Last month, I published the results of a crazy monthly blog income report survey.
The conclusion? Most bloggers enjoy income reports and find them useful…
However…There was a caveat.
The reports needed to be detailed. They need more than “How I made $110,000 last month through Bluehost affiliate links!!1!”
Bloggers don’t get value from that, and many even reported feeling discouraged by seeing other bloggers making solid money.
Discouraged. From reading a monthly income report.
Obviously something we should avoid at all cost.
There. It’s out of my system.
Henceforth, my blog income reports shall be renamed to Blog Transparency Reports.
Reader Monica sent me a heartwarming email after last month’s report:
I may or may not have teared up. Monica, you are greatly appreciated, and I’m listening.
The DYEB Transparency reports will include…
- Revenues. Huge huge revenues (jokes)
- Where those revenues came from.
- Where those expenses came from and why they’re important.
- 3 monthly goals – Did I hit or miss?
- NEXT month’s 3 goals
- What worked throughout the month
- What didn’t work
- A “focus” for next month, and why it matters to the business.
Is that detailed enough? Enough intro-ing. Let’s dig in.
October 2017 – What happened?
I didn’t do any marketing. I didn’t launch the giveaway. I didn’t really promote any podcasts.
This has been my first month without growth.
It’s scary and a little frustrating, but there are two important things to remember:
- I didn’t try lol (I really only hit publish and attended FinCon)
- It still felt like a great month.
It really did. I loved the content I put out, and had an extraordinary time at FinCon (read my takeaways here. They’re good)
Do You Even Blog Income and Expense report
This is a point of controversy.
Should my blog marketing clients be included in my own income reports?
Everyone else includes this stuff in their reports…but I’m hesitant.
I would NOT have these gigs if it were not for DYEB, and the work itself is actually blogging. That’s why I’m choosing to include it. I wouldn’t have these clients outside of my own blog/podcast.
Other than that, I didn’t do ANYTHING for October.
I didn’t push any affiliates. I didn’t launch anything. I didn’t ask for sponsorships. I didn’t really do anything.
Kinda weird to think about…as I felt like I worked the entire month and had fun.
In addition to Gumroad and ConvertKit (my bread and butter), I’m choosing to include FinCon in my expense report.
I’d wager I’m the ONLY blogger currently including this in my report.
This look like a huge amount, but includes just about everything. Flights, FinCon tickets, lodging, Ubers and Lyfts, beers, food, and more.
Next month, expect to see Facebook Ad expenses here 🙂 🙂 (I’m taking Monica Louie’s course. It’s amazing so far)
3 Goals for last month (w/ emails as a focus)
- Income – $1,000 – FAIL ($762.25)
- Traffic – 4,000 views – FAIL (3,723)
- Emails – 750 total subs – FAIL (477)
3 Goals for next month
- Income – $2,000
- Traffic – 4,000 views
- Emails – 750 total subs
Podcast Downloads: 2,029
Stagnated. I didn’t market anything lol.
What worked this month?
I don’t care how much it cost, it’s going to be worth it in the long-run. (And it was an entertainment expense, as I had a blast). I’d spend that money again in a heartbeat.
Other than that, I didn’t get to my marketing strategies this month, hence all the fails.
I wasn’t able to get my giveaway launched in time (which was supposed to hit the traffic and email subs.) I never did reach out for podcast sponsors. All I did was content, which is the sole purpose of DYEB anyways.
- 9 Game-Changing Blogging Takeaways from FinCon 2017 – Do You Even Blog (HUGE post for me. Probably the best I’ve written so far)
- Shana’s slow & non-glamorous grind to a world-class fashion blog – The Mom Edit
- Not selling out: How Lee (Bald Thoughts) is growing a sustainable family travel blog.
- We asked 100 bloggers about blog income reports: Here’s what they said.
- How to create the world’s greatest post on X – Adam Fortuna at Minafi.com
- How to avoid shiny object syndrome and focus on what your blog needs – Dave Domzalski
We produced game-changing content this month (in my super not-so-humble and completely bias opinion), but really didn’t focus on marketing goals.
What didn’t work?
I didn’t do any of it.
I completely slacked, then went to FinCon…without even attempting my marketing strategies. Hence few email subs (just organic growth, which I’m still pleased with), average traffic and podcast downloads, and not much revenues.
Question: Should I be frustrated?
I can’t complain. I had a great month with FinCon and producing content…but the business stagnated. Growth stagnated.
Today I’m struggling with the “balance question.” Should I devote more time to marketing efforts, which will come with a loss of content output (and possibly quality?)
- Where’s the balance between content and marketing?
- What will provide the biggest ROI in the long-term?
- What will provide enough revenues to sustain myself in the short-term?
These are questions for November.
The theme and focus for November
I’m about to break my “one-goal” rule this month. I’m going to have two focuses.
- Email subs to 750
- Revenues to $2,000
The reason? I already have a plan for the email subs.
I’m launching the massive giveaway next week (early November), and will be pushing hard with content upgrades for every piece of content this month.
Now for the money…
I’ve got plans.
Big hairy audacious plans.
I’m not precisely sure what it’ll be called, but DYEB has another “product” launching January 1, 2018, which I’m confident will be extremely valuable for bloggers.
I learned a TON with the 30-day challenge (a lot of what NOT to do in the future), and I’ve got something in mind I think bloggers in the 0-24 month range will really enjoy.
But what about November? Black Friday.
It’s the easiest marketing “date” in the U.S.
When you hear early access to the DYEB product will ONLY be available on Black Friday 2017, you already know exactly when that is. Day after Thanksgiving.
We already associate that day with spending money (or if you’re like me, NOT spending a dime and watching football with family), but it’s a great day for marketers everywhere.
So I’m opening up a pre-sale access Black Friday only.
It’s gonna be fun, if nothing else 🙂
I’m legitimately excited to see the answer for your own question – where is the balance between content and marketing?
I think it’s something many bloggers in the 0-24 month range struggle with. Maybe the more seasoned bloggers, too.
I’m happy to hear you had so much fun at FinCon! I hadn’t heard about it until the beginning of October…but it definitely looks like something I’ll have to attend in the future.
Excited to keep reading (and listening),
Ooooo this actually sounds like the perfect idea for a blog post?
Want to be the first source? I’d love to hear how you approach that. Email me if you’d like?
I LOVE the change to transparency report! And I’m excited to see what you have coming next!
Really like the format and I cannot wait to see what you do next! You did really well spending only slightly over $600 at FinCon. Your goals for next month seem very doable, in fact, I bet you greatly surpass the first two!
Thanks Amy, I hope you’re right (but I’d be lying if I said I were that confident right now)
I like the format! What about talking about the amount of time you spent on just the blog? Or estimate a breakdown for writing, marketing, etc? That would be helpful to me as a new blogger. Trying to figure out how to balance.
Hey Pete, great report! I have a few thoughts:
First, how was engagement with your content in October? For me, it was the month that I went from “that’s a cool name for a blog” to “I’m going to follow this guy”. And I don’t closely follow many bloggers.
Also, are you going to write a post about how your 30 day challenge went? I very nearly joined and I’m curious how it worked out for you and the people involved.
Thanks for being transparent with your successes, failures and goals. If you can grind 2k out out of 4000 page views next month I’d wager that you’re doing more revenue per visitor than pretty much anybody else out there.
Keep pushing bro.
Engagement felt really, really solid. It was incredible to hear so many people getting benefit from the podcast, even if 90% of the value comes from guests. Still warms my heart.
Wish I could quantify that actually.
And YES to the challenge recap. I’m waiting to get post-game feedback, and some students are about to publish stuff directly coming from the challenge, so I want to capture those results to report.
Cool beans – looking forward to it.
I like the format. I’m going to attempt doing a monthly report for October as well. The only thing I’d suggest adding would be how long you’ve been blogging for perspective.
Two more things I’d be interested in reading about in a monthly report would be sources of traffic and how you are getting email subscribers. I’m very impressed by your email list. I have a couple of opt-ins but so far my email list is in the single digits.
As always, thanks for the detailed report. 🙂
Mindset-wise, I like to think of blog growth like potential and kinetic energy. You can’t expect everything you do to directly translate into growth (kinetic energy), some of it (like Fincon) will be potential. Meeting new folks (like me! we should’ve hung out more at Fincon!), coming up with new ideas, making plans — those won’t result in growth now but if you want to really expand you can’t focus on the short term. I like the new name and approach.
(consider adding a subscribe to replies plugin of some kind – you always reply to comments but the original commenter might not ever see it!)
Oooo you’re not the first to recommend that. I want one.
Suggestions? Jim or anyone else…since he won’t know when I’ve replied? Lol
hahahaha I hit refresh!
Subscribe to Comments Reloaded is the one I use, it’s pretty solid.
I don’t have any actionable advice, but I just want to say that your website and approach to blogging is inspiring and so real. I love it. I appreciate your honest. By sharing your transparency reports in this format you give those of us know are just starting realistic view of what it looks like to grow a blog. I also LOVE all the Blue Host side-eye you’re giving. I’ll be applying to join your Facebook group.
Side-eye is an extremely appropriate term. I love it lol.
Thanks so much for landing here Tanielle. Keep us posted (via the group maybe?) on how MOAB is going 🙂
Favorite blogger income/traffic/transparency report to date. Nice work!
Very interested in the content vs. marketing question as well.. should be insightful. Imagine it varies greatly between new and seasoned bloggers, and blogs with small or large audiences.
haha. Thanks J! Such kind words 🙂
and I’m with ya. I wanna figure it out myself 🙂
This is a good and interesting take on the “income reports” trend. Thanks for the transparency, because honestly it is like you said – a bit discouraging to only see blog miracles. You have put a good human element to this type of report. Love it, and I think I will start making my own!
Nice! Thanks Nicole!
I love your domain name btw. Would you care to shoot me the URL when you publish one? I’d love to have a look 🙂