Ninth Month of making money from Blogging!
Blogging Income Report – March 2019
Can you believe it’s already April?! I swear I was just writing my last income report and now here I am writing the next one!
It’s so crazy that I’m already through my ninth month of blogging for money because it still feels like I just started. However, at the same time, I also feel like I should be further along than I currently am! I guess that’s the impatient-ness in me LOL.
I’ve been pretty impatient and frustrated in the recent months because of the lack of income growth from my blog, but I’m happy to say that I feel like I had a breakthrough in March!
March was my best month by far in terms of both traffic and income – it was actually a huge shock. I’m totally not complaining, though!
In this income report, we’ll talk about everything I did that contributed to this breakthrough month.
Don’t forget to check out my previous income reports as well! I talk about different things in each one (because I tend to do different things each month), so they are definitely worth reading! :)
Why do I publish income reports?
1. To be transparent
I see so many other income reports or “How to Make Money Blogging” posts that make it seem like blogging is an easy get-rich-quick scheme. And it’s really not.
It takes a lot of hard work and it’s a huge time commitment. Bloggers that are reporting a huge amount of traffic and income in a very short amount of time – you should be skeptical of them. I’m not saying that there aren’t bloggers out there that have seen really rapid success, because there are. Those bloggers are just very much the exception and you shouldn’t expect that from a brand new blog.
Sometimes these bloggers have tons of online marketing experience or they’ve been preparing their blog months before they launched it – and sometimes they fail to mention that in their reports.
I don’t want to be that blogger.
I’ve been publishing income reports from the very first month I started earning money – even when the income or traffic sucked that month!
I think it’s very important to show the highs and lows of blogging rather than just the highs!
2. To help you
In addition to reporting on things that went well on the blog over the month, I’m very honest about things that did not go well and things that were a complete waste of time!
Hopefully from reading my income reports, you’ll learn from my mistakes and you won’t have to make them yourself!
Even though I’m still very early on in my blogging journey, after 9 months of trying to make a go at this as a possible career, I’ve definitely learned a few things that will totally help you when 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 this blog:
I’ve just finished my ninth month of making money from blogging, but can you believe that I’ve actually had this blog for over 3 years?!
YES, that totally means that for over 2 years I was writing essentially for no one to read and was not making any money!
OH THE REGRET. If I could go back in time, I would definitely get my shit together sooner!
But, prior to lianadesu becoming a beauty/lifestyle-ish blog, it was a way for my family and friends to keep up with me while I was living in Japan.
(That’s why if you look through my super old posts, you’ll see tons of Japan posts that are totally unrelated to what I write about now!)
It wasn’t until two years ago, when I moved back home to Maui, that I started blogging about beauty-related things. Then, for about a year or so, I wasted my time trying to grow my Instagram (LOL) and it wasn’t until 9 months ago that I finally got to business and started working on this blog seriously!
If you want to read more about how I wasted my time on Instagram for a year, check out my July 2018 income report.
March 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.
March 2019 Traffic: 48,768 Users and 79,138 Page Views
Here are my stats from February for comparison:
It’s important to remember that February was a short month – 3 days less than March! So it’s really not comparing apples to apples when comparing March to February.
Because of this, let’s look at the average page views per day of each month:
March: 1,573.16 users/day and 2,552.84 page views/day
February: 817.43 users/day and 1,357.14 page views/day
That is some growth, isn’t it?!
In February, I set a goal of 50,000 page views for March and I SMASHED IT. I was actually really surprised by the jump of traffic in March! It was totally unexpected because I didn’t really do anything that different.
I think it may have just been a long time coming – kind of like all of my hard work is finally paying off?!
However, there are a few peaks in traffic that happened in March and we’ll get into what happened there a little later in this post.
I’ve had pretty slow growth when it comes to page views until now so it’s not an overstatement to say that I am ECSTATIC to see this growth!
Check out this visual on my traffic growth over the months:
I also more than doubled my income in March form February! Absolutely crazy!
We’ll talk a more about income in a bit, so for now, here’s my income growth over the months:
So, how the hell did this blog growth happen?!
As I mentioned just above, I didn’t really do anything that different in March – that I could really attribute the growth to.
I really think it was just everything finally coming together and keeping consistent with my efforts.
Content, content, content
In my February Income Report, I noted that I was really going to focus hard on creating lots of new content. I set a goal of publishing 8 new posts in March and I did exactly that!
A quote from Scrivs (of Dare to Conquer) is engrained in my mind as the goal I should strive for. He mentioned that for all of his sites, his goal is to have 100 posts that get 1,000 page views a month.
That would equal to 100,000 page views a month, but the top 5-10 would likely receive much more than 1,000 page views a month, which would result in more than 100,000 monthly page views.
In March, I had 17 posts that received over 1,000 page views. SO, I have a long way to go, but that number is increasing every month! In February, I had 10 posts that received over 1,000 page views, so progress is definitely happening.
Making solid passive income is the main goal I have for this blog at the moment. And what’s the easiest way to do that? Ad Revenue.
Sure, affiliate sales are also technically passive as people can buy things when I’m not actively working on my blog. But, ad revenue is even more passive, in my mind.
Why? Because people don’t even have to buy anything for me to make money. All they have to do is read my posts and I’m earning income from ads.
Which is why I’m focusing of just creating more and more content to get my traffic up.
More Traffic = More Ad Revenue
Traffic for Ad Revenue
March was my best month ever in terms of ad revenue – I made $1,199.23 just from ads! More than double of what I made in February!
Part of it is due to the increase in page views. Part of it is due to being with Mediavine for almost 3 months, which would mean I’m near the end of my “reset and ramp up” period. And part of it is due to the season of the year.
More Page Views
Obviously more page views should equal more ad money. I literally can’t stop saying that in all of my income reports. But, not all page views are the same.
RPM (revenue per 1,000 page views) depends on a number of things. A few of the big factors are: time spent on page, how much of the post the reader is scrolling through, how many ads are being shown on each page, and so much more!
The way I understand it is: the longer a reader stays on the page and the more he/she scrolls, the more ads will be seen, so I’ll make more money!
I’m sure it’s a little more complex than that, but that’s how I understand it and it makes sense to me that way LOL.
My average time on page across all of my posts isn’t the best and I’m trying to work on that, but I was still very pleased with my RPM in March.
I finished March with an RPM of $15.15, which isn’t too shabby! My greedy self wants it to be higher, but I really can’t be mad at that number. It’s a hell of an increase from $10.56 in February!
It’s still pretty surreal to me that I’m now a Mediavine publisher because that’s been a goal of mine for months!
I joined Mediavine in the latter half of January and there’s always a “reset and ramp up” period when changing ad companies.
My ad revenue (and RPM) in January and February wasn’t stellar, but I attributed it to being new to Mediavine.
They tell you to give it 3 months before you start complaining to them about low RPM (my words, not theirs) and since I’m now in my third month with them, I can totally understand why they say that.
I’ve definitely seen the “ramp up” since January and I couldn’t be happier!
Ad Revenue Seasons
Basically, every start of the quarter sucks for ad revenue and the end of the quarter is the best because advertisers are “dumping” their remaining advertising budget into ads before the quarter ends.
Additionally, the beginning of the year sees far less advertising money put forward by companies compared to the end of the year because of consumer behavior. People shop like crazy at the end of the year.
So, March is pretty low in potential ad revenue compared to December, but it’s SO much better than January!
Although it’s hard for me to fairly compare March to January as I only joined Mediavine on January 18, I will say that January sucked pretty bad overall for my blog LOL.
A MUCH more detailed explanation of the seasonality of ad revenue can be found on Mediavine’s Blog: Ad Revenue By The Seasons
How Do I Promote My Posts?
Pinterest. It’s still all about Pinterest for me.
It’s seriously the most fickle and unreliable source of traffic that has mood swings and causes mood swings every day. But, it’s still bringing in the majority of my traffic, so I need to keep it happy.
If you ever heard any other blogger refer to Pinterest as if it is a person like I just did, that’s because it behaves like a temperamental child that needs a nap LOL.
A lot of bloggers in the blogging facebook groups I’m a member of have noted a massive decrease in traffic from Pinterest over the last month or so. (Apparently there was a Pinterest update that happened.)
I didn’t quite experience the same with my traffic from Pinterest. I mean – Pinterest is always going to be volatile. There will be massive traffic days and days when it’s just crickets. That’s just how it is when Pinterest is your main source of traffic.
That’s why I like to look at the average per day for the month. For March, I averaged 1,600.58 page views per day from Pinterest – up from 1,112.18 in February!
With everyone crying about seeing low Pinterest traffic in March, I was really scared it would happen to me! So, I tried really hard to prevent it from happening.
How? New pins. Lots of them.
I uploaded a brand new pin to Pinterest every single day in March and sometimes even more. Pinterest loves new content. LIKE, REALLY LOVES IT.
Pinterest loves new blog posts the most. I almost always see new blog posts getting a surge of traffic in the days after I first pin it.
But, if you don’t have any new posts, new pins for old posts is next best. Experiment with fonts, colors, photos, and even your descriptions.
I experimented a lot with my pin designs in March. I even made some that I consider “ugly,” but very legible and eye-catching. I can’t say they did better than my “pretty” ones, but some of them are doing well and they’re so much easier to make!
If you’re stuck with Pinterest, I definitely recommend experimenting with different designs and keywords for your descriptions, in addition to uploading tons of new content.
The PIQ Strategy has been something I’ve been implementing with my descriptions and it’s also a great way to shake up your Pinterest strategy!
If you like keyword research, you’ll like this e-book because it involves keyword research for Pinterest. And honestly, it’s nothing like anything I’ve ever done before. But, when I was reading the e-book, it totally made sense. It’s like it made everything click!
I do recommend you check it out, especially if you feel like you’re in a rut with your Pinterest strategy.
I’ve been putting off really diving into SEO for a while now. And I know it’s probably hurting me.
I have a degree in Management Information Systems and have taken classes in college about pretty much everything computer or web-based, so it’s not like I’m a complete dummy when in comes to SEO.
I already write very soundly for SEO and do all the obvious things, but it’s all the little “tricks” that I need to learn.
And that’s where my new favorite e-book comes in: Easy On Page SEO
It doesn’t cover keyword research, back links, and anything else that isn’t done in your post, but damn it’s full of information.
I thought I was already pretty decent at on-page SEO, but there really are a lot of “tricks” that I didn’t know.
I’m only about halfway through the e-book, because I like to implement things as I read. (Don’t know if this is the best way to work.) But, I’ve already seen an increase in my organic traffic.
In addition to seeing an increase in organic traffic to my older posts, I’m currently experiencing a massive surge in traffic to a brand new seasonal post that I wrote with strategies found in the Easy On Page SEO e-book.
The thing about seasonal traffic is that you really want it to rank fast to be able to take full advantage of the season when everybody is searching for it.
For the post I’m referencing, I was at the top of page 1 within a day of posting for much of the related keywords I was trying to hit.
I moved down a bit after a week, so I made some changes (based on the SEO e-book), and now I’m back at the top.
AND GETTING RECORD PAGE VIEWS FOR IT. It’s actually insane for me. I’m kind of freaking out. (I had over 8.5K page views yesterday alone!)
I know I wrote in my previous income reports that I was going to focus on evergreen content and not do any seasonal stuff. Well, this particular post is an exception.
Especially because I feel like a have a solid amount of posts that are bringing in consistent traffic, I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time with an occasional seasonal post.
In fact, a seasonal post can be a great way to boost your traffic, just keep in mind that it’ll die back down when the season is over. (Currently dreading when that time comes.)
SO, seasonal content isn’t bad. I’ve just learned (the hard way) that having a good amount of “core posts” that bring you traffic day in and day out is much more valuable.
And then a viral seasonal post is just like a bonus!
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’m going to go through these fairly quickly because this post has already become longer than I intended it to be and we’d be here for days if I described each of these resources in-depth.
If you are looking for more detailed descriptions of these resources, my previous income reports go more in-depth. :)
This course is seriously what I attribute all of my Pinterest success to. Rather than just showing you a strategy and you replicating it, this course goes in-depth to really make you understand how Pinterest works.
And by understanding how Pinterest works, you’ll always be able to figure out where you can improve if you experience a decline in your Pinterest traffic.
I have never experienced a massive decline in my Pinterest traffic (knock on wood) and I truly believe that it’s because this course taught me the best practices when it comes to Pinterest, no matter what kind of temper tantrum it’s throwing. :p
You can also get $5 off with the code PINNING5 (don’t know how long this code will be good for, though!)
This is an amazing all-encompassing guide to blogging. I don’t even know what to call it because it includes so much stuff – a blogging program maybe?
Especially if you’re just starting out and are overwhelmed with the plethora or courses available, Dare to Conquer is a great place to get all the education you need. And really solid education, too!
Content creation, affiliate marketing, SEO, Pinterest – there are courses on all of that and so much more.
You also gain access to the great DTC community of other bloggers and Scrivs, the creator! Everyone is always so helpful when anyone in DTC needs advice.
It’s not the cheapest of resources out there, so I’d highly recommend taking one of Scrivs’ free bootcamps before taking the plunge.
Even if you don’t end up buying DTC, you’ll learn so much from just the bootcamps.
Here are the 4 bootcamps:
Written by the same author as Pinteresting Strategies, this course will give you the complete low-down on all things affiliate marketing!
I’m still making very little from affiliate marketing, but I think that has more to do with my niche and that I’ve been promoting very low-cost products recently. (She talks about this in the course, too.)
This course is especially great if you don’t know where to even begin with affiliate marketing, or if you’ve begun putting links in your posts, but they just can’t seem to convert into sales.
This course is all about showing you how to convert your readers into sales.
I’ve never been one to use a planner for anything in my life, but since I’ve started using this one, my productivity has gone through the roof!
There are so many things to do in blogging, and using this planner in particular, because it was made by a blogger for bloggers, makes it so easy to make sure I do everything I need to do every day.
If Pinteresting Strategies, Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers, and the 2019 Blogging Planner all interest you, you’ll be happy to know that there is a bundle sale going on right now!
It’s kind of a secret bundle (no advertising of it anywhere on the courses’ sales pages) and I have no idea how long it’ll be available for.
You’ll receive Pinteresting Strategies, Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers, and the 2019 Blogging Planner for only $85 – about 40% off the value of all three combined!
Tailwind is literally a life-saver. I spend about 10-15 minutes each month scheduling pins for the month and can forget about Pinterest!
That’s not true. I can never forget about Pinterest LOL. And I still manually pin a few pins here and there.
But, if I have a super busy day when I just can’t log onto Pinterest, I don’t have to worry about being inconsistent with Pinterest.
Consistency is huge when it comes to Pinterest and Tailwind makes it so easy to stay consistent.
Since I’m currently experiencing a post going viral and I anticipate traffic to remain high for that post for at least the first half of April, I’m going to set some really high goals.
I’d love to reach 100,000 page views and make more than $2,000 in April. I think it’ll be hard to hit both of those goals, but I’m hoping for the best!
Oh and I realized I never mentioned my email subscribers in my previous income reports, but I am trying to grow my email list, as well. Not quite actively trying, but I’m trying LOL.
I ended March with 240 email subscribers, so my goal is to have 275 by the end of April.
How will I reach these goals?
I’m going to do exactly the same things I did last month.
1. Content, content, content
I mentioned above how important writing more content is to me right now. Even if you go to my archives and see that I have tons of posts, I still don’t feel like I have enough.
Remember, my goal is to have 100 posts that receive 1,000 page views every month! And I am still very far from that.
More content should equal more traffic, which means more ad revenue! And you know I love that ad revenue!
2. Traffic for Ad Revenue
I totally want my income to be passive and ad revenue is the easiest way for me to do that.
I’m still working a full-time job in addition to about 20 hours a week on this blog. And 20 hours pretty much means I only really have time for creating content and making new pins.
Doing better with affiliate marketing would be trying to find higher ticket items and/or programs that I could utilize within posts.
Doing sponsored posts would mean finding contact information for brands, reaching out to brands, planning content with brands, applying for sponsored post networks, and literally so much more that would require more effort that I can afford to put out.
Ad money is the easiest. Plain and simple. And until I reach a point where I can quit my job and have more time to diversify my income streams, I see ad revenue as being my highest and most important stream of income, no doubt.
And how do we make more ad money? More traffic! I know you hear other bloggers say not to rely on traffic because it could all disappear one day.
But, I totally am relying on traffic right now. It’s what makes sense for where I’m at with my blog.
3. Opt-ins for Email Subscribers
I currently have three opt-ins to gain email subscribers and while I think they are converting at an okay rate, I know I definitely have room for improvement in this area.
I don’t have any grand ideas for new opt-ins at the moment and coming up with one isn’t at the top of my priority list, but there are some posts that could use a complimentary printable so I’ll definitely do those.
Other than that, I don’t have any plans to really try to grow my email list LOL. I do send emails every week or two so they don’t forget about me. But, like I said, email is not super high on my priority list.
I just know how important it is, especially in the long-run, so I’m not ignoring it completely.
After 9 months of working my ass off on this blog, I finally feel like a breakthrough happened.
I always saw blogging as a viable career option, but after hitting the $1000/month mark, it finally feels like it really is.
Everything is finally starting to fall into place and I’m seeing the fruits of my labor a lot more now than I did before.
It’s also really nice to start proving all the doubters wrong LOL. My blogging journey definitely was not an overnight success, but it’s nice to see that hard work does pay off!
Seeing a slight glimpse of success really makes me motivated to continue working hard and make my dream of working in my pajamas all day a reality!
And with that my friends, I shall end this income report. I know it was long. This was me trying to keep it short, too… Being concise really isn’t one of my strong suits. If you made it this far, you are a champ!
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)!
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