My Very First Blog Growth Report (+ vital lessons learned in my first 9 months)

One Lesson Visiting A Local Restaurant (1)

How has your week been, amiga/amigo ?

So far so good for me except it seems I have the sniffles and so my joints feel sore and all I want to do is go lie in bed. However, I have been anticipating this post so much that I did not want to put it off.

Enough small talk.

Welcome to my very first blog growth report & the lessons I have learned in the last 9 months since this blog started.

Let’s dive right in.

Background

I started this blog back in July of 2014 because I had been dabbling in blogging and online entrepreneurship for a long while and finally wanted to take it to the next level working towards making a full-time income online while blogging about it.

If you check out this post, I talked about 2 things I would be focusing on as I ventured into the world of online entrepreneurship hardcore.

The truth though was that I was at the tail-end of a PhD, had a very active one year old and simply could not focus on the “Biz Journey” part of the blog.

So after going through a few iterations of my purpose/focus for the blog, I decided to settle on helping beginner bloggers and online femme-preneurs build a better online presence through blogging and social media while throwing in snippets of my journey occasionally.

I believe that it is this settling on a focus that has helped my blog grow from total obscurity to where it is today.

I am not where I would like to be but it is definitely an improvement over the average of 2 visitors per day I used to get back in July and August of last year.

I really started getting serious with this blog in January of this year which is why I am really excited to share my growth with you.

The Purpose of This Report

There are 3 main reasons why I wanted to do this.

1) I want to be totally transparent about my blog with you (my wonderful reader) about the ins and outs of this blog

2) To track my growth and the things that contributed to them. This also helps me eliminate methods of growth that are not working and focus on the ones that are major contributors to growth.

3) Doing self-examination keeps me humble (as it should !)

The first area of growth I want to tackle is blog traffic. For this report, I will be telling you what happened from January 2015 until today (I am writing this on April 29). Subsequent reports will be released on a monthly basis.

Traffic Report

Here’s a snapshot from my Google Analytics Dashboard.

The graph has been broken into weekly chunks because showing a daily report for 4 months just looked weird.

This blog had 5131 sessions in the past four months (a session is any period of time a user was engaged with the blog) and was viewed 12,446 times.

In January, traffic hovered at 60-70 sessions per week. Towards the end of January, I started to take steps to promote my blog massively (because blogging is 50% content creation and 50% promotion) and so I decided to try out StumbleUpon.

The first post I Stumbled definitely brought in more traffic than I bargained for – over 2000 visitors to that blog post alone that week.

There however is a downside to going viral on a site like StumbleUpon – the length of time visitors stay on the blog is considerably shorter ( 9 seconds on average vs 1 minute or more with traffic that came to the blog from Pinterest & Google Search. See the figure below).

So yes, it was nice to get that bump in traffic but I would rather have 100 engaged users than 1000 who are simply “touch and go”.

Starting in March, the average rose to approximately 200 sessions per week.

Slow but steady growth. I like it.

All Traffic   Google Analytics

Referral Spam

I really hate referral spam because you get these numbers in your analytics saying there is traffic coming from these sites but these “visitors” don’t spend any time on the blog at all and it seems these sites are more interested in having you click on their links than actually helping you with traffic.

That was highly irritating BUT thankfully they didn’t take up a large percentage of precious traffic space.

If you have experience with blocking referral spam or know a resource that’s helpful, please let me know. Thanks !

Alexa Ranking

MOB-J is currently the 886,462th most popular blog in the world as of April 29 2015.

I am no CNN or Facebook but considering I was at 2.4 million on January 14 2015, I have definitely gone up some.

One of my goals is to hit 100,000 or below by the end of the year.

Note : For my friends who don’t understand the Alexa ranking system – the lower the number the better your rank and vice versa.

Also, I know it is still possible to make some money with your blog even if your Alexa Rank is not that great. It’s just that, the more popular your blog is (generally), the more likely it is for you to get those perks like being able to make an income from the blog.

 

alexa

 

Subscriber Count

Here’s a snapshot of my Mailchimp dashboard. Subscriber count in March was abysmal but my guest post in April really helped to overcome the slump.

Generally though, I have seen a steady growth in e-mail subscribers since the blog started.

MailChimp Dashboard   My Online Biz Journey

 

Contributors to Growth

In no particular order, these are the factors that I know without a doubt have contributed to the steady growth I’ve been observing with MOB-J.

1) I selected a clear focus on the audience I wanted to help – beginner bloggers and online entrepreneurs.  This also helped me to tailor my blog posts to that audience

2) I worked at writing no-fluff , useful blog posts in the 1000-1500 word range . Longer content tends to rank better in Google Search. I try my best not to get bogged down by this fact though.

3) I got serious about promoting my blog posts on social media especially on Pinterest and Twitter. I loved getting traffic from Pinterest so much I did a webinar on it in February as well. You can watch that webinar here if you haven’t already.

4) I joined Triberr

5)I wrote my very first guest post for Basic Blog Tips.

6) I joined a mastermind in January

7) I started building genuine relationships with some bigger name bloggers mainly by commenting on their blogs.

8) I am also constantly working on offering a more valuable opt-in gift

Each of these points warrants a blog post however if there is ONE thing I would recommend every blogger/online ‘trep to do if you are looking to grow your blog/biz it would be to join a mastermind.

Find like-minded people in your city or in your social media groups, pick a time to meet to hold each other accountable, contribute and execute. It will do wonders for you.

Being part of the mastermind has stretched me in ways I never thought were possible and so far has been the best move I’ve made for my online career.

Wrapping Up

First of all, whew !

That was really soul-baring & uncomfortable but I wanted to put this out there for the reasons I stated earlier and to let my friends out there who are just getting started know that they can do this.

Little drops of water do make a mighty ocean. Tweet this

The key is to not take those little drops for granted and give up before the ocean actually arrives.

What do you think ?

If this post helped or inspired you or if you have any questions, let me know in the comments. 

I help beginner bloggers & online femme-preneurs build a better online presence. Would you like me to help ? Gain access to the members-only Blogging Mini-Vault to get started.