Well hello, there!!!!
Welcome to the traffic and income report for the first quarter of 2019. I started these income reports last year with some pretty lofty goals of gaining some serious traffic, making an income and making Salted Mint a really special corner of the internet recipe world.
But, there was a stumbling block that I wasn't counting on... Mindset. As anyone with any kind of goal will tell you, it is the beginning and end of achieving anything. Concrete instruction, know-how, and technical prowess are all part of the equation too. But, even if you know all that stuff, if your mindset isn't there, none of it will help you.
And that's where I was. So much technical "know-how" but lacking in the mindset that would let me implement it all. So, I'm back to these income posts with the same goal; to get to 500K page views by December 2019.
Why a Traffic and Income Report?
It may not make sense to many people to do a traffic and income report on a food blog. But, when I first started out, and even now, I find other blogger's income reports motivating, informative and just really inspiring. When I was at a career crossroads, I didn't even know that you could make money from a food blog, never mind a living. It was other income reports that showed me what was possible and more importantly, how it was possible.
So, why am I doing my own income reports? Two reasons really.
- To pay it forward. If I can provide any insight of any value to a fellow blogger (in any niche) trying to "make it", then these reports will have been worth it.
- I mentioned mindset earlier in this post. But in the January 2018 income report, I also mentioned that I'm a survivor of child abuse. <- That never gets easier to type, write or say. But, I never dealt with it's lasting and severe effects. Always thinking that I should just persevere with my goals. Never realizing that that would be near impossible until I dealt with the underlying issues. And I've been treating it like a full-time job for the last 18 months. Like Brene Brown says, as soon as you name the thing that keeps you small, it loses its power over you. And no, I won't be talking or writing about it much, but, I can no longer turn away from it and pretend that it never happened. No corner of my life has been left untouched by it, and to pretend that these are normal income reports would do a disservice to anyone else going through something similar, or something totally different but that has as much impact.
The True Nature of Grit
Everyone thinks about giving up sometimes, maybe a lot of times, but they keep going. The word "grit" has come to be synonymous with people who achieve great things and create great lives. But, I am also going to boldly declare that giving up and coming back over and over, is it's own special kind of grit. The kind that will not let you stay down no matter what. So, my intention is to help anyone realize that just at the point they are wanting to give up, they can keep going. Or if you have given up, don't think that you can't come back and start again. You absolutely can.
I have picked up and put down this blogging thing more times than I can count, but it's the coming back time and again that I'm proud of.
How will these reports work?
I intend to go to monthly reports next month, but it did seem like the perfect way to restart them with a quarterly report. These reports will most definitely talk about the numbers, what worked, what didn't work and I plan on getting much more intentional about strategy and content creation and sharing that with you.
But, they will also tackle a lot of the mindset traps that we can all fall into. I'll be sharing the tools and techniques that can help us to keep hitting publish and the mindset shifts that can help us go from burnout to refreshed.
Traffic for the quarter wasn't too shabby considering my posting was sporadic throughout the whole quarter.
Since my SEO audit with Casey Markee back in February 2018 Google has been my number 1 traffic source every month. But last summer I took the Pinning Perfect course and my Pinterest results have been consistently on the increase. Pinterest is a notoriously slow-moving platform that values consistency and it can sometimes take a while to see real results. So, the fact that Google and Pinterest are neck and neck for traffic drivers makes me pretty happy. Means I'm doing a decent job with SEO and that my pinning strategy is paying off. Win-Win.
- MediaVine- $945.45
- Sponsored Posts- $980 (This was in GBP currency, but I've converted to USD to keep everything the same.)
Total Income -$1925.45
Intentional Ignorance is not a term that I had heard before, until I couple of days ago when I was reading a Pinch Of Yum income report. It's essentially leaving something off your plate intentionally that you think you possibly should know, but that you feel may slow you down.
It's no secret that the world of blogging can feel overwhelming. Especially if you're working a job on the side to keep you afloat. It' can be really tough to be able to do it all. My friend Natasha at Salt and Lavender wrote an amazing post about how she works full time and has grown her blog. She is blogging goals, for sure!
Recipes, photography, social media, tech, SEO, design, finance, etc. You get it. The list can and does seem endless sometimes. And as much as I hate to admit it, survivors of abuse can hit overwhelm much more quickly than most people. I'm learning to give myself a break here. I've beat myself up so much for this in the past. And you may beat yourself up for feeling overwhelmed sometimes. But you shouldn't. Practice intentional ignorance, instead. It may feel like slowing down, but it will speed you up in the long run. I pinky swear!
The Goals for April
My goals for April are to grow traffic and income. That's it.
In that order. As I write this, we are into the first week of April and I'm making a list of Do's and Don'ts for the month and practicing some intentional ignorance.
Things I Do
- Create recipes
- Keep focusing on improving my photography and styling
- Scheduling Pinterest using the Pinning Perfect strategy and Tailwind *(contributing to Tribes has been super helpful)
- Posting to and interacting on Instagram, because I love it.
- Working on my SEO and cleaning up older posts as well as creating fresh content. My goal is 3 re-do's per week, and I haven't set a goal for fresh content yet, but, I'm thinking 2 per week.
Things I Don't Do
- Post to Facebook. I know that a lot of bloggers would break out in hives at that statement, but the fact of the matter is, I just don't like being on FB and my page isn't that big, so doesn't generate a ton of traffic. I guest post to the Real Housemoms every month and they share some of my posts on their page which does generate traffic. So, I'll keep doing that.
- Video. Again, it can seem really counter-intuitive to let video fall by the wayside, but I just don't have the know-how and the time yet to create my own and hiring it out right now just isn't on the cards.
- Extra hours at work. This one is going to be the hardest for me. I work with people who I absolutely adore and I love cooking in a professional setting, but the more I say "yes" to someone else the more I'm saying "no" to myself. I make enough working to cover my bills and make enough from the blog that it pays for itself, but at the end of every month, I don't ever appear to be further along (in traffic & blog income) than when I started the month. So, there will be more "no's" than "yeses" to extra hours in the future.
The Mindest tools that kept me going this quarter
The book Mindset: The Psychology of Success By Dr, Carol Dwek. Talks about the difference between growth and fixed mindsets and how to change if you're fixed. It's been a real game changer.
Developing a morning routine. I'm still not rock solid on it, but having a loose idea of how I intend to start my day has been really helpful calming my mind.
Learning to meditate. Okay. This may sound really new age to some readers, but for survivors of child abuse, our fight or flight reflex is stuck in a permanent on position. This can range from mildly exhausting to absolutely debilitating. And everything I've read about recovery talks about the importance of meditation. And with mental health at the forefront of the media and the discussions going on about entrepreneurship and mental health, it's something everyone can benefit from.
I've actually taken a course. Yes. I know it's hilarious that I've gone to meditation school, but it's changing my life, so, I consider it money well spent.
This post has been massive, so thank you for reading this far. The next ones won't be as big, as they'll be month to month rather than quarterly. But, my goal for these posts is two-fold. Firstly, to keep track of growth for myself. And secondly, to provide insight into things that work beyond just the nitty-gritty of blogging, but into the mindset of keeping going. Maybe this will motivate someone else going through a tough time, just when they're about to give up and realize that a set back can be turned around.
I'll see you back here real soon for more recipes and deliciousness!