Fourth month of making money from blogging!
Hi, friends! Another month has gone by and I am glad to say that it was another month of making money from this blog! I was in Japan for first half of October, so it really makes me happy that this blog didn’t die when I was away and doing absolutely nothing for it LOL.
Check out my other Income Reports:
I am very happy to report another month of traffic and income increase. When I first started monetizing my blog, I really thought that my income would increase a lot faster. But, as I’m getting deeper and deeper into blogging, I realize more and more how much time and effort it takes. It really isn’t that easy to make money blogging! IT’S HARD.
If this is your first time reading an income report, it’s probably really weird that I’m sharing my income online, right? But, it’s very much a thing in the blogging world LOL. Not all bloggers do it, but I decided to be one of those that do.
Why do I choose to publish income reports?
From the very beginning of my blog monetization journey, I wanted to be completely transparent on how this blog makes money. Although there are literally tons of bloggers out there, the concept of making money from blogging still seems foreign to a lot of people.
Recently, I’ve seen a lot of negativity towards full-time bloggers with people saying it’s ‘not a real job’ or ‘they just don’t want to work.’ But, guess what? I work so much harder on my blog than I do at my full-time job. There’s so much to do behind-the-scenes that most people don’t realize. I guess what I’m saying is: I want to prove all the haters wrong.
My decision to publish income reports isn’t based solely on proving the haters wrong, though. I publish very detailed income reports and talk about every little thing that I’ve done on my blog – from what worked and what didn’t. Contrary to the income reports out there that state numbers and no real explanation behind the numbers, it’s very important to me to write about the HOW in all of this.
I’m still making mistakes every day and figuring shit out as I go, but if you happened to stumble across this post and you’re thinking about starting a blog, I hope this can provide some insight on how to do it.
Affiliate links may be used in this post. You can read my full disclosure here.
A little about this blog:
Although this is only my fourth month of making money from my blog, I’m nearing my 3-year blog anniversary! Yes, I’ve been blogging a while without making any money from it. Oh the regret LOL. But, blogging started off very much as a hobby for me while I was living in Japan. It was just a way for my family and friends to keep up with my adventures in Japan.
I started getting a little more serious about blogging around the middle of last year, when I moved back home to Maui. But, I still didn’t take the time to learn how to properly monetize my blog at the time. A little more detailed description of my blogging journey up until I started monetizing can be found in my July 2018 income report.
October 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 October 2018 Blog Income: $312.97
October 2018 Traffic: 18,431 users and 24,954 page views
In September, I set a goal to reach 20,000 page views in October and YAY I CRUSHED IT. I had a small spike in organic search traffic, which definitely helped a lot. However, even though you can’t really tell in the photo, my traffic at the end of October was less than stellar…
Here are my stats from September for comparison:
So, what did I do to increase traffic?
In my September income report, I outlined a few things I hoped to do in October to increase my stats and income. Did I follow through?
1. Pinterest: Tailwind + Pinteresting Strategies
I mentioned last month that I stated using Tailwind at the end of September, but couldn’t really give you a definite opinion on it before trying it out for a longer amount of time. Well, it’s been over a month since I’ve started using it and I LOVE IT.
My page views originating from Pinterest increased to 9,309 in October from 6,961 in September. That’s not a major increase, but hey, it’s an increase! I did the bulk of my pinning using Tailwind, but I still spent about 10 minutes every day manually pinning a few pins.
More so than the increase in page views, I love how Tailwind frees up my time to do other things for my blog. Before utilizing Tailwind, I would spend so much time manually pinning every day! It was consuming me! Now, I have the time to work on other aspect of blogging, like affiliate marketing, SEO, and most importantly, content creation.
In addition to Tailwind, I went through Carly Campbell’s new update to her Pinteresting Strategies e-book, which is now a course. Pinteresting Strategies was the first Pinterest resource I invested in and I really attribute all of my success (even though it’s still small) to this book. It really teaches you the fundamentals of Pinterest so you can assess your Pinterest performance yourself, rather than just laying out a plan that you copy.
Every blogger is different and every niche is different, so there’s no strategy that’ll suit every single person. But, with the Pinterest fundamentals that you learn with this course, you can come up with your own strategy that’ll suit your needs. ALSO, it’s based completely on manual pinning. There’s no sales pitch for Tailwind in the course, so you don’t have to worry about spending even more money. (It’s only $47, which is a hell of a lot cheaper than most Pinterest resources out there.)
Pinterest is constantly changing and what was working 6 months ago may not be working now. I first went through the Pinteresting Strategies e-book back in May/June and Pinterest has definitely changed since then! With Carly’s update to the book, I gained new insight on what is working NOW on Pinterest and it even furthered my understanding on how the crazy platform works.
I think I can attribute my page view increase from Pinterest to both Tailwind and Pinteresting Strategies. Since I introduced two new things to my Pinterest strategy, I can’t really determine which one was the deciding factor LOL. (Don’t do this if you really want to pinpoint what’s working and what isn’t.) But, I have a feeling it was the work of both, collectively.
As you may have heard, Billionaire Blog Club, which is now Dare to Conquer by Paul Scrivens (Scrivs) is like the mecca of blog courses/resources. Last month, I said that I wanted to go through the SEO course and start killing it on Google for every post. Did I do it? NOPE LOL. There is just not enough time in the day!
I still am using Scrivs’ Tailwind strategy that he outlines in his Pinterest course for my Pinterest strategy and it seems to be working well! I really like his outlook on everything blogging and even if I haven’t totally gone through BBC/DTC yet, I REALLY enjoy reading his emails. He gives out a ton of valuable information in his emails, so even if you don’t want to pay for BBC/DTC, I totally recommend getting on his email list.
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
I bought this bundle in the middle of October pretty much just for Carly’s affiliate marketing course. I know I could have just bought her course on its own, but I figured for just $22 more, I might as well get a bunch of other resources that I’ll probably need in the future.
I’ve gotten through about 40% of her affiliate marketing course and LET ME TELL YOU – it’s such an eye-opener! Even though I’m not even halfway through it, did you see my increase in affiliate sales this month? I totally give credit to this course for that! I know it’s not a lot, but it’s really only been a few weeks.
There's is so much more to affiliate marketing then just dropping your links and hoping people click on them and Carly articulates how to get your affiliate links to convert SO WELL. It’s kind of funny because I have a business degree and went through a bunch of marketing courses in university, so everything completely makes sense. It makes sense so much to the point where I’m like, why didn’t I think of that? I have all of this business education under my belt, so why did it take me so long to apply it to blogging?! Sometimes I question my brain LOL. But hey, at least I’m here now.
So, more than just showing me how to do affiliate marketing properly, Carly’s affiliate marketing course was exactly what I needed to flip the switch in my head – to make me start viewing things from a business perspective.
Have I done anything else?
Even though I didn’t go through the SEO course in DTC and I haven’t actively been implementing any SEO strategies, I had my first taste of how awesome organic search traffic can be.
Judging by the amount of organic search page views I got in October to two particular posts, I can confidently say that I ranked high for keywords with very high search volumes. In October, I got about 13,500 organic search page views and 9,918 of those page views were only to those two posts.
I was mind-blown. I didn’t do anything in particular to rank those posts that I don’t normally do in my other posts. However, I did take web design courses in university and although my degree is a business degree, it’s a management information systems degree, so I would say that I have a fair understanding on how SEO pretty much works. I’m not an expert by any means, but I do know the general best practices.
This was the big WIN of the month. It makes me really excited to dive into SEO practices more in the upcoming months.
2. Affiliate-Centered Posts
I did a handful of gift guides with the hope they would give me some affiliate sales during the holiday season. I haven’t seen a whole lot yet, but we’ll give it some time.
While this isn’t directly related to generating traffic, using Grammarly to check my spelling and grammar has saved me SO MUCH time during the editing process! Which has then given me more time to do other blog-related tasks that are directly related to generating more traffic.
Using Grammarly has given me more time to create more pins, go through more of my courses, and create more content. It’s great because with the browser extension, it works on anything you’re writing - not just your word processor. There are a lot of times when I write directly into my blog post and don’t run it through a word processor. Grammarly has saved me so many times when I do that!
And the best part about it? It’s FREE to use!
So, what’s next?
Since I crushed my goal in October, my goal for November is to hit 30,000 page views. Since November is a short month, that equates to an average of 1,000 page views a day. YO THAT IS A LOT. And if you look at my October stats, there was definitely a decrease in traffic at the end of the month, so we’ll see how it goes.
As for income, I’m going to go for a goal of $500 in November. My October income was just over $300, so I’m going to try really hard to get that additional $200!
How will I accomplish my goal?
Honestly, as of today (11/5), I have no clue how I am going to hit that goal because my traffic went to shit at the end of October. The two posts that were killing it on Google were VERY seasonal, so they have died and are irrelevant from this point on.
Being completely transparent, I’m at a loss. I don’t really know what to do for this month. I don’t know what to focus on, I don’t know what to write, I’m just a mess. (Reminder – we’re all human and it’s okay to feel like this sometimes.)
However, I guess these are the things that come to mind right now:
1. Affiliate Marketing
2. Cut down on content creation
For the past 3 months, I’ve posted 8 times a month. While that is said to be a good pace for many bloggers, I think it’s too much for me. Creating that much content – the writing, the photography, the photo editing, the post editing, the post formatting – just takes up so much time. With 8 posts a month AND a full-time job, I barely had time for anything else.
I’m probably going to scale back to 4-5 posts a month and use the extra time to educate myself more. There’s so much more to learn and with all of the resources I invested in, I’d like to take the time to go through them thoroughly.
3. Write ever-green content
Even though I want to scale back my content creation, for the content that I do create, I want them to be posts that will bring me traffic for months and even years to come. I spent the better part of the last two months doing shopping/gift guides for the holidays and as of right now, it kind of feels like I wasted my time there. I haven’t seen a ton of traffic to those posts or many conversions, but it’s still Christmas shopping season so we shall see.
However, even if those posts do end up doing really well during the holiday season, what happens after that? They’re pretty much dead until I update them for next year’s holiday season. And I won’t be seeing any fruits from my labor on those posts.
Meh. It’s a learning experience. I definitely get FOMO when it comes to blogging and if I see people doing gift guides, I want to do it, too. I need to stop doing that. I need to start writing content that will benefit me in the long-run.
And with that my friends, I shall end this income report. If you made it to this far, thank you for sticking with me til the end! I still have so much more to learn about this blogging thing and every day is a learning experience. But, I am happy that I’m seeing progress every month! Any progress is good, although the greediness in me wishes the progress was faster LOL.
The biggest takeaway from this month is definitely learning to prioritize things that will benefit me the most in the long-run. What will have the biggest ROI? I think once I really figure that out, the game will change!
Are you a new blogger or are you a full-time blogger that’s been at this for years? Either way, I’d love to hear what you think! I’d love to hear your perspective on things and I’m super curious what your biggest stream of income is. What do you think is the most important to focus on? Be sure to let me know down in the comments! :)
Check out my other income reports:
Thank you for reading and until next time! <3
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