Building My Blog – November 2016

 



Welcome to my 29th monthly blog update, all about what I got up to behind the scenes of Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen in November 2016.

This month I’m going to be giving an update on the ads after introducing them in October and sharing our thoughts on Board Booster, as well as sharing all the usual numbers.

An update on the ads after introducing them in October and sharing our thoughts on Board Booster, as well as sharing all the usual numbers.

A little bit of background (skip this if you’re a regular reader, I say the same thing every month!)

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 November…

Firstly, apologies for how late the report is this month. The run-up to Christmas is always hectic so I thought it was better to wait until this little quiet bit between Christmas and New Year to share with you what I’ve been up to, especially as I not only had Christmas to organise, but Josh and Jon’s birthdays and Josh wanted a proper party for the first time. I’ll be adding his birthday cake to my cake gallery over the next couple of days so make sure you keep an eye out for it.

An update on the Ads

My big news in October was that I’d decided to put ads back onto my site. However, I did it halfway through the last day of the month so it really was far too early for an update on the impact of the change in last month’s report.

It seems as though adding the ads onto my site has had minimal impact on my visitors, with visitor numbers and pageviews being relatively stable compared to October. I assume that if my visitors were particularly annoyed by the appearance of the ads they would click away from my site sooner, but average time on page for November was 1 minute 8 seconds, compared to 1 minute 5 seconds for October, so very stable there too. I did see Google referrals drop a few days after adding in the ads. I’ve got absolutely no idea if the two are linked or if it was just a strange coincidence, but it’s something to be aware could happen. Fortunately with the popularity of some of my Christmas recipes it has picked up again in December so even if the two are linked it’s hopefully not a lasting impact.

I am occasionally seeing the ads popup in slightly strange places within posts (e.g. halfway through a recipe). I know how to fix these, it’s just a case of spotting when it happens and going to rejig things in the post a little to make it appear somewhere a little more sensible.

I’ve got a funny feeling that you’re reading this and thinking, that’s all well and good but how much did you earn? (at least that’s what I’d be thinking if I was reading this right now).

Mediavine pay in dollars so the exact amount I’ll eventually receive depends a little on the exchange rate on the day, but my total earnings from ads in November was $682.82. Looking at the analytics Mediavine provide I suspect that this is a little lower than I’d normally expect for the same number of pageviews, as it seemed as though the revenue per 1000 pageviews (RPM) increased a lot for the first few weeks and has now stabilised at around $6 per 1,000 pageviews.

It’s important to note that I choose not to display all of the ad types available on my site. The main one that’s recommended is where they can truncate each post and add a ‘read more’ button with an ad underneath. Personally I don’t want my readers having to click any more than they need to to see my posts so I choose not to display these ads. I’ve also chosen not to accept all categories of ads (e.g. gambling, religion, politics, adult content, etc) which may have paid a higher RPM.

screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-16-50-41

Even at the lower RPM I saw in November I’m still happy with the income, it’s enough that I’ve decided to treat myself to an Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription 🙂

My thought’s on Board Booster

As I mentioned in an earlier report we started testing out Board Booster mid-way through September. I had hoped for a big up-tick in followers, but that hasn’t materialised. There has though been a significant increase in referrals from Pinterest, from under 13k for the month of August to over 24k for this month. In part this will be seasonal, but I also believe that having a regular pinning schedule has helped my pins be seen by more people (Pinterest Analytics suggests c.900k saw my pins in August, whereas this has doubled to just under 2m in November).

A significant benefit of Board Booster is convenience. For example I pin my new recipes to around 15 group boards, and prefer to do this over a few days rather than all at once. Board Booster allows you to set up a campaign that does exactly this, which you can then keep using for all your future new recipes (rather than having to set up each time). Similarly you can set up some of your older recipes to be pinned occasionally to boards so they don’t get forgotten about.

I have decided therefore to continue on with Board Booster, as the increase in traffic (plus the convenience) and therefore ad revenue more than offsets the monthly $5 cost. I would like though to hear of your experiences with either Board Booster or Tailwind if you use them.

All the numbers…

Nothing too exciting to report here, a teeny drop in visitors and pageviews, partly caused by the fact November is shorter than October and partly down to a drop in Google visitors after big rises over the past few months.

 

FROM HERE…

visitors-november-2016

Charlottes Lively Kitchen – Visitors

pageviews-november-2016
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 – 58,008 (-9%)
  2. Pinterest / Referral – 22,885 (+16%)
  3. Direct – 11,851 (-7%)
  4. Pinterest UK – 1,477 (+37%)
  5. Email – 962 (+92%)
  6. The Prize Finder – 632 (+221%)
  7. Bing – 545 (-7%)
  8. Facebook Mobile – 462 (-28%)
  9. Tumblr – 435 (+15%)
  10. Loquax – 434 (271%)

I had a couple of giveaways running in November which led to two giveaway sites (The Prize Finder and Loquax) making it into my top 10 this month. If you’re running a giveaway they’re a great place to find people to enter and hopefully a new audience for your site.

Followers

Still nothing particularly exciting. You’ll notice a small tick-up in followers on Twitter and Instagram. I suspect this is predominantly due to including them as additional entry options in my giveaways.followers-november-2016

Charlottes Lively Kitchen – Social Media Followers

  • Twitter – 4,333 (+6.3%)
  • Instagram – 4,920 (+4.0%)
  • Pinterest – 6,633 (+6.6%)
  • Facebook – 1,428 (+8.5%)
  • Google+ – 23 (+9.5%)
  • Email Subscription – 2,772 (+7.2%)
  • Bloglovin – 103 (+12.0%)
  • YouTube – 52 (+20.9%)
  • Tumblr – 57 (+9.6%)

That’s all for this month, thanks for reading, I hope you found this report useful. As always if you have any questions or anything you’d like to know more about then let me know in the comments.

Charlotte x

7 Comments:

  1. Oh wow, that add thing is pretty good, isn’t it? I did notice that you’d added them, but it really didn’t make me click away or think the ads were annoying xx

    • I think you get so used to seeing them on sites that they don’t stand out too much. I’ve also noticed that the ads I see are really tailored to sites I’ve recently visited which means that they’re generally for shops that I’m interested in which is good, although there’s a coat I’m very tempted by that I keep seeing every time I look at my site, if it keeps up much longer I’m pretty sure I’m going to give in a buy it!

  2. Well done Charlotte, thanks for sharing this. I have also joined with Mediavine and RPM is similar to yours. What’s the secret sauce of getting so many followers on Pinterest? Our new followers have dropped from 50 per day to 10. I personally like Boardbooster as it has few extras what Tailwind doesn’t have, like looping and pin sourcing. For some reason pinning through Tailwind most of our pins lost their repinning count. I think that’s bad as they didn’t aggregate to the original pin. Tailwind doesn’t have Android app, for Boardbooster you don’t need to use app. Unfortunately I’m stuck with Tailwind another 6 months as signed yearly plan.

    • I’m not too sure of the secret on Pinterest. At the moment I’ve been trying to pin others’ pins onto the big group boards (images that I absolutely love that I think are reflective of the type of things I like to pin). I think that’s helping me to grow followers at the moment as it hopefully shows that I pin more than just my own stuff. I think the regular pinning through Board Booster has helped too as consistent pinning seems to get your posts in front of a much bigger audience.

      However, even if my followers were 10x bigger than they are now I think I’d still be reliant on group boards to actually drive a decent number of visitors to my site as the combined audience of those is absolutely massive.

      I’m surprised at the issues with Tailwind as it’s approved by Pinterest. It’s a shame it’s not working as well as it should. I worry a little that Board Booster isn’t officially approved but it doesn’t seem to have caused any problems so far.

  3. Thank you for sharing! I find really helpful your post. It’s incredible how hard is to gain new followers or e-mail subscribers. Happy New Year!

    • It is, sometimes I’ll have a little flurry of new followers for some unknown reason. It’s always a great feeling when it happens 🙂

  4. Thank you Charlotte I enjoy reading your blog and all your recipes.

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