One of the stranger consequences of blogging for a living is that it makes you kind of resent public holidays. Yes, Easter, I’m looking at you, here.
When I worked in an office, I used to literally count down the days to those little reprieves from the usual working week, but now that I’m self-employed, I often don’t even know about them (There have been SO many times when I’ve been sitting at my desk working away, when I’ve suddenly realised that it’s a bank holiday or something, and the rest of the country is off enjoying themselves…), and, when the penny finally drops, my first thought is, “Damn, that’s going to affect my blog traffic this month!”
Given that April contained, not only Easter, but also the run-up to the May Bank Holiday (Which, yes, I know is technically in May, but a lot of people take the Friday before it off work, or are generally just winding down for the holiday, which means they’re not reading blogs as much as they usually would), it’s no surprise that April’s traffic was down on the month before: here are the stats…
Goal: 200,000 / month
Last month: 172,527
This month: 160,776
Of course, I can’t just blame the public holidays, and the general spring/summer slowdown, although both of those did play a part in my drop in views. No, April, unfortunately, was yet another hectic month for me, and the big project that was supposed to end mid-way through March is STILL rolling on, meaning that, although I don’t have a huge amount of work left to do on it, it’s pretty much impossible to plan anything, because I never know when I’ll be asked to do something else. My post count is still much lower than it was this time last year, and, in addition to that, Terry and I chose this month to renovate the entire bottom floor of our house, and that, needless to say, has taken up a huge amount of time: I think I just need to accept at this point that things are probably never going to get “back to normal” – it certainly feels that way, anyway!
This month’s focus has been very much on making the most of older content, rather than producing new stuff: I spent a bit of time updating some older posts, and sharing them again on social media, so, again, it was no surprise to find that all of this month’s top posts were older ones:
Here’s where my traffic came from:
Things I Did Differently This Month:
Other than posting less often (although not on purpose!), the main change I made this month was to start using Buffer’s HiPlay app to share my evergreen content on Twitter and Facebook. This is an app you have to pay for, but I got a free trial, and decided to give it a go. I’d previously been using the ‘Tweet Old Post’ plugin to do this, but hadn’t been very happy with it, as it didn’t include a photo with the links it was tweeting, and I find that tweets with images attached get more clicks than ones without.
I started using HiPlay at the start of April, and here’s the effect it had on the traffic I get from Twitter:
Pretty much speaks for itself, huh?
The Facebook stats, on the other hand, was less impressive:
Although sharing older posts didn’t really work on Facebook, this graph did tell me a bit about what my Facebook followers DO want to see. The first two spikes you see on the graph were from my posts about Rubin, while the second was the post on my tenth wedding anniversary. From this, it seems that the more personal posts are the ones that work best on Facebook, and while I haven’t had time to really do anything with that information, it’s definitely worth filing away for the future!
(Oh, and I did decide to subscribe to HiPlay after my free trial: I think it’s worth it for the Twitter boost alone!)
While my blog traffic wasn’t the greatest in April, it was another matter altogether on the income side of things, and April ended up being my best month ever, by quite some margin:
Once you see how that income breaks down, though, you’ll see why I’m not getting too excited about it:
Yup, the largest section of my income for April came from that giant freelance project I keep banging on about. I’ve included it in this report because this was an opportunity that came to me as a direct result of the blog, so although it’s not work I’ve done for the blog, it is work I wouldn’t have had without it, if that makes sense. While I’m glad I did it, and am grateful for the opportunity, however, this isn’t something I’m likely to repeat, so I’m sure this will be the best month of the entire year, income-wise!
If you’re looking to make a living from blogging, it’s worth noting that some of these revenue streams pay in arrears. The Reward Style payment, for instance, is for commissions I earned around three months ago, while the ebook sales are from February. As it happens, April was also my best month from book sales, although I know you wouldn’t think it to look at these stats! I released a paperback version of My Blogging Secrets at the start of the month, and although I didn’t really have very high expectations of it, it did surprisingly well, selling a lot more copies than I expected. Also unexpectedly, the paperback release also boosted sales of the ebook, so it was a good month all round – I’ll just have to wait a while to see the benefit of it!
One revenue stream that’s missing from this report is the ShopSense affiliate programme. This is actually quite confusing, as I had a pretty good month on ShopSense, too, it’s just that I haven’t received the payment yet, for some reason. It’s always a bit worrying when something like that happens, but it’s something you do come up against as a blogger (or any self-employed person, really), unfortunately, so fingers crossed it all gets sorted out soon!
And that was April! I know better than to set any goals for May right now, as my time is still not my own, unfortunately, so I’m just going to wait and see what happens, and hope I get a bit more time to really focus on the blog than I have been lately!