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Income Report May 2019

In just over a month Josh and I will leave for China and Europe, starting a 2-month travel/visit extravaganza which will have me vlogging and blogging a long time after! I literally cannot wait to discover Xi’An, meet my friend who I haven’t seen in almost a year (as he is teaching in China) and to go home to my family, to eat my mom’s home-cooked food and to drink some great Belgian Beer without being £10 out of pocket.

But I am also excited to see what will happen in June and how I can grow my blog even more in the next 30 days!

Every 3 months I will have a look at what happened over the past 90 days so I can get a complete overview of what my blog did, how (and if) I grew and what I can expect for the next 90 days.

If you want to delve deeper into what happened the past few months on my website, please have a look at the past Income Reports:

 

What were my goals for May

Reading through my goals I know I haven’t hit many. In fact – I think I only hit one. D’oh. I feel a bit stupid. May was completely dominated by Ramadan in Dubai and it took a toll on me. Not only because I actually fasted for a week – after which my body basically shut down, forcing me to quit, but it also took a mental toll as not many places are open during the day forcing me to stay inside.

I normally work in Community Café at Mamzar Beach through lets work just to get me out of the house, for the amazing beach views and the fact that I am much more productive when I’m there. Due to Ramadan Community Café was closed. After a week between the 4 walls of our not-so-amazing apartment I was sick and tired of being inside. Visiting the local mall was also not an option as all coffee shops and foodcourts are closed and most shops open after 2 PM. I felt myself slipping away – I lost my motivation, I lost energy, I lost the will to do anything. I was bored, I was lethargic – and going to brunches or visiting museums during the weekends was also more or less impossible as our favourite Brunches were now (alcohol-free) iftars and most museums (the coolest ones are in the conservative Emirate of Sharjah) were closed during the day. For me personally it has been a pretty shitty, lonely and boring month with the Iftars organised by my muslim friends as the only bright lights to look forward to.

But let’s have a look at my goals and whether I hit them or not!

1. Make at least 2 videos for Glitterrebel – Not hit

I did not hit my goal of making at least 2 videos for my YouTube Channel. But I am honestly not too fussed about this.

Why?

I was a guest in an episode of a documentary series about Belgians in Dubai. Chaimae and her husband put up with me for 3 days filming an episode around Mamzar and old town about my experiences in Dubai so far. Not only was this an amazing project to take part in, it also provided me with more confidence and more experience in talking in front of a camera (especially with people around).

It made me think about my own videos and what I want my channel to be like. I think it was overall a very positive experience for me and helped me overcome my anxiety of vlogging on the street.

I have been watching a lot of videos by Bald and Bankrupt (who I am not following anymore after his video with Baldr and that Gingers do have souls guy) and Karl Rock. It thought me that videos within the “travel” genre do not always have to be full of (new) information or they don’t have to be of exceptional production quality. People often just want to be taken away to another country. They want to walk through the street with you, see what you are seeing, they want you to take them on an adventure!

I had been thinking about vlogging on the street for a little while now but my camera is not massively well-adjusted for this purpose. That is why I decided to buy a GoPro Hero7 Black as it is small and compact. I can mount it on some kind of GoPro selfie stick and easily carry it around with me. It can also keep filming for more than 20 minutes – something my other camera was incapable of doing.

I already took my GoPro for a spin around pond park but as I was shooting in 4K the files were way too big which meant that my computer (although it is a high spec gaming laptop) could not handle playing or editing them. I will have another try really soon! (probably tomorrow!)

So what does this mean? It means my content is going to change DRAMATICALLY! I will probably also rebrand my Youtube Channel so my Youtube name can reflact my content. I will obviously keep the videos on my website and will link back from my videos to my website.

I might not have hit my goal but I now have a better idea of what I want to do with my channel and I overcame one of the obstacles stopping me from doing something I love.

2. Have an average of 40 visitors per day – not hit

I did not hit this goal. 

I am currently averaging on 36.

Booooo!

But – and yes, there is a but. It needs to be said that I did not cheat (for science) this month. Last month – as some of you who might know, I tried out some of these follow threads to see what they would do with my engagement and how they would influence my stats.

I did not do this this month but my visits and views have stayed more or less the same – which can only mean that there has been an increase in visitors to my website.

The past few days I have also been getting more organic visitors to my website with a steady 40-45 visitors a day. I don’t want to jinx it but this might mean my website is being picked up for more keywords on Google which might result in finally hitting this goal next month!

income report may

Tip: link Google Search Console to your website

This month I finally linked my website to Google Search Console. I was a bit of an idiot for not doing this earlier. I literally facepalmed when I read this tip in another blog post. I was a digital marketing executive. I used to do SEO. This was my job. How could I forget?

Anyway – for those of you who do not know Google Search Console: this is a Google Tool that can give you an insight into the keywords your website is ranking for, how many people have SEEN your website in the result (reach) and how many people clicked your website in these results.

You will want to keep an eye on Google Search Console as it will also tell you which pages have been indexed and which pages are having problems being indexed (which could result in them not showing up in the search results).

I also look at the keywords that get a lot of reach but might not get a lot of clicks as this might mean Google will send them down the ranking. I try to figure out if my post answers the question the people are trying to find an answer to and if it doesn’t I make sure to include the answer in my post (if possible).

Overall I love playing around in Search Console as it is a great way to get some insights into how Google sees your site. It will also enable you to request Google to crawl a page that you have updated so that you can rank for more or better keywords.

At the moment I see that my website is showing up for some good keywords and overall I am happy to see an shift in the kind of keywords I am ranking for. At the beginning of the month it was more or less unrelated to travel – mostly older posts, while now I am ranking for queries such as “what to do in Hamra Beirut” or “What Sunscreen to use in Dubai”.

Coming back to that 90-day cycle: I have been listening a lot to the Just Keep Blogging podcast by Kim Anderson and she always says that blogging is a 90-day process. I now notice that this is true! Especially when you are a smaller blogger with a Domain Authority that might not be amazing, your posts will not necessarily show up within the first 100 search results within the first 2 months. Especially when your niche is quite broad and saturated as it is within the Travel Niche where bloggers and businesses are vying for a spot in the first 10 results.

It has literally taught me to be patient and to wait. I wanted my post to get views NOW, I wanted my blog to show up in the search results NOW – but it’s a waiting game. Unless you have a lot of money and can hire a marketing and SEO agency like the one I worked for, you will need to wait and you will need to persist.

3. Pinterest reach of 40K (Smashed it!)

Pinterest has been working really well for me lately. About 25% of my visitors come from Pinterest. I know that this is peanuts in comparison to the “old” Pinterest, but I still think this is a great accomplishment! Especially since pins on Pinterest need to “age like a good cheese” as one of my friends used to say.

I currently have 48K impressions on Pinterest for the month of May. I smashed my goal with 8000 impressions!

I am very happy with the result! Especially in a time when most bloggers seem to struggle with Pinterest.

income report may pinterest

How I increased my Pinterest reach

Pinterest is one of those platforms that needs absolute and constant attention. I was a bit of an idiot this month and forgot to post/schedule pins during the second week of May. This had a massive and negative effect on my account with my reach dropping significantly.

Oops.

In the end I was able to get my Pinterest on the right track again. This was a very hard lesson learned, but now I have been checking my Tailwind every few days to make sure I still have pins planned in!

But what has been working for me? How did I increase my reach from 30k to just shy of 48k in 31 days?

I cannot recommend getting Tailwind more. It has literally been my life saver when it comes to Pinterest. The week I was stupid enough to forget to pin was a prime example of how Tailwind pushes my content onto Pinterest, increases my engagement and skyrockets my reach.

For those who do not know what Tailwind is: Tailwind is a website that lets you schedule and, more importantly, loop content. Every time I write a new article I schedule in the pins via a simple click on a button. I select the boards I want Tailwind to post the pins to and I click schedule. I also add the pin to my smartloop. This smartloop will automatically pin pins from a pool of 250 pins onto predefined boards. This loop will go on forever – or until you delete pins, change boards or stop it completely.

So even – when you like me – have a bit of a brain fart and forget to schedule your pins, your engagement, pins and your clicks might drop but won’t disappear as smartloop is still going strong!

Another massive change I made that seems to boost my engagement, repins and clicks immensely is designing my pins via Photoshop. I wanted to go for a sophisticated feel when it comes to my pins. I wanted something female and classy but still engaging and adventurous.

I did not feel as if I was getting that groove from Canva, especially as every other blogger seems to make pins in Canva. Seriously, they all look more or less similar! Since I switched to making my own pins I noticed getting more clicks and repins and it having a positive effect on my reach AND follows!

4. Write at least 10 articles on glitterrebel (Smashed it!)

I wrote 13 blog posts on Glitterrebel and I am very happy with the results. Articles are a mix of short form and long form articles with long form articles often being over 3000 words. Long form articles take me about 2 days to write and research. It’s not easy. Let me tell you that.

5. 2000 pageviews (Not hit)

Nope. Not hit. I reached 1867 pageviews. I do not feel I could have done anything more or differently as I always link to other pages within my posts. I think most people currently land on my page through old content that is not part of the travel niche I am currently going for. Although I do still write fashion and lifestyle posts every now and then, I don’t think my site offers enough content for them to stay and click through.

Although that is a pitty, it is not a massive problem as I am not looking to push that content anyway. If the bounce rate on my optimised travel blog posts was skyrocketing, I would probably be pulling my hair out right now!

As it stands now, I just need to wait for my other content to get some traction.

income report may page views

What are my goals for May?

  1. Make 2 videos for Glitter Rebel
  2. Pinterest Reach of 50K
  3. 2000 Pageviews Glitter Rebel
  4. Average of 40 visitors a day
  5. 1300 followers on Instagram

I know these goals look like the goals of last month, but I do not feel there is a benefit in setting higher or unreachable goals when I wasn’t able to hit the goal last month. If I missed it this month, I try again the next. That’s the best way to look at it as you will always be making progress!

What actionables did I fulfil?

  • Weed out pins that aren’t working [V]
  • Publish a freebie [X]
  • Update the pinterest images of at least 5 old articles [X]
  • Link other articles into these 5 old articles [X]
  • Post at least 15 posts on Instagram [X] => Too many anyway
  • Edit at least 50 pages of the book [X]
  • Publish at least 2 book reviews on Liezeneven [X] => Had a problem with the website that took a long time to fix
  • Have at least 3 days of course content ready on Liezeneven [X]

What actionables do I want to fulfil in June?

  • Publish a freenie
  • Update Pinterest images of at least 5 old TRAVEL articles
  • Link other articles into these 5 old TRAVEL articles
  • Edit at least 50 pages of the book
  • Publish 2 articles on Lieze Neven
  • Have at least 3 days of course content ready
  • Write at least 15 articles on Glitter Rebel
  • Research 2 locations for keyword research
  • Plan out video schedule China

How much did I actually earn this month?

I earned good money this month. Just not with my blog. I did get my first 2 sales via the Amazon partner program though. It’s not a massive amount of commission but it’s something! I earned the GRAND TOTAL of £2.50

I do feel I am getting more and more clicks on my links and people who are genuinely looking for advice are finding their way to my website which will overall result in more earnings.

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