Tenth Month of making money from Blogging!
Blogging Income Report – April 2019
It’s so hard to believe it’s already May and that I’m already writing my tenth income report! Time really has just flown by and it feels like just yesterday I was writing my very first one!
As I’m nearing my 1-year blogging for money anniversary, I’m starting to feel a little impatient in terms of traffic and income growth. I mean, I was always impatient, but I had a goal in the back of my mind to make a full-time income within a year and I don’t think that’s going to happen LOL. But, I now know that that was a really high goal to have.
In my March 2019 Income Report, I wrote about how March was a total breakthrough month for me – with both my traffic level and income. It was largely due to a viral post at the time and I’m happy to say that the viral post continued through April!
April was another record month for me – my traffic and income more than doubled March’s traffic and income. It still feels surreal!
In this income report, we’ll talk about everything I did in April – from what didn’t work and to did work – and also key takeaways and lessons learned from this record month.
Don’t forget to check out my previous income reports! I talk about what I did each month, so they’re all different!
Why do I publish income reports?
If this is the first income report you’ve stumbled across, it must be pretty weird that I’m sharing my income for the whole wide Internet to see, right?! Trust me, even if this is the tenth one I’m writing, it still feels weird. So, why do I do it?
1. Transparency is important
There are a lot of blogging posts and income reports floating around out there that make it seem blogging is super easy and a “get rich quick” scheme for people that want to work from home.
And that’s totally not the case.
Although there are success stories of bloggers that have been able to make a significant amount of money very quickly, those stories are very much the exceptions.
Most bloggers struggle for a really long time before they even make a single penny!
A great read is this income report from Breaking the One Percent: $347,675 in January and February 2019. In their income report, they show how they went over a year without making a single penny from blogging! Now, they’re making bank, but it took them a long time to get there!
2. To help you
I’ve been publishing income reports from the very first month I started making money from this blog (you can read all of them from my Income Report page) in hopes that my journey would serve somewhat as a blueprint for those just getting started with blogging.
In every income report, I talk about what went well, what didn’t go so well, and important lessons learned, so hopefully you start making money even faster than I did!
Even though I’d still consider myself to be in the very early stages of my blogging career, I’ve learned so much in my first 10 months that will totally help if you’re just starting out!
Affiliate links may be used in this post. This means I may receive a commission from them, at no extra cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.
A little about me and this blog:
I’ve actually had this blog for over 3 years, even if this is only my tenth month of making money from blogging. Hard to believe it’s been that long!
Prior to the month documented in my first income report ten months ago, I had absolutely no clue how to make money from this blog and was doing it as more of a hobby.
I didn’t seriously seek any information about blogging for money or really do anything with my blog other than write and hope people somehow stumbled upon it!
When I first started lianadesu, I was living in Japan and it was a way for my friends and family back home to keep up with my adventures while I was exploring a foreign country. It was very much a personal blog.
(And that’s why you’ll see tons of Japan posts in my archives that I just don’t have the heart to delete!)
When I moved back home about two years ago, I started blogging about beauty-related things, but I still had no idea what I was doing.
I thought the secret to becoming a successful beauty blogger was to become Instagram famous. Silly me. Yes, Instagram is important as a beauty blogger, but I wasted way too much time on it. (You can read why Instagram is a waste of time in my July 2018 Income Report.)
It wasn’t until ten months ago that I finally got my ass into gear and started to work on this blog with the intent of making money! It took me a little while, but I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer!
April 2019 Income Report and Traffic
As I’ve done in my previous 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 April 2019 Blog Expenses: $199.00
- Adventures in SEO Course - $199.00 (payment 1 of 2)
- Tailwind - $0 (paid in full for a year previously)
- Squarespace - $0 (paid in full for a year previously)
Net April 2019 Blog Income: $3,262.75
April 2019 Traffic: 114,528 Users and 165,713 Page Views
Here are my stats from March for comparison:
It’s important to note that April had 30 days in the month and March had 31!
Because of this, let’s look at the average users and page views per day of each month:
April: 3,817.6 users/day and 5,523.77 page views/day
March: 1,573.16 users/day and 2,552.84 page views/day
That is some massive growth, isn’t it?!
In March, I set a goal of 100,000 page views for April and I KILLED IT. Like I mentioned earlier, I had a majorly viral post this month that accounted for over half of my traffic.
So, even though I know that traffic will die down after the viral post loses its virality, it’s still super exciting to see!
This graph makes it even more exciting:
I made a total of $3,461.75 in April, which is more than double of what I made in March! Absolutely crazy!
Again, a lot of it can be attributed to my viral post, so I expect it to decrease in May. But still, that’s money that I earnestly earned and I’m ecstatic about it!
We’ll talk more about how the higher traffic translated into more money a little later in this post, but for now, check out this graph! I still can’t believe it.
So, how did this blog growth happen?!
April was kind of a weird month for me since I have never experienced this type of traffic before and I didn’t really know what to do with myself.
Like, how do I take advantage of viral traffic? Create more opt-in freebies to collect more email subscribers? Bang out more posts so people have more things to click on? Insert more affiliate links in hopes of making more affiliate sales? Or, just sit back and watch the ad money roll in? LOL.
I’ll take the guessing work out of the picture for you – I just sat back and watched the ad money roll in.
Probably not the smartest choice, but I was just in such shock for most of the month!
However, the viral post is a very seasonal post, so I knew it would die down fairly quickly. Thus, I just continued my work flow as I would any other month and didn’t really do anything differently.
It’s always about content
Recently, it’s been my goal to publish 8 new posts every month. I fell just short of that as I published 7 posts in April, but that isn’t too bad!
I’m very much focused on just creating lots of quality content at this stage of my blog just because I want to reach high traffic numbers consistently. I’m still all about building traffic right now.
The quote from Scrivs (of Dare to Conquer) is stuck in my mind as the ultimate goal for my blog. He said that for all of his sites, his goal is to have 100 posts that get over 1,000 page views a month.
That would result in a minimum of 100,000 page views a month, but would probably be much more because the top 5-10 posts would receive way more than 1,000 page views each.
1,000 page views for one post doesn’t seem crazy, right? Totally doable. But, 100 of them?! Damn. I’m not even close.
In April, I had 17 posts that received 1,000 or more page views in the month, which is the same amount of posts I had in March – so no progress there!
With more content, you would think traffic would increase right? But then older content dies off and you have to work to revive those posts. UGH it’s just never-ending work!
Of the seven new posts I wrote in April, ONLY ONE of them had more than 1,000 page views in the month. That’s pretty abysmal, if you ask me!
Hopefully those posts start to see more traffic in May. No, I’m going to make sure they do. I’m going to promote them HARD and make sure they get the traffic they deserve! I can’t just let content that I worked hard on not get any love!
Because I want that ad money!
I say this in every income report and the way I feel about it has not changed. I want most of my income to be passive and ad revenue is the easiest way for me to do that right now.
I can make money while I’m sleeping with ads! And people don’t have to buy anything through my blog for me to make money with ads. All I need is traffic.
More traffic = More Ad Revenue
Traffic and Page View RPM
April was my best month ever in terms of ad revenue! I made $2,837.61 just from ads! That’s more than double of what I made in March! (And I was super stoked about my March ad revenue last month.)
I can attribute most of the increase in ad revenue to the massive increase in page views. But, I also had a higher page view RPM in April than I did in March, which I am very happy about!
I had 165,713 page views in April, up from 79,138 in March – more than double! So, obviously ad revenue should be significantly higher with that many more page views.
My viral post accounted for 104,683 page views in April, so I KNOW my page views will drastically decrease once this post has run its course. Without that post, I had 61, 030 page views.
And in March, that post accounted for 20,695 page views. Without it, I had 58,443 page views.
As you can see, I didn’t actually have that much traffic growth from March to April – only about a 2,500 page view difference. But, even a little bit of growth is growth, so I’ll take it!
Increase in RPM
If you don’t know what RPM is, it’s the revenue earned for every 1,000 page views. Mediavine calculates RPM in both sessions and page views, but we’ll stick with using the measure of page views for this post.
RPM depends on a variety of things, some of which you can control and some of which you can’t.
I like to think of it as: the longer a reader stays on the page and the more he/she scrolls through, the more ads will be seen, so more money is made!
And getting your readers to stay on the page longer and scroll more comes down to…guess what? Content! Content just plays such a big part in everything!
Of course, there are technical aspects like the font size, ad placement, site speed, and so much other shit, but if you’re doing all those things well, it really comes down to content.
It also depends on the season of the year it is, which is out of your control. Advertisers just spend more money at certain times of the year and that’s just how it is! Check out Mediavine’s post: Ad Revenue By The Seasons.
I finished April with an RPM of $17.12, which is great! Of course, the greediness in me wants to see that number be even higher.
But, it’s up from $15.15 in March, so I’m not complaining!
My affiliate sales also increased by a lot in April and I can also attribute that to the increase in traffic.
None of my affiliate marketing strategies have changed, it’s just that with more people viewing my posts, there are bound to be more people that buy something.
Since I am in the beauty niche, I actually struggle pretty hard with affiliate marketing. It’s hard for me to find higher ticket items with larger payouts (doesn’t help that I’ve been doing so many drugstore makeup posts LOL).
For example, of my $57.38 commission from Amazon, I can say with confidence that almost all of the items purchased were under $20, with a lot of them being in the $5-10 range.
I was credited with 104 sales on Amazon and only made $57.38 in commission… Can you imagine how many sales I’d have to make to start making bank from Amazon?!
My best performing affiliate in April was Ebates, by far! These are the best kind of affiliates to find – the “freebie” affiliates. The kind that it’s free for someone to sign up and you get credited for it.
More on freebie affiliates can be found in this amazing affiliate marketing course. If you’re not making conversions on your affiliate links, this course is for you. It teaches you how to convert your readers into buyers.
Pinterest is currently being pretty shitty for me and has been for much of April. And I can honestly say that I have no idea why.
Apparently, the season of the year has a lot to do with it. Well, that’s what I’ve heard from other bloggers that have years’ worth of data to compare.
Spring is the start of good weather, there was Easter weekend, Spring Break, and graduation coming up, so I guess people are just spending less time on the Internet.
I’ve been doing all the right things with Pinterest (I believe so, anyway) like creating new pins frequently and being consistent with my pinning, but I still didn’t experience great Pinterest numbers in April.
I know I said Pinterest has been shitty for me, and it really felt that way throughout April!
But, maybe I overreacted… My April traffic from Pinterest was actually pretty steady, which I only found out once I dug into the numbers. (It really did feel like it was a bad Pinterest month, though.)
I guess it only felt bad because there wasn’t any real growth from the previous month. There was a slight growth, but not much.
And at this point in my blogging career, I feel like I still have a ton of room to grow, so not seeing any growth is a huge bummer!
Here are the Pinterest traffic numbers for the last two months:
April: 50,078 page views
March: 49,618 page views
April had 30 days in the month while March had 31, so let’s look at average per day:
April: 1,669.27 page views per day
March: 1,600.58 page views per day
Pinterest is still a major source of my traffic so I’m going to continue working hard on it!
I intend on going through the Pinteresting Strategies course again to refresh my memory on some things, because that course gave me great results when I first went through it!
After complaining about how my Pinterest traffic didn’t grow in April, I bet you can guess where the traffic to my viral post came from… Yup! You guessed it!
And how did I manage to get over 100k page views to ONE POST from Google?! It’s all in the SEO.
Seasonality comes into play with this post, but if I wrote the post without paying attention to SEO, there’s no way it would’ve done as well.
This post skyrocketed to the top of page one of the Google search results almost as soon as I posted it and submitted it for indexing. And when I noticed it started to lose some steam, I made some tweaks to the post and it went right back up.
How did I do this? THIS BOOK RIGHT HERE: Easy On Page SEO
There are a lot of factors in whether a post will rank high in the search results or not, but a good place to start is making sure the on-page SEO is solid. Because that is completely in your control!
Other ranking factors such as domain age, backlinks, social shares, etc. are less in your control and/or take longer to happen, so why not focus on what’s in your control right now?
I’ve implemented the techniques in the Easy On Page SEO e-book on many of my other posts and I’ve already seen an overall increase in my organic traffic to those posts.
My Favorite Blogging Resources
I still regularly use the following resources to continue learning and improving, or they are resources that have really helped me get my blog to where it is now.
If you’ve read any of my previous income reports, it should be no surprise that this one has already become much longer than I anticipated it being. Once I start writing, I just can’t stop! These income reports always end up so long!
So, since I don’t want to keep you here for days, I’m going to go through my favorite blogging resources pretty quickly. I have more in-depth descriptions on them in some of my previous income reports, if you want more info. And you can always email me if you have questions about any of them!
I mentioned this course earlier in the Pinterest section and it’s totally the course that I attribute all of my Pinterest success to.
It’s the perfect course to get you started with Pinterest and it goes in-depth on how Pinterest works. It doesn’t just lay out a strategy for you to follow, it makes you actually understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
It also doesn’t require you to use a scheduler (like Tailwind) to be able to implement the strategies. Very low cost, which is especially important when you’re not making a profit from blogging yet!
You can also get $5 off with the code PINNING5 (I’m unsure how long this code will be good for, though!)
As a supplement to the Pinteresting Strategies course above, the P.I.Q. Pinterest Strategy e-book will show you a completely new and fresh way to do keyword research for Pinterest.
This e-book does not teach you how to set up your Pinterest profile, show you how to create pins, or show you how Pinterest works, which is why I said it’s a supplement to the above course.
If you’re in a place where you think you have a solid Pinterest strategy, but feel like you’re in a rut and need to shake things up a bit, or you just want to take things to the next level, you’ll enjoy this e-book.
3. Dare to Conquer (formerly Billionaire Blog Club)
This is an all-encompassing blogging how-to program that will give you all the tools needed to start a successful blog.
There are courses for everything you need – SEO, Pinterest, affiliate marketing, content creation, and so much more.
It’s not the cheapest of resources out there, but it includes everything you need and you probably won’t need to buy anything else for a very long time.
I’d sign up for one of Scrivs’ (the creator) free bootcamps to get a taste of what the courses are like. I loved his bootcamps and learned so much from just those.
Here are his bootcamps:
I also mentioned this course above, in my affiliate sales section, and it’s an intermediate level affiliate marketing course.
It is great if you already know what affiliate marketing is and how it works, but you need to learn how to make it work for you.
It’ll totally teach you all of the right tactics to convert your readers into buyers. Affiliate marketing has a lot to do with psychology! And this course shows you exactly how.
Also, if you remember that I mentioned “freebie” affiliates earlier, where the buyer doesn’t necessarily need to buy something, this course talks about that in detail.
I still don’t make a killing from affiliate sales, but trust me, it was much worse before! Like I said earlier, I think my lack of affiliate sales has to do with my niche and the products I promote.
I promote a lot of super cheap stuff and obviously that’s not the best for commission!
Tailwind is honestly the best thing that has happened to me regarding productivity.
I was spending SO much time on Pinterest every day that it really cut into my content creation time.
Now, I spend maybe 10-15 minutes at the beginning of every month scheduling a month’s worth of pins and I can pretty much forget about it and trust that Tailwind will pin for me.
I still manually pin a few pins here and there, but there are often days that I don’t log onto Pinterest at all.
Being consistent is a huge deal when it comes to how well you do on Pinterest and Tailwind makes staying consistent easy.
Since I know my viral post is going to die out in May (it’s May 3rd as I’m writing this and traffic to that post is already pretty nonexistent), my goals for May are going to be lower than they were in April. I have to stay realistic!
I’d love to reach 75,000 page views and make more than $2,000 in May. With the way things have been going in the first few days of May, I think it’ll be difficult LOL. But, you never know! I may have another viral post!
How will I reach these goals?
1. Adventures in SEO
I just enrolled into a new course, Adventures in SEO, because I’m ready to dive deep into SEO!
I know a lot of the basics already and I actually studied it in university, so I pretty much got all of the on-page stuff down. (The Easy On Page SEO Book I mentioned above did show me some new tricks, though.)
But, I think I need like a really comprehensive course that shows me how to keyword research well and all that shit that happens off-page.
I really want to stop relying on Pinterest and diversify my traffic more. Not counting the viral post, about 80% of my traffic comes from Pinterest and how scary is that?! What if something happens to Pinterest and everything disappears?!
That’s why I need that Google traffic! Hopefully this course will show me everything I need to know!
2. More content. Always more content.
No matter how many posts I have, I always feel like it’s not enough. And I don’t think I’ll ever feel like it’s enough.
I need to at least get to 100 posts that receive 1,000 page views a month! And I’m FAR from that, so I have lots of work to do.
And hopefully, more content translates to more traffic, which would mean more ad money! You know I love that ad money.
3. Opt-ins for Email Subscribers
I always forget to mention this earlier in my income reports.
I don’t really have a lot to say about email subscribers for April, so I’ll just briefly talk about it here instead of going back and adding a section for it above. I’ll try to remember to make an entire section for that in next month’s report!
I set a goal of having 275 subscribers by the end of April and I finished with 273. However, I did some cleaning of my list in April and got rid of a handful of subscribers that haven’t opened any of my emails EVER.
So, I definitely hit my goal for the month.
I mentioned last month that I wanted to create more opt-in freebies to collect emails at a faster rate. Well, that didn’t happen LOL. Maybe this month.
I’m going to set a high goal of having 350 subscribers by the end of May. I’ve been gaining between 30-40 subscribers every month, so I think I’ll definitely need some new opt-ins!
I still can’t believe it’s already been 10 months since I’ve been actively trying to make money from this blog – it’s absolutely crazy!
April was a record month for me and I can still barely wrap my head around it.
With the ultimate goal of being able to do this full-time and earning enough income to support myself comfortably, it’s beginning to seem more and more possible.
I’m even starting to seriously consider quitting my job in the next few months and that seemed like just a dream a few months ago!
Having a record-breaking month like this, even if I know May will probably be lower in both traffic and income, makes me SO motivated to continue working hard and have more months like this!
And with that my friends, I shall end this income report. I know it was super long and they always are, no matter how concise I try to be LOL. Congrats if you made it this far! I appreciate you!
Be sure to let me know your thoughts down in the comments! :)
Thanks for reading and until next time. <3
P.S. If you like what I do here on lianadesu, it would mean so much to me if you bought me a coffee (support my blog)!
Sign up with the form below to get notified when I publish income reports and anything else blogging related. You won’t get emails regarding my main niche (beauty).