Here’s my blog income report PROMISE: I will never publish a copy and paste, “only for affiliate income and look how awesome I am,” report. My goal is to add SERIOUS VALUE to all bloggers reading this, through 1,000% transparency and honesty, sharing income, expenses, lessons learned, strategies tried, metrics, and goals. Let’s do this.
So, March was the best. month. YET. for DYEB.
And…given I didn’t publish a monthly report for Feb, I am super excited to share all the details for March.
Buckle up though, there is a TON of content here, including:
- What happened in March?
- Revenue/Expenses breakdown
- Traffic, downloads, and email subscriber breakdown
- Strategies that worked, and didn’t work
- Next month’s goals and how I’m going to get there
So what happened in March?
Some growth tactics (combined with some good content and a fair bit of luck) FINALLY started to pay off in March.
Specifically with podcast downloads (quickly becoming my most important metric honestly):
In addition, traffic was at an all-time high, as was daily email subs.
Super Important Point: I truly believe the gains I saw in March were a direct result of tactics implemented over the past SEVERAL months. Long-term thinking = winning.
My Pinterest game had been lacking for several months, and I figured out why:
- I hadn’t put any additional time into finding and joining quality group boards….since August of LAST year.
- My pins were B- and I’ve since improved to A- I believe
- I had put in ZERO effort into pin and board analysis
After hovering around 14k reach for over 6 months (pretty abysmal compared to most other meta-bloggers, who tend to average between 150k – 400k for this niche)…I have grown to about 84k over the span of about 5 weeks. (98k at the time of this writing)
I made huge overhauls with my Pinterest game, which we’ll detail out below.
(FYI, I know the numbers shown above are PUNY to most bloggers doing well on Pinterest, but I’d argue that meta-blogging is hard to get into these days, especially when you don’t have “Pinteresty content,” which is definitely a thing…and which I definitely don’t have.)
March 2018 Monthly Blog Income Report
Revenue and expense breakdown
So something needs to be said FIRST:
I didn’t launch any products in March. or Feb. I’m not launching in products in April either.
Given the size of my blog traffic, it should be no surprise that ad and affiliate marketing revenue is still low. My business model is built on 2 or 3 months a year producing enough revenue to MORE than make up for the other 9-10 months 🙂
THAT’S why I still take on some blogging freelance work, and I think you should too. Especially if you’re somebody who eventually wants to go out on their own 100% and make a living from an online business.
Freelancing is THE quickest way to online income, and is the perfect supplement to a long-term revenue strategy, and product-launch based business models (like yours truly).
July and December 2018 will (hopefully hopefully hopefully) produce big time $$$ for Do You Even Blog, through Online Impact, along with 1 or 2 smaller products being launched throughout the year.
For March, however, revenues looked like:
- I got rid of most of the DYEB t-shirts (literally just selling them at cost to recoup $$)
- Got a few affiliate sales sprinkled throughout, including one BlueHost conversion. I’m a meta-blogger now, officially. (lol)
- Took on an additional marketing client (which also ended in late March, though I’ve already found another one for April woooo)
- Freelance blogging (just the writing) is officially the easiest way to make money blogging. It’s silly.
- Ran Facebook ads. Got a few more email subs. That’s about it. These campaigns didn’t work too well in March.
- I literally have 20+ SmarterQueue referrals (see guest post info below for how this happened), but they haven’t converted into credits yet >_<
- Teachable = I REALLY WANT TO CREATE COURSES ON MY OWN WEBSITE. Like, I can’t even tell you how badly I want this, but given the amount of work it’ll take, Teachable it is. For now.
Blog traffic, downloads, and email subscriber breakdown
Blog Traffic: 7,795 (+40%)
Downloads: 6,650 (+132%)
Email Subs: +117 for the month
Here’s what contributed to blog traffic:
First, I now have TWO sites solely dedicated to DYEB. This one, and doyoueventribe.com.
At the moment, I’m just using it to house a bunch of freebies, and the PRO version of the New Blogger Bootcamp, so I’m totally counting that traffic in with DYEBs.
So that’s DYEB, and the DYET site got roughly 350 visits, almost all of which were the bootcamp.
Let’s dive into how that traffic was driven: A continued focus on twitter engagement and growth, and a better Pinterest strategy
Twitter traffic chat
So I bought the Appsumo deal for SocialBee (no longer available I’m afraid), which I’ve used to clean up my Twitter account. I’ve been copying the followers of several other meta-bloggers like Darren, Pat, Eden, and a few SEO people. I’ve also been cleaning up the people I follow who don’t follow me back:
The huge question: Is the “hey! follow you follow me back so I can unfollow!” Twitter game stupid?
I wanna say yes, but it’s essentially gaming a platform in a way that’s CONTRARY to it’s intended use. But what if it’s effective?
My 3 cents:
- It help me – spread my content. Gets more eyeballs.
- It helps other people – Those that enjoy my tweets and content will stick around, I’ve helped them. Those who don’t will leave anyways, without me having wasted a ton of their time.
- It’s easy, costs very little, and works.
Therefore, for now, I’m gaming followers on Twitter and Pinterest.
But it’s still a bit stupid.
Pinterest traffic chat
After having interviewed some of THE key teachers of Pinterest for blogging (here here here and oh yeah here)…I finally decided to get back to, ya know…working on it.
I’ve done a few things
- I revamped the way I approach Pin design, thanks to Jeff and Ben over at BTOP, as well as Scrivs from BBC.
- I have created a group board tracker, and spend a few minutes each week apping to new boards (for the first time in 6 MONTHS)
- I have analyzed my WORST performing boards, and have stopped pinning to them.
That last part was particularly difficult. I spent an extraordinary amount of time getting on 45+ group boards for blogging. It stinks ignoring them. However…
Dropping underperforming Pinterest group boards is vital. There’s little doubt it makes you look more favorable in algorithms, and also just makes sure your brand is only being seen positive places. Only pin your BEST content to your BEST boards.
As far as pin design is concerned, I’m actually quite happy with my new style.
I’ve almost moved over to Sketch, which has been AWESOME so far. I basically just keep 2-3 different pin design “formulas” and swap out an element or two…sticking to the same DYEB color scheme:
That course has really really started to get good. It’s uber thorough.
Here’s what contributed to podcast download growth:
3 things contributed to more podcast downloads:
- A super secret hack that I literally can’t share with (because the person who told me made me promise).
- Consistently publishing 2x per week (started that in early Feb)
- Good guests!
My solo shows are great, but the blogger guest interviews have been REALLY great recently. I’m quite proud of them.
Published this month:
- [case study] A crazy useful blog coaching call with Sarah
- Blogging VAs. Everything you need to know – Kayla Sloan
- Inside Breaking the One Percent’s insanely effective Pinterest strategies.
- Blog Metrics: How to actually use them for growth
- Why all bloggers should be on Medium – Thomas Kuegler
- An SEO expert breaks down his “INSANE BLOG TRAFFIC” formula – Grant from Millennial Money
Final thoughts on what worked
1 – Pinterest – Continually optimizing pin design has actually been more fun than frustrating, and has definitely helped. Further group board applications and maintenance has definitely helped as well, but is still tedious and frustrating.
I want to start a new software business helping bloggers get on Pinterest group boards 😉
2 – BIG lead magnet for email subscribers – The New Blogger Bootcamp is LIVE.
To be completely honest, i’ve been a bit lost when it comes to WHAT I could use to attract a relevant audience that might convert to true fans and buyers. Everything I thought of just felt….small.
PDF printable freebie? Like who gives a sh*#.
So yes, I’ve started to create a “how to blog” course. However, out of the 12 “how to blog!” courses I’ve personally taken, they all lacked one HUGE thing…
AN OVER-DELIVERY OF VALUE THAT WILL HELP BLOGGERS.
So my New Blogger Bootcamp is well over 30k words already, 110 images, etc. It’s absolutely massive, and thorough. My ultimate goal is to really try and impress new bloggers here, who could then graduate to Blogger U (which covers more advanced stuff).
Pro Tip: Opt-ins were fine to begin with…but REALLY shot up when I added a link to it right on menu bar, to the far right. 😉
3 – Relationship building with SmarterQueue – As you probably know, I’ve converted into a huge SQ fanboy, and my review post and YouTube video are ranking really well in search engines for various review keywords…..so much so that the CEO emailed me and asked me to write them a guest post.
Random, but appreciated!
They’re still small enough that it didn’t send me massive amounts of traffic…but it did provide a nice backlink (a contextual one that DEFINITELY boosted my SmarterQueue review posts (which continue to bring me free SQ credits 🙂 :):)
Even though relationship building isn’t always immediately quantifiable…it’s a long-term strategy almost guaranteed to bring SOME opportunities at some point.
And even though Claude from SQ reached out to me for this particular one, I’ve discovered something recently…
Pro Tip: COMPANIES want guest posts wayyyy more than other bloggers want guest posts. Are there any products/companies in your niche you could reach out to and pitch? Pro Pro Tip: If you ALSO have published reviews of their products….A: they’ll be more likely to know you’re serious, and B: a guest post could boost SEO potential for your reviews.
I’ve already lined up two guests this way recently 🙂
Things that DIDN’T work:
Collaborations: So if you’ve been following my “growth quarter,” you’ll remember that I’ve been trying to get BACK to focusing on tactics/routines/etc, that will grow true fan count (i.e. not necessarily the most profitable strategies, but those that lead to traffic, downloads, email subs, etc).
My big overarching broad badass growth plan mainly consisted of:
- Doing more collaborations
- Writing 2-3 SEO bombs each month (flat out haven’t spent the time to focus on)
- Run a giveaway (doing now, will report on in April)
- Create a MEGA lead magnet. (NBB discussed above)
Aside from successfully pitching a few guest posts to blogging-related companies, I have made ZERO effort on collaborative outreach.
I want to do this more :/
Producing blog content in general: I seriously just haven’t written a heck of a lot lately. Or at least it doesn’t seem like it.
Once I have 100% completed Blogger U content for the July launch, as well as the New Blogger Bootcamp…I’m really planning on digging down and writing more (with a focus on organic SEO of course)
Facebook ads – I ran 2 different campaigns in March, and they were really NOT high-ROI at all. Fairly disappointing.
I was hoping to get a decent opt-in rate running traffic directly to the New Blogger Bootcamp page, but never could get it clicking this month. I’ll try again in the future.
I also ran a few low-budget traffic campaigns for email subscribers, but they weren’t so hot either this month:
The big takeaway? I have entirely too many things I want to do, and need to buckle down and focus on COMPLETING previous DYEB projects before allowing myself to take on more things. Focus.
Next month’s goals and how I’m going to get there:
Ok, for April 2018:
- Revenues – Aiming for $2,500, but I really don’t care that much.
- Traffic – Aiming for 5,000 PVs, but I really don’t care that much.
- Email sub – 1,000 total (I cleaned 197 subs in late March)
- Downloads – 6k!!!
I’m a gigantic proponent of maintaining super high open rates with my email list…so I cleaned another 200 subs in late March. My goal is to get to the 1k mark for April.
How I’m going to get revenue
I lost one marketing client in late March, but luckily just signed another one on! Woot!
So aside from freelance blogging and affiliate links, I’ll be offering limited-time blog audits and reviews as well. Brings me in a bit of cash, and also seems to be a great way to help my readers and connect with them better.
How I’m going to get traffic
I doubt my guest posts will be live yet, so those won’t count till April probably.
In the meantime, I’ll be trying out 1-2 more FB ad campaigns aimed at traffic and email subscriber conversion.
How I’m going to get email subscribers
GIVEAWAY, and promoting the heck out of the New Blogger Bootcamp!
I’m really going to push these in April to grow the list a bit!
Psst. Blogger. Over here. I’m starting to experiment w/ SUPER short but relevant embedded YouTube videos for blog post SEO….watch video for more info 😉
The theme for NEXT month: “GRIND”
Look, sometimes “grinding” is what’s required.
Other times it could be patience, or brainstorming strategically, or planning…
But for me, in April: I need to grind out content for Blogger U, the New Blogger Bootcamp, and guest posts I’ve committed to.
It’s only after those are looking SHARP do I get to move on to new experiments for growth and profit.
Blogger U in particular is dear to me. I’m legit excited for the finished to work to…ya know…be finished.
Did you enjoy this post? If so, PLEASE leave a comment below! I’d love to hear…
- Do you publish your own monthly stats? Drop a link!
- What is your theme for April if you have one?
- If you don’t, make one up really quick and post it anyways 😉
Nice blog income report! I really like how it’s not only a simple income report, but it’s full of good advice. It’s also so good that you share what didn’t work as well. It seems many bloggers only share the good experience. I hope I will be able to follow some of your advices to grow my blog as well.
Keep up with this very useful blog!
I shall! Thanks Poor Swiss 😉
Good to hear this month went well.
Sorry the site went down and some of the momentum from your giveaway was lost.
I’ve some ideas for you from a revenue generation standpoint that we can discuss on our call later this month!
oooooo i love revenue generation ideas 😉
I used you Namecheap link so you should have gotten like $2.00 from them:) Maybe that came through in February? Happy to see that you are gaining steam.
Oh rly? Their affiliate program is super tough to deal with. One day it’s on shareasale, one day it’s not. Will look for my $2!!
Hey Pete, great news, congrats!!!
I’m very happy for you that your top-notch quality content starts to reward you financially. Your site and content is excellent, keep going!
I promise I will, thanks Matt 🙂
Amazing blog post!! My month’s theme is to get traffic from Pinterest, and I’m so applying your tips to my account. My monthly views are around 13k which is pretty disappointing. I notice what’s helping me a bit right now is adding lots of keywords to my pinterest descriptions. I started doing this to 3 of my pins and my reach increased by 3k so yay 😀 I’m sad though because I’m a part of over 50 group boards and I know I’m gonna have to drop most of them ?
Question: have you done any manual pinning to increase your reach or are you just using a scheduler? I did only manual pinning a few months back but it was too much for me to do every day so I started using BoardBooster alone. Now my reach has decreased a lot so I’m gonna have to get back into it haha.
I actually HAVE been manually pinning 2-3 times a day since early March.
Unfortunately, I made a ton of other changes during this time, so I’m not positive if it made a difference or not. Some folks swear by it.
I’m currently still on Tailwind for 99% of the pinning, but am switching over to boardbooster 😉
Hey Pete! I’m a relatively new consistent listener (had listened to you a few times before, yadda yadda, anyway now I’m a subscriber :)), and I was wondering about FB ads – have you thought about hiring an FB manager or something to create the ads for you?
I’m not offering my services, haha, this is not a pitch – I ask because I’m thinking of doing an FB ad but I’m 99% sure I would suck at it. I really don’t like FB at all and barely even have a Page for my site. I would like to outsource it, but I’m not sure if that’s smart if the ROI is small.
If you already have a post about this, I apologize and feel free to direct me to it! Just wanted to hear a little more about if you’re going to continue advertising on FB or if you’re changing direction.
Totally no worries Melissa!
I’m actually a FB ad manager of sorts myself 😉 I’ve run over $100k in ads over the past few months (client work through a friend of mine’s company…definitely not my own cash.) I’ve definitely had great campaigns in the past, but March’s were just duds. I’ll get back on the horse.
As far as your own site, I think it TOTALLY depends. It might be worth grabbing a course and learning how to do them yourself (I took Monica Louie’s course, and it was fantastic. She’s been on the podcast before. https://doyouevenblog.com/podcast/monica I think is the URL.
Otherwise yeah, unless you’re dropping serious ad spend and have a PROVEN ROI, it’s probably not wise to jump in to hire a manager right now. Hiring a consultant might be beneficial though. Like a 1-time call or something.
Good luck, and keep me posted if you try anything!
Solid chunk of change this month! Good work, Pete!
Hey thanks cousin (n-law)!
I have the most boring topic possible to bring up: taxes.
I’m definitely getting ahead of myself since I have not monetized my blog yet but I never see taxes mentioned anywhere on blogging income reports. Especially for those bloggers making big time money, they have to be accounting for it right? That’s a big chunk out of profit. Just curious about your thoughts!
Believe it or not, a tax guy for bloggers (a fellow CPA) reached out to me via email the other day.
He’s coming on the podcaast, and hopefully we’ll BOTH get some good nuggets there. (I was more on the business side of accounting, and not super keen on taxes). Is a GREAT question though Laine.
AWESOME! I’m glad I asked, I can’t wait to listen! Keep up the fantastic work, your site and podcast keep me going on the future dream….as I do all the corporate traveling until then 🙂
Thanks for keeping it real for us, Pete. I’ve been struggling with focus too. So many ideas and projects. For April though I need to concentrate on more content for the new site while still keeping new posts coming on LZ. Thanks for all you do for us bloggers. 🙂
Have you found your work doubling with the launch of WHM?
Love the mention of how grinding is sometimes necessary. I see a lot of posts about relaxing and decreasing the hours working. It’s wonderful (and correct!) to spread that message, but I sometimes (especially when you’re building something), you’re going to have to put in the hours and experiment a lot.
Love this report! And the podcast episodes are always so on point, haha.
‘Ppreciate that Colin. I really do. Thanks for being here 🙂
Well my word for the next three months is “progress.” My blog just launched so I took last week off of everything to get things off the ground. I found some insights into Pinterest. Your first 5 posts matter the most. Post on relevant boards and post the same image that is on your web page. Something to do with Google Images? All the tips are from Pinterest For Business. Love your income report! Congrats on the best month ever!!! Keep doing you! And love seeing the progress from Pinterest!
Well dang. That ship’s sailed for me 🙂
But good to know, thanks Amy! and thanks for being here as well 🙂
You’re doing fantastic your blog! Curious as to how you’re increasing your Pinterest traffic so quickly? My traffic has taken a hit the last couple months. Group boards don’t seem to give as much a boost as they used to. What do you look for when choosing a new Pinterest group board?
What do I look for? It exists 🙂
It’s almost impossible to judge the effectiveness before you actually start pinning, but glancing at the total followers, the quality and relevancy of pins, and the total volume of pins might give a rough estimate.
And hang in there through the bumps. Traffic that important by itself anyways 🙂
Really glad I read this man. My theme for April is the exact same – grind. March was a tough month trying to meet my audit deadlines, but now I can bring the fully dedicated effort again. Keep killin’ it and thanks for sharing, Pete. Cheers!
ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww public accounting?
Yeahhh buddy. Blogging has been a great escape from busy season haha, maybe one day it’ll be my full-time getaway xD
Great month and keep grinding it out Pete! I never knew there was so much to this blog thingy. I just wrote my first email newsletter in my entire first year of blogging! (Coming up in 2 weeks…) I started another website too and I’m trying to figure everything out like before. Makes me question why I chose to sign up for this ride again…D: Are you good with the tech side of blogging? I might need a coach for the ugly nitty gritty.
It’s where I shine. Just shoot me an email if you need anything. 🙂
3k, nice milestone! Keep it up
Great monthly blog report. There is a ton of data, I love it. Question for you. I see you had $800 in blog writing but the link is dead. I’m curious if this money is for freelance blog writing for other sites? Did they come to you? I’m looking to do a couple freelance writing jobs but I’m not sure where to start. Should I wait for people to contact me or is there a place to go to look for freelance gigs? Thank you.
Great question there Shawn.
For 1 – All my current clients found me. This has worked best because they already KNOW my style/tone/voice, etc. However, it took time of course.
For 2 – When I first started, I went and sought out people. The people I first reached out to where existing contacts that were built up organically. That sounds fancy and like it took a ton of work…but really it was just other bloggers I follow and had interacted with at least once.
These people knew I blogged, even if they had no clue what I was good at, etc.
I literally just reached out casually and dropped the note of “Quite frankly I’m looking for freelancing clients. Do you know of anybody that might be a good fit? I’m best at X, Y, and Z.”
It was that dumb, and only had 1 small client as a result of doing that for about a week, but it was a start!
It got easier after that 🙂
Killer round-up Pete and love the points you touch on.
My website honestly is a billboard for myself and my attempt to land freelance writing and photography jobs. So as you mention this is a great way to make money I will continue to do so. Hopefully one day I will get enough traffic to place some seamless ads into my website but at this point I hate ads and pop-ups etc so there are zero. I really need to explore further on the twitter follow/unfollow topic you mentioned and understand that better. I want to see more engaged traffic and website clicks from that platform.
Well cheers for now and thanks for all you do.
Appreciate you Chris, and I’m with you on ads and popups, always 🙂
Love the income reports. I find them informational. And if I made $100 from a blog, I’d think I hit the jackpot, let alone $3000!