Wow, I can’t quite believe it’s time for my February blog traffic report already: this month really seems to have flown by!
Before I go any further with this one, though, I should probably explain that although I’m calling these reports “monthly” ones, in order to be able to compare like with like, what I’m looking at are the past 30 days of traffic, as opposed to a strict calendar month. I know that might sound a bit cheaty to some of you, but I actually think it’s fairer, because if I were to go by calendar months, I’d end up comparing February’s 29 days (or 28, most years) to January’s 31, and, well, that’s probably ALWAYS going to show a drop in traffic, isn’t it?
As it happens, my traffic didn’t drop in February, but… it didn’t really grow by a huge amount either. That wasn’t unexpected – at the end of last month I said I probably wouldn’t be posting quite as much in February, and was expecting a dip in traffic as a result of that, so I don’t think I can really complain too much, all things considered! Here’s what the traffic for the month looked like:
Source: Google Analytics
Pageviews: 186,584 (last month: 184,458)
Unique visitors: 81,492 (last month: 77,984)
Posts published: 27
So, I guess the first thing to note this month is that, despite my promises, I actually DIDN’T post significantly less than usual. There were a couple of days when I didn’t have a post up, but for the most part I stuck to my usual posting schedule, and there was one reason for that: I got my mojo back. (Er, does anyone even SAY “mojo” any more? I’m thinking probably not…) December and January were, as you’re probably sick of hearing by now, pretty difficult months for me, and I really struggled to motivate myself as a result of that. For a few weeks there, blogging felt much more like the job it is than the fun hobby it started out as, (And, I mean, don’t get me wrong: even the worst days as a blogger are better than best days I had in a “normal” job, so please don’t think I’m complaining here!) and I was just feeling a bit burnt out, really.
Well, I’m not quite sure what happened in February, but all of a sudden I started enjoying myself again, and although it didn’t make much difference to the traffic the site got, it DID make a whole lot of difference to my mood, and as I was coming up with lots of ideas for content, I decided to just go with it, and write them all. I know I said I wasn’t going to force myself to stick to a daily schedule, but it didn’t really make sense to actively avoid posting either: and, on that subject, here are the posts which were most popular in February:
Top Content: Most Viewed Posts
No real surprises here, and yet again the most viewed posts on the site were the Ikea Makeup Storage post, and ‘How to Walk in High Heels‘, both of which get lots of traffic from Pinterest (you can follow me here, by the way). Actually, most of the posts in this top 12 are getting most of their views from social media rather than search engines, and that was a big relief to me this month because, as you might have noticed, Google made some big changes to its search results in February: luckily the blog doesn’t seem to have been affected by the changes (despite also getting quite a bit of traffic from organic search), but, as always, the lesson is to not have all your eggs in one basket! (By which I mean don’t focus all your efforts on either SEO OR on social media, but aim for a split between the two…)
In terms of the newer entries to this months top 12, I was interested to see that at least two of those (‘Things You Should Never Say’ and ‘Things Pale Girls are Sick of Hearing‘) were from the ‘Opinion‘ category, while a few of the others could also be described as mostly opinion pieces. I find that this kind of post tends to do well in general, because even if people don’t agree with you, at least they generate discussion: I definitely don’t recommend controversy purely for the sake of it, but at a time when a lot of people are too afraid to say what they think for fear of being “too negative”, I often find the most honest posts are also the most popular. Speaking of generating discussion, here are the most commented posts of the month:
Top Content: Most Commented Posts
By far the most popular in terms of comments were, again, ‘Things You Should Never Say to Someone‘ (65 comments) and ‘Things Pale Girls are Sick of Hearing‘ (57) – those were two of my favourite posts to write, too, and while not everyone who commented agreed with everything I had to say, I really enjoyed reading everyone’s opinions. I think when you write something that’s important to you, or that you really believe in (I’m not saying these topics are super-important to me, exactly, but they’re both essentially lists of those little throwaway comments that have bothered me for years now, and it was definitely good to get them off my chest!), people will generally respond to it, which is why I’m a big fan of publishing the posts I’m sometimes a little bit apprehensive about.
I was worried that these two would come off as “too negative” to some people, and I worried about the ‘Why I Don’t Miss the Good Old Days‘ post for the same reason: I know some readers DID have that response to those posts, but ultimately they generated discussion, and that can only be a good thing.
Traffic to the site this month was more or less the same as the previous month, so it’s no surprise that the sources of that traffic were broadly similar, too. There was a slight growth in social traffic, but nothing really significant. Pinterest is still the biggest referrer of traffic to the blog, although I haven’t been able to spend much time on it this month – which is possibly why the traffic didn’t grown much! (As always, the most popular pins are here.)
Having said that, Pinterest changed their algorithm at the end of February, I know some bloggers who’ve had a massive drop in traffic because of it, so it’s definitely something I’ll be keeping an eye on. I did notice a slight drop in traffic from Pinterest towards the end of the month, and that seems to have continued into March, so I’m not sure how it’ll end up affecting me. This just serves to reinforce what I was saying above, about not having all your eggs in one basket: it’s pretty sobering to think that one little change on the part of Pinterest or Google could lose me half my traffic, and the only way to avoid that is by diversifying as much as possible!
What I did differently this month:
I feel like I say this every month, but “not much” is the answer to that question! I do have an excuse this time, though: not only did I have to spend a fair bit of time on my other blog, which has had a bit of a re-brand, I’ve also been preparing for a holiday, which means writing all of the posts for that time period in advance. I know I’ve said it before, but this lining up of advance posts is always the most stressful part of my job by far, so it’s been a really busy few weeks, and I’m really grateful that it coincided with me finally starting to feel a bit more inspired again – it’s been hard work to juggle both the current month’s work AND do some of next month’s in advance, so it’s a good job I enjoy it!
The next goal I’d like to hit is to finally cross the 200,000 pageviews/month mark. I REALLY don’t expect that to happen in March (particularly given that my holiday means I’ll have much less time to spend on promotion, social media etc), and probably not in April, either, if I’m honest. If I can get to the end of the month without the drop in traffic I always get when I take a holiday, then (yes, even when all of the content is pre-written!), I’ll consider that a real achievement: fingers crossed!