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August is over and that means it’s traffic and income report time! Time for an update on how things went during my second month of blogging.
Why am I sharing something so personal?
I’ve decided to share my income and progress reports for a few reasons. First, reading other income reports was a HUGE motivator for me during the planning and building stages. Doing something completely new can be scary and overwhelming, so it was inspiring to see other people out there making it work.
Second, I’m using this as a record of my own progress. It can be difficult to see growth and change when you’re in the middle of it, so I want to be able to look back at these reports to see where I was and also get a clearer picture of where I’m going. It will help me to stay on track with my goals and fix any problems as I notice them.
Just a note – I’ll be sharing any income as it’s EARNED, not as it’s paid out, because the payout times can vary so much. It seems more accurate to show how what I’m doing right now is working, instead of trying to remember what I was focusing on 30-90 days ago.
I’ll also only be sharing income that came directly from this website. I have several other jobs right now and do a little freelance work, but I’m not including any of that income here. I want to show exactly and only what this website is earning.
August 2019 Monthly Summary:
August was all about growth, finding tools, and adjusting systems. I learned a lot during my first month blogging in July and now that I had a little better idea of what to expect, I noticed a few simple adjustments that I could make.
I still didn’t quite manage to consistently write 2 new posts per week as planned, partially due to my work schedule, but mostly due to the fact that writing is the most difficult part of this for me. I always seem to feel most inspired to write when it’s just not possible (like while I’m driving, at work, or while we’re out to dinner with friends). But it did happen a couple of times and I’m getting a better writing “flow” down, so it’s going a little quicker lately.
I also changed a few things about the tasks I do daily to focus a little more on growth and a little less on trying to do everything at once. I’ve decided that each month I will pick a particular area (traffic, monetization, list building, etc) to focus on, instead of trying to do a little of each. That just leaves me feeling scattered and overwhelmed… the exact opposite of what I’m going for here!
August traffic report:
From August 1st to August 31st, I had 711 pageviews. So I didn’t hit my goal of 1500 pageviews for the month, and in fact, it was fewer than last month. A little disheartening, but I’ve also heard that August is a pretty rough month for blog traffic in general, with end-of-summer vacations and back to school activities keeping everyone busy.
There are 2 positives to this traffic report though. The first thing was that even though I wasn’t getting increasing traffic, it was consistent. Each day, with only a few exceptions, I had 15-30 visitors. That gives me a really good baseline reading to measure from going forward!
Secondly, it made me refocus on traffic and promotion, instead of spreading my time out so much between all the different aspects of blogging. And toward the end of the month, I began to notice the results of a few new strategies (more on those later), so I’m feeling pretty optimistic for September!
I’m still not putting a lot of effort into monetizing yet, that will come later when I have a little more traffic and a lot more content written in advance.
That said, I made 32,000 times the amount I made in July! Before you get all excited about that, I should probably remind you that I made exactly $0.01 in July. Even so, progress is progress!
All the income I made this month was from Google AdSense.
Total income for August 2019 – $3.21
Since I’ve been working on this project for so long, I’m only going to include expenses as they are billed. Several things, like my hosting through Bluehost, are paid annually. But I do have a few monthly expenses at this point. I also tried a few new paid tools and courses in August. (More on those a little later.)
In August, I paid for:
Canva Pro for creating graphics – $12.95
ConvertKit for my email list – $29.00
Pinteresting Strategies course – $47.00
Depositphotos membership – $29.00
Total expenses for August 2019 – $155.42
August Goals Recap:
I strongly believe in goal setting. It gives me something to aim for and also a tangible way to see if I’m progressing or just standing still. I didn’t meet all of my goals for the month, but I did see growth over last month in every single area except pageviews!
Here’s how I did on my August goals:
Write 8 posts – failed, only wrote 5
Get approved for 2 affiliate programs beyond blogging affiliates – Success!
Make first $1 – Success! Made $3.21
Pinterest views goal: 1m – Success! 1.4m
Pinterest followers goal: 400 – Failed. 382 (so close!)
Instagram followers goal: 1700 – Success! 1730
Facebook followers goal: 40 – Success! 61
Monthly traffic goal: 1500 pageviews – Failed. 711 pageviews
Subscribers goal: 20 – Failed. 14
Goals for September:
My main goal for September is content. I still plan to write 2 new posts a week, but only publish one per week for the next few months. This way, I will have a good queue of posts ready to go, so I can use my time to create, research, build, and learn. (And just in case life gets in the way or I need a break.)
Here are the rest of the goals I’ve set for September:
Use Pinterest to increase traffic
Research affiliate ideas
Make first $10
Make first affiliate sale
Pinterest views goal: 1.5m
Pinterest followers goal: 450
Instagram followers goal: 1800
Facebook followers goal: 75
Monthly traffic goal: 1500 pageviews
Subscribers goal: 20
Resources I am using:
If you’re reading income reports, there’s a good chance you have a blog or are considering starting one. That’s why I’m including a list of resources that I’m using on this adventure, since I found this info SO helpful when I was reading (devouring) other income reports:
Create & Go Courses:
After toying with starting a blog for a long time, but getting buried in ALL the info that was available, I decided I needed a little help breaking everything down. So I made the decision to invest in the idea and bought the Build and Launch Your Blog course. It was a great investment! Alex and Lauren give a good step-by-step on how to get started, as well as their own experiences of what did and didn’t work for them along the way. They also have courses for the next steps, including Make Money Blogging for Beginners, Pinterest Traffic Avalanche, and Six-Figure Blogger, as well as several bundled options, if you’re ready to jump in with both feet. Highly recommend!
***Update*** Alex and Lauren at Create & Go have restructured their courses! Build and Launch Your Blog and Make Money Blogging for Beginners are now one big comprehensive course called Launch Your Blog Biz! This is fantastic news, because this single course now has all the information you need to get started.
There are a lot of hosting options out there, but I decided to go with Bluehost. Their support has been fantastic anytime I’ve run into an issue or even just had a question. It breaks down to $3.95 a month, so it’s pretty cost-effective too!
I actually use Squarespace for one of my jobs, so I was a little torn when I was deciding what to use for my own website. I decided to give WordPress a shot and I feel like I made the right decision! For my needs, WordPress is easier to use and customize. There was a little bit of a learning curve at the beginning, but that’s all part of the process.
Divi theme from Elegant Themes:
Again, there are SO many theme options out there, but after doing a little research and reading LOTS of reviews, I decided to go with the Divi theme from Elegant Themes. Again, there’s a little bit of a learning curve, but hey, I was already learning everything else, so why not? They offer training videos for everything you could possibly need and their support has also been fantastic.
The Legal Bundle:
Since I wanted to do this the right way from the start, I knew I would need all the necessary legal pages from the very beginning. And frankly, that was a huge roadblock for me. I’m not a lawyer. I had no idea where to even start. I was anticipating So. Much. Research. Then I found The Legal Bundle. Amira IS a lawyer and The Legal Bundle is exactly what I needed. HUGE time saver! (And I know it’s done correctly!)
ConvertKit is so easy to use! I have used several other email service providers throughout the years and ConvertKit is hands-down my favorite. I’m not doing a whole lot with my tiny email list yet, but ConvertKit is making the emails I DO send soooo simple.
I would be lost without Tailwind. I use it to schedule both Pinterest and Instagram each week. Instead of spending tons of time each day pinning to Pinterest and posting on Instagram, I can set up my queue for the week and move on to other tasks! Tailwind is also approved by Pinterest and they have features to help keep you out of “Pinterest jail”.
Pinteresting Strategies course:
Since my focus for the month was building traffic, I did a lot of research. In my research, I kept seeing this Pinteresting Strategies course referenced again and again by fellow bloggers, with great results. At $47, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. And I learned some very interesting things! It’s been almost a year since it was updated, but a lot of the info I learned is still relevant. It changed the way I think about and use Pinterest. I’m already seeing results! That little bump in traffic shown below was right after I started implementing some of what I learned. It’s not an earth-shaking increase, but it’s there!
I’ve been happily using Pixabay to find photos for my graphics since the beginning. But every now and then, I wouldn’t be able to find the right image…or when I found it, I noticed that it was everywhere! Everyone was using those same images. One thing I learned in the Pinteresting Strategies course is that other bloggers have had better luck using paid stock photos (or original photos, but I take terrible pictures) for their pins, for a variety of reasons. So I decided to try out Depositphotos for a month or two. I’ll keep you posted on the results of this little test, but I’m loving the selection I have available now! $29 per month for 30 images seemed pretty reasonable, especially compared to other paid stock photo sites I’ve considered.
Waaaay back, when I was just toying with the idea of starting a blog, creating graphics was one of my biggest concerns. I’m not a designer. I don’t have Photoshop…I don’t know how to use Photoshop! Does everyone have Photoshop? Or do they just hire a graphic designer? And then I found Canva…which is amazing. I can create all the graphics I need, easily. They even have a free version! I quickly upgraded to the Pro version for $12.95 a month, because some of the extra features were so worth it. If you haven’t tried it yet, check it out!