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My First 4 Months of Blogging – Slow & Steady

Blogging, Grow Your Blog14 Comments

My First 4 Months of Blogging - Slow & Steady

Hello friends! I can’t believe it’s already been 4 months since I started this incredible journey. Everything goes quicker and quicker each year and to be honest I did not expect how much work it would be to start a blog. At the same time I find it so rewarding looking back at what has been done here on Finance For Geek.

I started this blog on September 30th, 2016 when I first registered my domain name with Bluehost. As I’ve already stated before, I always wanted to start one, but never really took the plunge until recently when I realized that postponing things is not an ideal option and as I wanted to regain control of my finances. That’s why I started this blog in the first place, to have a way to track my overall progress, to document my journey and also to share it with (hopefully) a lot of readers!

I spent the first few months of this blog writing some articles, but also mainly on learning the basics of starting and growing a blog. In fact, I usually find myself quite meticulous in life and I think that this reflects here as I’ve been spending nearly 75% of my first four months here on design and customization. I’m quite happy with the *current* results and overall design, which I’ll call the true version 1!

I started this blog to have a way to track my overall progress and to document my journey.Click To Tweet

I’m so glad I finally started and I’m really looking forward to my next months (years!) of blogging. But first let’s take a look back over the past 4 months and see what has been done on this blog and also what to expect in the next few months.

Overall Strategies & Choices

I’m well aware that connecting with my readers is quite important, that’s why one of the first thing I implemented here was a newsletter. I’ve setup a newsletter optin with Mailchimp, which I’ve setup at the bottom of each post. Truthfully, I think that my newsletter is still lacking some content (like a recurring post series specific to my newsletter readers), but at least it’s here and you readers get to be informed as soon as I have something new published!

In late October I also added a new social sharing plugin (Social Warfare). I’ve tried many different one, but this is definitely one of the best at the moment and it’s really awesome! Check it out here or at the bottom and top of my articles.

I chose to implement Google Analytics from day one in order to compare and track statistics, post views and overall metric. I’m still learning a lot from the different reports available, but I find it quite interesting to have all this data available! I’m planning to write a detailed post on how to set it up properly (like filtering spam traffic) in the next few weeks.

You might notice that Finance For Geek is HTTPS-enabled (with the green lock in the URL). This is because I chose from the start to implement a SSL-enabled website (which is why I ordered an SSL certificate with Bluehost). This might seem overkill and useless for some people, but as I have some big dreams regarding the future of this website, and because I’m kind of a geek, this all made sense to me. This might also save me some time in the future, as I noticed that a lot of people are wondering whether migrating to HTTPS is a good idea or not. I do not have this problem anymore!

I also chose early on to implement Facebook Instant Article and Accelerated Mobile Pages. This was not only done to improve my rankings in search engines, but also to try and test new things, as I’m always eager to learn more. I’m even more confident that this is the way to go since I saw that that news this morning:

Of the 12 countries we show displaying AMP news results, only one (Japan) has a mobile News Box containing less than 50% AMP results within it

In early January I registered all my social accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) and I started customizing all of them. I started posting some of my posts there, and I’m now all set to improve and grow my audience!

I’ve also finally made my mind with the recurring post series I’m gonna publish from now on, besides my usual personal finance posts:

  • Financial Report: every month I’m publishing a detailed financial report. You can find all my past reports summarized here.
  • Goals Update: starting next week and based on my Goals For 2017, I’ll be detailing my progress on these goals.
  • Grow Your Blog: I’ve started a new series this month which aims at helping my readers to grow their blog. I started this one with a post on implementing AMP.
  • Online Income Report: this is a new series I’m starting on early March in which I’ll be detailing how much and how I’m earning money here on Finance For Geek.

Month 1 & 2 Summary

During the first two months I managed to write 6 articles, which is around what I expected to be able to produce. As explained in my Goals For 2017 post, I’m targeting at least one post per ten days for 2017. This might be seen as low for some people, but even if I have many ideas it still takes me way too much time to format and publish my posts (and I was also quite busy with the overall design).

New articles published on Finance For Geek during the first two months (with links and word count):

This adds up to a total of 10,848 words written for my first two months of blogging.

I did not really track the amount of time it took me to setup properly this blog, but I would say that it was about 25% of the time for the initial setup (check out my complete guide on how to start a blog), such as blog hosting, installing a theme, writing standard pages. The other 75% were focused on custom design, plugin configuration and CSS customization. As I have a background in web development I tend to be a little maniac and want to do all by myself, which is fine but is also really time consuming.

I’ve implemented Google Analytics from day one, in order to track and measure what’s happening on Finance For Geek, where do the traffic come from and how many people are coming here! For my first two months of blogging I managed to reach one thousand pageviews, with around 257 unique visitors. Even if I configured Google Analytics to exclude traffic from my own connection, I’m still aware that some of these unique visitor statistics include myself (when I check via mobile or tablet), and believe me I check this website a lot (I’m kind of obsessive)!

Total Month 1 & 2: 1001 Pageviews

Google Analytics

Regarding what was spent during these first two months, here is the breakdown (all amounts are in USD):

  • Bluehost$99 – This covered my first year of web hosting, domain name as well as the SSL certificate for HTTPS.
  • X Theme$65 – This is the premium theme for WordPress I’m using. I’ve been testing a lot of different themes, but none of them was as complete and as powerful as X Theme.
  • Social Warfare$29 – This is a must-have. For a one time-fee you get to have a social sharing plugin which is totally awesome (you can check it below and above my posts).

Total Expenses Month 1 & 2: $194

Month 3 & 4 Summary

During the last two months I only managed to write 4 articles, which is much lower than my target. All in all, I’m still fine with that because everything else on the technical side is finally properly setup and I now have time to focus on the content side!

This adds up to a total of 8,636 words written for my last two months of blogging.

I originally thought I had enough of two months to finish setting up the basics of this blog, but I finally ended up spending at least the same amount of time in month 3 and 4 to fine tune a lot of stuff. I also started implementing SEO techniques, setting up all my social profiles (even if they still lack a bit of content!). I also decided to implement monetization during this period, because I wanted my readers to know that this was implemented since the beginning, as opposed to implementing it much later! Overall, these two months were much better than the two first ones, with 2,274 pageviews and around 364 unique visitors!

Total Month 3 & 4: 2,274 Pageviews

Google Analytics

Regarding what was spent during these last two months, here is the breakdown (all amounts are in USD):

  • Fiverr$16 – I ordered a custom logo & header for Finance For Geek, which I’m more than happy with the results. I’ve actually had two different logo and this was not my first choice, but the other one has a lot more height, so I ended up with this one which I find a lot better:

Logo FFG

  • Bluehost$24 – This is for one year for a custom domain I just bought because I wanted to implement a custom branded short domain on this blog. It’s not that I really needed it, but as I noticed with twitter character limitation count and given the fact that my website URL is quite long, I’ve always wanted to implement this since day one. So here it is: ffgeek.co which will be used for my shared links and which redirects to my main domain URL. This might seem a little overkill, but I’m used to implement stuff early on as a tech-savvy guy!

Total Expenses Month 3 & 4: $40

Overall Statistics

This is based on the first 4 months of activity of this blog. This is still quite low, but I’m confident that I can grow this blog to a much bigger size!

Traffic Statistics

  • 621 Users
  • 1,045 Sessions
  • 3,275 Pageviews
  • 57,6% New Visitors
  • Average pageviews per visit : 3.13
  • Average time per visit: 3:37
  • Most popular article: Goals For 2017

Traffic Sources

  • Direct: 50.7%
  • Organic: 37.1%
  • Social: 7.9%
  • Referral: 4.3%

Comparison between September 30th – November 29th and November 30th – January 30th:

Google Analytics

As can be seen from these results, I’m getting a lot more pageviews on month 3-4 than the two first (on average +120% pageviews) and a lot more unique users also (+100% users).

I was looking for the differences between the two periods to check for some trends and here is what I noticed:

  • The first two months I was getting around 70% traffic from direct sources. The past two months, this number decreased to around 20%. So either I was connecting way too much on my own blog from mobile devices (as I’ve excluded my own laptop connections), or some people already had bookmarked this blog, which is great!
  • From September to November, I was getting only a little 10% of my traffic from organic sources (aka search engines), but it now has increased to around 50%, which is great and proves that implementing SEO worked nicely.
  • Since implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), and also Facebook Instant Article (I’ve a post coming soon on this one), I’ve got a lot more hits on the Social traffic sources. This proves that it was definitively worth the time to implement it (even more when it’s so easy to implement).

As I’ve started to comment and follow many different finance-related blogs, I might also see some increases in the Social and Referral traffic source types in the next few weeks. Ideally it would be better to have a mix of Organic and Social traffic sources, in order not to be dependent only from search engines!

Monetization

Although I did not start this blog with monetization in mind, I recently started implementing some monetization methods here. I did this mainly in order to recoup from the expenses I had from web hosting and buying plugins. I find that it’s also a great way for me to try new things, and as I’m only promoting products that I already use and love I think that it is a win-win!

My main monetization technique is affiliate marketing, like when I’m promoting Bluehost or Wealthsimple which are two great products I recommend. I’ve also recently added Facebook Audience Network ads for my Facebook posts, as well as Google AdSense on my posts and sidebar. I’m also promoting some Amazon products, like the books I’ve been reading recently, as I’m part of the Amazon Associates program.

I’m far from generating a decent income with Finance For Geek yet, but everyone has to start somewhere! Here is the breakdown of my income since I started monetizing this blog (which is early January). Keep in mind that this is for income which was earned during this period, but not necessarily paid out yet:

Although not technically part of my earnings, two readers (thanks!) opened up an account with Wealthsimple so now I’m able to have my first $15,000 managed for free! (check out my complete review here).

Total Income since launch: $4.9

What’s next for FFG

Even if I’m currently satisfied with FFG design and overall layout, I’ve already started a list with some ideas of stuff I’d like to implement here in the near future. From the top of my head, here are some ideas which you might see coming in the next few months:

  • I’d like to create a “Start Here” page which will regroup some of my most important articles / pages, as well as an introduction to this website. Ideally, I’d like it to be really visual, with some nice illustrations and a full width layout.
  • I’m also planning on a redesign of my resources pages, maybe to separate more clearly the *blogging* resources from the *financial* ones.
  • I might also add a new page to summarize my new upcoming post series Online Income Reports, much like I did with my “Financial Stats” page. I’m quite a fan of what some other bloggers do out there with a nice graph on their homepage with their last income report. I might be doing this in the short term as well as setting up my new summarized online income report page.

On the content-side, here are a few of the articles I’ve scheduled for the next few weeks:

  • Based on my Goals For 2017 and starting next week, I’ll be detailing each month the progress on the goals I’ve set myself for 2017.
  • My usual recurring financial report post, which you can find summarized here.
  • I’ve already started to write an article about implementing Facebook Instant Article (FIA) which is a feature I find really awesome. This will be a post in my “Grow Your Blog” post series. I’ve already finished setting up FIA, you can check it out on my Facebook page when you read my articles from the Facebook app.
  • I’ve also scheduled a post for mid-February regarding Savings Rate calculation and why it is important.
  • Finally, I’m planning to launch early March another new post series with my detailed online income reports. This will be a new recurring series in which I’ll detail what’s working and what’s not here on Finance For Geek, and where I’ll be discussing how much I’m earning with this blog!

And many many more to come! I think I have something like 5+ posts which I already started writing and I might have at least 10 more post ideas. I just need to find the time (or I should probably say that I need to MAKE some time) to write and publish them!

Final Thoughts

As of this post writing, I’m proud to say that I’m satisfied with my overall web design and I’m ready to get on track to publish more content! I have about 10 posts published, everything is setup the way I want (for the moment!) and I also started monetizing this blog (more to come on an upcoming post).

Blogging is way lot more work than I would have imagined, even more when you have a tendency to be obsessive like I am! I’m still figuring out a lot of stuff and I need to work on a clear schedule to improve my blog post schedule instead of having 200+ different ideas in my head.

With this in mind, I’m aiming to have at least 5,000 Pageviews per month before this summer, which I think is totally doable. We’ll see how that went in my next blog report post in 4 months!

– Vincent

Did you like this summary of my first four months of blogging? Have you also started a blog?

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  • Avatar for Finance For Geek
    The Financial Tech
    Feb 12, 2017 at 7:20 PM

    Wow you have made a nice progress from the start. Congrats on those stats and these nice articles.

    It’s motivating for me to continue my blog seing how you made it and how it can possibly growth.

  • Avatar for Finance For Geek
    Danielle @ The Pennies We Saved
    Mar 05, 2017 at 12:22 PM

    Great summary! I think you’re doing pretty well for yourself! I’m still toying with Google Analytics and understating SEO. I haven’t even “launched” my site because I was still picking a theme (I went the free route and spent way too much time on it), trying to come up with a schedule, and I want at lest four posts. I think I’ll launch tomorrow and just learn along the way. Ha. (btw, GREAT opt-in box you have down below!)

    • Avatar for Finance For Geek
      Finance For Geek
      Mar 05, 2017 at 12:38 PM

      Hello Danielle! Thanks for the feedback on the opt-in 🙂 I also wanted to have some posts before launching Finance For Geek, but I chose to launch it fast and improve it along the way. Good luck on the “official” launch tomorrow!

  • Avatar for Finance For Geek
    Reid @ Wealth Rehab
    Mar 07, 2017 at 10:41 PM

    Good stuff! I am one month in. Looks like you have a great start so far. I think 4 posts in a month is great considering you average over 2000 words per post. I barely hit 900.

  • Avatar for Finance For Geek
    Investment Hunting
    Mar 19, 2017 at 12:42 PM

    Great update. You’ve done it right by taking the time to setup all the important back-end components from day 1. My blog is much older and I still haven’t setup a newsletter, shame on me ;-(.

    I really like the look of your theme and what you’ve done. On a side note, HTTPs really helped my blog get to the nest level. I gained SEO positions right after implementing it. Hopefully the same holds true for you.

    Best of luck.

    • Avatar for Finance For Geek
      Finance For Geek
      Mar 19, 2017 at 7:06 PM

      Thanks for the kind words. I tried to setup everything from day one yes, but it took quite a long time! Cool to know that you noticed a difference after implementing HTTPs. I don’t have a lot of organic traffic yet (referral and social are my top sources), but I’m slowly starting to see some users coming from the major search engines.

  • Avatar for Finance For Geek
    Wes
    Mar 29, 2017 at 5:15 PM

    Thanks for sharing your numbers and stuff, I love reading stuff like this.

  • Avatar for Finance For Geek
    My Sons Father
    Apr 01, 2017 at 9:42 PM

    Site looks great! Your work has paid off. I’m still muddling my way through some of the technical aspects of managing a blog and much prefer creating content, but it’s encouraging to see how much you’ve accomplished in your 4 months. I’ll keep an eye out for your Google Analytics breakdown, I haven’t implemented this tool yet (my traffic doesn’t seem to justify it at this point), but would like to use it if my website grows.

    • Avatar for Finance For Geek
      Finance For Geek
      Apr 02, 2017 at 2:16 PM

      Thank you!! Yes the technical aspect can sometimes seem a bit overwhelming for non technical people, and I hear you on the content side. Even if I do enjoy some technical aspects I definitely prefer writing content. You should be looking into Google Analytics even with low traffic, because you’ll be able to look back and analyze everything when you will have some more!

  • Avatar for Finance For Geek
    [email protected]
    Apr 17, 2017 at 5:39 AM

    4 months in, wow! I’m very impressed by how professional your site looks, and your technical background I think is standing you in very good stead here! I started for exactly the same reason, to take control of my finances and to hold myself accountable, wishing you all the best!

    • Avatar for Finance For Geek
      Finance For Geek
      Apr 17, 2017 at 10:10 AM

      Hello Sarah and thanks for dropping by! I’ve got a technical background but I also spent some (and by that I mean a LOT) of time customizing my theme to be what it is now. It’s nice to see that I’m not the only one feeling kind of “disorganized” and willing to take control of my finances. Cheers!

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