Blog Update and Traffic Report February (Month 3)

Welcome to my third blog update. If you haven’t read one of these before I produce an update on my blog each month to track the journey of a new blogger. Now, before I started blogging, I read a lot of reports about how people grew their blog and got tons of traffic to their site in a remarkably short space of time. However, I don’t think this is the “norm”.

Nearly all of these posts are reported afterwards, rather than in real time. So, most people only get to read about the successes rather than the challenges as well. I want to provide an honest account of a new blogger including the ups and downs involved in the process. That way new bloggers know what to really expect.

So here goes, my blog traffic stats for my second month promoting my blog. For the purposes of this, I started my month 1 report in December as this is when I actually started trying to get traffic. I put up around 4 posts during November after buying my domain at the end of October rather than building my blog and “launching” with a “go-live” date… I felt it better to have the site live (albeit with zero traffic) so I could start posting consistently. This would hopefully be a positive signal to search engines.

As you’ll no doubt have found out, if you don’t actively promote your blog when you start, you will receive, precisely, zero visitors. It takes a long time to get a decent ranking in search engines, so the early days of blogging can be incredibly frustrating.

February Blog Round Up (Month 3)

Blog Traffic Report - Month 3

Now, first off, I had some goals I set at the end of last month, so how did I get on?

  1. Write 3 Blog Posts – Yes

It was half term in February, so I was a realist and set myself a target of 3 blog posts rather than 4. I’d have like to have done 4 as I like to post every week, but family comes first so I stuck to 3. I wrote my blog update for January,

  1. Write a decent About Me Page – Nope, still haven’t done this. Really must do this in March…
  1. Set up an email list again – Nope, I still haven’t set up an email opt-in, tut tut… Will try again this month
  1. Join 8 more niche specific Pinterest Group Boards. – Yes

I managed to join some more niche specific group boards at the start of the month to try and grow my Pinterest reach. However, I’ve held fire on applying to join anymore in the time being. I’m really questioning the effectiveness of Group boards, following the latest Pinterest algorithm updates. More on that later…

So, I hit 2 of 4 but in all honesty, I didn’t do a huge amount of my blog as I took the whole of half term off from blogging and work.

So, onto the Blogging Stats.

Now my pageviews were pretty flat compared to the previous month, however, there’s a reason for this. At the start of February, I decided to stop participating in Facebook share threads pretty much altogether. I think I shared my blog traffic report once, because it’s a relevant post to new bloggers. So, there’s hardly any Facebook traffic in here, it’s all traffic from Search Engines and Pinterest.

Now, why have I stopped taking part in Facebook groups you might ask? Well, I found them really useful to start with to get to know about other blogs and get some initial traffic to my blog. However, I started to think that some of the share threads might actually be hurting my Pinterest account – i.e. having to share content that doesn’t necessarily fit for my audience and getting unnatural shares.

I’m pretty sure Pinterest can tell its unnatural sharing if you get no re-pins for a week then 5 in one day – especially if all the users land on the Pin from Facebook….

So, I binned them off… I may take part in some in the future but wanted to concentrate on Pinterest without influencing repins in anyway. This should give me an idea of what truly works and what doesn’t.

Pageviews: 1,035 (down from 1,050). Now February was a slightly shorter month but the pageview number was saved by a spike on the last day in February as you’ll see from the screenshot. I had a pin take-off right at the end of the month which was promising.

Visitors: I had 736 visitors to the site (up from 655) so my visitor number has grown, despite ditching the Facebook groups.

Sessions: 829 up from 785. So again, my sessions have grown along with my visitors even though my pageviews were flat.

Domain Authority: I was stuck on 5 at the end of the month… but at the time of writing the latest Moz update has just come out and knocked me down to 3 – bummer….

 

Google Analytics Blog Traffic Screenshot Month 3

Most Popular Content

My most popular pieces of content again has been my post comparing a shop at Aldi and Tesco. My Aldi post didn’t have a lot of traffic until the end of the month though until a new pin I created for it took off. I also had a decent amount of traffic (for me) to a new post I wrote on ways to save money on your grocery shopping.

My website testing post was also popular again, although this is now starting to get traffic from Google (yes! Fist pump!!) rather than just relying on Pinterest. My other new post on how to stop wasting money was also fairly popular on Pinterest. Pinterest definitely gives an initial boost to new posts with new pins but it’s hard to keep the momentum going.

Popular Content Screenshot feb 19

Where Did the Traffic Come From?

Social Media:

593 visitors, 649 sessions, 727 pageviews down from 825 last month. As I mentioned earlier, I stopped taking part in Facebook threads, so this accounts for the drop.

Last month: 540 users, 650 sessions to give 825 pageviews

Search Engines:

97 visitors up from 53 last month

118 sessions up from 60

171 Pageviews up from 78

I’m pretty pleased with my traffic growth from search engines. This is pretty much all Google too. I got a couple of visitors from Bing and Yahoo but nothing to write home about.

Direct:

28 visitors, 30 sessions, 66 pageviews

Referral:

20 visitors, 32 sessions, 71 pageviews (up from 25 pageviews last month)

Social Media Traffic Breakdown

Pinterest Traffic:

453 Visitors, 553 sessions, 691 pageviews

This makes up the bulk of my traffic as Pinterest is my primary promotional tool.

Facebook Traffic:

14 visitors down from 89, 14 sessions down from 96 sessions,17 pageviews down from 133.

Most of the Facebook traffic was from Face

book groups. There are several Facebook groups for new bloggers when you can share your latest blog post. As I mentioned in my last update, I stopped taking part in these in February as wanted to concentrate on getting genuine traffic from Pinterest and search engines. I think I took part in just one share thread in February where I shared my last traffic report as it’s relevant to new bloggers,

Twitter Traffic:

1 visitor to give a solitary pageview. I don’t really focus on Twitter at all so don’t expect anything from this channel as a rule.

 

Social Media Traffic Month 3

 

Pinterest Stats

I’m monitoring my Pinterest stats as it’s my main source of traffic and focus for promotion.

Pinterest Followers:

I ended January with 744 Pinterest followers up from 606 at the end of January.

Pinterest Reach / Monthly Views:

I ended the month with a Pinterest reach of 135k monthly views (up from £90k) and 3k engaged (up from 1,700). However, as you’ll see from the chart below it’s been in a bit of a slump since the middle of the month after peaking at 142.5k monthly views in mid-February.

Pinterest Reach Month 3

This seems to be consistent across Pinterest at the moment. Plus, I also had a third-party pin that went semi-viral and got 25k impressions during the month. I obviously didn’t get any traffic from this as it was someone else’s pin, but the numbers will have boosted my reach. They’re now falling out of the 30-day numbers though which is why your reach on Pinterest can be a misleading metric.

As you’ll see from the screenshot below my Pinterest traffic is still growing despite the fall in my reach. So, this is something to bear in mind when analysing your account. Concentrate on the traffic back to your blog and don’t get too disheartened if your reach falls as there can be several reasons for this.

Pinterest Traffic Month 3

The trend is easier to see when you view it over a 3-month period. A gradual increase with lots of peaks and troughs, which I believe it pretty common for Pinterest growth. A long series of higher highs and higher lows that build over time.

Pinterest Traffic screenshot

Goals for March

  1. Write 4 Blog Posts

I want to keep posting roughly once a week although this post is going out later than I planned so I need to up my game here.

  1. Analyse my Pinterest Group boards and Leave some

Yes, you read that right Leave Group Boards. After joining several I’m concerned some of the boards are actually hurting my Pinterest account due to the boards being low quality (i.e. having low virality scores). I’m going to stop pinning to poor performing boards and start archiving them or leaving them to see of that helps my account.

  1. Write a decent About Me Page

I have an About Post that I put up when I first set up this site, but it was a post I kind of “threw up” there. I didn’t do this in February so want to get it done in March.

  1. Set up an email list.

Yeah – attempt number 3. Maybe this month…

Final Thoughts

February was a bit of a frustrating month. I think I’ve hit the 3-month slump that I’ve read about. I think between 3 and 6 months is the point where most blogs fail as people give up, mainly because it’s tough.

Getting traffic isn’t easy as a new blogger and it can feel like you’re slogging your guts out for very little return.

Pinterest is often touted as an easy way to get traffic as a new blogger, but I personally think while its very useful it is quite a needy platform. You have to consistently be creating new pins and, on the platform, so it does require a lot of work to get traffic from Pinterest.

Search engine optimisation on the other hand I think is far more reliable. It takes a while to start but once the work is done – i.e. you’ve optimised you’re post and site, your rankings (and traffic) should increase over time. I’m starting to see some search engine traffic, which is encouraging. So, I think I’m going to stop worrying too much about Pinterest, as getting thousands of pageviews immediately definitely isn’t the norm for most bloggers. I’m still going to keep using it as my traffic is growing but I’m not expecting a huge spike to happen as I think this can often lead to disappointment. Like with everything slow consistent growth is the normal route…

As always thanks for reading and check back next month to see how I get on in March.

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