Eleventh Month of making money from Blogging!
Blogging Income Report – May 2019
May was a whirlwind of a month and it’s ridiculous that it’s already June!
It’s even more ridiculous that this is already my eleventh income report and I’m only one month away from my one-year blogging (for money) anniversary!
I remember when I first started taking blogging seriously and began actively trying to earn money from it, I set a goal of making a full-time income by the end of my first year.
Spoiler alert: that doesn’t look like it’ll happen.
BUT, a lot of progress has been made and I do still think it’s very possible for me to make a full-time income from blogging in the near future.
The last few months have been especially great in terms of overall growth, which makes me very hopeful of what’s to come!
If you read my April 2019 Income Report, you know that I had a record month in April due to a viral post and I expected my traffic and income to drastically decrease in the month of May.
And unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened.
However, I did make a very big change to my blog in May that I foresee being a great decision in the long-run and I still feel fairly satisfied with how my blog did in May.
In this income report, we’ll talk about everything I did last month – from what worked to what didn’t work – and also key takeaways from the month.
Please check out my previous income reports for more insight on how I got to where I am now!
I may switch my monthly reports to being more of a “quick update” type of report and then have quarterly reports that go really in-depth, like my current monthly income reports do.
Let me know what you think of this! Do you love my in-depth monthly reports and want to keep seeing them? Or are you on team “Take a Break, Liana!”? 😉
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 is the first income report you’ve stumble across, it’s probably super weird that I’m sharing my income on the Internet for the whole wide world to see, right?
It’s still super weird for me, too.
And if you’re used to seeing income reports from bloggers, you already know the spiel I’m about to give.
1. I love being transparent
I might even be too honest in my income reports. My honesty in these reports might even make you shy away from starting to blog.
BUT, I think it’s super important that you know what you’re getting yourself into if you do begin blogging.
It’s a lot of hard work. And there’s no way around that.
If you’ve seen other income reports that make is seem like it’s all rainbows and butterflies and that it’s a “get rich quick scheme,” they’re hiding something from you or they’re trying to get you to buy their blogging course/product. #sorrynotsorry
It’s simply a lot of perseverance and many struggle even to make a single penny from blogging.
I love reading Breaking the One Percent’s Income Reports because they struggled for over a year before making any money, but they’re extremely successful now.
2. I want to help other bloggers
If you haven’t been scared off yet and still want to make a go at this blogging thing, then I want to help you.
I don’t consider myself an experienced blogger or an expert by any means, but there are a lot of things that I’ve learned in my first year that I would’ve loved to have known when I was first starting!
And if the things I share in my income reports help you in any way on your blogging journey, I am a happy camper!
A little about me and this blog:
If you’re new here, I think it’s important that you know a little background on this blog, because it didn’t actually start from nothing, just 11 months ago.
And if you’re not new here, sorry you have to hear this same old story again.
Even though this is only my 11th month making money from blogging, I first started this blog in January 2016.
At the time, I was living an adventurous life in Japan and this blog was a way for my friends and family back home to keep up with me. It was very much a hobby blog and I didn’t do anything to promote it.
I didn’t do any research on blogging or on how to make money from blogging, so I just wrote things and hoped people happened to stumble across it!
I moved back home mid-2017 and started blogging about beauty-related topics, but I still didn’t really do any research and had no clue what I was doing. I was still just writing about whatever I wanted and hoped people would find it.
Valuable time was wasted trying to become a beauty Instagram influencer (read more in my July 2018 Income Report) until 11 months ago when I finally focused on blogging.
May 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.
May 2019 Blog Gross Income: $1,318.21
- Mediavine – $921.62
- Ebates – $350.00
- Amazon – $31.47
- Skimlinks (various merchants) – $12.51
- Ko-fi – $2.61
May 2019 Blog Expenses: $284.02
- Domain registration (1 year) – $13.17
- Hosting (1 year) – $143.40
- Genesis framework – $59.95
- Restored 316 theme – $67.50
- Tailwind – $0 (paid in full for a year previously)
- Blood, sweat, and tears – $0
May 2019 Blog Net Income: $1,034.19
May 2019 Traffic: 50,638 Sessions and 65,557 Page Views
Here are my stats from April for comparison:
It is important to note that May had 31 days in the month and April had 30!
Because of this, let’s look at the average users and page views per day of each month:
- May: 1,633.48 sessions/day and 2,114.74 page views/day
- April: 4,863.37 sessions/day and 5,523.77/day
Crazy decrease, right? But, like I said in my intro, I had a huge viral post last month so I expected my traffic to be a lot lower in May. (It’s still sad to see, though!)
I set a goal of hitting 75,000 page views in May and unfortunately, I fell a bit short.
This graph pains me LOL, but lets look at it anyway:
Income and Expenses
I grossed an amount of $1,318.21 in May, which I am still fairly satisfied with even though it’s less than half of what I made in April.
But then again, my traffic was less than half of what it was in April.
And when you rely on ad revenue for most of your income, that’s what happens when traffic dies.
I also had more expenses in May than I normally would because guess what?! I MOVED TO WORDPRESS.
So, I had all of the “start-up” expenses in May that one would usually have in their first month of blogging.
I’m going to talk more about the move and why I did it a little later, so for now, let’s just look at another sad graph:
Decrease in RPM
If you don’t know what RPM is, it’s the revenue earned for every 1,000 page views.
Mediavine calculates RPM in both sessions and page views, but I’ve always used page views as the measure of RPM in my income reports, so I’ll stick to that.
In May, my RPM decreased from $17.12 in April to $14.06.
THAT IS HUGE.
A $3.06 difference in RPM means that I made $200.60 less in May (with the amount of page views I had in May) than I would have with the RPM I had in April.
RPM depends on a lot of things, but I think the biggest difference between April and May is that I had a lot of DESKTOP users in April.
Desktop ads pay A LOT more than mobile ads. And in April, over 20% of my traffic from desktop users, whereas I only had about 10% in May.
20% of users in April, when I had a crazy spike in traffic, is a heck of a lot more than 10% of users in May, after a drastic decrease in traffic.
That difference alone would explain the drop in RPM.
Traffic Growth (or lack of)
It was pretty disheartening to see my traffic and income fall so drastically in May, especially since I have never experienced such a viral post before, so all the emotions were new to me.
The fall of a viral post is the worst. 🙁
That specific post still got a few hits at the beginning of the month, so without that post, my blog received 60,145 page views in May.
In April, without the viral post, my blog received 61,030 page views.
A DECREASE. A very small decrease, but a decrease nonetheless.
Of course I want to always see my traffic increasing from month to month, but apparently the current season we’re in is a slow time for bloggers.
School just got out for summer, graduation season just ended, the weather is nice so people are spending more time outside and not on the internet – people are just busier at this time of the year.
I don’t have years of data to compare, so I’m hoping it’s just the season that’s hampering my growth!
Move from SquareSpace to WordPress
Speaking of hampering my growth, that’s one of the biggest reasons I decided to move from Squarespace to self-hosted WordPress.
SquareSpace was great in the beginning – they offer beautiful templates that are super easy to set up and they take a lot of the technical aspects of blogging out of your hands so you can focus on your content.
However, I’ve been feeling the limitations of SquareSpace for a while now and I knew I was going to have to make the move to WordPress eventually. It was just a matter of when.
My site was getting crazy slow on SquareSpace as I added more posts and got more traffic and since SquareSpace manages everything, you can’t really control every aspect that goes into site speed.
There was also a lot of customizations I wanted to do, which I figured out by custom coding much of every post I published on SquareSpace. But, that was a lot of work. (And it made the transfer process difficult.)
As I’m trying to up my SEO game, I knew I had to get out of SquareSpace because it definitely limits what you can do with SEO. Site speed is a big one!
I did have multiple posts ranking well on Google when I was on SquareSpace, but on WordPress, there’s so much more control over everything. (Editing image tags, for example.)
Long story short, I did it! What you’re viewing is now a WordPress blog!
And I couldn’t be more proud of myself. Because I DID EVERYTHING BY MYSELF.
Yup, I didn’t hire anyone to do any of the transfer for me. 100% me and goodness, it was a headache.
It took me a few days to get everything “readable” enough that I felt comfortable transferring my domain to this site, but I still have so much work to do to make it exactly how I want it.
So, that took up a lot of my time during the second half of May, which unfortunately meant everything else, including creating content, took a backseat.
And if you’re wondering, I went with Siteground for hosting. So far, they have been wonderful!
I had a lot of redirects to do and so many other headache inducing tasks because I was moving from Squarespace. But, they answered all of my questions amazingly!
I was literally on chat with them every night for a week straight and I was impressed with each representative I got.
So, if you’re reading this as research for starting your own blog, I highly recommend going with a self-hosted WordPress(.org) site from the beginning.
You can use a free theme so all you’ll have to pay for is hosting, which costs a lot less in the beginning (with a starter plan) than what I paid for, because I’m on Siteground’s largest plan right now.
Or, at the very least, go with a free WordPress(.com) site. You just won’t be able to have your own domain name. It’ll look something like this: lianadesu.wordpress.com.
Transferring to a self-hosted WordPress site from a free WordPress site will be a heck of a lot easier than transferring from SquareSpace.
The funny thing in all of this is that I had a free WordPress site, then I transferred to SquareSpace! Lesson learned.
Even though content creation took a backseat during the second half of the month, I managed to post 4 times before I begun transferring my site to WordPress.
I’ve been trying to publish 8 posts a month, but that obviously didn’t happen in May!
Those 4 posts have been performing fairly well since publication, though, so I have nothing to complain about.
If you’ve been following my income reports for the last few months, you know that I’ve been trying to do the 100 posts that receive 1,000 page views a month thing.
Scrivs (creator of Dare to Conquer) said it’s his goal for all of his new sites to get to a place where it’s receiving 1,000 page views to 100 posts.
That’s guaranteeing 100,000 page views a month, but will likely be much more because your top 5-10 posts will definitely get more than 1,000 page views a month.
And 1,000 page views for one post is not out of reach at all. Totally doable. But, 100 of them? That means a LOT of great content.
In May, I had 18 posts that received 1,000 or more page views, which is an increase from 17 posts in April. At least there is some progress there!
I’m planning on kicking up the content creation during June to get more traffic because I want that ad money!
Pinterest did not treat me well in May. Pinterest has been even crazier than normal lately and it’s honestly getting so exhausting trying to keep it happy.
Pinterest even went on a spam blocking spree in May, which blocked MANY bloggers’ domain names as spam.
Luckily, I wasn’t one of those that got blocked (knock on wood, though, because Pinterest literally blocks people left and right for no apparent reason), but it shows how crazy Pinterest is being!
Almost all of the bloggers that I know of that got blocked were reinstated, so obviously they weren’t spam accounts. It’s just Pinterest being stupid.
The heightened craziness happened after Pinterest went public. Coincidence? Maybe. But, I think Pinterest has been really changing things behind the scenes because of it.
And then it’s just a domino effect.
I do try to remind myself that the time of year also comes into play with people just being on the Internet less. But, since Pinterest is my main source of traffic, it’s hard not to obsess.
There was a slight decrease in my daily average Pinterest traffic in May, compared to April. It’s the first time I’ve experienced a decrease from month to month!
I’m still very much in the “growth” stage of my blog, so I believe that I should still be growing even if it’s a slow time of the year.
Here are my Pinterest traffic numbers for the last three months:
- May: 50,813 page views
- April: 50,078 page views
- March: 49,698 page views
Average per day:
- May: 1,639.13 page views per day
- April: 1,669.27 page views per day
- March: 1,600.58 page views per day
As you can see, Pinterest has been pretty stagnant for me in the last three months:
I really want to get my Pinterest traffic growing again, which is why I’m planning on implementing everything in this new e-book.
It’s by the same author as PIQ Pinterest Strategy, and it’s so enlightening. I just bought it yesterday and read through the entire thing last night.
I think I have a fairly good grasp on Pinterest, but literally every single thing in the e-book is something I did not know or have never thought about doing.
I’m super excited to start implementing!
My Favorite Blogging Resources
I still regularly use the following resources to continue learning and improving, or they are resources that have really helped me get my blog to where it is now.
The first ever Pinterest course I took and seriously the one I attribute my Pinterest growth to completely.
This course teaches you how to use Pinterest the right way from the very beginning so you don’t waste precious time trying to figure it out yourself.
If you need a guide on the best way to set up your Pinterest profile and how to start pinning strategically, you’ll love this.
Get $5 off with the code PINNING5
As a supplement to the Pinteresting Strategies course, this is a great e-book if you want to take your Pinterest game to the next level.
It does not teach you the basics of Pinterest like setting up your profile, but if you feel stagnant with Pinterest, this strategy is a great way to shake it up.
This is the perfect introductory SEO book for anyone that wants to start writing blog posts with SEO in mind.
Especially when first starting out with SEO, I think it’s important to focus on the aspect of it that is completely in your control – what you write on the page/post and how you write it.
And this e-book goes over all of that! (Hence, the name of the book.)
It doesn’t go into off-page things like acquiring backlinks, but Debbie (the author of this book) also has an e-book on how to get (legit) backlinks.
I haven’t gone through the backlinks book in its entirety yet, which is why it isn’t its own heading in my favorite resources. But, I really like it from what I’ve read so far.
4. Dare to Conquer (formerly Billionaire Blog Club)
The best one-stop-shop for all of your blogging needs. There are courses on everything you need to get your blog started and for it to become successful.
In fact, since I had never created a self-hosted WordPress blog before, the information in the Business Launch Blueprint journey was such a big help in getting the technical side of things set up.
There is literally information on everything you need to know when it comes to blogging in Dare to Conquer, that you probably wouldn’t need to buy any other type of educational resource for a very long time.
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 his 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.
Pinterest already takes up so much of my brain power that I don’t want to have to constantly be on it to pin consistently.
Being consistent is one of the most important things when it comes to Pinterest and with Tailwind I can set it and forget it!
I will spend no more than 10-15 minutes each month scheduling a month’s worth of pins and then I forget it!
I REALLY want to hit the 100,000 page view mark in June. Like, I REALLY want it. That’s a very lofty goal considering I only had 65,000 in May. But hey, shoot for the stars!
Income wise, I’d be happy with $2,000, but if we’re shooting for the stars here, my goal would be $3,000.
It will be difficult to reach those goals, but I’m going to try my best!
I have a trip planned for the entire second half of July, so it’ll be comforting to get my traffic level up before then and know that I’ll still be making a decent amount of ad revenue even when I’m not actually working on the blog.
How will I reach these goals?
1. Adventures in SEO
I mentioned in my last income report that I enrolled in Adventures in SEO because I’m ready to dive into SEO.
I did manage to go through the entire thing once, quickly, but I haven’t had the chance to really put the strategies to use because I was busy moving my blog between platforms for a good part of the month.
In June, I plan to go through the course again and start implementing things in both new and old posts.
I need that Google traffic!
2. More and more content
I’ve been trying to do 8 posts a month and I’m going to try to do even more than that in June.
More content should bring more traffic, right? Well, you’d hope that would be the case, right? If I create the right type of content, then that should be the case!
I’m still trying to get to 100 posts that receive 1,000 page views a month!
And then more traffic means more ad money! I love that ad money!
3. Email Opt-ins
I have not yet figured out how to set up my email opt-ins on WordPress with MailChimp LOL. That has been on the bottom of my priority list, but I know it’s important to figure out.
I hope to get all of that straightened out in June so I can continue building my email list!
Oh, I forgot to mention my email subscriber count earlier. I finished May with 305 subscribers and my goal was 350, so I wasn’t even close!
I don’t really have a goal for June here, I just want to get it up and working again.
It’s still so crazy to think that I’ve been doing (trying) this blogging for money thing for almost a year!
When I first embarked on this journey, I did think that I would be further along at the one-year mark. But, I really didn’t have a clue on what it took to be successful at this.
After learning so much, I’m pretty proud of the progress that I’ve made so far and the goal of quitting my full-time job to blog full-time seems more and more attainable with each passing month.
May was a down month overall with no real growth and especially after a record-breaking month in April, but I’m still positive that I’m on the right track!
And with that my friends, I shall end this income report! I know I said I was going to try to be concise in this one, but it still ended up being only about a few hundred words less than my last one LOL.
Be sure to leave me a quick note with your thoughts down in the comments! 🙂
Thanks for reading and until next time. <3
P.S. If you like what I do here on lianadesu, it would mean so much to me if you bought me a coffee (support my blog)!
Previous Income Reports:
You can view all of my income reports on my blogging page.
Did you like this post? Pin it! ♥