It's July, which means it's time for an update on my Cosmo Project blog. For those unaware, the Cosmo Project is a case study I started in 2016 to document the growth of one of my "authority" sites. If you just stumbled across this post, be sure to go back and look at the other updates in the series. But that's all I have to say for now, let's jump into what went on in Q2 for the site.
Here's what the traffic looked like in Q2 compared to Q1. You can click the screenshot to see the full image.
As you can see, overall traffic improved a little over 20%. It should actually be a bit more, but my site was down for about a day and a half in April, which meant I lost out on roughly 800-1000 visits.
Don't pay too much attention to the drop in bounce rate. Q1's bounce rate was off because Google Analytics wasn't installed correctly for a little while.
So overall, I saw a decent increase. Something slightly concerning is traffic seems to be dipping a bit, particularly from the end of may and through June. This is mostly due to a couple of my popular posts fluctuating in rankings quite a bit, which made my traffic take a big hit.
Here's an example of how one of my post's traffic has dropped over the past three months.
I'm thinking this is just a seasonal thing and the traffic will eventually pick back up. It'll be interesting to see what happens over the next few months.
Something worth noting is I haven't been putting much effort into actually promoting the site with a couple exceptions:
- Messing with Instagram a bit
- Running Facebook Ads for a short time (total spent was just $78)
But I haven't been doing any outreach or "link building" of any kind. So all the traffic growth has pretty much been organic.
Speaking of which, here's a look at the top traffic sources, comparing Q2 to Q1. The social traffic is mostly from Facebook and a little Pinterest.
That's pretty much it for traffic. It's up, but I have plenty of work to do. Let's take a look at the income.
Just to recap, in Q1, the site made a total of $533.23.
And here's a look at the income for Q2:
So it's making a bit over $200 per month at this point. A large chunk of the products I promote on the site are on the cheaper end. I'm talking less than $50. So if I want to increase the amount it pulls in, I need to start promoting higher ticket items, which is something I'm working on.
Recap & Future Plans
I highlighted a few of my future plans in the last post. Here's what I stand on that:
My goal was to spend less money on freelance writers. In June, I put a hold on creating new content completely, and only published six new articles.
I also said I would put more focus on commercial based keywords. I've done that, and one of the top five articles on the site is a product roundup post published in May. Product roundup posts are ones that list top rated products for a specific purpose. (i.e. Best Keyword Tools for New Bloggers)
As for future plans with content, one big priority I have is updating some of the current content. I have to admit, some of the articles aren't the highest quality (you get what you pay for) so they're not performing as well as they could.
If I want to achieve my goal of making this site the top one in the niche, I need to up the quality of the content being published. Improving the content will also help it convert better, which should result in more income.
I'm putting together a plan for this now, and hopefully will get it implemented in late Q3 or Q4.
One interesting thing I'm trying out right now is creating infographics for some of the existing posts, that I can use for promotion and outreach. I'll let you know how that goes.
I said I would start exploring new affiliate programs. Haven't made this a huge priority yet though. I did try swapping out some of my Amazon links for products from Shareasale, but didn't get any results so I swapped back to Amazon.
Another thing I'm currently testing is removing some banners. For a while, I had banners to Amazon products directly below my post titles and at the end. But I felt like it was a bit overkill particularly since a lot of my traffic is mobile. So I've removed them for now and I'll see if it impacts my income.
Lastly are my plans to start selling physical products. I've started this process for this. I can't get into too much detail, but I do have the concept for the product pretty much done.
Next I have to get it designed, then find someone to actually make it. One step I took was buy a ton of similar products off Amazon to see the quality and help give me direction for the manufacturing of it.
It's going to be a somewhat slow process, but I'll keep you all in the loop if there are any major updates.
Branding & Social Media
I'll admit, I slacked off on this in June. For a while, I was spending a good amount of time on Instagram. I took my total followers from 91 to about 300 without advertising, giveaways or spending any money.
Through that time, I learned a lot that will help me get more serious on Instagram. Initially my posts were the popular quote style images, but after a while I was getting less and less engagement. So then, I moved on to posting photographs and a lot of Regrams, which was a lot better.
Here's a quick sum up of what I was doing on Instagram:
- Posting about 2-3 times per day, Regrams of other people's photos
- Leaving dozens of authentic comments on other posts every day
- Replying to dozens of other people's comments on other pages
- Liking dozens of comments and photos every day
I'd estimate I was spending about 30-45 minutes per day on Instagram. While I didn't see huge growth in my audience, I learned a lot that is going to be really helpful going forward.
Also, as I mentioned I ran some Facebook Ads as well. I stopped, and now I'm building custom audiences based on my site's traffic using Facebook's Pixel. This is going to be crucial when it's time to start promoting my product.
Overall, I want need to start getting a bit more strategic with this site. That means building funnels, prioritizing my email list, and basically treating this site more like a legitimate business. In other words, I have a lot of work to do.
That's where this project stands right now, and I'm excited to keep it going for the rest of the year. I'll catch up with you all in the next one. Feel free to Tweet or email me if you have any questions!
Other Posts in This Series