December 2019 Traffic & Income Report – A Six-Month Update

December 2019 Traffic & Income Report – A Six-Month Update

December 2019 Traffic & Income Report – A 6-Month Update

This December 2019 traffic & income report marks the official 6-month mark of Cozy Simple Calm!  Yay! I’ve made it half of a year, and I’ve gotta say, that time has FLOWN by. So it’s time to check-in and see how the past 6 months have been.

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.

6-month update:

Cozy Simple Calm has been live for 6 months!  I can’t even believe it’s been that long. And while it’s a lot of fun, blogging is a grind.  It’s a lot of work, a lot of adjusting and readjusting, a lot of learning about terms I’ve never heard of before I jumped into this world.  But so far, it’s totally worth it! I’m loving (almost) every minute of this and I can’t wait to see what the next 6 months bring. (I have some pretty big plans…shhh…)

So how have the first 6 months gone?  Overall, pretty well. There have been some ups, and some downs, and some “I’m frustrated and I can’t even deal with this problem right now” moments.  But there is growth and promise!

Let’s talk numbers – during the first 6 months, I had 5998 visitors and 7976 pageviews.  My Instagram following has almost doubled, my Pinterest followers have tripled, my Facebook followers have grown by almost 1000%!  That’s a lot of growth!

That said, I haven’t actually earned any money…yet.  Not technically. I’ve earned a total of $19.54 during these first 6 months, but I haven’t hit the payout threshold for any of those earnings.  So while it’s there, it has yet to hit my bank account. One day…

My goal is to make this blog my full-time job, and I have plans to make that happen.  But the first 6 months have all been about building a foundation. Income will come in due time…

Want to see how each month went? Check out the rest of my reports here:

1st Month

2nd Month

3rd Month

4th Month

5th Month

December 2019 Monthly Summary: 

December was a pretty good month!  I got a lot accomplished and, for the most part, stayed on schedule during a normally busy time of year.  My traffic was back up, I got quite a bit of writing done, and I refocused on a few things that had been a little neglected.

December traffic report: 

From December 1st through December 31st, I had 1803 pageviews (compared to 984 in November).  I didn’t quite hit my goal of 2000 pageviews for the month, but I was close!

I’m aiming bigger next month, so we’ll see how it goes in about 30 days 😉

December Income report: 

I stuck with my goal of making $10 for the month.  And once again, I didn’t. I was hoping to do a little more affiliate promotion for the Christmas shopping season, but since this was my first Christmas as an active blogger, I wasn’t quite sure how keeping up with everything during the holidays would work out.  So I decided to pull back a little bit and just focus on content this month. While December wasn’t my first $10 month, I still made a little bit.

Google AdSense – $4.43

Total income for December 2019 – $4.43

Expenses:

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 December, I paid for:

Tailwind for both Pinterest & Instagram scheduling, plus boost for extra tribe submissions – $44.97

Canva Pro for creating graphics – $12.95

ConvertKit for my email list – $29.00

Depositphotos membership – $29.00

Milotree pop-up – $9.00

And one new one – I joined a membership course to help me dial in on a few things I was struggling with – $79

I expect to talk a little bit more about it later, but since I joined late in the month, I haven’t really had a chance to dig into it yet.

Total expenses for December 2019 – $203.92

December 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.  And this month, I met almost ALL of my goals! Yay!

Here’s how I did on my December goals:

Write 8 posts – 4 for December, 4 for January – Failed, but wrote 6 total

Make first $10Failed, $4.43

Social media

Pinterest views goal: 1.5mSuccess! 1.8m

Pinterest followers goal: 600 – Success! 631

Instagram followers goal: 2100Success! 2106

Facebook followers goal: 125Success! 144

Stats

Monthly traffic goal: 2000 pageviewsFailed, 1803

Subscribers goal: 25Failed, 23

Goals for January:

I’m so excited for 2020 that I can hardly stand it!  And January is the first month, so I plan to make it count.  I’ve set some pretty lofty goals this month to push myself a little bit, so let’s see what happens!

Here are the goals I’ve set for January:

Write 2 posts per week, publish 1

Start working on a digital product

Make first $10

Social media

Pinterest views goal: 2.3m

Pinterest followers goal: 675

Instagram followers goal: 2250

Facebook followers goal: 200

Stats

Monthly traffic goal: 3000 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.

Bluehost:

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!

WordPress

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:

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.

Tailwind:

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!  

Depositphotos:

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.

Canva Pro

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.

Milotree:

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.  

Six full months of blogging are in the rearview mirror!  And I can’t wait to see what the next six months hold!

November 2019 Traffic & Income Report – My 5th month blogging

November 2019 Traffic & Income Report – My 5th month blogging

November 2019 Traffic & income report – My 5th month blogging

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!

Google AdSense – $3.80

I’ve been working out some kinks with my Adsense account for the last few months.  And this month gave the most income so far through ads, even with the reduced traffic. Progress!

Total income for November 2019 – $4.52

Expenses:

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:

Tailwind for both Pinterest & Instagram scheduling, plus boost for extra tribe submissions – $44.97

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 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 DecemberFailed, only wrote 1!

Work on SEO & Affiliate marketing(Some) Success – in the planning stages

Make first $10Failed, $4.52

Social media

Pinterest views goal: 1.3mFailed, 1m

Pinterest followers goal: 550Success! 560

Instagram followers goal: 2000Success! 2003

Facebook followers goal: 125Failed, 107

Stats

Monthly traffic goal: 2000 pageviewsFailed, 946

Subscribers goal: 25Failed, 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

Social media

Pinterest views goal: 1.5m

Pinterest followers goal: 600

Instagram followers goal: 2100

Facebook followers goal: 125

Stats

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.

Bluehost:

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!

WordPress

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:

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.

Tailwind:

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!  

Depositphotos:

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.

Canva Pro

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.

Milotree:

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.  

So that’s the story for November 2019.  Bring on December!

October 2019 Traffic & income report – My fourth month blogging

October 2019 Traffic & income report – My fourth month blogging

October 2019 Traffic & income report – My fourth month blogging

Month four as an active blogger is in the books, and I’m surprised to discover how much I’m enjoying it!  I like the process of writing, promoting and tracking my results… But not only that, it’s oddly exciting!  I’m building something, something that’s helpful and useful, something that’s all mine. It’s worth the extra time and occasional frustration.  If you’re considering starting a blog, I would recommend it

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.

October 2019 Monthly Summary: 

My goal for October was content.  Lots and lots of writing. But, as so often happens with goals, things got in the way.  I still managed to post consistently, but I didn’t quite get ahead of schedule the way I was planning.

There were a few setbacks this month.  The main one? I was thrown in “Pinterest jail”.  Twice. Since most of my traffic at this point is from Pinterest, it was a little defeating and I put a pause on content creation until it was sorted out.  And then it happened the second time. To be honest, I’m still not entirely sure if it was something I did. I have a couple of suspicions, but I may never have a definitive answer.  

There were several changes inside Pinterest this month, so that may have played a part.  

I also cut a corner and uploaded 3 different pins with exactly the same captions and hashtags, because I was short on time and skipped my normal process of keyword research.  Pro-tip: Don’t cut corners, even if you’re in a rush.

I’m also using Smartloops through Tailwind to repin older pins for me, and it’s possible that I have it set up incorrectly. Pinterest doesn’t like it when you post the same pin too often, it’s considered spammy.

I appealed the first suspension, asked for a reason, and was reactivated within a couple of days.  Yay! I didn’t get a solid answer on why though. Then, a week later, suspended again. Boo. I appealed and was reactivated again, but still no solid answer.  That’s okay though. These setbacks are all part of the learning process. Because I was suspended, I took a little time to brush up on the rules and best practices for Pinterest.  And that’s never a bad thing!  

It also prompted me to spend a little time during the month learning about SEO.  SEO is a long game, but it’s SO important to work on having multiple traffic sources, just in case.

Setbacks will always happen, but turning them into learning experiences is always a good idea!

October traffic report:

From October 1st through October 31st, I had 1530 pageviews.  That’s down from September by almost 500 views, but I was kind of expecting that.  (If you didn’t read last month’s report you can check it out here.) Last month I had a post – 24 Ways to Have a Cozy Autumn – go mini-viral (for my baby blog, at least) and a good percentage of my September traffic was from that single post.  The only problem is that it was a seasonal post, so I kind of knew it would be a temporary boost in traffic. And that’s okay!

The good news is that even though traffic was down from the previous month, it’s also double the amount I had in August.  Yay, growth! As long as things keep growing, I’m a happy little blogger.

October income report: 

My October goal was to make $10.  And that didn’t happen. But I did have a few wins!  My total income for October was more than it’s been so far.  More growth!  

Amazon affiliate sales – $4.10

I made my very first Amazon Affiliate sales this month!  If you’re also a blogger, you know that those first Amazon sales are a BIG deal, because if you don’t make a certain number of sales in the first 180 days (just about 6 months) your account is deactivated.  I hit the required sales in October and got an email letting me know I’m officially an approved Amazon Affiliate! Yay!!!

Google AdSense – $.84

I’m still working on adjusting my AdSense setting, but I’m also not expecting it to be a huge source of income.  Still, every little bit helps, right?

Sovrn//commerce (formerly VigLink) – $.09

I made a little tiny bit of money through Sovrn//commerce, but I decided to deactivate it for a little while during the month.  I didn’t have a really good grasp on how this program works and I wanted to learn a little more and make sure it wasn’t conflicting with any of my other affiliates.  I anticipate reactivating in November though. Stay tuned for more on that.

Total income for October 2019 – $5.03

Expenses:

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. I did sign up for an extra Tailwind Tribes boost, so I could add a few more pins than normal and try to make up for some of the lost traffic while I was in Pinterest jail.  They’re nice enough to prorate if you add a boost during the month, so it only added a little over a dollar to my normal expense.

In October, I paid for:

Tailwind for both Pinterest & Instagram scheduling, plus boost for extra tribe submissions – $39.17

Canva Pro for creating graphics – $12.95

ConvertKit for my email list – $29.00

Depositphotos membership – $29.00

Milotree pop-up – $9.00

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course – $105  (This was my second and final payment from purchasing this program last month.)

Total expenses for October 2019 – $224.12

October 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 October goals:

Write 2 posts per weekFailed, but I did write enough to post weekly all month

Work on SEO & Affiliate marketingDone!

Make first $10Failed. $5.03 total for the month

Social media

Pinterest views goal: 1.5mFailed. 1.1m

Pinterest followers goal: 500Success! 510

Instagram followers goal: 1900Success! 1910

Facebook followers goal: 100Success! 101

Stats

Monthly traffic goal: 3000 pageviewsFailed. 1530

Subscribers goal: 25Failed. 21

Goals for November:

My main goal for November is writing. 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. Christmas is coming, and I know December will be unusually busy, so I want to get as much writing done in advance as possible.

Here are the rest of the goals I’ve set for November:

Work on SEO & Affiliate marketing

Make first $10

Social media

Pinterest views goal: 1.3m

Pinterest followers goal: 550

Instagram followers goal: 2000

Facebook followers goal: 125

Stats

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.

Bluehost:

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!

WordPress

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:

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.

Tailwind:

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!  

Depositphotos:

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.

Canva Pro

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.

Milotree:

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.  

So, another month is in the books!  Bring on November!

September 2019 Traffic & Income Report – My third month blogging

September 2019 Traffic & Income Report – My third month blogging

September 2019 Traffic & Income Report – My third month blogging

 

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:

If you read last month’s traffic report, my August traffic was down a little bit.  (And if you didn’t read it, you can check it out here.)  This month?  Up! Up more than I expected!  Yay!

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!

Income report: 

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.

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

Expenses:

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:

Tailwind for both Pinterest & Instagram scheduling, plus boost for extra tribe submissions – $37.47

Canva Pro for creating graphics – $12.95

ConvertKit for my email list – $29.00

Depositphotos membership – $29.00

Milotree pop-up – $9.00

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course – $105  (Sidenote here, I went with the 2 payment option, so there will be a second charge for the same thing this month.)

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 weekfailed, but part of that was because I sidelined a few post drafts I had started to work on new ideas

Use Pinterest to increase trafficSuccess!

Research affiliate ideasSuccess!

Make first $10Failed

Make first affiliate saleFailed, unless I count the $.06 from Viglink

Social media

Pinterest views goal: 1.5mFailed, 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: 450Success! 467

Instagram followers goal: 1800Success! 1811

Facebook followers goal: 75Success! 78

Stats

Monthly traffic goal: 1500 pageviewsSuccess! 2004

Subscribers goal: 20Failed. 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

Social media

Pinterest views goal: 1.5m

Pinterest followers goal: 500

Instagram followers goal: 1900

Facebook followers goal: 100

Stats

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.

Bluehost:

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!

WordPress

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:

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.

Tailwind:

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!

Depositphotos:

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.

Canva Pro

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.

Milotree:

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.  

So another month is in the books!  Bring on October!

August 2019 Traffic & Income Report – My second month blogging

August 2019 Traffic & Income Report – My second month blogging

August 2019 Traffic & Income Report – My second month blogging

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!

Income report: 

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

Expenses:

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:

Tailwind for both Pinterest & Instagram scheduling, plus boost for extra tribe submissions – $37.47

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

Social Media

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

Stats

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

Social

Pinterest views goal: 1.5m

Pinterest followers goal: 450

Instagram followers goal: 1800

Facebook followers goal: 75

Stats

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.

Bluehost:

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!

WordPress

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:

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.

Tailwind:

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!

pinterest traffic

Depositphotos:

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.

Canva Pro

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!

So another month is in the books!  Bring on September!