15th Month of making money from Blogging!
Blogging Income Report – September 2019
September came and went, and now we’re a few days into October, which means it’s time for another monthly Income Report!
At the 15-month mark, I’m now well into my second year of blogging and spoiler alert: September was a disaster.
September felt like it went by way too slow and it also felt like I didn’t have enough time – at the same time. You know what I mean?
It felt way too slow because watching all of my numbers fall was extremely depressing and being hopeful that it was related to the time of the year, I just wanted to get past September.
And it felt like I didn’t have enough time because I honestly don’t feel like I did anything productive in September.
I mean, I know I did a lot of work throughout the month, I just don’t have anything to show from it, yet.
And because I don’t have years of experience in blogging, it’s not 100% certain that the work I did will prove meaningful to my blog.
If you read my August 2019 Income Report, you know that I felt like it was a terrible month. WELL, September was EVEN WORSE.
What happened? To be honest, I don’t really know. But, we’re going to talk through everything today.
Also, if you want to browse through my other Income Reports (from month 1!), go for it!
Here are my previous three:
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 the first income report you’re reading, it’s probably super weird that I’m sharing my income online, right?!
This is my 15th one and it’s still weird for me! But, it’s very much a thing in the blogging world.
And if this isn’t your first income report, you already know all of this!
1. Transparency is very important to me
I am SUPER honest in my income reports – you probably already knew that since I started this income report talking about how much of a disaster September was!
There are many bloggers who make it seem like blogging is a walk in the park and it’s an easy “get-rich-quick” scheme, but I am definitely not one of those bloggers.
Some people are surprised with how much work blogging takes, so I want to show what blogging really is like – the ups, downs, everything.
2. I want to help other bloggers
Even though I am by no means an expert blogger and I still have SO MUCH to learn, I feel like the things I have learned in the past 15 months can definitely help other bloggers, especially regarding the beginning stages.
I started writing income reports from the very first month I started making money to serve as a sort of roadmap for new bloggers.
If you’re a new blogger, I totally recommend reading my income reports from the first month! (You can also see how much I’ve grown as a writer LOL.)
A little about me and this blog:
If this isn’t the first income report of mine that you’re reading and you already know my story, you can totally skip this part!
But, if you’re new here, I think it’s very important that you know a bit about my blogging history.
Although this is my 15th income report and I’ve been writing income reports since the first month I started making money, this blog was launched in early 2016.
I was living alone in Japan and I created this blog as a way for my friends and family back home to keep up with my adventures.
No promotion was done and I was pretty much writing only for my friends and family to read it.
When I moved back home to Maui mid-2017, this blog turned into a beauty blog, which is what it still is today.
But, for about a year, I still didn’t do much research on how to get traffic to my blog or how to make money from it. SO, I was still pretty much writing for only my friends and family to read LOL.
It wasn’t until July 2018 that I finally got my act together and started to take this blogging thing much more seriously!
I already had a handful of posts already written that I was able to promote right away, so my blog definitely did not start from zero at this point.
September 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.
September 2019 Blog Gross Income: $1,838.41
- Mediavine – $1,738.06
- Rakuten (Ebates) – $25.00
- Amazon – $32.22
- PotPieGirl E-books – $14.80
- rewardStyle – $11.48
- Skimlinks – $16.85
September 2019 Blog Expenses: $104.88
- Animoto Video Maker – $0 (paid in full previously for one year)
- Domain Registration – $0 (paid in full previously for one year)
- Siteground Hosting – $0 (paid in full previously for one year)
- Tailwind – $104.88 for 1 year of the Premium plan (I had a $15 credit)
September 2019 Net Blog Income: $1,733.53
September 2019 Traffic: 43,637 Sessions and 57,462 Page Views
Here are my stats from August for comparison:
September had 30 days in the month, and August had 31 days, so let’s take a look at the average/day:
- September: 1,454.57 sessions/day and 1,915.4 page views/day
- August: 1,952.35 sessions/day and 2,585.61 page views/day
A MASSIVE DECREASE.
It’s so disappointing to see such a decrease and I honestly felt at a loss for most of the month since this is the biggest decrease I’ve ever seen.
I don’t have years of data to compare, so I don’t know if it’s seasonal and if I should expect this kind of decrease every September.
But nonetheless, it is super discouraging.
Just look at this graph! How sad. 🙁
Traffic was lower than any month in the last six months!
Income and Expenses
I grossed an amount of $1,838.41 in September, and considering the massive decrease in traffic I experienced, I really can’t be mad at that amount.
The goal I set for the month was $3,000 and I obviously didn’t even come close to that! But, it would’ve been a miracle if I reached that amount with the traffic I had (and with the type of monetization I have in place).
I managed to refrain from buying any blogging courses/e-books, which was really difficult since I felt like I really needed help! I just didn’t want to add expenses to a month that revenue was down.
My yearly subscription for Tailwind came to an end, so I had to pay for the next year in August. Which is kind of ironic when I tell you what I did with Tailwind during the last week of the month in the Pinterest section of this post.
Looking at this graph definitely makes me feel disappointed, but at least I didn’t dip below $1,500!
If you’ve been following my blogging journey, you know how much I rely on ad revenue as my main source of blog income.
And I LOVE ad revenue – it’s the most passive and easy source of income that I have right now.
The one caveat of relying on ad revenue, however, is that it obviously depends on your traffic.
My income in August was almost ALL ad revenue, so how did I make more money in August than June with less traffic? (refer to graph above for June traffic)
If you aren’t familiar with ad lingo, RPM represents the amount of money earned for every 1,000 page views or sessions.
My ad company is Mediavine and they calculate RPM in both sessions and page views, but I’ve always used page views as a measure in previous reports, so let’s stick with that.
In September, my RPM WAS CRAZY HIGH.
It went up to $30.24 in September, from $27.10 in August.
I already thought $27.10 in August was incredible, I never imagined it would go up even higher! It’s also crazy to think about how much it went up since July (RPM was $20.17 in July).
Last month I said I had no idea why it increased so much, and I still don’t really know LOL.
I’m sure seasonality plays a part in it as we’re heading into the fourth quarter of the year. See Mediavine’s post on ad seasonality: Ad Revenue by the Seasons
And I’ve been diligent about making sure my top posts are optimized well for ads since ad revenue is my main source of income, but I really didn’t make any changes.
I surely am not complaining about the increase, though! If anything it makes me greedy and want to see it increase even more!
I really don’t know what’s going on with Pinterest right now…
Most of my traffic comes from Pinterest, so since you know my traffic was massively down, you can guess that it was my Pinterest traffic that was the cause.
I mean, just look at this graph. How disappointing!
Here’s my Pinterest traffic stats for the last three months:
- September: 47,433 page views
- August: 68,641 page views
- July: 98,003 page views
Average per day:
- September: 1,581.1 page views per day
- August: 2,214.23 page views per day
- July: 3,161.39 page views per day
I’ve spent a year working on my Pinterest traffic, experienced my best month ever in July, and then it just tanked!
Like, what is going on?! It’s absolutely mind-boggling, super disappointing, and it has left me at a complete loss on what to do.
It seems like many bloggers also experienced a massive decrease that didn’t seem “normal” even if it’s the norm for Pinterest traffic to go up and down.
And it also seems like Pinterest just did a major update, which we are all hoping is the cause for the dip and that our Pinterest traffic will go back up once Pinterest is done with the update. (Spoiler: hasn’t happened yet in the first few days of October.)
Because I haven’t been blogging for very long, I don’t know if this is normal behavior for a Pinterest update, I don’t know if this is normal behavior for my niche at this time of the year, and I don’t know what to do about it.
It’s just sent me into a panic! Like, what if the traffic Pinterest is sending me now is my new “normal” and I have to build it back up again?! That would really suck.
But, then again, what can I really do besides accept it and try to build it up again?
I tried to just keep chugging along through most of September and didn’t change up my strategy because I thought maybe I just had to wait it out.
However, do you know how extremely discouraging it is to write a new post that you know should do well on Pinterest, and then it does NOTHING?
It seemed painfully clear that my current strategy wasn’t going to work anymore with the new update.
So, I decided to change things up a bit! I can’t say that any of these things are helping me or hurting yet as it’s too soon to tell, but these are the things I did in the last week of the month:
1. Cleared my entire Tailwind queue (this is why I said it was ironic that I just paid for another year of Tailwind).
2. Exclusively pinning manually – I’m going back to the basics of the course that first got my Pinterest traffic off the ground: Pinteresting Strategies
3. Archived a ton of group boards – If the boards haven’t been sending me traffic with me consistently pinning to them over the last few months, I archived them.
We’ll see how this goes! I haven’t seen any changes yet, but it’s only been about a week. You’ll be sure to seen an update on this next month!
I’m on a journey to have 100 blog posts receive 1,000 page views a month, which is proving to be much harder than I thought…
100 posts that receive 1,000 page views a month not only means a lot of content, but it also means a lot of GOOD content and a good promotion strategy.
I’ve never had more than 26 posts receive over 1,000 page views in a month (July) and in September, I only had 15 posts reach that mark. GOODNESS that’s sad.
I managed to publish 7 posts in September and my goal is always 8 for any given month. Well, one post was more like an update, so 6 brand new posts.
And NONE of them are doing well.
I choose my topics based on what I think will do well on Pinterest and just on-page optimize for Google, but I don’t really keyword research for Google at all.
It’s easy to chase the fast traffic from Pinterest, but since Pinterest is in the gutter, maybe I need to re-evaluate.
Since we’re heading into the fourth quarter and ad revenue is crazy this time of year, I don’t know if I should focus on seasonal posts that I feel will do well on Pinterest for a quick traffic boost (hopefully) or write evergreen content that I think might have a fighting chance on Google in the long-run.
I should probably decide soon, but my headspace is in such an unfocused place right now because I’m just dwelling on my decrease in traffic.
And it’s really taking a toll on my content creation! I’ve felt so discouraged that I really haven’t written anything fresh in the last two weeks. I’ve only written my monthly posts – this one and my monthly makeup favorites.
That’s obviously not helping anything at all, so I really need to kick it into gear and just get back to the basics of writing good content. After all, that’s the core of any successful blog.
My Favorite Blogging Resources
The following resources are those that I’ve personally used during my blogging journey. I definitely wouldn’t be as far along as I am now without these resources!
1. Pinteresting Strategies Course
I mentioned this course earlier as the strategy I’m going back to in hopes of fixing my Pinterest woes. It was the first Pinterest course I ever took and it’s the one that really got my traffic heading in the right direction.
It’s a great course for beginners as it goes through the basics of Pinterest like setting up your profile and boards.
But, it’s also a great course for intermediate bloggers who may have become so caught up in their Pinterest strategy that they forgot what Pinterest is really all about and how it works for non-blogging users.
And that’s precisely why I’m going back to it.
Use code PINNING5 for $5 off!
2. P.I.Q. Pinterest Strategy and PinTest Playbook E-Books
These two e-books are great supplements to the Pinteresting Strategies course above.
They aren’t full-fledged Pinterest courses that teach you how to set up your profile. Rather, they help you take your Pinterest game to the next level.
I totally attribute the growth I experienced in July to these e-books. Once I go through Pinteresting Strategies again and regain my footing with Pinterest, there’s no doubt I’ll begin implementing the strategies in these two e-books again.
3. Easy On Page SEO and Easy Backlinks for SEO E-Books
I mentioned earlier that I optimize my posts for on-page SEO even though I don’t really do keyword research when planning my content.
Well, it’s the strategies taught in the Easy On Page SEO e-book that I use to optimize my posts. This book is what helped me receive over 100,000 page views from Google to ONLY ONE seasonal post in April!
I was at the top of the search results for a high volume seasonal search term in only a few days after posting it.
And with the Easy Backlinks for SEO e-book, I haven’t put it into proper use yet since I haven’t tried to build backlinks seriously yet. But, after reading this e-book, there’s no doubt I’ll use the strategies in it when I do start building backlinks.
The one-stop resource for everything blogging! You get everything you need to run a successful blog in one place – SEO, Pinterest, Affiliate Marketing, Content Creation, Product Creation, Sales Funneling, EVERYTHING.
I’ve actually starting going through everything in Dare to Conquer again during September. It’s been awhile since I went through all the courses and when I logged in recently, everything was updated!
So, I’m going through everything again and I am learning so much more than the first time around!
The lifetime membership for everything (which is what I have) does cost a pretty penny and it’s a lot of money for anyone to drop at one time, but you can take a look at all courses on this page and choose only the ones you want!
5. Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers Course
Affiliate Marketing is especially hard in my niche since the products I promote are pretty inexpensive, and the commission I’d make on one product won’t be more than a few bucks.
But, there’s no doubt I would be making even less than what I do if I didn’t take this course.
Affiliate marketing is a lot more than just placing links in your post and hoping people will click on it. There is actually a ton of psychology behind it and this course teaches you all about that.
If you’re in a niche that has the potential to make high affiliate sales, but you aren’t seeing any results, I highly recommend this course.
Even though I cleared my Tailwind queue this month, it still has great value to me.
I use the Tailwind analytics to see how my boards are doing and it was especially helpful in determining which group boards I should archive.
When it comes to my own boards, Tailwind analytics makes it very clear which are my strongest boards and which ones I need to work on.
And I have no doubt that I will start using Tailwind to schedule pins again – it just saves so much time! It’s worked very well for me in the past, so once I get back on my feet with Pinterest, I’ll totally start scheduling pins again.
My September goals were 125,000 page views and $3,000 gross income, and since I obviously missed that by a lot, my October goals will be the same.
Traffic has still been abysmal in the first few days of October, but I’m hopeful it’ll pick up soon! I still think my goals are super high for the month, though…
But, shoot for the stars, right? We don’t get to high places by setting easy goals.
I’m still going to focus on writing meaningful content – whether that means meaningful right now or meaningful in the future, I have yet to decide. I’ll probably do both since I can’t make up my mind LOL.
Pinterest has been down for way too long for me to keep my sanity so that’s definitely at the top of my priority list. I NEED to get my Pinterest traffic back up!
My blog would be pretty nonexistent without Pinterest so it’s super important.
OH MY GOD I ACTUALLY SURVIVED SEPTEMBER.
Midway through the month, I had no idea how I would survive the rest of the month. I was THAT depressed about my traffic.
And guess what? Traffic got worse towards the end of the month and it’s still bad. But, I’m still alive. My blog is still up and running. I still am getting some traffic, so it’s not the end of the world.
In my moments of despair this month, I had to keep reminding myself that it could be much worse – there are people out there that would still love to have the traffic I’m getting now and it’s not like I’ve completely failed or my blog suddenly came to an end.
I’ve been seeing growth since I started so I have never experienced such a down turn in traffic before now, but that’s how all businesses are. There are always ups and downs and what matters is how you recover after the storm.
So, that’s what I’m focusing on now. How will I get out of this? And how will I emerge even better than I was before?
I haven’t figured out the answers to those questions yet, but I do know one thing – I’m not giving up!
There were times in the month that I really felt like this wasn’t a viable career choice after all. And that is a detrimental thought to think because that’s what I’ve been trying to build this blog to be!
I want this to be my full-time job and eventually I want to have multiple online businesses to support me for the rest of my life. But, how could that ever happen if I can’t even make this first one successful?
Yeah, I need to get rid of those negative thoughts.
Writing this income report was actually a very healing process for me. I begun writing it with tons of negative thoughts and I was dreading explaining how awful of a month I had.
But, just as I was writing this section, I felt a sense of peace wash over me. It’s like I realized that I’m still doing well and all I have to do is keep pushing and not dwell on what happened in the past because I can’t change that!
All I can do is keep moving forward.
And with that my friends, I shall end this income report. Almost 4,000 words later, I’m finally done rambling.
If you’re reading this right now, thank you for sticking around until the end! I know my income reports get really long and I’m always grateful to those who stick with me through the entire thing!
You are the best!
If you’re a fellow blogger, please leave me a comment! I want to know how your September was – did you experience a decrease in traffic, too? Was it because of Pinterest? And if so, what’s your niche?
Thank you for reading and until next time! <3
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Previous Income Reports:
You can read all of my income reports on my blogging page.
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