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
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 😉