Earnings from my sites hit their peak this month, setting an all time record. But sadly its not setting a trend, its the peak before the fall. It was a final fling before the full extent of the change in cookie at my major merchant comes into full effect. But before we talk about that, let’s talk about everything that made August an awesome month.
I was expecting a big drop. I’m still fairly new online and haven’t had time to really see trends on my own sites, but everything I read told me that August was a low traffic month as people took their vacations, kids were off school, the weather is good and people have got better things to do than look on the internet (good for them!) However the drop didn’t come for me – it was another record month for traffic.
Traffic history (both sites):
- May 2013 = 138, 752
- June = 147,100
- July = 149,000
- August =141,990
- September =140,933
- October = 158,710
- November = 164,092
- December = 132,559
- January 2014 = 165,222
- February = 190,266
- March = 203,989
- April = 206,428
- May = 234,667
- June = 283,490
- July = 300,431
- August = 350,864 (up 147% over last August)
Pinterest has been growing enormously. I know this is a really important site for traffic, but I’ve not really been using it to my full advantage. My theme shows extracts on the front page with a featured image. It sets the width of the image the same on the front page, so to keep things looking neat and regular, and because they show up better at linky parties, I’ve been using a square featured image. However a square image doesn’t work so well for Pinterest, where a longer image looks better. So I changed up my Pinterest strategy and created TWO pinnable images for each post. The featured image continues mostly to be square or squareish, but now at the bottom of the post I also include a PIN ME image which is in a better format for Pinterest.
You can see an example of this in this article for a soft toy. I’ve certainly seen more Pinterest traffic and repins as a result on the few articles I’ve done this on so far. I’m thinking it would be a great idea (if I ever had the time) to go back through some of my most popular posts and add a new Pin-able Image at the bottom for those too.
Pinterest traffic has roughly doubled in the last 2 months from 655 visits in July to 1361 yesterday.
Google and search engines – I lamented for a long time on these pages about why a Google update took away so much of my search engine traffic overnight last year. Then I woke up one morning and found it was back, and more than before by a good way. Thank you Google for recognizing my content. I’m keeping quiet in case I jinx it, but this is now easily my No 1 traffic source every day. Here’s the graph for this year in total. I’m a firm believer that it’s not so much what you do, as what Google does when it comes to SEO. Certainly I didn’t change my way of doing things – they did and look at the result.
So did my bounce rate and time on site suffer as a result of all this new traffic? Did the readers stay and engage or just bounce away again. These indicators must surely tell Google whether my site is worth ranking well. Let’s see.
The good news is, bounce rate fell slightly from 15-16% down to 12-13%. Time on site and pages per visit has been pretty even at around 14-15 minutes and 1.9 pages. So keeping my fingers crossed that this good fortune continues.
Facebook – love it or hate it, Facebook still has a role to play in driving traffic to your site. I joined a sharing group with 6 other bloggers. Once a day we all share a post from one of the other members. So this gives me relevant content to post to my page without having to go look for it, and at the same time, I know someone else is sharing the post that I selected for this week. I’ve not really noticed a lot of extra traffic, because at the same time, the number of people seeing my own posts has sharply declined. I had been getting around 3-7000 people seeing each post, but its really dropped in the last couple of month to often less than a thousand and rarely more than 2,000 despite my followers increasing this year to over 16,000 now. Personally I’m finding FB too spammy these days. My news feed is suddenly full of çlick-baiting’ style adverts placed there by FB themselves – ‘you might also be interested in’ type of links. I’m hating that and I’m thinking FB use will decline as a result.
What else was good?
Sewing pattern sales – a record month for pattern sales. I released the Color Block Dress and its been the fastest selling pattern yet. I’ve also started selling patterns through a couple of small online retailers so this added a few dollars income. I’ve got an exciting project coming up shortly in conjunction with an overseas magazine – will report back if that comes off.
Advertising revenues – with increased page views comes increased advertising revenue. Good figures from Adsense and Blogher this month. I also started trialing another ad provider, but its not worked out. Although they do pay more per view, I’m getting around 15-20% lost impressions in the process where no payment is being made, because of ‘latency” in their process. So after a trial of 6 weeks or so, these are being replaced by another Network who promises big things. Will report back next month how that works out.
August Blog Earnings
- Google Adsense – $801.94
- Sverve – $to follow
- Infolinks – $3.17
- Blogher – $749.20
- ShareASale – $7,813,86
- Commission Junction – $158.78
- Escalate Network ads – $24.29
- E-book Sales – $31.19
- Sponsored Tweets – $to follow
- Social Spark (now Izea) – $191.09
- Amazon – $33.81
- Direct advertising – $139.78
- Blogvault – $12.00
- Sewing pattern sales – $1,445.62
- Other advertising networks – $23.88
- Other small affiliate sales and advertising income (incl paid blogging) – $168.91
Total – $11,597.72
Expenses during the month were:
You can find previous month’s figures under the My Income tab above.
Share A Sale
I get a lot of emails asking about which merchants to use on ShareASale. Generally there are some which are good for me, some which are good for you and some which will good for someone else. It depends on your site, your niche and your readers. I’ve recently updated this older article with a few recent offers, so take a look here and apply to some of these to get you started. I also did an article about BuyCostumes, which I’ve just added to my selection.
The coming month
The change in cookie from my biggest merchant comes into full effect and transitional payments stop. Early indications show a reduction in earnings of 2/3rds despite me frantically promoting 5 times as much as previously. I’m worried about finding the right balance between promoting and annoying my loyal readers. Changing the cookie time from 30 days to just 24 hours is a little crazy, but I can understand it from their point of view. When a site is new, they need affiliates to bring new traffic and leads, and sales. Once the site is established, its more self-sustaining and they don’t really need us any more (sniff….)
So I’m confident in saying that the peak of earnings was reached this month, but I don’t think I’ll starve! Still having so much fun and really enjoying what I do. Funny how things turn out!