Thrive/Strive Blog Experience Report #1 (September 2017)

Hello and welcome to my very first blog experience report.

What’s a blog experience report? Well, to be honest with you, I’m about to find out myself as I write this but the purpose of writing one is because I don’t like the direction income reports have taken.

Most income reports that are written today put the sole focus on the money that a blog generates. While that is very important, money doesn’t appear out of thin air. Certain steps are done by the blogger to generate that income and I think a heavier emphasis needs to be placed on sharing these steps with the audience.

It would also be great to see income reports talk about what did and didn’t work and what steps are going to be taken in the future to fix things up.

Instead of just talking about the improvements I want to see in income reports, I figured I would create an experience report myself to show what I really mean.

Blog Experience Report #1: Thrive/Strive (September 2017)

While this experience report will focus on the month of September for my blog, Thrive/Strive, it will also provide details of what has happened over the past 14 months with the blog so that everybody is caught up.

What Is Thrive/Strive?

This is the first question to ask and it should be easy to answer. In all honesty, Thrive/Strive was a blog I started for my wife and brother because they are into health and fitness. It was also a good experiment in how to grow a blog.

When starting off I wasn’t sure how we were going to monetize it. It’s not that I didn’t know how to monetize blogs it’s that I didn’t know how we were going to monetize this particular blog but that wasn’t an immediate concern.

My main focus was to simply build up traffic and that took longer than expected due to our content strategy. The problem wasn’t that we weren’t writing great content (all bloggers that teach blogging tell you to write great content). The problem was that the great content was written for us and not our audience.

Now you’ve probably heard about how you need to write for your audience but that is kind of vague. The reality is you need to write about the problems that your audience is facing and offer them solutions to those problems.

If you look at the library of content on Thrive/Strive you’ll see these are the first posts:

  1. I Ain’t No Instagram Model
  2. How to Get Started at the Gym
  3. 5 Questions That Will Help You Conquer Gym Fear
  4. 7 Small Steps to a Healthy Lifestyle

1 & 4 don’t address an immediate problem that our audience is facing. 2 & 3 address a problem but we weren’t promoting them to the right audience.

So there are 4 pieces of content with two sets of problems:

  • Not writing the content that our audience wants
  • Not promoting the right content to the right audience

Many bloggers suffer from these problems as well but they don’t realize it. If our audience is the health and nutrition crowd then post 2 & 3 should’ve been hits, right?

The problem is that because Pinterest is our main promotion platform that audience isn’t looking for ways to get started at the gym.

Sure there might be some people but not enough to hunt down our pins and make the posts popular.


I think it’s important for me to show traffic patterns and things I’ve done to grow this blog. Without an audience, you can’t generate revenue but many bloggers don’t understand how to create traffic out of nothing.

In this section, we are going to dive into the full lifecycle of this blog starting from the beginning.

The First 90 Days

For 3 months we weren’t getting very far with the blog as can be seen by the traffic:

blog income report

1,673 pageviews in 3 months. That’s not very good at all. You might be in the same boat with your blog.

However, if you look at the chart you’ll notice a spike at the end. Without that spike, we are looking at 1,195 pageviews for almost 90 days of work. That’s about 13 pageviews a day! You can’t do much with a blog that only gets 13 pageviews a day but that spike at the end of August showed me something.

67% of the blog’s traffic during the spike went to a post on carbs. The post isn’t exciting. We just figured that people wanted to understand carbs better so we wrote a guide about them.

Well, guess what?

People want to understand carbs better!

However, since this was just a mini-spike of traffic the reality of what works and what doesn’t hadn’t hit us yet.

That occurred just a couple weeks later.

September 2016

This is what happened in September:

18,959 pageviews in one month! From 1,673 pageviews in 90 days to 10x that in just 30. What a complete turnaround!

What caused the spike? We published a post on losing weight for lazy people and it went bananas.

This post hit all of the right bullet points for successful blog posts:

  • Proposed a solution to a problem (people are lazy but still want to lose weight)
  • Used a title to grab attention (9 Ways to Lose Weight for Lazy People)
  • Was actually informative and provided actionable steps

Finally, we hit upon some success but it wasn’t long-lasting. Traffic spikes like this when you’re starting off are great because they boost your numbers, but they usually go back to the norm.

I got a bit lazy with the blog and instead of riding the momentum of that traffic spike I put more of my focus on my other projects.

October is what made me come around and realize that if something is going to grow, I’d need to put some work into.

October 2016

Here is what happened in October:

Traffic ranging between 50-250 pageviews a day and then a big spike at the end of the month. This is very similar to August, with one exception: I wasn’t going to lose momentum this time.

When I notice traffic rising on the 28th I took a look at our analytics to see what was happening and what I found was that another post was starting to build momentum. This one was a detox diet plan, something I had seen on another site that was doing well so I decided I would write my variation of one.

That’s when it hit me that if we could focus on writing content that we knew had been successful with our audience on other sites, then we could start to steadily build up traffic so that is what we did.

We researched a ton of blogs in our niche to find what topics worked really well for them. This is pretty easy if your niche does decent on Pinterest because you can just look for pins with high repin rates (in the 1000s). From there we compiled a list of the topics and began writing.

November showed that this was the strategy to run with.

November 2016

November was our first 100,000 pageview month!

Here are the top 10 posts for the month:

None of the posts that we wrote in the first 3 months of the blog’s existence made the cut. That goes to show the early errors that we were making but we finally got a grasp of things and because of that our blog continued to grow.

December – March

The next 4 months were good times.

Over 750,00 pageviews in 4 months time. To think that a couple months prior we had hit 1,600 pageviews in 90 days and now if you look at the period between December and February where we did 616,246 pageviews that’s a 36,668% increase in pageviews.

When you reach these levels you tend to take things a bit easier because you’ve finally “made it”. In January, we applied to AdThrive and got accepted in mid-February.

The blog finally had a steady stream of income that we could rely on.

Unfortunately, I made another mistake.

If you look at March you’ll see that there is a dip. It’s hard to tell how significant the dip is so let me show you another image:

blog traffic

The blue line is February and orange line is March. In February, the blog did 239,376 pageviews compared to 139,259 pageviews in March.

A decrease of 100,000 pageviews. Even if we take the giant spike at the beginning of February into consideration, it would still be a drop of 50,000 pageviews month-to-month. that’s a 25% decrease in traffic.

The mistake I made was not paying closer attention to what was really happening.

You see, bloggers like to talk about seasonal surges and this is applicable to some niches. For example, in the Health & Fitness niche, I can always expect a spike in traffic in January as everyone tries to get healthier.

I attributed the loss in traffic to that since I had no experience in this niche but something else was happening.

Pinterest changed its algorithm.

April – May

I didn’t realize the issue was more than seasonal until about mid-April. That’s when the traffic didn’t slowly drop, it completely dropped.

The site went from consistently getting at least 4,000 pageviews a day to never reaching 2,000. Because most of our traffic was from Pinterest I knew something changed with Pinterest but I didn’t know what.

All I could do was experiment to finally crack the new Pinterest algorithm.

I didn’t find the solution until June.

Before we dive into that let’s look at 12 months of traffic:

Over one million pageviews in the first year of Thrive/Strive’s existence. That is something to be proud of! Because traffic dipped to a 2017 low of 77,000 pageviews there wasn’t much celebrating going on. Instead, we were panicking.

June 2017

Looking back, I see that I made one big mistake with Pinterest and Pinterest made one change I didn’t notice.

My mistake was that I wasn’t consistent with my pinning and making sure my pins were in group boards daily. There would be days (maybe weeks) where my pins weren’t getting circulated through the group boards that I was a part of.

The Pinterest change that I didn’t notice is that they stopped treating group boards equally.

That meant the “All Viral Pins” group board wasn’t going to pull as much weight as “All Things Yoga”. In fact, I theorized that these general boards were doing more harm than good because to Pinterest the pins in them weren’t getting any engagement. That reflects poorly on your profile.

So to fix my mistake and the Pinterest change I did a couple of things:

  1. Ensured that I set up BoardBooster in such a way that my group boards wouldn’t go a day without one of my pins.
  2. Set up a manual pinning schedule so that Pinterest saw I was active on the platform.
  3. Ditched all of my low-performing and generic group boards.

It seemed to have paid off:

From 77k pageviews in May to 188k in June. That’s a big turn around but I didn’t want this to be a fluke so I made sure I stayed consistent with things and this has paid off.

July – August

July and August combined for over half a million pageviews.

Stuck with the same content formula that we had been using since October 2016 but had to make adjustments in how we promoted that content on Pinterest.


This brings us to September. If you recall, September of 2016 was our first “big” traffic month so it’s interesting to come full circle to see where the site ended up a year later.

This chart compares September 2016 to September 2017. As you can see the blog has reached a level where we know we are going to reach X amount of pageviews daily. You have to be careful when you get to this point though because things can change. As of right now, things are holding steady.

Here’s a look at the top 10 posts for the month:

Traffic Improvements

What steps am I going to take to improve the traffic in October? In all honesty, I won’t do much as I’m going to spend most of my time working on my other blogs.

But in the near future, I would love to start boosting SEO traffic so I’m not so reliant on Google. I’ve been doing a ton of keyword research to gather ideas for new posts and let me tell you, I have a lot planned out.

The site ranks #1 on a couple of keywords so it’s established in Google. From here it’s just a matter of going through the old posts to see how I can better optimize them for specific keywords and put a little more focus on SEO with future posts.

However, this might not happen until 2018 as I build out some of the other blogs. Until then I’m just making sure we are good Pinterest citizens so the platform treats us right.


I know, I know, this is what people mostly read income reports for but I wanted you to get an understanding of the traffic patterns with the blog before just saying “I made this much, this month.”

Starting off we made the big mistake of not understanding how we were going to make money. I was so worried about generating traffic that I didn’t take the time to implement an affiliate marketing strategy.

Why was this important?

Because affiliate marketing doesn’t require as much work as other methods of revenue generation and it’s one of those things you can get started with on day 1 with your blog.

Instead, of building posts around affiliate links (guides, how-tos, etc.) we just wrote posts that seemed good to us.

It wasn’t until November 2016 when traffic was approaching 100,000 pageviews that I realized we need to take advantage of things.

So we signed up with ClickBank and started promoting a weight loss program.

How did we promote it? I just designed a pretty box to put at the end of each post that had some copy and a button that sent people to the affiliate landing page.

It did alright. Unfortunately, ClickBank doesn’t let me go back more than a couple of months and I didn’t keep track of the numbers but the affiliate product made us a couple hundred dollars between November and December. Again, with over 200,00 pageviews of traffic, we could’ve done a lot better.


January is when we decided to start work on our own weight loss product. However, I didn’t want it to be on Thrive/Strive because Thrive/Strive runs on WordPress and I wanted to code up the site myself.

The product became Keto Dash.

So we got rid of the ClickBank product links and started to send people to Keto Dash in February. Because Keto Dash is a separate brand that gets traffic from a couple of different sources, I don’t count its revenue towards Thrive/Strive.

However, because I know you’re curious, it reaches 5 figures monthly in revenue at this time.


February is when we got accepted to AdThrive and ads appeared on the site. They’ve been on every since and we are pleased with the experience. For Thrive/Strive, this is the main source of revenue.

What I love about AdThrive is that I don’t have to do anything. They jump in your blog and get the ads installed. You don’t have to touch a thing.

Historically, we are seeing RPM/CPM between $9 – $12. What this means is that for every 1,000 pageviews (ad impressions), we earn $9 – $12.

So you can go back and look at the traffic numbers I posted earlier to gauge how much ad revenue Thrive/Strive is pulling in.


Something to keep in mind with regards to ad revenue is that you don’t get paid out right away. AdTrhive pays on a Net45 schedule meaning that when the month ends, you get paid 45 days later.

So the money I received in September was made in July and that totaled $3,064,89. The money that I’ve earned in September, which will be paid out in November, is $2,988.

Not bad for blogging.

However, we have no plans to rest on our ad revenue so it’s time to explore how we can diversify the revenue streams that are on the site. It’s important to remember that the site is geared towards pushing people to Keto Dash. That’s our cash cow in this niche but that doesn’t mean the traffic also can’t be utilized for other purposes, specifically affiliate marketing.

Improving Revenue

Obviously, it doesn’t make sense to pimp out another weight loss program but there are plenty of other products that we can present to our audience.

What I would like to do is improve our Amazon Associates revenue by combing through the past posts to find linking opportunities.

For example, in our yoga posts, we can find ways to tie in yoga mats, pants, and other things.

For our posts on running, we can tackle running shoes and other running gear.

There are plenty of smaller affiliate marketing opportunities on the site that we aren’t maximizing.

Unfortunately, like with traffic, these efforts are on the backburner while I work on my other blogs.

Moving Forward

The things I’ve learned with Thrive/Strive have helped build the foundation for all of the things I teach in the Billionaire Blog Club and have shown me how I can build multiple successful blogs across different niches.

Although it’s not the blog that gets the most attention right now it is still my first big traffic blog so it holds a special place in my heart.

Hopefully what you can take away from this report is that blogging isn’t a smooth process. There are plenty of ups and downs that you need to adapt to since the Internet is always changing.

If you liked how I’ve done this report and want to see more I’d appreciate it if you let me know at scrivs{AT} As you can imagine this took a lot of time to write and I don’t want to keep churning them out for my other blogs if people don’t see value in them.