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It’s crazy to think my second month of blogging has already come and gone.
Time sure does fly!
When I started Mr. Smart Money, I really had no idea what to expect. How easy/difficult it would be, how long it would take to gain traction, etc.
The good news is: there were some huge milestones in the month of August that I’m excited to share with you all! So without further adieu, let’s jump right in.
- I officially made my first dollar with the site! 🙂 $80.20 to be exact. (More on that down below.)
- My post on 30 days of intermittent fasting received a good amount of traction/upvotes from Reddit, which led to a big spike in traffic for a few days.
- I’ve received some genuine compliments on my writing and content from friends who’ve found out about the blog. (I’ve been trying to keep this site a secret from people I know, mainly because I’m quite candid with my finances on here.) It may not seem like much, but in the early stages of blogging, any encouragement is CRUCIAL. Thank you, friends!
- My official logo was completed, and I love how it came out!
- My post on Risk vs Reward took me FOREVER to write. I hit some “bloggers block” on it, so I was only able to publish 9 posts this month. (Falling short of my goal of 10-12 posts by 1) The bright side here: 9>8; which is how many I published last month. Forward motion is what’s most important!
- An experiment with Facebook advertising was pretty much a fail. (More on that below.)
- Maybe I’m getting impatient, but the growth on my email list/social media following is not going as fast as I’d like! I felt a little better after doing some research and found that my list growth is about “average” for what you’d expect. I feel like I could boost the numbers up, but I just hate the tactics necessary to do so. (pop-up email ads, etc.)
Some Random Thoughts
- Cryptocurrencies are up HUGE. I mean huge. In the span of just one month, my holdings in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin have literally doubled. Are you invested in Bitcoin at all? You might want to put a small portion of your cash towards it, and just buy and hold for 10 years. I plan on writing an “ultimate beginners guide” to cryptocurrencies in the near future, but in the meantime, if you’ve been thinking about getting in – you can check out my Coinbase review for a quick write-up on my favorite crypto-wallet.
August 2017 Traffic Breakdown
- Pageviews: 2,304
- Unique Users: 832
- Bounce Rate: 70.82%
- Avg. Session Duration: 2:45
So some weird stuff happened this month.
Pageview growth was essentially flat from July to August, but user growth exploded to almost 4x from last month’s report. Bounce rates jumped up quite a bit, and session duration was also down.
That means that while I had a ton of new users visit the site, not many of them were highly engaged. They viewed fewer pages and spent less time on the site. That’s no Bueno.
My explanation for this is 3 fold:
- Last month’s data was skewed, to begin with. Avg. session time was much higher than what it was supposed to be because I didn’t filter out ALL of my IP addresses.
- Facebook ads were terrible. That hurt my data for sure. All of the traffic from it bounced, and the users didn’t spend more than 1 second on the site.
- The traffic I received from being up-voted to the top of a subreddit was less engaged than my typical user.
In reality, I expect my bounce rate to settle in somewhere between 50-60%. If not, I need to do more work to improve the site design.
Looking at this also reminds me of the importance of QUALITY over quantity when it comes to traffic.
I’d rather have 1 real supporter/reader than 1,000 one-time visitors.
After all, what’s the point of getting thousands of new visitors if they don’t read the content, don’t enjoy the site, or don’t stick around for the journey?
(Check out these TERRIBLE numbers from Facebook ads!)
I’m glad I only spent a few bucks on it. I’ve heard so many good things about Facebook Ads, so I was surprised at my poor results. And while I’m not saying I’ll never boost a post ever again, I’ll definitely be waiting until I have a more mapped out marketing plan before I spend money on FB again.
(Here are some more numbers from my up-voted Reddit post)
As you can see, people who land on my actual homepage tend to stay for over 3 minutes and have a bounce rate of ~60%. Most people who came from the Reddit post stayed for just 15 seconds and immediately left the site.
Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean Reddit traffic sucks. There is another highly plausible reason for this:
The subreddit in which I got to the top of the page, was a FITNESS subreddit, not a personal finance subreddit.
Something tells me that if I were to get a ‘top’ post with a link to my site from a personal finance sub, these numbers would be much more highly engaged.
(Here’s an overall chart of how I acquired my users this month.)
I’m actually really happy with how this chart looks, but I don’t know if it will be sustainable.
I’ve heard too many stories about bloggers being penalized by Google and going bust overnight; so I would definitely prefer the website to have a good balance from traffic sources.
After all, If you rely too much on one traffic medium, you become a slave to the whims of that medium! My hope is for Mr. Smart Money to become anti-fragile and have long-term staying power, even in light of an unpredictable internet. 🙂
August 2017 Income
POP THE CHAMPAGNE Y’ALL! McDoubles are on me!
There’s nothing like the first time, and I’ll never forget my first dollar made from this site. 🙂
I was at the UPS store dropping off a package when I checked my email to see I made $10 from referring someone to Coinbase. (They’re currently running a sweet promo, where if you buy $100 worth of bitcoin, you and your referrer both get $10 for free!)
Much to my surprise, I got a notification later that same day saying I made $5.20 in affiliate income from FlexOffers!
If you’re a blogger, I highly recommend you sign up for FlexOffers.
However, my big break came on literally the last day of this month, when I got an email from Bluehost. Someone had read my guide on how to start a blog, and signed up to start one of their own! I was super encouraged to see that the content I worked so hard to create, had actually converted.
PS: If you’re reading this, and you were the one who signed up to Bluehost through me, please get in contact with me! I’d love to follow your journey, and see if there’s anything I can do to help ensure your success.
August 2017 Expenses
- Facebook Ads: $6
- Total: $6
Blogging continues to be a business/side hustle with extremely low overhead.
I was originally planning on spending ~$25 on Facebook ads but stopped my experiment short after seeing how terrible the traffic quality was.
I also spent money on a professionally designed logo this month (amount is undisclosed per request) which came out awesome!
An extremely talented friend of mine, who just graduated from RISD (Rhode Island School of Design), made it for me. She’s also been working on some graphics for the site, which has received awesome feedback so far!
If you run a blog or a business and need any design work done, please contact me, and I’ll see if she’s available to do any freelance work!
For The Near Future/Closing Thoughts
I love to optimize. It’s just what I do by nature. Over the next weeks and months, you might see a ton of different things from the Mr. Smart Money blog.
I’m currently experimenting with post word counts (sub-1000, 1000, 2000, etc.) as well as post types (authoritative educational stuff, vs “5 best” list type stuff, vs motivational, “get your butt in gear” stuff).
Don’t worry, I haven’t gone crazy; it’s just me going through my optimizing process. I want to see what people respond to and enjoy reading.
In the meantime, I’ve already laid the groundwork down for my next “30-day experiment”.
Also: I’m super excited about a couple of posts I have in the pipeline that are really near and dear to me, and I think will provide a ton of value to my readers.
I would love if you stuck around for those! Hope everyone has a great September. 🙂
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