Welcome to the 3rd blog traffic report! The 1st and 2nd month reports saw some great numbers that I had never expected prior to blogging even in my wildest dreams.
If you missed those reports, make sure to check them out below:
May 2017 Blog Traffic (2nd Month) – 11,014 Views (+97.7%)
April 2017 Blog Traffic (1st Month) – 5,572 Views
In these reports, I never set any goals for myself explicitly. However, after seeing the number almost doubled in May, I secretly hoped that I’d see the same miracle in June: My page views would double at 22,000.
After the first half of June went by without a huge increase in traffic, I got really stressed out about how to reach that goal.
I was trying to juggle between helping Baby FAF readjust and keeping up with my blogging schedule. I realized I had been living “the single life” for the past year and thus had more time for myself.
Now it’s the time to be a real parent and juggle family with a full-time job and a blog. I really admire all the parents out there who can do that so successfully.
At one point, I realized I had to be more realistic about what I could achieve and not beat myself up with a goal I couldn’t attain yet. After making that decision, I felt at peace with myself.
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)
I want to explore and take advantage of as much free resources as I can before paying for any material. Information can be valuable and powerful, and it can come at no cost to you if you look at the right place.
Now on to our blog traffic report of the month:
While trying to clean up the plugins for my blog, I accidentally deleted Google Analytics for WordPress. Google Analytics stopped tracking my traffic for almost three days (June 9-11). For this month, I will use the total traffic number from Jetpack and other stats from Google Analytics.
Page views: 13,242 (+20.2%)
Page views per day: 441.4
Comments: 485 (half of these were mine.)
From Google Analytics (missing data for June 9-11)
Pages/session: 3 (v. 4.31 in May)
Avg. Session Duration: 4 mins 26 secs (v. 5 mins 22 seconds in May)
Bounce rate: 42.26% (v. 33.09% in May)
New visitor: 43.4% (v. 56.2% in May)
Returning visitor: 56.6% (v. 43.8% in May)
Top 10 sources of traffic
Source: FrugalAsianFinance.com. Notes: Data missing for June 9-11
The number 1 source of traffic for my site is direct search. It means that the reader just type “Frugal Asian Finance” directly into their browser. It can also be direct sessions that Google Analytics cannot determine the referrers for.
In May, Frugalwoods and The Frugal Girl were the top 2 and 3 referrers respectively. In June, Twitter and Google organic search took over these spots. I was active on Twitter almost every day at least twice a day, so I’m glad the effort paid off.
Organic search has been treating Frugal Asian Finance really well. I installed the Yoast SEO plugin to help with search engine optimization (SEO), and it seems to be working wonderfully. I usually pick 2-3 keywords that best reflect the content of a blog post.
If you Google “Frugal Asian,” you will see Frugal Asian Finance take up the top 4 spots on the list of results. It’s not shown in the table, but Bing organic search ranked #13 on the list of top referrers for my blog.
I joined the Rockstar Finance Directory in late May, but it has proven to be a powerful referrer for my blog, climbing from #10 in May to #7 in June.
A pleasant surprise last month was the number of referrals I got from Tub of Cash by Tim Kim. Tim had some great comments on my blog, so I checked out his posts and left my feedback. I was surprised to see the amount of traffic referred from his site.
Sam’s Financial Samurai focuses primarily on investment, and mine currently documents the frugal tips that are not at the investment level yet. Basically, we just have different blogging styles that appeal to different audiences. I was surprised to see such a high number of pages per session referred from Sam’s blog.
While Twitter is the top 2 referrer, it also has the highest bounce rate of 69.4%. It means that 69.4% of the sessions originating from Twitter stop at the homepage and do not lead to any more page views. The lowest bounce rates are from Frugalwoods and Financial Samurai at 23.37% and 22.22% respectively.
Top 10 posts
Many readers have asked me why Mr. FAF and I don’t live in the same city, so it came as no surprise that The Pros & Cons of Our Long-distance Marriage was the most popular post in June.
What I didn’t expect was the interest in A Day In The Life. I thought that post was pretty plain. I just documented what I did every day. But I guess people liked it because our schedules and lifestyles all differ. It’s interesting to see how other bloggers juggle their sites with their other responsibilities.
List of Asian Personal Finance Bloggers turned out to be a popular post. It ranked #6 despite being published on June 30. It was great to see such great feedback from many Asian and non-Asian readers and bloggers.
Top 10 countries
The US is where the majority of sessions originated from, followed by three other English-speaking countries – Canada, the UK, and Australia. There are 3 countries in Asia (India, China, and Singapore) and 2 in the Middle East (Israel and the UAE).
I spend about 20-30 hours blogging each week. I publish a new post at 7:45 AM every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Mailchimp sends out a notification about a new post at 12 PM on those days.
I have new posts scheduled until September 22. I want to keep three months worth of post as an emergency fund of writing. I feel a bit behind since I was aiming to have posts scheduled until October 3. I will need to catch up once Baby FAF settles down in his new home.
June also marked the first time I had gotten business requests. I actually got three. When I got the first one, I jumped for joy and told Mr. FAF that my blog did have some business potential. However, I later decided that two of the potential partnerships were not a good fit.
The third one definitely is. But I want to focus the first year on building content on the blog and trust from the reader, so I will need to give it more thought.
1. Comment on other blogs
I read and comment on about 10 blog posts every weekday. The number varies on the weekends now that Baby FAF is back in DC. I like to see the great content produced by other bloggers and share with them my thoughts.
A lot of the bloggers whose posts I commented on checked out my blog and left their feedback. When I see that some bloggers comment on my posts regularly, I also check out theirs. This is a great way to build a connection with the blogger community.
2. Respond to comments on my blog
I responded to every single comment on my posts if they were directed to me. Some readers also interacted with one another, which I was really happy about.
I know some bloggers don’t have enough time to do the same. For me, I think the feedback I’ve gotten so far is not too overwhelming yet. I felt happy reading what the reader had to say and answering their questions. I found that some readers came back to comment a second time on a post after seeing my response.
3. Get on the PT Money Map
I came across the Wonderful World Map of Personal Finance Bloggers on PT Money and applied to be added to the list. I applied on May 30 and was added on June 12. This is part of the passive marketing strategy that I adore. You take the time to be added to a certain list or map once, and people will find your blog from there for years to come.
I haven’t seen any traffic generated from the PT Money map yet. But I think it’s important to “be everywhere” as Pat Flynn, the founder of Smart Passive Income always says.
4. Join the Modest Money Top Finance Blogs
It took three months for my request to be approved for the list of Modest Money Top Finance blogs.
If you get on the list, the site will show your scores for traffic, social media, and SEO together with the total score and your ranking among finance blogs.
Below are the indicators (out of 100) for Frugal Asian Finance:
— Traffic: 42
— Social media: 64.03
— SEO: 9.3
— Total score: 38.44
–> Ranking: 335
5. Join the Rockstar Finance forums
I’ve heard great things about the Rockstar Finance forums. It’s a great place to get to know other PF bloggers and to draw traffic to your site.
I was so overwhelmed with writing posts, Pinterest, and commenting on other blogs that I didn’t join the forums until Lily at The Frugal Gene gave me a nudge.
6. Featured by other PF bloggers
Twitter: 557 followers
Pinterest: 37 followers
Facebook: 10 likes & 13 follows
Twitter has gradually climbed up the list of the top 10 referrers for my blog. I am fascinated by this platform. In June, I spent more time doing the following on Twitter compared to May:
— Retweeting: I’d go through the feeds every day. If I saw a post title that I liked, I usually skimmed through it to make sure the content was good and then shared it. This is a great way to build a connection with other bloggers whether they are new or experienced in this sphere.
Once I retweeted a post, I would often get a Like or a Thank You from the blogger. They would then like my content back or even retweet my posts. When someone retweeted my content, so I often checked out their Twitter profile and retweeted their posts as well.
— Liking and commenting on other bloggers’ Tweets. I find this to be a great way to interact with other bloggers and let them know that I am interested in what they have to say, and that I support them on Twitter.
— Tweeting my posts: On the days when I published a new post, I would tweet about it three times: early morning, early afternoon, and late evening. There are hundreds of new tweets at a given time, so I wanted to make sure people see my new post on Twitter. I would also tweet about my older posts so that people who hadn’t read them would be able to check them out.
Though effective, commenting on other blogs is labor-intensive and limited in scope. After turning to Twitter in the second month and saw great success with the platform, I decided to expand into Pinterest.
I have heard so much raving about Pinterest that I felt like I was missing out on a goldmine. But I was so overwhelmed with writing blog posts, tackling technical issues, and exploring Twitter and Facebook in the second month that I just set Pinterest aside.
After seeing how strategies #1-5 had somewhat hit a roadblock, I was determined to at least figure out how to join Pinterest boards before doing anything else. I found this great article that lays out the steps to do just that.
Lily at The Frugal Gene has kindly invited me to multiple boards and shared her great Pinterest tips with me. We share with each other our questions, strategies, and frustration with this promising yet challenging platform.
One day I requested to join more than 25 boards but got accepted to only two. One board owner was kind enough to let me know that I needed to get at least 100 followers to join the board.
So here is my Pinterest plan for July:
— Figure out how to get at least 100 followers. I will look up on PF bloggers on PF boards and try to follow as many as I can.
— Pin and re-pin content on the boards I’m already a member of.
— Continue to request to join more boards.
— Work with Lily and hopefully other bloggers to sharpen our strategies.
Out of all the 3 social media platforms, Facebook is the one I’m least active on. I usually just post new content on Facebook every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
It’s mainly because I blog anonymously and don’t know how to interact with other bloggers and join PF groups without showing my real Facebook profile. I need to figure this out at one point.
1. Cache blocking new feeds
After two months of blogging, I realized that Mailchimp suddenly stopped sending notifications about my new posts to subscribers. At the same time, my new post also didn’t show up in the new feeds of the Rockstar Finance directory.
I called Bluehost. They said it was due to caching (data storage that enable future data requests to be processed faster). It’s similar to cookies on your computer. A Bluehost technical specialist cleared the cache on my WordPress, but the new feeds still wouldn’t go through. I have a free account with Mailchimp, so I couldn’t use their Customer Support.
I spent more than 10 hours trying to figure out how to fix it in vain. I tweeted about this problem on Twitter. The Fairly Frugal Fella reached out to me with an excellent solution:
(1) Install WP Super Cache to clear the cache on my blog.
(2) Replicate the campaign on Mailchimp and delete the old campaign.
I implemented step (1), and it already worked like a charm.
I started getting a lot of spam early this month. I activated the Akismet plugin for free thanks to the instructions in this article. The default price is set at $36/month. But you can change that to $0/month
I added the Wordfence Security plugin to enhance the security on my blog. With the increasing amount of spam earlier this month, I got worried about my site being hacked. I felt so desperate that at one point I was ready to pay for a security software program.
However, a quick search indicated that the Wordfence Security plugin can effectively fend off malicious attacks and perform anti-virus, firewall and malware Scan. It’s been installed by more than 2 million users, so I trust that it is effective enough to protect my site. And it’s free!
Andrew at Living Rich Cheaply kindly reached out to me via Twitter to let me know that his comments were blocked as spam. Andrew didn’t see my contact info on the blog and turned to Twitter.
I decided to add a Contact page to the menu by installing the Contact Form 7 plugin. Some companies, readers, and bloggers have used this page to reach out to me, so I think it’s a crucial feature for a site.
That wraps up the blog traffic report for June 2016. Overall, I am happy with the growing traffic to my site. Summer is a slow season for bloggers, and I am now fulfilling my duties as a mother of a two-year-old boy.
After this month, I have learned to set realistic expectations for myself while always exploring new and effective marketing strategies. Pinterest is on my to-do list for sure in July. I have seen some progress with this platform, so “Never stop trying” is my motto.
I am also grateful for all the readers and bloggers who have helped me in my blogging endeavor so far. Whether you helped me with a technical issue, left a comment on my blog, or reached out to me in social media, just know that I want to say Thank you and best of luck to a new month of blogging!