February 2017 Blog Report
It's already time for my second look back at blogging. Since the first report was written on just the two weeks of January when this blog came into existence, there wasn't much to see yet.
How did February fare?
Read on to see how my Pinterest exploded from zero to 50% of my social traffic, what I earned as a freelance illustrator, my Etsy shop income, and my goals for March.
Blog traffic in February:
New posts / total posts on the blog: 6 / 9
Pageviews: 1364 (up from 401 in January)
Users: 444 (up from 87 in January)
Sessions: 645 (up from 357 in January)
Bounce Rate: 54% (45% in January)
I'd only installed Google Analytics on the 8th of February, so my bounce rate is measured from then on.
Traffic was comprised of:
And the remaining ~12% made up from Referrals and Organic Search.
Social Media Traffic:
The remaining social traffic came via Youtube, Google+ and my old blogger blog.
Twitter and Instagram are pretty much head-to-head, which reflects my real life attitude towards those two platforms. I love both, if for very different reasons. Twitter is for random sketches & pics, rants, bad jokes and my inner fangirl. Instagram is for my art, 'pretty' pictures and the occasional selfie. They're perfectly tailored to two sides of my personality!
Facebook is... well, I've had my Facebook page since when back when my first comic book got published in Germany, so the audience there is quite different from my Instagram, for example. Just another side of my life! The one that still uses German (so rare lately!) and loves to draw comics, tell stories...
Pinterest, though. That was a surprise!
I've been on Pinterest for a long time, using it mostly for private boards where I pin reference material, inspiring art, patterns, planner printables, recipes... And only at the end of January did I slowly start pinning more publicly. It's lots of fun because I'm actually just doing the same thing as before but with more of my own art and links thrown in.
I did try out Tailwind during February and those 100 free pins definitely helped out. But all in all, I'm not too huge a fan of the program - it just doesn't suit my own pinning habits. I wouldn't want to automatize my pinning completely, or pin anything that's just popped up in my 'suggestions'. Also, the program itself felt a bit clunky with the scroll bars upon scroll bars upon scroll bars to navigate. If you do pin a lot and have clearly defined content ('niche') and boards, I could definitely see how Tailwind could help you! It did certainly help me with the traffic numbers mentioned above. Their analytic functions are great, and overall the scheduling is really easy to set up.
I've now switched to BoardBooster and so far that system just suits my needs and habits better. I also like their low price, so I can actually imagine using this one permanently! Tailwind isn't expensive, either, but since I don't want to focus entirely on Pinterest traffic, I'd prefer going with the smaller investment. You can start a trial version for free here (100 pins). *
And that 50 % of my social traffic? I'm surprised that it went from literally zero to that number in less than a month!
Less than a month? Yes, because the last week of February was when I...
- Got sick.
- Went to Seoul.
That meant I fell off the blogging (and pinning...) wagon for that last bit. No wi-fi, lots of traveling and trying to keep on top of commission work at the same time can have that effect. But well, that's life, and in the end you just have to get back into the rhythm.
Illustration Income Report
I was really nervous going into February, since I'd finished one regular freelance project in January and not renewed my work contract for that particular company - all part of that whole 'less work-for-hire, more art commissions in my own style/for my own business'. While this particular regular contract amounted to the smallest part of my monthly income in 2016, it was still a bit of a daunting experience to tell them I'd quit!
So I had to make up for that dip in income.
And I knew that in February, time would be short. Not only are there way too few days in February, but there was the trip to Seoul and - most of all - the fact that we'd re-opened our cafe after over half a year of renovation and construction work, so a part of my time had to be spent helping out with cleaning, customers and service. Luckily, that also helped in keeping the income balanced, so yay!
In the end, I just managed to make up for the deficit in my illustration income.
Commissions Income: 670 $
Etsy Income: 16$ - huge caveat here! I'd actually sold a large batch of my prints and stickers at the beginning of February, but not via Etsy. I then had to do some inventory organizing and especially reprinting, so some of my listings were offline at various points in time. The low sales on Etsy aren't too much of a problem thanks to that 82$ order that came in via my Facebook site.
Total Side-Business Income: 768 $
So while that's quite a step up from January, it wasn't enough to make up for the dip in regular income (by, like, 20$. So I'll count that as a win?).
Looking back at my February goals:
- Blog posts - showing the different subjects I'll be blogging about (business reports, artist life, freelancing advice, illustrations making of, monthly favorites, life in Korea...) DONE. I wrote 6 blog posts and pre-wrote even a couple more, all illustrated and quite long. Yay!
- Choosing a template that works (really don't like the first one) and setting up the site as a whole - about section, disclaimers/copyrights, all that stuff. DONE - Skye template is in place and all important sections are there.
- Uploading and organizing pictures in my portfolio category. DONE. Still more to come though.
- Create free printables. Yup! Freebie section is in place.
- At least one giveaway on Instagram. Done!
- Figure out Pinterest. :) Uh, I think at least a little...?
- Figure out affiliates, for the future. Added in some links, but still clueless.
Etsy & Commissions
- Accept smaller commissions and focus on those. Yes, like I mentioned, I cut back on one of my freelance jobs and instead focused on smaller commissions. Lots more fun, but I already know that it will be hard to actually earn a lot like this - there's only so much time in a month and I don't want to let these commissions get too expensive...
- Create printable stickers and coloring pages for my Etsy shop. Yes, and several!
- Re-shoot some of my old (horribly dark) product pictures and get the hang of Etsy SEO. Yes, for three old listings. Then I got distracted by commissions and printables.
Art & Illustration
- Drawing for myself. Diary entries, scenery, portraits... practice and have fun! YES!! So happy about this one! Especially some of the blog post illustrations were things I'd wanted to draw since forever, and I also sketched a lot while in Seoul.
- Learn something new: Hand lettering! I love calligraphy but know nothing about it. LOL NOPE still terrible.
- Participate in at least one drawing challenge. (Eyeing the #illustrationfriday one) Did that!
March Goals: Creative, Business, Blogging
Short and sweet since I already did a Plan With Me bullet journal blog post for March.
- Hit 2k pageviews. That's not much compared to other blogs, but I think my blog is weird, so that would already be a huge amount for me. :)
- Total of 8 new blog posts. All with illustrations and sketches.
- 5 new printable listings on my Etsy. (Two down already!)
- Launch my Aquamarine Gemstone Stickers.
- Lots of OH SO SECRET new work! I'm especially excited for a series that will be spread out over a couple of months... and some new blog illustrations, too.
- Stop another regular freelance gig (storyboard artist) and instead cross 800$ in side business income.
- Probably move house. WE DON'T KNOW YET.
If you like my blog illustrations for these income and traffic reports (and the little social media icons, too), you can find them as printable stickers on my Etsy. Two pages for your planner, journal or diary. Perfect if you're in any way similar to me and like art materials, planners, photography, blogging, cute stuff and social media. ;)
There's physical, glossy A5 stickers available, too!
That's it! Thank you for reading, and I hope to see you back here at the end of March. With me quitting my second regular freelance gig (of three total - keeping the largest one haha) I'm REALLY NERVOUS for how March will go...!