Welcome to the New Year! January 2016 was my second month of blogging – I did 13 recipe posts.
This is my second traffic and income report. The first one I did saw over 250 views and was my second most popular post of the month. I think it’s important (and fun!) to do traffic reports for a couple of reasons:
- It encourages other bloggers to see areas for growth
- It encourages me to keep going as I see growth, and may expose some areas I need to work on
- Gives non-bloggers an interesting, behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to run this crazy thing.
Here’s how Shiny Happy Bright did in January 2016:
Social Media Followers
I've doubled my followers on some of these channels - so that's exciting!
I had my first over-100-hearts moment on Instagram this month! The mujaddara and veggie salad photo got 105 hearts. I was obsessively checking it’s progress for about an hour and then I told myself to PUT THE PHONE DOWN! Hah.
No but really, I love Instagram! It's the best.
I’m giving Hootsuite a shot for scheduling tweets and Facebook posts. I made some embarrassing mistakes on the first 4 tweets and posts I scheduled though – I apparently did not add the link correctly so I posted these things like: “Check out this great way to store tomatoes” and then had no link. So yeah, working on that!
I’m still using Tailwind to schedule pins to Pinterest. I love it. It’s very intuitive and the analytics on it are mesmerizing. Who knew I’d love graphs so much?! Some of the boards that are performing the best are really unexpected – Healthy Snacks, for instance, is a huge hit. I troll Pinterest for lunch and dinner recipes, so it always surprises me how many people are interested in little bites. My other popular one is my Party and Event Planning board. No surprise there – I’m an event planner in real life, so I’m confident in what I post to that one!
There are a lot of spammy, kind-of-weird ways to grow followers on several social media platforms. Which explains why I’ve been getting followed and unfollowed almost immediately by several people trying to grow their followers. I mean, I get it, but it seems like an odd way to engage with people. I guess it goes with the terrain, so I just try to shrug it off. I am loving that people are writing me notes now - I've started responding to all the comments. I really love it!
Traffic for January 2016
- Visits – 1,853
- Page Views – 3,006
- Audience Size – 1,445
Yay! Traffic is going up - in fact, all these metrics have doubled since last month. Each day is totally different though – some days there are 30 unique visitors and some days 130. A lot of great traffic/interaction came from a few facebook groups I joined for bloggers. They are so helpful and encouraging. The ones I really like are: Creative Superheroes, Blogging Boost, and the SITS Girls Facebook Page.
These are still my Square Space numbers, I only connected Google Analytics halfway through the month, so in my February traffic report, I’ll have better numbers and graphs from GA. Woot, I'm getting so legit!
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.
- Food Gawker
- Oh My Veggies
- Finding Vegan
- Healthy Aperture
- Squarespace – $18
- Food Blogger Pro – $29
- Tailwind – $9.99
- Mailchimp – $10.00
- Hootsuite - $14.99
- Facebook Advertising - $15.00
Total spent - $96.98
I made my first bit of income! I made $0.49 from Amazon Affiliate. I am actually excited about this, but think it's slightly hilarious Amazon will have to mail me a $0.49 check.
Overall, I'm still down $ -96.49
I have not tried to monetize outside of Amazon Affiliate. I got some super advice from a few Food Blogger Pro group members on which ad companies to use, when I'm ready to monetize. I also watched this great session on Food Blogger Pro about AdThrive – when I have enough followers I’m definitely going to be getting in touch with them. (You have to have 100,000 monthly pageviews to start with them and 750,000 for their premium service)
So, I’m still finding the submission sites to be a great source of traffic and a fun way to connect with people. I added a few new ones to the rotation. I don't submit every recipe all the time, but I always submit to Food Gawker.
- Food Gawker – 4 photos accepted, 8 rejected
- Tastespotting - 1 photo accepted (the rest are still pending)
- Finding Vegan – 4 accepted (2 still pending)
- Healthy Aperture – 6 accepted, 1 rejected
- Oh My Veggies – 8 accepted, 1 pending (One even got included in their Saturday Six Roundup)
- Dishfolio – 5 accepted
- Whole Yum – 7 published (no approval's necessary)
- Liqurious – none submitted this month
- Yummly – tagged all recipes and started a Publisher's account with them
- Foodepix – 2 accepted
- Yum Goggle – 2 accepted
- Eat 365 - 6 accepted
In December, I joined the Amazon Affiliate program, which powers my shop. A few people who read last month’s income report told me the best way to use Amazon Affiliate was to advertise products in the actual post, as opposed to having a shop. So, I gave that a shot on a few recipes and will update on the progress next month.
Goals for February 2016
- Up the quality of my photography so that a) it routinely gets accepted by Food Gawker and b) gets picked up by a large Instagram account for re-gramming.
I'm just setting one goal for this month - it was a goal last month as well. I did great on last month's goal of working ahead and I know I can keep that up. But, I need to buckle down on photography. I'm mostly happy with the quality of the photos, but I know they need to make a leap forward. I also know I can do this.
In college, I took a wheel throw pottery class because I thought it would be fun. It was horrible. The professor told us not to expect an A and he meant it. I was not great at wheel throw - I'd excelled in hand build pottery so was pretty mad when my wheel throw pots looked shoddy. I told myself I would do what it took to get better. I went to the bathroom during class and looked down at my raw, chapped hands that had started to bleed (wheel throw pottery is no joke!) and I told myself to get back in there and get good. I spent weeknights, weekends, and lunch breaks practicing until I got great. Two of my pieces won in the art fair that year - a bowl, that is still precious to me, took first place in ceramics and a teapot won the audience choice award. I got offers from people wanting to buy them, but I kept them to remind myself it's possible. It's possible to get good, to get great even - it just takes a good bathroom cry, a pep talk, and then a lot of practice.
- Create high-quality, delicious, and user-friendly recipes with an emphasis on healthy and mostly-vegetarian 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.
Thanks for your support in January 2016 - I've loved engaging with a growing group of people about great food. This blog has been one of the most rewarding experiences I've had, because it connects me to so many people and challenges me to get creative with recipes and technology in a way that I've never before experienced.