June 2016 Income: Social Media Algorithms
Another month, another income report! I can't believe how quickly the summer has been flying by already – and I also can't believe that I'm still going strong with these income reports. If you want to catch up on the other income reports, I've got one, two and three up on the blog so you can check out my past progress!
June was a challenging month, but one that I feel was very personally rewarding at the same time. My Master's thesis was approved two days before the end of the month and before the Canada Day long weekend, so needless to say I have been over the moon happy that all I have to focus on now is my blog and freelancing! I can also take some much needed time to focus on other aspects of my personal development in my free time since I'm not working full time and going to school full time anymore. I also finally have the odd weekend free now!
As a freelancer, it can be tempting to just work around the clock but I've found that I've had to make modifications in my schedule to allow myself some much-needed downtime. It can be stressful wondering if you're going to make enough money in a month, and since this kind of work is performance-based and not time-based, it can be hard to turn off. One thing I've surprisingly found myself struggling with is time management lately. Summer is a busy time – there always seems to be something going on every weekend – and I honestly feel like I constantly have SO much work that it's never-ending, and this can be demotivating sometimes. It can also lead to endless to-do lists that don't always get seen.
Anyways, before I head into all that, here's where my income came from this month!
Here’s a breakdown of my income from this month:
- $130 from advertising (Google Adsense, Gourmet Ads, Chicory and AOL Ads)
- $900 sponsored posts (clients came from a variety of PR firms, independent brands and blogger networks)
- $450 freelance writing and photography work
- $150 affiliate advertising (Bluehost)
About a third of my sponsored posts for the month came from blogger networks such as Food Bloggers of Canada and Social Fabric. I’ve also heard good things about Mode Foodie but they require you to have their ads above the fold. The remaining sponsored post opportunities I received this month were through emails directly from my site, and PR agencies I have worked with in the past on similar types of sponsored content for different clients.
The goal I have set for myself as a full-time freelancer is to make at least $2000 a month between jobs for my blog and freelance writing/photography/food styling opportunities. This month I lagged a bit behind because I didn't have the time to do any brand outreach and nab more sponsored posts. I tried to get some freelance work to make up for this, but even then I didn't have as much time this month because of my thesis.
I have officially hit the summer slump for traffic, and let's just say it doesn't always help me stay motivated as a freelancer. However, most days it encourages me to work even harder on my website. I try to provide the best user experience, challenge myself to create even better photos, better strategize about food trends and reader-friendly recipes, and improve my storytelling. I'm also SUPER excited to start creating videos for my website, which I think will start bringing in more traffic and will also help to diversify my income.
Here’s a breakdown of my traffic from this month:
As far as trying to improve my traffic, I have noticed a couple of different things working for me. First of all, I had a mismatched URL due to my website's previous branding, which completely annihilated my search engine traffic for a couple months. I am only now starting to see it pick up again to its previous daily levels (this screenshot is NOT a reflection of that!), and if the trend continues I should be able to get even more traffic from Google than ever before.
I have started to do keyword research to improve my traffic, as well as look at what is trending, what the competition is, and overall the kinds of recipes that I instinctively feel people are creating during the season. Inspiration for this comes from all kinds of food magazines and other food blogs that I love like How Sweet Eats and What's Gaby Cooking. I have also started to create a very well-researched editorial calendar with recipes going well into November now!
One area I'm very happy with is my social media growth. My Pinterest traffic is also rising, but at a slower pace than I would like. I've joined all kinds of large group boards and I pin about 60 of my own pins per day, but am constantly tinkering with this to see what the right balance is. I have now changed my Tailwind scheduling to be pinning 80 of my own pins per day, focusing on my own boards just as much as group boards because I hear that Pinterest likes to see that your own boards are active. My following is growing at a pretty quick rate (I gained about 1000 followers in 2 months without doing anything but pinning!) so I'm happy with that. I've also heard that pinning others' content is also very good for your own traffic and visibility from Pinterest but their algorithm seems to change all the time. We'll see what happens!
Speaking of tricky algorithms, there seems to be a way around boosting your Facebook page. I'm in all kinds of social sharing groups on Facebook, but find I don't have as much time for them anymore. I have instead started to focus on Facebook groups that allow bloggers to put a call out for round-ups (you can get some great traffic being featured by your fellow bloggers!), and I have also been sharing my recipes to multiple large Facebook groups that focus on recipe exchanges, like this one. I have been able to increase my Facebook posts' views by more than triple!
Now that we've got all the details out of the way, it's time to talk about my goals for the upcoming month and for the long term!
What I Accomplished Last Month:
- Started to build editorial calendars by season with recipes that have been better researched for SEO
- Changed some areas of my website to make it more user-friendly (added some pictures along the side of my website to point readers to income reports and popular categories, changed my logo slightly, moved my bio up to above the fold of my site, etc.)
- Upped my freelance work from the month before
- Started creating a Currently Coveting series to show readers a more personal side of me (hopefully will help in building more of a long term audience and creating more engagement)
- Experimented with my Pinterest scheduling and Facebook sharing to improve my traffic
Goals for the Upcoming Month:
- Continue to incorporate more story-telling into my recipes and create bi-weekly posts that show off more about who I am (this should help with my branding and when pitching to publications)
- Find new ways to diversify my income in relation to work I’m already doing on the blog by seeking out other freelance opportunities (e.g. by creating video, social media marketing services, etc.)
- Pitch ideas to all kinds of food publications (online and print) to increase my freelance writing and photography income
- Create my first video by the middle of July
And there we are, the end of Income Report #4. Thanks so much for reading! How are you combating the summer traffic slump blues? I would love to hear any of your thoughts and goals in the comments!
*There are no direct affiliate links in this post, but there may be some located in other pages I have linked to in this post