If you’re reading this post, you’re probably a blogger or interested in blogging. (Or, you’re just a really curious person, like me!) Since I’ve started Home Beautifully, I’ve decided to share my monthly income and traffic reports with my readers. Why? Before I started my blog, I LOVED reading these reports from other bloggers. I found them SO inspiring. Being able to do something you love AND make money from it? #goals. Honestly, I think reading others’ reports were a big reason I decided to start this blog. Hopefully, this report is motivating for you as well! Curious to hear my December 2017 monthly income and traffic for December? Keep on reading!
A Brief Aside From the Monthly Income Report
Before we jump into this report, I wanna give a HUGE SHOUT OUT to the man behind the scenes who puts a lot of this income and revenue information together. Drumroll puh-lease! Introducing my oh-so-handsome husband, Stefan. (Hi honey!)
I’m gonna be honest with you for a hot second. These reports take a ton of time to write. And, if I have the choice between DIYing or writing revenue statements, um… I choose DIY. (Or sleep. God bless sleep.)
The thing is, my super talented husband has a background in finance and loves this stuff. So he’s oh-so-generously taken on putting together the numbers and figures for these reports. I write all the schtuff, but he tracks all the expenses, which is not my fave. (This is him, by the way, back when our son was oh-so-little.)
So now that we’ve given credit where it’s due let’s keep moving forward!
Objectives of this December 2017 Monthly Traffic and Income Report
In reading (and writing) this report, I want to answer three main questions for you.
– How many people are reading Home Beautifully?
– How much money am I making writing Home Beautifully?
– What are my three biggest takeaways of the month?
Sound good? Let’s start answering these questions!
December 2017 Blog Traffic and Email Subscribers
First up: how many people read Home Beautifully? To answer this question, let’s look at three stats: my page views, unique sessions, and email subscribers.
Let’s compare November and December:
November Blog Traffic Snapshot
December Blog Traffic Snapshot
In December, I had a lil over 12,000 page views with a lil under 6000 unique visitors. Most visitors are looking at about two pages per visit, and my bounce rate’s doing a-okay.
In November, I had about 1000 more page views and visitors. So while traffic’s pretty steady, it did dip a bit.
Traffic Dips: Seasonal Nature of Pinterest
Why did traffic dip? I think it has to do with seasonal content. I had lots of goodies for fall. (In fact, my free fall printables were my most popular post on Pinterest for the longest time.) And, I didn’t have too much for Christmas. I started working on it and had three or four holiday related posts, but I didn’t have years of content to promote.
I have to remind myself all the time that I’m still pretty new at this. That it’s PERFECTLY ALRIGHT to be exactly where I am on this journey.
One of my big takeaways (read more about this down below) is that Pinterest is a search engine with a strong seasonal component. I’ve been listening to Kate Ahl at the Simple Pin Podcasts and am using her suggestions for seasonal pinning. I’m hopeful that in the future, I’ll be able to ride out seasonal trends a little more successfully.
December 2017 Email Subscribers
In December, 613 peeps joined the Home Beautifully email list, which is bonkers and awesome. In total, in December, there were 3663 total subscribers on my email list.
Building a resource library was huge for my success in growing my email list. I plan on developing a series for bloggers all about how to create one if you’re interested.
Total side note: also, it turns out that I love email marketing. What’s funny is that I never knew I felt this way! I don’t exactly do email marketing in my day job — I work in education with universities. Learning that I love email marketing is one of those funny, whoda-thunk-it lessons learned from this blogging journey.
December 2017 Monthly Income Report
Now that we’ve covered how many people are reading Home Beautifully via blog posts and emails, let’s move onto the second question:
How much did I make in December 2017 Monthly Income?
- Revenue: $196 (from ads via Google AdSense)
- Expenses: $189.32
- Income: $6.94 (I’m ROLLING in cash LOL!)
Yup, I pretty much spent it all! I’m a firm believer that investing back into your blog is necessary. I’m on the Busy Budgeter’s email list for bloggers (and recommend her content!), and she advised that until you make $1000 per month, you should be investing 100% back into your site and personal growth. (More than $1000 per month, she recommends investing 20%.)
Side note: if you want to sign up for her blogging emails, there’s a sign-up form at the bottom of this post.
Since I work full time, I have the financial latitude to reinvest all of my blogging income back into my blog. I remind myself to feel grateful for this often.
So how did I spend that two hundy? Let’s take a peek. (And yup, for the products I use and wholeheartedly recommend, I’ve used affiliate links so you can click over and learn more.)
Website Support with iMark Interactive
Ugh. A plugin crashed my site. It was awful. (AWFUL!!)
Thankfully Grayson Bell at iMark Interactive saved the day quickly and at an affordable rate. I may or may not have cried a ridiculous amount of tears until it was fixed. And then, when my husband innocently asked “but your site is backed up, though, right?” I may have cried some more. Hence, my next expense.
UpDraft Plus One Drive Connection
Have you backed up your site yet? Seriously, if you’re a blogger and you haven’t done this yet. DO. IT. NOW. (I had a literal meltdown when the plugin crashed my site. Avoid this!)
The UpDraft Plus plugin is an affordable way to back up your site. The plugin itself is free. Since I use OneDrive for all of my blog photos and files, I paid a little bit to have a special OneDrive connection. Now every night, my website syncs with my OneDrive while I sleep and backs it up. No more tears!
Tasty Pins Plugin
The Tasty Pins plugin from WP Tasty is new to the market and amazing, amazing, amazing. True story, I’m kind of in love with this plugin. #trulove
I’m going to be launching a whole series on SEO for bloggers and will talk lots more about it there. Essentially, it lets you optimize photos on your blog for both Google AND Pinterest, really really easily. Win! Here’s a quick snapshot so you can see what the plugin lets you do on the backend:
That little box that says “Pinterest Text?” That’s not usually there. The Tasty Pins plugin puts it there, which is everything. Why? Because, then you can optimize your images for Pinterest, and use the alt text box the way it’s supposed to be used: for Google SEO and screenreaders. Trying to rank on Google AND Pinterest? Yaaas.
Why? I think my new images are one of the reasons my traffic’s picking up (keep on reading the Pinterest section below for more details!) See that pin above? Yep, that’s ALL Photoshop. And maybe you could do this with Canva, but I never could figure it out in an easy way. Like, at all.
I’ve been focusing on growing my Pinterest and have purchased a few resources to help. A few fellow bloggers highly recommended this e-book called Pinteresting Strategies, written by Carly at Mommy on Purpose. I’m not quite done reading it and will post a review once I’m all done.
How I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE MailerLite. I could write a love poem to the MailerLite team (but I won’t cause that’d be super weird.)
Compared to other email subscriber services, they’re so affordable. The subscription’s prorated for the number of subscribers. I signed up with MailerLite because the service is free until you have 1000 subscribers, and at the time, spending any money on my blog was intimidating. (Now, apparently, I’m comfortable spending hundreds a month on my blog. How things have changed!)
Plus, I’ve heard that MailerLite is comparable to ConvertKit regarding features, but at a much more cost-effective price point.
For me, though, the big seller for using MailerLite is their customer service. You guys, I chat with them pretty much every single week. And they are so nice!
10 Hour Time Block Strategy
This 10 Hour Time Block Strategy is a mini-workbook from The Busy Budgeter about time management for bloggers. She shows how she blogged 10 hours per week and made a full-time income.
I’d already been time blocking, and it turns out that her strategy wasn’t too far from what I’d already been doing! But I’m still glad I bought it since it reinforces the importance of time blocking and accountability.
Microsoft One Drive
I pay $6.99 per month to get access to the Microsoft suite and OneDrive. I used to use DropBox, but OneDrive is cheaper for the same amount of storage. Getting the entire Microsoft suite is a free bonus! I use excel for tracking all of my SEO keywords and Pinterest tactics, so I put it to good use for sure.
Creative Market Photoshop Assets
I spent a good chunk of change on this fabulous design package from another graphic designer. This package helps me to mock up really pretty scenes to show off the printables I create. (And these images have been HUGE for driving traffic from Pinterest to my site — see the key takeaways below.)
I trolled Creative Market for-eva for a scene creator package that fit my style and just loved this one. I had a $10 credit from affiliate sales at Creative Market, which brought the price down a little bit. And I’m so so glad I bought it! I’ve made really pretty images like these, which have helped bring people to my posts:
That remaining $7 bucks? I’m putting it towards a major purchase — a new iMac! I’ll talk about it more next month, but yeah… I’m gonna be in the red for a long time to come.
December 2017 Lessons Learned
We covered the first two questions — how many people read this blog and how much income do I make? — so let’s move to the third:
What are the three biggest blogging lessons I’ve learned this month?
Lesson #1: It’s okay to go slow.
My blog is growing at a pace that I like.
I had a moment in December where I felt oh-so-thankful that I hadn’t had a post go viral. Towards the end of December, I told my husband “I’m not ready yet for crazy amounts of traffic! I haven’t finished Elite Blog Academy!”
Right now, I’m a little less than halfway through EBA, which is nutty because it feels like I’ve already grown so much. If you’re curious about Elite Blog Academy (or EBA, for those in the know), I encourage you to check it out. (Side note: it is a TON of work and not for the faint of heart. It also costs a pretty penny. And while I’ve since made back the investment several times over, I had a little sticker shock trying to decide if it was a good choice for me professionally. (Hint: it was.))
When Home Beautifully does get big (and it will!), I want to be ready. I want to have systems and structures and monetization processes in place to leverage the traffic effectively. I’m about halfway through Elite Blog Academy, and finally, I see how it’ll all come together, and I’ll make a full-time income doing this. But I still need some time to get there.
In the blogging world, there’s a bad habit of chasing page views. Like, some people define success by the number of page views their blog gets. I don’t feel that way.
For me, I define success by process efficiencies and high returns on investment. I want to have a blog that not only serves my people but also functions seamlessly and drives income passively. For me, the goal of blogging is to add value for others while fostering independence for myself. And, I realize that I need time to set that up. So, bottom line: my blog is growing at just the right pace for me to do this for the long term.
Lesson #2: If I keep trying, I’ll get better at Pinterest.
Like I discussed last traffic report, I’m focusing on putting my energy where there’s good return. For me, this means focusing on Pinterest.
Over the past several months, I’ve sat down and plotted out a Pinterest strategy that works for me. And it’s starting to pay off. I’m focusing on quality content, so I pin quite a bit less than I used too. In fact, I’ve cut my pinning down almost 80%, and I’m seeing a major rise in traffic. Isn’t that interesting?
If look at my expenses, you’ll see that I purchased a supplemental resource to understand Pinterest better— an ebook called Pinteresting Strategies. My husband also gave me a course called Pinterest Improvement Master Plan as a Christmas gift.
I’ve plotted out my Q1 calendar and will be diving into these resources in February. I’m planning on taking a brief side step from Elite Blog Academy to dig into Pinterest for a month. (Then, I’ll get back to EBA.) I’ll be sure to loop back to let you know how I’ve liked them!
Lesson #3: Investing in images for the win.
My third lesson? If content is king, then images are queen.
I’ve invested a lot in images this month, in both time and money. I think a huge reason my traffic’s growing is that my images have improved substantially. Ever since I switched from Canva to Photoshop, I’ve been able to make the kinds of images I’ve always envisioned in my head.
When I look back at my old images and photos, I honestly cringe a little. I’ve taken Photoshop courses through Lynda.com, so I’m feeling comfortable using Photoshop.
If you’re looking for some great classes in Photoshop (that are super affordable), I recommend this one called Photoshop for Photographers with Chris Orwing. The class is really affordable and can be taken online through Lynda.com. You can download the exersize files to do all of the activities alongside the instructor.
Alright, y’all, this is turning into the longest monthly income and traffic report EVER. Hopefully, it helps provide some visibility into the day to day life of managing and growing a blog. If there’s a particular topic that interests you, leave a comment! I’ll try to work on questions into future reports.
As always, lots of love, from my house to yours,