Building My Blog – March 2016

Welcome to my 21st monthly blog update, all about what I got up to behind the scenes of Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen in March 2016.

I know what you’re thinking… erm, didn’t you only just publish your February report? And yes, you’re right, but I’m so so so so excited about this months report as I hit a really big milestone that I just couldn’t wait to write it 🙂

Behind the scenes of my blog in March 2016, including reaching a big blogging milestone, getting in front of the camera and annoying popups.

A little bit of background…

For anybody that’s new to these updates and is wondering what on earth I’m going on about, I write these posts each month as a way to keep me focussed on building my blog (fear of sitting down to write the report and finding I have nothing to say is great for ensuring I keep trying new things). It is also to try and help other bloggers (or people thinking of getting started) to learn from what I’ve tried and to copy the good bits and avoid some of my mistakes. I also share all of my blog’s key stats so you can see how it’s going and decide whether my advice is worth listening to or not!

That big blogging milestone…

Normally I start my report by talking about all the things I got up to last month, but this month I’m going to plough straight into the numbers and then get on with the talking. There’s a very simple reason for this switch around and that’s because I’m so super-duper proud of the fact that I got over 100,000 pageviews in March *big grin*

I suspect it’ll drop back down in April as I had a big boost from Mother’s Day and Easter but I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

Charlottes Lively Kitchen - Site Visits Mar16

Charlottes Lively Kitchen – Visitors

Charlottes Lively Kitchen - Pageviews Mar16

Charlottes Lively Kitchen – Pageviews

If you’re looking at these graphs and wondering what caused any changes in the past you can find all my old reports in my monthly reports index.

So where did all of these visitors come from…

  1. Google – 36,134 (+26%)
  2. Direct – 20,871 (+35%)
  3. Pinterest – 10,854 (-31%)
  4. Yummly – 2,028 (-9%)
  5. Tumblr – 1,131 ( +50%)
  6. UK Pinterest – 1,054 (-15%)
  7. Facebook Mobile – 798 (+173%)
  8. Foodgawker – 679 (-39%)
  9. My Recipe Magic – 467 (new in March)
  10. Dan 330 – 355 (new in March)

It’s lovely to see the inclusion of some of the newly discovered submission sites I mentioned last month (My Recipe Magic and Dan 330). I’m getting an extra boost from these sites at the moment as I’m submitting most of my older recipes in addition to the newer ones.

The big shocker this month was Pinterest with visits falling 31%. I’m not too worried as I suspect that much of it is due to Google Analytics struggling to identify Pinterest referrals and therefore classifying them as Direct (which rose 35%) rather than a genuine drop. However, the strange shift in Pinterest I observed last month is still there.


Whilst I was very excited to share what had happened with my visitors this month, there’s absolutely nothing exciting to report on the social media front. Still all ticking along. I’ve added Tumblr onto the chart this month as I’ve started to grow followers there so keep a look out for it over the next few months to see how it does.

Charlottes Lively Kitchen - Followers Mar16

Charlottes Lively Kitchen – Social Media Followers

What I got up to in March

Now I’ve got all of my excitement out of the way there’s a couple of other things I wanted to share with you that I got up to last month

The (really annoying) cookie warning popup

I’ve finally sorted myself out and added the cookie law popup. I’ve been putting it off because, quite simply, I find them quite annoying. However, it’s a legal requirement and I don’t want to get into trouble.

I had the Cookie Law Info plugin recommended to me and it’s really good. Firstly it sits at the bottom (or top – your choice) so isn’t too intrusive. Secondly (and most importantly in my opinion) it’ll only appear once for each visitor, so once you’ve seen it and clicked off it, it’ll disappear never to be seen again (unless you reset your cookies that is).

example of the cookie popup 2

An example of the cookie popup at the bottom of my homepage

Getting in front of the camera

I’ve made a few videos in the past but only featuring my hands (you know, that shot from above and 4x faster than it actually happened style that’s very popular on Facebook). I’ve been wanting to get in front of the camera and actually present a recipe since before Christmas but it’s something that takes a bit of courage. I finally did it this month (joined by my little man Josh) when we made Easter Nest Cupcakes.

I’ve attempted a few in the past and never been too happy with the results. Whilst I still have a way to go before I look completely comfortable in front of the camera (notice the lip pursing and camera glances in the video) there’s two things I did that got me to a point where I was happy to actually share it…

  1. Not being alone on screen – Josh was a brilliant distraction as it meant I could talk to him most of the time rather than the camera.
  2. Knowing what I looked like on camera – I decided to start making little videos, not to share them with anyone, but to be able to watch myself back and work on the things I was’t happy with. For the past few weeks I’ve been making all sorts of daft videos chatting, singing, reading the news, anything I felt like really, and it’s really helped me to work on looking “right” on screen.

It’s definitely something I want to do more of in future so keep a look out for it and if you have any tips for me then let me know.

That just leaves me to say thanks for reading. I know this month’s report is a little shorter than normal but I just was so excited to share my news. Also these reports have been getting later and later in the month so I thought it was a good opportunity to bring it forward. I’m planning to publish it in the first few days of the month in future so keep an eye out of it.

As always, if you’ve got any questions then I’m more than happy to help xx

Brilliant blog posts on


  1. Hey well done on the page views- Way to go:)

  2. WOW. That is incredible….well done you!! I could only dream of these figures, I’m still trying to get to the 20,000 month mark (I get so close but then so far!)….your blog is fab. #brilliantblogposts

    • Charlotte Oates

      Thanks Rach. 20k a month is brilliant for your blog as I think it’s much easier to find an audience for food than the sorts of things you write about. I’d be really proud of where you’re at if I had a similar blog.

  3. Congratulations, Charlotte!!!!! That is so awesome. You must be super proud 🙂 Not surprised you have done so well, though – you obviously work very hard at it. Still not quite sure how you pack so much in, even with Jon helping you out! I can only assume you are either super organised or have a time machine! Eb x

    • Charlotte Oates

      I am so proud of how it’s gone, this time last year I’d never have believed it. I don’t have nearly as much time as I’d like to get everything done, I’m looking forward to September when my youngest starts nursery so I’ll be able to focus even more (although I suspect I’ll miss him like crazy, I’ve got so used to him pottering in while I’m photographing and attempting to help or steal the food!).

      • And rightfully so – you have done amazingly! I am seriously impressed with how much you get done given that you still have a little one at home – both of mine are at school full time and I still feel I don’t have enough time to get everything done that I want to! Though I think probably half my problem is I am extremely impatient and am trying to run before I can walk! Still, it’s nice to be doing something where I want to spend more time doing it, rather than clock-watching and wishing the ‘work’ part of my day would go faster! Just noticed your Foodies100 score – wow top 50!! Have you been there before or is this your first time in the top 50? Eb x

  4. Charlotte i so enjoy reading your posts about building your blog! Well done you on reaching that amazing milestone – i pick up so many helpful tips from you, thanks for sharing Cx

    • Charlotte Oates

      Thanks Clare, I love it when I know people are finding these posts helpful. If there’s ever anything you’d like more information on or don’t think I’ve covered then let me know.

      • I’m tinkling of starting a linky – was it very difficult to start up? Cx

        • Charlotte Oates

          Not difficult at all to set up – make yourself a badge You can use something like picmonkey, photoshop or canva) and sign up to something like inlinkz. To get the little thumbnail images you have to pay (although the first month is free and it’s pretty inexpensive, I have an affiliate code if you decide to go for it!). You Baby, Me Mummy has quite a bit of information on getting everything set up.

          The tricky thing is getting it going. There’s so many about now that it would need to be something quite original to stand out. To get it going I went around inviting people to join for a few months until they got into the habit of coming over. I think it’s also important to show real enthusiasm for your linky, commenting and sharing and generally enjoying what you do. I’ve stopped joining a few over time because it felt like the host didn’t really care. This makes it quite a lot of work so I’m really glad I went for a monthly linky, I just wouldn’t have the time to visit that many blogs each week. I’ve known a few stop quite quickly after they’ve been started because they were taking up a lot more time that the host had anticipated. There’s usually quite a few of the linky owners who are looking for co-hosts so maybe offer to do a few of those and see if you like doing it.

  5. Absolutely amazing, well done lovely! Not a bit surprised, your blog is fab to say the least!!

    • Charlotte Oates

      Thanks Nat. I’m not sure when it happened but I’m pretty sure the blog has taken over my life and I’m really loving doing it 🙂

  6. Well done darling, brilliant stats!

  7. Congratulations!!!! That’s awesome Charlotte. Well happy to hear it 🙂 all that hard work is paying off!

    Loved the video too, were you nervous at all? I was only in one of ours and felt so uncomfortable the whole time. I like the white banner displaying ‘Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen’ at the end too, the white really contrasts the black background of YouTube and makes it stand out – so the name is hard to forget. Also, your son is called is Josh – mine too! Good choice 😉

    And finally, I thought you’d like to know that I’m eating a pack of mini eggs as I write this 😀

    • Charlotte Oates

      I’m truly shocked at the mini eggs, I though you were super healthy all of the time!

      If only Google would start to rank me anywhere aside from the UK then I’d do really really well!

      I wasn’t nervous but I wasn’t 100% comfortable. Having Josh there made a big difference because I could focus on him rather than the camera. I’m hoping the more I do the easier it’ll become. Excellent choice of name 🙂

      • Ahaha well, my dear mother sent us over two family packs and a load of creme eggs – gotta treat yourself from time to time right?

        Yep I’m sure Josh helped with the nerves, sweet little fella. Howie did most of our vids and got really into them after a while. You’ll go viral soon enough! 🙂

        Any ideas why you’re only ranking in the UK? Has the .com not made such a big difference?

        • Charlotte Oates

          No idea, the .com hasn’t made a difference, I suspect it might be because I’ve got a 301 redirect from a site and my host is based on the UK. It started to pick up in the US before Christmas with some festive recipes but died down again afterwards. I think I’m benefitting in some respect on Google thinking I’m country specific as I rank on p1 for some really good search terms but the audience is obviously a lot more limited than if I had worldwide domination!

          • Ha right 🙂

            I was just being nosy and mooching through your graphs and Google statistics – they’re really shooting up. Have you continued implementing the SEO ideas? I see your Google hits jumped from about 24000 to 29000 to 36000 in two months – that’s incredible! Obv I would say it, but we follow the points very closely and it really pays off. The snowball effect comes into play too – as various recipes get bigger and you become a bigger blog, your other recipes will take a benefit too, and the cycle repeats all over again. World domination will soon be yours 😉

          • Charlotte Oates

            Yes still following them, although a lot of the boost is popular recipes getting even more popular some of the ones that hadn’t ranked well are starting to creep up so we’ll be keeping an eye on them.

  8. Perfect! Will look forward to the next report then 🙂

  9. Those stats are incredible! Well done, and it was really interesting to read how you are building your blog. #Brilliantblogposts

  10. Charlotte, Congratulations on your amazing stats, I have followed you from your very first post and have enjoyed each one. I would like to ask, are your page view graphs google analytic? I like how simple they look and easy to read.

    • Charlotte Oates

      Thanks Anna. The data for the graphs is from google analytics but I draw them in numbers on my Mac so I can get them to look the way I want. I then take a screen shot and upload that into the post. GA is great but the graphs aren’t the prettiest.

  11. Congratulations Charlotte, you have worked so hard it’s great to see it paying off for you. Your blog is an inspiration to us all & I love coming to read your monthly blog reports. Thanks so much for sharing & giving such helpful advice, I really appreciate it xx

  12. Amazing blog stats! I haven’t read any of your posts before so I will sign up but its great to see your stats improving month on month. I too got the cookie law info plugin this month as I was aware I may need one and it seemed the best one! 🙂


    • Charlotte Oates

      Thanks Becca. I’m expecting a bit of a drop in April as there’s no big days (I had a boost from Easter in March) it should still be a decent month though, fingers crossed. I hope you find the reports interesting and if you ever have any questions then let me know x

  13. Wow, wow, wow, what a milestone, sweetie!!! That graph looks amazing. Your blog is such a success story and I love the fact you always analyse what you’re not doing perfectly right and correct it the following month. You rock, lady! I haven’t got energy to correct or improve anything 🙂 I’m definitely going to look into that plugin. I’ve been putting it off. Tonight’s the night! Love your video and I see exactly what you mean! I also find it a lot easier to be with the kids when I’m on camera (feels so daft to be on your own talking o a camera, right!). The 2 of you are really cute!!

    • Charlotte Oates

      I’m glad I’m not the only one that uses my babies to make videos easier 😉 I really liked the one with Crevette and the toothbrush, he did a brilliant job. That said, you always look really comfortable on camera so you have nothing to worry about.

      I don’t always fix things straight away, today I attempted to fix my blurry RSS images (again, I tried them last year and failed and I’ve left it that long to try again) and I’ve just worked my way through 18 months of broken links (ooh my life is so exciting!).

  14. Hey Charlotte, well done on those pageviews! I actually first saw your blog on an income roundup before you stopped posting your income and this month I actually stumbled across your site by accident while looking for a peppercorn sauce recipe so I knew things must be going great for you!

    It was delicious by the way 🙂 Thanks!

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