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June, July, and August 2013

September 11, 2013

I’ll admit it, I never got the June earnings post written.  Or July.  Or August for that matter.  Call me lazy.  I’ll just blame on the typical summer craziness.  I’m going to do my best with a summer wrap up post, here, but be forewarned, some info is probably missing.

As far as numbers go, I was really disappointed in how the summer traffic went.  I know that traffic is always down in the summer, but still, it was painful to experience.  My traffic dipped substantially in June, down to just 53k, but it slowly picked up during July and August.  I’m optimistic that September will be much better.

I made some changes to my ad network, I did my first sponsored post, and I started getting some more specific direction toward the end of the summer as well, all (hopefully) adding up to more ways to get some good traffic.

JUNE SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook: 1115
Twitter: 945
Pinterest: 2693
Google +: 1055
Instagram: 228
E-mail: 304
Klout: 62

JULY SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook: 1182
Twitter: 963
Pinterest: 2854
Google +: 1295
Instagram: 255
E-mail: 316
Klout: 62

AUGUST SOCIAL MEDIA: (numbers approximate)

Facebook: 1290
Twitter: 995
Pinterest: 3140
Google +: 2200
Instagram: 282
E-mail: 340
Klout: 63

Some thoughts on social media:  It’s frustrating no matter how you slice it.  Pinterest and Google Plus grew the most.  The funny thing is that I use G+ very sporadically.  In the past few days, I’ve been trying to share posts on G+ as much as possible, basically just for the SEO link juice, so to speak.  I’m not sure whether that is helping, and I feel like I am just jumping through some hoops to get better ranking on the Google SERP’s.  I hate that.

Facebook has been growing slowly, but I’ve been trying to increase engagement, which seems to be working somewhat.  It’s funny which questions people choose to answer, and which actually give people some kind of emotional response.

My main frustration has been with growing my e-mail list.  I feel like my efforts are not working.  The list has grown very little over the last couple months, and it seems people are leaving the list as fast as they are joining it.  I wish I knew why they were leaving.  I really need some better content.  {Update: Since adding the “Hello Bar” at the top of the site, and a button at the bottom of every post, e-mail subscription rates are up substantially.  I’m thrilled!}

I have started putting together a newsletter once a month for the e-mail subscribers.  I figured this could be newsy stuff, and a way to promote good products, not to mention re-promoting my most popular stuff from the month.

To that end, I have joined Commission Junction, and I figure I will try my hand at affiliate marketing.  I have no clue what I’m doing, but I guess that never stopped me before.

And as long as we are on the subject of money…  My earnings have been down, along with my traffic this summer.  I guess that’s to be expected to a certain extent, but it’s still disheartening.  I’ve about had it with Hyper X, who has not only changed their name this month to Today’s Momma, but who is showing the same ads over and over, and giving me the lowest RPM’s in the business.  In August, I dropped Hyper X and was using only AdSense for several days.  I then installed Social Spark ads, but I have no way of knowing how much I’m earning with them.  They pay on the 15th of each month for 45 days previous, so I won’t know until October, and they tell me they are working on a new interface to let me see what my earnings will be… but it’s not ready yet.

Let’s look at dollar signs.

JUNE: $66.64

AdSense: $29.67
Hyper X: $35.26
Amazon: $1.71
Sponsored: $0

JULY: $70.26

AdSense: $32.94
Hyper X: $37.32
Amazon: $0
Sponsored: $0

AUGUST: $219.77

AdSense: $74.08
Hyper X: $12.85
Amazon: $2.84
Sponsored: $125
Affiliate: $0
Book Sales: about $5

Having mentors and friends to keep me on track is already helping a lot.  One mentor suggested working on G+.  She told me to find some users with large followings, and interact with them.  I created a circle called “big plussers” and I try to daily, or at least 3-4 times a week, look through their posts, +1, share, comment, etc.  I have increased my following substantially since then, and I’m hoping it will bring me better ranking in SERPs.

Another mentor suggested getting in several pinning groups.  I was in one at the time, and have since become active in two more, one of them quite large.  It is time consuming promoting all those posts, but so far it’s been worth it, because I’m seeing a lot more repins, and more pageviews from Pinterest.  I would say that in the last week of August and the first week or two of September, traffic is up on average about 800-1000 pageviews a day.

Yet another friend recommended I get active on Stumble Upon, and she said she gets a lot of traffic from it.  I have been stumbling my little heart out, and I’m hopeful that this will be another stream of traffic for me.  I think I’ve had 6 total pageviews from SU in the last 30 days.  It’s basically non-existent so far, which I’m assuming means there is a lot of potential there.

Apart from traffic, I’m also continuing to work on a few other things.  Photography, for example, has been frustrating.  I’ve had a few disappointing photo shoots lately, and I’m getting tired of all my food being brown.  I’m going to look for ways to add more color into my photos.

I’m also upset that I can’t figure out how to get my blog to show “more pages” at the bottom of the home page.  I wrote to the creator of my theme, and they suggested a plugin for me to try, but so far I can’t figure out how to find the settings page, so there is obviously a lot of work needed to get this working right!  I think it will be worth it, and I believe it will bring up my pages per visit, especially for those landing on the home page.

Book sales were disappointing, but honestly, I have no idea how to market a book.  I think I need to get some ideas before I dive into the next book.  Research needed.

I guess that’s enough writing for now.  I can’t wait to see how September shapes up!  My goal is to get up to 100k pageviews/month before the end of the year, so I can get in with BlogHer and get paid a little better.  I have some ideas for big non-food posts coming up, so I have a ton of work to do!  I also want to get my bank account set up so I can start actually collecting all this money I’ve been earning with AdSense.  Wish me luck!

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