Traffic & Income Report for BBritnell.com- How I made over $800 on my blog in January 2016

Hi, friends!! As I told you last month, I’m going to start posting monthly income reports as a way to track the growth of my blog in terms of traffic and income. Writing things down really helps me put everything into perspective and I think will really help me out in the long run.

Additionally, the growth of my blog is due largely in part to the wealth of knowledge that I’ve gotten from so many other bloggers who are so transparent with their own numbers. I hope that I can share a bit of what I have learned along the way as well.

For those of you in the blogging world, you’ve likely seen quite a few blog income reports before. However, to my friends who don’t read food blogs as obsessively as I do, it might be very strange to you that I’m posting my income up in such a public way. I do realize it’s a bit odd. My hope is that 1) I can provide some insight and encouragement to others trying to make a bit of money online and 2) I can stay motivated myself to keep learning and keep growing.

So, without further ado…

The Traffic

Overview

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Note on Traffic: I’ve been hovering around the 60k/ month mark for quite a few months now. My current goal is to reach 100k/ month and I’m hoping that I can do it by this summer. Just for comparison’s sake, here’s a brief overview of my traffic starting in September of 2014 (because that’s when I started tracking it):

  • Sept 2014: 17,748 (exactly 1 year after starting my blog)
  • Dec 2014: 10,085
  • March 2015: 18,041
  • July 2015: 29,368
  • Sept 2015: 60,182
  • December 2015: 46,820

New vs. Returning Visitors

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Growing my dedicated readership (the people that come back week after week) is one of my biggest goals for my blog right now. That being said, the fact that 3,632.7 of you come back to BBritnell monthly really means a lot to me! Honestly I never even thought that many people would read my blog.

My goal is to get the returning visitors to a steady 30%.

Top Ten Traffic Sources

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Note on traffic sources: while Pinterest used to be my #1 source of traffic, Google search traffic has taken over which makes me VERY happy! I have been working very diligently to improve the SEO on all of my posts and I think it is really paying off. One of the biggest things that I’ve learned is that people on google are really looking for squash recipes! Among my top 5 recipes month after month (with most of their traffic coming from organic Google searches), 2 are spaghetti squash and 1 is butternut squash.

The Income*

Some of the links below are affiliate links. All of the products and services listed are ones that I use on a regular basis and highly recommend. If you have any questions about any of these, shoot me an email.

*I’m not including any of the money that I make via my food photography business.

Total: $813.54

Expenses

  • WP Engine Hosting: $51
  • Giveaways: $35
  • Food: $124.60
    I currently only expense food that I actually photograph for the blog and not food that’s just part of recipe testing.
  • Facebook Ads: $19.99
  • Adobe Lightroom/ Photoshop: $10.91

Total: $251.50

What I Focused on in January

Pinterest

In January I decided to pick ONE social media outlet and work diligently on improving my presence on that platform. While I enjoy Instagram and Snapchat a lot, I actually get the most out of investing my time in Pinterest. I spent a good few days just reading articles about how to authentically gain followers on Pinterest, the best time of day to post, etc.

Before I tell you what I did, I’ll first show you the numbers starting with how many I had when I first started this experiment up until today:

  • January 4: 950
  • January 6: 987
  • January 11: 1138
  • January 15: 1555
  • January 18: 1811
  • January 25: 2135
  • February 1: 2344
  • February 18: 2796

In 6 weeks, I raised my number of followers by 1846, that’s a 294% increase!! If I could sustain that level of growth, I would be at around 17,000 followers by 2017.

So, how did I do this? It’s pretty simple actually: I pinned. And then I pinned. And then I pinned some more. I was like a pinning machine! For the first 2 weeks, I pinned around 200-300 pins per day which I realize is a bit crazy and not sustainable. Since then I’ve been pinning around 50 pins per day. Here are a couple rules that I’ve tried to follow: 1) Pin throughout the day but with a focus on evening hours from 8-12. 2) Try to pin at least one pin to each board every day.

Something I noticed is that I seemed to gain more followers when I really focused on one topic at a time. Some days I would pick a board and pin ~20-50 pins to that board all in one sitting. I’m not sure how accurate that is but I always noticed a big boost in followers on the days that I focused on one specific board.

In addition to pinning a lot, I cleaned up all of my boards which includes 1) Making sure that each board had a clear and searchable title as well as a clear and searchable description. I also made sure that each board was marked with the appropriate category. 2) I erased a few rarely used boards and added quite a few more boards to organize things better 3) I made a simple spreadsheet to help organize pinning to my group boards.

Posting Consistently

One of my main goals for 2016 was to find a regular posting schedule and to stick to it. I’ve been consistently posting on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and managed to post 15 times in the month of January! I’m very proud of that accomplishment. So far I’ve managed to keep up this posting schedule in February as well.

Reaching out to Brands

Another goal of mine for 2016 is to partner with more of the brands that I already love and use on a regular basis. I started this process in January. I haven’t had a ton of success so far HOWEVER I have joined a couple networks that work to pair up brands and bloggers and have already been accepted to participate in some great campaigns.

Focus for the next 30 days

Right now I’m focusing on building an ebook that will be offered for FREE to my readers who sign up for my email newsletter. I have a full plan written out and the majority of the content for the ebook ready (I LOVE the content that’s going in this book!!). I made the decision to pay a professional designer to design the ebook for me and luckily I have a good friend who is an amazing designer! I hope to have this up and running no more than a month from now.

Thanks to YOU

Thanks to you for visiting my blog, I have been able to sponsor a young girl in Haiti this month (and plan to do so for quite a few months to come). My plan is to continue donating 10% of everything that I make from my blog. I’m grateful for this opportunity to give back, even if just a little for now.