Heyyyyy! Hope you're all swell.
So, here we are. The second instalment of our brand new traffic and income report. Does it seem weird that I'm doing a traffic and income report on a food blog? Sure. Maybe. Why and what's the point, you ask? Well, almost everything I learned about blogging and building a successful blog has come from other bloggers income reports, and I read them voraciously.
But these reports are a little different from most of the others out there. This is a traffic building experiment with a twist. It has a beginning (January 2018) and an ending (December 2018) and a goal of getting traffic up to 500k page views a month by December. If you'd like to know a bit more about the reasons behind a traffic goal, rather than an income goal, then you can check out the first post here.
In January's post I wrote about getting outside my comfort zone and doing the things that freak me out. But, I also mentioned that I'm a child abuse survivor and that it has had an impact on me (obviously). It's had a huge impact on how I go about achieving goals and dealing with the self doubt that can go along with big plans. I often get derailed at very small bumps in the road. Which is exactly what happened in February.
I pretty much fell off the map for the month of February and March. Not sure if it was the writing of the income reports and the goal that freaked me out, or the open talk about surviving abuse. Either way... yikes! I hit a wall. No posts, no social engagement and not much blog progress.
The silver lining in all of this... well, there were a few. ( I am a die hard, perpetual optimist and will find the up side to anything and everything.)
- I had a few people reach out to me in the most heart felt ways. People I have never met, but know through Instagram and blogging. The kindness and encouragement people have expressed to me has made me cry on more than one occasion.
- I decided to reach out and get some help. It's important to realise that self help books and motivation lectures have their limitations, and I definitely reached the limit. Please don't be afraid to reach out to someone who can help you. Not easy, but definitely worth it in the long run.
- I discovered, or rather cultivated, a well of self compassion. Past hiccups, like the last couple of months, would have sent me on a tailspin of beating myself up. This time, I'm giving myself some room to breathe and not beat myself up. This has had a profound effect on how fast I've been able to get back to the blog and feeling like myself again. And it hasn't been fast, so you can only imagine how long it takes without giving myself a break. So, give yourself a break when things don't go according to your plans. It's okay... trust me.
So, with all that being said let's get into the numbers and see how February went.
Numbers were definitely down compared to the previous month. Like almost 40% down. I attribute this to the fact that I had two days in January where my Pinterest traffic went absolutely crazy and sent 4044 people to Salted Mint. A usual day is about 200-300 people from Pinterest.
Top 10 Traffic Sources
Desktop Vs. Mobile Traffic
Some notes on traffic
As you can see from the second photo listing traffic sources, Google organic is number 4. Having Google organic be your number one source of traffic is a situation many of us food bloggers strive for. To minimise your dependance on social media and algorithms doesn't take a lot of work, it just takes paying some attention. Learning how to do keyword research properly has been a game changer. The reason you'll want to work your hardest on organic search results is because an algorithm change on any one platform can mean that your strategy gets flipped on it's head at a moments notice. (Hi, Facebook!)
But what I really want to talk about is how it doesn't have to be a slow process. It was around November that I started to get serious about SEO and figuring it out. As I started to make changes to my posts, keyword research and SEO strategy, I saw my organic search traffic skyrocket.
As you can see a little SEO focus goes a REALLLYY long way. In just 3 short months I was able to increase organic search by 366%!!! A popular idea is that it takes a long time to increase search results like that. But, it doesn't. So please believe me. If I can get numbers like that while posting sporadically and fighting some personal battles, then I have no doubt that you can absolutely blow these numbers out of the water with a little focus.
So, let's dive into income numbers. This month will probably be more about comparing and contrasting this month over the month of November. I made some big changes for February, despite hitting a wall, and it's important to look at them in context rather than in a vacuum.
February was my first month with Mediavine and to say I'm impressed is an understatement. I didn't start with them until the 10th of February and even with ad revenue lower after Christmas I still did really well.
- Mediavine $118.34 RPM $8.68
- Amazon Affiliates $12.80
I know that these numbers really don't look like much but when they're compared to what I was earning with Gourmet Ads it's a huge improvement.
- November Gourmet ads revenue $12.64
The Take Away
Any progress, no matter how small, is still progress. When I started Salted Mint over a year ago, I had dreams that by now I'd be in the 80-100k page view a month range and growing. That I'd be creating content on a daily basis and that I'd be feeling the sweet contented feeling of a job well done and the gentle fatigue of a full day's work. These are the feelings I long for.
But instead I have spent the last few years fighting the life long effects of not dealing with the trauma of childhood abuse. It's the endless stop and start of self doubt, and if I'm honest, shame. The goals set that sail by with no real sense of progress towards them can leave you feeling exhausted and without direction.
So why on earth would I write about something as uncomfortable as all this?
Because I know I'm not the only one. There may be someone else out there struggling to come to terms with trauma never dealt with. Someone with dreams that feels defeated before they even start. If that's you, then please know that every step forward is progress, no matter how small the step might seem.
And my win on the progress front this month is that I actually reached out for help. That I still wrote this post, even though it felt a bit too after the fact, being that we're now in April. And the biggest win is that I am only now able to talk about something that has kept me small and hidden and feeling shame for most of my life.
I am so incredibly grateful for the readers who keep reading despite my current lack of consistency (I'm working on it). The fellow bloggers and virtual friends who reached out and sent virtual hugs and to the readers, commenters, pinners and sharers who are here. You guys really are the best. Thank you.
If you love traffic and income reports you may want to read some of these ones:
Root and Revel