Seventh Month of making money from Blogging!
January 2019 Blogging Income Report
Hi, friends! I can’t believe another month has already gone by and that this is my seventh blogging income report! Time sure has flown by!
January was a little strange – my traffic totally increased, but my income decreased. We’re going to talk about why that happened a little later in this post.
If you’ve read any of my other income reports, you know I tend to get really wordy and these income reports get really out of hand. So, just like last month, I’m going to try to be really concise!
I may only briefly explain some things if I’ve already mentioned it in 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 really strange that I’m sharing my income with the entire Internet, right?! It’s my seventh month doing this, and it’s still strange for me, too.
Why do I publish blogging income reports?
To help you:
I began posting income reports from the very first month I started making money from this blog. I always knew I wanted to share my journey to serve as somewhat of a guide for others that are also trying to make money from blogging.
I will always write about what worked for me and what didn’t, so hopefully you don’t make the same mistakes I did!
Now that I have a tiny bit of experience blogging, I hope that through my income reports, you can get a taste of what needs to be done to make money from blogging.
To keep myself accountable:
I will admit that I thought about not publishing an income report this month because I didn’t have any income growth.
It’s especially important for me to publish income reports on ‘down’ months, so we can talk about why that happened!
It would be easy for me to just brush January aside and never talk about it again.
But, I believe it is way more beneficial to you and to myself that we really think about why things didn’t go as planned, rather than talking about only things that worked!
The most learning happens after you fail, not after you succeed!
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:
Even though this is only my seventh income report, this January actually marked my 3-year blogging anniversary!
You can probably imagine how much regret I feel for waiting so long to monetize! All of those months just spent writing for no one to read… Sigh.
But, this blog started off completely as a hobby and it was just a way for my family and friends to keep up with my adventures while I was living in Japan.
It wasn’t until I moved back home to Maui that I got into the beauty niche. And it wasn’t until seven months ago that I really got serious about trying to make some cash from all this!
I wrote a pretty long description of my blogging journey up until monetization in my very first income report, if you want to take a look: July 2018 Income Report.
January 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 January 2019 Blog Income: $367.59
January 2019 Traffic: 25,114 Users and 40,598 Page Views
(I would just like to point out that big dip in traffic on January 15th. For some reason, Pinterest was giving everyone a 403 Forbidden error when viewing my posts from the Pinterest app. UGHHH Pinterest. And it happened during the highest traffic week of the entire month!)
Last month, I set a goal of 35,000 page views for January and YO I KILLED IT. It was a very good traffic month, especially after failing to hit my goal for the previous two months!
Here are my stats from December for comparison:
So, what worked? And what didn’t?
In all of my previous income reports, I outlined things I would work on to reach my goal the next month. Then, in the next month, I would go through those points and explain what I did.
We’re going to take a different approach today.
I’m not going to go back and talk about what I outlined last month, because to be honest, I didn’t focus on any of those things LOL. So, there would really be no benefit in me mentioning them.
In this month’s report, I just want to focus on showing you exactly what I did in Januaury.
Before we start getting into the details, I want you to take a look at this graph showing my traffic and income levels since last July (the month I started monetizing):
I experienced a crazy jump in traffic (for me) in January! A 51.2% growth! And yet, my income dropped.
I bet you’re wondering, “Why did that happen?”
Trust me, I feel you.
Before we talk about income, let’s talk about traffic.
If you take a look at the graph, you’ll notice that I didn’t really experience a growth in traffic from October to December. I totally felt like I hit a plateau!
So, my main goal of January was to increase traffic. I knew I had to increase traffic before I could focus on any other part of the blog.
More traffic = More ad money
More traffic = More eyes on my content = More people that may purchase an affiliate product
More traffic = More potential email subscribers
In my mind, everything just revolves around traffic. Some bloggers may say that it’s possible to make a ton of money without a ton of traffic.
AND THEY’RE NOT WRONG.
That just means that they have a very engaged and loyal “tribe” that buys whatever they’re selling – either through their emails or posts.
OR they do a lot of sponsored posts.
You see, neither of those things are that appealing to me. I want my income to be PASSIVE.
Because that means that I won’t have to tend to my email list a whole lot – I do currently send newsletters, but writing an email is like writing a post!
And I’d much rather write a post that will live on forever.
That would also mean that I can write a post, optimize it well with affiliate links, have ads running, promote it, and I’m set. This post will be making money for months or years to come.
OF COURSE, THIS IS THE GOAL. I’m not quite there yet LOL.
But, that is why my main goal is focusing on building traffic right now.
(Also, don’t get me wrong, I do see the value in growing an email list. I’m doing that. I’m just not focusing on it right now.
So, how did I grow my traffic by 51.2% in January from December?
If you’ve read my other income reports, you’ve already seen me gush about the course, Pinteresting Strategies by Carly Campbell.
(And if you haven’t, I’ll talk more about the course later in my favorite blogging resources section of this post.)
I first took this course when it was an e-book back in May, then I skimmed through it again when it became a course, and I view it any time an update is published.
But, in January, I decided that I would go through the entire thing again from the beginning. And not just skim it. I actively went through it.
Although I attribute all of my Pinterest success to this course and have seen very good growth, I haven’t experienced an explosion in my traffic from Pinterest.
And many other people who have taken this course said they did!
So, I figured I was missing something. And decided to go back to the beginning. I wanted an explosion, too!
I didn’t change the way I pinned at all in January, but I made small changes to my Pinterest profile that I think made a big difference.
Did you know that board descriptions are super important?! I tried to improve my board descriptions and I think it’s having a good impact!
Also, I've begun implementing this Pinterest strategy from PotPieGirl and it's crazy! It's totally different than any other Pinterest strategy out there and I've already seen some major results from it.
I'd definitely check out her e-book now because she's actually stated that it might not be around for long!
I got 32,977 page views just from Pinterest in January, which is a 69.1% increase from 19,502 page views in December! Somewhat of an explosion!
Just look at this chart!
I think those numbers speak for themselves!
2. Writing for my audience
There’s always an internal conflict for bloggers regarding writing what you want to write about and writing what your audience wants.
Some bloggers will say to write what you’re passionate about, but what if what I’m passionate about is braiding my long-haired dog’s fur?!
Maybe I’ll be able to generate an audience that is also passionate about braiding their long-haired dog’s fur, but chances are, it’s not going to be a whole lot.
And since my goal is to be getting them page viewssss, I need to be writing things that people want to read.
When evaluating my past successful posts, I realized that my highest traffic driving posts were all about drugstore makeup.
I do have posts about high end makeup that do well, but the drugstore makeup posts almost always do better.
So, in January (and in December) I really focused most of my posts around drugstore makeup. And they all have been getting the views!
I always want to write product reviews and posts about high end makeup because I like that boujee shit, but I’ve come to the realization that drugstore makeup has a wider audience.
Not everyone is going to pay $50 for a foundation even though I would. More people will probably spend around $15 for a drugstore foundation. And they probably want to know which one is the best one.
That’s where list posts come in. Those do very well in the beauty niche and especially well on Pinterest. Before this becomes a post about the type of content you should be writing, I just want to say:
It’s important to think about what people are coming to you for. And expand on that.
3. Writing trending/seasonal content
In my December Income Report, I mentioned that I wasn’t going to write seasonal content and focus on ever-green content.
WELL. What I meant by that is – I’m not going to write seasonal content that completely dies after that season! (Like a post on a one-time sale, for example.)
However, seasonal content that is still considered ever-green? That is good.
For example, I did two posts related to organization and decluttering. I don’t usually write about those things, so I had to relate it to beauty.
These are the two posts:
I really wanted to take advantage of people being super pumped to organize their house as their New Year Resolution.
And it was a nice coincidence that people have been decluttering because of Marie Kondo LOL.
Do you see how those posts are kind of seasonal and about a trending topic, but are also ever-green?
I mean, people are always going to want to organize their house and get rid of stuff!
It may die down after people get off the “organizing high,” but both posts totally have potential to get page views at all times of the year.
Now, let’s talk about Income
First and foremost, I would like to say that January income absolutely sucks.
This was my first January as a money-making blogger, so I have no other year to compare this January to.
But, from being part of various blogging facebook groups, I learned that January is usually the worst month for income for most bloggers.
AND YUP. My income for the month totally says that! Even if I’m not making a ton of money, I hate seeing it go backwards!
Why is January income so bad?
Lowest RPM of the year
Regarding ads on your site, RPM is the amount of money you make per 1,000 page views. (Or, in Mediavine’s case, per 1,000 sessions.)
RPM is the lowest in January for the entire year. Advertisers typically spend less money on advertising in January.
Many companies are probably still figuring out how much money they’re going to spend on advertising for the year.
They’re busy forecasting and budgeting and all that shit. But, the bottom line is that they’re just not throwing their money into advertising at the start of the year.
For a MUCH more detailed post explaining ad revenue by the season, check out this post by Mediavine: Ad Revenue Seasons.
People don’t buy in January
People just aren’t buying stuff in January! After the holiday season, a lot of people put themselves on shopping restrictions.
I know I sure have! I haven’t bought a single piece of makeup since the New Year after spending way too much during the holidays.
And I’m sure a lot of people do the same in January - which means less affiliate sales.
Consumer behavior goes hand in hand with RPM, too.
Advertisers won’t put the money into advertising if they know it isn’t buying season for most people.
Makes sense, right?
It’s a little disheartening to see my RPM so low, but fingers crossed that it’ll start to increase soon!
Blog Milestone Hit in January!
I finally had enough traffic to apply to Mediavine in January! And I got accepted! (You need 25,000 sessions in a 30-day period to be eligible to apply.)
Getting into Mediavine is a huge milestone for bloggers because it’s one of the premiere ad companies and also because, quite frankly, they pay really well!
It’s a huge step above Google Adsense and I’m still reveling in the excitement.
Mediavine ads were put on my blog on January 18th, which is why you see both Adsense and Mediavine in my income list.
So far, the team at Mediavine has been a dream to work with and here’s to hoping we have a long loving relationship! <3
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.
I mentioned this course earlier and it is hands-down, my favorite Pinterest resource out there.
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 January, I got 32,977 page views from Pinterest alone, which is about 81.23% of my total page views! Crazy, right?!
I probably should be diversifying my traffic sources, but this is where I’m at right now LOL.
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 7 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 over 30,000 page views from Pinterest a month, in less than 7 months.
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 $1000 (there are payment plan options, though, and yes he did just recently increase the price).
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.
Written by the same author as Pinteresting Strategies, this course shows you all the ins-and-outs of affiliate marketing!
I seriously had EVERYTHING to learn about affiliate marketing when I bought this course and even though I haven’t been focusing on affiliate marketing recently, the few things that I implemented from this course has definitely made a difference!
I’m still making very little from affiliates, but a little is better than zero! And it totally was at zero before.
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.
After killing my goal of 35,000 page views in January, I’m going to set a high goal of 50,000 page views for February.
This is a high goal especially since February is a short month! 3 days is a huge difference when you’re comparing stats from month to month!
It’s tough to set a goal for income because in all honesty, I don’t have a plan for generating income other than ad revenue. I just want it to increase LOL.
I do have some things I want to work on in February though:
1. Traffic for Ad Revenue
I mentioned earlier that I want my income to be passive. And to me, that means money from ads.
I tend to get caught up in trying to do everything at once, but never really doing anything exceptionally well.
Which is why I’ve decided not to focus on anything else besides building traffic.
My overall goal is to hit 100,000 page views a month from Pinterest before venturing out into other aspects of blogging.
I know many people will say that’s stupid and I’ll be leaving so much money on the table by not diversifying my income streams. But, that’s honestly what I can handle right now.
I would love to dive into learning SEO and email marketing. But, let’s be real. I just don’t have the time for all of that while working a full-time job!
2. Affiliate Marketing
I’m not really planning on doing anything different with affiliate marketing. I’ll still have relevant links in every post and make product recommendations as I see fit.
However, in February, I don’t plan on doing any posts that are affiliate-centric. No Amazon posts or anything like that.
Shopping guides do alright on Pinterest, but they don’t do extremely well. And I want VIRAL type of content to get the traffic to my site.
I’m at a point in my blogging career that I’m very excited for what’s to come in the future.
In January, I really felt like a breakthrough happened! I mean, the jump in traffic was crazy! Especially after feeling like I hit a plateau in December.
Also, getting into Mediavine was a HUGE milestone for me as that was a goal I was working towards. Getting there kind of made me think to myself, “Maybe I can do this.”
Achieving that goal kind of washed all the doubts away and it showed me that all of my hard work will pay off. It’s the first step towards bigger things in the future! I really am SO STOKED.
And with that my friends, I shall end this income report. Be sure to let me know your thoughts down in the comments! :)
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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