Last updated on November 7th, 2021 at 08:30 pm
This summer marked the end of my first year blogging. I started my blog back in June of 2020 as a creative outlet and an avenue for me to learn about personal finance and share my experience with the world. Now that it’s been a year, I’ve decided to share all of the interesting statistics on how my blog has done. If you’re interested in starting a blog, this post will give you an overview of what to expect in your first year blogging.
First Year Blogging Strategy
Before starting a blog, you have to come up with a strategy. It helps if you’re already a member of a few communities relating to the topic you’d like to blog about. If not, you need to create accounts and join communities to make your presence in the world known.
For the topics I’d be writing about, Twitter seemed to be the best social media platform for me to get started with. It had a huge personal finance community that included most of the bloggers I was already following. By posting my content there and interacting with others, I tried to attract a few like-minded people to my site.
It’s tough to rank on Google search until your blog becomes more established. Until you can rank with Google, social media is the best avenue to attract an audience in your first year blogging.
Pageviews Earned in my First Year
Page views are the bread and butter of the blogging world. Most people unfamiliar with blogging assume you can throw up some articles, do some hodgepodge SEO, and expect thousands of readers per month. As you’ll see from my experience, this certainly isn’t the case.
When I first started blogging, page views were hard to come by. In my first month, I received only 55 page views, with at least 30 of them coming from myself checking that my blog was working. Things picked up slowly throughout the summer as I posted actively on Twitter and elsewhere. Things only started to accelerate once the nice weather ended and people began to spend more time online.
My audience count being less than my page views shows that many visitors to my site check out more than one of my posts. This is called the bounce rate and is one of the key metrics you want to improve if you’re trying to establish yourself as a blogger.
How Important Is SEO?
The vast majority of my blog’s visitors find me by searching about a topic on Google and clicking a link to something I’ve written. Early on, it’s so hard to rank for any search terms on Google. And don’t get me wrong, it’s still incredibly hard. But over time, Google will start to recognize your work if you’re performing at least some search engine optimization.
Some essential tips I used were to make sure my headings were similar to what people were searching for. I also used Google Trends to check what topics were most popular and wrote posts about those topics.
Most Popular Blog Posts
Knowing just a little bit of SEO helped me write the following popular blog posts. These seven posts earned the bulk of my pageviews in my first year blogging. In fact, my post on CERB fraud ranked near the top of Google search for much of 2020.
- The Best Canadian Dividend ETF
- CERB Fraud
- Foreing Withholding Taxes for Canadians
- How to Get Cash Back From Your Realtor
- TFSA vs RRSP: Which Account to Use?
- The Best Preferred Share ETF in Canada
- CamelCamelCamel Canada: The Ultimate Guide
I am still experimenting and learning what works and what doesn’t. This list taught me that people enjoy reading “best of” style lists, and they also like articles that compare one of two choices.
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Blog?
Blogging is one of the most affordable hobbies out there. Yes, it can get expensive if you advertise or pay for tools and fancy plugins. But if you’re small-time and frugal-focused, you can run your blog for around $100 per year.
In my first year blogging, my only expenses were a domain name and hosting. I found that Web Hosting Canada provides the right mix of affordability and service for my blog. Back when I signed up, I was able to get a domain name for just $10 and a year of WordPress-optimized hosting for $55.
How Much Do Bloggers Make?
I finally got around to creating an AdSense account in January of this year. With thousands of readers visiting my site, why not earn a bit of scratch to help fund my blogging efforts? It sounded fun, and to be honest, I had no clue what a blog like mine would earn. I assumed very little—and I was right.
That’s right, in my first year blogging I earned a meagre $54. Making $54 is almost enough to cover the cost of my blog for the year, which seems to be a shared goal of many first-time bloggers. Was I satisfied with this earning level? If I think about the time I’ve put in, this $54 values the time I’ve spent at less than $1 per hour. Worse, I’m not sure if displaying ads has helped or hindered my site.
Starting to display banner ads coincides with a significant drop in viewers that has persisted through the warmer months. Is it just the weather, or is it the ads? I’m not yet sure. But it has become likely that I’ll disable ads and forgo the small amount of revenue I’m generating.
Another essential metric I’ve been tracking is the number of subscribers to my newsletter. Newsletters can be a powerful tool in that it gives you a platform-agnostic method for reaching people interested in your content and driving them to your site.
Early on, I only had a single button to sign up for my newsletter on my blog. Now I add a signup button to every post which has helped attract more subscribers. I’m not sure what a good number of newsletter subscribers is for a blog of my size, but I am increasing it with each new post.
Twitter followers are an interesting metric. I know it’s not critically important, but it has been one of the main avenues for people to discover my blog. So far, I have accumulated over 600 followers and counting. It has also been an excellent tool for communicating with other bloggers and learning from others.
I also have a presence on Facebook but have found it much harder to build an audience on that platform. I even used one of their $10 coupons to boost one of my posts. That earned me plenty of impressions but only a single new follower.
Lessons Learned From My First Year Blogging
Although it hasn’t been too profitable, my first year blogging has earned me a wealth of knowledge. Here are some of my key takeaways:
- SEO isn’t everything. Probably even more important is your domain authority, which has to be built carefully over time.
- The size of your market matters. If you want to quit your job and blog full-time, it helps to live in a larger market like the U.S.
- Blogs are less popular than other mediums like podcasting, YouTube, and even TikTok, where audiences are much larger and less saturated with content.
Is Blogging Worth It?
In my experience, blogging hasn’t been worth it from a financial perspective. Blogging takes far too much time to earn your first dollar, so it’s not a good option for anyone looking for a side hustle. It would be a better use time for most people to develop other skills, get a new job, or progress in their career.
However, that’s not to say blogging isn’t worth it overall. It really is one of the least expensive hobbies available, and it’s a great way to be part of a community and meet other like-minded individuals. Perhaps best of all, blogging is a fun way to challenge yourself, learn more, and improve your writing skills.
And finally, blogging has been such a great creative outlet for me over the past year. When you’re sick of work and want to feel productive but not too productive, blogging can be a fun way to pass the time and maybe learn a thing or two along the way. That’s why I’m sticking with it!
Thanks for Reading!
Thank you for checking out my income report for my first year blogging. I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience. Have you ever had a blog? How was your first year blogging? I’d like to hear about your experiences blogging, so please reach out or leave a comment below!
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