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Monthly Blogging Goals: September 2017

Monthly Blogging Goals: September 2017 | CosmosMariners.com

Woe is me.

The late summer blogging slump is still hitting me hard, as my pageviews in August were down a full 50% from what they were in spring. When I realized that, I started to panic hard and have basically had a seriously stressful last 4 weeks. I've been in this point before, and the pageviews have always managed to come back eventually. That, and not my monthly blogging goals, have really been my focus over the last four weeks.

Still, working day in and day out while your pageviews dip lower and lower is seriously disheartening. Now that my older child is in school 5 days a week, I have put in multiple 12 hours days each week, working from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and then again from 8:00 p.m. until midnight (or later). And yet, even with all of that work, my pageviews remain stubbornly stuck. 

What worked this month?

I had 3 major wins in August: 

1) I was accepted and moved over to a new ad provider, Mediavine. They've been nothing but helpful as I've transitioned away from Google Analytics and into their ad platform. I wish I'd made the switch a year ago! I've already made more with them in a month than I have in a quarter with Google Analytics. 

2) Even with the lowered pageviews, I netted more than $200 more than my previous monthly income total, bringing August 2017 up to be my most profitable month ever on the blog. I can thank the Mediavine ads, a handful of sponsored posts (several of which will be published in coming months), and an uptick in my affiliate sales. 

3) I successfully learning everything that there is to learn (sort of) about SEO and keywords, and managed to convert over 30 of my old posts to more focused, keyword friendly articles. 

What didn't work this month?

Beyond those 3 things, not much. On a personal note, my 4 year old started pre-kindergarten, and that has been super stressful for everyone involved. There are tears and clinging every single morning that we drop her off, and, while she loves school, she's been having some separation anxiety. 

On the blog, I'm doing my best to diversify where my traffic is coming from without any discernible results yet. Pinterest has been seriously acting up lately, and, as 75-80% of my traffic comes from there, I feel new algorithm changes and technical issues sharply. It's no secret that Pinterest has been having some growing pains--missing pins, non-updating main feeds, disappearing repin numbers, and dropping follower numbers have been some of the issues I've heard about--and I'm afraid my loss in traffic is partially because of whatever is going on over there. 

While I'm really proud of my SEO work on my older posts, it can take several months to see those new keywords take effect, so I'm in a waiting game. Plus, 33 reworked posts sounds like a lot, but I have over 500 posts on this blog from the last 7 years, and it's going to take many, many months before I can get through all of them. 

This month, I also discovered that Google had a sitewide manual action against Cosmos Mariners: I had no idea what this was, but I knew it didn't sound good. After some frantic reading, I discovered that a site wide action means that they were preventing my posts from being a part of relevant Google results. 5 or 6 years ago, I started accepting sponsored posts on my blog and would include links to my posters' sites: being extremely un-tech-savvy, I had no idea that these were considered "unnatural links" and should be no-follow. 

As I learned more in recent years, I started adding no-follow links in my sponsored posts, but basically forgot about those really old posts. Google found them and hit me with the manual action: it took me 4 rounds of going through 500+ posts to find the "unnatural links," submit a reconsideration request, get rejected, and start all over again. Google gave me very little to go on when they rejected me each time, so each one meant that I had to go back through all of those posts when an even more laser focused approach. 

The manual action was FINALLY lifted about 2 weeks ago, and I never want to go through that process again.

August's Monthly Blogging Goals: A Recap

Monetize the last 15 of my 30 top performing posts. Well, I didn't focus on those 15 posts exactly, but I DID rework 33 (!!!!!) posts with new headers and Pinterest images and brand spanking new SEO and keywords. So, while I didn't attack my top performing posts, I did resurrect many older posts (including this one about dining in Paris which has found new life on Pinterest over the last few days), so I'm calling this one a win.

Hit 14K on my Instagram account. I didn't make it. AGAIN. Despite liking hundreds of photos a day, commenting on relevant photos in my niche, and finding new like-minded people to follow, I still didn't get to 14K in August as I'd hoped in my earlier monthly blog goals. I am up by about 530 total followers with an end tally of 13,735.

The follow-unfollow strategy is being used by so many people that I will get 50 or 75 followers, only to lose all but 10 of those by the end of the day because I didn't follow back fast enough.

Although that is super frustrating, I did see an uptick in my total followers and post interactions this month, so all of that furious liking and commenting on others' posts did do something. Organic growth is definitely not what it used to be on Instagram, but it is still possible (but slow). I refuse to buy followers or likes, so I'll keep at the very slow but steady pace for September, too.

Plan out ALL posts for August, and stick to my editorial schedule. Bahahaha. This SO did not happen. I had the best of intentions and even wrote down a rough schedule for what I wanted to post this month, but I really ended up shuffling things around in an effort to get my pageviews up.

Contribute to at least 3 blog collaborations. I found several blog collabs to take part in, and I'm excited to share all of them once they're live on their respective bloggers' sites. Let me know if you've got a travel collab post in the work: I'd love to take part!

Grow my Twitter account to 12.5K. Time to ramp up the Twitter love! If you've got any suggestions on how to best grow Twitter, let me know. I'm still learning and trying out new things as I try my best to settle into the Twitter universe.


September's Monthly Blogging Goals: Looking Forward

Reach 5,000 followers on Facebook. Facebook has always been a bit of a mystery to me since it's my 4th (of 5) best source of traffic after Pinterest, Stumbleupon, and Twitter, but I've seen my follower count go up steadily over the last 6 months. As a benefit, I've also seen a bit more traffic from Facebook, so I need to keep that momentum going.

Rework 30 old posts with new SEO keywords, new title images, and Pinterest pins. As I mentioned before, I still have hundreds of old posts that I need to get back out into the world. I've seriously changed my strategy on promotion and blog writing over the last year: I was all about the 3 posts per week, promotion for each for 2 days, and then the post either took off or disappeared into the archives. I'm working on creating an entire body of work that meshes together and that continually finds new followers, and optimizing these old posts is key to growing my blog to the next level.

Participate in at least 5 more blogger collab posts. I'm working hard on increasing my DA/PA, and a huge part of that is creating substantial, relevant backlinks. In addition, I'm trying to get away from the lone wolf perspective that I love to embrace and be a working part of the travel blogging community. To accomplish both of these things, I need to support and be a part of more collaborative efforts: sharing my knowledge, learning from other bloggers, hosting them on my blog, and being a part of theirs.

Get those pageviews up! I'm hoping that this will fix itself as people start to plan their fall and winter travels, and everyone settles into their school and work schedules again. But, I'll also be working the SEO angle on new posts, testing new marketing strategies, and updating my e-course. Let me  know if you've tried promoted pins or Facebook ads because I really would love to reach a wider audience than the current algorithms are allowing me!

What do you have planned for September? What are you most proud of accomplishing in August? Do you set monthly blogging goals?


Monthly Blogging Goals: September 2017 | CosmosMariners.com

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