Happy Birthday to A Frugal Desteny!

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little surprised I actually hit this milestone! Check out my stats, learn what worked and what didn't.I’ve got to admit I’m a bit surprised to see myself reach this milestone. I also need to admit that I’ve been considering shutting this blog down for about a month now.

I started this blog with dreams of doing much better than I did this last year. From the very beginning I hoped for thousands of daily views, a giant following on social media, and a steady income.

Turns out blogging (successfully) is a lot harder than I expected. In the very beginning I struggled to learn the ins-and-outs. Gaining followers on social media isn’t as easy as it sounds, creating a blog that looked the way I wanted it to was definitely not something that came easily, and drawing people to my blog took me months to figure out.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, check out my disclaimer.

Then there’s that money making part. I’m still not making a steady income, but I am being approached by companies more and more these days. Making a hundred bucks a month isn’t that hard to do if I’m willing to put forth a little effort.

That’s my next problem. And it’s the reason I’ve been considering ending my blogging career.

Staying motivated has been an issue now and then throughout the year. This last month has been the hardest, though. I really hate a lot of the things going on in my life right now and blogging is seriously on the back burner. We moved to a new state and Hubby got a new job in April. Both things I wasn’t thrilled with. In our old house I blogged from my (giant) kitchen counter. It wasn’t the ideal setup, but it wasn’t horrible either. I dreamed of turning our 3rd bedroom into my office/spare bedroom once this blog began brining in a decent amount of money. Sadly, that never happened.

The house we are living in now is tiny and there wasn’t enough room for all our stuff. I had to throw away, give away, sell and donate a LOT of our belongings, keeping only what we absolutely needed. That wasn’t horrible, I could manage that. What’s really bothering me now is that living comfortably isn’t possible even with the downsizing.

Bee’s bedroom is 7’x7′. Her crib barely fits in there and with her toy organizer and dresser there’s barely room to walk around. The living room blows. With our TV and couches there’s room for little else.

We have neighbors that are absolutely disgusting. They have over 7 dogs (one just had a litter of pups), at least 3 cats, 4 ducks, who knows how many chickens, and recently acquired 5 kids. They can’t throw their garbage away, either. The aroma coming from their yard is unbearable once the temperature gets above 70. The dogs are always barking. The kids are always doing something extremely annoying like using my yard as their own or asking insanely stupid questions every time I walk out my door.

Then there’s the computer situation.

There is no room, at all, for a desk. There’s no space in the kitchen for me to blog at my counter like I used to. Our computer and printer sit on our dresser in our bedroom. It’s definitely not the ideal space for blogging related activities as the dresser is short. I can bring my laptop into the kitchen and blog from my tiny kitchen table, but it doesn’t take long for the battery to die. It makes it difficult to look forward to doing anything at all on the computer, blogging included.

I find myself feeling just down and depressed whenever I spend time in this house, especially since I finally finished unpacking all of our stuff. Now that life has returned to “normal”, I really just hate it. I can count on one hand the activities I enjoy doing now, and blogging isn’t one of them. Will I close up shop and end A Frugal Desteny’s life? I really don’t know yet.

What I do know is that today marks 1 year of my blog being live. I know that a lot of my fellow bloggers love monthly and yearly updates, so I’m sharing my stats and tips with you now.

READERSHIP

It was tough in the beginning, but between Jen Snyder’s Finding Your Tribe Online and a post going viral, things turned around for a bit.

Unique users: 46,943
Sessions: 53,522
Page views: 72,149

FOLLOWING

Facebook: 643
Twitter: 1,945
Pinterest: 2,454
IG: 450
StumbleUpon: 40
Email Subscribers: 68

Pinterest has been the easiest platform to grow, although I’ve really been slacking on it for the last 6 months.

| Check out this list of my favorite Pinterest group boards! |

INCOME

June 2016: $0.00
July 2016: $13.90
August 2016: $6.84
September 2016: $124.85
October 2016: $71.50
November 2016: $57.55
December 2016: $121.36
January 2017: $19.30
February 2017: $40.55
March 2017: $61.52
April 2017: $12.84
May 2017: $119.88

TOTAL: $650.09

Definitely not everything I’d hoped for, especially considering there have been a few expenses. I’m not positive, but I think it’s safe to say I either broke even or made a little money from this hobby. It hasn’t made me rich, though.

TOP POSTS

I’ve written 78 posts on this blog over the last 12 months. I’d hoped to reach 100, but once we decided we were going to move in January, things started going downhill. Here are the 10 most popular posts:

Stop Turning Your Little Boy into a Little Girl  – 20,962 views
25 Amazing Soup Recipes – 8,168 views
Folgers Flower Pot Craft – 4,733 views
30 Slow Cooker Dinners – 2,730 views
It’s Your Fault Your Kid is Being Bullied – 2,415 views
The Best Christmas Gifts for a Rugged Guy – 2,307 views
Do You Want an Easy Way to Save on Groceries? – 1,578 views
My Secret Trick in the Fight Against Dog Fur – 1,490 views
Carpet Shampoo Recipe – 1,264 views
The Best Christmas Gifts for Your 18 Month Old – 1,139 views

Controversy definitely helped draw in readers. Round ups are a good go-to, as well.

WHAT WORKED

FINDING YOUR TRIBE ONLINE

Jen Snyder over at Women Winning Online came out with a really great resource for bloggers last year called Finding Your Tribe Online. Back when I purchased it, it was only $17. Since then she has added a ton of content and it costs $97. I definitely think it’s worth the money. Finding Your Tribe Online includes over 400 Pinterest group boards and Facebook groups organized by niche, a full blown marketing plan, access to her private Facebook group and more. It really helped me up my game!

CONTROVERSY

My most popular post brought in more than twice as many readers as my second most popular post. Some people read it because they knew they would hate it and left me angry comments. Others read it and agreed. Those people started following me on social media and subscribed to my mailing list.

I didn’t think that post would get nearly as much attention as it did. I just wrote how I felt on the subject. Sure, I knew that most of the people I know didn’t agree with my opinion. I did not, however, think so many people would have such strong opinions on the issue, too.

HELPING PEOPLE

Most of my more popular posts brought in people looking for help. Some people wanted to see a bunch of recipes in one place, others wanted to learn how to turn a coffee can into a flower pot. Genuinely trying to help readers was the next best way I was able to draw in new readers.

PINTEREST

Over 32,000 people found my blog through Pinterest! It’s definitely something to take seriously. Jen and FYTO helped me learn that and every time I really work on spreading my pins around I see a boost in traffic.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK

POINTLESS POSTS

Posting random ramblings about my life isn’t interesting to anyone but me. I did it a few times, though, because I really had no idea what I was doing or what to write about.

If that’s something you are wanting to do, first ask yourself if you’d read a post like that written by a complete stranger. Ask yourself what it is this post is offering your readers. If it has nothing to offer people, don’t even waste your time writing it.

MAJOR LIFE CHANGES

This isn’t something that applies to everyone, but it definitely applies to me. Things on my blog really started going downhill when Hubby and I decided we were going to relocate. Then, when we finally made the move, it only got worse. Hopefully this is something I can change, but right now I have no clue how to do that.

ABOUT A MILLION OTHER THINGS

The first few months I spent a lot of time in a lot of Facebook groups that didn’t help me at all. I wasted way too much time trying to figure out the “trick” to StumbleUpon (tip: there is no trick, it’s all luck.) I read hundreds of blog posts claiming to share the “secret” to a successful blog before coming to the realization that there is no secret. Yes, some rules apply to every blog. Like don’t post stupid stuff and stay consistent. But, at the same time, every blog is different. What works for one blogger won’t necessarily work for you, too.

This blogging thing is really just a bunch of trial and error. Hopefully I’ll find a way out of this slump, figure out how to make blogging enjoyable again, and return to doing what I know worked well for my blog before. Or maybe I’ll just close up shop. Only time will tell. Check back next year to see which route I end up going!

8 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to A Frugal Desteny!

  • June 7 at 5:20 pm
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    Desteny,

    Happy BlogBirthday! 🙂

    To address your statement about your “most controversial post”, that some people read it alreading knowing they’d love/hate it:

    I didn’t read the post that I read on your blog because I knew I’d like/hate it/you.

    I hate everyone and everything!
    So that wasn’t ever a question!

    I was actually searching for a different article that I knew that I had read and had, of course, hated. But I couldn’t remember what site that I hated, that I had hated reading it on. So I Google some words that I remembered were in the article and in the Google hits for it, your article was there also. So of course, not knowing what it would say, I immediately hated it and then opened the link.

    Also, I noticed that you listed Donation Totals out and I thought that since I haven’t hated anyone as much as you, nor any article as much as your article, in quite some time, that it might be a nice idea to make a small donation to help out a bit. So of course I immediately rejected the idea for being “nice” (of course)!

    But then I realized how much I hate giving money away and so I decided to go ahead and do it anyway! 🙂

    So I’ll look for the “Donate” button/link here on your site (that I hate). And if you could provide a link just in case I don’t find it (I am blonde, after all), then that would be nice and very helpful (so maybe you shouldn’t do it?)!

    Anyway, it’s been truly awful knowing you so far and I’ll catch you later (unless you see me first and run)!

    Dave

    Reply
    • June 7 at 7:07 pm
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      LOL! You leave the best comments, Dave! I don’t have a donation button yet, but I’ll definitely add one tomorrow morning. I’d never considered doing it before, but I suppose it couldn’t hurt. Thanks for visiting again!

      Reply
      • June 7 at 8:20 pm
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        Desteny,

        Btw, is there a way to Edit my Profile, so that I can add my pic in there? I really hate the way I look and scare myself in the mirror, so it would be the perfect addition! That way I even get to scare all the other users, which would be awesome, since I hate them too! Yes, that would truly make my user experience far better!

        Plus I would like to check and maybe edit some other settings, if that’s possible???

        Or do I need to create an actual user account first?

        All seriousness aside, I really don’t remember having to create one on your site. Of course, my being all old and decrepit and stuff, that could be my dementia riddled brain avting up again. 🙂

        Take Care and God Bless, my dear!

        Dave

        Reply
        • June 8 at 10:47 am
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          You need to create a Gravatar account.
          Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar site. When you leave a comment using your email address on my site (or any site that supports Gravatar) it will connect with your Gravatar account. You’re profile picture will pop up and it will give other people commenting the option of viewing your Gravatar profile.
          Here’s the Gravatar website.

          I added a donate button this morning. You can find it in the right sidebar just under my social media buttons. I really appreciate you being such a regular visitor! Most of my other regulars are fellow bloggers, which is great and all, but knowing that someone outside my circle of mom bloggers returns often is a great feeling. Every time you leave one of your (awesome) comments, it makes my day!

          Reply
  • June 12 at 8:45 pm
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    Happy Blog Birthday, and congratulations on your growth! I like that you have realistic numbers that you are sharing, rather than boosting the numbers with related jobs and other fluff. Can’t wait for more from Frugal Desteny, and best wishes for more growth!

    Reply
  • June 30 at 2:33 pm
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    I’m sorry you’re having such a rough time after your move. And your neighbors, ew! I really hope you keep up with your blog. Maybe you can share some tips on small space living. Or share your blogging research. It stinks that it doesn’t make you happy right now. I’m a newbie & I know making $ on a blog is tough (even though you read it’s so easy!) But I hope to soon start trying myself. Good luck to you. And I really hope things start looking up for you.

    Reply
  • July 2 at 5:06 pm
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    Happy one year Desteny. I just reached my one recently as well. When I started my blog I did it because I fell in love with blogs after interning for a food blog and seeing all about the field plus I have a knack for finding the best deals. After starting my blog I realized I wasn’t a deal blogger. Sometimes you have to find what you’re passionate about. Instead finding the best finds and figuring a way to style and live the best way during motherhood on a budget. As time went on and learning all about FB groups, social media threads how brands really look at you after you being an official blogger I hit a slump. Last Winter I barely posted. I would go on social media, never pitch brands or never know what to post. I took a small break. I see all these other mom bloggers with these crisp white pictures, blogging for 1-2 years and can clearing see they’re making an income from their blog and im here like umm like seriously. I realized it just takes time to get out there. I share a small home with my in laws while I blog . Just keep at it and you will do fine.

    Reply
  • July 8 at 1:34 pm
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    Desteny,

    Your blog was one of the first I found on Pinterest! I’m a new blogger and enjoy your income and traffic reports. Wow 72k! Is that for one month? I’m in month five and doing 17k in pageviews. I have a long way to go.

    I hope you don’t give up your blog. I enjoy the different topics on your blog and I enjoy your voice on this blog!

    Reply

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