March was my second real month travel blogging and while it was a bit of a hectic month (spending one week away from my beloved blog for work and personal travel), I still had some success!
Blog Success #1: I More Than Tripled My Monthly Visitors
In March I had 664 visitors to my blog – compared to only 198 in February! This was a big success for me, and I owe it to some specific traffic drivers that I mention below.
Blog Success #2 : … maybe more importantly, I tripled my page views!
I’m still not sure what is a better indication of success – total visitors, or total page views? I think page views is probably a better indicator, since 1 visitor might only visit the site for a few seconds, so a visitor who visits multiple pages and spends more time would be much more valuable – I’m assuming.
In any case, I tripled my page views between February and March:
- February Page views: 331
- March Page views: 1050
But… my pages per session barely changed – from 1.40 to 1.41 – which is negligible. So while my page views tripled, it was probably a better indication of the total visitors than how engaging my content was.
Blog Success #3: I earned money for the first time!
This is a small win, but an exciting one for me! I am a Booking.com affiliate and several of my posts feature Booking.com links for the hotels where we have stayed. (I want to be as authentic as possible by only sharing links to products or places I’ve actually visited or stayed). I received 20 clicks on my Booking.com links – (seen in this post, for example)… and lucky me, someone booked through my affiliate link!
Ok so my total earnings are still very meager, $3.81. But hey, it’s a start!
For April my goal is to understand if Google Adsense is the best ad partner for my website – does anyone have any advice on that?
Through Adsense my projected earnings are $4.51, but I don’t get paid until I reach the $100 threshold, so there is still a ways to go!
Blog Success #4: Meeting my Facebook goals
This was the month that I stopped posting all of my new posts to my personal Facebook page. I didn’t want to annoy the people I know IRL, and I also heard that having a Facebook page for a blog is a good way to drive traffic.
Remember in my last blog round up when I said I wanted to get 50 likes on my Facebook page in March? Well, it worked! I invited some of my IRL contacts, of course (thanks Mom), but most of my growth came from a blogger Facebook group I’m part of (another reciprocal program) where members like and share each other’s Facebook pages.
ps. join the party and like my Facebook page on the right side bar!
Drivers of my blog success : Pinterest, pinterest, pinterest
Pinterest is a huge driver for my visitors – this month it accounted for 378 of my total sessions, compared to only 12 in February! March was the month that I got serious about Pinterest – and so far, it’s worked. There are several ways I use Pinterest to drive traffic to my blog:
- Pinterest Groups: I joined a TON of Pinterest groups in March and through that have gained a lot more exposure on my pins
- Pinterest Facebook Groups: These are groups I belong to on Facebook where it’s a “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” policy. Every week (or sometimes day) I post the link to one of my pins and in return, pin everything else in the thread. Which is typically between 60-100 pins. So, typically, I don’t participate in the daily threads, unless I’m a bit bored on the couch at night have have 30 mins to pin 60 times at the end of the work day
- Tailwind: At the end of this month I (begrudgingly) invested in Tailwind but I’m almost already convinced that it is worth it. I say begrudgingly, because I didn’t want to over-invest in my blog in the beginning. I read many blogs about blogging which say that you have to treat your blog like a business if you want it to be one. Obvious, I guess, but I was reluctant to invest too much when I’ve already invested in my hosting and site design, but hey, Tailwind isn’t a huge investment, so let’s see if it works.
If you aren’t a blogger yourself, you probably wonder what Tailwind is. Tailwind is a paid service that schedules and pins to your Pinterest boards on your behalf. So you tell it what pins you want on which boards, and it will schedule them to the most optimal times to drive views and clicks.
March’s most popular blog posts
It’s no surprise that my most popular blog posts for the month are those that I actually wrote and shared to my Pinterest threads this month. I’m hoping that with SEO these posts won’t die and will still stay popular (and useful) for my readers.
My three top posts this month were:
- What to do in Gili Air, and what to know before you go
- The No-BS Guide to Uluwatu – why you should go here instead of Kuta
- The Immigration Test I had to take as an American in Holland
I tried to strategically post about my immigration test in Holland two days before the Dutch national elections since immigration was such a hot topic during the elections and… it worked. It also helps that a lot of Dutchies are interested in what the Dutch immigration classes are like so were probably more likely to click on it.
Goals for April
April is the month I want to tackle Mail Chimp. I finally got myself an account, but now I need to focus on properly installing the plug-in and get it up and running with a sign-up pop-up on my page. All bloggers say the key to success is growing your subscriber base, so that is the next on my list to tackle.
Where am I going this month?
This month there are two destinations on my list, lucky me!
The first is a trip to Normandy over the long Easter weekend – you’ve gotta love a four day weekend. We’ve booked an AirBnB near Etretat in Normandy and plan to visit lots of markets, go on long walks, and eat a lot of oysters.
Second for me is a trip for work to the Algarve region of Portugal. This month is one of the busiest times of the year in terms of stress and workload at my job, so I’m not really sure how my blog will be impacted by that. I’m hoping I can still manage to have energy in my free time to keep posting on it and promoting it, but it might be a challenge this month.
What could I do to have more blog success? How often should I pin?