Note - Affiliate links may be used in this post, including Amazon affiliate links. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you use my affiliate link. But don't worry, all the opinions expressed are my own!
Welcome to my November 2019 Traffic & Income report! Month five was a month of setbacks and distractions. And while the month didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped, it’s still okay. The longer I do this, the more aware I am that blogging is a marathon and not a sprint. There will be ups and downs. November had a lot of downs, but even the “down” months have an upside.
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.
November 2019 Monthly Summary:
My goal for November was writing, writing, writing. I had great plans of getting so many posts written and ready to publish! So what happened? I knew that it would be an unusually busy month outside of the blogging world, between out-of-town friends coming for a visit and the Thanksgiving holiday. What I couldn’t plan for, though, was the nasty little virus that had me sidelined (or, more precisely, laid out on the couch in my pajamas) for nearly three weeks.
I realized pretty early into this little bug that trying to be productive while on cold meds wasn’t going to work very well. Or at all. And so, I decided to just listen to what life was telling me and take a little break. I needed to slow down and recover, so that’s exactly what I did.
And of course, it did slow down my progress a little bit. But it also showed me that even while taking a break, a newish blog isn’t going to fall apart completely. My traffic for the month was down a little bit, but not as much as I would have predicted.
November traffic report:
From November 1st through November 30th, I had 946 pageviews (compared to 1530 in October). I definitely did not reach my goal of 2000 pageviews for the month, or even come close, but with only one new post during the entire month it was better than I was expecting!
I have Pinterest to thank for this! Aside from my one lonely post – How to Have a Simple Thanksgiving, I had nothing new to promote via email or social media, so almost all of this month’s traffic was from older posts getting views through Pinterest. I know that’s how it is supposed to work, but it was interesting to see it in action. It gives me a lot of hope for the future, because more content and more pins can only mean more pageviews, right?
November Income report:
My November goal, again, was to make $10. And that didn’t happen. I had plans to promote an affiliate product at the end of the month, during a Black Friday sale, but since I was sick, I didn’t get anything prepared and did absolutely NO promoting. Even so, between Amazon and Adsense, I still made a little bit of money. I don’t like missing goals, but the definite upside here is that it shows that down the road, I will be able to take a break or vacation and still receive some income. And that’s the goal!
Amazon affiliate sales – $.72
I only had one Amazon sale for the month, but one is better than none!
Total income for November 2019 – $4.52
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.
Most of my expenses this month were the normal monthly expenses for programs and services I use to promote and run Cozy Simple Calm.
In November, I paid for:
Canva Pro for creating graphics – $12.95
Tailwind for both Pinterest & Instagram scheduling, plus boost for extra tribe submissions – $44.97
ConvertKit for my email list – $29.00
Depositphotos membership – $29.00
Milotree pop-up – $9.00
Total expenses for November 2019 – $124.92
November 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 definitely didn’t meet most of my goals this month. But I did meet some goals and December is a new month!
Here’s how I did on my November goals:
Write 8 posts – 5 for November, 5 for December – Failed, only wrote 1!
Work on SEO & Affiliate marketing – (Some) Success – in the planning stages
Make first $10 – Failed, $4.52
Pinterest views goal: 1.3m – Failed, 1m
Pinterest followers goal: 550 – Success! 560
Instagram followers goal: 2000 – Success! 2003
Facebook followers goal: 125 – Failed, 107
Monthly traffic goal: 2000 pageviews – Failed, 946
Subscribers goal: 25 – Failed, 22
Goals for December:
December will be all about getting back on track. It will be a busy month, with Christmas and all the activities it tends to bring. (But we can do hard things!)
Here are the goals I’ve set for December:
Write 8 posts – 5 for December, 5 for January
Work on SEO & Affiliate marketing
Make first $10
Pinterest views goal: 1.5m
Pinterest followers goal: 600
Instagram followers goal: 2100
Facebook followers goal: 125
Monthly traffic goal: 2000 pageviews
Subscribers goal: 25
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. Alex and Lauren at Create & Go have since 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. It’s cost-effective and 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:
I gave this quick little course a shot and I’ve been implementing some of these strategies. And I’ve definitely seen some results from it!
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 Depositphotos out 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, graphics were 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 paid version for $12.95 a month, because some of the extra features were so worth it. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s SO worth looking into.
I had mixed feelings about Milotree since I hate visiting sites full of pop-ups, but this one is cute, customizable, and fairly unobtrusive. (You can even set it not to come back for repeat visitors for a specific amount of time.) It just shows up to direct readers to my Instagram, Pinterest, and email list. I haven’t seen HUGE growth from it, but I do get new followers for both social accounts – so for now, I’m keeping it!
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course:
Since affiliates are my next focus area, I decided to go ahead and dive into the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course. I haven’t implemented a lot yet, but definitely useful info! A lot of reviews I read listed this as a “con”, but I personally LOVED the fact that it wasn’t a video course. I learn better by reading.