Good morning my dear readers! Today is the first day of July. This means that it is time for some self-reflection on what I have and have not accomplished in June 2020. I can’t believe how fast time has passed. Please see below for my Monthly Update – June 2020 edition.
Key milestones achieved
I finally decided to self-host
As a new blogger, it made sense for me to go with a free version at the very beginning just to see if I really enjoyed it. I went with wordpress.com, and so my old URL was https://bellawanana.wordpress.com. Of course, there was an option to customize your URL further with a fee, but I didn’t.
I quickly realized how limiting it was to use the free platform. WordPress.com places a lot of control over your blog. For example, you can’t join any advertising programs unless you go through wordpress, you can’t upload plug-ins to make your site look better, etc. Also, with “wordpress” in the middle of the URL, it didn’t feel like the blog was my own.
After not really much debate, I decided to self-host. The company I decided to go with is Bluehost, for a few reasons:
- It is one of the largest website hosting providers
- They offered a free domain name for the 1st year
- They offer free SSL certificate. SSL is a global standard security technology that enables encrypted communication between a web browser and a web server. Websites with SSL certificate has a “lock” in front of the URL.
- They offer an easy 1-Click WordPress install. The transition from the free wordpress.com to Bluehost was seamless thanks to the tutorials provided by wpbeginner.
Got my site set up
As can be expected, I spent a lot of time setting up my site during the first month after transitioning to self-hosting. Below is the list of most important items I have achieved:
- Selected a theme and modified it with custom CSS to my liking
- Connected my site to Google Analytics so I can track progress
- Set up a weekly newsletter
First freelance article published
On June 4th, I had my first freelance article, The One-Time Money Routine That Saved Me $1,400 A Year, published on The Financial Diet. It was my first gig as a freelance personal finance writer, and I was beyond thrilled. It drove quite a bit of traffic to my site, which boosted my confidence.
I also wrote two guest posts for others sites:
- How You Can Save With Your Employer’s Benefits on My Personal Finance Journey
- What is the 52 Week Savings Challenge? [+ Ways to Spice it up!] on Women Who Money
Feel free to check them out!
Getting ranked on Alexa Rank and and hitting the 1 million mark
I was unranked until June 15th, when I first ranked 4.26 million. Then on June 30th, I hit 932,144. I was beyond excited when I hit the 1 million mark. I ended the month at 820,075 on June 30th.
I understand that there has been a lot of debates around how valid the Alexa ranking system is. I personally have also noticed that some sites with probably significantly more traffic than me are not ranked as high. But for now, I still consider it a good benchmark, and a motivator for me to keep going.
My short-term goal is to hit 500K, and then 200K. I’d love to be able to join the Yakezie Personal Finance Blog Network. Their entry criteria is for a blog that currently sits outside the top 200K to break 200K within 6 months. I am here to accept the challenge!
Below are some basic blog stats. They are by no means impressive, but they motivate me to keep on making this blog better.
- New Twitter followers: +5
- New Pinterest followers: +9
My top 3 articles for the month
- Tuition Hack 101: Education is important, but tuition is expensive. Check out this article to find tuition hacks that you can employ to spend less out of pocket.
- Ultimate Guide to Personal Finance Guest Posting: Learn about guest post strategies and personal finance blogs categorized according to their guest post policies. Expand your readership through guest posts.
- Six Ways to Pay Off Debt that Actually Works: Paying off debt is a struggle that many of us has to go through in our lives. Check out the article to find six ways to pay off debt that actually work!
My top 3 blogs for the month
- Finsavvy Panda: I especially appreciate her candidness in her earlier blog traffic and income reports. They show me what is possible.
- Handful of Thoughts: Maria is one of the very first people who left a comment on my blog. Just like what the title suggests, I do find her posts to be thought-provoking!
- A Purple Life: In addition to my love for lavender, I also really enjoy the light tone in her blog posts.
Pinterest & Tailwind
I have come across multiple bloggers who rave about Pinterest, so I have decided to give it a try. I have also started using Tailwind, which is a Pinterest and Instagram scheduling and analytics tool. So far, the feature I love the most is the Tribes, where like-minded people share and re-share pins and learn and grow together.
Through Tribes, I have met a few very nice fellow personal finance bloggers. They include:
If you want to give Tailwind a try, use my link to get $15 for a free month when you sign up for Plus plan. Of course, you can always start with the free trial version to see for yourself the power of the tool.
Be more active on Twitter
I’d like to be more active on Twitter in terms of retweeting other people’s tweets, proactively following others, etc. This past month I have mostly just been re-following people who were gracious enough to follow me.
Create a free resource for mailing list
I haven’t had much success with my mailing list yet unfortunately. I have to admit I am a bit envious when I come across blogs that have hundreds if not thousands of subscribers. At this point, I’d like to create a free but useful resource that you will receive if you sign up. Please leave me a comment down below if you have any other suggestions!
Continue doing all I can to drive traffic
My goal is to drive as much traffic as possible to my site. I will continue writing quality content on a regular basis, doing guest posts, and freelancing for other websites.
I have done some good work in the first month of self-hosting, but there is still a ton to do and a ton to learn. There is still a long way ahead, but with hard work and dedication, I will have something to show.
Bella Wanana is the blogger behind bellawanana.com, a personal finance and lifestyle blog. She loves sharing with her readers the best tips and tricks on personal finance and how to live a balanced but fulfilling life. She is also a freelance writer, and she has been featured on sites like MSN.com, Reader’s Digest, The Financial Diet, Yahoo Finance, and GOBankingRates.