So it’s that time again – time for me to publish my traffic & income report! Last month I started publishing them at the very beginning of the month rather than the middle because of changes made to how The Blogher Ad Network presents our income. We used to be able to see our final income figures 15 days after the month, but now it’s 35 days, so rather than publishing my income report over a month past month end, I’m just going to publish without finalized figures.
Why I do income reports.
I know I add this disclaimer every month, but for people outside of the blogging community they may see this as an odd thing to do. My number one motivator in publishing these is transparency – a lot of blogger make money blogging, a lot of bloggers want to make money blogging but there is sort of a sense of secrecy among bloggers when it comes to the business side of blogging and numbers.
Of course bloggers have every right to keep that information to themselves and that is fine – but it was bloggers who were open with their numbers and monetization methods that inspired me to take blogging seriously and work on building my audience. So basically I just want to be open with you all so that (hopefully!) you can start making an income off of your blog, too!
What I did this month.
I started the month off strong publishing almost every day, but towards the end I had college move in and a week without wifi that made blogging a bit more difficult. Despite that I saw a boost in traffic and in turn, ad revenue. I also focused on putting out a few longer guides, as opposed to short posts. This focus was on curating evergreen content that is going to continue to be relevant as opposed to writing seasonal posts that will only drive traffic for a month.
With that said I did write a few back to school posts, but I tried to frame them in a way that they would still be relevant in the future – tips that students can use year round as opposed to having them strictly back to school themed. I did a lot of those posts last year so I polished them up, repromoted them, and they ended up bringing in great traffic.
I have also been trying to dominate the “Instagram” google search so I wrote yet another Instagram post, as those are doing quite well on Google and bringing in a good chunk of traffic.
My Instagram series:
- Instagram themes: Your Ultimate Guide
- How to Succeed at Instagram (Without Really Trying)
- Instagram Lately: End of Summer Adventures
- The Blogger’s Guide to Instagram
These posts are continually doing well, the first rating #1 for it’s search on Google. My blog does well for a lot of college related searches, but as I move away from being a college blog and more towards a general lifestyle blog (I am going to graduate eventually, after all!), I am trying to get my foot in the door for other searches.
I also really dove into fashion blogging in the month of August and am so happy with the direction that is going. While it took a small while to build traction, those posts are not only doing well on the blog, but they are also doing well on Instagram, my very favorite social media channel!
Recent fashion posts:
- State my Style: Boohoo lookbook
- Campus Fashion: Where Style & Comfort Meet
- From Beach to Night
- The Best Looks for Back to School
- Gameday Fashion
The final traffic booster for me has been doing a large number of posts with Blogher. If you are with Blogher, you may be aware that most of their sponsored posts end with a sweepstakes that your readers can win, and because people love winning things people are more inclined to come to my site. I will say that not all of these visitors are my target audience, and some of them will never come to my site again, so while I am so happy they are here, it’s not traffic that I can count on so I am aware that this months stats are going to be slightly inflated.
BlogHer Sponsored Posts -$1150
BlogHer Ads -$534.36
Linqia – 273.20
Host Gator (from this post, where I show YOU how to make a blog!) – $250
CleverGirls – $200
Her Campus – $200
Twitter Campaign – $75
Amazon Affiliates – $73.89
YouTube – $3.70
Giveaway buy in: $15
Adobe Lightroom: $10.61
Photography & Photoshop Class: $125
Total after expenses:
This month I come up with a total of $2602.71, this is my first time getting over $2000 and it beats my old record by around $600 which is crazy to me! As usual, I calculated how many hours I would have had to work at a minimum wage job and I came up with an astounding 315 hours! That breaks down to almost 80 hours a week, which would be impossible to do as a full time student! When I started blogging, monetizing wasn’t a goal, but when I started monetizing my goal was to have the blog pay for all of my expenses and I am so excited to be at that point.
I have the (lofty) dream of becoming a full time blogger, and months like this help keep me motivated and let me realize that it is possible. Something I hadn’t entirely believed in the past.
Traffic was another record breaker! My traffic started super high, and steadily declined (as a result of lack of posting toward the end of the month) but regardless, it’s the best I’ve ever done, and I’m going to be working at putting out content more frequently in order to bring it back up!
Top five posts in August.
- The Ultimate Guide to Theming Your Instagram – 117,573 page views
- The BEST College Studying Tips – 85,997 page views
- Packing for College: Tips & Tricks – 83,731 page views
- What I learned my Freshman Year – 71,970 page views
- College Essentials that Students Forget – 46,927 page views
I added this section to my income report, because I mentioned last month how most of my views come from just a handful of posts. A lot of people were surprised by that, so I thought I would share! As you can see, two thirds of my views come from just five posts. And my number one referrer was Pinterest, but for the first time ever Google was right on it’s tail thanks to my Instagram posts!
September’s plan of attack.
So this fall I am going to be taking a step back from sponsored content (those posts are a ton of work!) and focus more on creating very helpful evergreen content that is going to perform well on Pinterest and other social media. I actually believe that is going to be the plan for the entire fall, as I’ve got a very difficult semester ahead of me and I don’t want to add extra stress via a million blogging deadlines and to-dos.
So with that said I do anticipate a dip in income, but it’s going to be a trade off because the content I plan on putting out should be giving me a boost in traffic that is going to pay off in the long run. I also am planning on putting more energy into keeping my social media up to date.
Also, as an exciting mention – I am going to be getting a new theme in September! It should be installed just a day or two after I publish this and I’m so excited. I’ve been using the one you see now (if you are here the day I publish!) since day one, and it’s time I move on. I opted for a super sleek, very customizable theme that is going to make my site look a million times more professional!
Can you make money blogging?
Yes! If you are interested in making a profitable blog – I would be more than happy to help! I have an incredibly detailed guide to setting up a blog here, and from there you can check out my blogging tips (there are a lot!) and if you need any further help – email me! I absolutely love talking about blogging (my friends and family are sick of hearing about it!) so do not hesitate.
And for the first time ever…
So every month after publishing my income report I get anywhere from 20 to 50 emails in the first week with bloggers asking for advice on monetizing or growing their blog in general. And please, please know that I love when y’all come to me for advice, but it’s gotten to the point where I really cannot keep up with them all. In the summer I did my best to, but now that classes are in session devoting an hour a night to my emails just isn’t doable. Of course I still try and respond, but some slip by! But if you’re looking for advice, first check out my FAQ here, and then enter my giveaway!
From now on, each month I am going to giveaway a consultation to one blogger! The process is simple, and we won’t have to work with each other’s schedules to set up a Skype call because it will all be through Google Docs. Here’s how it’ll go:
- I’ll send the winner a worksheet to fill out. (Very simple – just asking about you, your site, and your goals!)
- I’ll evaluate that worksheet, your site, and your social media and come up with a strategy just for you, personalized to your goals (growing traffic, making money, rocking Pinterest, etc.)
- After sending you the very detailed plan of attack, I’ll be checking back in with you after 2 weeks to see how it’s going. If you haven’t seen growth, we’ll reevaluate!