Third month of making money from blogging!
Hi, friends! Another month has gone by which means another monthly income report! I’m just as excited to write this month’s income report as I was the last two. I know this one is coming to you a little late this month, but I was in Japan for the first half of the month, so please forgive me!
Check out my other Income Reports:
I am very happy to say that my traffic and income for September was greater than it was in August, although I wish it was even higher! The more I get into this blogging thing, the greedier I get LOL. I’m still reporting very humble numbers (especially compared to some of those crazy income reports out there), and I’d be lying if I said I was happy with my growth rate right now. But hey, I guess any growth is good. Better than going backwards!
Even though this is now my third income report that I’m publishing, the concept of sharing this kind of information with the entire Internet is still a little strange to me. And if this is the first income report you’ve stumbled across, it must be super weird to you, too!
So, why do I choose to publish income reports?
I personally love reading income reports from other bloggers. There is so much information in them and it always provides me with new monetization ideas. Not to mention, it’s super inspirational! It gives me the feeling that I can do this blogging thing and being really successful at it is possible!
Although my income reports are very small compared to other bloggers, my intent of publishing them from the very first month I started making any kind of money was to be as transparent as possible and make the road to blogging for money clear from the very beginning. Sometimes I read income reports that are reporting $100,000 per month and I’m like, “but HOW did that happen?!” And I look through the other income reports on that blog to still be left confused on how they’re making so much money. I don’t want that to happen when reading my income reports. I hope they provide you with a clear understanding of how I started to make money from Day 1.
Also, through sharing my income reports, I want you to know that I’m here with you and here for you! I am by no means an expert at this and I’m making mistakes every single day trying to figure this shit out. BUT, I’m learning each day and I want to share that with you! If you are a new blogger or you’ve had a blog for a while but you’re now thinking of monetizing it, I’m in the same boat as you are! We’re in this together.
Affiliate links may be used in this post. You can read my full disclosure here.
A little about this blog:
September was only the third month that I made money from blogging, but I’ve actually been blogging for a while! This blog started as a way for my friends and family to keep up with my adventures while I was living in Japan and turned into more of a beauty blog with bits of travel when I moved back home to Maui last year. If you take a look at my archives, you’ll notice that I’m actually a few months away from my 3-year blogging anniversary and I just wish I had started monetizing sooner!
A little more in-depth description of my blogging journey up until I started monetizing can be found in my July 2018 income report.
September 2018 Income Report & Traffic
As I’ve done in my last two income reports, I will be reporting my income on an earned basis, even though this money hasn’t hit my bank account yet. The money I’ve earned in any given month corresponds to the traffic of said month, so I feel this is an intuitive way of reporting. This may change in the future, but I will always disclose my reporting method in every income report.
Total September 2018 Blog Income: $206.83
Google Adsense – $205.39
Amazon Affiliates – $1.44
ShareASale (various merchants) – $0.00
Rakuten Marketing (various merchants) – $0.00
September 2018 Traffic: 10,122 Users and 15,780 page views
In August, I set a goal to hit 15,000 page views in September (even though I really wanted to shoot for 20,000, but I knew that would be really difficult). AND YAY I REACHED IT!! I had one day where I had over a thousand views and a few other days with higher views than I normally get, so that really helped make up for the days when traffic was down
Here are my stats from August for comparison:
So, what did I do to increase traffic?
In my August income report, I outlined a few things I wanted to do to help reach my goal. Did I actually do them?
1. Stay Calm
I definitely want to give myself a pat on the back for this one. I think I was considerably calmer in September than I was in August. Even though I realize that traffic will always be a roller-coaster ride, I’m the type of person that will just sit there and analyze my stats all day. However, in September, I think I focused on stats much less than I did in the previous month. I’m almost at the point where I know I’m taking steps to help in me the long-run, so I’m not as focused on the present. Key word: ALMOST. I still get a bit crazy when traffic is low, but it takes me less time to forget about it.
2. Create more content that people want to read
I created a ton of content in September, especially for my standards. I posted 8 blog posts, which is a lot for me! Whether they were posts that people wanted to read…you can have a look and decide LOL. In the last half of the month, I focused on creating gift guides for the holidays, even if we’re still months away. It takes time for posts to pick up traction on Pinterest and Google, so I wanted to get them out early.
I honestly have yet to see a lot of traffic from these posts, so fingers crossed I didn’t waste my time on them. But, even if I did, it’s all part of the learning process!
The two posts that brought in the most traffic were posted in July and August, with one killing it on Pinterest and one killing it on Google. And both were just sheer luck… I don’t have my shit together nearly enough to have ranked high on Google because I tried LOL. I think I just posted it at the right time. And for the post that’s killing it on Pinterest, that one is still kind of a mystery to me. I first posted it when I was just beginning my Pinterest journey and to me, it’s not an ever-green post and is outdated by now, but the people of Pinterest seem to think otherwise!
I actually did not do anything special or different with Pinterest in September. My strategy just consisted of taking my top ten pins and rotating them through my personal and group boards, never pinning twice to any group board in one day. This seemed to be going alright, but I wasn’t really seeing any spectacular results from it. Pinterest has been going through some updates lately and Pinterest has actually been quoted saying that group boards will be prioritized less than personal boards, so I may have to re-evaluate my strategy.
I signed up for Tailwind at the end of the month in preparation for my trip to Japan, but only the very last few days of September were scheduled with Tailwind, so I can’t say how it’s going yet. There will definitely be an update on this in next month’s income report!
4. Sponsored Posts
I didn’t do any sponsored posts. At all. I haven’t taken the time to dive into any of the influencer networks that I signed up for yet. With all the content that I wanted to produce, I really didn’t even have the time to think about doing any sponsored posts.
Have I done anything else?
1. Affiliate Marketing
I made another Amazon sale in September! I STILL haven’t learned how to properly utilize affiliate marketing, so I didn’t create any affiliate-specific posts. In due time. That’s definitely one of the next things I’m going to focus on.
2. AMP [Accelerated Mobile Page(s)]
If you’re not already familiar with AMP, it’s basically a stripped-down version of your site that Google hosts on their servers for fast loading on mobile devices. And by stripped-down, I mean no ads, no pop-ups if you have them, no plug-ins – it’s basically just plain text, photos, and a text link back to the original post.
If you ever searched something on Google from your mobile device, you may have noticed a little lightning bolt next to some of the results. That lightning bold indicates that it’s an AMP. (I really want to say AMP page, but the P in AMP stands for Page, so it’s like when people say ATM machine LOL.)
I use Squarespace and by default, AMP is enabled for all pages/posts, which I never thought twice about because doesn’t it sound good? Like, of course we want our site to load quickly for users! One day, I had Justin search for a keyword on Google to see where I ranked in the search results. And it was the AMP version of my blog post that was showing up on the first page. So, he clicked on it and guess what…it was nowhere to be seen in Google Analytics.
And when I thought about it, if Google is hosting that version of my blog post on their servers for fast loading, then of course it won’t show up as a page view on MY site. I weighed the pros and cons of disabling AMP for all of my posts/pages and ultimately, I decided to disable it. I worried that it would mess up my ranking for all of my posts and I’d be nowhere to be seen on Google search, but it really didn’t affect SEO that much.
After disabling AMP, my search traffic increased SO MUCH. Actually, it’s probably just that it’s now being reported in MY site stats. In August, I had about 1,500 page views from Google and in September, I had about 5,000. Seriously…shoot me. Based on the fact that I did absolutely no SEO work pretty much ever, there’s no way my traffic from Google would have increased that much in just a month. I can just imagine how many page views weren’t being counted until I disabled AMP. It actually makes me sick.
I know there’s a way to set up AMP properly and have it count towards your own stats and to make it look decent, but I haven’t taken the time to figure that out. I figured my site is mobile-optimized enough to put AMP on the back-burner for now.
So, what’s next?
I definitely am setting my page view goal for October at 20,000, which makes my average daily page view goal about 645. Contrary to the previous month, I don’t think this is a lofty goal at all. I say that because I don’t want to increase at a rate of only 5,000 views per month forever. At some point, I need to set my goals higher and just bust my ass to get there.
As for income…my goal for October is more than September LOL. I barely had an increase in income from August to September, so of course, I’d love to see a greater increase in October. I don’t really have a set income goal yet for my blog because I haven’t really taken the time to learn about other monetization strategies besides placing ads in my posts. I really want to become an affiliate marketing master, but let’s be real, it’ll take some time.
How will I accomplish my goal?
1. Pinterest: Tailwind + Pinteresting Strategies
As I mentioned above, I started using Tailwind at the end of September in preparation for my trip to Japan where I was unable to manually pin every day. In October, I’ll be scheduling most of my pins through Tailwind. I’ll still manually pin a few times every day, but I’ll definitely be relying on Tailwind to do the bulk of my pinning. More than using Tailwind to gain more traffic from Pinterest (which is what most of the hype around Tailwind is caused by), in the few weeks that I’ve been using it, I love how much it frees up my time to do other things for my blog.
I used to have a pretty elaborate pinning strategy – very detailed spreadsheet and I would be pinning throughout the day. But now, I’m kind of just letting Tailwind do its thing. I just add the pins to the queue, and I let Tailwind decide when it should go out. This not only frees up my time, but it frees up my mind! I was constantly thinking about Pinterest and it was just not fun! Now, I have more time to create more content as well as gain more knowledge about the other aspects of blogging.
I’ve attributed a lot of my Pinterest success (even though it’s still small beans) to Carly Campbell and her Pinteresting Strategies e-book. I highly recommend this book because it’s affordable, she goes in-depth about what strategies have worked for her, she teaches you how Pinterest actually works, and it’s all about manual pinning. I was definitely one who didn’t want to shell out the cash for Tailwind before I even knew how Pinterest works and I hated all of the books/courses I saw that were just Tailwind promotions! (Ironic now because I purchased Tailwind anyway LOL).
She just released an update to her e-book, which is now a course, so I definitely am going to take some time to go through that course, especially because of the recent Pinterest update! Pinterest is always going crazy…
GUYS. I mentioned in my July income report that I really wanted to dive into BBC (which is now DTC) by Paul Scrivens and start implementing some of the strategies in the courses offered – especially the Pinterest and SEO courses. Well, two months have passed, and I STILL cannot say that I have really dived in.
I did go through the Pinterest Course pretty well and used Paul’s Tailwind strategy during my initial setup of Tailwind. Past that though, I haven’t done much else. I NEED to get my shit together and go through those courses because it was not cheap! I definitely want to go through the SEO course and start killing it on Google for every post.
Even though I haven't gone through BBC/DTC yet, I really enjoy reading Paul's emails! I definitely recommend getting on his email list ASAP! I first got onto his email list by going through his FREE 12-Day Blogging Bootcamp. I absolutely loved it and even if you just go through the Bootcamp without moving forward with BBC/DTC, you'll learn a whole lot! Sign up here for FREE!
3. Genius Bloggers Toolkit from Ultimate Bundles
Okay, I might be turning into a blogging course shopaholic. I actually just purchased this bundle a few days ago because it was $97 for almost $6,000 worth of blogging resources and it is only that price during one week in the entire year.
In addition to her Pinteresting Strategies e-book, Carly also authored an affiliate marketing course that was included in the bundle. The course normally costs $79, so I figured for just $22 more, I’d gain access to TONS of other resources. In addition to the affiliate marketing course, if just one of the other resources is valuable to me (which is very likely), I’d say it was worth it. Of course, not all of the resources will be useful to me right now, but they may be in the future!
For the month of October, I’ll definitely be focusing on Carly’s affiliate marketing course to try to get that income higher! Unless my traffic really skyrockets, my ad revenue really won’t have that great of an increase, so I definitely need to start monetizing in other ways.
And with that my friends, I shall end this income report. These always end up being so much longer than I think they’re going to be! If you made it to the end, you’re a champ and thank you for sticking with me until the end!
Whether you’re a new blogger or a seasoned veteran, I would love to hear what you think! I’m always looking for new perspectives on things and I love hearing the opinions of other bloggers. What are your most best monetization practices? Please leave me a note in the comments! :)
Check out my other Income Reports:
Thank you for reading and until next time! <3
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