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I can’t believe I’m already three months into this blogging adventure! I’ll be honest, it’s a lot of work. More than I expected, even after working as a virtual assistant. BUT, it’s also a lot of fun. I’m enjoying the learning curve – and believe me when I say that something new to learn comes up almost every single day.
So, here we go with the September 2019 traffic & income report – my third month 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.
September 2019 Monthly Summary:
September’s focus was content, content, content! I wanted to do a lot of writing and get ahead of schedule, so I could focus on other aspects for the next few months. And I didn’t get ALL of the writing done that I wanted to. But I did figure out a few ways to work it into my daily schedule a little easier. Now that I have a better strategy, things are starting to flow MUCH better than before. Some of that was due to adjusting my schedule at one of my day jobs (Yes, I have multiple day jobs right now, but that’s only temporary). And some of that was also due to adjusting my own expectations. I’ve been trying to fit this blogging thing into a 9-5 mindset…which doesn’t really work when you already have a 9-5 job…
Instead, now I’m relaxing my personal schedule a bit. If I have free time in the evening or during the weekend, I write or research. If my husband is in the shower before work and I’m waiting to get in there next, I write or research. If we’re watching a tv show that turns out to be (painfully) boring, I do a little research on my phone. It’s a strange conclusion for me to come to, because I typically LOVE to be scheduled, over-organized, and following a routine. But for now, this seems to be working…and hey, whatever works!
September traffic report:
From September 1st to September 30th, I had 2004 pageviews. My goal was 1500, so this is definitely a win! Most of that traffic was from one blog post, 24 Ways to Have a Cozy Autumn, that did really well on Pinterest. In fact, it’s still the reason for most of my daily traffic.
And that’s great! But I’m also aware that, since it’s a seasonal topic, that won’t last forever. It made me realize, though, that perhaps it’s not a bad idea to lighten up some of my topics and put a few more out there that are just…fun. (Lightbulb moment, really.)
I’m not even 85% sure I’ll be able to do as well with traffic in October, but it was a much-needed learning moment!
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.
I didn’t even earn as much as I did in August – which wasn’t much to begin with. But for now, I’m happy with anything over $0.00.
Google AdSense – $2.28
Since all my income last month was from AdSense, and I got quite a bit more traffic, naturally I thought there would be an increase in September…I also decided to try one of the AdSense “experiments” for most of the month. I didn’t do a lot of research first. It was a spur of the moment decision one day when I was checking stats. But from what I understand, the experiment basically took my settings, picked a few different settings, and switched them back and forth to see which settings performed better. (If anyone has a better explanation for this, feel free to email or leave me a comment! I’m curious to know more, but…ya know, priorities.) I cancelled the experiment and went back to my original settings when it became clear that it wasn’t really helping things, and so far, it’s doing better already. Live and learn!
VigLink (now called Sovrn//commerce) – $.06
This was another affiliate site I decided to test out, because it didn’t take a lot of work on the front end. Monetizing still isn’t my main focus yet, so I didn’t want to put a lot of time into it. I made a few cents, but I’m not entirely confident in how this works or which links it’s affecting. So I’ve decided to deactivate it for now, until I have time to do a liiiitle more research.
Total income for September 2019 – $2.34
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 did decide to go ahead and purchase a new course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. Since I plan to shift my focus to affiliate marketing very, very soon, I wanted to get a jump start on the information. (And, bonus, this course is almost all written instead of in video form, which meant that I could read through during those boring tv shows I mentioned earlier…)
In September, I paid for:
Canva Pro for creating graphics – $12.95
ConvertKit for my email list – $29.00
Depositphotos membership – $29.00
Milotree pop-up – $9.00
Total expenses for September 2019 – $222.42
September 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 September goals:
Write 2 posts per week – failed, but part of that was because I sidelined a few post drafts I had started to work on new ideas
Use Pinterest to increase traffic – Success!
Research affiliate ideas – Success!
Make first $10 – Failed
Make first affiliate sale – Failed, unless I count the $.06 from Viglink
Pinterest views goal: 1.5m – Failed, but I actually dropped to 1.3m for most of the month, so I was pretty happy to end at 1.4m
Pinterest followers goal: 450 – Success! 467
Instagram followers goal: 1800 – Success! 1811
Facebook followers goal: 75 – Success! 78
Monthly traffic goal: 1500 pageviews – Success! 2004
Subscribers goal: 20 – Failed. 18 (so close!)
Goals for October:
My main goal for October is still content. I still plan to write 2 new posts a week, but only publish one per week for the next month or so. 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 October:
Work on SEO & affiliate marketing
Make first $10
Pinterest views goal: 1.5m
Pinterest followers goal: 500
Instagram followers goal: 1900
Facebook followers goal: 100
Monthly traffic goal: 3000
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. 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. 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 / 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 last month and I’ve been implementing some of these strategies since then. And I’ve definitely seen some results from it! My traffic from Pinterest has gone up overall – not by a whole lot, but it still seems to be helping! The arrow in the image below is when I started implementing what I learned and you can definitely see a difference since then!
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.
So this was a new one for September. Actually, I started testing Milotree near the end of August with a free trial, but I liked it and decided to pay the $9 to keep it this month. I had mixed feelings 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 or Pinterest, and I may add an email list opt-in for October too. I didn’t see HUGE growth from it, but I did 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.