Goals and Progress – Update 2

My Goals and Progress – August 1, 2018

Almost the moment I published my first progress report I was eager to update a new version.  I’m a sucker for data and tracking and goals.  Now that two more months have transpired, I think it’s finally worthwhile to check in on the site’s progress.

Site Goal #1: Engagement

My goal is to have 25,000 page views per month by May 2019.

A graph of Views and Visitors for April 2018 through July 2018

The graph above looks like awesome, steady progress!  But the truth is more interesting!  Let’s use Google Analytics to view the past few months day by day:

It hasn’t been a steady climb of visitors each day, but an avalanche followed by relative drought.  The big spike you see is when Rockstar Finance shared Twice Your Income by 35.  The spike about a month before that one was from Physician On Fire highlighting my analysis of The Four Physicians.

Here’s where my site traffic is coming from:

The Financial Diet comes in at #3, followed by my incredible hustle on twitter and organic search engine results.  I’m personally delighted to see the email subscribers climbing up the charts (more on that later).  Thanks also to Money Flamingo and The Physician Philosopher, for whom I was honored to write a guest post.

Here’s a look at my most popular posts:

I’ve enjoyed watching the Home Page and About page steadily move up the charts, though nothing competes with the aforementioned article shared by Rockstar Finance.  Also – I had the idea to add an archives page as a quick and easy reverse chronological lists for all the posts (30 so far) I’ve ever done.  That page has proven popular and quickly moved to #5.

Finally, I’m humbled and delighted to have an audience around the globe.  While the United States and Canada dominate my viewership, I’ve seen a recent influx of Australians frequenting the blog (thanks Money Flamingo?!?):

On my last update in early June, I reported 542 views for the prior month and an Alexa Global Rank for the site just under #10,000,000.  Here’s the updated stats for July:

Progress, July 2018:

  • Google Analytics: 6,616 / 25,000 Views
  • Alexa Global Rank: #2,327,505

Sub Goal 1.1: Better Content

I want to improve my writing and make more compelling content.  I don’t quite know how to measure that, but in my first update I cited an increase in average session duration as a signal.  I’m not giving up on that, but I think there was a huge influx of people who were like “that looks interesting, I’ll click and skim it and move on with my day.”  So while my views are way up, my session duration is way down:

Progress:  0:58 Average Session

 

Sub Goal 1.2: Social Media Presence

I’ve been thinking about branching out to pinterest or facebook, but for now I’m still just active on twitter.  To be quite honest, I feel like I could just spend all my time circling around social media and forget to write and grow on my own site.  There’s a lot of interesting stuff out there, and as my following and followers have grown, it’s easy to get sucked in!

On my last update, my twitter presence had jumped up to 279 followers and 542 profile visits.  I’m happy to report significant progress in this area:

My goal is to increase my twitter following to 3,000 by May 2019.  This was my most engaging tweet so far:

Progress: 965 / 3000 Followers

Sub-Goal 1.3: Subscribers

I was just getting started with subscribers on my last post, with 3 (of the finest) people subscribed to the blog. My goal is to have 300 email subscribers by May 2019.  I’ve seen a modest increase to 19 subscribers!  Many of these came as a result of my post on how to Estimate Your Social Security, wherein you can sign up for the email list and have the spreadsheet I use to estimate social security sent right to your inbox.  I do a lot of data analysis and spreadsheet development for my own tracking, and I’m going to keep looking for opportunities to share useful work in the coming years.  If you have a spreadsheet project you think people would find useful, let me know.  Thank you to those who subscribed, I really appreciate you!

Progress: 19 / 300 subscribers  (psst: subscribe now)

Sub-Goal 1.4: Comments

My goal is to have 500 different comments in response to my posts by May 2019.  After a slow start (0 comments through the first two months), things are picking up, with more than a comment per day since!

Progress: 64 / 500 Comments

Site Goal #2: Financial

My other big goal is to at least break even in my first year running the site.

Expenses

I detailed my expenses in my first update, and good news: I haven’t added a single penny to that list!  I was a little tempted to take advantage of an AdSense offer to promote my website — it will pay for itself, right?!?  But I swore off additional expenses and am dedicated to growing the site through quality content and engaging discussion.

Total Expense: $397.80  (unchanged)

Income

I’ve dialed back a bit on my pursuit of income streams, on the thesis that I need to have great content to a get a great following, and then they’ll be some income to help me meet expenses later in the future.  But I did glean some useful information, and I’ll relay that here.

Amazon Affiliate Program

I still keep a little link to amazon on most pages, in case someone wants to support the blog without signing up for anything.  I get about one click for every 500 hundred page views, but no one has clicked through and completed a purchase.  If you’re shopping at amazon anyway, show some love for whatever blog is your favorite by clicking through their affiliate link.  It doesn’t cost you a thing and it supports the content you like!

Side Note:  Amazon Affiliates need to have at least 3 sales in the first 180 days after signing up or their accounts are closed.  So there’s about 90 days left on that clock — tune in for update #3 in a couple months time.  In any case, I’ve tried to make this really unobtrusive, but I have it hanging around because I shop a lot at amazon and I think other people do, too.

Total Revenue: $0

Google Adsense

I tried to set up google AdSense because I like the idea of readers getting served ads that are actually useful for them, rather than a shotgun of random click-baity frames.

My application was rejected!  Interesting!  So I went out to the AdSense forums (those exist) to get some feedback and here’s what I found.

First, words like “money” and blogs about your own life are hard stops for AdSense.  People who are really active on these forums think that anything having to do with money is a stay away for google — too many scam sites, and too much saturation already.

Second, including content like “You can support the blog by clicking [advertisement]” is a huge red flag.  That type of verbiage could cause someone to decide to “support” the site by clicking on every ad on every page over and over.  If that happens, google will disable your account for invalid traffic.   The suggestion is just to have ads on the page and make no reference to them.  Which, fine.  I don’t want to do anything deceitful or scammy, but I think it’s okay to say, “Hey, you can support this site by clicking an the amazon banner and doing some shopping.”

Ultimately, these forums were super helpful.  They gave some suggestions on how to update the layout of the site (including the idea for a good archives page that I pretended was my own idea above) and suggested that the best way to generate revenue might be to acquire direct advertising sponsors for it.  That’s an avenue I’ll be pursuing in the future, thanks internet forums!

Total Revenue: $0

Total Useful Advice: Quite a bit!

Publisher Pro

I’ve sprinkled a few affiliate links through an account at Publisher Pro, including a more lucrative referral to Personal Capital.  I’m still only promoting services I can personally recommend, and I suspect if my site is the first time you’ve heard of Personal Capital then you’re probably my mom (Hi Mom!)…  So again I’ve had a few click throughs, but no completed transactions.

I like Publisher Pro though, as an affiliate program it’s pretty easy to set up and you have some control over what types of ads and displays are going to appear on your site.  I’ll stick with them, but I’m not gonna blanket my posts with advertisements.

Total Revenue: $0

In summary, I still haven’t made a dime but I also haven’t spent anything more and I’ve learned a whole lot.

Progress Towards Goal: -$397.80 / $0.00 Net Income

Summary

Thank you to everyone who has supported the site so far, it’s been immensely fun and edifying for me!  I hope you’ve found something useful and that I can deliver even more value in the coming months and years.

Please share your thoughts in the Comments section, or drop me a note via email or twitter!

7 Replies to “Goals and Progress – Update 2”

  1. Nice detail and certainly achievable goals you have set. It is hard to explain but when something takes off it just creates a snowball effect. The hard part is gaining momentum in the beginning which is why a lot of blogs die off before 1 yr. If you can fight the urge to quit and keep plugging away most say at 2 yrs you will really know what you have.

  2. Great work!

    I have the same issue with a couple of massive days from shares on Physician on Fire or Rockstar. I have a tough time figuring out the mail.google.com referrals becasue the rockstar email send some people over directly. One day I started to see a bunch of email referrals when I didn’t even post and it turned out I was in the rockstar email. The couple of things that I like are the upward trend in comments and email subscribers.

    Another piece of data that would be good to add to your report is the MailChimp data on open and click.

    Keep on pushing!

    1. Hmm, maybe an aggregate of the MailChimp stuff would be good, I considered that data to be a little too specific — kinda pulling back the curtain.

      It’s a two-part game between trying to raise your baseline floor, and trying to see new all time peaks – I’m not surprised you’ve seen the same.

      Cheers,
      Mouse

      1. Oh the other thing I forgot to mention … you should get on Facebook and join the white coat investor group. It’s open to physician spouses. One strategically placed post in there can give you 100 views. Facebook has become my #1 referral source now

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