HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! It’s January 1st & I’m here to share with you my third month blogging report!
2020 ended with a bang for me! I smashed my main goal way before the end of the month (spoiler alert), so I promised myself to STOP obsessing over numbers.
And today I finally opened Analytics and OMG!!!!!! I’m so excited & grateful. SO much happened this month & I can’t wait to share it with you!
(I also got a new lens for my camera!!)
So, let’s dive in!
Let’s start with a quick review of my third month blogging goals:
🗒 DECEMBER BLOGGING GOALS REVIEW
- 1600 pageviews – ✓SUCCESS!! – I reached 2938 pageviews, dang almost 3000! 😭
- 10 new posts. ✓SUCCESS – I posted 10 new recipes!
- 10 links published. ✓SUCCESS – exactly 10 links published!
- 20k monthly viewers on Pinterest. ✓SUCCESS – I’m currently sitting at 35k & I completely changed my strategy, more on that later!
- Join 3-4 group boards. ✓SUCCESS – I joined 11 new group boards!
- Target high(er) traffic keywords. ✓SUCCESS – I started doing this but I’m not sure I like it lol!
- Complete Unit 01 & Unit 02 of Foodtography School & up my photography + editing game. ✓SUCCESS – I completed both unites & improved my photography & editing!
- Update my opt-in. X FAIL I really don’t like email marketing so I procrastined & ended up not doing this.
- Work on my email list (sequences). X FAIL uh oh, same thing happened here!
- Try not to lose my sh*t. ✓SUCCESS – I loved December 2020!
Like I said, I loved December & I’m so happy with my results!
December is rich rich. Like, it’s “food month”. Everyone’s looking for recipes, even people that don’t usually cook or bake much. Everyone’s numbers go up & then January hits, you know…
This means that I’m kinda eeeeek about December being over because I’m kinda trying to follow a lil’ scheme I did & I didn’t realized that the big jump in my scheme was going to happen right at the beginning of the new year which is skinny season.
Not as in “diet” or that kinda bs, but skinny as in “numbers tend to go down for everyone”. The Holidays are over. People are done with desserts & heavy cream, you know.
So we’ll see what January has in store for my baby (JANUARY PLZ BRING IT TF ON).
📊 GOOGLE ANALYTICS
Ooooo the numbers are finally in!!! 🥁
All that green is so festive lol!!!
My pageviews are up by 165% & I almost made it to 3000! OMG when I saw 2938 I was like WHATTTT!!! Why not 3000? But then I remembered… my first month I was sitting at 700. Last month I hit 1000 for the first time.
Be grateful b*tch.
This is my third month blogging. There are people out there hitting 20k in their third month (VERY rare, take those reports with a grain of salt especially if they’re tryna sell you something) but there are also people wishing they could get to my number so…
THE GOOGLE CORE ALGORITHM UPDATE AND MY FREAKOUT
I’ll tell you a good story.
One day I woke up, looked up one of my posts that ranked 1st on Google only to realize that it wasn’t there anymore. I hit refresh like 5000 times in a row. Nothing.
So I started looking up other recipes that were in Google’s Top 3 and NONE of my recipes were showing on Google. None of them.
My impressions & clicks went down to zero. Just when I had started to get some traction, my third month blogging, right at the beginning of December!!!
I couldn’t figure out what was going on.
Then I realized.
Google had rolled out a MAJOR core algorithm update (yup, right in the middle of the Holiday season) & by the way, big updates like that one can take up to 2 weeks to fully roll out.
SERPs volatility was at an all time high.
And Damn Spicy was gone from Google.
I was freaking out.
My baby was going down.
It wasn’t my fault (& that was kinda comforting) but I also had NO idea if I was ever gonna make it back up!
So I turned to social media & of course everyone was freaking out, even bigger/older sites were going down. Only big big blogs were staying afloat, completely unbothered.
I kept the Tequila out of my way & held it together, checked back in 4-5 days & BOOM, I was back up where I was right before the update & I kept going higher!!
There are still people out there with older blogs & higher DA ratings that haven’t made it back up to where they used to be so I’m immensely grateful for this!
But I did miss out on 7 days worth of traffic (in freakin December!!!!) which means that I could have probably made it to 3000 pageviews had Google not rolled out that mf lol.
(Btw, my impressions more than doubled in a month, cheers to that.)
THEY DAY I GOT ON GOOGLE DISCOVER
Then on December 6, a regular Sunday, I woke up & checked my Analytics as usual (I’m obsessed I know).
And no joke, the little live map was showing people landing on my blog from literally *EVERYWHERE*!
Right in the middle of the core update! Right when I was freaking out! I couldn’t believe it lol.
You know what happened?
My Veggie Vermicelli Stir Fry got on Google Discover.
Don’t ask me how.
Thank you Google, you made Damn Spicy plummet in a day but then got it on Google Discover & gave me a major boost. I forgive you lol.
MY NEW PINTEREST STRATEGY
Let’s talk Pinterest for a moment.
At the very beginning of my blogging journey I got Carly’s “Pinteresting Strategies” course & I was *SO* happy with it. I learned a lot.
I naively thought I could just follow her strategy, the one she explains in the course, and make it work for my Pinterest. That’s why I bought the course lol. There are so many people out there claiming they followed her strategy and got these incredible results in like a month.
Well, that didn’t happen…
And I followed her strategy to a T. I had notes, lists, a detailed plan, everything. I even went over the course more than once, watched all the videos but it still didn’t happen.
I barely made it to 11K & then I plateaud for weeks (no, my pins aren’t ugly or boring).
Now, I’m not saying “don’t buy her course” because it’s a great Pinterest course for beginners & Carly teaches you how to set up a Pinterest account the right way.
But unfortunately there is no way to know if HER strategy will work for YOU. It might work for some but not everyone & you might need to create your own.
In November I sitting at 11K frustrated as f*ck until I completely changed my strategy in December:
Basically, I knew I needed to find MY OWN strategy using what I had learned from Carly.
So I started lowering my standards and applying to more group boards.
I also started posting LESS pins. I only pin 1 fresh pin/day and repin 2-3 pins whenever I open my Pinterest app. That’s it.
My impressions skyrocketed!!!
Take a look:
Of course more impressions meant lower CTR…
My CTR went from 2.5% to 1.03%.
But I’m telling you: before I changed my strategy my pins would get like 20-90 impressions in 2 weeks.
Now my pins get to +1k/2k in the same amount of time. This means more saves & more clicks with less work! YAY!
I more than TRIPLED my monthly viewers in a month.
Let’s talk traffic. Here’s a lil pie chart moment for ya:
Organic traffic is my main focus but this month the crazy Google core algorithm moment didn’t help. Like I said I missed out on 7 days of organic traffic so my organic actually decreased & went from 18.1% to 15.6%.
My direct traffic is higher because I got on Google Discover which shows up as direct traffic on Analytics. (No it wasn’t bots.)
My social traffic is also higher because I joined a few Facebook groups (I don’t like Facebook but look… it’ll do) & also, someone is sharing my recipes on Tumblr & it looks like they got good traffic on their Tumblr so a lot of people are coming from there!
(I don’t know who you are but thank you internet stranger!)
🤍 YOUR DECEMBER FAVORITES
Here’s what people loved in December, my third month blogging:
- Veggie Vermicelli Stir Fry (Vegan)
- Russian Oladi Recipe With Apples (Russian Pancakes)
- Russian Apple Cake with Sour Cream
- Russian Piroshki Recipe With Potatoes And Meat
- Chinese Eggplants With Spicy Garlic Sauce
- Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls With Dipping Sauce
- Russian Chocolate Salami Dessert (Shokoladnaya Kolbasa)
- Homemade French Hot Chocolate For Two
- Meatballs In Beer Sauce
- Pan Fried Feta Cheese With Honey And Sesame
I love how most of my most loved recipes are Russian because cooking Russian makes me so happy! 🙂
I honestly thought people weren’t going to love Russian cuisine at all (it’s one of my fav along with Georgian, Greek & Chinese/Asian) so this was very surprising to me!
IMPROVING MY FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY
As I mentioned in my second month blogging report, I recently enrolled in Foodtography School by Sarah Crawford and OMG I love it.
It’s jam packed with information & Sarah is such a good teacher.
I completed Unit 1 & Unit 2, sent my Unit 1 homework for review & got a ton of positive feedback which made me super happy. I wasn’t expecting it!
I also created my photography mood board which helped SO much!! It was such a simple task but it was really helpful & I no longer dread shooting food & setting up my scenes. I feel like I’m kinda finding my own style.
Also!!!! I got a new lens for my camera, I got the one Sarah recommended for beginners & I’m in *LOVE*!!!!
Let’s take a look at my progress:
The apple cake was before Foodtography School & with my old lens (my second month blogging) while the eggplant parmesan (kind of a difficult food to shoot btw!!!) is after FS & with my new Canon EF 50mm/1.8 STM (third month blogging).
You can see the difference in the quality, colors, depth of field, editing… basically everything!
And I know I still have a lot to learn when it comes to food photography & editing but the progress is there & I’m here to celebrate it!! 🙂
So Instagram. Hot topic lol.
The algorithm is really something, you know. Yes it’s as difficult as they say.
So after getting frustrated with my first few posts back in October, I left it alone. Like, I completely stopped posting. I started being active again in December & I tried to stay consistent this time.
Also, I keep hearing how Instagram is not worth it & while I sorta agree with that (I mean Pinterest, organic traffic & email marketing are lot more important), I don’t think you should totally ignore IG.
For once, it’s like a portfolio & if you want to blog, you need an Instagram & it has to be updated & active. A dusty a*s IG ain’t gonna cut it.
And also, I noticed that I’m actually getting saves & clicks & whenever I get a click the bounce rate & session duration are REALLY good. Like Instagram people are VERY interested in your stuff & once they click, they stop & look around.
I think if you can get an audience on there, it can translate into very good traffic. And I know a good IG audience is possible, it’s just difficult.
So I developed a new strategy that I’m still refining but basically I try to mix up my hashtags and include both popular & unpopular hashtags. I know this is cryptic af but I’m still trying to figure it out myself lol.
So far I’ve been getting ACTUAL followers even on days when I’m not posting which is rare for a new account.
You guys, it’s slow because I haven’t even reached 100 followers (can you imagine?!) but I’m trying to be active & post weekly. I tried daily but I don’t have enough content for that.
Also, I’m SO late on Reels but they’re all the rage right now so I’m going to start sharing reels weekly & make one for every recipe I make!
Instagram is rewarding accounts that make Reels so I wanna do that.
No, I haven’t monetized yet.
No, not even in December.
Reason being: 2938 pageviews probably means 0.02$ in Google Ads.
No affiliate marketing, no sponsorships, no nothing.
Welcome to my third month blogging income report, was that exciting?
👆🏻JANUARY BLOGGING GOALS
- 3367 pageviews (in January, after the Holidays, OMG EEEEEK!!!)
- 10 new posts.
- 10 links published.
- 50K monthly viewers on Pinterest.
- Join 4-5 group boards.
- Complete Unit 03 & Unit 04 of Foodtography School.
- Update my freakin opt in because it’s not working.
- Make IG reels for every new recipe.
And that’s a wrap loves.
Such a long post but December was CRAZY!!!!
PS: if you’re interested in starting a food blog or you’re a fellow food blogger, leave me a comment down below & tell me what you think of my third month blogging or if I’m playing too safe with my goals!