I've decided to share my traffic and income reports for two reasons - first, to encourage myself in the progress of this blog and to see how it grows, and second, to support other bloggers or would-be-bloggers as they grow their traffic. It's always good to see what's working for other people and how they're growing traffic. Also, if you're a non-blogger, I'm hoping you find this interesting as well. I think it's always cool to see a behind the scenes look.
So without further ado, here's how Shiny Happy Bright did in December 2015:
Followers after one month of blogging
I’m finding Instagram and Twitter frustrating. It seems like a lot of people ‘like’ or follow you to drive up their follower numbers and then unfollow you, when you follow them back. Has that happened to anyone else? I’m trying not to focus on follower numbers too much right now, since I’m so new.
What I've learned:
The Instagram ‘hearts’ help me understand which images are appealing to people. My most liked photo of the month - the Mushroom Hot Pot with Bok Choy, was really blown out, which I think lends itself well to thumbnail photos.
I’m also trying out hashtags – the most successful to this point seems to be #vegan on both Instagram and Twitter. However, I’ve discovered that hashtags do not work on Pinterest.
I might give up on Tumblr. I'm not sure I really know how to use it correctly. I feel like to grow a community there it takes a commitment to commenting on other people's posts that I'm not sure I want to do. I find Twitter to be an awkward medium as well, but I definitely understand it better than Tumblr.
Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook feel like the most natural, intuitive social media experiences (for me).
Traffic during the first month of blogging
- Visits – 855
- Page Views – 1,603
- Audience Size – 514
I'm not sure how many of these visitors are my mom (probably like half)...she's a fan of the blog (thanks, mom!), but I'm really happy with how many views I got the first month. The first two days saw a surge of views (300), then it tapered off, and when I started getting accepted to recipe sharing sites it grew again.
Top 10 Traffic Referrers
*I didn't include 'Direct', because it's not technically a referrer, but it's the main source of page views.
- Finding Vegan
- Food Gawker
- Potluck at Oh My Veggies
- Healthy Aperture
My one frustration with traffic is that you can't see who has come from Instagram, because Instagram doesn't allow you to visit other websites in app. So I'm assuming Instagram traffic is showing up as direct traffic.
- Squarespace – $18
- Food Blogger Pro – $29
- Tailwind – $9.99
- Facebook Advertising – $15
- Logo & Design Work - $68.50
Total spent - $140.49
I didn't include food expenses in this. I'm debating about adding them - they are an expense, but we would eat the food whether or not I was blogging about it (yum!)
None yet! Besides the Amazon affiliate program, I have not tried to monetize. I’m concerned about choosing the right ad network (eventually!), and I have not devoted time yet to researching all the pros and cons of certain networks. Suggestions are always appreciated!
The primary way I encouraged traffic to my blog in December was through recipe sharing sites. The best bang for the buck came from Finding Vegan, Food Gawker, and Liqurious. It takes awhile to fill out all the required information on each of these sites, but it's really gratifying seeing people excited about your recipes, so I'm going to keep doing it.
- Food Gawker – 1 photo accepted (out of 10 submitted)
- Finding Vegan – 7 photos accepted (out of 7 submitted)
- Healthy Aperture – 10 photos accepted (out of 11 submitted)
- Oh My Veggies – 9 photos accepted (out of 10 submitted)
- Dishfolio – 6 photos accepted (out of 6 submitted)
- Whole Yum – 3 photos (automatically publishes – no acceptance necessary)
- Liqurious – 1 photo accepted (out of 1 submitted)
I joined the Amazon Affiliate program, which powers my shop. It's fun to set up, but I've yet to see any outcomes from it. I have a lot to learn about using it to its full capacity.
Goals for January 2016
- Increase the quality of my photos and get more of them accepted to Food Gawker.
- Work ahead so I have several recipes done in advance, allowing me to feel less stressed while traveling or if I need to take a day off. Ideally, I'd have 6 posts in queue at all times.
- Create high-quality, delicious, and user-friendly recipes with an emphasis on healthy, whole foods and post them 3 times per week.
- Connect with a community of healthy foodies and other bloggers
- Create an e-book on simple, 5-ingredient recipes and make it free for download when someone joins the mailing list.
- Increase monthly traffic to 50,000 page views by summer 2016 and 100,000 by December 2016.
- Grow my newsletter contacts to 500 by summer 2016 and to 1,000 by December 2016.
Ambitious, I know. But, there you have it - a girl's gotta dream!
Thanks for checking in on December's progress. It has been an absolute blast starting this blog - the design and layout, the recipe creation, learning more about photography, choosing a logo, setting up a newsletter, making ALL THE FOOD, and seeing so many people engage with and enjoy my recipes.