The truth is, I'm just sitting at the table with my little laptop, looking at my blogging numbers and trying not to cry like the sappy weirdo that I am.
This August, I got more pageviews on my blog than any other month. Like, a lot more. Like, almost three times as many. In the spirit of being open, honest, and vulnerable, I'll share my numbers. For the past few months, I'd been averaging about 23,000 pageviews a month. It was fine, and put me on the low end of smaller lifestyle bloggers. My numbers had been about the same (and even going down a little bit!) for the past few months, and I was starting to wish I could see a tangible reward from all my hard work. I really recommitted to putting everything I had into my blog for the month of August to see how much my blog and readership could grow.
On August 31, I closed out the month with well over 66,000 pageviews.
I know there are a lot of bloggers who might see this number and laugh out loud. 66,000? Ha! That was me in 2009! Call me when you're at a million views per month! And that's fine. But for me and my blog and my goals, going from 23K to almost 67K in one month made me really really happy.
Well, first it made me apprehensive. For sure this has to be spam! I thought. At least 40,000 of these views have to be spam! I even posted in my Arizona Bloggers Facebook group about this. Here's my post for your viewing pleasure:
"Have any of you ever dealt with spam pageviews? It seems like almost overnight all my posts in the last month have 1500+ more pageviews per post than I usually get. The weird thing is that when I look at my referring sites, the numbers don't match up at all. My regular traffic driving sites are reporting only my regular numbers, and there's no new site to account for the thousands of extra pageviews I now have. Where are all these extra pageviews coming from, and why doesn't it show up in my referring sites? Not complaining if my blog got super popular overnight (ha!), but it's so sudden and abrupt that I'm wondering if it could be something else."
And then I spent the next two weeks searching Google Analytics tutorials. I probably should have figured out Google Analytics months ago, but I guess it took a huge rise in traffic to me to finally research and interpret my statistics. I figured out what spam pageviews are, how they happen, why they happen, and how to get rid of them. I watched tutorial after tutorial about how to remove these spam pageviews. I was still operating on the assumption that all those pageviews were not legit.
And it turns out some of my pageviews were spam. I had a few different spam bots pushing traffic to my site, and all together, they accounted for 5.25% of my pageviews for last month. Apparently that's a pretty average number for blogs of my size. (If you're interested, this is the most helpful tutorial I found for targeting and eliminating spam pageviews from your analytics.) But still, that leaves a lot of pageviews from amazing people like YOU!
Sometimes blogging feels like such a waste of time. I love it, and I'm passionate about it, but sometimes I feel like if I calculate the per hour income from my blog, I would make more money flipping burgers at McDonald's. (Teaching, writing, blogging - why do I always choose such low-paying professions??) Behind every seemingly simple post is hours of planning, preparing, styling, photographing, editing, drafting, publishing, and promoting. It can be exhausting.
Some days, I feel like quitting. Some days, I feel so filled with fear at all the terrible things people do to exploit innocent people on the Internet that I want to shut down my blog permanently. Some days, the Internet seems so vast and negative and vicious that I don't see how one little tiny happy space can make any difference.
But then, so many affirming interactions come from being a blogger that make all the difference. I get the chance to connect with thousands of self-motivated, creative individuals each day. I get to work with brands whose mission, values, and product I genuinely love. I get to intentionally create a space that's free from the negativity, shaming, and accusatory links you usually happen across as you scroll through Facebook. I get to share my struggles and triumphs, and learn from the experiences and comments of my amazing readers.
Right now, we're on a very tight grad student budget. I'm not teaching this year, so my only income comes from tutoring and this blog right here. This month, my blog has made more money than ever, and every cent counts for so much in our family right now.
So I guess I'll keep sitting here, embracing my little weepy moment, and feeling so so grateful for everyone who's ever read my blog. Thank you for every single pageview on every single blog post. Thank you for every single like on Instagram and Facebook, every single retweet and repin and social media love. Thank you for every time you've graciously overlooked all my many flaws and typos and photo imperfections. Thank you for supporting me through sponsored posts and the brands that help me pay rent each month.
Thank you thank you thank you. I have such big plans for this blog, and it's people like YOU who make it all possible!
And now - think I can get 100,000 pageviews a month by the end of the year? That's the goal I set at the beginning of the year. It's going to be dang hard and take a lot of work, but I'm ready to tackle it! Who's with me?
P.S. Would anybody be interested in posts about how I tripled my pageviews in one month? Tips and tricks to create a strong online presence? The best strategies that worked for me? Just trying to see if there's any general interest in posts like that. :)