When I posted my October goals back at the start of the month, a few of you said you’d be interested in seeing some more in-depth posts on the blog-specific goals I’d set, and how I go about trying to meet them. 

Well, you DID ask…

My idea here was to make this a monthly post in which I’ll look at how the blog did over the past few weeks, and talk a bit about what I’ve been doing to try and grow it, and specifically, what worked and what didn’t. So, kind of like a working case study, basically, where rather than just talking about what MIGHT work and what might not, I’ll try to show you what ACTUALLY makes a difference to my blog and, more importantly, what doesn’t.

Er, I totally get that not everyone is going to be into this kind of detail, so I won’t take offense if you want to just skip these posts, but I find it really helpful to sit down every month and look at how things are going, so I guess this series is as much for me as for anyone else, really. Oh, and the NON-blog-related goals will get their own post next week, so if you’re just interested in whether I managed to meet my step total for the month or not (and I can’t imagine why you would be, but still…) sit tight: your time will come…

Here’s how the blog did in October:

How I got 130,000 page views on my blog in October: monthly blog traffic report

PAGEVIEWS: 132,177  (last month: 120,596)
UNIQUE VISITORS: 45,655  (last month: 42,439)

pageviews for Octoberstats for October

(Because it’s been a really busy weekend, I had to write this post on the 31st, which is why the stats run from 30/9 – 30/10…)

So, before I go any further, two quick qualifications to the data above:

01. When we switched blog themes at the start of the month, the Google Analytics code stopped tracking for a couple of days, so the total number of pageviews and visitors was actually higher than it looks from these figures.

02. September’s totals, meanwhile, were unusually low, because I was on holiday for most of the month, and even although I did my best to keep posting, taking a break will always lead to a drop in traffic. So the monthly traffic was higher than it looks, but not as much of an increase as the figures suggest, basically.

Even with those two extra days of tracking, though, I still wouldn’t have met my October goal of 150,000 pageviews. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed by that, but I’d also be lying if I said I was surprised, because I really haven’t done much AT ALL this month to try to meet that goal. In fact, the entire month has really been taken up with changing the blog template, which turned into much more of a headache than we were expecting it to be, and was just a total time-suck, basically. Because of that, this month has really been just about keeping things ticking over as best I could, and trying to recover from the holiday slump: so it wasn’t a bad month at all, all things considered.

Top Content: Most Viewed

These are the posts that got the most views over the course of the month: most of them are older posts, which are still getting traffic from either Google or Pinterest (so, they’re the cornerstone content I talked about in this post, basically). It’s quite unusual for a newer post to make it into this list because it generally takes a while for posts to gain traction on Google or Pinterest, so I was pleased to see three of this month’s posts in there this time!

In my case, the beauty-related posts in this list have been the most popular for a loooong time now: those kind of posts do well in Google, because people tend to search for information on products and how to use them, whereas they don’t search Google for outfit posts, or random life updates, say. This is probably a sign that I should be doing more tutorials…

Top Content: Most Commented

To calculate this one, I look purely at that month’s posts, to analyse which were most popular with my readers. This month the top posts were movie and book-based ones, which was interesting to me because I don’t normally write a lot of that kind of stuff. Reflective stuff like the ‘Making Friends as an Adult‘ post and the ‘Fashion Tips I’d Give My Younger Self‘ also tend to do well, but I was surprised by the Sephora post, because my beauty posts normally generate zero interest from my readers, despite doing well on Google: not sure what happened there!

Comments were pretty low in general this month, though, and I had my first post in years which failed to get any comments at all in the first day it was up, which was really disappointing. I have lots of thoughts about this, and actually wrote out a huge post about it which I decided not to publish, because the downturn in comments on blogs is something I’ve talked about a lot, and really struggle with. My takeaway from this month, though, was that two of the posts which generated most interest (the ‘Favourite Books’ post and the ‘Fashion Tips I’d Give My Younger Self’) were ones I’d actually written a while back, and had been saving for a rainy day, so to speak, so maybe that non-time-specific type of content is the way forward. Or, you know, maybe not.

Top Referrers:

october referrers

These are the sites that send most people to the blog: no surprises to see Google at the top, but it does surprise me to see Bloglovin’ and Facebook so high in the list, as my following on those sites isn’t huge, and has proved impossible to grow – especially on Facebook, which I’ve pretty much given up on, because it only shows my posts to a tiny percentage of the people who follow my page. I think I need to start paying more attention to those two, and try to increase my following on them – I’ve no idea how, though!

Most Popular Pins: 

Follow Amber McNaught | Forever Amber’s board POPULAR PINS on Pinterest.

Pinterest is a decent source of traffic, but I know I don’t really make the most of it – I should really take my own advice on this one, huh? The fact is, when something does well on Pinterest, it can really help your traffic: the reason that random post about my new dressing table is one of the most viewed the site at the moment is all down to this pin, which sends visitors to the site from a few different boards:

Pinterest analytics

Earlier this month, I suddenly started getting daily emails from people asking me where I got my mirror: I was so confused, and actually thought it was some kind of wind-up, until I realised the photo had been getting a lot of re-pins. For next month, I want to try to make time to work out a better strategy for Pinterest: as I say, I know I could be making much better use of it, so it’s just a matter of working out how to do it!

What I tried this month to grow my blog:

Er, nothing, really. Well, not NOTHING, obviously: I did change the theme, and that’s mostly what’s responsible for the increase in unique vistors. It’s one of those things that visitors won’t really notice, but the site is running faster, which can have an impact on how highly it ranks in Google, so fingers crossed that continues to help! Because the change of theme took up so much time, though, I really didn’t get time to do ANY of the things I’d planned for this month, though, so October has been a bit of a write-off, really. Hopefully next month I’ll have something to actually record in this section, though: fingers crossed!

What worked:

With all of that said, I did have my highest-ever number of unique visitors this month, and although the pageviews weren’t the highest ever, they did increase from the previous month. That was partly due to the new theme, which, although not radically different from the previous one, does seem to encourage people to look around more, but it was also due to the fact that I published more posts this month which were offering something to the reader (whether that be a book/movie recommendation, or just something they can offer their own opinions on), rather than just talking about what I’ve been up to, which generally won’t get much of a response. Food for thought!

November goal:

I think last month’s goal of 150,000 pageviews was definitely a bit too ambitious, but hey, might as well aim high, huh? So I think I’ll shoot for that again this month, and see where I end up!

28 Comments
  1. I definitely find this kind of post interesting – and you’re one of few bloggers I follow that go into these details. As someone who aspires to have the kind of following you do, it’s frankly fascinating to me! Also, I’m a stats nut… I know that crushing feeling when no one comments on the day you post – it’s so horrible! Which is why I always try to comment the minute I read a post I like and not pretend to myself I’ll come back to it later. I always hope people appreciate that!

    1. I very much appreciate it! I’ve been trying my best to do the same lately – I know I’m very guilty of doing the whole, ‘oh, I’m on my phone right now, I’ll go back to that later’ thing – and, of course, I never do!

  2. Yay! I’ve been waiting for this!

    I’ve been seeing elsewhere that posts which offer something for the reader, as opposed to updates, are the kind of content we “should” be writing now; yet a ton of the blogs I follow, I do so because they document someone’s life (and the blogger started out doing that years ago). Do you think this shift away from life documenting reflects certain changes in blogging as a whole? Or is more of a trend type deal, and in a few years we’ll all be advised to write different kind of content? Or is it because blogs are trying to become more like magazines now?

    I’m sorry if none of this makes any sense, I just woke up and am trying to articulate for myself what I’m noticing!

    1. I think it’s probably a combination of things… there’s definitely been a trend towards advice-type posts, and that will no doubt shift again at some point in the future, but I also think the reason for that shift is that those are the types of post that tend to get the most response right now. My blog has always been a diary, and probably always will be, but people don’t really tend to respond much to the life updates any more, which makes me think there’s just not much interest in them, and therefore my time would be better spent on something else. (It might just be that my life is particularly boring, though, so I can’t speak for everyone!)

      I think another issue is that the more popular a blog gets, the less you can write about your life, because you become much more aware of who might read it: when I first started blogging I used to write about *everything*, but the more the blog has grown, the more I’ve found myself having to censor certain things, for fear of causing offence or upsetting people. Not that I want to write about stuff that’s hugely controversial, obviously, it’s just that the more people who are reading, the greater the likelihood of someone taking exception to something I’ve written, so it becomes easier to stick to ‘safe’ topics, like fashion or beauty or whatever. Almost everyone who knows me follows my blog on Facebook, and it’s a bit like having every single person you’ve ever met reading your diary – it definitely affects the things you feel able to write about: or it does for me, anyway!

  3. Thank you for posting this, it makes me feel really encouraged when it comes to the future of my own blog. Seeing your numbers helpes me realize that there are so many more ways of getting traffic than having a pin going viral or having 100.000 followers on Twitter.

  4. Hi Amber,
    I was actually looking forward to this blog post and found it quite interesting to read. I really like your blog and love your writing style and your storytelling, which, I think, is a rare skill nowadays. I love that you focus on the story and can turn something small and personal into this great read. So, keep posting the personal blog posts, they may attract less readers, but these readers keep coming back in search of good writing.
    Best wishes,
    Rossi 🙂

    1. It’s not just about attracting readers, though: when certain posts don’t get a response, it means you don’t really get anything out of it as a writer – you just feel like you’re talking to yourself, which is a bit pointless, really! I sometimes feel it would be better for me to just keep those posts private, then I still get the benefit of writing what I like, but don’t have to worry about boring/ offending anyone!

      1. Thank you for your reply. You made a very interesting point. I have been reading your blog for several years. With interruptions, but I always kept coming back. It is only recently that I commented for the very first time, though. This is not to say that I didn’t get anything out of your posts before. 🙂 I still loved reading them, just found it difficult to formulate a good (clever, appropriate, etc.) enough comment. On the other hand, I don’t get almost any comments on my blog, which is tiny in comparison with yours. I don’t get disheartened over it. Maybe people don’t really like what I write. The important bit is that I keep making the effort of actually writing it. Best wishes, Rossi

      2. See, I’ve been reading and loving your blog for years but was always a bit too shy to comment (I know, who gets shy about replying anonymously on the internet?) and it was only when you and few other bloggers I follow started to post about comments that I started doing it.

        I love all your blog posts even the ones that may not be particularly relevant to me because I love the way you write but I especially love your life / personal posts (I love hearing about other people) I’ll make more of an effort to reply instead of as CiCi Marie said, saying I’ll come back later to do that.

        Slightly unrelated note, but thank you for introducing me to some of my other essential reading blogs – CiCi Marie and Catherine Ryan Howard, love both of them.

        1. Oh, don’t be shy! I honestly don’t think there can be a single blogger out there who doesn’t appreciate it when people comment 🙂 With that said, I feel exactly the same sometimes when it comes to commenting on other people’s blogs, so I know how you feel – you’d think the internet would make us braver, but sometimes it has the opposite effect!

  5. always a fan of blog specific posts: you really do go into details that I don’t really see other bloggers do! thank you so much for the effort and insight 🙂

  6. This is so very interesting. Thanks for letting us know how you rock! (Which you totally do! my blog’s name 😉 ) and I think you’ll get there sooner than you think! Keep up the good work.
    x Mona | sheaiminghigh.com

  7. Hi Amber long time reader, largely non comm enter.
    I believe the beauty is having a moment now really. Last year i wouldn’t have dreamed of spending so much time on beautyblogs and now i have read all your post on beauty ( maybe it’s just my compulsive nature )
    Regarding the struggle of commenting how to you feel about disqus? I kinda like how i can see my comments in one place, no log in enter e-mail adress all the time, vote feature etc. It definitely makes commenting easier/easier to follow up. I mean, the communiti on xovain for example was so lively it literally made me create an account just to benefit more from all those good comments.
    And i also wanted to say your blog is beautiful. I know you said you struggle with pictures but they are really nice to me, and worth all effort. Sometimes I wanna live inside the pics

    1. Thank you so much for saying that about the photos – it’s definitely the hardest part of blogging for me, so I’m really glad you like them!

      As for disqus, I actually really dislike it, and find it puts me off commenting on blogs that have it – I hate commenting systems that force you to log into something (I can never remember what my log-in details are, and it’s really fiddly trying to do it on my phone, so it’s just a barrier to commenting for me), and I also hate the way it emails you a ‘digest’ of other comments on anything you’ve commented on. (Not sure if there’s maybe a way to switch that option off, but if there is, it seems to be switched on by default) I did try it for a while on the blog, but I didn’t find it helped increase comments: I think it’s one of those things that some people love and other people hate!

      1. I understand, i used to be the same until i managed to switch a stay logged on my phone and laptop . And i disabled the e-mails. But i like that when you are logged in you can see a notification with replies to your comments exactly and which is kinda cool .
        However now that i think about it ,could probably a barrier for people who don’t have it already ( cause you have to create and account to comment )
        xo,
        Anya

  8. Interesting…I really need to get my act together on Pinterest, I hardly use it for my blog. Bad blogger! Rosalilium does some great tip posts on using Pinterest if you’re looking for more ways to use it.
    Facebook seems to be totally illogical. When I was using my page just for my blog, it did basically nothing. I know use it mostly for my cosplay and it’s grown so much faster. I think it’s partly because the audience for cosplay is more engaged with Facebook (whereas they are not interested in my Twitter at all really), and I find I just have more to share so my page is more active.

  9. Wow! Almost half a million Pinterest followers and you have just about 1.4K pins. In my humble opinion, I think you are not harnessing the full potential of Pinterest. Considering the number of followers you have, I am suprise you’re not working the network more. I have a measly 5k followers and I get about 300 visits a day. I think you’ll well meet your traffic goals if you focus on a Pinterest strategy. That’ a huge number of following not to harness.

  10. Thank you for this informative and inspirational post! Also, I love your new theme. It’s so bright and clean. I desperately need a new theme. Which one is this, if you don’t mind me asking?

  11. I definitely like this sort of post as I’m in the throes of trying to move my blog from one that’s read regularly enough but that’s not receiving the views or comments to match the work I put into it. I think I definitely need a change of theme! But I have no idea how to entice people to comment. I know they’re there and where they’re coming from but I can’t for the life of me work out how to get more interactions.

  12. It is so awesome that you have reached that many pageviews! Congrats lovely lady. Keep up the great work and live unstoppable. Hope you reach this month’s blogging goals.

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