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Quarterly Report – July, August, September

Time to share numbers! As I’ve said, I really enjoy reading similar reports and figured sharing my own would entertain someone and also keep me accountable to keep track of these things. You can read my first 6 months of blogging post here. It’s a little wordy! I’ve tried to keep it more concise this time but still looking at the: average daily visits, income/expenses, subscriber & follower counts, traffic in/out, & goals.

It should be noted that while I am actively trying to turn this into a regular, part-time income stream for my family, blogging also fulfills the role of a hobby and an enjoyment. So, I’m not talking about or trying to measure my online friendships, skills gained, or personal fulfillment but don’t think that I don’t value those things too!

During August I was in the throes of morning sickness, we were selling our old home, and moving/unpacking in our new home 2 hours away, with a nap-skipping toddler. Needless to say, posting continued but was sparse and my interaction across the Internet was very low (it took forever to get wi-fi!). August’s numbers definitely took a hit.

Overall, something I find interesting is that significantly more people are reading/seeing what I am saying but I still tend to get comments/interactions from the same small core group of folks. I know lots of people talk about the death of blog comments due to social media, and it doesn’t really bother me, I just think it’s notable that my readership has multiplied but nothing feels very different to me on the creator side.

If you’re a creative blogger yourself, be sure to check out my list of links for affiliate programs, networking opportunities, and places to submit your work!

{This post contains affiliate links, indicated by an asterisk*. Please refer to ‘legal stuff’ in the top menu for more info.}

Average Daily Visit Count

July: 409

August: 303

September: 518

As mentioned above, August was a mess. So I’m not surprised fewer people stopped by!

Subscribers

[June 2014 vs. September 2014 ]

Bloglovin [68 / 106 ]

Jetpack/direct email [43 / 83]

Instagram [157 /202 ]

Facebook [309 /375 ]

Twitter [447 / 480 ]

G+ [140 / 169]

Pinterest [1327 / 1628 ]

I don’t have any specific strategy for growing any of my social media channels – I’d like to think if I post/tweet/pin interesting things, people will organically follow along but it’s something I should put more thought into. If you blog, do you have a plan for all of them? One of them?

 Money

A refresher of the first 6 months’ money (these numbers have changed since the previous report, I ended up returning the chromebook and realized I didn’t include one of the lens expenses)

Total in:  267.77   Total out: 718.54 = -450.77

Total in: 220.51 Total out: 381.9 = -161.39

Year to date=-612.16

Womp womp. Way in the red! But that doesn’t stress me too much since I was starting from basically square one in January, and have made significant gear purchases. I have my eye on a new lens* now that I’m understanding my DSLR better, but after that I don’t envision any large expenditures.

Income

I only track income as I receive it; so it’s always a month or more behind for several sources. Peekaboo Patterns* continues to give me a steady trickle of affiliate money, and Craftsy* via Shareasale does as well. I LOVE recommending Ebates* because I get a referral bonus & whoever signs up gets free money for shopping online; my How To Save Money While Sewing post generated traffic for it. Lots of small amounts via Amazon added up, and lastly, my payment for my first freelance project in Modern Holidays came through!

Expenses

Outgoing money! After my chromebook died within 3 months of usage, I bought a refurbished laptop off Woot. I ordered some toy squeakers from While She Naps for a softie pattern that I’d completely forgotten about until now (bad habit, buying supplies and then forgetting to use them). I took a local photography class to get my camera off the automatic setting! It was 4 weeks long and exactly what I needed to feel confident enough to start tinkering. I bought supplies for another pattern prototype that will be unveiled in mid-November, and after reading about it on Sew McCool, I bought the “How To Monetize Your Food Blog*” e-book from Kiersten Frase of Oh My Veggies. I specifically wanted more information on waterfalling ads, and am just getting to that part!

Traffic In/ Out

Out

My post on fall indie patterns to sew for yourself really had people clicking around! Most popular were the Kate & Rose Roza blouse ,  imagine gnats’ meridian cardigan,  Victory Lola dress, EYMM Piko top, & Grainline’s (free!) Hemlock Tee.

Other popular links were a Melly Sews post on salvaging purse hardware, and Call Ajaire’s ‘no scrap too small’ genius fabric experiment.

I use Amazon affiliate links, and lots of people clicked on my link for saving on rotary blades in bulk* (is there anything better than a fresh blade!).

In (Referrers)

1. Search Engines

[4,000 Google, 64 Bing, 50 Yahoo, nominal Ask.com, AOL, wow.com ]

2. Pinterest

[Fat Quarter Shops’ pin, my giant #!1, Indies To Sew]

3. All Free Sewing

4.StumbleUpon

5. Sew Can She

[Caroline hosts a weekly Saturday link-up and then features the most popular post the next Friday, it’s the only link party that I’ve found is “worth it” and I love seeing the other projects!]

6. Facebook

7. Craft Gossip – Indie Crafts

8. Craft Gossip – Sewing

9. Craft Gossip – Recycled

10.Makezine

I think it’s notable to talk about Makezine; traffic came from two places. 1. was 318 visits from their feature on my Ewok hood. The blogger for Make found my post organically and posted it of his own accord. 2. was 28 visits from a full project upload for my buckle toy. I emailed them to see if they’d be interested in featuring it, and one of the editors asked my to upload the project in full. I have my blog linked in my profile, but it took a lot of time to re-upload my pictures and format the tutorial for their site, and I’ve basically gotten zero traffic from it. While the editor was very, very nice to work with, I don’t think I’d do that again!

Top 5 posts

1. DIY Ewok Hood (lots of folks prepping for Halloween, I think!)

2. How to Save Money While Sewing

3. No Sew Winter Cowl Tutorial

4. Top 10 Indie Patterns to Sew For Yourself this Fall

5. Half Handmade Gift Ideas: 10 of my Son’s Favorite Books & 10 Matching Free Softie Patterns (this was one of my own favorite posts, so I’m glad people seem to like it!)

Search Terms

1. www.swoodsonsays.com

2. diy ewok costume

3. ewok hood pattern

Amusing search terms weren’t as good as last time, but this one made me laugh:

“my husband cut my hair”

And this one creeped me out, because I AM working on a fabric playing card holder, so it’s like Google is reading my mind:

“patterns for fabric playing card holders”

 

Goals

I set goals for the second half of 2014, so I haven’t hit the pass/fail point yet but here’s how I’ve been doing:

1. Get to 500 average visits per day

Done! For September, anyways, I’m predicting a small fall for October since I continued to be out of my blogging game until mid-September and the only reason September was over 500 was one very popular share thanks to All Free Sewing. I’m aiming to have consistently over 500/day for November & December though.

2. Digitize & release my first sewing pattern!

My first one is a freebie, but I’m proud of it! More to come soon!

3. Set up a newsletter.

Half done; I have the newsletter sign-up ready (click here to be the first to receive it!) and plan to phase my Friday Favorites posts into a weekly newsletter, but haven’t done so yet. This is on my docket for November.

4. Figure out at least 2 sponsored post pitches, and send them out.

Yeah.. this one isn’t going to happen. When I set it, I didn’t know I was going to be pregnant/having a baby in March 2015. I’m not comfortable asking for sponsored posts when I’m uncertain of how frequently I’ll be posting for a significant chunk of the year. So, this will hopefully happen in the second half of 2015!

PHEW. A little less wordy, but still a lot of information. I’m proud of the continued growth but bummed I’m still way in the red.

I’d love to know if I’m missing something you analyze on your own blog, or that you’d like to know! I haven’t paid a ton of attention to bounce rate, and am trying to think of other things I “ought” to be paying attention to. Help me out!

This Post Has 16 Comments
  1. Congratulations on reaching many of your goals! I’ve often wondered about the comments thing too – but I’ve noticed that it takes a lot of views to get a lot of comments, at least on my blog. Other people have similar page views to mine, but have been around longer and have a more engaged audience with more comments. Readers tend to find mine by project or tutorial and often aren’t moved to comment. It’s one of my goals for next year to get a more engaged readership! In the end that might mean more than numbers? Still navigating this whole process.

    1. My views & comments don’t correspond at all! I haven’t specifically analyzed, but in general I have the fewest comments on my tutorial posts and the most on articles of clothes I’ve sewn/shared (and almost never any on my Friday Favorites & round-ups even though I can see people like them!)

  2. That is very interesting to read! At one point I thought about monetizing my blog (when I was posting more about photography), but it was just too much time for me to dedicate to it when I was also working full time. There was no way a blog would replace my salary and benefits, so I let it go by the wayside. I actually don’t have my blog pushed to search engines since I have personal stuff on it, too. People need to find links to my blog through other blogs or Pinterest in order to find my stuff, so my page hits are much lower than yours. I actually got up to over a hundred with hits from Stylo, but most days it is an average of 25.

    Oh, and just a note because I am anal about photography. Your class is to get you to use your camera in manual and not off manual (it would be off automatic). 🙂 Congrats on learning to work your camera! It will open up a lot more opportunities to get good pictures. That lens is a good one to get, too. I have the Nikon version. A 50mm f1.8 is another good one, too.

    1. Ahhhh I normally go through and proof the morning before a post goes live, but our basement contractor stopped by and I got distracted. Thank you for pointing that typo out; I fixed it (and embarrassingly, several others).

      I totally agree that some of the ‘biggest’ bloggers get very few comments. I don’t expect a response to all comments left, but it drives me nuts if I specifically ask a question they didn’t answer or something, and no response. I guess once you get that “big” you either don’t care or don’t have time to respond!

      1. You know I used to directly email people responses, but then it appeared I was ignoring them on the blog so now I just respond on the blog. Added to that fact, my site keeps on throwing comments into spam for some reason I can’t figure out so I don’t get the comment emails to reply back.

        It does drive me nuts, too, when people don’t respond to a question. Especially on a monetized blog where they are trying to get readership to make money. After awhile I just stop going there, since they aren’t helpful.

        1. I was trying to figure out how to fix that (after realizing one blogger responded directly by email, even if it looked like they didn’t when I was just visiting) and I really like this plug-in: Comment Reply Notification. I respond on WordPress so the response is visible if someone else is reading, but then you get an email of my response. Best of both worlds! I don’t know how to fix the spam/comment thing though… I don’t even check mine, I admit, because it is well over 200 a day.

          1. I was wondering how people were doing that! I really like getting them, because I don’t usually remember where I’ve commented and I don’t like subscribing to all of the comments. It feels more personal when you get an e-mail. I’ll have to check out the plugin.

  3. Oh, and I was going to comment on the comment aspect, too. Yes! It has totally gone down in the past few years. I have been blogging since around 2007, and it used to be that you would get a decent amount of comments with less page hits. Now it is just a select few that comment. Basically, if you don’t give comment love, you don’t get it, which is totally understandable. Who has time to comment on everything?! A lot of the bigger blogs don’t get hardly any comments either, because they never/rarely visit the commenter’s site or interact with them. I noticed this on Project Sewn/Project Run and Play. For the number of hits they get, they should get a lot more comments. There are craft bloggers that get a decent following with comments, but I think it is getting rarer and rarer to have that. I post quite a bit on a Facebook sewing group, so that gives me my “community” and then on a few other bloggers site.

  4. Thanks for sharing the numbers Stephanie! My traffic is similar to yours (350ish via google analytics) after about a year of blogging, so it’s nice to see the comparison. My highest referral sources are similar to yours with Craftgawker being high on the list as well. I also avoid most link-ups as they don’t seem to generate much traffic or community. I’d love to find a way to engage people more as well. After Abby’s post earlier this week, it seems that honest posts with a bit of controversy seem to spark lots of discussion. My post with the most comments is on my twin needle tutorial post, and they are all questions.

      1. I don’t think craftgawker chooses projects based on how “hip” they are. I’ve seen some really weird stuff on there, but with a clear and clean photo. I think they really only look at photo quality, as long as you follow the rules about it being your own project, not selling anything, etc. I just keep resubmitting until they approve it. For the longest time I had way more rejections, but as I’ve learned what they are looking for I’m usually able to figure out what will be accepted on the first try. Just keep submitting and take the feedback as constructive criticism of your photo. I think all that feedback has helped my photography a lot.

        1. I totally agree – their focus is photography. I am the same way, I know what will be accepted and what won’t – which is nice at least that they’re consistent! Do you submit to Stylegawker too? That shot of your Zsalya should be on there for sure!

          1. I knew about foodgawker, but I haven’t seen stylegawker. It never occurred to me that I could share on fashion sites, but I just tried it. I’m curious if they have the same traffic as craftgawker. Thanks for the suggestion!

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