For new folks, you should know I generally DO NOT APPROVE of blog income reports. I believe they can be spammy marketing tools for several bloggers. Therefore, I have vowed to make my monthly reports completely, 1,000% transparent and honest, including both revenues AND expenses, lessons learned, strategies, and goals. Enjoy!
So, if you read last month’s income report, you’ll know that December 2017 was a bit rough.
I didn’t see a lot of growth here on DYEB, and for good reason….
I didn’t try.
I’ve been focused on building out the Blogger U curriculum (which I’m still doing by the way, it’s taking me a while because I need it to be awesome).
But I have good news!
January was an AMAZING month for me personally, and for DYEB. So dang productive, and it has set me up for some serious growth over the next few months of blogging and podcasting!
Before we dive in, here’s my Blog Income Report promise:
My goal: I publish ALL of DYEB stats for 3 reasons:
- Do You Even Blog is a business, and I treat it as such
- Transparency is a MUST for ANYONE teaching others how to blog…
- Showing you my goals, wins, failures, and monthly strategies will hopefully add value to your own blogging journey.
The purpose of these monthly income reports is to be an open-book for the Do You Even Tribe.
Those of us fighting blog mediocrity and seeking-income via our blogs.
So what happened in January?
From an income and growth perspective, not a lot…but that’s totally ok.
My main focus was Blogger U content, content, and more content. I want to set this up to be a HUGE resource over the coming years, and I want to have the content absolutely NAILED down for the big launch in July.
My goal was to have the core curriculum recorded and published by the end of January. That didn’t happen, but I’ve made amazing progress, and also got some big-name bloggers signed on to produce lectures 🙂
That might be what sets B.U. apart from the other 5,492,123 blogging courses on the internet, and I made excellent progress in Jan.
So, my main goal was (almost) accomplished. Other than that, podcast downloads started to increase again!
I’m super happy with this.
I didn’t do a lot of marketing for the podcast, blog, OR YouTube channel (more in a second…), but I did put a greater emphasis on making sure podcast episodes come out consistently, and with a balance of different content.
Before we talk more about metrics and strategies, here are the income numbers:
Monthly Blog Income Report
Did I reach my blogging goals last month?
- Income of $1,000 = WIN ($1,495)
- Traffic of 4,000 = WIN (4,851)
- Email subs of 950 = FAIL (931)
- CRUSH Blogger U content = WIN
Like I’ve mentioned, I didn’t focus on growth at all (other than podcast downloads maybe), so I set the bar extremely low for Jan.
Even then, my email list building progress is totally MEH.
I’m currently gaining between 60-90 subs a month, and getting unsubscribes 🙂
Here’s why I’m not worried about this:
I’m seeing amazing engagement with my emails. There are between 4-10 unsubs with email email, but I’m also seeing great open rates (roughly 40%), great click-through rates, and I almost always get several replies from readers.
That, and I haven’t been focusing on growth (more on that in a second).
Here’s what traffic looked like:
If you’re curious as to the spikes, it should be pretty obvious: published content.
Specifically, last month’s monthly income report (which was a tad more vulnerable than usual), and my interview with Caitlin Pyle.
Later on in the month, my SEO post on category pages was a HUGE hit for being such a small little piece of content. Like, it was the simplest thing, but so dang helpful.
The huge lesson for traffic? Publish more and better content (more on this below)
Other blog metrics
Podcast downloads went up!!
I was really needing this win.
The J.D. Roth and Jessica Moorhouse interviews went over extremely well. Really happy with this, but my aim over the next 4 months is to get it to roughly 5k downloads/month.
Also, people have started flocking to the Do You Even Tribe private Facebook group in droves. (FYI, if you’re clicking that link to join, fill out the 13 second question lol. I DENY every person who doesn’t. Why would you want in if not to connect with other bloggers, get help, and give help? Geez)
Final thoughts on what worked and what didn’t.
Things I’m proud of:
The interviews I published, and the content that has been produced for Blogger U. It’s seriously good all-around. I truly believe that.
There’s also been some lovely emails from many of you in support of what I’m doing. Those I appreciate more than anything else right now. I can only hope that every content creator out there receives love letters! (or at least positive engagement of any kind).
Things that didn’t work:
Anything specifically aimed at growth.
Marketing, promotion, collaborating…NONE of that stuff happened in January, or even December. Traffic, email subscribers, and even podcast downloads has mainly been stagnant…and that has got to change starting right now….
Next month’s goals and how I’m going to get there:
Ok, it’s almost time for a big announcement (which is below), but first the goals:
- Revenues – $1,000
- Traffic – 6,000
- Email Subs – 1,000
- Podcast downloads – 3,600
The theme for
NEXT month THE NEXT 4 MONTHS:
GROWTH, GROWTH, GROWTH, AND OH YEAH MORE GROWTH.
I’ve slacked for the past 2.5 months as I’ve been building Blogger U. In retrospect, I probably could’ve waited another 6 months to start a massive project like this, but I think ok with what’s happened.
But since the majority of the core content has been built-out now, the next 4 months with Blogger U is going to look a lot different. I will be…
- Optimizing content based on current student feedback,
- Working 1-on-1 with ALL B.U. students to help them through the program
- Testing and tweaking as the current group of students goes through the course.
This will leave more time for content again, which can only mean one thing:
It’s time for Do You Even Blog to grow again.
From Feb 15th through June 1st, the theme is growth.
(FYI, If you’d like to join a few other bloggers who have signed up for the same growth theme, come join us in the Facebook accountability group. We’ll be hosting a weekly Google hangouts to talk strategy and share progress)
How I’m going to get revenue
I sincerely don’t care for the next 4 months, but I’ll share anyways:
- Affiliate income will surely increase as traffic grows
- I dropped one freelance client with a low ROI in December, and have picked up another client with medium-ROI but a high learning potential.
- I’ll be offering a tripwire for a massive free beginner blogger course (more below), which might make a few bucks here and there.
How I’m going to get traffic
Ok, so I have a plan…but before I share it, let’s take a look at the most common drivers of traffic for bloggers:
- Social Media
- Search Engines (including Pinterest for this discussion)
- Referrals/other people’s sites, backlinks, etc.
- Email list.
There are others, but those are the biggest broad categories.
Ok, here’s my plan:
Screw everything else BUT search engine traffic.
I’ve been very fortunate to have some nice Google juice already, especially since the site’s not even a year old yet, AND considering there’s less than 20 actual blog posts on this entire site (not including podcast show notes).
That’s sad actually.
So here’s the spread of the next 4 months traffic:
- 50% focus on Google SEO
- 30% focus on Pinterest growth
- 10% focused on Twitter
Google – I am going to be blogging more. That’s step 1. Honest to goodness, I think I’m a fairly skilled writer, and I have NOT really shown it for DYEB. Maybe a little, but it definitely hasn’t been a focus!! I have a KWFinder and SERPChecker account now, so those tools will definitely point me in the right direction as well.
Pinterest – As you may or may not know, my Pinterest game has been lacking, and I recently discovered WHY: I haven’t been putting any energy into it lol. I joined about 20-30 group boards right when I signed up, and haven’t TOUCHED them since. Derp. Expect a lot more Pinterest hustle over the next 4 month, starting with joining about 100 group boards, then eliminating about 80% of those which turn out to be duds.
Twitter – This is where I hang out and engage with readers, other bloggers, influencers, friends, etc. My Twitter traffic hasn’t grown in 6 months really, despite having 2k more followers. Still, I like it, and enjoy engaging here.
Not mentioned: Facebook ads.
I will be running a number of Facebook ads over the next 4 months, but I’m really not including this traffic for my growth themes (see below for more). That’d be a bit unfair for all bloggers who don’t have any cash to run FB ads, or who don’t want to touch that beast (and it is a beast)
However, I plan to spend a lot of time in running FB ad campaigns in the very near future, so I suspect I will have a slight edge in this arena. Hence me, ya know, running them.
How I’m going to get email subscribers
There are three huge strategies I’m gunning for:
- Organic traffic converting via various content upgrades (will increase when traffic increases)
- A large, ultra-valuable free course (more below)
- 1-2 more blogging giveaways
I need a lead magnet ASAP. The content upgrades I have so far are mediocre. There’s value there for sure, but they haven’t been highly targeted or SUPER valuable.
The aim is to create a long-form free course aimed at brand new bloggers. Those who have either not started yet, or are in their first few months.
To build a better lasting relationship with new subscribers. It’s exactly what Rosemarie Groner does over at Busy Budgeter. Her huge lead magnet is a 90-day budget bootcamp. I’m looking to replicate this.
Aside from a prominent placement on my home, about, and resources pages…I will also have a separate landing page set-up for the course, which I will be driving Facebook traffic to!
My ultimate goal would be to obtain new subscribers from these ads at roughly $1.50 per subscriber. That’s very, very cheap in the blogging niche (would be a bit high for other niches). To help offset the costs, there will also be a small tripwire offer in the course, at roughly $5-10. Not sure yet.
Once the campaign has been optimized a bit (over about 2 weeks), I’m hoping tripwire sales will cancel out at least 50% of the total ad spend, effectively lowering cost per subscriber to around $0.75.
That’d be sweet.
Giveaway – I’m not precisely sure what to give away just yet, but these are always so fun and effective, I’d like to run at least 2-3 small giveaways, and one huge giveaway before June.
How I’m going to get podcast downloads
- Publish 10-20% more podcasts.
- Land more bookings on other peoples’ podcasts
- An X factor
As far as publishing goes, I’d like to publish the same format as I’m currently doing, but 10-20% more often. Right now the episodes are a bit apart, which has been fine…but maybe not optimal.
Considering you, loving listeners, generally provide positive feedback, I think publishing more will turn out well over the long-haul. It DOES mean I have to book more podcast guests though 🙂
Also, I want to be on other peoples’ podcasts.
But whose? Honestly asking. Leave a comment?
The X Factor
Frankly, I’m not sure how else to grow podcast downloads, other than keep working at producing good content there, and driving traffic, getting subs, etc.
The podcast is very important to me, and to you apparently…and if I could only do ONE thing for DYEB over the next year, it’d be interviewing other bloggers…but I’m not sure how o growth it right now. I’ll be the first to admit that.
For now, I’m wondering if I should FOCUS on the things I KNOW how to grow (which is most of the other metrics I haven’t spent any time on lol).
Time will tell.
Final thoughts on January, and the future (please don’t skip)
Nov, Dec, and Jan have been fantastic months overall, as I’ve gotten a large chunk of Blogger U content on the books, a few sales, and have generally set up a nice foundation for a 7-figure blogging business a year or two from now.
But I made a mistake.
I started too early. I did. I began the 30-day challenge and Blogger U before I had enough lasting traction to facilitate organic growth even in “off months” of pumping out content.
Growth has been stagnant the past 3 months, and it’s time to get back on the hustle horse.
Feb, March, April, and May are officially dedicated to growing my reach and finding the high-ROI growth generators that will take Do You Even Blog to the next level.
Look out internet. I’m back.
Please, please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear…
- What podcasts would I do well to get on as a guest?
- Anything in particular you’d like to see in a blogging giveaway?
- Are you on the growth train right now as well? What are you trying?
Awesome post!! I’m currently working on Pinterest right now. I’m part of almost 40 group boards and I just recently started pinning with BoardBooster. I’m already started to get more traffic so I’m really happy 😀
oh for real?? Argh. I’ve GOT to get my boardbooster set up ASAP.
Thanks Veronica. I’m on it 🙂
It could be Tailwind or BoardBooster but I like BB b/c I just set it up once and I’m done. I just pin with BB to my group boards with random campaigns and manually pin the rest (from the smart feed to my personal boards, my most popular pins, etc.). Now I just gotta apply to more group boards!!
Nice job, Pete!
Two thumbs up for that “categories SEO” post.
I follow Brian Dean and Neil Patel and that was the first time I’d really heard anything about optimizing the category pages themselves. Thanks for the tip!
Raising my hand for the growth train. Really trying to focus on SEO with long, in-depth articles. Difficult to get traffic in the beginning but figure it will pay off in the long run.
Me too regarding the categories. Thank goodness for Grant Sabatier.
And I’m right there with you with the short term struggles. Totally a long term play.
Thanks for coming here Nick 🙂
Many thanks for the info about optimizing the category pages. I stopped mid read of your blog and did it straight away! I learn so much from your podcasts that I am excited to hear that you are going to do more. Hope to be part of the e Facebook accountability group and the weekly Hang-outs – just what I need.
Yay! I love to hear stories about action Linda, and I saw you come in the FB group. Welcome 🙂
Thank you for reading of course!
I LOVE your monthly income reports! I think outside of the income, the progress and growth that you so clearly detailed is what’s most intriguing and motivating! And for that peak on 1/15 in your traffic report…. perhaps I can claim a bit of contribution to that – I shared your blog in the RewardStyle facebook group (it’s an invite-only group of fashion bloggers). I’ll send you the actual post in an email but keep up the good work Pete!!
Jessica || Cubicle Chic
Woot woot! Thank you a ton Jessica. For the kind words as well as the share lol.
So interesting to her how well the SEO categories post is doing…it was RIGHT on time for me as I was 2 days pre-blog launch. I sat down the next day and made my category pages!
*Hear, obviously 😉
Ha me too! Right when I had spoken with grant about it, I pretty much stopped everything and worked on it lol
I’m so delighted to have found your blog. Subscribed and reading through your amazing income report. So transparent and non boastful!! Thanks your new fan. Jill
That means a ton Jill, thank you!
I’m happy to accept the compliment, and happier you found some value here 🙂
Your transparency is awesome! Also, I’m digging the blog theme. Genesis is definitely the way to go. We plan to make the switch next month.
oh totally. Do it! It definitely has a slight learning curve (like any other framework/platform I’d argue), but it DEFINITELY amazing, especially when it comes to using other genesis themes 🙂
And thank you by the way DJ! I appreciate you coming here 🙂
Pete! I love your transparency! I just launched my blog in January, and it is blowing up! I’m super excited as last month I reached 10,600ish page views and the first two days in May I had 9,500! My Pinterest followers have grown from the 300’s to just over 1000 in the past two months, so I’m stoked about that!
My next goal is to create a course and I also need to figure out what free lead magnet can grow my list so I can maximize on all of this traffic. I’m not great at the email aspect of things (although I do email my list once a week).
I’m open to any tips and suggestions you may have to help! Thanks for all you do!
P.S. I listen to the podcast while I’m tanning lol The easiest way to get in some personal development is in the tanning bed!
THAT IS AWESOME Melissa. I’m so dang happy for this.
Keep me posted, and I’ll speak with you in the tanning bed!