Happy 1-Year Anniversary to The Side Blogger: First Year Blog Report

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TSB 1-year birthday + blog report

This is a big milestone for The Side Blogger. First anniversary! Has it really been that long? Honestly, to me, it feels like just the other day I was setting up this blog and typing up the copy for the About page, listing all my goals and aspirations for this blog.

So much has changed since then, and yet, it doesn’t really feel that way.

Goals are important. I try to set them whenever possible. I had some goals for this blog too in the beginning. But over the course of the next several months up until now, the goals had to be edited and updated based on circumstances and changes in expectations.

For example, My initial goal was to get about 500 email subscribers by the end of the first year. But I realized that I could do better! So I changed my goals and I’m happy to say that I’m 1K+ above that initial goal! Yes, I have a grand total of 1,500+ subscribers right now!

But I also hoped to cross $1K per month in my earnings, which hasn’t happened yet. I’ve come close, but I have yet to cross the mark.

Anyhow, in today’s blog post, I want to break down some of the criteria where my blog has grown and where it needs more work.

Ready?

There are mainly three branches of growth I was aiming for:

  1. Email Subscriber Growth (Surpassed expectations)
  2. Daily Visitor Goal (About even)
  3. Earning Goal (Failed to meet expectation)

Let’s dig in.

Email Subscriber Growth

I honestly had no idea how to build an email list. So I thought to aim for 500 subscribers by the end of year-1, as a side-blogger, was already a little too optimistic.

Around month-7 of TSB, in December, I had a little over 300 subscribers. Technically, I was well on my way to get 500 subscribers by the first year anniversary — May 2019. But then, I had this crazy idea that I wanted to reach 1K subscribers by April 15, 2019. I don’t know why I chose April, but well, there I was at 300+ subscribers, and I thought, well, why not? Let’s see if I can set a ridiculous goal and reach 1K subscribers well ahead of the first birthday!

You know, I really think your productivity depends on how bold your goal is. Turned out, hitting 1K+ subscribers by April wasn’t at all unrealistic! In fact, I reached that goal well before April! By mid-March I had surpassed the 1K subscribers goal, and I’m happy to announce that right now, after a whole year from launch, I have well over 1,500 subscribers. That’s over 500 between March and May. Yeah! 500+ subscribers in just two months!

Here’s what my subscriber count looks like between May 2018 and May 2019:

TSB email subscriber growth
A snapshot of ConvertKit analytics showing TSB subscriber growth between launch and now (May 2018 – May 2019).

To be honest, I was able to grow my list as fast as I did thanks to ConvertKit [affiliate]. User experience is big! And ConvertKit understands that really well. They have made it EASY to create multiple opt-in forms, each with their own automated sequences and lead-magnet delivery capabilities.

You see, most email marketing softwares have similar capabilities, but not all of them make it as intuitive and simple to work with as ConvertKit has done. And that’s why, setting up new forms, each with their own sequence, funnels, and lead-magnets is SUPER SIMPLY and saves a shit ton of time. As you know… side-blogger life and what not… I’m always strapped for time, so anything that SAVES time is the winner in my books! And as far as email marketing goes, ConvertKit is it!

I’ve written about how to use ConvertKit, and how to build and grow an engaged email list; feel free to check them out!

New Subscriber Goal for November 2019 — 1.5-Year Mark

My new goal for November 2019 is to get an additional 2500 subscribers. That’s 4000+ subscribers total by the end of November 2019.

And how do I plan to reach that goal?

  • I will need to increase my daily visitor count.
  • I will need to post more often. (Right now I’m barely meeting 1 post per week goal that I had set during launch. I wanted to start posting two posts per week around December, but have failed to do so. Honestly, I know I need to post more often, but I have no clue how to squeeze it in… I’m already strapped for time as it is.)
  • I need to diversify my traffic sources to increase this number (more on that in the next section).
  • Offer more value in terms of freebies and free courses.

Daily Visitor Growth

At the time of launch, I had hoped that I would have about a hundred visitors per day on my blog.

Well, I have about 200-ish per day on average with some occasional dips and spikes. This is twice the number I aimed for at the beginning, but around December last year, around the same time I decided to hit 1K subscribers, I thought, rather vaguely, that I probably needed more than a hundred visitors if I wanted to hit 1K subscribers.

Sure, the number grew, but really, over the past 6 months or so, my daily visitor count hasn’t changed at all.

TSB Google Analytics Results
TSB Traffic Analytics (via Google Analytics)

And now I’m wondering if I should have set a more concrete goal for the daily visitor count in order to actually hit it.

Well, better late than never!

New Daily Visitor Goal for November 2019 — 1.5-Year Mark

I hope to get this number up to 1000+ daily visitors by November 2019. Too ambitious? Well, we’ll see!

To get to that number, I will need to:

  • Diversify traffic sources. Right now, most of my daily traffic comes from Pinterest. I’m thinking if I should double down on Facebook or Instagram to create yet another traffic driving source. Will keep you posted on this.
  • Post more often (I really want to hit that twice a week post schedule!!!) But you see, most of my blog posts are ginormous how-to tutorials, and they take time to write and edit. I have no idea how I’m going to do it. All I know is that I must! Somehow, I’ve got to make time for it.

Earning Goal

I had hoped that I’d make $1000 per month by the end of year one, and I am sorry to say that I have failed. I made close to 800-ish once… just once, and that’s it! It’s been a total roller coaster. One month I make tons of sells and the next, nothing! Crickets! But mostly, I have been capping out at around $350-ish per month on average.

My earning source is primarily affiliate sales, and that too is mostly focused on selling SiteGround [affiliate] hosting plans. I have made a few more sales elsewhere, and the blog shop, my second biggest earning source through this blog, has been selling between 150 – 250 a month for the last 3/4 months.

Just like website traffic, my earnings were also not properly thought out. I mean to change that starting right now!

New Monthly Income Goal for November 2019 — 1.5-Year Mark

My new goal isn’t going to change. I don’t think it will be realistic to go from 350 average to 5K. So, I’ll stick to 1K, but I’m going to properly implement some strategies to hit this goal by November 2019. And not just as a one-off thing. I hope to implement systems which will ensure that I start making 1K per month on average by November 2019.

Here’s what I’m thinking. As I start to grow my daily traffic, I hope to see more results in terms of shop and affiliate sales.

Aside from increasing traffic, here are a few other things I think will help me make more money.

  • Adding new products to the Blog Shop every month (at least two new product would be nice).
  • A new course (I have thought about creating a Pinterest course, but still wondering if that’d be ideal; will keep you posted via newsletter. Speaking of which, if you haven’t signed up for the newsletter yet, do consider it. My subscribers typically get the latest news before anyone else!)

So, there you have it. My year-1 blog report and future goals.

To summarize, here are the new goals for November 2019 when TSB will turn 1.5 years:

  1. 2500 more subscribers, bringing up the total subscriber count to 4K+
  2. 1000+ daily visitors on average by November 2019
  3. $1000+ monthly income

Think I can hit these goals? I sure hope so! And if you like my blog, I’d love for you to support me by purchasing via my affiliate links (The resources page has a lot of the products I personally love and use, and am an affiliate for. These are wonderful resources for both entry level as well as veteran bloggers, and I guarantee they’ll make your blogging journey much more productive.)

You can also show me your support by purchasing from my blog shop if you happen to need Canva templates for you blogging or other needs (you’ll find Pinterest templates, opt-in freebie templates, eBook templates, and more).

And if you’re not planning to purchase anything, that’s totally fine, and you can still show me your support by subscribing to my email list and above all, by visiting this blog, sharing with me your thoughts and ideas, engaging with me, and just by being a part of my blogging journey 🙂

For those of you who have stuck with me over the past year, THANK YOU! Those of you who’re new here, welcome! Here’s to another year of TSB, yeah?

But seriously, I love you guys, and TSB wouldn’t have come this far without you. Thank you, I love you, and I hope I can continue to provide value in the future!

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One-Year blog report for The Side Blogger

8 thoughts on “Happy 1-Year Anniversary to The Side Blogger: First Year Blog Report”

  1. Happy anniversary 🎉! I’ve been here since about half way, I think, and am always grateful for your every post! I’ve learned more from you than most of the “full time” bloggers out there. Your perspective is unique and resonates with where I am just now (contemplating starting another blog). I think with your help, I just might succeed this time. If I could be where you are in two year, I’d be more than happy 😃. Please keep it going, we depend on you (no pressure 😉). Xxx

  2. Happy Blog Anniversary. I discovered your blog recently and I’m so glad I did. You have some great goals and I hope you all achieve them because you write quality content.
    I’m really interested in the Pinterest course, if you ever decide to make one.
    Keep it up!

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you’re here and I’ll keep you posted on the course via newsletter! Thank you for being a reader, I appreciate you very much!

  3. Happy Blogiversary! And congrats on your stats! I think it’s fantastic for a year in! It will keep growing! I do enjoy your blog!

  4. Happy Anniversary Maliha!! Thank you for such a well laid out and informative website. I learn so much from you and have accessed your articles more than once for reference. Keep up the awesome work!

    1. Thank you, Donna! It helps to know that what I write is useful to someone 🙂 I’ll continue to try and provide more value. Thank you again!

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