June Roundup and Financials. Hi! Here's my monthly roundup of how well Sweeter Than Oats is performing.
One way or another it was a hectic June, and I seemed to spend less time blogging than I normally like. In spite of this, my overall page views and specifically, organic page views, are moving in the right direction. More on this later.
So what happened in June?
I can't remember if I mentioned my dodgy eye. If not, I have a dodgy eye. I was suffering with some aching in my left ocular, to the point where it was uncomfortable to use it, and I bought an eye patch to help relieve some of the strain. After that, I have been left with a permanent blurry central spot, and am waiting for an appointment with my local eye clinic. I'm telling you all this in case I'm absent for a couple of weeks (stressing slightly about a surgical procedure!).
In happier news, I visited Brick Lane and Spitalfields for another one of my vegan guides to London. It's tough to say it, but I may need one or two more visits to get the full feel for the huge amount of vegan food available in Brick Land and Spitalfields. And even if you just want to walk around the day and take in the atmosphere, I highly recommend it.
I started to listen to The Inside Story of the Hillside Stranglers on Audible. It's a great crime novel, fast-paced and gripping. Pick up a "copy" here:
June is a fabulous month for fresh produce, and by far my most popular recipe this month was my Vegan No-Bake Strawberry Cream Pie, with it's raw fruit filling and delicious cheesecake crust.
For those blazing hot days when you barely have any energy, my super-fast Gazpacho recipe is perfect for getting your five-a-day with minimum effort.
Now, I know that you are not just here for a recap of my recipes, you can see those just by scrolling and scrolling down the page. You want the blog financial tea, right?
So, the great piece of news this month is that I was accepted to SHE Media. I applied to them, off the cuff, and not anticipating that they would accept me given that my monthly page views are only just over 5k (and one of their criteria is 20k PV monthly). So, I have closed my media.net account (I had earned a little over 30c or 26p in the two months, so I took that hit) and will see how well that pays out over the next year. Be careful when signing up with ad agencies that you choose one that is a good fit for you. You will tied into a contract with them for 12 months, so if you're thinking, well, I'll switch to Mediavine just as soon as I hit the golden 50k and you're only a few thousand away, don't sign up elsewhere because you will be contractually tied for a year.
As much as Mediavine is my own personal blogging holy grail, I am under no illusion that I probably won't hit 50k monthly PV in the next 12 months. So I'll keep you posted on this one!
With regard to ad placement, I'm also experimenting a bit. You want to maximise your ad exposure but retain a good overall viewer experience too.
Why Do Organic Page Views Matter?
If, like me, you have just started blogging, and are finding it a bit of a minefield, here's a few helpful hints about the value of the different page views (PVs).
Organic Views vs Page Views
OK. So, you've connected your brand new blog to your Google Analytics account (and, if you haven't done that yet and have aspirations for your blog to be successful and seen worldwide, it is quite essential that you do so), and you're seeing all these different numbers and titles, and charts. It's quite mindboggling.
For me, at this stage as a newbie blogger, I concentrate purely on how many PVs I get, probably obsessively so. I am very eager to get out of this number crunching mindset, but I do accept the importance of knowing your numbers and working towards goals. In many ways this is part of blogging that I really enjoy, having a somewhat commercial brain from my career in offices and in management. That said, it is also depressing if you don't hit targets, so it's a very fine balancing act, emotionally!
So, you can get Page Views in various ways, from a number of different channels:
As you can see, a lot of my traffic comes via social networking, Facebook and Pinterest, plus smart.bio is a link in my Instagram bio. Foodgawker is a food photo sharing site, I post my best food photos there and link back to my blog. It doesn't generate tons of views, but enough for a newbie.
Facebook views come from engagement in various blogging groups. These groups are great for recipe sharing and building up a community between different blogs, and there are many groups for most blogging topics.
Pinterest, well, Pinterest is considered a necessary evil for bloggers. It is a way of submitting your content via a "pin" to a virtual pinboard. In effect, it is actually a huge, illustrated search engine.
My knowledge of Pinterest is growing but still scant. I post a pin daily and try to revamp my pin style every few months to keep it fresh. As you will have read from my previous roundup posts, I have spent money on advertising my pins and for the first couple of months it did work, my monthly views soared to nearly 500k. BUT. I wasn't generating click throughs (where the viewer clicks on the pin through to your blog) and if the ad isn't converting, I'm not sure it's even worth it. Furthermore, the ads started getting less and less views, so it kind of made that decision for me that paying for ads is not worthwhile at this point.
Organic traffic is where we all want to be aiming. It is what elevates our blogs from the doldrums of page 3 or 4 or 10 on the google rankings (where you blog posts appears if someone googles, for example, vegan cookies) to the first page. In short, organic traffic is the traffic that Google (or other search engines) drive to your blog. How high up on the rankings you appear. A new blog generally won't have too much organic traffic (unless their SEO is on point and they are in a niche), particularly as Google put new blogs in a virtual "sandbox" (allegedly), a sort of kindergarten for newbies. You may be blogging from the sandbox for several months until Google sets you free in the big wide world of blogging and you will start to see your traffic increase. I am seeing slow organic growth, but definite and from more than one blog post.
How Do I Get Organic Traffic?
Organic traffic is not a given. It is earned through:
- putting out constantly good and trustworthy material
- great SEO
- blog DA (Domain Authority, or how many websites of note link to you)
- and the final key ingredient, time
Blog Update and Goals
So, let’s look at last month, and my targets….
My targets for Social and Blog for June were:
- Instagram 5000 followers, av. 250 likes per post. Actual 4109 followers and 250 likes. A partial ✔
- Pinterest 450 followers, 150k monthly views Actual 427 followers, 15k MV
- Blog 6k page monthly views Actual 6186 ✔
Targets for July
- Instagram 5000 followers, 250-300 likes per picture
- Pinterest 450 followers, 50k monthly views (lol at this being my target for three months now)
- Page Views 7k, with 15% regular organic growth by end of month July
- I really want to increase my DA but am struggling with that.
So this month was a mixed bag but my steady organic growth is encouraging, and combined with my SHEMedia ads, is the direction I want to be moving towards.
I don't think I earned anything at all in June for that. I'm not sure that my blog gets the kind of organic traffic yet to drive this to any great extent, so I'm ok with that. I am definitely considering an online course on Amazon Affiliate marketing though.