I’m going to document my blog improvements on a quarterly basis to document the growth of my blog. This will also serve as a reference for me to look back on past decisions that I have made in blogging.
It’s been almost three months now since I got back to blogging. And, as I have mentioned in my blog anniversary post, I have created this blog last May 31, 2019, but did not touch it due to laziness until April 2020. I got back to blogging only last April 17, 2020. Since I have so much time in my hands nowadays, due to the lockdown, I was able to consistently write articles in the last few months.
I have decided that since I now committed myself to this blog, I will do a quarterly blogging performance report which will focus on blog improvements. By doing a quarterly blog report, I will have something to look back to and hopefully, you will also learn from my experience.
I will not be including blog earnings because first, it’s non-existent LOL, second, aside from putting up display ads, I have not decided on how to monetize the blog yet. I want to focus first on creating valuable content and driving traffic to this blog.
The first thing that I did before I started writing any articles is to decide on my content strategy and create a blogging schedule. I have narrowed down topics that I know about and that I’m very interested in. Afterward, I did some basic keyword research and checked Google search about the existing articles that are ranking on those keywords. And then I started writing my articles.
To be honest, I should do this more diligently, however, sometimes, I just write anything I want without checking the keywords anymore. This is something that I need to improve on if I want to grow this blog.
My goal is to write at least 2 articles per week. I think that’s doable for me even if I do it side-by-side with my online selling gig. But since my online selling gig is kind of dead for the time being LOL (again because of the lockdown) I have so much time in my hand that I often exceed my writing target.
For the month of April, I wrote a total of 12 articles. Looking back, I realized I don’t like all of those articles and I might delete some of them or merge them with other articles that I have written (or will write).
Blog layout and other stuff
This is something that I need to stop tinkering as it is eating too much of my time. However, I really do enjoy tweaking my layout. Sometimes, I find myself changing even the simplest of things. Like for example, it took me a lot of time, finding the right shade of gray to use LOL! Yup! I have so much time in my hands!
Don’t be fooled by the huge bump. Now that I have been reading about blogging a lot, I realized that huge spike of traffic was me. I was doing a lot of layout changes during those times. If only I’d have known earlier, I would have excluded my own IP in my Google Analytics account. I only excluded my own IP by the end of May.
Blog traffic is not that much as expected. By the end of April 2020, there were only a total of 29 articles on the blog. 17 articles were written when I first set this up last 2019 and then 12 new articles added in April.
I have written 22 articles for May 2020. I was honestly shocked to see that I have written that much now that I’m counting the number of articles in my WordPress dashboard. Most articles are more than 1000 words and some are at 2000 and 3000 level.
Compared to my articles last April, I feel that my articles in May are better. One of the main things that helped me improve last May was Grammarly. English is my second language and sometimes I struggle with grammar. Installing Grammarly last May, helped me improve my writing skills a bit.
There were some articles though that I will also delete and merge since I’m not quite satisfied with them.
Blog layout and other stuff
As usual, I spent a lot of time tweaking my blog again. I changed my sidebar, my homepage, my pages, etc. The main thing that also happened last May was I moved to another hosting service provider. I was due for renewal last May 31. I felt that the amount of money that I have to spend to renew my hosting will not justify my usage since I don’t get that much traffic anyways.
So, I searched online and found Hostinger. I was able to save a whopping $498.34 when I moved to Hostinger. My page load also became faster. I spent almost two-days though with the transfer which was honestly my fault.
Hostinger offers free transfer. However, I contacted them for almost less than a day (the night of May 30, 2020) before my previous hosting service expired.
Fortunately, I was also planning to do an overhaul on the layout and didn’t mind doing the manual transfer myself since I’ll be changing a lot of stuff anyways.
May traffic is a bit better compared to April and the page views and number of users almost doubled. However, as I have mentioned above, it still includes my own IP especially on May 31 when I did a lot of changes with the blog. Another thing that I noticed in Google Analytics this month was, a huge portion of my traffic was coming from three posts only which made me think a lot. Only 3 out of 50 articles were producing results.
I know it’s too early to see the traffic from SERP especially from newly written articles. However, it also made me question the quality of my content, more specifically:
- Is there really an audience for the content that I have written?
- Did I optimize my articles for search engines?
- If someone reads these articles, did it answer their questions and/or did it help them?
Those are the questions that got me into thinking which prompted me to check Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
If you have noticed, something changed on May 28. Search visibility (purple line) was consistently increasing and then it suddenly dropped which probably means, some of my posts are not appearing in SERP. So I did some investigation since I monitor some of the keywords that I was targetting. Some of my posts were indeed not appearing anymore in the search pages. This will be my next project for the month of July – improve the quality of those blogposts or delete them completely.
Going back to the questions that I have asked myself:
Is there really an audience for the content that I have written?
Yes, there are tons of readers for the keywords that I am targetting. Unfortunately, I forgot to take into consideration the size of the competition. And I don’t mean other blogs, but websites of big businesses and banks. So, this is something that I will have to take into account in future articles.
And another thing that I discovered, the geo-targetting of my blog is set to United States when I’m writing articles for the Philippines’ audience. This is something that I have also corrected to ensure that my blog is considered for search results in the Philippines.
Did I optimize my articles for search engines?
To a certain extent yes. I have done my share of internal SEO but I still have not done any external backlinking yet. And it may be affecting the SERP performance of my posts. I don’t think that it’s the most important thing in the world but, it still is one of the most important.
For example, if Blog A and B both have an awesome article about Topic X. Both articles are optimized for search engines and both blogs have high engagement in Social Media and both blogs have very speedy page load time. However, Blog A doesn’t have any external links from other websites and Blog B has tons of links from high-authority websites. Who do you think will rank better?
It may not be the most important thing but it sends a signal to Google that the one with backlinks from highly credible authority sites should rank higher.
If someone read these articles, did it answer their question and/or did it help them?
Again, to a certain extent, yes. I often re-read my article and realized that I need to improve my formatting. Because even though the articles are helpful and answer their questions, it’s not easy to the eyes thus affecting their overall experience.
And also the biggest challenge for me is to write in an engaging tone. I feel that I still have a lot to work on my style of writing that could improve the overall experience of the reader.
I wrote 18 articles for the month of June and I feel that my writing skill is slowly improving as months go by. It’s a bit of a struggle now to write articles compared to April and May though. Because this month, the lockdown in my area is slowly easing up and businesses are opening one by one.
I started buying new inventories and processing them for my online store and of course, it does eat a lot of time. So the challenge moving forward is to balance my time between both activities while staying sane LOL!
Blog layout and other stuff
I found a nice plugin called Custom Sidebars that let me customized the sidebars per page and per post. Again, I spent a lot of time tweaking my layout, color scheme, and plugins. I know that I should just stop doing this LOL!
I also changed my permalink twice! I know that it’s not the best thing to do after you have launched your website. But, I’ve read an article from Neil Patel’s blog about URL structure which I think makes a lot of sense. So, I changed my permalinks to category/post and I also shortened all my URLS which took me around 2 days to finish.
June’s page views increased by around 40% which is good given that there are also more articles added this month. I’m expecting the traffic to drop by July because of the change in permalinks.
The upward trajectory is nice to see, even though it looks like a very slow growth. This excites me to further improve my existing content and produce better content in the coming months.
I’m kinda done with all the blog improvements on the aesthetic side for now. I guess I could focus more on creating articles and promoting content on Pinterest in the coming months. If you’re also new to blogging I highly suggest that you clean your analytics with your own IP and referral spam so you could see your actual numbers.
By the way, I lost access to my old Instagram Account – TheThriftyHustler. And after waiting for a response from Instagram for a few days, I have just decided to make a new one. Please unfollow my old account and follow the new one – ThriftyHustler_Official. Thanks!
How to Remove your IP from Google Analytics
- Login to your Google Analytics account
- Click on the Admin menu and select All Filters
- Click Add Filter
- Create a Name for your Filter
- Leave Filter Type as predefined
- It should read: Exclude + traffic from the IP addresses + that are equal to
- Enter your IP address and then Click on Save
Your historical data will not change but your succeeding data should now exclude your own IP.
Aside from filtering out your own IP, I also suggest that you filter out Referral Spam in your Google Analytics which is a great blogging tip from Neil Patel. He also has a very helpful blogpost on how to do it.
Are you also new to blogging? What blog improvements have you done recently to increase your blog traffic?