February is the first full month that I consider myself “blogging.” At the end of January, after just a few weeks on a free WordPress account I realized I needed to switch to a paid host sooner than expected so I could upgrade my theme, advertise, and generally give my blog a more professional feeling. Beginning a blog was a lot more work than I expected… Check out how it went in my first month below
Like I said above, beginning a blog is a lot of work. There are so many time consuming parts of it that I didn’t really predict. Although I started the blog so I could write more, these are the things I’ve spent most of my time doing:
- Installing my new theme and figuring out how to host my own blog
- Updating the SEO on my old posts, updating SEO on all pages and photos
- Creating Pinterest graphics for all old and new posts, pinning them, updating my tags on Pinterest, updating the URLs, create new Pinterest boards for all of my pins, schedule my pins, follow other bloggers on pinterest, re-pin their pins… whew! I’m almost running out of breath…
- Back linking all my blog posts and inserting affiliate links into all relevant blog posts
- Reading and researching blogging tips
- Editing and updating my blog posts
And all of this in my free time after I’m done with work! I get so much energy from working on the blog that I really look forward to spending time working on it in my free time. I’ve already learned so much more than I initially anticipated.
Anyway, let’s get down to business about how my first month went:
How many visitors did I have and where did they come from?
Alright, my stats are actually kind of difficult to understand since I started with Google Analytics on Feb 3. According to WordPress, I had 249 visitors, and Google Analytics says 198. I want to believe WordPress, but let’s just say the truth is somewhere in the middle around 225.
My visitors were from 28 (!) countries – much of this I owe to having Facebook friends all over the world – thanks for being so cosmopolitan, guys.
The majority of my traffic has been driven by Facebook (161), followed by Instagram (38). I hope in the future I can start driving the majority of my traffic from SEO, Pinterest and email subscribers.
You guys really seemed to enjoy reading Why I hated my Visit to Seminyak which accounted for 31% of my views for February! I’m guessing it got a lot of traffic since I used the word hate. Every time I see that someone hates something, I’m naturally wondering why and want to read more.
The Truth About California was the second most popular post, but was WAY behind (45 views) compared to the one on Seminyak.
I thought my post on How I Survived the Boat Ride from Bali to Gili Air was gonna be the big winner. I was expected more views than the one on Seminyak. I spent SO much time writing it. Figuring out how to crop the YouTube video. Looking up posts from other bloggers. Painstakingly reliving the nightmare that was my boat ride and trying to make fun of myself. Why didn’t anyone else like it?
It’s not just that people clicked and then left immediately because the post was too long. People just didn’t click (insert sad face).
Here I’m also gonna make a guess – my success in my Facebook network is diminishing with the frequency of my blog posts. And I understand. The first time someone sees my post on Facebook, they think “huh, Gabby has a blog?”. Then the second and third times they get less and less interested. I would probably think the same.
What blog tactics am I trying?
- Pinterest. Pinterest, pinterest, pinterest! I read a lot of blogs on blogging (that’s just blogs on blogs on blogs) and most of them in the lifestyle/travel industry swear by promoting a blog on Pinterest. But not only promoting it – like pinning dozens of times per day. Let’s not forget, I have a full time job, so I don’t have endless time to pin, and when I come home from work, I want to have more time to write (and of course see my boyfriend). Once I feel comfortable, I’ll probably invest in Tailwind app, a pin service that allows you to schedule all of your pins ahead of time. For now I’m just using their free service and pinning on my own to supplement. I’ve already seen my follower count increase by 130 people in just 2 days – so hopefully a few will click through to my blog!
- Facebook. I can’t keep bothering my “real life” connections who don’t give a crap about my blog, so I’ve started a Facebook page for my blog. I would be very grateful if you would like it!
- Email. Another shameless plug. Stay up to date with my posts by filling in your email address on the right side of the page – I promise I won’t sell your email to a Nigerian Prince who owes you a family fortune! Or any other scammers for that matter.
Blogging goals for next month
- Spend more time writing. You’d be surprised at how little time I spend writing each week. Despite me wanting to start the blog because of my love of writing, I actually spend most of my time trying to promote my blog (or at least trying to figure out how to promote it
- Build my Facebook following. I’d be pleased if I could even get 30 fans by the end of the month.
- Drive more traffic. My first month was nothing impressive, but I was still happy with getting around 250 visitors. If I can double that number this month to 500, I’d feel like I’m off to a decent start.
Got any tips to share on beginning a blog? Leave them in the comments below!
Gabby is a native (Northern) Californian who spent the majority of her 20’s living the expat life in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, exploring Europe and beyond. 27 countries later, she’s relocated back to her home base in California where she explores her passions for the travel and the outdoors.