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.
May 2016 Income Report from Blogging
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 income reports from blogging 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 from blogging too! You can actually link to them in the comments below.
May was a good solid month. We had a TON of stuff going on behind the scenes though. We’re making some pretty huge changes to make things easier and more stable going forward.
Efficiency has been forefront in my mind since March of this year, and I’m willing to sacrifice income and pageviews for a few months in order to craft the work schedule and routines that I’ve dreamed about my whole life.
We’re A/B testing Pinterest by changing some stuff up (more on that next month!) and trying out new things and we’re really working on efficiency and outsourcing. I’m back to 20 hour work weeks (I found that I get the same amount of stuff done if I work 20 hours or 30 hours in a week). In order to grow while I maintain that though, I need to outsource anything I’m doing that I’m not the best at.
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!
May 2016 Income Report from Blogging:
Pageviews are down for the summer, much to the horror of bloggers everywhere. I like to keep the things in perspective. While it’s normal to have highs and lows in traffic, I don’t spend a lot of time “chasing traffic”. You should spend time growing your list instead.
While traffic is down from the crazy budgeting spike in January, it’s actually about the same as what it was last Fall, but my income was almost 4 times what it was in November because I’m focused on my list more than pageviews now.
That’s why it's imperative that you look at the picture of your whole year and not give in to the “Oh my gosh! Traffic is plummeting!” panic.
Facebook is still seeing a sharp increase thanks to Strategies worth Sharing. (Which is a great buy if you're trying to increase your Facebook reach and engagement. You can grab it here.) We saw a 161% increase in reach, a 239% increase in post engagement, and page likes were up 253% versus last month.
I’m still optimizing for affiliates (and I’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg) and am thrilled to be back to my 20 hour work week, which I love.
Random fact: If you work at home and also need to work on losing weight, get a Fitdesk. My best friend has been telling me about it for forever. I finally took the plunge and CAN NOT believe how awesome this thing is. I’ve been biking for an hour and a half as I write this. I barely even notice that I’m exercising and burning 600 calories in a day isn't unusual.
The best part is that it actually helps me work faster and think more clearly as I write. It’s perfect for writing, training, etc. I don't use it for graphics, editing or virtual meetings (those things are slower and it’s kind of annoying to talk to someone when they're biking).
Pageviews: 380,880 (down from 449,520 last month)
Income: $22,930.97(down from $24,680.25 last month)
Blogging Income Broken Down:
$1,300.00 Sponsored Posts
$3,854 Ad Networks
(further breakdown of my strategy for each category below)
I’m phasing out of coaching. I loved coaching but since I started batch blogging (working one month ahead on everything) and sticking to my 20 hour work week, meetings tend to screw up my schedule.
That being said, I know the pain of trying to find a coach for a simple question when no one who's making the income you want to be at offers coaching anymore. If you don't need general guidance (for that, you want Elite Blog Academy anyway, it only opens once per year- your best bet is to get on the waiting list now), it’s cheaper and way more in-depth than anything I can teach you in a 30-minute session) and have specific questions, you’re welcome to email me at email@example.com to see what we can do.
Step-by-Step Pinterest Strategy Guide
I have good news though! Because I’m cutting back on coaching, I’m releasing 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 in your inbox right now. It spells out the exact Pinterest strategy that I used to go from $18/month income to over $22,000/month income. You can grab it here.
My goals for May were:
Instagram tracking: Based on my activity last month, I think Instagram is worth using (at least for launches) not necessarily for click-throughs from Instagram, but because when you push your Instagram posts to Facebook you get more reach (but then you have to go manually add the link to FB later).
While this was nothing that blew me out of the water, it proved to me that there was value in Instagram. (Keep in mind that my Instagram numbers are extremely small so it’s hard to make a definite determination based on the audience I have there now).
Autoresponder: DONE! So excited to finally have this up and running and it has my daily subscribers up by 30% already! I created the 90 day Budget for Beginners Boot Camp to walk people step by step through not only creating a budget and living on it, but how to master the routines and organizational skills that they need in order to support their efforts to save money.
It’s everything I’ve learned in my journey to finally pay off our debt and build our savings, for free. You can get it by signing up 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 below to get a full list of the tools and resources that have worked for me this far. **
Outsourcing: Outsourcing has been a focus for me since March, right along with efficiency. In order to keep my work hours flexible at 20 hours a week and still grow, I need to outsource anything I don't like doing, or that I’m not good at.
The only things that I’m currently doing are writing posts, writing emails, meetings, masterminds, brainstorming, training, and Pinterest graphics. Everything else is outsourced to someone who can do it faster, better, or cheaper than me.
Since concentrating on outsourcing, my income has grown and I’m way more relaxed.
Asana: Along with a team, comes a need for a system to communicate.That's why I’ve also focused on efficiency at the same time. Ruth Soukup (founder of Elite Blog Academy) yet again blew my mind when she gave me an advanced copy of Productivity for Bloggers in the last Elite Blog Academy sale. While it’s not available for sale yet, you can get on the waiting list for it here).
She solved a lot of the worst problems that we were facing as I grew my team (mostly how to have two people working from the same inbox without emails getting lost).
Asana took it one step further for us and created a seamless way for the team to assign each other task and communicate effectively. I took Asana for Bloggers, a simple training by Matt Giovanisci to help me get acclimated to the system. While you can probably work it out yourself with a little bit of trial and error, for $25, this training was well worth it to me.
What didn’t work this month:
Expanding core affiliates- I use a core affiliate strategy that’s worked awesome so far, and I a/b tested adding a few extra affiliates this month (more on my strategy below). Expanding at this point in the game isn't working better and I got overwhelmed quickly. I plan to revisit this at a point when I can have a project manager that can help me organize and stay on top of these, but for now, I’ll stick with my core system. (P.S. Are you a project manager that thinks you would rock at this job? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org explaining that you want to put your name in the hat when I’m ready to hire).
Facebook ads: This is another focus for this quarter. It was a frustratingly slow start to ad testing. I’m not known for my adaptability to new technology and Facebook ad analytics reads like Klingon to me.
I’m pretty overwhelmed at this point but I now that I need to focus on this and I understand why it’s important. I'm going to invest in more training and set smaller goals for this to hopefully avoid overwhelm.
Goals for next month:
Facebook ads- By next month, I want to see enough progress with Facebook ads so that I know the ROI that I’m getting from the ads. That’s it. I’m setting a small goal here because I get easily overwhelmed with complicated goals (especially with things I don’t fully understand).
Newsletter growth: By next month, I want to have a 20% increase in my daily newsletter sign ups from this month. I’m sitting down this week to create a strategy in order to hit those numbers and I’m excited about it!
My Blogging 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!).
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.