If you follow a lot of blogs, you may notice some of them publish an income report. Despite that I have only been making any money at all for the past few months, I decided that I would start putting together a monthly income report as well. I struggled with this decision for a while, because I’ve always heard that it’s in bad taste to talk about money, but when it comes down to it I love reading income reports, I check Pinch of Yum everyday during the beginning of the month until theirs is up, and I honestly get so inspired by them. There are bloggers making careers out of their passion, and it’s amazing to see the potential this hobby of mine has. While I’m nowhere near making thousands of dollars a month, I am going to keep working at it, and these reports will help me monitor my progress!
This month I made less than last month, and I can credit that to a lack of focus due to midterms, as well as a decreased online presence that resulted in a lot less visitors than normal. On the bright side, I was able to snag a few sponsored opportunities which is currently my big money maker, and last month I switched to BlogHer ads as opposed to Google Adsense and that makes me significantly more money.
As far as that switch goes, it was a hard decision but one I am glad I made. September was my first full month with BlogHer and I made 2.5x than I typically did with Google, though this month I only made about 1.75x. I understand that ad earnings fluctuate, but it has made me a little nervous as nobody wants to see a downward trend!
At this point in time I am using Mostly Morgan as my sole income source. I am a college student so balancing class, extracurriculars, blogging, and a job would be tricky so I am so thankful that I have been able to turn this incredible pastime of mine into some sort of job. A lot of bloggers fear that by agreeing to make money they are selling out or coming off as unauthentic, but that’s not true. Accepting money is just saying ‘hey, what I am doing is valuable.’ And so long as you’re balancing your sponsored posts with non-sponsored ones and only endorsing things that you truly believe in then you are in no way selling out.
And now for the part we’ve all been waiting for:
BlogHer – 20.99
Clever Girls – 125.00 + Product
Independent Sponsored Posts – 100.00
Host Gator (How to start a blog) – 100.00
Adsense (on sponsored posts) – 3.83
Total – 349.82
Hosting – 6.83
After taking out the hosting expense, this month my income came to a grand total of: 342.99!
In my head every month I have calculated how many hours I would have to work at a minimum wage job to earn what I did on my blog, and the after adding it up I would have had to work 41.5 hours this month! And while I most definitely put way more time into my blog than that in October, for me the tradeoff is worth it. I wake up and pull my computer onto my lap and I’m suddenly at work replying to comments, writing a post, or editing pictures all from the comfort of my bed and never having to change out of my pajamas. When it comes down to it: yes, I spend a ton of time on the blog but I love every minute of it. The only time you’ll ever hear me complain about blogging is when I have a million things to do or have writers block (both are rare!) whereas I worked at an ice cream shop for 3 and a half years and (I am ashamed to admit) I would complain after every shift.
Thoughts on Traffic & Income
If I am being completely honest, I am a little disappointed in myself this month. I posted only six times and I really wasn’t present on any of my social media. I had a severe downward spike in both traffic and income which as previously mentioned was due to outside distractions. Had I planned better for balancing my time during midterms I am sure I could have had a better month, but I have since reevaluated, created a editorial calendar, and committed to participating in NaBloPoMo, which has me writing everyday!
Regardless, I have come so far in terms of traffic and income. June was the first month I made any money at all, and it was 80 dollars for a sponsored post. At that time I was lucky to get 100 visitors a day, and now I have that by the time I wake up every morning. I wish I had a formula to tell you how I did it, but to be honest it is all luck.
My number one referrer is Pinterest (96% of my traffic in October came from there!) and in August I had several pins go viral, and they are still getting pinned upwards of 100 times a week which really helps as far as traffic goes. I went back and revamped those posts, inserting links to related posts of mine within the text and that has brought my bounce rate down to under 1%, which is a huge accomplishment for me.
Overall I am not going to be too hard on myself, as one bad month isn’t going to kill me, I’m just disappointed that it was the month I decided to start doing these reports!
Can you make money blogging?
Yes…and no. If you make a blog today you aren’t going to make any money for a while. How long will it take? It depends on three things: how much work you’re willing to put into it, what you’re blogging about, and luck.
As far as work goes: if you are going to only post once or twice a month you will probably never make a penny, or grow a following for that matter. You need to be consistent if you ever want anything to come from your blog, about once every two or three weeks I get an email asking me how I became successful in blogging and when I check out the sender’s blog – they haven’t posted in weeks and that’s a trend for them.
When you start blogging you will need to find your ‘niche’ – some are quite narrow, an example of a narrow niche would be blogs for single mothers who homeschool, while some are broader. I am a ‘college lifestyle blog’ which is just about as broad as you can get. My goal is to blog about things that appeal to the average college student and that’s where most of my traffic comes from. Having a broad niche tends to make you money faster and you have a better chance of ever earning money, but narrow niches tend to make more money in the long run if they ever do start making money.
And luck is an obvious ingredient. Like I said – I had a few pictures go viral on Pinterest and now those posts get hundreds of views every day. I made the pictures just like I make all of my other pictures and the posts were good but not on some riveting or news breaking topic. As much hard work as you put into your blog there are going to be some things out of your control.
Do you write an income report for your blog? Is there an income report that you read monthly? Comment below!