November 2021 — SYDE Road — Blogging Behind the Scenes
Hello! Howdy! Hi! It’s that time of the month again! SYDE Road — Behind the Scenes. In this monthly series, I’ll be providing updates on what happened the previous month behind the scenes:
Why did I start ‘Blogging Behind the Scenes’?
My absolute favourite posts from blogs (food blogs, financial independence blogs, other travel blogs, and even lifestyle blogs) have always been reading the behind-the-scenes or day-to-day life behind their niche.
I loved learning about how they’ve been feeling for the last month, celebrating their wins, and learning about some of the bloggers’ personal lives that just don’t quite fit with their blogging niche on these types of posts.
But most of all, I am 100% an unashamed voyeur addict when it comes to reading up on a blogger’s analytics and income statements. If I could, I’d binge-read everyone’s updates and analytics.
Whenever I read a new blog and I find out they publish these kinds of posts, you bet your butt I’ll be going through their series like the nosy person I am. I’ll stay on their site for several hours starting from their first post and binge-reading up everything they have.
I LOVE seeing progress and nothing is more satisfying than reading about someone’s growth over months of hard work.
Now that I’ve been posting weekly since May 2021, I figured why not give back to the community and indulge others who have a similar addiction as I do?
So without further ado, let’s dive into the contents of this series. Happy reading!
Looking for more Blogging Behind the Scenes updates? You can read them all here.
What I’ve Worked on Behind the Scenes?
1. Automating Social Media — MissingLettr and Tailwind
I’m taking a blogging course right now so I’m struggling to take the time to manually manage my social media accounts. I had a pretty decent experience using the trial versions of several social media management tools and took the plunge and purchased a full year of services for:
MissingLettr is an all-in-one social marketing platform. As soon as I publish new blog posts, I can use MissingLettr to automatically create a drip campaign to notify my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram followers of my posts.
A couple of things to love:
- You can choose campaigns between 2 weeks to a year
- The application automatically selects photos from your blog post to be repurposed for the social media posts
- MissingLettr grabs relevant quotes from your blog posts to help you create the social media posts
- You can find curated content
- Works with Facebook Pages and Groups, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and can re-publish your posts to Medium
Since using MissingLettr, I’ve seen a steady increase in traffic to older articles. There’s been promising growth so I thought it was worth buying the full-year subscription.
Tailwind is a great tool for:
- scheduling Pinterest Pins
- scheduling Instagram Posts and Stories — works with single image posts and will send push notifications to your phone for carousel posts
I also like that I can schedule Instagram stories, preview, and plan my grid, and that Tailwind comes with smart.bio built-in — which provides great Call to Action links for every single Instagram post to link to a relevant blog post.
If you’re interested in Tailwind, you can get a free month of Tailwind PRO using my link: https://www.tailwindapp.com/i/syderoad
I’ve seen a small increase in traffic from Pinterest and increased Instagram engagement so I’m pretty happy with the purchases. Since I’m not an influencer, I feel like MissingLettr and Tailwind have helped me promote my blog posts with less social media effort — so I’m pretty happy with my purchases of these two services.
2. Updating Permalink Structure on WordPress
This was something I’ve been dreading for a while now but it had to be done. My URL lengths were getting way out of hand and I needed them shortened. When I first created SYDE Road, my URLs looked like this:
syderoad.com/ category / sub-category / blog post name
What’s wrong with this structure? A couple of things:
- I was categorizing my blog posts into multiple categories and sub-categories so there were a bunch of duplicate links being created
- My blog post titles are generally long, so the URLs were starting to span over 150 characters and it was just *too* many characters for my liking
After deliberating and crying over SEO loss, I decided to bite the bullet and change the URLs so that they looked like:
syderoad.com/ blog post name
Did I get a bunch of broken link errors on my website this month? Yes. Did I lose a bunch of traffic on some of my top-performing blog posts? Yep. I may or may not have let out a few dry sobs of sadness when I looked at my site traffic drop and when I lost my front page rankings- but ultimately this is for the best going forward.
With this updated permalink standard, I’ve finally eliminated duplicate content AND shortened my URLs so I’m pretty happy that I did it.
3. Reorganized my blog posts categories and posts… again
All my blog posts now only fall under one category instead of multiple categories. I also updated the category titles so that viewers can now easily figure out what is dog-friendly content and what isn’t. I hope this is one of the last few major categorization changes I’ll be doing in a while. The amount of time I spent updating redirection links this month was insane.
Achievements and Struggles of the month
- My page speed performance has greatly improved. After running my website through several PageSpeed tests, I’m happy to report that even my mobile web pages have a snappy load speed according to the tests. My performance score improved from 30% to 99%. What changed? I removed an affiliate network that wasn’t helping me out at all and the speeds were drastically improved. Hooray!
- Finding a clear direction — the blogging course I’ve been going through has really hammered down the idea of narrowing down your niche and hyper-focusing on a particular aspect to help establish authority. Even though I’ve picked my ‘focus lane’ for the quarter (Writing Dog Park Reviews in the GTA), I can’t get the little voice in my head that keeps telling me that I picked a niche space where there’s no money to be earned… but I can’t deny that:
- This niche hasn’t been done yet
- I’m receiving a steadily growing viewership base from my dog park reviews
Personal Life Updates
Here’s a quick overview of what we’ve been up to this November:
- Not proud of this but I slacked off this month on the blogging course and ended up using the time to take Limone on more walks and to play more video games this month — I have quite a bit of catch up work for December if I want to make this worth my while
- Tried out a few new restaurants in Toronto with some friends — we’ve been craving freshly shucked oysters for almost half a year and we finally got to have some this month!
- Had a hot pot at a friend’s place where Limone embarrassingly pooped on their bed (YIKES — folks moral of the story — don’t think your dog is fully house trained at a new indoor space)
- Holiday wishlists were created and we’ve been slowly purchasing some of the gifts for our family members
- I’m an avid manga, manhwa, manhua, webtoon reader so I have about 10–15 series that I follow regularly. None of the series have finished this month so I’ve just been reading whenever it’s been updated
- Finished the first season of the Foundation TV Series — it doesn’t follow the book at all in terms of the characters and romantic leads but I’ve also really enjoyed the changes too — I can’t wait for the second season to come out
- Last month I purchased a corgi-specific rain jacket on Etsy. I posted a reel about our review on Limone’s Instagram account if you’re curious to see how it performs as a rain jacket! You can find the reel here.
SYDE Road — Analytics and Income Update
In November, SYDE Road earned me CAD 8.08 or about USD 6.32.
This was unexpected! After dabbling with my permanent link structure, my traffic went DOWN so I expected my income to go down this month as well. Yet strangely enough I earned a little more this month? Thank you to everyone who clicked on my ads this month! I was wholly expecting a drop this month too!
- Advertising: CAD 8.08
- Affiliate: CAD 0.00
Affiliate Marketing is way harder than I thought it would be. I can confirm I’m getting clicks on the links, but no one has bought anything. Welp we’ll just keep chugging along — my focus is to work on whatever my blogging course suggests me to do so I’ll just keep these here and improve on it after I’m done the course :).
Here are the current tools that I am experimenting with to help generate income:
- Google Adsense — a single ad network — serves as a broker between a group of publishers (like me!) and a group of advertisers. Google Adsense consolidates available AdSense between publishers like me and sells this space to advertisers, where they can then push display ads. According to Sortable, I earn 68% of the revenue whenever someone clicks on an ad displayed on my site
Green Geeks Hosting Affiliate — You might have noticed that I started adding the ‘Eco-Friendly Website’ badge to various places on my website. There’s a reason why I decided to renew with them for another 3 years and not move to other popular web hosts like Bluehost, Host Gator, etc:
- They’re a Canadian Web Host
- They’re eco-friendly. I love knowing that they are actively putting 3x the green energy back into the grid to offset the power used to host this website.
- Great Enterprise-level CDN and caching included.
- You get Cloudflare CDN included as part of your plan
- Your servers are built on Litespeed servers — if you add Litespeed’s Caching plugin you get ultra-fast load times PLUS Litespeed’s CDN service — Quic.Cloud is provided.
- Great customer support — my questions and open tickets are always answered in half a day or less
- Every hosting account = 1 new tree planted
Skimlinks — Skimlinks is an affiliate marketing platform that helps publishers convert their current outbound URLs into possible affiliate links. I’m currently using this platform to auto-convert things like Airbnb links and other vendor-related URLs into affiliate links.
Amazon Associates — I have an Amazon Associates account that I use to link any products that I mention that can be bought on Amazon. If a product is purchased with any of the used links, I’ll earn up to 8.5% in referral fees.
This month’s SYDE Road expenses cost me CAD 441.97 or USD 345.27
- Google Domain: CAD 1.42
- GreenGeeks Hosting: CAD 2.95
- Blogging Course: CAD 349.07
- Social Media & Email Marketing Tools (yearly subscriptions divided per month):
- Tailwind: CAD 12.68
- MissingLettr: CAD 62.54
- Grow by Mediavine (Social Media Plugin): CAD 3.62
- ConvertKit: CAD 9.69
So how much traffic did I receive in November 2021? 1,707 page views.
Here are some stats for the voyeuristic folks out there and how it compared to last month:
- Page Views: 1,707 page views (-8%)
- Unique Sessions: 1,103 (-7%)
- Sessions: 1,258 (-6%)
- Social Media Followers: 255 (+11%) followers
- 42 (+17%) TikTok
- 134 (+18%) Instagram
- 48 (0%) Twitter
- 31 (0%) Pinterest
- Email Subscribers: 3 (0%)
Psst! Did you enjoy the blog income? Want to keep up with my progress? Consider signing up to receive a notification whenever the next Behind the Scenes Post drops!
What Worked Last Month
Drip Campaigns — Honestly more than ⅓ of my traffic is the result of using Drip Campaigns with MissingLettr. This is probably what was keeping my traffic views afloat while I tinkered with the permalinks so I’m grateful for the automatic blog post promotions.
Misses Last Month
Blog Course — I didn’t keep up with this course this month. It’s pretty hard to stay motivated when you’re alone, so I signed myself up for an accountability group with the course so that December can be my month of catching up with all the work and content that I let slide this month.
You may have noticed that I have more dog park review content posted. This is going to continue for a while as we make our way around the cities visiting every dog park and reviewing them to grow this niche category on my blog. Be prepared for more dog park reviews for the upcoming month.
… and this concludes November 2021’s Behind the Scenes post!
As I’m posting this, I can’t imagine there being much present interest given how everything about my blog statistics and earnings is minuscule compared to other bloggers. But honestly, I do wish more bloggers who have Behind the Scenes posts shared more about their journey to their first $1000 more. I’m here to showcase it all from our very very early beginnings to however far this travel blogging journey takes me!
If you made it down here, thanks so much for giving this post a read!
Have a question about what goes on while blogging behind the scenes? Let me know and I’ll do my best to answer them in the next post!