Sixth month of making money from blogging!
Hi, friends! It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 6 months since I’ve started monetizing my blog. And honestly, I thought I would be a lot further along by now, but at least I’m still moving forward!
December definitely felt like a roller coaster ride, but I’m happy to say that I still managed to make more money in December than I did in November. Yay!
My income reports tend to really get out-of-hand, length-wise, so I’m going to try to make this one a little more concise. I may only briefly explain some things that I’ve already mentioned in detail in my previous income reports, so I encourage you to check those out as well.
If this is the first income report you’re reading, it must be strange that I’m disclosing my income for all of the Internet to see, right? Trust me, I used to feel the exact same way.
So, why do I choose to publish income reports?
To help you:
From the very first month of monetizing my blog, I started publishing income reports. I wanted my blogging journey to serve as sort of a blueprint for others that are also trying to make money blogging.
I always will write about what works and what doesn’t, so maybe you won’t make the same mistakes I did!
Now that I have a bit of blogging under my belt, I hope that through my income reports, you are able to gain some insight on how to make money blogging.
To be transparent about the industry:
I think a lot of people think bloggers live the perfect life and they hardly do any work, yet they make tons of money online “doing nothing.” This could not be further from the truth. And even if some bloggers like to paint the perfect image of their lives, I want everyone to know that a lot of hard work goes into blogging.
(Important note: I’m referring to actual bloggers with a website, not Instagram influencers/models. Those are two very different things, though some individuals are both.)
Also, I feel it’s necessary to address the lack of honesty in many blogger’s income reports. I’ve seen a lot where they make it seem so easy to make money blogging, but they don’t really go in-depth on how they are making money.
Always be wary of this, guys! In my income reports, it’s my number one priority to be completely transparent about how this blog is making money (even if it’s not pretty!).
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
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 this blog:
December marked my 6th month of making money blogging, but this month (January) is actually my 3-year blogging anniversary! I’m sure you can imagine how much regret I feel for not monetizing my blog sooner. I spent so much time writing for no one to read!
However, this blog started off as very much a hobby for me and it was a way for my family and friends to keep up with me while I was living in Japan. I only got into beauty blogging around mid-2017 when I moved back home to Maui and it was only recently that I got serious about it.
A more detailed description of my blogging journey up until I started monetizing it can be found in my July 2018 Income Report.
December 2018 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 December 2018 Blog Income: $497.89
December 2018 Traffic: 16,948 Users and 26,846 Page Views
After failing to reach my goal of 30,000 page views in November, I set the same goal for December. And I failed again! The past few months definitely felt like a struggle and like I’ve hit sort of a plateau in my blogging journey.
Here are my stats from November for comparison:
So, what worked? And what didn’t?
This was my first holiday season as a blogging-for-profit blogger and I have heard that December can be the worst month in terms of traffic, but can also be the best month in terms of revenue.
If you look at my Adsense revenue, it was much higher in December compared to November, even if traffic was about the same. Advertisers pay more money for advertising space in December because they know people are buying things for the holidays.
In terms of traffic, I didn’t really know what to expect in December as I don’t normally get a ton of traffic, so the highs and lows aren’t really that drastic, but I can definitely say that the holidays did have some effect on my traffic
If you look at the screen shot of my December stats, you can see that during the week of Christmas, my blog experienced an abnormally long run of low traffic. Usually my traffic goes down during the week and picks up on the weekend.
But, that definitely was not the case during Christmas week – it was low from the Thursday before Christmas to the Friday after Christmas.
Despite the slightly abnormal traffic behavior, I still hoped to work on a few things to increase my traffic and income, which I outlined in my November income report. Let’s see how I did with them:
1. Affiliate Marketing
I finally finished the Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers course by Carly Campbell!
I’ll just say that I’ve learned TONS of things from the course and am looking forward to implementing those things into my blog posts.
Some of the course goes into affiliate marketing in emails and I’m not quite there yet, with my email list, but I will definitely be revisiting that section in the future as it was extremely eye-opening.
I have been implementing a number of the strategies into my blog posts and my affiliate sales increased in December, which is a great sign! It’s still not amazing numbers, but it’s progress!
And if you think about it, the amount I made from affiliate sales covers just about half a year for my Tailwind subscription! It’s all about perspective LOL.
2. Cut down on content creation
I’ve been saying the same thing for months now – cut down on content creation to make time for other blogging duties.
WELL, I finally accomplished that in December! It was more likely due to it being the holidays and I just didn’t have as much time, rather than me focusing my efforts elsewhere, though.
And posting only 5 times in December really felt like not enough to me. But, I think I’m going to stick with posting 4-5 times a month because that really does free up my time to do other important things.
3. Write ever-green content
I am really proud of myself for accomplishing this! Even with all of the holiday sales, I refrained from giving into my FOMO and writing about those sales. Posts about sales have given me a nice traffic boost in the past, but it only stays relevant for a very short while.
And the fall from the peak in traffic is really demoralizing! Maybe one day I’ll get used to the traffic roller coaster that comes with a successful sale post, but not today! My main goal is to create content that will give me consistent traffic for months and even years to come.
However, being that my niche is makeup/beauty, I don’t think any post is really going to be ever-green because eventually the products I mention in the post are going to be outdated, irrelevant, or even discontinued.
Even with makeup how-to posts, or any posts that I don’t specifically talk about products, makeup trends always change!
That can be a good and bad thing. On one hand, I’ll always have content that I can write. And on the other hand, nothing I write will probably be relevant for more than a few years.
That’s definitely something to think about when deciding your niche.
So, for the content that I created in December, I think they’re as ever-green as makeup content is going to get.
My Favorite Blogging Resources
In addition to the above points, I still regularly use the following resources to continue learning and improving, or they are resources that really helped me get to where I am now.
1. Pinteresting Strategies Course
If you’re in the beginning stages of your blog, you may have heard that many bloggers get the majority of traffic from Pinterest. And that is absolutely true for me.
In December, I got 19,502 page views from Pinterest alone, which is about 72.6% of my total page views! Crazy, isn’t it?!
Pinterest is an amazing traffic source especially for new bloggers, because it doesn’t take a lot of time for you to start seeing some success.
I first bought Pinteresting Strategies back in May, but didn’t really start implementing the strategies until July. From then to now is less than 6 months of me taking Pinterest seriously. And I started from nothing.
That’s how amazing this course is. It transformed a complete Pinterest newbie to someone that is now getting almost 20,000 page views from Pinterest a month, in less than 6 months.
P.S. As I’m writing this, a little over a week into January, I already have over 7,000 page views just from Pinterest, so this month is looking to be even better!
You may have heard about Dare to Conquer (formerly Billionaire Blog Club) as the mecca of all blogging resources. Well, it totally is. But also, so much more.
Yes, you get amazing courses on all aspects of blogging. It really is a one-stop shop to learn everything you should know about blogging.
But, what sets DTC apart from other resources is the community that you become part of. The creator, Paul Scrivens (Scrivs) is so available to help anyone when they have questions.
And because DTC uses a collaboration tool called Slack, you can always talk to other members about anything! You can post a question and the wonderful people will answer!
In addition to that, Scrivs is what makes DTC amazing. He just has a no-nonsense way about doing things and will tell you like it is, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Because he’s there to help you and he genuinely wants to.
Dare to Conquer is definitely not the cheapest of resources at $500 (there are payment plan options, though). So, before committing to that purchase, I HIGHLY recommend enrolling in one of his FREE bootcamps. I took his Free 12-Day Blogging Bootcamp (via email) and can honestly say you’ll learn a lot from that bootcamp alone.Here are his 4 bootcamps:
Also, Scrivs sends out really helpful emails. And you don’t need to be part of DTC to get them. You’ll get them once you go through a bootcamp.
DTC is going to be $1000 beginning end of the day on January 18th, so if you've been holding off, now might be the time to pull the trigger!
3. Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers Course
I mentioned how eye-opening this course was earlier and I truly believe it has helped increase my affiliate income recently.
This course is especially great if you have no idea where to even begin with affiliate marketing.
You know people make money from affiliate marketing. You know that means putting links in your posts. But, how do you get those links to convert into sales?!
Carly shows you exactly how to do that.
Tailwind is seriously one of the best things that has happened to my blogging life.
I use it for scheduling pins to Pinterest and it saves me SO MUCH TIME. I will spend about 10-15 minutes at the start of the month to schedule enough pins to last for the entire month. And that’s it!
I can trust that Tailwind will do its thing to get my pins onto the right boards at the right time!
Being consistent is one of the keys to Pinterest success and Tailwind allows me to do so without having to constantly be on Pinterest. It frees up my time to do other things!
You probably have heard of Grammarly before, right? If you haven’t, it’s basically a spelling and grammar checker for your web browser.
I’m an avid Microsoft Word user for drafting my blog posts which has a built-in spelling and grammar checker, but I will admit that there are times that I don’t use it.
Which is why having the Grammarly browser extension is great. It will check my post while it’s in my blog’s text editor, before I post it.
In addition to that, it’ll literally check everything you do in your browser. Facebook, Twitter, email, and all.
You can also sign up for their affiliate program here.
This is an all-in-one planner customized for blogging to keep your blog life organized! And I sure need some organization LOL.
It’s not only a planner to write down things to do for you blog, there are pages that you can write down your goals, pages that make you think about your brand, who your audience is, and other really important items that one usually forgets about.
It’s so easy to get lost in the technical side of things and forget what you’re really blogging for - to help people.
This blogging planner has really gotten my thoughts in order! The bonus is that it’s super cute. And honestly cheaper (only $15) than any generic planner you’d buy in a store that you would have to customize yourself.
So, what’s next?
Even though I had a slight increase in traffic and income from November, I totally feel like I’ve hit a plateau in my blogging journey.
For the past three months, I’ve had very similar stats and that is pretty discouraging! Like, what am I not doing right?!
But, I know that blogging is a slow burn and success really doesn’t happen overnight. And I just have to keep plugging along!
For the second month in a row, I didn’t reach my goal of 30,000 page views. Yet, I feel like it’s too low of a goal for January. I just have a feeling January is going to be my month! So, my goal for January is to hit 35,000 page views.
Income wise, I think it’ll be tough to see an increase in January. One reason is that consumers are just not buying much because their wallets are recovering from the holidays.
Another reason is that ad revenue is very low in January. Advertisers are just not paying a lot to advertise in January because of consumer behavior and because they are still figuring out their advertising budget for the year.
Nonetheless, I still want to continue to improve by working on the following items:
1. More Affiliate Marketing
I mentioned earlier that I finished Carly’s Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers course, so now I want to create more posts that are affiliate marketing centric.
Right now, most of my posts have affiliate links in them, but the entire post was not created to get people to buy things.
I’m thinking of doing more Amazon product recommendations, because who doesn’t love Amazon?!
2. Keyword Research
As far as SEO goes, I already do pretty well with most of my posts, especially my product reviews. But, how many people are actually searching for that? Judging from my Google search stats, not very many LOL.
I’ve stated dabbling in researching high search volume keywords, but I still have a lot to learn. I definitely want to start writing content that lots of people are searching for.
Imagine ranking #1 for a search term that gets 10,000 searches a month and 30% of those people click into your blog - that’s 3,000 views just from that one blog post! If that post was monetized well with affiliate links and ads, MONEY. And 10,000 searches a month really isn’t even a high volume.
3. Email Marketing
I’m realizing more and more how important an email list is and how much income it can bring in.
I do already have a small mailing list of about 150 people and I try to email them every week, but sometimes I just don’t know what to write!
I don’t want it to be like, “Hey, I posted some new blogs, check it out!” every single week, so it’s been a challenge figuring out what kind of value I can offer them to make them want to read my emails every week.
Blogging is hard man.
It really is discouraging to feel like you’ve been working so hard and to not have much progress. Of course, there are definitely ways that I could be working harder, but with a full-time job, time really is an issue.
As time is passing, however, I am becoming much more calm with the ups-and-downs of traffic and am not freaking out (as much) when there’s a dip in traffic.
Just like last month, I keep reminding myself to think about the bigger picture. Yeah, things may not be going how I want right now. But, if I just keep working hard, it’ll happen. (Hopefully sooner than later, though.) Nothing good comes easy, right?!
And with that my friends, I shall end this month’s income report. Please be sure to let me know your thoughts down in the comments! :)
Check out my other income reports:
Thank you 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)!
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