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

After 12 years of trial and error, I finally started a public blog where I document my frugal journal to financial freedom. I wrote a post about my first official month of blogging (Mar 21-Apr 21) and what it was like.

Inspired by other blogs’ monthly income reports, I have decided to start a monthly Blog Traffic Reports series for each calendar month where I show the reader the traffic to my site and the lessons learned.

I have read everywhere that it takes only 4-5 minutes to start a blog on Bluehost and write the first post. For me, it wasn’t easy and was definitely very time-consuming.

I hope it will be helpful for other newbie bloggers so that they won’t have to struggle to build a blog that they’re happy with like I did. The Blog Traffic Reports series will also help me keep track of what works and what doesn’t as I launch my first endearing side business.

Overall trend

 

I started blogging on March 21 but didn’t start commenting on other blogs to market mine until April 1. I didn’t install Jetpack to track site states until March 28.

Prior to April 1, all of the views I got on my site were from my own clicks (41 views). I then learned to access the dashboard directly to avoid having my own clicks counted as views.

Total views : 5,613 – 41 = 5,572

Visitors: 936 (probably closer to 920 since I was counted as a visitor)

Comments: 90 (45 of these were from you guys :))

I started getting this message from WordPress starting on April 11 and was ecstatic.

Traffic by day 

The traffic to my site has increased consistently with significant decreases on the weekends (grayed bars). It peaked on April 19 when I published the post on the $300 dress Mr. FAF had gotten me.

Countries

I’m glad to see that I have readers from all over the world. The top 10 countries are:

1. United States

2. Canada

3. United Kingdom

4. Australia

5. Israel

6. Singapore

7. Philippines

8. China

9. Sweden

10. Swaziland

Top 10 posts

Below were my 10 most popular posts for April 2017:

1. How I Lost 36 lbs Over 7 Months

2. My 4 Favorite Personal Finance Blogs

3. Why I Don’t Plan to Be A Stay-At-Home Mom

4. Why I’m Not A Minimalist

5. How I Lost Another 4.2 Lbs Over 2 Weeks

6. How Youtube Saved Us At Least $297.88 Last Year

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

8. Why I Started Blogging

9. How To Save Money on Food While Traveling

10. How To Deal with Roommates Who Have Mental Illness

The two posts about my weight loss seem to get lots of traction. Interestingly enough, I didn’t want to write about it at first since it didn’t sound so exciting to me. But my friends and colleagues have been asking me constantly about my diet, so I thought I’d just share it in case some readers may find my diet helpful. It was such a hit!

Many of you also seem interested in why I started blogging, what my favorite blogs are, etc. Thank you for all your love and support!

Posting schedule

During the first 10 days of blogging, I just published a post whenever I finished it. I wanted to build a good amount of content on the site before marketing it. However, starting on April 1, I wanted to have a more systematic posting schedule.

I searched online for the best times and found an article with the following tips:

— Most traffic: 11 AM EST on Monday

— Most comments: 9 AM EST on Saturdays

— Most inbound links: 7 AM EST on Monday and Thursday

I experimented with this schedule and decided to post at 7:45 AM on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I see that other bloggers don’t usually publish posts on the weekends. I myself tend to be preoccupied with other activities on my days off and don’t read blogs as much as I do on weekdays. I see the traffic to my site drop significantly on the weekends compared to weekdays.

I choose 7:45 AM since I sometimes read new posts on my train ride to work in the morning. I want to check out some blogs for some inspiration before diving into my workload and during my lunch time. I send out a notification about new posts via MailChimp at noon since people can read for fun when having lunch.

Marketing strategies

Marketing might have a negative connotation to it. It conveys the meaning of advertising and sales. For me, it just means I wanted to put my blog out there and to join the personal finance community’s discussion.

Below are my main marketing strategies:

1. Write good content

As I researched the strategies of successful blogs and Google’s website ranking criteria, I learned that writing good content is number 1 on the list. It is important to write posts that are more than 500 words, informative, and appealing to the reader.

It takes a lot of time and hard work to build up quality content that’s original and trustworthy. It’s also crucial to publish your posts on a regular basis to draw traffic and for people to return to your blogs.

2. Comment on other personal finance blogs

I learned about many bloggers mainly through clicking on their comments on others’ posts. I saw their comments, thought they were interesting, and clicked on their hyperlinked names.

I spent the first 10 days writing multiple posts to build my site from March 21 to 31. On April 1, I started my marketing campaign by leaving feedback on other blogs, something I had never done before.

And it worked. One day, I got 39 referrals from a blog I commented on. I got 28 referrals from search engines (a.k.a. organic traffic). The rest was from other blogs I had left feedback on.

3. Social media

A lot of bloggers get most of their traffic from Pinterest. I don’t use Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter, so this is a new territory for me.

I started experimenting with Pinterest, but it wasn’t as easy as I thought. The best I can say is: it’s still a work in progress.

I started building a Facebook page for Frugal Asian Finance and will need to install some plugins for automatic posting on social media. If you know of any good plugins, please let me know.

4. Tell family and friends

I didn’t tell my family since I knew they would react to how frugal I am and then start giving advice on living life a little.

I want to keep my blog anonymous, so I just told one of my best friends from college to get her feedback. Only she and Mr. FAF know who’s behind the site.

Plugins

I’m not tech-savvy. Although starting the blog was a breeze, setting it up with the layout that I wanted was no easy task.

1. Install Jetpack for site stats

For the first few days, I had no idea how to track the traffic on my site. Thanks to Google (again!), I found out about Jetpack and installed it immediately.

I spent a long time entering the log-in info of my blog and didn’t know why it didn’t work on Jetpack. It turned out I had to set up a different WordPress.com account for this plugin.

As I read other blogs, however, it looks like they use Google Analytics instead. I started a Google Analytics account a couple of days ago and will switch to this plugin.

2. Install a Subscribe box – Mailchimp

Seeing how other bloggers have a Subscribe box to keep a list of readers’ email addresses, I wanted to do the same.

At first I used the Jetpack Subscribe box. But I read that I couldn’t use it to send newsletters or contact the readers, so I switched to Mailchimp, which was compatible with the Kale theme of my blog. I also picked it because I had used it at some of my previous jobs.

3. Schedule future posts

I wrote 8 blog posts on the first two weekends. But I didn’t post them on the same day because I didn’t want to overwhelm the reader. I also wanted to save the drafts for the days when I’m busy to write.

WordPress doesn’t have a default calendar that shows all the dates in a month for me to schedule my drafts, so I did some digging online and found Schedule Posts Calendar and WP Editorial Calendar.

I now have posts scheduled almost 3 months from now (until late July). As I write a new post that’s relevant to the present such as when I went to explore Old Town in DC one weekend, I will bump the currently scheduled posts  for that date to a later date.

4. Yoast SEO

I thought all those plugins were enough until I got an email from Bluehost suggesting I install Yoast SEO – search engine optimization to make my blog more visible in a web search.

I started devouring this article to make Yoast SEO work for me. You might find this other article helpful as well.

Layout

1. Change text font in posts

I picked the Kale theme, which I absolutely love. However, the original font was so small that I had a hard time reading the text.

I called WordPress tech support who told me I would have to contact a developer since they only supported the technical side of WordPress, and that what I needed required additional coding.

However, one female technical specialist was kind enough to spend almost 30 minutes helping me find the right code to change the font. I was so grateful to her and was really impressed with her enthusiasm.

Below is the code I added to Dashboard -> Appearance -> Customize -> Additional CSS to change the text font in the posts:

h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6{font-family: ‘Montserrat’, sans-serif;color:#000;font-weight:400;text-transform:none;}
h1{font-size:20px;}
h2{font-size:20px;}
h3{font-size:20px;}
h4{font-size:20px;}
h5{font-size:20px;}
h6{font-size:20px;}
p{font-size:18px;}

2. Change the color of the hyperlinks

The default hyperlink color of the Kale theme was black which blended in with the normal text. I wanted to switch the color to dark blue so that it’s more noticeable to the reader.

I  read multiple articles on the topic and found the following code that changed the unvisited hyperlinks to blue and the visited hyperlinks to maroon.

.post .entry-content a:link {
color: #1064b1;
}

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

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

3. Change the font of the comment box

The text font of the comment box was significantly smaller than the text in the post. I searched on Google and found the following code:

#respond form * {
font-size: 18px;
}

#respond #commentform .text,
#respond #commentform textarea {
color: black !important;
}

God bless developers!

4. UpdraftPlus for data backup

I didn’t even think about possibly losing the data on my site until I read that some blog were hacked. I dug around and saw many recommendations for UpdraftPlus for data backup. I installed the plugin and have my data backed up every week.

 Lessons learned

— It takes a lot of front-loading to get your blog up and running. But once you install all the necessary plug-ins, they will start running in the background for you and don’t require a lot of attention.

— In order to change the font or color of the text or some site features, you need to add coding, which the WordPress technical support specialists don’t do. But you can always Google the topic, look at the code others have written, and try adding different codes to Dashboard -> Appearance -> Customize -> Additional CSS to see which one works for your theme.

— Besides writings quality content, commenting on other (medium) blogs will help draw traffic to your site. But remember to add meaningful feedback only. You don’t want to seem like a spammer and irritate other readers and the bloggers.



10 thoughts on “Blog Traffic Report – April 2017 (1st month) – 5,572 Views”

  • Thanks for sharing!!! You are doing way better than when I first started out. I definitely struggled for awhile. I actually recently put up everything that I learned, “How To Grow Your Blog,” on the main page if you’re interested. It’s my trial and tribulations so far 🙂 But I think it could definitely help with Pinterest!!!

    • OMG thank you so much for coming to my rescue! I will definitely need to check it out. Pinterest has been such a big mystery to me. Whenever I think about it, I just want to find every excuse I can to postpone marketing my blog on the platform. I’ve set up a profile, but the thought of exploring that mysterious world sounds so daunting to me for some reason.

      Thanks again, Mr. Mustard Seed Money! 🙂

  • You’re doing really great! That’s a lot of traffic for a new blog. I’ll drop by Mustard Seed to check out the tips for Pinterest too. I’m terrible at that one…
    Keep at it!

    • Thank you, Joe! You’re always so encouraging. I just read your new post this morning and thought you offered a great perspective on early retirement! 🙂

  • You are doing amazing for your first couple of months! I noticed that posting in the morning gained me more traffic than in the afternoon, but it hadn’t occured to me to schedule posts for the morning commute. Thanks for that tip! Pinterest is still mostly a mystery to me, but I have had much more success on Twitter.

    • Thank you, Jax! 🙂 I checked out your blog and was really impressed with your April extra income!

      I’m glad you’re having success with Twitter. I’ll need to get on that platform after I figure out the Pinterest world. Best of luck!

  • Wow, Mrs. FAF, that’s incredible for just starting out! I must have only had 20 visitors my 2nd month in. 😉 Well, keep doing what you’re doing and building that momentum. It’s wonderful to hear how persistent you are and that you’ve kept adjusting your blogging strategy over the past 12 years. Wishing you more success to come!

    • Thank you, Michael! I think more people are familiar with personal finance blogs, and there are more platforms to get the word out. It was definitely harder a couple of years ago when personal finance was a foreign concept to a lot of people.

      That said, I’m also super happy to see that people actually read what I wrote and even left feedback. I just read your comment to my husband. He was also happy to see how supportive you are.

      Hope you and your family are having a great weekend! 🙂

  • Thank you for writing this post. The traffic you’ve earned in such a short amount of time is amazing! I also can’t believe how much content you’re able to produce. It takes me forever to do just the one post.

    I found your blog through someone’s comments and clicked because your username had ‘Asian’ in it, so clearly your strategy is working 🙂

    I’m curious to know what your top cities are. Mine are New York and London. And then I have a random couple visits from someone in Belfast.

    Traffic for me is nothing to brag about, but I’m trying to build up a decent amount of content before actually promoting. Plus, I know for me it’s a niche audience. A few non-bloggers have found me somehow in my beta phase, and that was both scary and exciting at the same time.

    Great job, and looking forward to future posts.

    • Thank you for your feedback! I’m also amazed at the support I’ve gotten from the reader, including you :).

      I just went to your blog and think it looks great! You offer a somewhat different perspective on frugality: saving and enjoying life at the same time. New York is definitely an expensive city, so it’s great to know that you work hard and can buy the things that really matter to you.

      My top 3 cities are New York, Boston, and Sydney. You should be proud of your traffic. It’s an outcome of your hard work and effort to connect with the reader. I wouldn’t say it’s bragging. I also tried to build some content before marketing my blog. At one point (after ~10 posts), I just wanted to get the word out and connect with other bloggers and the reader. It felt great to receive the first comment!

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