This simple but detailed checklist walks you through how to create a profitable blog from the very beginning without overwhelming. Join the hundreds of other bloggers that created profitable blogs following this simple yet powerful strategy.
March 2016 Blog Income Report
If you’re wondering why I post a blog income report, it’s because this journey was only made possible by other bloggers posting their blogging income reports and inspiring me to give it a shot on my own. This is kind of my way of “paying it forward”. Plus, I love the fact that I work in the only industry that I know where it’s totally normal to post your income every month.
If you are a blogger, or end up being a blogger, I would love to see you post your blog income report too! You can actually link to them in the comments below. If you want to find out more about becoming a blogger, I have a step by step guide for you here.
March was really calm compared to the crazy month I had in February. I took half of the month off to move and then at least one member of my family was sick every single day in March, so the few days I planned to work ended up being less productive than I had hoped.
I used the high income from February to give myself some time to work on efficiency going forward, particularly with my email, which has been an overwhelming problem for several months.
But first… About me…
I’m a full-time blogger. Less than 2 years ago, I had no idea that was an actual thing. To say the last two years have been a wild ride is the understatement of the year.
If there’s one thing that I want to pass on to you, is that I am NOT special. I’m not crazy smart. I don’t have a writing degree and I’m certainly not a grammar expert (although a free app called Grammarly certainly helps).
I just love to write and I love to help people and I’m really good at reducing our spending. So, I walk people through the baby steps that we took to completely transform our finances. I’m able to support my family making far more than I ever could in my previous career.
If that sounds like something you want to do, I can help you make that a reality with step-by step instructions (for free!). You can find instructions on how to start your own blog here (even if you aren’t great with computers).
The best part? Blogging is a super cheap (almost free!) hobby that makes you money! Starting your own blog isn’t very expensive! Starting a blog that makes you money while working from home starts at about $3.95/month!
**Update: 4/27/16: Today is the cheapest day of the year to start a blog! Bluehost is having a 24 hour flash sale for $2.95/month plus a FREE domain name is INCLUDED (a domain name is your website name, like mine is busybudgeter.com). You can click here to grab that special rate! **
March 2016 Blog Income Report:
As promised, things settled down quite a bit after last month’s crazy high income spike. What was really encouraging though, is that despite taking most of the month off, my income was much higher than expected. In fact, the days that I did get to work this month were focused on creating systems to make things easier going forward, which means that almost all of my income was passive this month.
Pageviews are still settling from that crazy spike in January and they should be close to normal now. I’m hoping that they’ll settle here for a while and pick up a little when I do my Boardbooster maintenance later on this month.
March was pretty uneventful when it comes to blogging, but I could fill two or three posts about how to juggle packing boxes with sick kids.:)
Pageviews: 522,487 (down from 619,225 last month)
Income: $12,484.68 (down from $39,239.57) plus about $100 credit to my absolute favorite budget clothes shop- ThredUp (you can grab a free $20 gift card to them by clicking here).Update: Your credit will be automatically added to your cart.
Income Broken Down:
$1,800.00 Sponsored Posts
$5,483.00 Ad Networks
(further breakdown of my strategy for each category below)
I started offering coaching on a case by case basis. I get almost all of my pageviews from Pinterest with a system (using Boardbooster) that only takes me 4 hours a month to maintain. That system has a lot to do with how I can grow the business with the number of hours that I work each week (about 20 hours/week, always under 30 hours). You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Update: 6/16/16: Bluehost hosting agreed to a special promotion pricing from now until 6/17/16 at midnight Eastern time. That means that now is the perfect time to start a blog! You’ll get the low rate of $2.95/month locked in for 12 months! See the bottom of this post for all of the information plus a special free bonus. Happy blogging!
My goals for March were:
Efficiency plan- I rocked this! I got an email VA hired and trained, a bookkeeper hired and trained, business accounts changed over and a streamlined business banking system.
I also completely overhauled my current time management strategy and went from working in 30 minute time blocks weekly to “batch working” monthly. So I spend 3 days out of my month doing nothing but writing posts for the next month all day and so on. I was really nervous about this, but so far it’s working out splendidly.
Launch a second opt in- Total fail. Not even a single step completed on this. So I’m moving it to next month because it’s really important to me.
What worked this Month:
Adthrive: Adthrive is my ad management company and they killed it this month. I averaged $10.49 RPM for the month, and that’s the highest it’s ever been. This is also supposed to be the “slow season” for ads.
They released a new type of lightening load ad in February and that seems to have made all the difference for me. You need at least 100k pageviews a month before you can apply for Adthrive, but it’s worth the wait! Plus, they handle the ads for me (I’m not known for being great with technology) and I can have them optimize with a quick email or a phone call.
Productivity for Bloggers by Ruth Soukup: Unfortunately, this product isn’t available to the public yet. It was an early bird bonus in the Elite Blog Academy sale, but I started it immediately and it made a HUGE difference this month.
It’s a productivity training and workbook that completely flipped everything I knew about time management. Time management was always one of my strengths, so I was surprised this has such a profound effect, but this training taught me how to hire out my email, got me off of Facebook, helped me get into the monthly time management schedule and I still have two chapters to go.
I can’t link to it because it doesn’t even have a sales page yet, but I would say your best bet is to sign up for the Elite Blog Academy waiting list here, and she’ll likely announce it when it launches there. If you’re on my email list for bloggers, I’ll definitely announce the launch there as well.
What didn’t work this month:
Dollar Photo Club: Dollar Photo Club (my stock photo company) closes it’s doors on April 15th, so I was given the option to switch to Adobe Stock Photo for the same price but only for one year. That’s an incredibly generous offer, but I’m pretty bummed out because I was really happy with DPC and once the year is up, that membership will be very expensive. I’m not sure what I’ll do at the end of the year, but I’m disappointed in losing a service that’s worked really well for me.
DIY Bookkeeping: Doing my own business budget seemed like a no-brainer. Budgets are my specialty. I used Quickbooks Self-Employed and was rocking- for about a year. Then as I grew and things kept getting more and more complicated, I realized that my current situation wasn’t working.
I was spending WAY too much time doing the business books, so I hired Mazuma to do them for me. They have plans starting at $75/month and include your tax return filing.
I would still recommend Quickbooks Self Employed if you’re not making full time income (at $9.99/month, it’s pretty amazing), but I can’t tell you how relieved I am to have someone else doing my books.
Mazuma also acts as my tax consultant year round, does my taxes at the end of the year and lets me send in everything via a purple envelope. Every other bookkeeper I talked to used a system where you scan documents to them, which to this technologically impaired girl sounded about as appealing as a monthly root canal.
Goals for next month:
Facebook Strategy from Strategies Worth Sharing: I’m SO excited about this! I’m spending April working my way through Strategies Worth Sharing:How I Grew my Facebook Page from 2,000 to 100,000 in 5 Months with my VA. I know the author (Brittany of Equipping Godly Women) for a while now, and I’ve personally watched her grow her extremely engaged Facebook page that quickly!)
Brittany loves Facebook as much as I love Pinterest and I’m excited to go chapter by chapter and implement her strategy with my VA this month. If you want to join me, you can get your own copy here.
Autoresponder: I’ve been getting between 3,000-4,000 new subscribers a month with my current opt in, and I have a new one being released this month that I’m hoping will eventually double that. This goal was just moved over from last month.
My Income Strategy:
I earn income in three major categories with my blog. I’ll run over my strategy for each of them.
I focus most of my sponsored post efforts on reaching out to brands that I use and love and offering a sponsored post package at a rate that’s a little lower than “industry standard” (which is highly debatable). That let’s me increase the “yes!” emails I get in response, and ensures that I can count on making a certain amount every month on sponsored posts while still being really picky about which brands that I’ll work with. I also go through each of my brand networks (places like Tapinfluence and Clever Girls) to see if there are any assignments that would be a good fit for my blog.
In general, more pageviews equal more ad earnings. I use Adthrive (you can apply with them once you have 100,000 pageviews) and love them. My RPM (The ad revenue that I get per 1,000 pageviews) bounces between $6.40 and $10.00 depending on the season.
I increase my pageviews by marketing my blog content through Pinterest using a fantastic tool called Boardbooster. I a/b tested everything on Pinterest (and still do) for about 6 months until I figured out a system that works for me. My favorite thing about Pinterest (at least with Boardbooster) is that I spent only 4 hours a month running my Pinterest Strategy. That leaves me tons of time to grow in other areas.
I focus on a core group of affiliates that I think almost everyone in my target audience should be using. Since I run a budgeting website, I factor cost into the equation. If something is a great product, but is too expensive for my readers, I likely won’t add them to the core affiliates list. Having the core list lets me easily track special sale dates that my readers should miss and lets me focus without getting overwhelmed with the barrage of affiliate “offers’ hitting my inbox daily.
To me, the key to affiliate marketing is to never ever promote anything that you haven’t used yourself and you don’t love. My philosophy is that if you only promote companies and products that you would tell your best friend about enthusiastically, then you’re doing it right.
If you want to see my full list of blogging resources that I use, you can find them here.
Need a step by step guide on how to start a blog? You can find one by clicking here (you don’t even need to be great with computers!).
Also- Your domain name is INCLUDED in that rate!
(your domain name is the name of your website- so my domain name is www.busybudgeter.com)
Quick recap of what you need to know:
- The rate is only available if you pay for 12 months up front.
- If you need to pay monthly, you may want to go with GoDaddy. It’s a little more expensive and I’m not a fan of their hosting or their customer service, but in a pinch it will work. Keep in mind though, that you can get Bluehost for a YEAR for less than $40 right now, so Godaddy will cost you more long term.
- Bluehost saved my blog more than once when they would walk me through things that I would get stuck on. Their tech help was second to none!
P.S. There’s a money back guarantee!
I created a guided checklist called The First 10 Steps to a Profitable Blog Checklist of what you need to do after you get hosting. Step by step, It tells you what to focus on and when to solve the confusion of “okay, what do I do now?” after you start a blog.
Everyone that purchases hosting through 6/17 gets a copy of The First 10 Steps to a Profitable Blog Checklist. Email me your receipt (or Bluehost welcome email) to email@example.com to grab your copy.
19 months ago, I took the biggest risk of my life. I hoped for more. And then I worked my butt off until I got it.
It was worth it.
If you publish your own blog income report, link to it below in the comments so we can all see!
FTC Disclosure of Material Connection: In order for us to maintain this website, some of the links in the post above may be affiliate links. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and/or believe will add value to readers.