(This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.)
They say 80% of all New Years resolutions will break by Valentines Day. Luckily, it’s not Valentines day just yet. I made a goal to get a post out each week for this year. And I’ve managed to keep that going…so far. And barely. I squeezed one last article in on the last day of January. It’s been a crazy month. My full time job picked up quite a bit, so it took a ton of motivation to write my usual weekly post. For those of you out there with kids, families, jobs, and still blog on the side…I don’t know how you do it. But you have my utmost respect.
As with all of these update posts, there’s a lot to talk about here. And I’m super excited to share what’s been going on. You know what they say. The only thing constant is change. And there’s lots of it this time around!
Here we go!
Site Changes – Appearance
I was looking at my website one day and I really wanted to change the header font. Something about the default font just didn’t sit right with me. I wanted it to be a little bit more modern. Well, I ended up looking up fonts for about two hours trying to choose the perfect one. Yeah, not the wisest use of my time. But, I ended up settling with something that I liked and editing the spacing a bit. I think it looks more modern and clean now. I’ve attached the change (in case you didn’t notice) below for comparison.
No logo yet. I’m still liking the minimalism. Even with a simple font change, it feels fresh to me. So, I’m going to stick it out for a while. Of course, nothing’s for certain!
I do want to continue modernizing my site as much as possible. If you have any cool ideas, be sure to let me know.
Site Changes – Content
I slightly regret telling everyone how determined I was to publish a book this year. As you might imagine, I haven’t made too much progress since last time. It’s great (and sucks!) having so many people hold you accountable. A few people reached out directly asking what exactly I planned on writing about. Or how far along I was. Keep on checking in. One day I’ll respond with an excited email telling you how much progress I made. I’m sure of it.
Unfortunately, I did fail at something already. I was supposed to do an app review once a month. I promise I was going to publish one of them (review of a popular budgeting app). But, when I looked back on it, I didn’t really like the way I reviewed it. It didn’t feel worth publishing at the time. So I’ll be going back and making some changes prior to publishing again.
Finally, I did add a pop-up subscribe box to the site. It took a while to implement correctly. At one point it was popping up 5-6 times in a minute for some people. Luckily, they told me pretty early on and I was able to correct it. Hopefully this will drive more email subscribers! But more on that later.
January got off to a rough, rough start. I’m going to assume that people don’t like reading things coming back from the winter break. Yeah, that has to be it. Also, I didn’t publish a new article from Dec. 22 until January 8th. And I didn’t promote a lot either. But, the numbers caught back up towards the tail end of January. Once I got back into the groove and started pumping out some new posts and promoting them, I got back to my average viewership numbers. Overall, viewership stats were lower than last month. But I’m still good with the numbers. Here are my stats/analysis for the month of January:
- Pageviews: 1910. That’s a tiny drop from last month (2091). But overall, I’m glad that we were able to get up there. Around 70% of those views came from the latter half of January, where I was more active. Even though the monthly views dropped, I know that by staying consistent, I can get this number up again.
- Sessions: 1057. Same as above. I saw the majority of sessions come in towards the end of the month.
- Users: 695. From a user perspective, this did drop quite a bit. I had 947 users in December.
- Duration: 2:49. This actually almost doubled from the previous month (1:33). Yes, I got less users, but those same people are spending more time on the site. This means that reader engagement has gone up. A good thing!
- Bounce Rate: 63.1%. Lower is better. And this number decreased as well from last month (67.69%). People are checking out more things on the site.
I’m liking what I see with the increased duration and lower bounce rate. Obviously, I’d love to see overall user growth and pageviews. But that gives me something to work towards for this month.
I didn’t do anything crazy with social media. Oh wait. I attempted to dive into the world of Pinterest. Yes, I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m definitely learning on the fly. But hey, at least I’m trying right?
- Facebook: They gave me a free $10 promotional ad campaign. So I went with it. Out of the 460 people who saw it, I got 7 clicks to my article. Not worth it in my opinion. I’ve still been trying to post in relevant Facebook groups. But it’s been hard keeping up with all the different groups. And it’s really hard to stand out, because almost everyone is trying to promote their own website. Other than that, I did gain around 22 followers since last month. Hoping to keep getting that number up. Targeting 200 followers for next month.
- Instagram: I mentioned that I’ve received the most referrals from Instagram. This continues to be the case. I’m trying to post something here everyday to keep readers engaged. Also testing out Instagram stories (I have no idea what to do here either). I’ve gained 15 new followers since last month. Unfortunately, I haven’t come up with any cool ways to interact with users here other than posting relevant pictures from my articles.
- Twitter: I’ve gained around 35 followers since last time. There’s lots of interaction and an extremely personal finance community here. However, I really don’t get a lot of traffic from promoting on Twitter. I have been scheduling out my tweets each week on Buffer and hope to keep doing what I can to keep it running.
- Pinterest: Yeah. Finally decided to dip my toes here. I’ve been trying to make more pinterest-worthy graphics with each post now. I may try out Tailwind in the future when I have a bit more time. I know the potential is there, but I’m definitely very new to this!
Work In Progress…
Here are some new things I’ve been trying out and my results so far:
- SEO: I’m always trying to improve here. Organic search accounts for anywhere between 20-30% of my daily views currently, I’m hoping to get this up and get my pages ranked higher in Google
- Editing Old Posts: This has been a big one for me this month. I realize as I output more and more articles and newer readers start following, a lot can get lost in a sea of archived posts. There’s a few things that visiting old posts has accomplished for me:
- Updated Info: Maybe I learned something new between now and when I wrote the article. Well, this gives me a chance to go back and update the article’s information. Not only does this give me a chance to review what I wrote, but I can make sure everything is up-to-date for the reader.
- Build Links: My first few articles don’t have many internal links. That’s because those were the only articles I wrote at the time! Well, now that there’s plenty more out there, I can add in the links to related articles.
- Improve: After revisiting some of these older posts, I realize that I’ve improved with the way I write and structure articles. Also, I’ve mentioned that I want my graphics to be more pinterest-worthy. So I’m able to go back and improve upon the things I don’t like. Note: I’ve added pictures below to show some of the improvements)
- Re-promote: And after all that, I can promote that article again! Back from the grave.
- Email Subscribers: I’ve added in a subscriber pop-up box. This was fairly recent, so I’m excited to see if this converts more subscribers or not. Other than that, this number has grown fairly slowly. People have told me that its hard to subscribe on mobile, so I’m hoping that this new method will solve the problem.
- Guest Posts: Recently, I’ve received a lot of emails asking for guest posts. I want to be highly selective of what I choose to publish, so I haven’t found the right one just yet. But you can be sure that if I do choose to publish someone else’s post, that it will be well worth your time to read.
Everyone likes talking money! I mean, this is a personal finance blog right? For the month of February, here are the numbers:
- Bluehost: $65 – I still find it amazing that people are not only clicking on the link to Bluehost, but signing up with them through my post. Bloggers make more bloggers, I suppose. Thank you, whoever you are!
- Amazon Affiliates: $2.50 – Yeah this is new. I was getting very low returns on some of the other affiliate programs I was using, so I recently added in this link. Hopefully I can convert on some related books/items from Amazon.
- Google Ads: $6.05 – A small amount, but I’ve been told that my ads are not intrusive, so I don’t mind leaving them on the website. Obviously, my views will need to grow by a significant margin to make this number worthy.
As many of you know, my income goal since inception has been to fund my 2018 Fincon Ticket. The ticket price is $449 currently.
- To-date Earnings: $215.55
- Target %: $215.55 / $449 = 48% of target
Last month, I was at 32% of my target. So, that’s a good 16% increase in a month. It will definitely still be a difficult road ahead to reach my goal, but the target is definitely within reach.
And to help with this, some people have told me to set up a Patreon. For those of you who don’t know, this is just a place where people can show support for what you do with small donations each month. There is absolutely no pressure whatsoever to support this site. However, if you really do enjoy what you read and feel that its worth your money to contribute a little to the site, feel free to check out the Patreon page. Every dollar helps!
You can view my Patreon page HERE.
Book reviews? Interviews? Budgeting tools? Yeah, all of that is in the pipeline. I don’t know how long that pipeline is, but there’s definitely cool stuff coming along. Lots to do and lots to learn. (Kong, you always say that.)
Be sure to comment below if you have any questions/thoughts/feedback. If you don’t want to tell me publicly, be sure to send me an email or contact me through any social media channel.
Most importantly, thank you all for following along on my personal finance journey. I really wouldn’t be able to keep this going without all your support!