March Blog Update: A Rollercoaster Month

Well, another month has flown by, so it’s time once again for my monthly 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’ve 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.

Now March was a bit of a rollercoaster month to be honest with a load of ups and downs. To sum up, I had two traffic spikes, one led to me having more visitors in one day than I’d had in my previous month, and I nearly quit blogging. So, lots of ups and downs…

Pin it for Later

My Rollercoaster 4th Month Blogging

If you read my last report, I had a pin start to take off on Pinterest on the last day of February. I honestly thought this might be the start of a “Viral Pin” – unfortunately for me, it wasn’t – traffic peaked on the first day of March then fell off along with my entire Pinterest account – bummer!!! This is where Pinterest can be pretty cruel as just as you think you’ve got it cracked, Pinterest has other ideas and it’s almost like your account suddenly gets suppressed.

After this, I was pretty fed up and began to question what the hell I’m doing. Is this blogging lark just a complete waste of time? Does my content suck? Or is just I can’t crack the code to get traffic to my site? I’m sure these are questions that most new bloggers ask themselves.

So that’s where I was, on the verge of packing the whole thing in… Then, something amazing and completely unexpected happened… I logged onto my analytics one morning and saw I’d had 65 hits on the site already at 9am all coming from “Direct” traffic source???

“What the hell?” I thought…

I presumed there was a glitch with my analytics. But then I noticed something sitting in my inbox…. I recognised a post title in an email preview from non-other than… Rockstar Finance!!!

No FFiiiing way!!! I’d been featured by Rockstar Finance for a post I’d written about a month before!!!

Now, I’d read about getting “Rockstarred” as it’s known in the Personal Finance community. But never expected it to happen to me.

I’d dreamed it would but felt I needed to create a post with the sole intention of trying to get featured. So, I was gobsmacked when I found out one of my posts was deemed good enough to get featured on there…

Anyway, enough of my babbling – I’ll move onto the numbers, but a big chunk of this month’s traffic is due to that one feature as you’ll see.

Goals from last Month

  1. Write 4 Blog Posts

Kind of – I wrote 4 but my last post didn’t get published until the 1st April

2. Analyse and leave group boards

I left one board. To be honest I haven’t done a lot on Pinterest this month and am kind of losing steam with it. I focussed a lot on it in February and went through a ton of free courses plus every course in the Genius Bloggers Toolkit. And guess what – my traffic and stats have slumped big time. So, I’ve been far less active this month…

3. Write a decent about me page – nope. I didn’t do this. Although I’m putting together a profile for the UK Money Bloggers site so will probably use this as a base when I’ve finished it….

4. Set up an email list – I have set up an opt-in form. That’s about it. Haven’t created any lead magnets or anything like that. I’m just going to focus on content creation and focus on growing an email list at a later date…

Blogging Stats for March

Yep, the bit you’ve been waiting for, how much traffic did I get in March?

Visitors: 2,443

Sessions: 2,624

Pageviews: 3,146

Can you guess when I was featured on Rockstar Finance by looking at my analytics below??

Blog Traffic Rockstar Finance Feature

Pretty hard to miss right as the chart is basically a flatline for the rest of the month in comparison.

Domain Authority: 6.

This briefly fell to 3 at the start of the month before bouncing back to 6 – I don’t really understand why. All I know is after the traffic spike I got my search engine traffic has started to increase…

Most Popular Content

Most Popular Content March 2019

Bit of a no-brainer on this. My post about saving money on your groceries smashed everything else out of the water this month due to Rockstar Finance. It had just under 1,600 pageviews i.e. over half of my pageviews for the whole month.

Other than that, my post about making money testing websites and Tesco vs Aldi comparison were popular again.

Promisingly though my time on page is pretty good – coming in at just under 3 minutes on average. So, my content is holding people’s attention when they get here…

Where Did the Traffic Come From?

Well as you can probably guess, a big chunk came from the Rockstar Finance feature.

Blog Traffic Sources March 19

Direct

1,399 visitors, 1,474 sessions, 1,621 pageviews

As I only had 66 pageviews that were classed as direct last month. I think it’s safe to assume that the bulk of this can be attributed to Rockstar Finance.

Search Engines

314 visitors – more than 3 times as many as last month (97) so things are looking up on the SEO front!

373 sessions up from 118 last month

610 pageviews vs 171 for last month – RESULT!!!

This just shows how as your blog and domain age (along with having more content) your presence in search grows.

Social

692 visitors, 727 sessions, 829 pageviews up from 727 last month.

Social Media Traffic March 19

Pinterest: 594 visitors, 621 sessions, 708 pageviews vs 691 last month

Pinterest traffic was up marginally on the previous month, but a big chunk of this can be attributed to the semi-viral pin I had right at the start of the month (this one).

Traffic from Pinterest has been pretty rubbish over the rest of the month… So much so, I’ve questioned whether leaving share threads was the right move as my traffic and stats have both tanked…

Facebook: 77 visitors, 81 sessions, 94 pageviews.

Not a bad result to say I did pretty much nothing on Facebook. I re-shared the post from Rockstar Finance about my feature – that was it. So most, if not all, of this traffic is probably down to the Rockstar Finance feature again (it mostly came in for the 3 days after the feature).

Twitter: 16 visitors, 20 sessions, 25 pageview.

Now, this was definitely a result of Rockstar finance as I do literally nothing on Twitter.

Pinterest Stats

Pinterest Followers: 857 up from 744 at the end of February.

Pinterest monthly views

I ended the month at 66k down from 137k at the start of the month – Pretty depressing sight the chart below isn’t it?!!!

Pinterest Reach March 2019

It looks like I’m not alone on this either – loads of bloggers seem to have tanked on Pinterest during March – I’ve heard a couple of reasons… An algorithm change, a seasonal slump after Valentines Day, Pinterest’s upcoming IPO soon. It could be any of them or all of them, I’m not sure anyone knows for sure…

All I know is Pinterest is a hell of lot of work and is most definitely NOT a source of PASSIVE traffic. I also don’t buy into the notion that it is a search engine primarily.

Yes, it does have search functionality, but it behaves like a social media platform due to its neediness. To maintain traffic you have to be constantly active a pushing out pins onto the platform. Search engines don’t work like that as far as I’m concerned.

Google doesn’t expect you to republish the same post every day in order for it to keep showing it in search results does it? No… So, is Pinterest really a search engine, or is it in-fact as it’s defined a social media platform? I’d love to hear your views in the comments below…

Goals for April

  1. Write 4 posts

I want to maintain a weekly publishing schedule. I’d like to be able to post more frequently, but as nearly all my posts come in at 1,000+ words, usually 1,500 to 2,000 depending on the post, this isn’t really feasible for me. I’d rather write 4 in-depth posts than 8 that are pretty thin content wise. Longer posts also tend to rank better on search engines. So, I’d rather concentrate on this than creating loads of short posts to try and get some quick traffic from Pinterest.

  1. Speed up my site

There are a few technical changes I need to make to my site to try and speed it up and give a better experience for my readers. I’m not technical. AT ALL… So, I’ve been putting this off but want to try and sort this in April

  1. Carry out some Search Engine Optimisation work on some of my older posts to try and improve my search engine traffic.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it, March was a rollercoaster month with some big highs and lows.

Getting featured on Rockstar Finance has given me the confidence boost I needed to keep going. Blogging is definitely a long slog so I can see why so many people give up within the first year… It’s a marathon not a sprint

As always thanks for reading…

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