When this blog was born I promised myself that I would be in it for a minimum of 1 year before I decided if I would continue or not. Now 18 months in, I think it goes without saying that I am here to blog for the long term. I use the term blog loosely as this site is more a personal journal that I’ve made public to the world.
As many of my regular readers know, most of the content is shared in the 1st person, with the occasional 2nd person point of view (for more on this check out this resource). Some posts have a bit of both…is that even allowed?
First Person Narrator: Definition. First person narrative is a point of view (who is telling a story) where the story is narrated by one character at a time. This character may be speaking about him or herself or sharing events that he or she is experiencing. [The use of I & We]
Second person is a point of view (how a story is told) where the narrator tells the story to another character using the word ‘you.’ The author could be talking to the audience, which we could tell by the use of ‘you,’ ‘you’re,’ or ‘your.’
I don’t know if it’s allowed, but I will let the results speak for themselves…
Update on Blog Metrics [Q1 2016 vs. Q1 2015]
- Sessions, Users, & Pageviews are all up over 100%.
- You can see that page views are up a bit less due to the drop in “Pages/Session,” which is down about 13.11%
- The “Avg. Session Duration” has taken a dive of 30.9%.
- Honestly I think that has more to do with the fact that my time on the blog is now excluded from analytics (yep, I was my most loyal reader and analytics knew it…until I excluded my domain from analytics).
- I’m getting more traffic from social media and that tends to be less sticky. Meaning they come to read the article they clicked and then they leave.
- The “Bounce Rate” has gotten worse by 16.80%. I miss the days it was under 50%, but honestly the fact that it’s within arms distance of 50% given the traffic growth is amazing. I’ve seen many other blogs with a bounce rate north of 80%.
- “% of New Sessions” is up slightly at 2.17%, which is nice to see that about half of the people visiting the site are doing so for the first time, and the other half are repeat (loyal) readers!!! Both types make me very happy 🙂 🙂 🙂
It’s interesting to look at this trend, but at the same time I really don’t see any surprises. Here are some call outs of what caused some of the huge spikes:
February of 2015 – I was featured on two much bigger blogs: 1500days.com & FinancialSamurai.com. In both of these guests posts I shared a bit about my back story and where I come from and where I am headed.
May of 2015 – I had a post shared on the Facebook page of The Penny Hoarder, funny thing is my site went down that day. Not because of the traffic spike, but because I didn’t know the share was going to take place that day and I was in the middle of switching hosting services. The good news is that the site was only down for about 5 hours.
October/November of 2015 – This is the time frame I announced I was moving from a 2X per week posting schedule to a 1X per week in order to work on other aspects of growing the blog and to focus on the trajectory of my career that really took off in a big way in 2015.
I actually expected traffic to drop more than it did when I switched to publishing 1X per week, but it really didn’t drop that much, especially considering I was posting half as much.
March of 2016 – I finally started to see some traction from getting some new guest posts published again and I started focusing on social media a bit more. I am currently writing this with the benefit of hindsight and April has set new records due to a very well received guest post on 10 Guidelines to Financial Independence in 10-20 Years (which was my 2nd such appearance, it even got picked up by Rock Star Finance).
It’s great to see a new high in page views, it only took 10 months from the previous high. But persistence is key.
Traffic by Source
Notice the interesting shift from “referral,” which used to drive 61% of this blogs traffic, now only drives 25%. This is really for two reasons:
- I am not as actively commenting on as many blogs as I did when I first started.
- My site is more seasoned with the search engines and I have much more content for Google to match search queries against and send me traffic.
Also notice the huge increases in “organic” and “direct” traffic. I am surprised to see so much direct traffic (which means they are coming from either a bookmark or typing in the url manually). I guess I assume that everyone uses a blog aggregation tool like Feedly to manage blogs they frequent, but I guess not.
My expectation is that the traffic driven by “social” should start increasing as a percent of the total based on a increased effort here (prior to the last month or so, I had not put any effort into social). It will be interesting to see how this changes when I do my next update for the 2 year mark.
You can’t see it on the chart above, but in March of 2016 I had 75 email subscribers, over the course of the last 12-months that has increased 10X to almost 750 subscribers (actually almost 900 now as I edit this post). The site is now adding over 100 new email subscribers every month. And once signed up each subscriber is automatically put into my 24 week automated email series, where I share a lot more of my back story. I also give out some free tools and resources.
This is one of the most rewarding aspects of running the blog, interacting with the readers through email. I have learned so much about so many different people from all over the world. It’s AMAZING!
Money, Money, Money
As you can see from the top chart, the monthly revenue can vary significantly. Life to date the site has generated $2,103.99. In Q1 of 2016 the site generated $662.37 in revenue vs. $139.44 in Q1 of 2015 (375% YoY increase). As of this writing, there have been 136 posts published, which translates into about $15.47/post (I won’t embarrass myself further by calculating the hourly wage I have earned).
Total life to date pageviews were 153,674, which translates into about 1.4 cents per page view or about $13.68 for every 1,000 pageviews (what they call in the business ‘revenue per thousand’ visitors).
I continue to reinvest everything the site makes into growing the site (through experimentation) and making the user experience better. Did you notice that the site has 70% less ads now than it had 6 months ago? Hopefully you have noticed a significant improvement in load times. The funny part is that I have 30% of the ads and I am making 3X as much money with ads now, then when I was running 10 ads from 3 different networks. A big part of that is that I found a finance specific ad network that pay significantly more per 1,000 impressions.
Takeaways after 18 months of blogging
- Always be testing and measure everything you test. Then optimize!
- Consistency pays off (literally).
- Be in it for the long term.
- Pay it forward by helping other bloggers when they reach out.
- Guest posts should be win/win. Put just as much effort if not more for a guest post as you would for your own site.
- Writing helps solidify your own beliefs.
- Sometimes its fun to present content in non-conventional ways, whether you believe it or not…it also pushes your readers to think and if you really strike a chord, expect lots of comments 🙂
- You are not on this earth to prove anyone right or wrong.
- Always be open to other perspectives.
- There are rarely absolutes when it comes to answering personal finance questions.
- Keep it 100 (this is a new one I learned recently and had to look up on urban dictionary)
– Gen Y Finance Guy
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