Twelfth Month of making money from Blogging!
Blogging Income Report – June 2019
I cannot believe I’m writing my twelfth income report right now! It’s crazy to think that it has been a full year of working on my blog with making a profit as the goal.
So, how has my first full year of blogging (for money) been?
Well, when I first began trying to make money from blogging, I set a goal to make a full-time income by the end of my first year.
As you can see from the title image of this post, that didn’t happen.
BUT, when I first started this journey, I had no idea of what it took to run a successful blog and how much time it would take to see a return on my efforts.
So, even though I didn’t hit my goal of earning a full-time income by the end of my first year, I’m still very satisfied with the progress that I’ve made.
And A LOT of progress has been made.
I’m going to do something a little different in this income report than what I normally do in my monthly income reports.
While I’ll still touch upon certain things I did that made a difference in the last month, I’ll also be looking back on the last year to give you insight on important things I’ve learned.
Check out all of my income reports to see my month-to-month progress!
Previous three months:
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Affiliate links may be used in this post, which I may receive a commission from, at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here.
Why do I publish income reports?
If this if the first income report you’ve ever viewed, it must be super weird that I’m sharing my income for everyone to see, right?!
I’ve been doing this for a year now and it’s still weird for me, too!
And if you’ve seen a ton of income reports already, you already know what I’m going to say next.
1. Transparency is very important to me
When I first started looking for information on how to make money from blogging, I came across a lot of income reports that made it seem like it was super easy!
And guess what? It’s not. Not even in the slightest.
It’s a lot of hard work and many income reports out there leave out how hard it is and make it seem like it’s a get-rich-quick scheme!
(Most of the time, these bloggers that make it seem easy are trying to get you to buy their blogging-related course/e-book.)
I might even be way too honest in my income reports that it might make you shy away from even trying. But, it’s important to me to be as real as possible.
Don’t quote me on this, but I remember hearing somewhere that only 1% of bloggers that start end up making more than $100 a month. (Or something like that.)
And I can totally see that. It’s hard. It’s a ton of work and there’s a huge learning curve in the beginning that can make you want to quit.
2. I want to help other bloggers
Even though I don’t consider myself an expert on blogging at all, there are a lot of things I’ve learned in my first year that I think could really help beginner bloggers.
So, if you’re just starting out in blogging, I hope my income reports help you!
A little about me and this blog:
If this is your first time on lianadesu, I think it’s important that you know a little history about this blog. Because it didn’t start from scratch just 1 year ago.
I started this blog back in 2016 when I was living in Japan as a way for my friends and family to keep up with my adventures.
It was very much a hobby blog and I didn’t do anything to promote it. I wrote about my travels and life experiences in Japan in more of a diary-esque manner.
When I moved back home to Maui in 2017, this blog turned into a beauty blog, but I still didn’t do anything to properly promote it.
I just wrote and hoped people would find it from pure luck!
(Not the best strategy, fyi)
It wasn’t until July 2018 that I got down to business and started treating this blog as a business!
However, I did already have a handful of posts that were “promotable,” so I didn’t really start this blog in July 2018, content-wise.
June 2019 Income Report and Traffic
As I’ve done in my previous income reports, I will be reporting my income on an earned basis, even though this money hasn’t hit my bank account yet. The money I’ve earned in any given month corresponds to the traffic of said month, so I feel this is an intuitive way of reporting. This may change in the future, but I will always disclose my reporting method in every income report.
June 2019 Blog Gross Income: $1,343.96
- Mediavine – $1,189.78
- Ebates – $75.00
- Amazon – $47.49
- PotPieGirl – $14.80
- Skimlinks (various merchants) – $16.89
June 2019 Blog Expenses: $533.00
- PinTest Playbook – $37.00
- Adventures in SEO Course (payment 2/2) – $199.00
- Animoto Video Maker (1 year) – $297.00
- Domain registration – $0 (paid in full previously)
- Siteground Hosting – $0 (paid in full previously)
- Tailwind – $0 (paid in full previously)
June 2019 Blog Net Income: $810.96
June 2019 Traffic: 50,657 Sessions and 66,188 Page Views
Here are my stats from May for comparison:
It’s important to note that June had 30 days in the month and May had 31!
So, let’s look at the average sessions and page views per day of each month:
- June: 1,688.57 sessions/day and 2,206.27 page views/day
- May: 1,633.48 sessions/day and 2,114.74 page views/day
There was some growth! It was just a tiny bit of growth, but I’ll take it! Any amount of growth is better than going backwards!
I set a goal of hitting 100,000 page views in June and that obviously didn’t happen LOL, but I knew that was a really high goal.
Here’s a visual of my traffic growth so far:
Yes, I had a crazy spike in April. Check out my April Income Report for details on that!
Income and Expenses
I grossed an amount of $1,343.96 in June, which is alright.
Of course, I hoped for more, but when you rely on ad revenue for most of your income (which I do), that’s pretty much what you can expect.
I also had more expenses than I would normally have because of a second payment for the Adventures in SEO Course, I caved and bought yet another Pinterest E-book (spoiler: it’s amazing), and because I started using Animoto to create videos.
Those costs are not recurring monthly, so I expect my expenses to be much less next month.
I’m sure you’re wondering why the hell I spent almost $300 to create videos, but first, let’s look at this graph of my traffic vs. my income month-to-month:
As you can see in the graph, my income is directly related to my traffic.
And like I mentioned earlier, that’s what you can expect when you rely on ad revenue for most of your income.
So, ad revenue is EXTREMELY important to me and I try to do everything I can to maximize that.
Increase in RPM
RPM represents the amount of money earned for every 1,000 page views or sessions.
Mediavine calculates RPM for both sessions and page views, but I’ve always used page views as the measure of RPM, so I’ll stick to that.
In June, my RPM increased to $17.98 from May’s RPM of $14.06.
That is huge!
I had almost the same amount of sessions in both months (only a difference of 16 sessions!), but I made almost $200 more in ad revenue in June than I did in May.
I did two things that I believe helped this RPM increase: creating Mediavine videos and switching off the limit of ads in each post.
Did you notice the video that played in the beginning of the post then moved to the bottom right of the screen as you scrolled down?
Those are videos I created then uploaded to Mediavine, which means I’m making money from them!
Video is completely new to me and I have really no experience creating my own videos, so I needed a video-making service that is really easy to use.
Animoto was the answer! The cost is a little steep at the time of purchase, but over the course of a year, it comes out to $24.75/month (at the price I paid for it – I found a discount code).
So, I figured the videos on my blog would only have to make me an additional $24.75 a month to break even, and guess what?
It totally surpassed that in the first month. And I didn’t even have videos up for the first week or so of the month.
Best decision ever.
(P.S. If you’re thinking of doing simple videos, I highly recommend Animoto and you can get your first month for free! – I wish I found someone’s referral link for a free first month…)
No Limit on Ads
That sounds a little deceiving as it sounds like I changed my ad settings to show ads everywhere, but that’s not the case.
Previously, I had my settings to show a 28% density of ads with a limit of 16 on mobile devices and 20% density with a limit of 12 ads on desktop.
That means that even if I have a post that is 5,000+ words long, the maximum amount of ads shown within the content is 16 on mobile devices and 12 on desktop.
The ad limit overrides the ad density, so it really didn’t matter what I had the density set at.
Most of my posts are pretty long, so these settings were killing my ad revenue. Sometimes I would look at a post on mobile and wonder why there were no ads for such a large amount of the post.
It turns out that 16 ads spread out over a super long piece of content is really not much at all. Especially on mobile where content gets even longer since the screen is smaller.
So, I took off the ad limit during the last week of the month, but left the density the same.
It hasn’t been very long since I made the changes, but I’ve already seen an increase in RPM.
This increase comes at a very important time because summer is usually slow for most bloggers AND July is the start of a new quarter AND the start of a new fiscal year, which means lower RPMs in general.
You can read more about this in Mediavine’s post: Ad Revenue by the Seasons
After months of being pretty disappointed in the lack of Pinterest growth I’ve seen, I’m finally starting to see a bit of growth!
In June, I decided to just shut out all of the noise surrounding Pinterest (there’s a lot of noise if you’re part of a few facebook blogging groups) and just do what I know works.
And this is what works for me: tons of new pins.
That doesn’t mean tons of new content. I am constantly designing new pin designs for old posts and Pinterest loves it.
However, there is ONE NEW THING that I implemented in June that I see making a huge difference.
And that’s the strategies from the new PinTest Playbook from PotPieGirl.
She’s the same author of the P.I.Q. Strategy for Pinterest and both books are so eye-opening.
I’d say I have a fair grasp of Pinterest at this point, but what she teaches in both books are things I’ve never done or heard of before. Completely out-of-the-box!
I started implementing the PinTest strategies around the middle of June, and I totally think that’s what made my Pinterest growth happen.
(And I think it’s just the beginning. July has been great so far – knock on wood!)
Here are my Pinterest traffic numbers for the last three months:
- June: 56,265 page views
- May: 50,078 page views
- April: 50,078 page views
Average per day:
- June: 1,875.5 page views per day
- May: 1,639.13 page views per day
- April: 1,669.27 page views per day
(Spoiler: Through the first 6 days of July, my daily average has been 2,826.83 page views from Pinterest.)
Finally an uptick on this graph!
Important Lessons from My First Year
1. Don’t Try to Do EVERYTHING At Once
When you’re first starting out, you’ll probably read a ton of resources and be super overwhelmed with how much you need to do.
I know I was!
Simply put, once you have your site up and running, concentrate on one thing at a time and master that.
And I think the most important thing for you to concentrate on first is writing quality content.
2. Learn Basic On-Page SEO
One of the key things to writing quality content is writing it with basic on-page SEO in mind.
You want people to be able to find your content through Google and that won’t happen if you write things without thinking about SEO at least a little bit.
This e-book is an amazing resource for learning the basics and will probably be the only SEO resource you need until you want to dive deeper.
I had a lot of poorly written content that was not optimized for search engines at all and trust me, it’s a pain to go back an update them.
It’s definitely a better idea to write your content well from the start.
3. Promote, promote, promote
Don’t be like me and blindly write posts with the hope of people somehow finding it.
You’ll get little to no traffic unless you work for it.
It’s like starting a new business – how will people find you if you don’t promote yourself?
Your blog is your business.
4. Treat Your Blog as a Business
If you’re blogging with the intent of making money from it and with the goal of doing it full-time, treat it that way from the beginning.
I’m still working a 40-hr/week job while doing this blogging thing and I probably work even more than that on the blog per week.
But, that’s the sacrifice you have to make. The beginning of any new venture is always the hardest.
If you dream of working from home on your blog only a few hours a day or even per week, you have to put in the effort now so it gets to a point that it’s a passive stream of income.
5. Focus on Writing a Ton of Content
This will actually be different for everyone depending on niche and your goals with your blog.
For me and this blog (beauty niche), my main goal is that it makes enough money passively from ads and affiliate sales that I don’t have to constantly be working on it.
And that means tons of traffic.
I don’t intend on building a “tribe” around this blog where I have tons of raving fans and followers that love everything I do. I also don’t intend on selling any of my own products on this blog.
Because of those two reasons, having a mailing list and sending out regular newsletters is pretty much a waste of my time. (I realized this ONLY last week.)
However, if I was in a different niche where it made sense to cultivate a loyal following to eventually sell my own products to, that would be a different story. (My next blog will be in a niche I can do this.)
So for myself and this blog, I just want people to read my posts through Google and Pinterest and that’s it.
I figured this out WAY LATE and spent a lot of time creating opt-in freebies for people to sign up for my email list. And spent even more time sending them email newsletters! Only to abandon my email list months later…
SO, think about your goals for your blog and what you REALLY want to do with it. Don’t listen to everything everyone says about what you SHOULD do and think about what makes sense for you.
My Favorite Blogging Resources
These resources are what I attribute the success I’ve seen so far to. I wouldn’t have been able to make it this far without them!
This was the first Pinerest course I ever took, and it’s the VERY reason I was able to see Pinterest traffic from the very first month I started my Pinterest account!
And now, a year later, I’m receiving over 50,000 page views to my blog from Pinterest each month and my Pinterest reach is over 2 million.
This course works. It’s the best one to help you get your Pinterest account started on the right foot. (And to fix it if you didn’t get it started on the right foot LOL.)
Use code PINNING5 for $5 off!
2. P.I.Q. Pinterest Strategy and PinTest Playbook E-Books
I mentioned these e-book earlier in the post, and they are the best for taking your Pinterest game to the next level.
They are not basic Pinterest resources and do not teach you how to set up your profile, so they are great complements to the Pinteresting Strategies Course above.
3. Easy On Page SEO and Easy Backlinks for SEO E-Books
I also mentioned the Easy On Page SEO e-book earlier in the post as a great starting point for SEO. And it truly is!
If you don’t know anything about SEO and how to structure your posts for SEO, I HIGHLY recommend this E-Book.
Once you’ve mastered on-page SEO, there’s an entirely separate portion of SEO to think about – off-page SEO, which has a lot to do with backlinks.
Acquiring backlinks is a confusing concept for many bloggers, especially when you’re just starting, so the Easy Backlinks for SEO is a great resource to get started.
4. Dare to Conquer (formerly Billionaire Blog Club)
This is the mecca of all blogging resources.
If you have the money to buy something like this that’s an all-in-one blogging resource when you’re just beginning, you won’t be disappointed.
It costs a pretty penny, but you’ll have all the information you need on ALL aspects of blogging – setting it up (the technical aspects), Pinterest, SEO, Affiliate Marketing, Email, etc.
You definitely won’t need to buy anything else for a REALLY long time.
I purchased Dare to Conquer in the first months of trying to make money with my blog and it was extremely helpful in just mapping out my journey and the steps I should take.
In fact, since I just switched over to WordPress from SquareSpace and I had never created a self-hosted WordPress blog before, I went back Business Launch Blueprint journey (meant for bloggers just starting out) and it was such a big help in getting the technical side of things set up.
Perks of having lifetime access! If I ever forget how to do anything, there is likely information on it in Dare to Conquer.
There is definitely information overload with a million choices of courses to take in the blogging world. Like, how to you even decide which one to take?
Having an all-in-one resource completely eliminates that issue.
It’s not the cheapest of resources, so I’d recommend going through the free bootcamps (via email) to see if you like the teaching style. (I personally love it.)
And even if you don’t end up enrolling in Dare to Conquer, you’ll get a WEALTH of information from just the bootcamps.
Here are the bootcamps:
- Online Business Bootcamp
- Biz Idea Creation
- Brand & Tribe Framework
- Creating Killer Content
- Understanding SEO
- Principles of Pinterest
- Acquiring Affiliate Marketing Dollars
- Perfect Info Product Creation
- Storyselling Sales Funnels
Written by the same author as Pinteresting Strategies, this affiliate marketing course is great for those that are wondering why their affiliate links aren’t converting.
There’s a lot more that goes into affiliate marketing than just sticking a link in your posts and hoping people click and buy.
And this course shows you exactly why. It’ll show you tactics on how to convert your readers into buyers.
Tailwind is my best friend. It saves me so much time and is a huge part of my Pinterest strategy.
Being consistent is really important for Pinterest success, nobody has time to constantly be on Pinterest to pin!
I currently have pins scheduled through the middle of August since I’m going on a trip in a week and will be completely unplugged from the blog during that time.
(A much needed break and coincidentally after my one-year blogging for money anniversary!)
Tailwind provides me comfort and confidence in knowing my Pinterest account won’t crash when I’m gone!
I’ll be honest – I don’t have a ton of goals for July LOL.
I’m heading out of the country next Friday and will be doing absolutely nothing blog-related for the rest of the month.
However, I’ll still have Tailwind running and expect to be getting traffic throughout the month.
So, my page view goal is 100,000 yet again (this is a huge milestone) and $2,000 in revenue.
How will I reach these goals?
1. Content and Ad Revenue
You already know my blog relies on ad revenue for most of its revenue and nothing will change in July LOL!
I have a handful of posts that are receiving a lot of traffic right now and I have my fingers crossed that they will continue to through July!
I’ve also already posted two posts in July (not including this one) and I’m hoping to get one more post published before I leave.
In my mind, more content = more traffic = more ad revenue.
And I’m not going to worry about anything else.
I’m absolutely mind-blown that it’s already been a full year of taking this blogging for money thing seriously!
What started out as a dream (that no one believed I could do, except my lovely boyfriend) is starting to seem like a reality.
I cannot even explain all of the eye-rolls and skepticism I receive when telling people in my life that I want to blog full-time.
And I’m not going to lie, part of my motivation to succeed is proving them wrong.
That, and also working at home in my pajamas during hours that I set for myself.
I’m not at the point where I’m making enough to quit my job and support myself solely on my blog income, but that goal is getting closer and closer.
I have a goal of making enough money from blogging to quit my job at the end of this year, so I’m going to work really hard off to get there!
And with that my friends, I shall end this income report! Another almost 4K word income report in the books LOL.
If you’re a regular reader of these reports, I commend you for always staying until the end.
And if you’re new, hi! You’re a champ for making it through this super long report!
Please leave me a quick note down in the comments with your thoughts! And if you’re a blogger, share your story and where you are in your journey right now. 🙂
Thank you for reading and until next time. <3
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