Happy New Year and welcome to 2021! It has become a tradition for me to start out each new year with a look back on how this blog has grown and changed over the proceeding calendar year. It is also a great opportunity to publicly post goals for the upcoming year.
But since this is a blog all about hiking with dogs, before we get to blogging stats and trends, here is a quick overview of our hiking highlights.
Glia and I started the year off with a first-day hike at Fort Snelling State Park. This hike also kicked off our 52 hike challenge. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the 52 hike challenge, this is essentially a pledge to complete 52 hikes during a year. Since Glia and I hike weekly already, I made the challenge a little more challenging by signing up for the Explorer Series. This meant that to count towards our total 52, each hike had to be on a different trail and on a different day.
Little did I know that travel was going to become a challenge and ethical dilemma just a few short months after signing up for the Explorer series. That being said, Glia and I were able to complete the challenge, with all but one hike taking place in Minnesota. And we discovered many lovely local trails. You can find a picture from each of our hikes posted on Instagram.
While I blogged about several of these hikes (especially some of the spectacular ones on the North Shore or in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area), many of our blog posts this year were basic informational posts and gear reviews. Keep reading to see how these posts affected our blog growth and to see which posts were our most popular posts of the year.
If blog statistics aren’t your thing, then happy New Year! Come back next week for more blog posts on dog gear reviews, hiking trails, and dog-friendly national park adventures.
I am still adding new blog posts at a rate of approximately one post per week. New posts are typically added on Wednesdays.
This blog is still hosted by HostGator and is a WordPress site. I am still using a free theme and the only money I have invested in this blog (besides hosting and domain name) is for one online blogging course: Income School. And yes, I did like the course well enough to renew my membership for a second year. The Income School people are great!
Number of users and page views
So without further ado, here are some numbers. From January 1st, 2020 to December 31, 2020, 46K users have been to this website. These users have generated over 53K sessions.
There is still a lot of room for improvement. However, this is a big jump from our previous two years, as you can see demonstrated in the table below.
|Annual # of Users||1,750||5,420||45,660|
|Annual # of Page Views||3,500||8,650||65,523|
|Annual # of Sessions||2,200||6,400||53,037|
Those numbers represent an over 800% increase in the number of users and sessions throughout the year. So while the numbers are still low* for the number of blog posts I have published, this is still great growth.
*For reference, Income School recommends averaging around 1000 page views per published blog post. I have published a little over 150 blog posts on Pawsitively Intrepid. Around 30 of these posts are not old enough to factor into this equation (it takes around 8 months for a blog post to reach its full potential for traffic).
So if I had done all of my search analysis right from day one, I should have closer to 120,000 page views per month (and over 1 million views per year). Unfortunately, I didn’t really start optimizing for search until my second year of blogging and I am still learning how to do this well.
Last year, we also compared our average users and page views/month for the year. Here is that same comparison with 2020 added.
|Page Views/Month (avg)||180||290||720||5,460|
As you can see, each year is steadily trending upwards. Our goal is to keep that trend continuing into the future. The graphic below helps show just how significant the blog’s growth was this year.
At the beginning of 2020, I had set a goal to have an average of over 1,000 users/month with at least one month with over 5,000 users. I am happy to have exceeded that goal with an average of 3,880 users per month and a top month in July with 6.8K users.
For 2021, I am raising the bar and setting a goal for July or August (the blog’s two highest traffic months historically) to have over 10K users. See more in our goals section at the end of this post
Most Popular Posts
Our top 5 most popular posts this year (with original posting dates) were the following:
|Creation Date||Views |
|1||Dog-Friendly Guide to Badlands National Park||November 6, 2019||5,554|
|2||11 Tips for Successfully Tent Camping with Your Dog||April 22, 2020||4,218|
|3||7 Creative Ways to Deal with Your Dog’s Poop while Hiking||May 8, 2019||3,882|
|4||Ruffwear Flagline Harness Review||October 20, 2019||3,782|
|5||Shenandoah National Park: Dog-Friendly Applachian Mountain Trails||December 25th, 2019||2,172|
As you can see above, my most popular posts were all created 8 to 19 months ago. This correlates with an improvement in my ability to perform search analysis and improved writing and content creation skills. In addition, all of these blog posts have had time to attract organic traffic (aka be seen and indexed by Google).
While I was writing this year’s review, I noted that two of my older posts that had historically been doing well didn’t show up in the list of my top posts for 2020. So I was curious if those posts were still seeing similar or better traffic than they were in 2019. And the answer is yes:
- The Beginner’s Guide to Veterinary Clinic Job Shadowing received 1,668 views this year. Last year it only received 347.
- 5 Best Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in La Cross, WI received 469 views this year and only 300 last year.
If you are curious where Pawsitively Intrepid’s traffic comes from, the pie chart below clearly shows that the majority of our traffic comes from organic search. This means that people find my blog posts when my blog shows up on a Google (or Bing or DuckDuckGo) search.
My second biggest source of traffic is social media. In my case, this is mostly Pinterest (accounting for 89% of the social media traffic). Pinterest is followed by Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Everything else accounts for less than 1% of my total traffic from social media platforms.
I was very excited to be able to monetize this blog in 2020. And the blog made enough to cover web-hosting, domain name renewal, and part of a year of Income School Membership! Currently, this blog is monetized with a mix of Adsense Ads and Affiliate income.
If you are curious about starting a blog and want more details on how to make money blogging, click the link below:
How did I do on my goals for 2020?
If you have read our 3rd Year in Review Post, then you will have seen that we set the following goals for 20201. I am happy to report that I reached all three of these goals.
Set Up an Email List
We had a small email list as part of this blog originally, but due to some plug-in failures, we no longer have an email subscription option on this blog. So one of our 2020 goals is to set up an email list and offer useful emails to our users.
I have an email list, albeit a small one. I typically send out one email each month with a brief overview of new blog posts and new hiking trails that we have discovered over the previous month. If you are interested in signing up for my monthly newsletters, subscribe below.
This seems like it may always be one of our goals. But the new goal for 2020 is to have an average of 1000 users/month at the end of 2020. Additionally, we will aim to have at least one month (probably a summer month) with over 5000 users/month.
If you’ve read our year comparisons above, then you know that Pawsitively Intrepid did reach the goal of having over 1000 users/month, with the highest month (July) reaching 6800 users that month.
Monetize this Blog
We hope that 2020 will be the year that this blog gets monetized. Even if we only make our first $5 (or as Income School says – get to pizza day), we hope to be at a place where this blog starts to pay for some of its own hosting costs by the end of 2020
Pawsitively Intrepid is mostly paying for itself these days! There is still a lot of room for growth and I do not have monetization of this website anywhere near maximized. But I am happy that the blog has earned enough money to fully cover its own hosting and domain renewal costs for 2021.
New Blogging Goals for 2021
When setting goals, they say that goals should be SMART.
- S = specific
- M = measurable
- A = attainable
- R = relevant
- T = time-based
So with that in mind, here are my goals for PawsitivelyIntrepid.com for 2021.
This year, my goal is to average over 5K users/month throughout the year. And since July is historically the month when this website gets the most traffic, I am aiming to achieve over 10K page views in July.
In 2021, my goal is to break the $100/month income threshold. (For reference, in 2020, I averaged $30/month.)
I will increase income from my blog in two main ways: ads and affiliate income.
For ads, I will continue to work on increasing traffic to this website. The more traffic, the more ads that will be seen on this website. I also intend to transition from Adsense to Ezoic, as many bloggers report a higher RPM (amount paid per view) when working with Ezoic. Ezoic has a relationship with Income School, which will allow me to transition to Ezoic before meeting the 10K/month page view requirement.
For affiliate income, I am planning to invest in some great dog hiking and backpacking gear in order to create some detailed gear reviews in 2021. I am also adding affiliate links for some blogging resources that have been helpful for me.
- Income School: A membership course that helps bloggers (and YouTubers) create an income online.
- Avantlink: This is an affiliate income platform that works with great brands like Ruffwear. I have started using this company in addition to Amazon when creating affiliate links on my posts.
- Canva: This free site is my absolute favorite for creating graphics and featured images for this website.
Over the last year, the people behind Income School have become big promoters of YouTube. And this makes sense, as I originally discovered them and their membership program by watching their videos on YouTube.
I never thought that I would be the type of person to show my face on YouTube. And originally, I thought I liked writing significantly more than video production. However, I have found that I really just enjoy creating content.
So in 2021, I hope to add 52 videos to my YouTube channel (about once a week, but I likely won’t get the first few added until February). That being said, there are a few existing videos on my YouTube channel already. And as of Jan 1st, 2020, I have 31 subscribers to that channel.
Feel free to find me and the pups on YouTube as Pawsitively Intrepid.
Happy New Year!
Okay, that’s enough about Pawsitively Intrepid and my goals for now. Glia, Sasha, and I hope you all have a great new year.
What goals are you setting for yourself (and your pups) this year? Let us know in the comments section below. I especially love hearing about all of your hiking goals!