After receiving a great deal of positive feedback for sharing my first income and traffic report for April (after only one week after launch to boot), I feel encouraged to keep going with these monthly reports. Something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently is the concept of “doing the work.” Too often we see the end results or successes of our fellow bloggers and creativepreneurs that it can be really easy to get discouraged or to believe that success just comes “easily” for everyone else. Sharing these baby steps really demonstrates the hard work and effort it takes to build a truly successful blog and biz; I hope they will be as useful for you as they are for me!
That being said, allow me to preface May’s report with some context.
Things to Consider
- This is the first full month Ampersand Creative has been live, so I truly am starting from the beginning. Again, remember from the first report that I had a lot of traffic follow me from The Modern Austen, but that seems to be leveling out some.
- Because my traffic is shifting, some numbers below will have gone down. I’m not really discouraged by this, because I’m seeing new readers “replacing” old readers that have decided to part ways. Again, I knew this would likely happen and I encourage it because it means that the right readers are here to stay :)
- My editorial calendar/ pre-written posts “ran out” about halfway through the month and I had a bit of trouble keeping up with content towards the second half like I originally had planned.
- I went through some pretty significant life changes at the tail end of the month of May, putting the blog on the back burner as I took care of myself. Still working on this!
- I had one post bring some “viral” traffic thanks to a strategy I borrowed from Buffer and Olyvia Media, as I’ll explain below.
So let’s get to it!
May 2015 Income + Traffic Report
Pageviews: 4,464 (vs. 1,947 last month) +2,517
Unique Visitors: 2,623 (810) +1813
Bounce Rate: 77.80% (68.92%) +8.88%
Time on Site: 1:24 (2:14) -:50
Highest Traffic Day: May 17
Email Subscribers: 49 (+9 from last month)
I only sent out one newsletter in the month of May, featuring my interview on The Common Great, but promoted it a few different times. Hoping to amp this up in the coming months. Some good stuff is in the works for these special subscribers!
Social Media Stats
I’m not really concerned about losing followers on Facebook because I still have been gaining new likes, too. I attribute my Twitter growth to more active participation in #createlounge in May and my Pinterest growth to joining a few new group boards and keeping consistent with my branded images.
Thoughts on Traffic
After my initial launch traffic, things started to settle down to a fairly steady stream. However, mid-month, traffic really picked up and lead to my biggest day of traffic yet. Let me break down some of the strategies I implemented:
- After reading The 3 Best Tips for Growing Your Blog Traffic on Olyvia.co, I felt energized and excited to be more intentional in featuring others in my posts. As Erika asserts, sending traffic to those other sites is not something to shy away from; in fact, it helps establish you as a leader and a solid resource. Not only are you sharing useful and applicable content to your audience (which is your #1 goal anyway!), you’re also giving those wonderful resources some great traffic and they are more likely to return the favor. As a result, I made it a point to authentically refer to several amazing bloggers and creatives in my April Income + Traffic Report as well as in my 10 Creatives Who are Killing it Online (more on this in the next point).
- It’s no secret that I heart Buffer. It’s also no secret that they know what they’re talking about in their fabulous blog posts. One in particular written about content promotion stood out to me. While this list is jam-packed with all sorts of ideas, I implemented strategy #4 for my post 10 Creatives Who Are Killing it Online. Not only was I already dedicating an entire post to creatives, linking to them and giving them shoutouts on social media, but I also made a point to email them directly to let them know that I genuinely find them a wonderful creative, that they are kicking ass online, and that I had to share their great work with my readers. The response? I received some really appreciative emails in return, several shoutouts on social media, and a few links in their own blogs. In particularly, Fran from Franish linked to the post in her weekly round-up post and my traffic skyrocketed as a result. Thank you so much, Fran!
- I participated in an interview on another creative blog, The Common Great. Even though Whitney has recently launched as well, she’s already posting such killer content. Getting to snag the first spot in her interview series likely contributed to some traffic, but even more importantly, exposed me to some really great readers and bloggers that I’ve already connected with. P.S. She, too, believes in the power of linking to others in your posts in a relevant and generous way!
In June, I’d really like to focus on content and email, so I’ll be curious to see how that will affect traffic. After all, high-quality content is #1 for obtaining and keeping traffic! I’d also like to keep in mind Erika’s 70/30 rule for promoting content. Instead of spending 70% of your time creating content and only 30% promoting it, she suggests the opposite. Mind-blowing, right? It absolutely makes sense though! You don’t want to waste all the time and energy you put into your amazing posts if people aren’t seeing it in the first place.
Again, I’d like to dub this section “Expenses,” because things really haven’t changed much in this realm. Last month I made some predictions for upcoming expenses and it was fairly accurate.
In May, I finally caved and upgraded to the Buffer Awesome Plan! I’m already really thrilled with this decision. Not only can I schedule out so many more posts ahead of time, but I can also schedule pins to Pinterest. I’d really like to take advantage of all it has to offer and get going on that content promotion ;)
I also decided to upgrade my Mailchimp account solely so I can have autoresponders. I’ll blame it on my crazy ridiculous life right now, but I haven’t even set those up yet. It’s on my list…so someone hold me accountable!
Buffer Awesome Plan – $10
Mailchimp Paid Plan – $10
Total Expenses in May: -$20
Expenses Investment overall: -$328.41
See what I did there? That little change in diction reminds me that any really good thing requires a bit of an investment. It’s no surprise to me that this early on in the game that I’m still investing in the long-term. That also shows me that I’m motivated for the right reasons; I’m still in this because I love it, not because I can generate a living income from it.
Related post: You Might Be Ready for a Side Hustle If . . .
Potential Upcoming Expenses:
- Adobe Creative Cloud – My trial of Illustrator expired. Hmph. Somehow I’m still squeezing out a few extra days on it? But I may have to try other options. I’m normally really satisfied with Pixlr and PicMonkey and such, but because I chose Lato Light as my main font, the “light” version isn’t always available on these platforms even though I have it on my computer. Confusing. Colin suggested Affinity Designer, so I might look into that.
- Monthly subscription fees for Buffer and Mailchimp – Another $20 here. So someone make sure I’m using them both to their fullest ;)
- A workshop or ecourse? I’d be interested in investing in maybe one resource that I can learn a lot from next month. But I’m looking for the right opportunity, because I don’t want to be caught in the trap of continually learning and researching and not actually getting to work. You feel me?
I’m still an affiliate of BlueHost, Genesis, Foodie Pro, and now Creative Market*. When I finally get a move on with my eBook, these links will play a bigger role. I did end up getting approved for Sovrn and Adsense, but I haven’t really looked into it much and am not sure how I will use it personally.
There you have it! If anyone has any suggestions or questions, please do not hesitate to ask! I’d love to hear your thoughts on these reports as well as your progress with your own blogs/businesses!
*This contains an affiliate link.