This is a sneak peek behind the scenes of my blogging business. I share my income, my pageviews, what’s working for me and what’s not. You can see all of my blog income reports here…
Update 3/16/2017: If you’re looking to increase your blog's income, the FREE guide to Finding Affiliates that Work for You is a MUST GRAB. It even lists all of the top affiliate programs in every niche, organized by commission and topic. Grab it for FREE here for a limited time.
We had a fairly slow, uneventful month in November. Between Thanksgiving break and a once in a lifetime trip to Seattle to meet RUTH SOUKUP in person (sorry for the shouty caps, I couldn’t help myself) I only worked 14 days in November.
I joined EBA VIP in October and it’s been a complete game changer for me. I’ve been a huge Ruth Soukup fan since I took Elite Blog Academy and it helped me grow from $18/month to over $20,000/month in just 18 months (it only opens once a year, you need almost perfect timing to get in… your best bet is to join the waiting list here…)
When she announced VIP, I jumped at the chance to join. Then she flew us all to Seattle to help film the new videos for VIP in November. It was even better than a blog conference! We got to have a mastermind meeting in person, get advice about everything blogging from Ruth and brainstorm with other professional bloggers, already successful in their areas of expertise.
It was the highlight of my year.
If you’re wondering why I post an income report, it’s because this journey was only made possible by other bloggers posting their blog 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 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 income report too! You can actually link to them in the comments below.
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.
Want to start your own blog?
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 $3.45/month!
November 2016 Blog Income Report:
This was a solid month for income and was pretty stress-free and easy. Income went up, pageviews went up, I’m back to batch blogging and working ahead of schedule.
Pageviews and Income:
Income Broken Down:
$1,200 Sponsored Posts
$3,710 Ad Networks
(further breakdown of my strategy for each category below)
Step-by-Step Pinterest Strategy Guide
Because I’ve stopped coaching, I released my Pinterest Strategy Guide in PDF form to you. Which means that you can spend a fraction of the price that coaching costs and get my step-by-step Pinterest Strategy Guide direct to your inbox right now.
P.S. It’s 5 pages long. It’s not a course and it’s not overwhelming. It’s a super simple detailed checklist of how to dominate Pinterest in only 4 hours of setup and 4 hours a month.
The Core Affiliate Strategy
Like the Pinterest Strategy Guide, the goal of this product is to give you easy-to-follow (and quick) action steps to completely implement the strategy that I use for affiliates. It’s only a few pages and walks you step by step through my entire strategy.
I routinely make more than 10k a month in affiliates and this is a common question that I get. You can see the strategy here.
P.S. This is about 15 pages long, and includes a complete launch example. Like the Pinterest Strategy guide, it’s not created to be comprehensive or overwhelming. You should be able to complete it in a workday and start being successful with affiliates immediately.
My goals for November were:
Create a free blogging course and start promoting it- Half win- I ended up changing this from a course to a printable, You can get it here. It explains the first 10 steps to a profitable blog and how to get started the right way. I’d still like to do a course, but that’s going to wait until the new year.
Take and implement the Conquer SEO course (this is the same series that we’ve been doing, but it’s the final and last phase). You’ll notice a heavy push for me in SEO for the last few months. Done! I’m SO EXCITED that I finally found an SEO course that gave me results! You can find the course here.
What worked this month:
**These are the things I’m currently trying. If you need the full resources of the tools that I’ve used to get me to this point, you can sign up here to get free instant access to the full list of the tools and resources that have worked for me this far. **
Accountability meetings: I started having weekly accountability meetings with Kim Anderson from Thrifty Little Mom. While I had previously done these in mastermind groups, I really prefer being one on one with someone I know and that knows my business well. I got better results from the one: one accountability meeting than the group ones.
Reducing sponsored post opportunities: As I focused on calculating ROI more and more, I got even more picky about who I did sponsored posts with. This gave me more time to focus on the projects that I really loved and made it easy to say no to opportunities that weren’t worth my time. The more I blog, the more I find that calculating your ROI of projects will always lead you down the right path.
What didn’t work this month:
Flipboard: While I love this social media platform as a user, I feel like it has a while to go until it’s a major contender in drawing pageviews for a blog.
I spent some time curating boards and promoting them and while it was fun, it didn’t yield results that would make it worth it right now. We’ll revisit it a little later.
Outsourcing to a Service: I feel like I’m going to explain this all wrong, but I’ll do my best. I’m learning that I have FANTASTIC results when I outsource to a person that learns from me what to do. When I outsource to a service that already knows what they’re doing, my results are usually much less impressive.
Weirdly, we also spent a month at home outsourcing cooking, laundry and cleaning for a month to see how it affected our life (my husband calls this my “a/b testing obsession gone horribly wrong”). We found the exact same thing at home when we hired people that we trained and did it as we wanted, it cost less and we had better results than a service that did it the way they wanted.
Want to know the results of our experiment? I’ll have an update next month but so far, Laundry is TOTALLY worth it and cooking and cleaning is easier to do yourself and not worth the extra costs.
Goals for next month:
Release our budgeting workbook: We’ve been working on this for MONTHS and are crazy excited to release it to the world!
Master Facebook Ads: This is it. I will finally rock those ads and make them profitable.
My Income Strategy:
I earn income in three major categories with my blog. I’ll run over my strategy for each of them.
Update: The below is still true, but I’ve stopped focusing on sponsors right now, with the exception of a few brands that I want to build long term partnerships with.
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 lets 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 $11.00 depending on the season. (update: actually it’s been consistently over $10 since February of last year, which is unheard of! Go Adthrive!)
I increase my pageviews by marketing my blog content through Pinterest. I a/b tested everything on Pinterest 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. You can get a copy of my Pinterest Strategy Guide here which teaches you my system step by step.
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 shouldn’t 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. You can get the step-by-step action steps needed to implement my Core Affiliate Strategy here.
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!).
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.