Blogging

One Year of Blogging: All the Stats

Photo by Lalmch on Pixabay

So you came for the numbers…

This post won’t disappoint! I’m guarded with our net worth and spending, but I’ll happily spill the beans with my blog stats. Why, you ask?

It’s because I haven’t found much in the way of stats for very new, very small blogs. While there are exceptions, most bloggers who share stats tend to be much father along. 

Reading gargantuan numbers like theirs can feel unrelatable and defeating to those of us who are still new to blogging. My hope is that by sharing my challenges and stats (even when they’re ugly) others might be encouraged to push through the hard patches and keep blogging. 

Related: If you haven’t already, read my one-year and six-month blogiversary posts for my honest experience with blogging.

So get ready for lots of tables, charts, and numbers—here are all the stats from my first year of blogging!

Part 1: All the stats

In this section, I’ll outline all the metrics I use to monitor my blog growth. If there’s a metric that I haven’t included, but that you use and find helpful, let me know! I’ll see about including it in my next blogiversary post.

Note

While I covered the stats for January to June in my six-month post, I decided to include them here again—along with some of the same commentary. This makes it easier to see my progress over a full year (and saves you from having to jump back and forth between two posts!)

Metric 1: Email subscribers

My list is still small (really small) but I’m grateful for each and every subscriber! I’ve been admittedly lazy about growing my email list, so I’m not surprised by the slow growth. Here are the stats:

  • January 2019: 3
  • February 2019: 19 (+533%)
  • March 2019: 33 (+74%)
  • April 2019: 47 (+42%)
  • May 2019: 50 (+6%)
  • June 2019: 71 (+42%)
  • July 2019: 82 (+16%)
  • August 2019: 84 (+2%)
  • September 2019: 91 (+8%)
  • October 2019: 91 (0%)
  • November 2019: 93 (+2%)
  • December 2019: 97 (+4%)

Additional e-mail stats

Here are some additional stats from Mailchimp. (I don’t know if these rates are good or not—there isn’t much info for small niche blogs.)
  • Average open rate: 56.9%
  • Average click rate: 20.4%
  • Average subscribe rate: 800%
  • Average unsubscribe rate: 0.7%

My commentary

Unlike followers on social platforms, no one can take away our email followers. Email followers are also not affected by algorithms that’ll only show our content to some users. If someone’s on your list, and your email reaches their inbox (and not their Promotions tab) they’ll see your content.

This is why blogging experts advise us to grow our email lists—they’re one of the few platforms (along with our blogs) that we own and control 100%. 

Given all this, I’d like to do better in this area. One day, I’d like to create an intro email series to entice readers to subscribe. (Afford Anything and Do You Even Blog do an amazing job with their introductory emails.)

But I say ‘one day’ because I want to make my series really good—and that’ll require a lot of time to create. Since I’m still focused on building out content for my blog, I’ll have to put email list growth on the back burner. 

For now, I’m okay with allowing my list to grow organically.

Metric 2: Month-to-month pageviews

My traffic levels aren’t all that high, but given that I post infrequently and inconsistently, it’s expected. As I’ve admitted before, this bothers me! I realize that posting frequency has a big affect on traffic. 

I’d like to post more frequently, but it’s just not possible for me right now… so I’ll try to be at peace with my inconsistent traffic growth!

  • January 2019: 2,482
  • February 2019: 7,406 (+199%)
  • March 2019: 2,961 (-60%)
  • April 2019: 3,255 (+10%)
  • May 2019: 3,577 (+10%)
  • June 2019: 3,011 (-16%)
  • July 2019: 3,395 (+13%)
  • August 2019: 3,241 (-5%)
  • September 2019: 3,602 (+11%)
  • October 2019: 4,631 (+29%)
  • November 2019: 3,670 (-21%)
  • December 2019: 2,720 (-26%)

My commentary

In February, I experienced ‘The Rockstar Effect’—a huge spike in traffic from being featured on Rockstar Finance. (That was pretty unreal for me, given how new I was to blogging at the time.)

In March, I pre-posted a month’s worth of posts (The Homestay Series) to cover my absence while we were away in Korea. I was worried that blog traffic would drop to nothing, but somehow the blog did okay!

In June there was a decrease in pageviews. My best guesses for the reasons behind the drop: one article was Canadian-focused (fewer US readers) and blog traffic generally slows in the summer. July and August were also slow.

September saw a bump—mostly from my Coast Capital Savings and Flashfood review posts. A lot of that traffic came organically, through Google searches. This was something new for me, and proof of the power of being found by Google.

My biggest month

I don’t count February as a ‘real’ high-traffic month since it’s a one-time anomaly (the Rockstar Effect). Setting February aside, my biggest ‘real’ month of traffic this year was October. The spike in traffic was a result of all my posts for that month doing exceptionally well:

I also continued to receive a decent amount of traffic from my Coast Capital Savings and Flashfood review posts. It was a magical, rewarding month of good traffic!

The slide back down

Unfortunately, the traffic high in October was short-lived. My traffic dropped in November and dropped even more in December. I blame this mostly on the lack of new content (life got too busy). Also: the holidays are a slow time for blogs.

This drop in traffic was disappointing and humbling (my December traffic was almost the same as January—my very first month!) But I’ll take it as motivation to keep working hard and putting out helpful content. 

Metric 3: Total pageviews

I don’t know if this is useful, but I’ve seen this metric on other blog reports:

  • January–December 2019: 45,848

It’ll be really interesting to compare this number year-to-year. (Even more motivation to keep on blogging!)

Metric 4: Month-to-month users

These numbers are a lot lower than my pageviews, which (I think) means my readers come back often and/or visit more than one page per session. So I guess it’s a good thing!

  • January 2019: 802
  • February 2019: 3,449 (+330%)
  • March 2019: 1,028 (-30%)
  • April 2019: 1,049 (+2%)
  • May 2019: 943 (-10%)
  • June 2019: 856 (-9%)
  • July 2019: 1,178 (+38%)
  • August 2019: 939 (-20%)
  • September 2019: 1,145 (+22%)
  • October 2019: 1,599 (+40%)
  • November 2019: 1,385 (-13%)
  • December 2019: 1,024 (-26%)

Metric 5: Total users

I also don’t know if this is useful, but I’ve seen this metric on other blog reports:

  • January–December 2019: 13,835

Metric 6: Traffic sources

Note that the numbers below reflect users, not pageviews:

  • Direct: 5,258
  • Referral: 3,468
  • Social: 3,204
    • Twitter: 1,596
    • Facebook: 1,455
    • Instagram: 131
    • Other: 22
  • Organic search: 2,336

Direct traffic

Direct traffic is tricky to analyze. Apparently, it comes from a variety of hard-to-track sources (mobile apps, messaging apps, directly typing in the URL, etc.) 

I’ve learned that UTM tags can help to categorize some of this direct traffic (Google’s Campaign URL Builder is useful for this). But I’ve yet to find the time to implement them. Hopefully I’ll be able to tackle this in the near future.

Referrals

Referrals are my second-biggest source of users and they come from:

Did you know?

I also run a directory right here on this blog? It’s called the Canadian FIRE Directoryif you’re a Canadian FIRE content creator, I’d love to include you! Just shoot me a message here.

Social

I know we shouldn’t rely on social networks for traffic, but it’s a good way for new bloggers to gain some momentum. Twitter and Facebook are my biggest sources of social traffic because I spend a lot of time on those platforms!

I love sharing and conversing with other bloggers on Twitter and I’m in several FI and blogging Facebook groups. The Eat Sleep Breathe FI Facebook page still doesn’t have a large following, so I’m pretty sure most of my Facebook traffic comes from the sharing threads in the groups I’m in: Choose FIChooseFI CanadaChooseFI VancouverWomen’s Personal Finance, and Slow FI Enthusiasts

My Instagram referral traffic is miniscule compared to Twitter and Facebook, but it’s not nothing! I recently added a cool feature called Smart.Bio which allows me to link from Instagram to multiple pages on my site. It’s more flexible than the single URL that Instagram normally allows (and it’s free!) I hope it’ll help bring in more traffic in 2020.

Organic search

This is an area I plan to work on in 2020 (as mentioned in my one-year blogiversary post). I think it’ll be good for long-term, sustainable blog growth, and allows my older but still-useful content to continue bringing in traffic. 

One frustrating thing with organic search is that a large chunk of it is categorized as “not provided”. Apparently, these keywords aren’t shown in Google Analytics due to Google’s privacy policy. Thankfully, I found a helpful, free tool to uncover some of these keywords: Keyword Hero.

It’s fun, interesting, and educational to see which search terms people have used to find my site. Surprisingly, I get a decent amount of traffic to my Korea trip report posts. I was debating whether or not to do trip report posts for our upcoming trip to Japan—and now I have my answer! 

Based on the info I’ve gained from Google Search Console and Keyword Hero, I think it’ll be worth doing. (Plus—we know lots of people who are interested in travelling to Japan. It’ll be handy to be able to refer them to my posts.)

Metric 7: Audience location

Amazingly, my readers came from 88 countries around the world! I still find that so cool and mind-blowing! Here’s the breakdown:

  • Canada: 52%
  • United States: 28%
  • UK: 2%
  • Australia: 1%
  • South Korea: 1%
  • Other: 16%

In my six-month post, my US traffic was higher than Canada, but that was mostly a result of the Rockstar Finance feature I had in February. 

Over the course of the year, that traffic anomaly got averaged out. I think these final numbers for the year are likely closer to my normal geographical breakdown.

Metric 8: Twitter followers

I don’t know if Twitter followers are meaningful to track, but I do it anyway just for fun:

  • May 2018: 0
  • February 2019: 832
  • March 2019: 891 (+7%)
  • April 2019: 915 (+3%)
  • May 2019: 1,013 (+11%)
  • June 2019: 1,050 (+4%)
  • July 2019: 1,116 (+6%)
  • August 2019: 1,163 (+4%)
  • September 2019: 1,195 (+3%)
  • October 2019: 1,235 (+3%)
  • November 2019: 1,289 (+4%)
  • December 2019: 1,323 (+3%)

My commentary

Unfortunately, I only have data from February, when I started tracking my followers manually. (I don’t know of a free way to look up long-term historical Twitter data. If there is, please let me know!)  

I should also mention: I did not build up to 832 followers between January and February! I actually started my Twitter account in May 2018, long before I launched.1 

I track my Twitter followers manually—by recording in an Evernote the total number of followers on the last day of each month. If you know of a better way to track Twitter followers, I’m all ears!

Metric 9: Top ten posts

Here are my top ten posts for 2019 (starting with the most-visited):

My commentary

I actually hadn’t looked into my top posts until I made this list… and I’m really surprised with the results! They tell me:
  • Organic search helps a lot (most of the traffic for the top two posts came from Google).
  • My update posts are way more popular than I realized.
  • People enjoy posts about dogs!
  • FI School (something I poured a ton of blood, sweat and tears into) is getting good traction.
  • It’ll definitely be worth doing some trip reports for Japan (especially food-related posts).

Metric 10: Comments

Comments are a huge part of blogging for me. It’s so rewarding to receive feedback from regular readers and newcomers. I love being able to regularly connect with and learn from all of you! 

Total comments for 2019

  • Eat Sleep Breathe FI logged a total of 301 comments in 2019.

Top five commenters for 2019

Not that it’s a competition or anything… 😝

Thank you

Whether you’re a frequent or one-time commenter, I appreciate that you took the time to engage and connect. If you haven’t left a comment before, please jump in and introduce yourself—I don’t bite, and I’d love to get to know you!

Part 2: Income and expenses

I saved the juiciest for last! This is what everyone wants to know… right? Well, don’t get too excited—there’s not a lot to report here!

However, even though I didn’t earn much in my first year of blogging, I’m still sharing my numbers. Why? Well, I like knowing what other bloggers earn and how they earned their income. It’s interesting, educational, and satiates my curiosity. 

And really—who doesn’t like a peek behind the curtain? With that, I present the numbers:

2019 Income sources and totals

Total income

  • Coast Capital Savings Refer-a-Friend: $50 x 7 = $350 ($271 USD)
  • Google Adsense: $119 ($92 USD)
  • Flashfood credits: $21 ($16 USD)
  • Amazon.ca Associates: $11 ($9 USD)
  • Amazon.com Associates: $4 ($3 USD)
  • GRAND TOTAL: $505 ($391 USD)

Total expenses

  • Web hosting: $85 ($66 USD)
  • Domain registration: $25 ($19 USD)
  • WP Rocket renewal (2 years): $50 ($39 USD)
  • Solo Pine theme support renewal: $44 ($34 USD)
  • Site speed optimization (Fiverr): $40 ($29 + $2 Fiverr fee = $31 USD)
  • GRAND TOTAL: $244 ($189 USD)

Related: Read my blog and podcast update for October. In it, I detailed my experience working with a WordPress developer on Fiverr2. For only $29, he helped me to optimize and speed up my site—and I found it was well worth the price!

Net income

For 2019, the net income for Eat Sleep Breathe FI came to a whopping $261 ($202 USD). It’s nothing to write home about, ha ha! But hey—I’m not in the red. That’s something, right?

My commentary

While $261 isn’t much, it’s more than I expected to make in my first year of blogging. I’d actually expected to be in the hole for the first two years, so this is great news! 

For those who are curious, I’ve broken out and provided more commentary for each income source below.

1. Coast Capital Savings Refer-a-Friend

I’d estimated that only 60–75% of my 18 Coast Capital referrals would go through, but the successful referrals fell far short of that! Only 7 referrals went through, which is a 39% success rate!

Unfortunately, I believe the issue was on Coast Capital’s end. The $500 sign-up offer was so popular that they got swamped and weren’t able to process the applications in time.

Additionally, my husband and brother-in-law were declined for no apparent reason. I think some of my reader referrals were probably lost for the same reason—unexplained rejections!

(Note: I didn’t count family referrals—the 18 I’m mentioning here were all referrals from readers.)

Though it didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped, I’m incredibly grateful for the referrals I did receive. This is the perfect type of income that I’d like to earn through this blog: my readers get a benefit from my referrals too. (Successful referees also received $50 from Coast Capital.)

2. Google Adsense

I finally hit the minimum payout threshold for Google Adsense in September, and the $119 payment arrived in October. This was a hard-won payment. It takes a lot of impressions and clicks to get to $119!

I earned another $31 in ad revenue in October, but I’ll have to wait for it to reach $100 again before I receive another payout. It’s not looking good so far—I only earned $4 in November and $3 in December!

3. Flashfood

Unfortunately, Flashfood doesn’t show me where my referrals came from. I received around $42 in credits, and my best guess is half of them came from family and the other half came from readers.

This one’s a bit puzzling, to be honest. My Flashfood review post was the top post on my site for 2019, but I’ve received very few referral credits. Either no one’s using my link, or something’s wrong and Flashfood isn’t recognizing the referrals.

Whatever the case, there doesn’t seem to be a way to find out more or fix the issue. Oh well—I’m happy as long as more people are discovering Flashfood and helping to save the planet.

4. Amazon Associates

As you can see, I’m not having much luck with Amazon! I did have one huge success though—I was formally accepted into the Amazon.com store. However, I was kicked out of the Amazon.ca store again! This time, it was due to not enough commissions. (And not improper wording—like the first time I got kicked out!)

I’ve applied again for the Amazon.ca store, and will try to think of more ways to increase my earnings so I’ll finally qualify.

Why I monetize

You’re probably wondering why I bother to monetize if it earns me so little. Good question! To answer this and to further explain how and why I monetize this blog, I wrote this Monetization Manifesto

In a nutshell: my main priority for ESBFI isn’t to earn money—it’s to connect with and help others. Any money I earn helps to cover my costs and motivates me to keep going. (It also makes it a little less painful when I think of the countless hours I’ve poured into this blog!)

Part 3: Closing thoughts

Thought bubble image by rawpixel; Watercolour texture created by kjpargeter—freepik.com

2019 was an amazing first year for Eat Sleep Breathe FI. When I launched, I had no idea what to expect. I’d hoped that more than a few people would discover my blog and leave a comment or two—and that definitely happened!

As far as income, I knew to keep my expectations low, and predicted that I’d earn $0 until the end of year two. It was a lovely surprise to have stumbled into the income I did earn. Still, my hourly wage of almost-nothing-per-hour proved to me how hard it is to earn a few bucks online!

Fortunately, growing traffic and earning blog income aren’t my main goals. I want to help, learn from, and connect with my readers and other bloggers—and I accomplished all of that (and more) this year.

Thanks again to all of you, my amazing readers, for coming back again and again. Your comments, emails, likes and shares mean more to me than any income I might earn. Connecting with you is truly what rewards me and keeps me blogging for the long term.

Any feedback or questions?

Do you have thoughts to share? Did I miss anything? Got questions you’d like me to answer? Feel free to ask below—I read and reply to all comments!

Support this blog

If you liked this article and want more content like this, please support this blog by sharing it! Not only does it help spread the FIRE, but it lets me know what content you find most useful. (Which encourages me to write more of it!) 

You can also support this blog by visiting my recommendations page and purchasing through the links. Note that not every link is an affiliate link—some are just favourite products and services that I want to share. 🙂

As always, however you show your support for this blog—THANK YOU!

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53 Comments

  • Reply
    PhiaFreedom101
    January 7, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    Congratulations on your one year blogiversary Chrissy! So happy you pulled the trigger on this blog and joined this space. You bring so much to the table in both your posts and podcasts 🙂

    I didn’t track my numbers very well when I was starting my blog, but as a minor point of reference, I do remember that my e-mail subscribers were almost exactly the same as yours after one year. So you aren’t alone! And I STILL need to work on my whole e-mail introduction thing……..one of these days ;).

    As for income – girl, you blew me out of the water. You made about 10000% more than I did in my first year of blogging! I know this isn’t your primary goal, but still, awesome job!

    Looking forward to seeing all the great stuff you are going to roll out in Year 2!

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 7, 2020 at 11:19 pm

      Phia—aww! You are the best. I’ve loved getting to know you (both online and off) this past year. Your content continually inspires and motivates me to grow as a person and as a blogger. I’m lucky to be sharing this little corner of the internet with you!

      Thanks for your e-mail subscriber numbers… it makes me feel a little better! When I hear about other bloggers’ lists that are in the tens of thousands, I’m just like, gah! That’s impossible and unreachable!

      Your support and encouragement has been much-appreciated, my friend. Thank you for coming by to comment.

  • Reply
    PhiaFreedom101
    January 7, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    PS: I came in THIRD???Hmmmm…GYM, Kris……I’m coming for your spots this year. Watch out. Not that I’m competitive or anything like that.

    Also – this counts as two comments right?

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 7, 2020 at 11:21 pm

      GYM and Kris, you’ve been warned. Phia acts all sweet and nice, but ‘competitive’ is her middle name! LOL

  • Reply
    Maria @ Handful of Thoughts
    January 7, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    Thanks for being so honest, Chrissy. As a newer blogger, I am super impressed by your numbers (for what it’s worth). You are an inspiration and I am continuously learning new things every time I read your blog. Keep making progress, there are people out there reading and benefitting from your voice.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 7, 2020 at 11:25 pm

      Maria—what a lovely comment. Thank you, it made me smile. And I could easily say the same thing about you! (You’ve taught me lots too.) I’ve loved your content and look forward to both of us continuing to grow and learn about blogging together!

  • Reply
    Shaidah
    January 7, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    Great post! I have never really followed a blog so I found this super interesting to read!

    Your posts are so well put together and formatted! Nicely Done!

    I did find your email for this post in my promotions tab, so we need to work on how to get that to show up in my inbox.

    I look forward to reading your content in 2020!

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 7, 2020 at 11:34 pm

      Shaidah—thank you for sticking with me all year long, my friend. I know that you don’t generally read blogs, so it’s really nice that you read mine! Your feedback, support, and comments have all been helpful and appreciated.

      It’s amazing to realize that this blog led to us meeting each other and becoming friends IRL. I can’t think of a better blog benefit than that!

      PS Yes, let’s work on that promotions tab issue—argh!

  • Reply
    Kristen
    January 7, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    Amazing post, Chrissy! Lots of great information and insights on growth, what to do, and real expectations. I love that! 2020 is the year/decade of the blog so I’m kicking it to a higher level.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 7, 2020 at 11:37 pm

      Kristen—thanks for stopping by. I’m always happy to hear from you. You were one of the first people to reach out and give me some helpful tips when I first started blogging. I was a nobody and you just did it out of the goodness of your heart. I’ll never forget that!

      I look forward to reading more from you this year.

      • Kristen
        January 8, 2020 at 4:24 am

        I’m always glad to help! Keep up the great work. I will keep reading you too 😉 <3

  • Reply
    Sam
    January 7, 2020 at 10:30 pm

    Congratulations and thanks for showing the numbers. As you say this is rarely done and newer bloggers can feel quite intimidated by seeing stats from those who have been blogging for years or who treat it as a full time job. Like you my numbers have decreased recently as I haven’t been posting as often. I also started on WordPress.com and people can follow without providing an email address. I have now moved to WordPress.org and signed up with mailerlite, but only have 20 or so on my list.

    Thanks for the shout out and I’ll try to get the number one spot in 2020!

    Sam

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 7, 2020 at 11:07 pm

      Sam—it’s always lovely to hear from you! It’s nice (I guess?) to know that I’m not the only one who’s posted less and saw a drop in traffic. Mailerlite is a great choice! Do you need me to resubmit my email so it’s on your list?

      Ha ha—there’s absolutely no pressure to comment! I just wanted to thank you and the others for the time you put into commenting on my blog. It really means so much to me because I know it can be hard to get around to it.

      Here’s to another year of blogging for both of us!

      • Sam
        January 10, 2020 at 1:03 pm

        Chrissy, WordPress.com still seems to be sending out notification of my posts – I know this as my own email is on the list, so there’s no need to worry.

  • Reply
    Kari
    January 8, 2020 at 5:46 am

    Congratulations on your first year! I’m at 8 months now for my blog. It’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only one who is growing, but slower than the “it’s so easy to start a profitable blog” people make it seem.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 8, 2020 at 11:42 am

      Kari—I still find it hard to believe that you’ve only been blogging for 8 months. Your blog looks so professional and your content is excellent!

      From what I’ve read and heard, it’s a lot harder to ‘make it’ with a blog these days. It’s become a very crowded market! But I still believe that if we stick to it and focus on quality and value, we’ll eventually see sustainable traffic. Even if not, if we focus on fun (as others have suggested in the comments) we’ll still come out ahead.

  • Reply
    Bob Wen
    January 8, 2020 at 6:16 am

    Hi Chrissy, as a reader only of blogs I have a little bit of feedback, I hope it doesn’t offend:

    – Your blog pages are not readable in the Reader View mode on the iPhone in the Safari and Firefox browsers. Only the first paragraph is displayed. This makes it much harder to read on these smaller devices (for me and my wife at least).

    – You mentioned in another blog post that your goal was 1,000 words for a post. If you can say it in 500 words, then go with the 500. For me, I prefer shorter posts as I can more easily fit the reading of them between other activities, or read the whole post over breakfast or a coffee.

    Keep going, and all the best for the new year.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 8, 2020 at 11:52 am

      Bob—I’m not at all offended, but in fact grateful for your suggestions! This is amazing feedback.

      I don’t use Reader View, so I had no idea it wasn’t working! While I don’t have much faith in my ability to resolve the issue, it bothers me that it isn’t working—so I’ll try my best! I never would’ve known about this if not for your comment, so thank you for letting me know.

      As for the word count, that’s also useful feedback. I try to be succinct with my writing, but I like to go in-depth with what I cover… and that just naturally becomes 1,000+ words! 500-word posts would definitely be quicker to write, which would make it easier to publish frequently. I’ll think about some less-meaty topics I can cover. Maybe it’ll be good to mix up my content with some shorter posts like this. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Reply
    Savvy History
    January 8, 2020 at 8:04 am

    Congrats to you on a fantastic year! I started around the same time as you and definitely feel as if we are in this together.

    In my opinion, you’ve knocked it out of the park! I find this to be one of the most useful and encouraging honest one-year reflections I’ve read. Like you, Rockstar Finance really helped me knock it out of the park a few times and I’m so sad it has dissipated. It was truly encouraging as a new blogger to see some numbers like that, and I haven’t seen them since.

    Like you, I think social media with all its algorithms can be a fickle way to interact with followers long-term so I hope to continue building my email list. It’s harder than I anticipated (as most of blogging has been)! Keep up the great work and cheers to another year!

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 8, 2020 at 12:00 pm

      Michelle—it’s been so nice to be on this blogging journey with others like you. I agree with all your points… blogging isn’t easy! But I’ll continue to learn, including from you.

      I really enjoyed your post looking back on your first year of blogging. I’m still amazed that you met your goal of posting once a week, yet you work full-time and have a little one!

      I am a stay-at-home mom, and my kids are older and don’t need my hands-on attention all day long anymore. So I have more time than most, and yet I still struggle to post weekly!

      Kudos to you for accomplishing all that you have. I look forward to another year of following your blog and connecting online. 🙂

  • Reply
    Kris
    January 8, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    Thanks for sharing your stats on the blog, Chrissy!! And from reading them, you have already accomplished a lot within your first year blogging. With your email subscribers and pageviews(although it’s been down recently) those number you have are really impressive and believe it will get better this year with your blog firmly established within the PF community. With your presence on your podcast will even help your blog even more.
    And with the income you made on the blog, it was more than what I made during my first year blogging. So hopefully the income with get higher in 2020.
    Always appreciate your honesty Chrissy on your blog!! Oh yeah, thanks for the shoutout, I’ll try to maintain top 5 status in 2020…haha!!

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 9, 2020 at 10:22 pm

      Kris—thank you again for the warm encouragement. You’ve been so supportive throughout this first year of blogging.

      Your top 5 commenter status was well-earned! Thanks for being such an engaged reader and commenter. It means a lot to me. 🙂

  • Reply
    Vivien
    January 9, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    Congrats on one year! May I suggest using Hootsuite to track your social media following? Once you link your accounts to them, you can use the analytics tab to check your followers/engagement. They’ll keep recording the numbers from the point you start using them and it’s less painful than manually keeping track each month! I believe you should be eligible for the free account since you don’t use that many channels. I manage my work social media analytics through them 🙂

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 9, 2020 at 10:20 pm

      Vivien—you are SO kind to share that tip about Hootsuite. Thank you! I’d been using Hootsuite to manage my scheduled posts for the Facebook groups I admin, but I didn’t realize you can also use them for social media analytics. What a brilliant suggestion!

      Can I ask a question though? I just signed up and set up my social media accounts, but when I go to analytics (the charts symbol in the left sidebar) it says I need to upgrade to see my stats. Am I looking in the wrong place?

  • Reply
    Eryn
    January 12, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    This content is SO helpful. I’m a little less than a year into blogging and what you shared is SO helpful. I would love if you would go into even more detail:
    – How did you identify the first places you wanted to guest blog? OR tips on effectively pitching to Rocket Finance and Apex?
    – What are the tools that you used to grab the above data?
    Any other tips for folks that are just starting out? Really appreciate your willingness to share data!

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 14, 2020 at 11:08 pm

      Eryn, I’d be happy to answer your questions:

      1. Guest posts—all of my first guest posts were requested by bloggers I got to know by reading and commenting on their blogs. But I just really enjoyed their content and wanted to engage. It was never to try and get a guest post. These opportunities just happen if you connect with genuine care and interest.

      2. For features on aggregation/curation sites like Apex, you just need to submit your content through the form on their site. Easy peasy—no need to pitch. But they don’t take everything that’s submitted, so only submit your very best content.

      3. The main tool I use for my data is Google Analytics. It’s free to use, but there’s a bit of setup involved. None of it is hard. There are lots of tutorials out there to help you with this.

      4. Other tips: just keep going! The learning curve at the beginning is pretty steep, but it does get easier. Also, find some good blogs and podcasts about blogging. Do You Even Blog is one of my faves and Pro Blogger is also excellent.

      Feel free to send me more questions anytime. 🙂

      • Eryn
        January 15, 2020 at 7:31 pm

        Chrissy,

        Thank you for being so generous with your time and knowledge and answering these questions! The biggest surprise of this journey is seeing how supportive the online community has been and how encouraging everyone is of others starting. You achieved a lot in your first year and I will definitely check out Do you Even Blog and look more into Google Analytics.

        Best,
        Eryn

      • Chrissy
        January 21, 2020 at 9:46 pm

        It’s my pleasure Eryn! Anytime. 😉

  • Reply
    Reverse The Crush
    January 13, 2020 at 8:23 am

    Congratulations on your 1st year of blogging, Chrissy! Thanks for sharing the numbers. You’re doing great! As you probably know, I just crossed my 4th year of blogging. Your stats look very similar to my first year of blogging when I was off work. I usually averaged around 2,500 to 3,000 page views that year. Then the numbers dropped the 2nd year because I went back to work. I had my best year ever in 2019 as page views picked up to around 5,000 per month. This year seems to be starting off better. My e-mail subscribers took longer to grow than yours. I think I only had around 50 my first year. Congrats on your success with Rockstar, with your best month ever, and on the money you made! Looking forward to most content from ESBFI in the future. Keep up the great work! 🙂

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 14, 2020 at 11:14 pm

      Hey Graham, thanks for stopping by and for sharing your numbers. It’s helpful for me to know how other bloggers did in their first year. I know we shouldn’t compare, but it’s still helpful to know! I guess I did okay since you and others have had similar numbers. 🙂

      I look forward to seeing your site grow even more this year. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your blog income to take off (so you can ramp up your dividend investing)! All the best to you in 2020, my friend!

  • Reply
    Scott Bates
    January 13, 2020 at 10:23 am

    Thanks for sharing. I love reading articles like this. For your direct traffic, have you looked into the landing pages for that traffic? Lots of times, I discover that people are bookmarking articles and returning directly that way. Cheers to the new year!

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 14, 2020 at 11:17 pm

      Scott—thanks for your comment. It’s always nice to hear positive feedback! Your suggestion to check the landing pages from my direct traffic is so smart.

      I’ll definitely do that the next time I check my stats. Thanks for teaching me something new today!

  • Reply
    Joe
    January 13, 2020 at 10:43 am

    Not bad at all. Great job keeping it up. You probably heard this before – the first year is the hardest. Keep at it and everything will improve. I think it’s a good idea to start monetizing right away. You learn a lot of things from doing that early. GOod luck in 2020!

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 14, 2020 at 11:21 pm

      Joe—I’ve appreciated your support and encouragement so much this year. As an established blogger, I’m sure you have many other blogs to follow/comment on.

      So thank you for taking the time to connect with me here! Your content at Retire by 40 continually inspires me to keep going and to do better.

      Here’s to continued success and growth for you and your YouTube endeavors in 2020!

  • Reply
    GYM
    January 13, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    Wooo I’m number one commenter!! 🙂 🙂
    Keep it up, there’s only one way you’re going and it’s up! This is a great first year 🙂

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 14, 2020 at 11:30 pm

      GYM—you’re number one! You always have such funny and/or thoughtful comments. 😆 Thanks for engaging and being so supportive of me this year.

  • Reply
    Ana
    January 14, 2020 at 9:06 am

    Thanks for the mention! And thank you for this great, relatable insight on your first year of blogging. It’s so helpful to see what went into the first year vs the numbers put out by older, more established blogs. I think it’s fantastic that you’ve made money with your passion project and that’s only the beginning. I’m still learning so many things and that includes all these important stats that focus on the business side. I’ll definitely use this info as a reference 🙂

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 14, 2020 at 11:41 pm

      Ana—thanks for another lovely comment. I actually think I focused too much on the business side of blogging this year.

      Not so much in the sense of monetizing, but in the sense of trying to do everything the ‘right’ way. All the blogging experts tell us, to be successful, we need to run our blogs like a business.

      So I did that wholeheartedly this year. While I believe it helped to have that mindset, I’m realizing I need to put more of the ‘hobby’ and ‘fun’ into my blogging.

      Hopefully both of us will find a happy blogging middleground in 2020!

  • Reply
    DGX Capital
    January 14, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    Hello!

    I just stumbled on your blog and this was a really neat read going through the numbers. I’m a big numbers guy.

    I started my blog this month as I wanted to start documenting my journey to FI as a Canadian CPA 🙂 and share my experience of what I’ve learned working in the world of Accounting & Finance through my professional background

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 14, 2020 at 11:45 pm

      DGX—cool, another Canadian FI blog! I’ll get you added to the Canadian FIRE Directory. 😉

      I look forward to reading your blog. Thanks for coming by to comment!

  • Reply
    DGX Capital
    January 15, 2020 at 4:23 am

    Sweet! I’m from Southern Ontario 👍🏼

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 21, 2020 at 9:34 pm

      Perfect, thanks for letting me know. I’ll add your blog tomorrow. (Sorry for the late reply—it’s been crazy busy with the podcast!)

      • DGX Capital
        January 22, 2020 at 1:00 pm

        No worries! I appreciate the add 😊

  • Reply
    SideGains
    January 17, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    This is a great post for someone like me Chrissy… thanks for being so open.

    I’m about 6 months behind you and in a different niche… but that doesn’t matter because ALL niches are competitive!

    I started my blog at the start of July last year and it is a slog. I’m not new to blogging, but I stopped blogging personally for a while and the game has changed immensely.

    I’m truly delighted to see someone else posting their first year stats. As you say “most bloggers who share stats tend to be much father along”.

    It is of course inspiring to see the stratospheric numbers published by uber-bloggers, and it can encourage people to take the leap into blogging. However, the expectation it inspires skips over what it takes precisely to make blogging a success. As you say, it’s unrelatable and subsequently defeating when you get a real taste of how it is starting out.

    I agree with you that email subscribers are extremely important. For the moment it’s not something I’ve focused upon thus far. My main objective has been to beef up my content. Having built up a decent body now, email is something I’ll be working on this year: you mention creating an intro email series to build subscribers… and I agree Pete at DYEB does a great job of this. But as you say this requires time to do well.

    It’s a very good sign that your month-to-month users are lower than your page views. I’d take that any day of the week, since an endorsement of what you’re doing. You’d never go back to eat a restaurant that gave you food poisoning, right? And neither would the friends you told!

    I think instagram is a tough nut to crack for visitors outside of lifestyle/food/fashion… unless you’re somehow going to figure out how to knit photos of six-pack abs or “insane” beauty tips video clips into the FI Insta-niche! FB and Twitter are where it’s at for many niches I think.

    Perhaps it could be done… who knows? 😉

    The “not provided” issue in GA is irritating. Google is all about the privacy in (free) GA, but you can see everything in (paid) Google Ads… even the keywords that trigger ad impressions and not just the ones that generate visits. I remember the days when you could see everything, but those days are long gone. I have a workaround of sorts for GA… perhaps I’ll share it in an upcoming post! It looks like you have a pretty good workaround with Keywords Hero anyways though.

    I guess I’d better leave my comment here now… sorry, it’s a little on the long side. You might see other comments of mine around one day… they do tend to be a bit wordy!

    Anyway, thanks for your honesty… I really enjoyed reading this and I wish you the best of luck.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 21, 2020 at 9:58 pm

      Paul—thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful and detailed comment! My apologies that it took me so long to reply (we’ve been hard at work on the podcast).

      It’s always gratifying to read comments like yours. I try my best to be transparent on my blog, and I’m happy when the honesty is helpful to others. It does none of us any good if we only show off the best of ourselves or when we only reveal the truth once we’re runaway successes.

      You and I so similar with our blogging objectives! I agree with so many of the points you’ve made—like focusing on building up content first.

      I’ve been having fun poking around your blog and very much enjoyed your posts on blogging. Lots of great info and wisdom there. It’s obvious that you’re experienced with this stuff (even if you’re still new with this second go-around).

      I’d love to read your post on Google Ads when you publish it. (I know nothing about GA, so it’ll be something totally new for me to learn.)

      Thanks again for the lovely, supportive comment!

  • Reply
    Court @ Modern Fimily
    January 18, 2020 at 2:21 am

    Chrissy you’re KILLING it! Quit being so humble and go celebrate a year of blogging! 😉 While I’m not a year into blogging yet myself, I can say you are doing way better than our blog! I still don’t know how you have all the energy/time to do everything you do. Rock on my friend.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 21, 2020 at 10:06 pm

      Court—I’m so honoured that you came to comment on my blog during your social media ban, LOL. Now I feel really special. 😁

      You’re too kind, and I’m tempted to say you’re just saying this stuff because we’re friends!

      It’s a good thing we’re not comparing Instagram profiles because you would totally blow me out of the water there, lady!

      I look forward to your full return to the blogosphere. It’s not nearly as fun without you!

  • Reply
    T on FIRE
    January 21, 2020 at 6:42 am

    Chrissy, thank you for this AMAZING and thorough post!! I cannot wait to employ some of the strategies you are using to my blog. I sincerely believe EatSleepBreatheFI is well on the road to success! It’s so helpful to see it all laid out nicely when I don’t have time to do all the research myself. I will continue to promote and encourage friends to read your blog to continue improving the stats. Great job.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      January 21, 2020 at 10:12 pm

      T—aww, shucks. Thanks for the kind and supportive words. You know I love your work too (your writing always makes me LOL). I look forward to following your journey and reading more of your content in 2020!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    July 11, 2020 at 7:27 am

    Chrissy,

    I didn’t catch this update when it was posted. Great to read, if a little dated at this point 🙂

    I appreciate you sharing all those details. It is indeed interesting to see “behind the curtain”.

    I noticed that your first month, January, you still managed to generate nearly 3,000 pageviews. That seems like a lot! Was it because you built a Twitter following ahead of time?

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      July 11, 2020 at 2:01 pm

      Hi Chris—thanks for the kind words. I’m always happy to hear that posts like these are helpful.

      I think I replied to you on Twitter, but I’ll share again here where my traffic came from in my first month of blogging:

      1) Direct (This is a tough one to dig into. It’s not easy to figure out where direct traffic comes from.)

      2) Twitter (This was my second-largest source of traffic, so it looks like the following I built before launching was helpful.)

      3) Camp FIRE Finance (One of my articles was featured in their daily email/website features.)

      4) Facebook (I’m not sure if this came from my Facebook page or from sharing in Facebook group sharing threads. Could be both. If I remember, I try to use UTM tracking to better track and analyze this traffic.)

      5) My Own Advisor (This is a well-established, popular Canadian personal finance blogger. I think he mentioned my blog in one of his roundups. I’d followed him for a while, and left comments on his blog a few times. This was all out of genuine interest—not to try and get anything out of the relationship.)

      6) Rockstar Finance Directory (Unfortunately, this website is now defunct. But there are other blog directories out there that you can join. Try to find the big ones in your niche and get your blog onto them.)

      7) Other bloggers (This isn’t listed, but I believe much of my traffic came from other bloggers whom I built relationships with by commenting on their blogs and sharing their content. Again, this was always done out of genuine interest and not to get anything out of the relationship.)

      Hopefully this extra info helps! I’m happy to answer any other questions you might have.

      • [email protected]
        July 11, 2020 at 2:50 pm

        That’s awesome Chrissy and I’m glad you’re having success! Thanks for sharing those details.

        We’ve had a little more trouble getting going (though things are really turning up lately). I think a lot of that is because Jenni and I are both trying to remain semi-anonymous so we’re not bringing any existing social media connections or digital connections with us. Although, judging from your May post, it seems like you did the same!

        Will stay tuned 🙂

      • Chrissy
        July 11, 2020 at 5:12 pm

        Hi Chris—the early days are hard, and blogging gets more and more competitive all the time. But if you love the topic and focus on the enjoyment and the connections your blog brings you, you’ll have the motivation to keep going.

        Much like investing, a lot of it is the upfront effort, then it compounds with time. You have a huge extra advantage though, with Jenni also helping on the blog!

        OMG, I would love it if my husband was on board and able to help me! There’s so much I want to do and say, but being a one-person show really limits how much time I can put in.

        I took a peek at your blog, and it looks great so far. Keep it up! I’ll do my best to keep an eye on your site and Twitter profile and will share your content as much as I can!

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