooooowly been working my way back.
Blog Growth by Pageviews: July 2017
If you’re a fellow blogger, you may be wondering why I’m showing you my active users rather than my page views. As any seasoned blogger knows, hitting that 10,000 page views per month benchmark is a HUGE milestone in the blogging journey.
This past month, I’ve had almost 4K pageviews, with a bounce rate of about 61%. (You want a low bounce rate because a high bounce rate means that people stop by your blog and leave without strolling around.) So we’re not close to 10K, but we’re on the rise! My goal is to hit 10K pageview per month by the end of 2017. Who’s with me!?
Blog Growth by Pageviews: January to July 2017
Now, why can’t I tell you how my pageviews have grown over the year? Let’s look at the chart below:
See how it looks like I had a TON of pageviews in January and February and then the pageviews dropped off? Well, that didn’t actually happen. In fact, I’d installed the Google analytics tracking code incorrectly on my site (D’OH!).
At the time, in February or so, I celebrated that I’d hit the 10K pageviews per month milestone. Until a friend very kindly pointed out that with a really high pageview count and a really low bounce rate (about 5% for the month of January), I’d probably installed my tracking code multiple times on my site.
[bctt tweet=”Oy, the learning curve of blogging.” via=”no”]
She introduced my to the Google Tag Assistant, which checks your site to make sure that your tags (or codes) are firing accurately. You can see I fixed my tracking code around March, and my pageviews have slowly increased over the month of July.
Blog Growth & Traffic: Where Do My Readers Come From?
Awhile back I read that as a blogger, about 30% of your time should be devoted to content creation and 70% should be devoted to marketing. That BLEW. MY. MIND. (Yup, the ideas worthy of all caps.) I wouldn’t say I’ve hit that balance at all, but I do devote alot of time to marketing my content once it’s completed. So what platforms are driving traffic to my site?
Home Beautifully Traffic Sources
By an overwhelming amount, social media drives the most traffic to my site. In fact, 59.4% of all my visitors come to Home Beautifully because of an Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest post. The remaining visitors pop by via email, referrals, or organic searches.
Social Media Traffic Sources
Alright, of all the big social media players, which is working for me? What social media channels drive traffic to my site?
This is interesting, you guys. If you read through my January report, you know that most of my traffic came from Instagram. This month, Pinterest is leading the way! Almost 50% of my traffic is hopping over via a Pin. For me, that’s a big deal because I’m just getting my feet wet with using Pinterest as a marketing tool. …And it’s working!
Blog Growth & Traffic: What’s Worked to Grow Readership?
Okay, so what’s worked to drive blog traffic to my site over the past month? I’d say it’s a combo of 3 things, including Pinterest, Instagram, and my own Resource Collection.
Using Pinterest to Drive Blog Traffic
First, I’ve really upped my Pinterest game. Over the past year, I’ve seen steady growth in Pinterest traffic to my site:
How’s this working? I’ve started doing a few things:
I’ve hustled to join group boards. I jumped into a number of Pinterest groups on Facebook and reached out whenever someone opened a board for collaborators. Right now, I’m a member of about 30 group boards across DIY, blogging, and printable niches.
In addition, I have been looping my pins so that they refresh on the site. What does looping mean? It means pinning the same pin over again. I pin the original pin, wait a month, then pin it again. I figure enough time has gone by that it won’t annoy people’s feed to see the same pin again! This way, my pins don’t get lost in the murky depths, but stay fresh!
[bctt tweet=”Loop your pins so they don’t get lost in the depths of Pinterest! ” via=”no”]
…And when I say I’ve been looping my pins, I mean my husband has. I’m not even joking, he looked at me earlier this month and said:
It seems like using Pinterest to drive website traffic is really driving you crazy. Why don’t I take that over for you? – my husband
And that, friends, is how I know I have a keeper. We created an excel spreadsheet to track my group boards and when I pin to them. Leave me a comment below if that’s something that would interest you!
Creating a Resource Collection
Second, the biggest change I’ve made to my site over the past month has been launching the Home Beautifully Resource Collection, a playground of dozens of free art prints, ebooks, and resources, exclusively for subscribers. Readers love the Resource Collection because the page houses all Home Beautifully’s goodies in one spot. And the page has really driven traffic and increased subscribers to the site!
[bctt tweet=”Want to grow your blog traffic and email list? Consider building a resource library!” via=”no”]
Check out how the site’s subscribers have grown over the past several months below!
Home Beautifully Email Subscribers
You can definitely see a big jump in growth rate for the month of July, which is when the Resource Collection launched. Plus, it’s been a really fun way for me to showcase the work of other awesome artisans, like Polished Celebrations and Designs by Kattie!
Coincidentally, I use (and love, love, love!) MailerLite as my email marketing system for oh-so-many reasons. I’ll dedicate a whole post to explaining why I think MailerLite is the best for newbie business owners if that’d be of interest to you. Let me know in the comments below! (Also I’m using affiliate links here since I believe so strongly in the recommendations)
Using Instagram Stories to Drive Blog Traffic
Third, I’ve begun leveraging Instagram to drive blog traffic. While Instagram’s no longer my #1 traffic source (*tear), it’s still my fave social media platform. The Instagram community’s so authentic and kind, and I’m saying that with all sincerity. Plus, now that Instagram’s made some changes, I can drive website traffic more directly from Instagram to my site with stories!
Previously, you could only include one hyperlink across your entire Instagram account. The link had to go in your bio. That meant, no links in your photos! (It’s part of the reason Instagram is alot less spammy than other platforms.)
[bctt tweet=”Linking Instagram stories to your blog is an awesome way to market your blog posts!” via=”no”]
Now, for accounts with over 10,000 followers, you’re allowed to put hyperlinks in your stories! This means that I can hop on Instagram, make a video about a recent blog post, and link it back to my site. For some reason, my stories always get lots of traffic (like 600 to 800 views each). This is an awesome way for me to market my posts!
Blog Income and Investments
If you recall back in January, I was super excited that I made about $2 on this website ($1.93 to be exact!). I’m thrilled to share that my income has grown a little bit more over the past several months.
Blog Income Sources
I work with several companies, including Tap Influence, Linquia, and SPEAKR, for brand sponsorships. To be honest, I don’t actively pursue campaigns on these platforms because it takes ALOT of time. That said, I’ve been contacted by a number of companies through these platforms to collaborate. When the companies feel like we’d be a good fit, they reach out, and it’s been awesome working with some great organizations.
In addition, I occasionally use affiliate links to receive a little bit of commission for talking about products I use and genuinely love. Over the past year, I’ve set up affiliate relationships with several companies I adore, including Amazon, Etsy, and Bluehost to name a few.
Blog Income Summary: May to July
Sponsored Collaborations: $350
Affiliate Sales: $10.73
…So it’s not exactly a livable wage LOL. But for me, it’s really awesome to be paid for a hobby that I love and would do regardless. Plus, it helps me offset expenses that come up with blogging.
Where Have I Invested?
Every month, including this past month, I pay the following:
Canva for Work: $13 per month
Microsoft Personal: $6.99 per month
I use Canva to design all my blog and social media graphics. They offer an amazing free plan, which you should absolutely check out. For me, the upgrade is worthwhile because I can quickly resize my graphics so that they optimally work across all platforms, incorporate my own fonts, and brand my images with my logo. I save ALOT of time with the upgrade!
I pay for Microsoft for document storage. Their OneDrive allows me to store 1 TB of data in the cloud and sync to several devices. OneDrive was a less expensive investment than Dropbox, which I used previously. Plus, I get access to the Microsoft suite, which has been helpful for using Excel to manage my Pinterest boards and so on.
So over the last 3 months, I’ve averaged about $100 in revenue per month (subtracting out monthly expenses from my income from May, June, and July.) $93 bucks per month to be exact! That’s awesome!