Welcome to my 20th monthly blog update (and 200th post!), all about what I got up to behind the scenes of Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen in February 2016. This month I’m going to talk about Stumbling and Tumblring, finding new visitor sources and oh what’s going on with Pinterest?
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!
What I got up to in February
Before I begin with what I’ve been doing, what has gone on with Pinterest?? In the past pinning recipes to the group boards brought a big boost in visitors, however at the start of February this stopped. At first I was worried that what I was sharing simply wasn’t popular and that’s why nobody was looking, but a quick view of the group boards revealed that there were very few repins for anyone. A quick bit of Googling and keeping updated with reports like these has revealed that others had also noticed a big shift in visitors too. Whilst I actually saw an uplift in visits from Pinterest this month, it has come from a random selection of recipes that I haven’t pinned for a long time rather than my newer recipes.
This served as a reminder that I am constantly at the mercy of various traffic source algorithms, so my February was taken up with looking to diversify my traffic sources further…
I love food photography, but I have mainly restricted myself to Instagram as my social media of choice for sharing photos. However I had noticed Tumblr appeared in a couple of income reports, and so thought I would take a look. It is very similar to Instagram but with a couple of significant differences:
- You can provide a link to your post within the photo you share, so that a person can click on your photo and be taken to your site.
- You can submit your photos to users who have large followings who, if they like what they see, will publish the photos on their photo feed (two of the bigger users are FoodFFS and Sweettoothfairy).
Both of these means Tumblr drives significantly more traffic than Instagram (I’ve had c.800 visits from Tumblr this month) and given it is easy to use I would certainly recommend taking a look and if you fancy following my Tumblr page then you can find it here.
I’ve had a StumbleUpon button on my site for a while, but I’ve never really been an active user of the site. This is silly really given I read so many food blogs and come across some great articles, so I decided to give it a proper go this month. As with many of these types of things, the more you put into it the more you get out of it. I stumbled around 300 articles in February, including about 20 of my own. StumbleUpon send you a weekly email where you can see some of the most popular articles you have stumbled with the number of views they have had. In total my own articles had c. 1,600 visits (split between stumbleupon and corp.stumbleupon – anyone know the difference?), however some posts I stumbled from other bloggers had 5,000+ views.
My butterscotch sauce proved to be popular on Stumbleupon
I can’t really make my mind up about Stumbleupon though. For those not familiar, the way Stumbleupon works is that someone hits the Stumble button and Stumbleupon shows them a randomly selected post (well not completely random as it’s based on their interests and posts they’ve previously liked). As soon as the post appears on their screen it counts as a visit in Google Analytics. They may have no interest in what you’re saying and could hit Stumble again straight away but it still counts. In comparison with something like Facebook, if you share your recipe on Facebook someone has to physically click through to actually view it (and therefore count as a visit).
Think about how many posts appear in your Facebook feed that you just scroll past without clicking on, then you’re probably looking at a similar proportion of people being shown your post in Stumbleupon and then clicking off straight away to look at something else. In short, yes it can bring lots of visits but the majority of them won’t be “quality” visits from people that actually have any interest in what you’re saying (you’ll notice that you have a very high bounce rate ). That said, in between the many people that hit Stumble again without reading, there will be some that are genuinely happy to have discovered your site and those are definitely people I like 🙂 I think I’ll give it a bit more time and see how I feel in a month or so.
Discovering other new sites to submit my recipes to
I talked last month about the book SEO for Food Bloggers by Howie from Hurry The Food Up. One benefit I’ve seen from following the advice in the book is in finding new places to share my recipes. From an SEO perspective this should have the benefit of creating new backlinks to my blog, but simply from a blogging perspective it’s introduced my blog to new readers which always makes me happy. Regular readers of my blog will know I already try to share my posts as widely as possible (have a look at my ultimate photo sharing guide part II), but I have found some new sites which look interesting (a couple of which look like they’ll make it into my top 10 visitor sources for March):
- potluck.ohmyveggies – submit your vegetarian recipes
- myrecipemagic – add your recipes to the site
- chocolaterecipes247 – have your chocolate recipes featured
- livedan330 – publishes all different types of posts that are submitted to them
- foodista – have your blog featured
Getting people to hang around
Another area I’ve seen a benefit as a result of reading Howie’s book is in increasing the number of pages each person views when they visit. The majority of my readers click on a specific post, read it, and then head off somewhere else on the web – they don’t hang around and look at more things.
One of the suggestions in Howie’s book is to add links to other posts in the posts you have that already do well on Google. This passes “link juice” onto the posts you’re linking to and should then help boost their position in the Google rankings. It’s a bit too early to tell whether I’m seeing the benefit of doing this from a Google perspective, but I’ve definitely seen an increase in people clicking through from one post to another (I started adding links on 17th Feb, doing just one or two posts per day – even this small change has moved my average page views from 1.24 from 1st-16th Feb to 1.26 from 17th-29th Feb).
All the numbers
As per usual I worried about visitor numbers for February, especially as it was a short month, and as per usual I needn’t have worried. Discovering new places to share my recipes as well as a boost from Shrove Tuesday and Valentine’s Day led to another record month with over 70k visits and nearly 90k page views.
Don’t forget you can find all of my old reports in my monthly reports index if you want to figure out what caused any of the changes in the past.
Charlottes Lively Kitchen – Visitors
Charlottes Lively Kitchen – Pageviews
And they came from…
- Google – 28,790 (+21%)
- Pinterest – 15,689 (+11%)
- Direct – 15,448 (+31%)
- Yummly – 2,220 (+71%)
- UK Pinterest – 1,246 (+118%)
- Foodgawker – 1,122 (+94%)
- Stumbleupon 930 (no visits in January)
- Tumblr – 755 ( +>999%)
- Corp.Stumbleupon – 705 (no visits in January)
- Recipeshubs – 330 (+36%)
Some steady growth all round (at least in the areas I’ve been making some sort of effort) once again helped by my regular The Juice Premium giveaway. There was a definitely boost in Pinterest followers in February (which isn’t included in the giveaway entry options so nothing to do with that). I can only think that it’s something to do with whatever Pinterest are up to at the moment so I’ll just have to keep an eye on it.
Charlottes Lively Kitchen – Social Media Followers
That just leaves me to say thanks for reading, if you’ve got any questions then I’m always happy to help xx