We asked 100 bloggers about blog income reports: Here’s what they said.

blog income report

If you’ve been in blogging for a while, you’ve seen ’em.

A detailed blog income report detailing how “Bloggy McBlogga” made over $79,940.12 in her 1st month blogging!

Inspirational, motivating, and interesting! (Impressive Mr. McBlogga!)

However

If you been a blogger for more than 48 hours, you’ve also seen the dark side of these reports…

The “look how much money I made this month neener neener” income report.

Ok, so they don’t have the “neener neener” part, but still.

For better or worse, blog income reports are an A+ marketing tool.

Why?

Because we all want to make crazy revenues from our blog, and when we see other bloggers making serious cash from their RV somewhere…

We want to know how.

So we click through. And subscribe to their email lists, and leave comments like this…

But here’s the kicker…

I’m tired of monthly income reports. Even my own.

(hey gimme a break. It’s only my 4th month).

  • Do you really receive value from these posts?
  • Do they legit help your blogging efforts?
  • Which bloggers produce the most valuable income reports?

Well, the DYEB team (there are technically 2 of us now yippee!) set out on a mission to answer these questions.

First, the results of the survey. Monthly Income Reports: How useful are they?

Here’s the choices:

I got 87 responses from a few tweets, emails, and post to 2 different Facebook groups.

(Nice engagement Pete! Thanks Tribe member!)

Here are the broad level results:

mostly as expected?

The takeaway:

For the most part, bloggers approve of monthly reports, and find them useful.

Very few people found them not useful at all, but a HUGE majority agreed on one premise: blog income reports should be detailed, and provide MORE than just the numbers.

Specifically,

  • lessons learned
  • wins, losses
  • strategies
  • a detailed breakdown of affiliate income,
  • etc.

Though I definitely include goals, wins, fails in my own reports, even from the get-go (here’s my first month for $51, woot!), I’m not planning on doing even more of this.

It’s clearly the value proposition with these reports. The more we can provide actual, concrete insights, the better.

In addition, I also asked the Do You Even Tribe what they thought…open-ended style.

Several folks responded with some reallllly great points.

If you publish income/blog reports of any kind, these will definitely help you make em even more appealing and valuable 🙂

Eric at High Five Dad

I LOVE them with one caveat. As a newbie knowing there is a pot at the end of rainbow is super exciting. I’m super analytical (my wife hates it), so I look at their income report and then scrub their website/ emails sent through their list to figure out HOW they did it.

The one caveat that I wish more bloggers would include is expenses.

It does me no good seeing someone saying they made $3500 on Bluehost when in reality they spent $2400 on Facebook ads or used an affiliate service so their profits really was 1100. Way more transparent.

One of the reasons bloggers quit before the first year is they never peek behind the curtain or never connect the dots. They see huge income reports and think I’m a failure because I’m not there. What they fail to realize is that those bloggers are networking, paying for ads, building connections and creating affiliate partners that help pitch their product.

Okay rant over. Income reports good just be transparent. Mic drop

Mandi from Big Tiny Steps

A lot of income reports spread “noise” about what blogging is really like and can be discouraging to new bloggers.

Also, larger sites that make a ton don’t say their cost of running the blog itself so that can be misleading. And I have also seen people who list their side jobs and stuff that is totally unrelated.

(Pete’s note: note a trend from these already? Seeing huge $$$$$ can be super discouraging for new bloggers)

CJ at CJ The Money Guru

They mostly make me feel like s**t.

We’ve been blogging for almost 3 months now and we haven’t made a dime yet. When I see bloggers pulling in thousands of dollars every month, it makes me feel bad about myself.

I will read the reports and see if I can do what these other people are doing so I can start making money. But so far I just can’t replicate even a fraction of their results.

I really don’t want to be a statistic and quit after 9 months ( I learned that from your podcast), but hopefully reading these income reports will encourage me to keep going instead of giving up.

That’s my rant.

Lee from Bald Thoughts (also an upcoming guest on my podcast)

I don’t always read them, but blog income reports add value to other bloggers.

Like one of your recent guests said, by inspecting the income reports of blogs in your space and that you admire, you can see where their revenue is coming from and seek to duplicate that success.

And if you follow a blog and want to support them, you can see how you can best do that by supporting companies that provide revenue to the blog.

Kiwi and Keweenaw (great name)

I definitely don’t think everyone should write monthly blog income reports!

They need to add something to the conversation, provide valuable information for other bloggers, and not replace better content. I think they are definitely appropriate for a blog like yours! But there are lots of blogger that publish monthly income posts in the personal finance field, so I wouldn’t choose to do that on my site.

Cato at The Dollar Build

As a blogger I’ll occasionally read other people’s income reports to learn a few tips and tricks about how to make it in the blogging world. I find it encouraging to read about other bloggers having success.

However, I’ve decided not to publish income and traffic reports for my blog for a couple reasons.

It’s not what my readers want. (I’m assuming this, of course. My blog has only been live for a month, who knows what they really want. Or if they even exist.) I assume those who visit my site are there to learn about personal finance – not about page views.

If my blog were about blogging (like yours), then sharing site traffic and income makes sense. It’s proof of authority.

What bugs me most is when it crosses the line into a heavy-handed or semi-misleading sales technique. Too often, I see bloggers who say straight up “It’s easy to start your own blog.” That’s true, but they leave out “…but it takes a ton of hard work to make money from blogging.”

I know this sounds a bit rant-ish. I hate to sound like an old curmudgeon. You know, the ole’ “get off my lawn” type thing. Overall, I don’t mind income reports when done tastefully.

Really. I swear.

Shivika at Dirt Cheap Wealth

My main gripe with monthly blog income report is – meh! they mean nothing and add absolutely zero value. Here is why:

  • you undermine your true blog audience (remember, not everyone who comes to your blog wants to become a blogger, since you may have some really kick-ass content)
  • you get into unnecessary competition with self, and assume things for other bloggers based on superficial information you see
  • the reports never ever calculate the value of time, which when calculated correctly, will always negate your reports

Lisa at Mad Money Monster

I like income reports. They’re motivating and informative. I like to gauge how other bloggers are making their money. In my opinion, they have their place in the blogging community, but I’m sure they’re not enjoyable for most readers.

Kathy at Baby Boomer Super Saver (A+ blog name!)

As someone who is new to blogging, I have found the monthly blog reports to be very inspiring. I don’t read them all anymore, but it was great to see the financial growth so many different bloggers were able to achieve. It opened my eyes to possibility and opportunity, always a cool view!

(Pete’s notes: me thinks this: Income Reports are more useful the EARLIER you are in your blogging journey, yes?)

Jenny from Good Life Better

I haven’t read a ton of these but the ones I have read I don’t really find that helpful for a number of reasons:

For people in my niche, they are often not specific enough to guide what I might want to pursue (e.g., “$XXX from affiliate income” vs. “$XXX from my affiliate contract with Bluehost that is a mix of 500 ongong clients and 8 new ones.”). I would especially find helpful the new and reoccurring client info because that lets me know how much readers value that product now.

I think I would actually prefer quarterly statements or year over year statements. Blogging is seasonal so let me compare an April to an April vs. an April to a September. And with a quarterly summary, it can even out a product lunch that inflated income and visitors.

Maybe I am being naïve but I am enjoying blogging for me. I want people to read my blog and I want to make money from it but I think I would do it anyway if those things never happened. Income statements make me question the satisfaction I get from just hitting “publish.”

Linda from She Climbs the Ladder

I think they were interesting and actually sparked my interest into blogging as a real side hustle.

It might be nice to see a mix of them though so it’s not just those people that are like ‘hey I make $$$$ blogging every month.’

Jeff Proctor from Dollar Sprout

I have a love/hate relationship with them.

If more than 20% of it is copy and pasted from the previous month, I hate them. If you are sharing original content and REAL business insights and it’s simply delivered as an income report, I absolutely love them.

Pee Hermanos (I have NO idea who this guy is, but he’s in the DYEB Facebook group >_< )

nooooo income reports are great! it’s something to relate to and take inspiration from, also a great way to spark a convo. The only time I don’t enjoy them is when the income is super huge as its no longer personal or relatable.

(Pete’s note: Rosemarie Groner’s income is also totally unrelatable, but she decided to publish OTHER blogger’s reports that ARE relatable for her audience. Brilliant.)

Physician on Fire

I think bloggers like looking at income reports. I’m not sure how the non-bloggers feel about them.

Some might be curious, but I would guess the interest level drops off for those who don’t have sites of their own.

Araminta from Financially Mint

I think they’re really helpful because not only do they give you an idea of how much blogger earn, but I also find them very motivating, it’s easier for me to see myself in the future earning that kind of money.

Chris from Keep Thrifty (also a former guest on my podcast)

I LOVE income reports (even though I don’t publish my own). Please keep em going!

Veneta from Becoming Life Smart

I actually like looking at them because it gives me an idea of how bloggers earn money. Before I stumbled on them, I didn’t realize how much money can be made from blogging and how it’s done.

Barnabas from The Dad Wallet

But for me, they can be useful if done correctly, but I do not think monthly reports are useful once you hit like 10k/month as it becomes either so far out there that people get this idea they can do the same easily. Or for people who have been around awhile, it becomes oh well I bet they spent 5k as well on costs. Just my two sense.

***

Our all-time favorite monthly blog reports

Note: Some of these have very little to do with blog income, but rather traffic, marketing, etc!

Those insights are actually more relevant to more bloggers, as some bloggers seriously couldn’t care less about replacing full-time incomes.

Rosemarie Groner from The Busy Budgeter (Here’s the latest report).

Why it’s awesome: Rosemarie is a rockstar for sure, but she actually doesn’t publish her own reports. She publishes other beginner bloggers, and produces amazing feedback for them! It’s. so. good.

Loads of value here. (She’s also gave a killer podcast interview here)

Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income (Here’s the latest report).

Why it’s awesome: Pat is skill a king of blogging for good reason: He really does have valuable content. Plain and simple.

His income reports are the best of the best. Inspiring and motivating, but also really well designed, personal….and he shares a detailed breakdown of expenses as well.

Mrs. FAF from Frugal Asian Finance (Here’s the latest report)

Why it’s awesome: She isn’t concerned about blog revenues per se, but her traffic stats and strategies are compelling, engaging, smart, and useful.

Highly recommended.

Lily from The Frugal Gene (Here’s the latest report).

Why it’s awesome: The exact same reason Ms FAF’s is. She goes deep into her traffic stats and sources, and generally just produces incredible fun and engaging content.

These two were on the podcast as well, found here. Might seem like I’m just plugging podcast guests, but that’s because I am. They give extremely valuable income reports. So they deserve to be plugged.’

JLD from Entrepreneur on Fire (Here’s the latest report).

Why it’s awesome: Well laid out, transparent, includes accounting and legal tips, and very personal and engaging. A+.

Youuuuuu guessed it. Also had him on the podcast.

(Internal link madness!!!)

***

What are your thoughts? Anything surprising here?

If you publish regular blog reports, did this give you any insights as to how to make them better?

24 Responses

  1. I enjoy reading monthly reports but in all honesty used to have a slight addiction & got a little lost in the sauce when it came to looking at everyone’s income.

    I still enjoy reading them & i’ve gotten massive value from bloggers sharing their monthly stats but sometimes those 6 figure a month incomes make it difficult to focus on the value within the rest of the post because that number is just so astonishing to see typed out. It feels like this super almost unattainable thing yet its always within the context of someone telling me “you can do it too” so you really don’t know how to feel sometimes!

    Anyway, enjoyed reading your post! Great roundup 😀

  2. This was a great post! I agree with pretty much everything everyone else said.

    I do think that if you have some good strategies to share with other bloggers, you should do a monthly report. One of the reasons I started blogging was to help other people solve problems and if I can help just one person, then I’m happy.

    That’s one of the reasons I love helpful, detailed blogging reports like yours, Pete. Keep up the good work! 🙂

  3. Revenue depends on how much you like/dislike blogging and what else is going on with your life that makes it worth it/not worth it. Because all this is work…type type type, socialize, type, heart, stats, seo, graphic, type type, share.

    I’m bored to death, night owl and lazy so blogging is pretty perfect for me.

    Thanks for the shout-out Pete!

  4. Haha, love “see other bloggers making serious cash from their RV somewhere…” – Are there other RVers who post income reports? 😛

    I took part in this survey, and I’m glad to see the results! I think income reports are great if they are helpful. There are a lot of unhelpful ones out there. I pride myself on my income reports – they are usually around 4,000 words and full of actionable tips and help. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for income reports when I first started my blog (I started just as a hobby and didn’t even know that blogs could make money).

    1. Which BLOWS my mind by the way, considering how much of a rockstar you are lol.

      (same thing about you not specifically focusing on SEO for most of that, yet ranking super high for loads of keywords. A tribute to your actual content 100%).

  5. Thanks for including me! And it’s pronounced Key-Win-Awe ->Keweenaw, a beautiful peninsula in Michigan’s upper peninsula, and the name of one of my dogs 🙂

    And, based on your audience, I’m not too surprised people weren’t super negative about blog income reports. When I was just a reader of blogs, they were not very interesting, now, they *can* be helpful. I also never enjoyed case studies as a reader, since they didn’t align greatly with my journey, now that I’m writing I enjoy them a lot more.

    1. I should know this, as my wife is from MI (and we’re there all the time). Not UP though.

      I shall not fail you again Keeeyywhheenaww. 🙂 🙂

  6. I wish I would have seen this poll back when it came out, I probably would have had some comments.

    Personally, I stopped reading the blog posts. In fact, there was one blogger that I used to really enjoy but I unsubscribed altogether when the income got to be well over six figures per month. It just seemed all of a sudden that a blogger that once was a peer was now kind of on a different plane. Now, don’t get me wrong, the blogger in question didn’t brag but when it’s that much money per month, it kind of comes across that way no matter what.

    Now, when I see a post about blog income in my feed I generally just skip it. It’s valuable to them but with my limited time that I have to read the great posts that others put out there, those just aren’t worth the time for me.

  7. Hi Pete,
    I also took part in the survey and have enjoyed reading what other bloggers think about income reports. I’ll be looking at Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s more closely now for her tips. Inspiration + mentoring = income reports full of helpful tips and guidance. Yes, very useful for a newbie blogger!

    Thanks so much for the shout out, and especially for your comment about my blog name – that meant a lot because I agonized over picking a name, lol.
    Kathy

  8. Personally I am ambivalent about them. On one hand, they are super motivating; they give me a glimpse into opportunity and instill hope in my heart that all the hard work I put into my blog may someday payoff. On the other hand, they piss me off by showing me that I can’t possibly compete with these mega-bloggers who have the best camera equipment, the best photo studios, the best props, and all the money in the world for marketing and then there’s me who is totally operating at a loss month after month because I have yet to make more than a few bucks on my blog.

    1. Totally feel ya. It can be a huge bummer.

      I guess the only “advice” I have (though it’s really not) is that all the big fancy bloggers didn’t *start* with all those advantages.

      There were huge bloggers in their niches when they were smaller too 🙂

      Don’t stress too much over that. We can say things they can’t. We can make personal connections they can’t.

      Big ships move slowly.

  9. Great post! It’s interesting how many of us bloggers actually find it more useful than not. Personally, I like that it sort of makes me feel like I can always do more, so I never just become complacent.

  10. I appreciate your transparency in all of your blog posts that I’ve read so far! I have found myself extremely intrigued by monthly numbers, so I too agree that they can be helpful and a motivator to new bloggers. But detail is definitely needed; including the expenses!

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