May 2017 Blog Traffic (2nd Month) – 11,014 Views

I can’t believe it’s been two months since I started blogging.

With all the time I’ve dedicated to my blog (around 30 hours/week besides my 8-5 job) and how often I think about it, I feel like I’ve been blogging for half a year already.

Blogging has affected my marriage in ways I didn’t expect. But it’s also brought so much joy to my life.

So far, the only expenses I’ve paid for the blog were the startup cost of $118.08:

— $106.20 for Account Plan (36 months)

— $11.88 for Domain Privacy Protection (12 months)

After starting Frugal Asian Finance, I have come across so many marketing and social media courses to grow blog traffic.

While tempted, I try to take advantage of the free resources I can find online. And let me tell you, there’s just so much out there.

I feel that there’s so much free material online that I haven’t tapped into yet. I need to have a firm grasp on what’s missing from such free resources to decide what I want to pay for.

April 2017 Blog Traffic (1st Month) – 5,572 Views

Without further ado, here’s the blog traffic report for May 2017:

Overall trend

The total page views for May was 11,014, a 97.7% increase from April blog traffic – 5,572 views.

I switched from using Jetpack to Google Analytics starting in May. 11,014 is from Google Analytics. Jetpack shows 11,240 views. I’ve dug around online to see what accounts for this discrepancy.

There are various reasons for this difference, so I won’t do into detail. However, to be conservative and consistent from now on, I will use the numbers from Google Analytics.

Traffic experienced a sudden increase from 287 to 605 views on May 8 when I published the post Eating Out v. Home Cooked meals – The Dilemma. The main drivers of this surge in page views were referrals from two popular blogs that I had commented on on the same day.

I have to admit that I slowed down on marketing after seeing this spike, hoping that it would continue without much effort from me. I was wrong. Traffic got back to an unexpected lower level of 300 and even less than 200 views/day.

I reasoned that it was because the summer was here, and that people didn’t have as much time to read blogs. It’s partly correct. But I didn’t want to just accept it and do nothing. I decided to step up my game.

Page views peaked at 708 views with 3 Weird Things We Do To Save Money after I got more aggressive with Twitter and joined the Rock Star Finance directory.

Below is the summary:

Page views: 11,014 (~355 views/day) – 97.7% increase from April (5,572 views)

Visitors: 1,47958% increase from April (936 visitors)

— Returning visitors: 43.8%

— New visitors: 56.2%

Bounce rate: 33.09 %1 out of 3 visits, on average, started with the homepage and ended without leading to more views of posts or other pages.

Sessions: 2,557 

Pages/session: 4.31

Avg. session duration: 5 mins 22 seconds

% New sessions: 56.12%

Top 10 countries

Below is a list of the top 10 countries where the reader are located. Most readers are concentrated in English-speaking countries. The United States tops the list with 1,814 sessions (70.94%). There are four countries in Asia: India, China, Japan, and Singapore.

Top 10 posts

1. 3 Weird Things We Do To Save Money

2. 5 Frugal Wins & 2 Frugal Fails – May 10, 2017

3. 5 Unintended Results of My 40.2 Lb Weight Loss

4. What held me back from starting a blog for 12 years

5. 7 Frugal Wins & 3 Frugal Fails – May 24, 2017

6. Eating out v. Homecooked Meals – The Dilemma

7. How We Bought A House In Washington DC

8. How I Lost 36 Lbs Over 7 Months

9. Financial Expectations In Asian Families

10. Why We Don’t Order from Blue Apron

3 Weird Things We Do To Save Money topped the list of the most popular posts in May. This spot was taken by How I Lost 36 Lbs Over 7 Months in April, which remains popular at #8.

I started the Frugal Wins & Frugal Fails series where I document my frugal successes and failures. It turned out to be a big hit. I try to publish a new post in this series once every two weeks so that I can gather enough frugal (mis)adventures and not bore the reader.

Subscribers & followers 

Subscribers: 26

Twitter: 259 followers

Pinterest: 11 followers

Facebook: 3 likes

I am happy to see the progress with Twitter. I still need to work on increasing the number of subscribers and followers on Pinterest and Facebook.

Posting schedule

I still publish a new post regularly at 7:45 AM on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week. Mailchimp automatically sends out a notification email about a new post at noon on those days.

I have published 56 posts since March 21, 2017 and have 36 posts scheduled for three months until September. I try to maintain a good number of posts for the future in case I don’t have time to write.

For me, scheduled posts are like an emergency fund. I need to have at least three months worth of posts to feel secure about the future. If I go on vacation or if something unexpected happens that takes up most of my time, I know I won’t let my blog fall behind.

I am generally not a procrastinator when it comes to my work, and that translates into getting things done as fast and as well as I can.

Marketing strategies
1. Comment on other blogs

This is the strategy I’m most familiar with and have been implementing since I decided to market my blog. I’ve been reading personal finance blogs for years but had never left a comment until I started blogging.

It’s been working wonderfully for me, drawing lots of traffic to my site. This strategy, though effective, is also time-consuming and labor-intensive since I have to at least skim through the post to get the gist of it and type up my feedback.

I’m grateful for all of the comments on my site and often check out the blogs of anyone who left feedback. I wish I could follow you all, but I just can’t do it on a daily basis. Just know that I’m thankful for all the positive energy you’ve channeled through my budding site. 🙂

I’ve noticed that the traffic on my blog is affected by three main factors:

1 – Whether the bloggers I follow publish a new post that day

2 – Whether I’m among the first five people to leave a comment on the post

3 – Whether those new posts are popular (aka getting lots of comments)

Seeing that my traffic is closely tied to how the blogs I follow perform, I decided to take the next step and diversify my marketing strategy on social media.

Tip: I notice that I tend to click on comments written with nicknames such as Michael@FinanciallyAlert rather than real names. I always leave comments under Ms. Frugal Asian Finance. I think nicknames piques my curiosity more.

2. Respond to comments on my blog

As my blog grows, I have gotten so much encouraging feedback from many readers. While marketing the blog externally is crucial, I don’t neglect the internal marketing right here on my site.

If a reader takes the time to read my posts and leave feedback, it shows that they care. I know one day I may not have time to respond to everyone, and sometimes I feel like it takes longer than I’d like.  But for now, I get excited every time I see a new comment, and I make sure to write back.

I want to thank EVERYONE who has taken the time to share their experiences on my blog. A special shout-out to the following bloggers who regularly comment on my posts (in no particular order):

Joe@Retireby40, who always leaves funny comments that make me laugh and who complimented me on my writing on those early days when I still felt uncertain about the whole blogging endeavor.

Mr. Mustard Seed Money, who came to my rescue when I was in a Pinterest chaos and who leaves consistent feedback encouraging me to keep moving forward.

Michael@FinanciallyAlert, who was among the first bloggers to give me such kind words wishing me success and made my day with his encouragement.

Janet@LittleGreenCloth, who always makes me smile with her sympathy on my frugal fails and her amazing frugal stories.

—  Lily@TheFrugalGene, who helped me realize that the default setting on WordPress disabled comments for posts older than 28 days. I changed the setting so that the reader can now comment on my older posts.

Sarah@JourneysOfTheZoo, who went to great lengths to let me know that her comment was blocked as spam. I did some research online and disabled the MOJO Marketplace plugin, which other bloggers said was the problem. I installed WP-SpamShield to block spam instead.

3. Social media icons

My first step in utilizing social media is to put the social media icons under every post, under the Subscribe box, and on a vertical share bar. I tried the Jetpack Social Media Icons, Social Media and Share Icons (Ultimate Social Media), and Social Media Flying Icons plugins. They all have pros and cons.

— Jetpack Social Media Icons: I already have the Jetpack plugin, so this is just an add-on. You can find it under Settings|Sharing. The icons look great under a post. But when put under the Subscribe box, they’re tiny black and white icons that are hard to notice. I want the social media icons to be colorful and eye-catching.

Also, this plugin doesn’t enable a vertical share bar which stays static on the side when the reader scrolls down a page.

Social Media and Share Icons: These icons look great, but it doesn’t enable a vertical share bar either.

— Social Media Flying Icons: These flying icons that fly all over the place when the reader scrolls down a page are just annoying. If I get irritated just looking at them, I’m sure the reader will be too.

I wasn’t perfectly happy with these plugins and kept searching for on that enables a vertical share bar on the side of the page. While looking through a blog, I accidentally saw that bar with the name SumoMe. I installed this plugin, and it does exactly what I need: nicely cut social icons under each post and on a vertical share bar.

There are two downsides to SumoMe. First, I can’t find a Sumo widget to put the social icons under the Subsribe box, so I use Social Media and Share Icons for that. Second, when I click on the icons, SumoMe counts my clicks as well, which I’m not too fond of.

The Pro (paid) version of SumoMe or other paid plugins might have exactly everything that I need. But at this stage, I try to utilize all the free resources that I can find.

The three social media platforms have focused on this month are Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

4. Automatic uploading of posts on social media

I want to automate my posts on social media to save time. I found the NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster (SNAP) plugin that can do just that. However, I’ve been having difficulty linking my blog to social media.

I thought automatic posting would be efficient since I wouldn’t need to manually tweet or pin new posts. But that may not be not the best strategy for me at this point.

I currently try to interact with other bloggers (i.e. retweeting, leaving comments, liking tweets) to build a relationship rather than just putting content out there, hoping someone would open it.

I decided to leave this function aside and spend more time interacting with others on Twitter.

5. Pinterest

I’ve listened to podcasts and read on many blogs about the power of Pinterest in drawing traffic. Part of me really wanted to dig deeper into this platform and see how I can use it to promote my site.

But part of me tried to put this off for two reasons. First, not being familiar with Pinterest means I’d have to spend a large chunk of my free time researching and trying out different marketing strategies.

I knew the goal I wanted to accomplish, but figuring out how to get there felt like black box for me. I’d spend 2-3 hours trying to navigate Pinterest and end up feeling like I didn’t accomplish much that day. But if I spent that time blogging, I know I’d finish at least one new post.

When I was writing a post, I felt like I was missing out on the opportunity to grow my site through Pinterest. When I tried to navigate Pinteret, I felt like I was falling behind on my writing schedule.

While reading Pinterest tips from other bloggers, I stumbled on the Tailwind app which can help schedule automatic pinning. It’s a subscription (paid) app, but I joined the Tailwind Tribe of a blogger for free. I just need to spend more time understanding and learning how to use it.

You can find my Pinterest here. I set up a profile 2 weeks into blogging and didn’t check it again until recently. I just couldn’t believe I had 11 followers on Pinterest. I barely pinned anything.

Thanks to Mr. Money Mustard Seed, who responded to my Pinterest struggle last month, I’ve found Pixabay and Canva to be great resources. Pixabay offers a variety of free photos, and Canva provides a free software to put text overlay on Pinterest pictures.

I went from not knowing how to make a Pinterest photo to being really impressed with what I can now design.

 

My first Pinterest image (left) and a new one I recently made (right)

6. Facebook

Out of all the social media platforms, I use Facebook for personal use the most. However, it took me a couple of days to finally figure out how to set up a page anonymously. Facebook doesn’t show the identify of the Admin by default, and I just didn’t know that.

You can find my Facebook page here. Now I just need to find out how to promote the page effectively without paying for the Boost function.

What I haven’t figured out is how to join other Facebook groups and leave comments and not show my personal profile. So far I’ve just posted my new posts on the Frugal Asian Finance page. I have 3 likes so far.

7. Twitter

I started a Twitter account mid May and have had the most success with this platform. I currently have 259 followers, and the number is growing every day.

What I like about Twitter is that it’s similar to Facebook, which is what I’m used to. But unlike Facebook where I might accidentally show my personal profile, I can feel at ease sharing and talking with other bloggers.

I will try to grow my Pinterest and Facebook accounts, but for now Twitter has been my most successful social media platform. It has also taken most of my time out of the free.

8. Rockstar Finance

One big step for me in terms of marketing is getting approved to be in the Rockstar Finance directory of personal bloggers. Below are the benefits of being part of the community:

— My blog will be featured on the list of recently added blogs for 7 days.

— My new posts will automatically appear on the feeds. This is what I call passive marketing. I applied to be on the site once and my content will be featured on a regular basis.

— I’ve also updated out net worth so that FrugalAsianFinance.com will be on the Net Worth Tracker list, making it more accessible to a larger audience of Rockstar Finance.

I’ve already seen the traffic drawn from the directory, so hurry up and apply if you haven’t done so.

J Money, the owner of Rockstar Finance and Budgets Are Sexy, also emailed me with encouraging words about the future of Frugal Asian Finance. He totally made my day that day.

Layout

I originally set the unvisited link color to light blue and visited link color to maroon. While customizing the layout, I was horrified to see a page full of light blue hyperlinks. It really hurt my eyes. And if I don’t like it, I doubt if the reader will.

I changed the visited and unvisited hyperlink color to maroon which is easier on the eyes. When someone hover over a hyperlink, it will change to light maroon. Below is the code I added to the Dashboard -> Appearance -> Customize -> Additional CSS.

.post .entry-content a:link {
color: #b1102b;
}

.post .entry-content a:visited{
color: #b1102b;
}

.post .entry-content a:hover {
color: #bf7581;
}

Challenges
1. Design the logo/brand

When I set up Frugal Asian Finance (FAF) using the Kale theme, I really liked the simple yet chic (in my opinion) look of the header imagine (top of the site). As I needed a cover photo for the FAF Facebook page, I realized using the snipping tool to capture the header image from the blog is not enough. I need to be able to create the FAF brand name on my own.

I set out to copy and paste the header imagine into a Word document and started playing with different fonts and shapes. When I thought I created the image that I wanted, cut it (using Snipping Tool) and then uploaded it onto my Facebook page, it looked really blurry. It turns out I just needed to save the image as PNG or GIF instead of JPEG.

It ended up looking almost like I wanted. Once I start making some income from the blog, I’ll invest in a better design. This will do for now.

2. Mailchimp

I set up an email template in Mailchimp that notifies subscribers of a new post. The text in the email is below:

*|RSSITEM:TITLE|*

*|RSSITEM:IMAGE|*
*|RSSITEM:CONTENT|*

Continue reading *|RSSITEM:TITLE|*

However, I couldn’t get the featured imagine to show up. After researching, I installed the Featured Images in RSS w/ Size and Position plugin. It worked out wonderfully.

I wanted to include the featured imagine in the email notification since it will make the post more appealing. I myself tend to click on a link to a new post if there’s a photo in the email.

3. Include a pop-up subscription box on the bottom of the page

I want to increase the number of subscribers and read that a pop-up subscription box can help. The dilemma is that I get a little annoyed when I visit a page for the first time and before I read anything, a subscription box pops out of nowhere asking me to be a loyal reader.

Although I understand the use of such tool, I find it a bit irritating sometimes since I’ll need to close that box and read the content first before deciding whether I want to receive notification emails.

The Mailchimp pop-up signup form doesn’t work for me since it appears in the middle of the page only once for new visitors. I want an embedded form that consistently appears on the bottom right of the blog since I’ve found myself to be the most comfortable with such location.

However, I haven’t found any useful tool or plugin that can help me do that yet. It’d be great to know if you have any suggestions for an embedded signup box placed on the bottom of a page.

Lessons learned

— We should try to diversify our sources of traffic. At the same time, we should focus on networking and commenting on the blogs that are similar to ours since the readers that follow those blogs are more likely to be interested in our sites.

— I can’t speak for others, but I’d suggest you include your blog name in your comments on other blogs to draw more traffic (i.e. Name@Blog Name or Mr./Ms. Blog Name).

Don’t sleep on early success. Traffic can spike and dip unexpectedly, but it doesn’t have to stay that way forever. Continue marketing your blog even if you’re happy with the progress.

— You can promote all social media platforms at the same time, but it can get overwhelming and discouraging. If you feel that way, choose a social platform that you’re comfortable with and try to grow it. Once you’ve achieved certain success with it, you can try to look into other platforms to see where the growth may come from.

— You don’t have to pay big bucks or take expensive courses to grow your blog. First do the research yourself to see what you can find and what works best for you. It’s always easy to pay someone to teach you something that took them a long time to acquire or learn. But if you’re stressed out about blog expenses and want to err on the frugal side, take advantage of the free yet great resources out there.

That’s it for now. Until next time!

Related: 

3 Ways To Prepare For A Personal Finance Blog

Which Blogging Style Are You?

6 Unexpected Benefits Of Personal Finance Blogging

Blog Traffic Reports

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36 thoughts on “May 2017 Blog Traffic (2nd Month) – 11,014 Views”

  • Are you sure this post is only 3000 something words?! It’s over 9000!!! Hahaha

    But really – your 2nd month is amazing, like, amazing!! I think I’ll do something like 3000 if nothing at work pops up. Still good to me 🙂 but I wish I had a way with words like you do!

    Thank you for the shout out!!! I learned from Wall Street Physician you can do “pings” on WordPress so you don’t have to tag everyone on Twitter for them to see your post. Very useful!

    • I’m sure haha. This is the longest post I have ever written. After I was done with it, I was like “So I finished only one post so far?” lol

      Aww thanks for the compliment! I’m not sure I have a way with words, but it’s fun not writing papers for classes or reports for work and just typing whatever is in my mind. I love your posts too. Keep them coming! Pings sound great. I’ll keep that in mind for next time! 😉

  • Wow pretty awesome the progress you’ve seen in such a short amount of time. It’s definitely due to the amount of work you put into it and posting consistently. That’s my main problem…I need to spend more time but feel like I have no time!!

    • Thank you, Andrew! I want to be as consistent as I can. I feel a bit sad when I visit a blog that I like and don’t see anything new 🙁 Looking forward to reading your new posts! ^.^

  • Excellent stuff FAF! Your stats are off the charts for being at month 2! I am in month 4 and still trying to break 2K views, lol. I am using the Kale theme as well. I like the clean, minimalist feel to it. SumoMe plugin has some good pop-ups for email subscriptions. Again, great work and great content! Keep it up!

    • Thanks for the suggestion on SumoMe, Reid! I really like your layout as well. It looks really clean and professional. We’re all newbie bloggers, so it’s great to be connected! 🙂

  • Very happy the blog is going well for you. I discovered it through one of your comments your posted on FrugalWoods. That’s one great marketing plan you have, to post comments one of the highest viewed financial blogs out there. With your planning to post more throughout the summer on a consistent basis you should get more views with not only your marketing strategy(comment on other blogs, social media sites, etc..) but also word by mouth in which your current readers will let others know about your blog.
    If you cannot respond to every comment it means that you have an overwhelming amount of readers and thus most will comment. It also means you made it, haha. Keep it up, I am really enjoying your blog and a lot more will too once they know about it.

    • Thank you so much, Kris! You’ve been such a wonderful reader. After reading your comments, I feel like I have more energy to work on my blog. ^.^ If you ever decide to start a blog one day, I’ll be one of the first readers!

  • I am so glad you posted about how you put text over pictures–I was really unhappy with PicMonkey, which I have been using, so I’m going to check out Canva. You’re growing like crazy! Congratulations! Looking forward to seeing how the blog grows over the next couple of months! 🙂

    • Someone told me about PicMonkey before. But I didn’t want to pay for it, so I turned to Canva #frugallife 😀 Canva has worked out great for me. They have the Pro version that has more functions, but I’ll stick with the free version for now.

      I enjoy reading your blog as well, so keep the great content coming! ^.^

  • Wow, you are doing great! We’ve been blogging for almost 9 months and still don’t have that many page views. We have followed most of the marketing strategies that you’ve mentioned. We should probably leave comments on more sites and we only post once per week. That said, we aren’t looking for this to become another full-time job.

    • Thank you, Mr. Need2save! =) I’m not an expert on blogging. But I just wanted to share with you all what works or doesn’t work for me because I’m also looking for advice from other bloggers.

      I’ve dedicated maybe too much time and thoughts to blogging. I need to slow down at one point since Mr. FAF is moving back to DC with Baby FAF. I want to make my blog a side business one day, so I’m putting a bit of pressure on myself. But if you don’t plan for your blog to become a full-time job, it’s also great to grow it as a hobby. I think it’s fun! 🙂

  • Keep up the great work. I still feel like there is so much to learn when it comes to Pinterest that I’m just scratching the surface. Hopefully one day I can make a big dent and get the majority of my traffic through it 🙂

    • Thank you, Mr. Mustard Seed Money! I totally know what you mean about Pinterest. It’s like a gold mine that I have no or little access to. I just need to spend more time trying to figure out how this thing works. Best of luck to both of us! 😀

  • This is incredible! I feel like I have hit a brick wall in terms of increasing my readership. Your information in this post is helpful…thank you for being so detailed! I will definitely refer to this when I need some pointers 😉

    • Thank you, Danielle! I want to be as detailed as possible. I’ve been having such a hard time with the technical and marketing sides of blogging that I want other bloggers to save some time just by reading about what I’ve done so far. I hope your readership will increase significantly soon! 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing your updates. Lots of great info here that many bloggers can relate to. It is hard trying to constantly update all your social media platforms simultaneously and focus on the blog. It gets very time consuming fast. But for only a few months in, you are doing very well as far as traffic goes. I never got into pinterest, probably for the same reasons as you. But I heard it is a great tool for traffic. As long as you are producing quality content, the traffic will come in time.

    • Thank you! 🙂 I do find constantly updating on social media platforms time-consuming. Maybe that’s why they have all these software programs such as Edgar and Tailwind that can do the job for you. But I haven’t tried them yet, so I didn’t want to advertise them on my blog. 😉

  • Hi Ms. FAF

    Greetings from Singapore.

    Your post reminded me when I first started and it makes all sense to connect through more bloggers as we connect within the society.

    Great to read more of your posts and hope doesnt affect your marriage! 🙂

    • Hi Brian, hello from DC! I’ll try to slow down on blogging when Mr. FAF’s here. I think he needs a bit more attention from me ;). Best of luck with your blog! =)

    • Aww thank you so much, Tom! I’ve been enjoying reading your posts too! I’m glad to see that you’re featured in mainstream media and are doing really well! I read your post on Physician On Fire the other day and thought that you addressed such an interesting scenario! ^.^

  • Wow! I just found your blog (through a comment) and I’m so impressed with your progress. I’ve been blogging more seriously for around 6 months now and thinking my marketing strategy is a total failure. Thanks for putting up the details. It’s really interesting to see what is working for a blog that’s just getting started and also how much time you’re spending on it. And I love the theme 😉

    • Thank you so much, Eliza! I’ve been having such a hard time with the technical side of blogging. I want to include all the important details so that new bloggers might find it helpful and won’t have to spend as much time as I did trying to figure things out. I like your layout too! I think we have the same theme heheh. 😀

  • Wow! Just found your blog. This is really cool! I have never seen someone starting out breaking things down so thoroughly and HELPFUL!

    Thanks for sharing as you definitely give me a lot of motivation.

    • Thank you, Mao! I wanted to break things down in detail so that other new bloggers can find the info that they might need. Welcome to Frugal Asian Finance!

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