“There is nothing noble about being superior to your fellow man. True nobility is being superior to your former self.” -Ernest Hemingway
The Only Competition Is Myself
That quote by Hemingway helps to remind me that there are certain things in life where I don’t need to be as competitive with others because the true competitor is myself.
I’m competitive by nature.
So when I initially started blogging, I would read other blogger’s traffic reports and marvel at how they managed to get readers to their site.
I wanted to get, and beat, their level of traffic and income.
I soon realized that they were putting in way more hours blogging, sharing, and improving their blog’s user-interface than I was.
Not to mention, some of them spent money on plugins to run promotions, giveaways, popups, email campaigns, etc.
And while I had the money to spend on those nifty toys as well, a part of me thought it would have led me down a rabbit whole of blog spending that I didn’t want to do.
So they put in the time, effort, hours, and money and I was here like:
As 2018 went on, I realized that if my blog were to grow, I had to provide more insightful, engaging, and informational articles that provided value to, and improved the, reader’s lives.
Common Problem: Articles Are Boring Repeats
For my blog posts, I couldn’t just simply rehash and regurgitate “How to” articles or “listicles.”
- Because people are tired of them.
- Because they don’t provide a new and valuable insight to the pool of financial independence.
How Do I Write More Insightful and Engaging Blog Posts?
1. Story Brand Podcast by Donald Miller
Donald Miller interviews successful business leaders on how to lead a more balanced and happier life, a better company, a healthier workplace culture, etc.
But most importantly, how to clarify, create, and craft better stories to tell your audience.
Not only has listening to this podcast helped me increase revenue for my family’s business, I think it also helped me increase traffic and income for my blog.
I think it could do the same for your’s.
I listen to it when I’m jogging or working out.
(Multitasking to the max lol)
I find most of the ideas and concepts of what they talk about to be applicable to writing better stories.
But these tips won’t do me any good if I don’t apply them.
I try to apply what I learn as soon as possible so I don’t forget it.
Like in sports, you first learn the form and then you practice like crazy to get better.
2. Dig Deep and Look for My Unique Voice
What is it that separates me from the more than 2000 other personal finance, financial independence, F.I.R.E., and money bloggers registered in Rockstar Finance?
And how can I leverage that to provide unique and valuable content that others might not have written about yet?
I was able to write about these angles because I’m working on a more minimalistic life, one of less materialistic consumption, and also because I lived on a farm for a couple of years.
Also, I’m Thai and grew up with parents who started successful businesses without any formal education.
That alone can help me write countless articles on financial insights from successful entrepreneurs from the developing world.
So you just have to dig deep within yourself, take some time to introspect, and find your unique perspective.
If you’re at a loss, you can ask your friends and family about what makes you special and unique and apply that to your blogging lol.
3. Look For an Interesting Angle on a Topic
I recorded a podcast episode about how you can reach financial independence faster while sitting on the toilet.
That’s an interesting angle that not too many people write about, right?
With the time you spend on the toilet everyday, you could use it to write blog posts, answer surveys for money, etc.
Over time, that effort pays off.
I constantly work on expanding my creative muscles and finding new and interesting ways to write about financial independence from a minimalistic perspective.
By finding a unique perspective and adding it to the collective consciousness of humanity, you’re adding to the richness and enjoyment of life.
Whatever your unique perspective is, I’m sure it will rock the world because you’re a superstar.
Blog Traffic For January 2019
Okay, let’s get to the point of why you came here.
WordPress says I had 1,017 visitors and 1,393 views for January 2019.
I also published 6 articles.
Google Analytics said I had 1,042 visitors in January 2019.
It’s interesting seeing the difference between the two site’s reported numbers.
It’s also interesting to see the difference between my January 2018 and 2019 numbers.
I had about 1000 more visitors to my site this January 2019 versus the same time last year.
A whopping 1,903.85% increase in visitors.
Not too shabby considering I went quiet for about 6 months in 2018 and didn’t publish any articles because I was moving in and out of Seattle.
I had 74 sessions last year.
This year I had 1,125.
A 1,420.27% increase.
My goal for 2019 is to see if I can reach 25,000 sessions a month to qualify for Mediavine ads instead of Sovrn and WordPress’s in-house Wordads.
One blogger told me that with WordPress’s wordads, they used to make around $50-80 a month in ad revenue.
Then when they reached the sessions threshold for Mediavine, they switched and now make about $200-300 a month in ad revenue.
They use that money to pay for travels around the world.
Another blogger told me they now make thousands of dollars a month via Mediavine and other affiliate links.
Alexa Website Ranking
For Amazon’s Alexa data service, Jackthedreamer.com ranked 335,231 in America.
In terms of my blog’s ranking in the world, I went up 1 million, now at 2,755,257.
Source of Blog Traffic
From Google Analytics Country Demographic
For January 2019, a lot of my traffic came from Facebook and search engines.
Being shared on social media is good, as is people finding my articles via SEO.
I try to make sure every single blog post gets the green light via the Yoast plugin for keyword and SEO optimization.
I also aim to write short succinct sentences to make them easier to read on mobile and get the green light on readability.
Twitter traffic looks good because I share all of my articles on there.
Pinterest saw a nice bump because one day it got picked up and shared around.
You never know where your traffic could be coming from.
Always do your best and give people a chance to share your stuff!
What Articles Did People Read For January 2019?
It looks like my posts that got the most eyeballs weren’t about personal finances in January 2019.
If you look at the average article topic, it’s about discarding and me going through my KonMari minimalistic lifestyle.
And I just realized it spiked in that category for good reason.
Marie Kondo released her new bingeable Netflix series on the KonMari method of discarding what doesn’t bring you joy and only keeping that which does.
So it worked out that I had a couple of articles on KonMari ahead of time for people to keep reading on those topics.
Blog Income for January 2019
Here are my different revenue streams for January 2019.
- Google Adsense
- Amazon Affiliate Programs
WordPress Ad Revenue
January 2018, I made $0.07.
January 2019, I made $2.51.
That’s an increase of 3,485.71% in ad revenue.
It sounds amazing when you do it in percentages doesn’t it? lol.
WordPress has a built in ad platform that you just press “activate” when you make a business account for WordPress.
My first goal is to have the blog pay for itself.
Currently I pay $300 a year for this business account for the privilege to put in plugins and ads.
If I can write valuable enough content to drive traffic that will help the blog pay for itself, that would be awesome.
Sovrn Ad Revenue
January 2018 was $0 because I didn’t have an account at that time.
For January 2019, it was $0.27.
Sovrn is nice in that they have more analytics than WordPress’s in-house wordads service.
However, I think putting Sovrn ads in the body of my blog posts were causing my posts to crash when people were reading them.
So I moved them to the sidebar and have left them there.
Thus my profits actually dropped in Sovrn for 2018 and I’m trying to make up for it with wordads.
Google Adsense Revenue
For January 2018 and 2019, revenue was $0.
There’s a way to link Google Adsense to Sovrn so they can piggyback off each other and fill available ad spaces.
As of right now, I’m having issues with the Google Adsense I.D. and am working on getting this resolved.
Amazon Affiliate Programs
I made $1.13 off Amazon affiliate links in January 2019.
For the same time January 2018 I didn’t have an account.
You can see that after 37 clicks on Amazon affiliate links throughout my blog, 1 person finally bought something, resulting in a conversion of 2.70% lol.
I made $1.50 in the Anchor app for my Jack The Dreamer Podcast for January 2019.
But to cash it out costs 25 cents.
So I was deposited $1.25.
Still not too shabby for creating a passive income revenue stream.
Now I just have to come up with talk topics.
For my podcast episodes, I wanted each episode to be short and succinct, after getting the inspiration from Britt’s Tiny Bites Podcast series on small home living and slow life.
Also, in Donald Miller’s StoryBrand podcast, he talked about how a lot of podcasts get whimsical and philosophical and meander off the main point.
He said he preferred listening to podcasts that gave him actionable valuable he could take to improve his life TODAY.
That’s why I make sure not to talk fluff or meander in my podcast episodes.
They’re short, to the point, and I end each episode with a call-to-action of a specific action you could take right now to make your journey to financial independence simpler, easier, and faster.
Total January 2019 Blog Revenue
- WordPress: 2018 = $0.07 | 2019 = $2.51
- Sovrn: 2018 = $0 | 2019 = $0.27
- Google: 2018 = $0 | 2019 = $0
- Amazon: 2018 = $0 | 2019 = $1.13
- Podcast: 2018 = $0 | 2019 = $1.50
January 2018 total: $0.07
January 2019 total: $5.41
That’s a growth of 7,628.57%!
Not too shabby!
Issues I’m Trying To Fix
My website is currently very slow when I analyze it using Google’s page speed insights.
I want them to be in the green because both Google and WordPress keep shoving it down my throat with the statistic that if load time is longer than 2 seconds, readership drops by 40%.
After googling “how to make my WordPress faster,” a whole slew of articles pop up.
They talk about plugins you can use, what code to minify, etc.
I’m going to be working on that little by little for February and, fingers crossed, by the end of February these numbers get better.
Conclusion For January 2019
A year ago, I was just starting to get my feet wet with blogging and time has definitely helped with my blog.
But time alone doesn’t do anything if you don’t take the time to work on improving yourself and others.
This YouTube video from Deacon Hayes at FinCon has really valuable insight on how to increase blog traffic.
I realize that while it looks and sounds like magic when other bloggers seem to get traffic and income out of nowhere, usually if you look really closer, they are working super hard behind the scenes to make it happen.
They’re like the ducks we see floating gracefully on the top of the water but whose feet are paddling really hard underneath to try and go forward.
So far, I will keep my day job and work on investing the majority of my after tax income into Vanguard SP500 index mutual fund to reach F.I.R.E.
Resources mentioned in this article:
- Story Brand Podcast by Donald Miller
- Why I Sleep On A Yoga Mat – Minimalism Life
- What Living On A Farm For A Year Taught Me About Financial Independence (And Life)
- Jack The Dreamer Podcast
- Sovrn Ad Service Provider
- Amazon Affiliate Program
- Google Adsense
- Tiny Bites Podcast for slower life and smaller living
- YouTube video by Deacon Hayes on how to increase blog traffic from his talk at FinCon
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