Fifth month of making money from blogging!
Hi, friends! Another month of blogging has gone by, which means another income report! November really felt like a struggle to me, so I’m ecstatic that I somehow managed to earn more money in November than I did in October!
Blogging is hard. Especially when you’re trying to make money blogging. With every month that goes by and with every disappointment and frustration, I realize more and more that blogging and actually making a decent amount of money from it is going to take a lot of time and effort.
My goal is definitely to be making a full-time income from blogging and never have to report to anyone else but myself for the rest of my life. But, as with most things in life, you won’t find success without putting in a lot of hard work.
Previous Income Reports:
If this is the first blogging income report you’re reading, it must be super weird that I’m disclosing my income for the entire Internet to see, right? I definitely thought it was weird at first, too.
So, why do I choose to publish income reports?
To help you:
When I first started publishing income reports, my main reason was to help you. Maybe you’re thinking of starting a blog but don’t know how to go about it. Or maybe you already have a blog and want to start making money from it but aren’t quite sure how to do that.
It wasn’t very long ago that I was in the exact same position and reading income reports from other bloggers was super helpful when I didn’t even know where to begin. And now that I have a little bit of blogging for money under my belt, I hope I can help you, even if it’s just a little bit.
My income reports are definitely not sales pitches on “how to make money blogging,” but through my transparency, I hope it shows you that it is possible to make money blogging.
To prove that I don’t need a “traditional” job:
Also, as I mentioned earlier, my goal is to be making a full-time income from blogging so I never have to report to anyone else again for the rest of my life. It’s just not in my personality to have a boss that isn’t myself.
Bloggers have all kinds of reasons that they chose blogging over a “traditional” job and for me, the biggest driving reason is that I can work in bed and not have to change out of my pajamas if I don’t want to.
But really, it’s such an antiquated concept that I must be required to report to my job at a certain time, sit at my desk until I’m allowed to leave, and get paid based on the hours I was there, even if I got absolutely no work done during that time.
Companies are probably losing a ton of money by having their employees work according to this model. And yet, it’s this type of white-collar job that most people strive to acquire because it’s the most stable and secure. Low risk, low reward.
And in a country that doesn’t provide public healthcare (I’m in America), many people are willing to work in a job they hate just for the medical and/or retirement benefits. I’m not one of those people.
Now we’re really getting into a whole different topic on how messed up some parts of society is. Okay, let me get back on track – BLOGGING INSTEAD OF WORKING.
I don’t like working for someone else. Straight up. I don’t like having someone else tell me what I need to do with my time. And blogging is the way out for me.
I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels this way about working a 9-5 job. Maybe you also feel stuck in a job that gives you no satisfaction. Through my income reports, I hope I can help people realize that there are other options out there. There are other ways to earn a living despite what society tells you. Sorry, I had to. I’m a bit of a rebel.
Okay, that was long-winded. These income reports always end up so much longer than I anticipate.
Let’s finally talk about the blog.
Affiliate links may be used in this post. This means I may receive a commission from them, at no extra cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.
A little about this blog:
Although this is only my fifth month of making money from blogging, I’ve had this blog for quite a while. January will mark my 3-year blog anniversary!
The regret is so real when I think about how long I was blogging while making no money and how much further along I could be right now if I had monetized sooner.
However, this blog started off very much as just a hobby for me and as a way that my friends and family to keep up with my adventures while I was living in Japan.
I got a little more serious about blogging when I moved back home last year, but I still didn’t take any steps to monetize my blog until recently.
A more detailed description of my blogging journey up until I started making money can be found in my July 2018 income report.
November 2018 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.
Total November 2018 Blog Income: $453.56
- Google AdSense – $284.40
- Ebates – $100.00
- Skimlinks (various merchants) – $5.72
- Amazon Affiliates – $4.44
- Grammarly – $25.20
- Pinteresting Strategies – $18.80
- Tailwind – $15.00 (in Tailwind credit)
November 2018 Traffic: 15,806 Users and 23,680 page views
After killing my goal in October, I set an even higher goal of 30,000 page views for November. But, as you can see, I did not meet my goal and traffic actually slightly decreased from October. It was a struggle!
Here are my stats from October for comparison:
So, what worked? And what didn’t?
In my October income report, I outlined a few things I hope to do in November to increase my traffic and income.
Did I completely fail…?
1. Affiliate Marketing
Although I did continue working through Carly Campbell’s Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers course, I can’t say that I followed through with implementing it throughout my blog.
My affiliate sales did increase a little in November and that’s because I made sure to include affiliate links in new posts, as I was writing them. I’ve also updated links in my most popular posts to include affiliate links.
However, there are still a ton of missed opportunities in older posts that I totally need to go back and include affiliate links. There is just never enough time!
2. Cut down on content creation
Last month, I said I was going to cut down on content creation as I was posting 8 times a month and barely had any time to do anything else. With a full-time job, I was working on content during all of my free time and didn’t have much time to educate myself on other aspects of blogging.
WELL, I still posted 8 posts in November LOL what the hell happened?! I found that I have a really hard time not creating content constantly. As soon as I publish one post, I feel like I have to start working on the next one. I probably miss out on properly promoting my posts after publishing because of this, so it’s definitely something I need to work on.
3. Write ever-green content
I think I have to give myself a pat on the back on this one! Different from the content I created in September and October, where most of the posts were gift guides or very seasonal, only 2 out of the 8 posts in November were seasonal posts.
Even though I’m not seeing a ton of traffic to the new posts yet, I believe at least a few of them will continue to bring me traffic for months to come.
Have I done anything else?
In addition to the above points, I did one extra thing to grow my blog!
I created an opt-in freebie!
I’ve been sitting on this for a long time. I knew for a while that I needed to start growing my email list and I knew that the easiest way to do that was to offer an opt-in freebie that people would receive when they sign up for my email newsletter.
In my main niche (beauty), I really struggled coming up with ideas on what I could offer that people would actually want. And one day I just did it – I just decided to stop over-thinking about it and just try something out. And if it worked, great! And if it didn’t, I learned what my readers aren’t looking for.
My freebie is a list of my essential makeup products, written as a shopping checklist with both a luxury and drugstore product recommendation for each category.
It’s been less than a month since I put the freebie out and I’ve gained about 40 new subscribers so far! I know that’s not a whole lot, but it’s something! And it’s more than I would’ve gotten without the freebie, so I’d say it’s a win.
My favorite blogging resources
In addition to the above points, I still regularly use the following resources so I’m constantly learning and improving.
1. Pinteresting Strategies Course
Pinterest is so fickle. It’s such an emotional roller coaster with Pinterest always changing the way things it does things.
However, I feel like a have a fair grasp of how to utilize Pinterest to drive traffic to my blog and I can attribute my initial Pinterest success completely to the course Pinteresting Strategies by Carly Campbell.
I know I’m far from tapping into the potential that Pinterest has as a traffic source, which is why I constantly go back to Pinteresting Strategies and look for things I missed and additional ways I can improve.
Carly keeps the course up-to-date, so it’s always relevant to what’s working right now on Pinterest, which is ever-changing. Whenever I see a dip in traffic from Pinterest, the first thing I do is go straight to Pinteresting Strategies to try to figure out ways I can improve.
For reference, my Pinterest stats for November were: 11,961 sessions and 14,163 page views. I’ve been consistently pinning since the middle of June and I definitely think my stats are still modest, but it’s no doubt a lot better than it would be if I hadn’t taken this course.
Carly is currently getting between 250k and 350k page views per month from Pinterest, so I think she knows what she’s taking about! One day I hope to be there!
I bought Dare to Conquer a few months ago (when it was still Billionaire Blog Club) and you may have heard that it’s like the mecca of all bogging resources. And it totally is.
Even though I haven’t taken the time to completely go through and implement everything in Dare to Conquer, the courses that I have gone through have been very eye opening.
The creator of Dare to Conquer, Scrivs (Paul Scrivens), is so transparent about what works and what doesn’t. He will say straight-forward things like, “You can do ___ if you want to, but you probably won’t make much money from it.”
Sometimes when you’re looking at your own blog, you can’t really look at it from an objective point-of-view and evaluate it from a business perspective – because that’s what it is, it’s a business not a hobby.
A lot of bloggers (myself included) just need to get out of their own way if they want to be really successful with blogging. If you’re blogging with the intent of making a full-time income from it, you must write about things that will make you money (that makes sense for your niche, of course) versus things that you want to write about (that no one cares about).
Scrivs does an amazing job of really driving this concept into your brain and I had the biggest change of mindset after going through his courses than I have with anything else I’ve read on blogging.
Dare to Conquer costs quite a pretty penny right now, which makes me so glad that I purchased it before the price increase. Before investing in the entire thing (it costs $500, but there are payment plan options), I highly recommend that you go through one of his free bootcamps. I went through his Free 12-Day Blogging Bootcamp and it’s amazing. You’ll definitely learn a lot from this bootcamp alone.
Here are his 4 bootcamps:
3. Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers Course
This course is another course by Carly Campbell and after taking her Pinteresting Strategies course, I’d probably buy anything she creates LOL.
But besides that, her numbers alone shows that she knows what she’s talking about. I don’t think it’s my place to disclose how much she makes from affiliate marketing, but trust me, it’s enough to assume that she’s got this affiliate marketing thing down.
As I mentioned above, even though I haven’t finished the entire course, I’ve already seen an increase in my affiliate sales just from implementing a few new things.
Especially if you’re new to affiliate marketing and don’t know where to start, Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers will help you out tremendously.
I absolutely love Tailwind for scheduling my pins on Pinterest!
Although I started off manually pinning, as time goes on, I realize more and more how much time I need for other things related to blogging. There is literally not enough time in the day! (Especially with working a full-time job.)
One of the keys to Pinterest success is being consistent with it. Tailwind makes that so easy to do. I spend maybe 15 minutes to schedule over a month’s worth of pins. It saves me so much time!
Before I was using Tailwind, I had a detailed spreadsheet of what pin goes to which board on what day. I was trying to pin once every hour (while I was awake) and it really took a lot out of me!
Now, I honestly don’t even think about where my pins are going every day and I can just trust that Tailwind is doing its thing.
I started using Grammarly in October and it honestly makes my life so much easier. Using Grammarly to check my spelling and grammar has saved me SO MUCH time during the editing process! Which has then given me more time to do other blog-related tasks.
Using Grammarly has given me more time to create more pins, go through more of my courses, and create more content. It’s great because with the browser extension, it works on anything you’re writing – not just your word processor. There are a lot of times when I write directly into my blog post and don’t run it through a word processor. Grammarly has saved me so many times when I do that!
So, what’s next?
After not reaching my goal of 30,000 page views in November, I’m going to set the same goal in December – I can’t get too greedy!
30,000 page views is just under an average of 1,000 page views a day (since December has 31 days) and at the time of writing this post, I’m not hitting that mark. So, in my honest opinion, I do think it’ll be tough to hit that goal in December.
However, even if hitting 30,000 page views in December seems a bit out-of-reach, I feel comfortable increasing my income goal for the month. I’d like to break the $500 mark in December!
That would be a huge milestone for this blog!
How will I accomplish my goal?
The three main things I’d like to do in December are actually the same three things I tried to do in November. That seems like a common thing in blogging, doesn’t it?
It’s a never-ending process of always trying to get better even with the things you’re already doing.
(I guess you could say the same for anything in life, really.)
1. Affiliate Marketing
It’s a given that I should probably finish going through Carly’s Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers course LOL. I feel like it’s going to take me months to finish that course because after every bit of new information I learn, I want to immediately implement it on my blog.
But, I think that can be a good thing. Taking it step by step helps decrease how overwhelming it can be. I have TONS of posts and most of them were written before I had any clue what I was doing, so trying to do everything at once is crazy overwhelming.
I’m not too concerned about actually finishing the course in December. I still have so many links that aren’t affiliate links and definitely need to be changed to affiliate links ASAP. That’s the first priority for me in regards to affiliate marketing.
The second priority would be researching higher ticket items that my audience would be interested in. I love makeup and could recommend makeup products all day long, but no one is going to get rich recommending $10 products from the drugstore! LOL.
I definitely need to figure out how to recommend more expensive items that I genuinely want to recommend (not just recommending it for more money), is relevant to my niche, but also not so outrageous that no one would buy it.
2. Cut down on Content Creation
Since I totally failed at this in November and created exactly the same amount of posts that I have been in the previous months (8), I am going to try really hard to cut back in December.
One post a week just seems so little to me, though! But, I do feel that one post a week is a good pace for me to have some free time to other blogging tasks.
For example, creating pins! I swear that takes me way longer than it should. But, I definitely should take the time to create new pins for older blog posts that are losing steam on Pinterest.
3. Write Ever-green content
Since I am completely done creating holiday-related posts, I am totally focused on creating posts that will gain traction after the New Year and will continue bringing me traffic for months (and hopefully years) to come.
As this was my first holiday season as a blogger (well, as a blogger that’s trying to make money), I went a little gift guide-happy. I really wanted to take advantage of the gift-buying mindset that consumers have at the end of the year and get a boost of traffic and a shit ton of affiliate sales.
WELL, that didn’t quite go as planned LOL. All of the gift guides that I created didn’t bring me nearly as much traffic that I had hoped for and therefore, not much in affiliate sales. Lesson learned. I probably won’t do as many next year or I’ll change the way I do them.
With a decrease in traffic in November and with it being the first month that I didn’t feel like I was improving, it was definitely emotional!
There were so many moments that I just sat and thought to myself, “What am I doing wrong?! Why isn’t anything working?!”
Thank you to my lovely boyfriend who endured the rants and constantly reminded me that I need to be patient. I realize I need to be patient, but I’m sure the rants aren’t over.
I’m so impatient and being that I’ve been blogging for a while without monetizing, it feels like it’s taking forever to reach that moment when everything clicks. I have to constantly remind myself that I’ve really only been taking this seriously for five months. And for only five months, I think I’m doing pretty well!
The biggest takeaway from this month is to definitely look at the bigger picture. Yeah, traffic may be down right now and it may feel like nothing I’m doing is helping, but if I’m diligent about taking the right steps, it’ll all come together in the future.
And with that my friends, I shall end this income report. My income reports are always long, but I feel like they’re getting longer every month LOL. High-five for making it through the entire thing.
Are you a new blogger or are you a full-time blogger that’s has this blogging thing down to a science? Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Thank you 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)!
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