[March 2019] Transparent Income & Traffic Report – $2,866

march 2019 monthly blog income report

There are no affiliate links in this income report. ❤️

So it’s been a while!

The last income report I released was about 9 months ago, and a TON of things have happened on the blog since then.

It’s high-time to share some insights and behind-the-scenes stuff.

A Quick Disclaimer:

I don’t enjoy most blog income posts–I understand they are great marketing, especially for those bloggers making 5-6 figures a month–but I personally believe they don’t add much value.

Below you’ll find not only how I made money below–but also why I had over $600 on blogging related expenses this month, what’s working well, what didn’t work at ALL, etc.

Here’s what we’ll walk through:

  • Income breakdown
  • Expenses
  • Traffic & Growth
  • What worked
  • What didn’t

Let’s blog.

March 2019 Monthly Blog Income – $2,883.45

Here’s a snapshot of the past 6 months of revenue.

past 6 months blog revenue
Note: I accidentally left Amazon affiliate income out of these graphs.

And all-time income since June 2017!

monthly blog income
Hey there’s a positive trend line there somewhere!

Note: I’m using a different accounting software now, and the “gross” income figures are actually lowered net of refunds. That’s not a separate line item as an expense, etc.

Here’s a breakdown of where the blog income came from in March:

  • Affiliate Income – $644.43
    • Snappa – $54
    • ConvertKit – $26.10
    • Bluehost – $510
    • Rebel Boss Summit – $37.60
    • Amazon – $16.73
  • Freelance Income – $489.00
  • DYEB Products & Programs – $1,750.02

The Good News:

Affiliate income has been between $400-700 every single month for 6 months now. Not bad considering I’m still only around 15k page views a month lol.

That’s roughly $0.04 per page view (just in aff marketing), which isn’t hot, but affiliate marketing isn’t my primary monetization method either.

More good news: I’m not doing that much freelancing right now, either! Freelancing used to make up 50-70% of my income earlier in DYEB, but I’m happy to report my course & bundle income has steadily grown over the past 6-9 months.

The Bad News:

Yes, it’s growing–but still really slow, and not as fast as I would like ?‍♂️

We’ll talk more about this below.

March Blog Expenses

Well hello, Facebook ads!

March expense breakdown

The Advertising budget was 100% Facebook ads. More on that below.

And here’s a full breakdown of the “computer – software” expense:

  • Libsyn: For the daily podcast I was doing a while back, the 30-sec Blog & Business Tip. (P.S. Want me to keep that going? Drop me a comment below).
  • G Suite: DYEB email & Drive storage ❤️
  • Namecheap: Sooooo here’s how much of a nerd I am. I keep a Namecheap hosting package (not the cheapest one, either) for random projects and domains I do. No, it doesn’t host DYEB lol. I take comfort knowing I have a separate hosting package for all the little domains I buy up.
  • Trint: I’ve been experimenting with podcast transcripts, and using Trint. I’m not super happy with them.
  • Drip: email software, but this will be the last month you see them on here! Woot woot!

<3 ActiveCampaign. My new home for email marketing as of this month 😉

Traffic & Growth Breakdown

Aside from email list growth–which I pay for–I honestly haven’t been growing that much.

*drops mic

And while that might sound sad, the reality is this: I’ve had to focus on other things.

I’d absolutely LOVE to do NOTHING but marketing. Pinterest, SEO, collabs, JVs, more speaking engagements, etc, but ever since the inception of Do You Even Blog, I’ve had to monetize.

From month 1.

In order to put food on my family-of-four’s table.

Truth be told, I wish I could’ve spent the entire past 22 months focusing 100% on SEO and collaborations–I might even have a much higher MRR (monthly recurring revenue) than I do today, but that wouldn’t have been possible.

I needed money in months 0-6.

And while this has taught me some valuable sales skills (which I’m grateful for), it has also left me with this destructive mindset of “I need to be selling blogging products every single day and working on this constantly!”

The Good News:

Thanks to a little encouragement from my mastermind group, and a bit of whiskey, I’m slowly coming to grips with reality.

The reality is I’m fine. DYEB is income producing. I’ll create more programs and make existing courses better.

I can focus on growth independent of “having to launch more blogging courses.”

Now it’s time to do that.

Podcast and Blog Tribe (email list) Growth

While total monthly podcast downloads has been slow growing, that’s mainly due to the fact that I’m only releasing new episodes once a week, down from 2 a week.

dyeb podcast downloads

Downloads per episode have been steadily going up!

Note: Did you enjoy my solo podcast episodes? Want me to bring those back for Friday releases? Please drop me a comment below!

Also, 305 new email subscribers this month.

dyeb newsletter growth

Email subs have been growing nicely with my Facebook ad campaigns, and have been barely profitable 🙂

More on that below!

What worked this month?

Everything that falls under the “what worked” column also fell under the “what didn’t work” column.

It was a roller coaster kind of month ??

Facebook Ads

Over the past several years, I’ve run FB ads for myself and numerous clients, spending somewhere around $50k total probably.

I’ve created campaigns that got $0.02 a click, and $0.25 conversions.

But why oh why do DYEB’s own campaigns seem so much more difficult?

Kinda all over the place.

Since late February, I’ve been running paid reach into my New Blogger Bootcamp funnel.

I’ve tested…

  • Conversion vs Lead campaigns (Did you know you can accept and integrate custom form fields from FB lead forms to your ESP? #savvy)
  • Audiences. So many audiences.
  • Creative, both images & copy
  • Placements
  • Random other little things

As of today, April 2, 2019, I only have 2 campaigns running, spending about $20/day, and averaging $1.30 per email subscriber.

That’s decent enough for the niche, but March was all over the place, and it’s proven tough to optimize! #digitalmarketing is crazy town.

Platform and domain name migration.

Adios, Blogger U!

I’m currently doing a bit simplifying when it comes to my business structure (and business model). That process is going well, as evidenced by my new products & programs page here 🙂

I’ve also been moving all courses over to Thinkific, away from online course WordPress plugins, which I was disappointed with.

“The Funnel”

My beginner blogger funnel has either been working well, or not working well, and I’m honestly not sure which yet. ?

A snapshot of bloggers who have gone through the funnel

I’ve set up my funnels to track engagement via “lesson completions,” which are action steps I ask each person to complete over 9 lessons.

By the time bloggers go through the free course, they can have an “engagement score” from 0-10.

  • 7 people have scored 7+
  • 41 people have scored 3 to 6
  • 288 people have scored 0 to 2

I’m not happy with that.

I mean, yes, it’s cold traffic, people who mainly haven’t even set up a website yet, and it’s a free email course.

But still.

Can you imagine me pitching these people a blogging course in the next few months?

Well I did–and I’ve made either $458 or $707 from the 188 bloggers who have gone through the entire funnel (which takes anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months).

Note: I’ve had a bit of trouble tracking purchases. That’s why it’s either $458 or $707. I’ll hopefully figure that part out.

Summing up March in one word: “Meh.”

Tell me if you can identify with this statement:

“I’m not growing as quickly as I’d like” or “I’m not making as much money as I thought I’d be.”

You too?

I hereby admit to subjecting myself to the whole “type-A,” “driven,” “NO growth would probably satisfy me” mindsets.

And that can be destructive.

At the end of the day, the past several months have been FANTASTIC for Do You Even Blog, and me personally. The site is still gaining ground for SEO and other organic growth channels.

Income is still maintaining, even without big launches. Reader engagement is still great (drop me a comment below??).

However–a change is coming.

The reason March feels “meh” to me is due to a lack of a clear path forward. That has to change.

There are loads of things I could do. Tons of different channels to try, products to create, and different monetization methods to experiment with.

So the plan for April?

  • Get back to basics.
  • Get back to growth strategies.
  • Identify the offer that helps the most people, in the most effective way, and also sustains my business. Identify and plan accordingly.

Boom.

Drop me a comment, loyal Tribe member!

Let me know in the comments…

  • How was your March blogging?
  • Do you listen to DYEB’s solo episodes? Should I do more of those again?
  • Or just say ‘hey!’ 

🙂

24 Responses

  1. I love how detailed this is! Being a semi-noob, I honestly have no idea what people earn and spend in their business. Are you planning on releasing an April income report??

    March was pretty good for me. Not monetized yet, but 47% increase in sessions compared to February (still tiny numbers) and doubled my email list! Small wins, but still wins??

    1. I’d argue that’s huge. Nice work!

      No plans for April, unless folks think it’d be interesting (I don’t. no plan to do anything special this month.)

  2. Total respect for the full transparency here Pete. I think you have a super solid foundation. Although I don’t get near as much more they traffic as you, I can see how.your efforts are a solid platform for continued growth should you apply your April plan effectively. As for you solo podcasts, I like them. If they are filled with valuable content, even fundamentals like how you actually get the 15k monthly views, that’s would be great. And then interviews every second episode would be a good mix. Keep the solos coming.

    1. Thanks for that Ivan. I appreciate it. I think I’m planning on doing more of those in April (just pushed one out this morning as well lol)

  3. Interesting how Bluehost totally eclipses all the other affiliate income sources.

    Does the podcast seem to be bringing in much traffic for you? Great interviews there lately but I’m too new a fan to comment on the Friday solo episodes.

    Keep up the good work, Pete!

    1. Thanks Kyle!

      And that’s 1000% true. It is a bit sad–but then again, I don’t actually promote that many affiliates outside of BH, Siteground, and ESPs. And everything else besides hosting only pays a few bucks a month at most lol.

  4. I like the solo episodes and the 30-second ones. And I could’ve listened to about 10 more hours of you and Glen Allsopp 🙂

    March was ok for me. Working hard on creating lots of content for an upcoming challenge.

    Thanks for everything Pete!!

  5. Welcome to the Active Campaign squad Pete 🙂 I switched over to them in February and love it. ConvertKit was fine, but after getting to the 1k tier and having to pay $$ monthly, I needed some with much more firepower…

    In March, I completed a site audit of my site, where I actually ended up DELETING about 150 posts off my site… and have since combined, merged, and edited about 100 to make them more valuable. Google seems to have noticed (which was the intent), as I’m now up to ~300 search referrals a day (from ~200 in Dec/Jan).

    Keep it going Pete, love these reports and seeing what others are doing and thinking.

  6. I really appreciate the transparency of these reports, Pete. Thanks!

    I listen to all the podcasts now and your latest interviews have been fantastic. I would listen to solo episodes for sure.

    As far as my blog – March was good. I’m seeing slow but steady traffic and subscriber growth. I also confirmed that it’s nowhere near stable yet – I took an 8-day roadtrip during which my online engagement and promotion was way down. Instant traffic drop! Not a surprise for a new site.

    I look forward to seeing where you go with the new clear path!

  7. Loved this blogging income report Pete! Very inspiring and I like how self aware you are – yes it’s frustrating, but you also admit that this is your personality and can therefore appreciate the bigger picture. Great job as always ??

  8. As someone who (very vocally) doesn’t focus on the income side of blogging on purpose, I actually love reading these kinds of updates. I’m still trying to figure out why, but I think a lot has to do with seeing others be successful with things they’re passionate about. And obviously, since this is your “day” job, it’s pretty dang important you make income to go along with it! That’s definitely pressure I don’t have to deal with, and definitely a large part why monetization hasn’t been important to me thus far.

    1. I love that Angela 🙂

      And I’m 100% with you! In fact, I just love finding people passionate about things (in their “element” so to speak). ?

      Thanks for being here, btw!

  9. Hey Pete! Great income report format.

    We published income reports from 2013 until the end of 2016. I kind of miss writing them…

    Have you ever tested “at your own pace” (idea from Brennan Dunn) email courses in Drip? We see much better engagement and conversions when we added a “Send Next Lesson” button to the bottom of our course emails. Some people go through multiple lessons in a day. Drip’s events make this pretty easy to setup. You may be doing this already. I can’t see in your Drip automation.

    I like your use of lead scores! That’s something I need to do more.

    1. oh hey Donnie! Good to see you here!

      So the answer’s “yes.” That’s precisely how it’s set up at the moment 😉

  10. I always like your solo episodes Pete. What I really like is when you do an interview take the main takeaways and then linked a solo episode to it later.

    Your summaries at the end always make me realise ah yeah that’s what I should take away from this interview!

    Keep it up pal, you’re smashing it

    Mike

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