UPDATE: If you're struggling to bring your blog to the next level (or any level!) then I'd love to tell you how to work SMARTER and not HARDER. You're likely making it harder than it needs to be. Check out my FREE cheat sheet the First 10 steps to a Profitable Blog Checklist to make sure that you are on the right track!
April 2016 Blogging Income Report
If you’re wondering why I post a blogging 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 blogging income report too! You can actually link to them in the comments below.
April was one of my best months yet. The class Productivity for Bloggers by Ruth Soukup (creator of The Elite Blog Academy) paid off in a big way and income rose sharply even as pageviews continued to settle down.
I can’t recommend it enough. It changed my life. You can find out more about Elite Blog Academy here.
For the first time, I actually set myself up a 30 hour a week schedule. I usually only work 20 hours a week, but as my husband quit his job to open a brewery in Woodbridge, VA this month, I was driven to push it a little harder this month.
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 for 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!
April 2016 Blogging Income Report:
Pageviews are still settling a little from that crazy spike in January and I’m hoping that they’ll stick around this level for the summer and then increase in the fall.
April was my most hectic month blogging yet where I worked at least 30 hours a week and really focused on optimizing affiliate income.
I realized quickly that no matter how many pageviews I have, I was under-monetized with affiliates. Meaning, that I could have been making a lot more if I optimized my posts for affiliates. So, I spent the month doing that and it paid off in a big way.
Pageviews: 449,520 (down from 522,487 last month)
Income: $24,680.25 (up from $12,484.68)
Income Broken Down:
$2,938.00 Sponsored Posts
$4,549 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 email@example.com for more information.
The Pinterest Strategy Guide
You should be able to walk through it and implement my Pinterest strategy step by step all on your own. I have videos available for anything that you'll need extra help on. It's listed in the order you need to implement it and it's appropriate for anyone, from someone whose never heard of Pinterest to someone that's already dominating Pinterest and just wants to see how my strategy is different from theirs.
Not only is it a fraction of the cost of coaching, but I'm also including The Ultimate Brand Cheat Sheet for free to anyone that purchases The Pinterest Strategy Guide until Tuesday night (6/28/16) at midnight eastern time. Email your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org to collect by then.
You can grab the Pinterest Strategy Guide right now by clicking here.
My goals for April were:
Facebook Strategy: We rocked this! We implemented the strategies in the book Strategies Worth Sharing and the results were so exceptional that I’m talking about it below in the “what worked this month” section.
Launch a second opt-in: For the third month in a row this was a fail. Which was frustrating. I switched to Convertkit this month and it took a lot longer than I expected. I got overwhelmed learning an entirely new mailing system and had enough on my plate without adding a new autoresponder sequence to the mix. Side note- I love Convertkit and I should have switched from Mailchimp eons ago.
What worked this Month:
Facebook Strategy from Strategies Worth Sharing: I spent 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. It’s been an awesome resource for us as we continue growing a platform that just isn’t intuitive to me. Which is a nice way of saying that Facebook makes me want to throw my computer off of a cliff.
I was expecting an increase, but was completely blown away by the results that we got in such a short time! Our fans increased by 43.6% in April over March and our engagement went through the roof with a 3,789% increase! After only a month, this book was a huge win!
Brainstorming Sessions: In addition to emailing myself post ideas as I get them (always in weird places like the shower), I also had a 3-hour long brainstorming session where I started with the problems of my target audience and worked backward to find them solutions. It was my best brainstorming session yet and I’m excited to get those posts out there to them.
What didn’t work this month:
Mailchimp- I switched to Convertkit for a few reasons.
- I wanted to be able to have some of the advanced tagging features.
- I wanted to avoid the spam trap that seems to plague Mailchimp.
- Mailchimp came out with new regulations that they may (or may not depending on who you listen to) limit affiliate marketing.
- They shut my account down for 8 hours a few months ago for an error. While it ended up being no big deal, the lack of instant customer service was a deal breaker for me.
I’ve been thrilled with Convertkit and really glad that I made the switch. Plus, my open rate started soaring… which is fun to see.
Google Calendar: I’ve been a long time user of Google Calendar for my editorial calendar but I’ve stopped checking it frequently as my schedule changes.
I’m now to the point where I think I need to move on and look at other options. Part of the need for change is because I started working in monthly batches. So I schedule all of the posts for next month in a single day and don't need to check the calendar as often. Without that need to check, I’m missing other reminders in there.
The other part of the issue that I have an in-depth blogging notebook that I love and things are leaking into that calendar. So, I’m checking out Asana for the future, and recognizing that I need to make a change there.
Goals for next month:
Instagram tracking: I’m only recently getting into Instagram when I happened to pop over there for a sponsored required post and realized that I somehow amassed 500 followers with absolutely no effort (or content) on my part. I’m not a native user of the platform so I’m running some experiments to drive traffic this month to see if that’s something that I want to invest time in for the future.
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. Convertkit is up and running now so this WILL get tackled this month!
My Income Strategy:
I earn income in three major categories with my blog. I’ll run over my strategy for each of them.
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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!).
You can find previous blog income reports here…
If you publish your own blogging 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.