February is the worst month for bloggers. Traffic during February usually takes a massive dip, and that dip is industry wide. If you are involved in Facebook groups you probably saw all the posts regarding dips in traffic through the month. This months income report dives into what to do when traffic takes a dip.
I myself saw a bit of a traffic dip during February and even hypothesized what could be causing the industry wide dip. Well for those of us who get most of our traffic from the United States, this dip could be caused by it being the beginning of tax time.
There are a few specific posts where I had an increase in traffic from normal. They were my money savings and money making posts. When I asked others if they saw the same results they were also seeing the same trend.
I’ve marked my calendar for next year to make sure I have those types of posts up so that I can spend more time marketing them during the slow for everything else season. I’ll test it out and we will have to wait a whole year to see if anything changes.
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Still Manual Pinning
Through all of February I was only manual pinning. Even though traffic was down due to it being February and a short month I still saw results from doing the manual pinning. You can read all about how I learned to manually pin properly in my post How Manual Pinning Grows Your Blog.
One of the biggest questions I see on manual pinning is, how many pins should I do in a day? Here is my honest answer. I don’t know.
The reality is, I don’t keep track of how many pins I pin in a day. I have a big mixture of third party pins and my own pins, plus all the pins I put on group boards. I honestly can’t keep track on how many pins I’m pinning every day.
You shouldn’t try to track it either. If you are looking to learn about the most effective way to manually pin, try the system I use. Pinteresting Strategies teaches you how to manual pin effectively, plus it gives you must know tips on Pinterest SEO and creating images.
Check out my post How Manual Pinning Grows Your Blog.
Making Prettier Pinterest Images
This month I played a little bit more with my Pinterest images. I experimented with layouts as well as image selection. You never know what little tweaks will make a pin go viral.
Manual pinning works best if you have great Pinterest images. Don’t be afraid to play with your layout. It took me three different templates to figure out which one worked well with my branding while still remained easy to read and appealing to the eye.
Creating awesome Pinterest images is not something that ends. You will slightly tweak and possibly change every single pin several times over the course of your blogging career.
Improving Old Content
We all know the importance of creating new content for our blogs. It’s not often that we hear how much we need to be updating our old content too. It’s almost too easy to write it and forget it outside of promoting it.
I realized in January that I had a lot of old posts that, well sucked. In February I went through and started the process of updating some of those older posts.
Over time your writing voice changes, as you get more comfortable with writing to your audience. This is why it is crucial to go back and check those older posts. You never know when an older post will suddenly take off.
You want to make sure those posts are optimized to keep your readers on your site. You also want to make sure your posts are optimized to make money with targeted affiliate links.
Learning And Experimenting With SEO
February was a big month for me in the learning department. I reread a bunch of ebooks and went through a couple of old courses again. Additionally, I focused a good chunk of time on learning about SEO.
It’s never smart to have all your eggs in one basket, and lately I’ve been feeling that way. So I started looking into other ways to build my traffic. I set my eyes on learning how to use SEO.
So far I did learn there is no way to hack SEO. It’s picking smart keywords, writing fantastic content, and getting interaction on that content.
I’ll give you a few tips on what that means, though understand I am still in the experimental phase and it will take a little bit of time to see results.
To find keywords you need to sign up with adwords. Do not worry, you will not be charged for anything. Just simply set up a campaign, set it for $1.00 and then pause that campaign so it doesn’t run.
From there you can get into the keyword research tool. You will enter in the topic that you will be discussing in an upcoming post.
You want to go after keywords that are long tail keywords with lots of searches and low competition. A long tail keyword is a 3-4 word phrase.
When you go searching for something you usually would search for something like, How To Do Manual Pinning For Blogging. Manual Pinning for Blogging is your long tail keyword.
This is how most people search with Google. By targeting these types of keywords with low competition you are more likely to rank for them.
Your content should be packed with information that your readers will find useful. Longer content that provides lots of information is key to SEO.
Google webmasters has lots of videos on YouTube that talks about SEO. While you want to make sure you place keywords within your content, Google looks at a lot of different aspects outside of how often you use a keyword.
If your content is easy to read, laid out nicely, and has a fast load speed, Google will look more favorably on your page as opposed to one that has lots of the same keyword in the content.
Google is most interested in user experience. You should be too.
This doesn’t necessarily mean comments on your blog posts. While comments help, google wants to see a different kind of interaction.
You need to have people clicking through the links to other pages on your site. Likewise, it helps if people are clicking your links to go to relevant information.
Social shares are still important. Are your posts shareworthy? Outside of the call to action make sure you are giving a reason for your readers to share your post with their friends. Make clicking the share button irresistible to your readers by having must share content that solves problems.
Income and Expenses
This month I am doing something slightly different than most bloggers. I am sharing with you my blogging income and expenses.
This month I actually had a little bit of income from the blogging as a business part of my blog. Most bloggers share how they make a commission on their hosting referrals. Well, I will only share amounts that I have confirmed income on. This means any money I make from hosting referral only gets reported here if is hits my account and is paid.
Other affiliate income earned is pretty up to date, because most affiliates do not pay unless the products are absolutely shipped or bought.
Additionally, my ad revenue is always up to date and I know that I am paid exactly as my reports show.
It’s important for you to see that while the expenses are lower than most businesses, there are still expenses.
Like I stated earlier in the post traffic was down from last month. Additionally, this was an industry wide issue that happens every year during February.
- January Pageviews: 197,673
- February Pageviews: 138,874
That’s a 58,799 pageview drop through the month of February. Some people saw far more than that, others saw less of a drop. Like I said, I believe the time of year goes a long way to determining what people are looking for.
For having such a drop in traffic I honestly thought I’d see a larger drop in my income. I actually didn’t though. I saw larger than average affiliate sales. Which, to be honest, was a bit shocking to me.
- Ad Revenue with Mediavine: $1623.83
- Affiliate Income: $148.00
- Affiliate Income Related to Blogging: $85.40
Total Gross Income: $1857.23
As I mentioned above blogging expenses do not need to be expensive. This month was larger than normal due to my domain needing to be renewed as well as deciding to invest in a premium version of Tailwind.
- Hosting: $15.00
- Domain Renewal: $15.00
- Tailwind: $169.76
Total Expenses: $199.76
This means my total net income this month was $1657.47. That domain renewal cost was for the entire year, and that Tailwind cost was for an entire year too. As you can see my normal blogging expense is $15.00 a month in hosting.
How I Keep My Expenses Down
I do not pay for Canva or PicMonkey to create my images, I do it all with Inkscape which is completely free. I do not pay for plugins, I either found free ones that work well or optimized my site so it wasn’t needed anymore.
As my list isn’t quite big enough yet I am still using the free version of Mail Chimp. That’s something that will be changing in the near future though, plus I found a cheaper option too. Which after I use it for a while I will be sure to share a full review.
Also, I never paid for a template. I’m using a free one that has been modified heavily by my husband who happens to be a whiz (with 20+ years worth of experience) with all this techy stuff. After many discussions over the past year of working with just my blog, he has finally decided to go ahead and start a blog that teaches everything you need to know about all this techy stuff.
Yep, the blogging industry is finally getting someone who won’t just sell you a service. He will be teaching you how to handle everything regarding the tech side of blogging. He’s not up and running yet but go ahead and sign up to his email list here and join me in my facebook group here where he will be actively helping you with some of your blogging tech questions.
Check out my post December 2017 Income Report.
Ok, I know this post is super long as it is, however, I have so much information to share with you and I don’t want to leave anything out. Including what I have in store for March.
At the beginning of the month I decided to invest in my education a bit and purchased two courses. One I finished in a day.
I want to increase my affiliate income, in order to do so I bought Carly Campbell’s Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers – Everything You’re Missing. The tips she gives in this course are absolutely amazing.
At the end of February I purchased Tailwind. With the purchase of tailwind with unlimited tribes I started adding my pins to tribes. I noticed an almost immediate boost in traffic.
In the second course I purchased, Elna at Twins Mommy’s Ready Set Blog for Traffic. She made a few interesting points about content and the long term effect about posting lots of content several days in a row.
Through the month of March I will be applying tips both courses to new and old posts alike. I will also be upping my marketing through Tailwind Tribes. You will want to make sure you subscribe to my list so you get notified with next months results.
Additionally, I will be doing full reviews of both courses in upcoming blog posts. You will not want to miss out on this information as it can help you be on your way with your own blog.
Long post is long, but I’m glad I was able to give you so much valuable information. This upcoming month will be an extremely busy one for me. With so much new content, updating, and marketing I’m expecting to reap the rewards from all of this work in the next couple of months.
Blogging is not a short game money maker, it is definitely a long term business. Investing a lot of time into it leads to longer full time success.
I am excited, however, that it has only taken me a year to make enough money off my blog that I am a full time blogger. Of course sacrifices have been made in order to be a full time blogger. Regardless, it allows me the opportunity to devote as much time as needed to this business.
If you have any questions you can email me or leave them in the comments below. I will be sure to answer as many as I can. Follow me on social media, make sure you join my facebook group here, and pin this to your blogging and making money boards.