Hey guys! It’s November 3 (eek!!), and this post is *LONG* overdue, so here we go! This is the uncensored truth about my first month blogging.
And no, it’s not going to be just an income report, I’m also going to include my goals, what worked, what didn’t, what I’ve accomplished… basically, everything about my first month blogging!
For those of you who just landed here on Damn Spicy, HI!!! I officially “launched” my food blog on August 23 (it was just me and a bunch of Google bots btw). I had 20-ish posts up, but I started promoting about a month later, on September 25.
I posted my “Month Zero” post back in August, where I went over my budget and plan, basically all the “behind the scenes” stuff before I went live!
After that, it took me a month to start promoting, mainly because I’m a special type of fool. Jk, but really, I was nervous. I ended up thinking “what if people don’t like my content?” and I got stuck.
Which is weird, like, that is *NOT* me. I’m usually a proud b*tch. I guess all the stuff going on in my personal life is starting to take a serious toll on me + 2020 is crazy af + starting a new project (this baby right here) is terrifying… yea, not the best combo.
So I procrastinated for a month ⏤ if this is you, if you’re procrastinating creating a blog or promoting your content, *DON’T DO IT*. El tiempo es el fuego en que ardemos (if you didn’t take Spanish in high school: “time is the fire in which we burn”).
🗒 First Month Blogging Goals Review
First things first, I want to go over my first month blogging goals to see what I’ve actually accomplished! (EEK!)
- 1ooo pageviews X FAIL!
- 20 good quality posts ✓SUCCESS!
- 8k monthly viewers on Pinterest ✓SUCCESS!
- Join at least 3 good quality group boards on Pinterest ✓SUCCESS!
- Create a free product for my email list ✓SUCCESS!
- Gain at least 5 email subscribers X FAIL!
I went live on August 23 but started promoting my content on September 25. To make this report easier I’ll consider September (1-30) and October (1-31) as my first month blogging.
I know it’s technically two months but I didn’t start promoting until late September so I obviously wasn’t getting ANY results from Aug 23 to Sep 25.
So I’m going to show you stats from both September & October so you can get all the numbers you might want lol but I’m going to consider October my first month blogging because that’s when I really started working on promotion + content.
Anyways, the numbers are in *drumrolls*!!!
September is in orange and October is in blue.
Okay, I obviously wasn’t expecting 10K pageviews my first month blogging but I was trying to reach at least 1K/month which definitely didn’t happen. I’m sitting at 701 pageviews (two months combined, that is).
I mean, I’ll take it, I’m not complaining, I’ve seen case studies where people struggled to get 40 pageviews/month so, I’ll take 701.
All I’m saying is: not everyone gets 10K pageviews in their first month blogging but we always hear from bloggers that did (or claim they did) so we get discouraged if we don’t get the same results. Moral of the story: don’t get discouraged. Thanks for coming to my pep talk. Next.
📊 Sessions per User / Sessions
I’ll be honest, I’m not super happy with these. I don’t know if it’s just me being new to the game or if I’m doing something wrong or what.
Maybe my brand isn’t clear enough or my voice isn’t that exciting? I’ll try to find out.
📊 Average Session Duration / Bounce Rate
Same as above, IDK if I’m doing something wrong or if it’s okay but my bounce rate is definitely high.
It’s starting to go down a lot though so I’ll keep an eye on it. I’m sure the big spike on October 19 (more on that later) played a major role in that 119% increase in my bounce rate! Same thing goes for my avg session duration!
📊 Impressions / CTR
These are from Search Console and while my impressions aren’t high, my Average CTR (click-through rate) isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be! I mean, you can have 80K impressions but if your CTR is 0…
🖊 What I Did
This is a quick list of what I did in September/October:
- Submitted my recipes to recipe sites.
- Created a Pinterest from scratch, developed a Pinterest strategy & worked on it every single day (starting Sept 25).
- Started an Instagram page from scratch.
- Kept creating content focusing on SEO.
👍🏻 What Worked
👍🏻 1. Submitting recipes AKA The Huge Spike!
On October 19 I was checking my Analytics (I know you’re not supposed to do it when you’re new but f*ck it) and I thought I was dreaming or drunk!
I went from an average of 0-2 users/day to 48 and the day wasn’t even over yet! My “Realtime” tab was filled with activity, people were coming in and checking out my food. I was like NAH!!!!!
I knew something was up because you just don’t get 87 new users in a day out of nowhere, someone *HAS* to be sending these people over to your blog. Turns out FoodGawker had just published my Cozy Autumn Chowder With Roasted Pumpkin and Best Apple Slab Pie recipes (you can only send 2).
I went on FoodGawker and realized that my recipes were getting a ton of attention compared to the other recipes on there (the ones that went up in the same batch). Not gonna lie, that made me feel good. People were liking and viewing my posts and they were picking mine over all the other ones. I was standing out.
As of right now (two weeks later), if you type in “chowder” my recipe is ranking (#3) and doing pretty well! I know it will eventually go down but let me celebrate lol!!!!
Same goes for my apple slab pie (#1)!
Also, I had *NO* idea that bloggers had guides on how to get featured on FoodGawker, like I literally had no idea it was “hard” to get featured, I just sent two recipes without even thinking about it and both of them got accepted. I’m *SO* grateful!!
I’ve been accepted to other recipe sites as well but… no big spikes, so they don’t have much traffic! FoodGawker, on the other hand, has so much to offer!
👍🏻 2. Pinterest
I started a Pinterest from scratch and developed a strategy following Carly Campbell’s Pinterest e-course. I managed to go from 0 monthly viewers to 10k in just a month (Sept 25 to Oct 25)!
I know there’s people out there that go from 0 to 200k in a month but look, honestly I don’t know how tf they do it. I don’t know. I even bought a very popular Pinterest e-course and followed everything to a T: 10k is what I got, okay? lol
BUT. Because I didn’t know what to think of my Pinterest CTR, I went looking for avg CTR. My CTR seemed so low I felt discouraged and wanted to know what successful food bloggers were looking at.
GIRL. I found out that a good avg CTR is around 0.2% for food bloggers! I’m sitting at 0.41%! So people are actually liking my pins, it’s just that I need more exposure. FoodGakwer told me exactly that and Pinterest did the same so I don’t feel *AS* discouraged anymore.
If you’re struggling with the whole “are people liking my content” type questions, submit your recipes to recipe sites with good traffic & start a Pinterest account and see what kind of results you get!
Anyway, here are my most clicked pins:
Speaking of Pinterest, I also got accepted to 4 food-related keyword-rich group boards!! I really wasn’t expecting this but it happened and I didn’t even have to send dozens of emails!
This is a win for me because I know how hard it is to get accepted to *GOOD* group boards with less than 300 members!
👍🏻 3. Content and SEO!
On October 15 I got my first organic click! SAY WHAT?! I was *SO* confused and excited! I thought this was going to take *SO* much longer!
Turns out, those two backlinks on FoodGawker made my Corn Chowder and Apple Slab Pie skyrocket! Now when you type in “apple slab pie with icing” I’m ranking #5!!!! Like, it’s *SO* difficult to rank 1-10 on Google and I made it in just two months with the help of a recipe site!
My Corn Chowder is currently ranking #13 when you type in “autumn corn chowder” which is pretty good!
I’m also getting clicks on other recipes that haven’t been published anywhere but I’m not ranking 1-10 on Google, so I’m not sure how people are finding them but they are and I’m *NOT* complaining! Love that for me!! lol.
👎🏻 What didn’t work
OMG. This was beyond frustrating. I deactivated my personal/aesthetic IG and forgot how bad it was to grow one from scratch. Absolutely ridiculous. Their algorithm is something else, I thought people were exaggerating but they were right!
Also, everyone’s thirsty af. You only get “looks great!!!!” comments and people that follow you in hopes that you’ll follow them back. Or DMs about “hey, you’re a new blogger!!!! check out my new e-course!!!11!” thank you Tiffany, super helpful.
No genuineness whatsoever. How do you even grow in an environment like that?
On top of that, hashtags got partially blocked/deactivated because of the elections so people couldn’t find my posts. I posted the other day (I wasn’t aware of the block), and checked my post after a few hours: 0 likes, NO ONE saw my post. Like, why am I even putting effort into it, you know?
I know that Instagram isn’t where traffic is at BUT having an IG page is a good way to keep up with people that like your content and (eventually) make a good impression on brands. But damn, it feels impossible, especially in 2020.
I think I got 1-2 clicks through my Tap.Bio thing but that’s it. Honestly, I don’t know what to do when it comes to Instagram but I’ll have to figure it out asap.
Here’s a sad picture of my ‘gram:
👎🏻 Email subscribers
So I created my free opt-in during one of those late night frenzies that I get from time to time and I think it’s cute but not good enough (it’s a free e-book with 10 recipes), on top of that it took me a full month to finally figure out pop ups.
That combo didn’t land me 5 email subscribers, like *AT ALL*. I don’t even have one. I think the ebook isn’t unique enough, so many bloggers are offering their own, why get mine?!
So I’m already working on another free product! I’m way more excited about this one because I haven’t seen it anywhere and I think it’s a lot of fun, like I would totally subscribe to get it so we’ll see how that goes.
You know why? No ads, no affiliate links, no nothing. I wasn’t monetizing and I did this on purpose.
I didn’t want to slow down my site with ads when I barely had people coming in. And I didn’t want to apply for Amazon affiliate program for the same reason: they give you 180 days and if you don’t bring in at least 3 sales, they kick you out.
I know there are bloggers that ask other bloggers to purchase through their links so they don’t get kicked out because they apply too soon. I just didn’t want to go down that route, I don’t even have blogging friends lol :(.
I will start considering affiliate marketing from now on and IF I find a good ad network I’ll try ads as well, but I just know that 700 views won’t give you a penny so I’d rather monetize when there’s something to actually monetize. I probably missed out on 5 cents, let’s be honest.
👆🏻November Blogging Goals
SO. Here are my Novemeber blogging goals. It feels weird to type them out… I’m usually very secretive when it comes to personal goals but #accountability lol.
- 1000 pageviews/month (I’M SHAKING.)
- Get to 20k Pinterest monthly viewers while keeping my current CTR.
- 4 more links published.
- Focus on building some relationships.
- Get accepted into 3-4 more group boards.
- Publish at least 2 new recipes every week (the Holiday season is in full swing!!).
If you’re a fellow blogger, let me know if I’m playing too safe with my blogging goals!
& NOW LET’S GET TO WORK!!!!! 💘 (yes I’m yelling lol)