January 2016 Blog Traffic (and Income) Report

blog traffic and income report, blogging, blogging tips, increasing blog traffic

I just completed my fifth year of blogging (wow - has it really been that long?!!?) and up until now, I haven't truly, and I mean truly, taken things seriously.  I've made promises to myself and have wanted to actually make money blogging, but I am finally (finally) applying all the things I've learned over the years and doing the simple things to be successful.  Partly to hold myself accountable and partly to inspire any bloggers out there wanting to start or grow their blogs, I'm going to start sharing my monthly blog traffic and income reports.

January was a fantastic month for The Reinvention of Jessica.  I wrote 19 new posts, the second most in the history of the blog (only topped by the Blog Every Day in May project I participated in in 2013 when I wrote 27 new posts), and had the highest traffic since I started.  Also, check this out, it's the first time I've actually made money since starting the blog.  What-what!!  Now, onto the nitty-gritty.

December 2015

First, I want to show you December 2015's traffic.  Get ready to laugh.  I only wrote 3 posts that month and did absolutely no social media promotion whatsoever.  The second half of 2015 had been difficult for me and my blog numbers, while never very stellar, had completely tanked.  I only had 272 page views (shameful!) from 178 users over 194 sessions.  85.6% of my traffic was from new users and 14.4% from returning users and I had a bounce rate of 80.93% (the lower the bounce rate, the better).  Pretty much what you'd expect when you've neglected your blog for months.

January 2016

Now for January.  In January I had 1,142 page views, an increase of 870 from December.  This traffic came from 476 users over 673 sessions with a bounce rate of 75.19%.  Now, I know that's small potatoes compared to even moderately sized blogs, but it's still a huge increase in page views (320% increase to be exact - since we're talking numbers and all).  I realize this type of growth is to be expected when you've gone from doing nothing to actually doing something and doing it in a calculated way and is realistically unsustainable unless something goes viral.  I'm definitely interested to see what February brings me.

What I Did Differently

What did I do differently this month?  For starters, I used an editorial calendar (check out this one - it's amazing {affiliate}) for the first time ever and made sure to post consistently.  My goal was to write 20 new posts and I just about nailed it.  I want to refine the topics I write about and to make sure I don't post too many of the same topics in a row and the calendar definitely helped me have a visual reference for what I was posting and when.  I also updated my blog design and have been working to make my posts more SEO friendly.  I put my focus on my Facebook page, which is my biggest social media referrer, and Instagram, which is the most fun social media platform for me to use.  I also started hosting a weekly link-up with Ariana, and I participated in several blogging and social media promotion Facebook groups.

What Did I Earn?

Over the years, I've gotten free products to use and review on the blog as well as tickets to events.  But this past month, I actually got paid (real money, yo!) for the very first time ever.  Ever!!!  To say I was excited is an understatement.  Earning money blogging has to start somewhere, right?  Anyway, this month I earned $75.  This certainly isn't enough to quit my day job (wait, I already did that), but it's a start and everything has to start somewhere.  Honestly, having the chance to blog for money fell into my lap thanks to a local blogging group I'm a member of and not from advertising or affiliate links in my posts, so there's still a lot of room for improvement.

Plans for February

This month I'm going to keep up with my consistent posting and editorial calendar for starters.  If there's nothing new for readers to read they aren't going to come to your site (duh).  I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing on my Facebook page (and hope their new algorithm doesn't tank things).  I'm going to be smarter with my Instagram use and try to increase my followers there, plus I'm going to focus on cleaning up my Pinterest boards because Pinterest is the number one referrer of traffic for most bloggers.  I'm also going to put more energy into the blogging and social promotions Facebook groups I'm part of and make sure to comment on a lot of blogs and participate in link-ups.

I know these numbers aren't as impressive as other bloggers, but everyone starts somewhere and January has been the first month that I've really applied the lessons I've been learning over the years.  When I first started blogging, I thought traffic would come naturally and organically (and some does), but to be truly successful with blogging and to build a following, you really have to get out there and promote yourself and your blog (which is why there are so many Facebook groups dedicated to just that).  I used to think it was disingenuous, but if you don't put yourself out there, the chances of someone finding you are pretty dismal.  Just look at the numbers - just a tiny bit of self-promoting and I increased my page views by 320%!

What have you been doing for your blog lately?  Have you stumbled on anything that has been working wildly for you?  I'd love to hear your success stories - tell me in the comments!!!

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