Hey everybody! Welcome to my latest income report!
This income report is for March 2016. It was a very interesting month, so let’s get started!
Past Blog Income Reports
This is the sixth income report I’ve posted to date.
Here are links to the previous blog income reports:
- July 2015 – $3,391
- October 2015 – $7,495
- 2015 Yearly Recap – $33,500
- January 2016 – $9,997
- February 2016 – $9,026
First Things First: How to Start a Blog
If you landed on this post because you are interested in starting a blog, I wrote these posts to get you started:
- How to Start a Self Hosted Blog on Bluehost (step-by-step tutorial)
- How to Choose a Blog Name You Won’t Regret
- What to do if the Blog Name You Want is Taken
- How Do Bloggers Make Money? (example from my own blog)
March 2016 Online Income Report: $6,032
In March 2016, WhatMommyDoes.com brought in $6,032. It was from 4 different revenue streams – advertising, sponsored posts, affiliates, and my own ebook.
You may notice that compared to January and February revenue, my March earnings are down. That’s because my page views are down significantly.
While this might be concerning, I am actually glad this happened. It’s showing me that my blog earnings are TOO dependent on page views. This month marks the point where going forward I am focusing HARD on monetization methods that can be scaled beyond just page views.
Let’s go over each revenue stream and I’ll share my thoughts on each one:
My Ebook – $1,034
This is income earned from my Blog Traffic Ebook (How I Increased My Monthly Blog Traffic from 17K to 350K Page Views per Month).
I published this ebook in December 2015. It had a great first three months, earning over $6,500 since I published it in mid-December. I am super pleased with the fact that it earned over $1,000 this month because I didn’t know what to expect when I published my first ebook. I really had no clue what I was doing, and it’s been a wild ride!
My affiliates are starting to sell a lot of ebooks for me (around 50% of total sales this month) by recommending it to their friends and writing reviews. I think this is because they have read the book in months past and are starting to give testimonials on their blogs and in Facebook groups.
I love paying out referral fees to my fellow bloggers – it’s one of the reasons I set the affiliate payout to $10 out of every $25 ebook. I wanted it to be significant enough to make a difference in someone’s monthly income and it’s easy to calculate the benefit – sell 10 books, make $100! 😀 Some of my affiliates are starting to earn a nice side income from recommending my ebook!
If you would like to be an affiliate, all that is required is to actually read the book first, then sign up for the affiliate program at the bottom of the sales page.
If you are interested in creating your own ebook, I put together a quick guide to explain my process now that I know what NOT to do. The second time around was way easier – I hope you can use this to make your first ebook making process go smoothly: Ebook Creation Guide
Sponsored Posts – $520
This total was earned from two sponsored posts + several social media campaigns through Clever Girls, MassiveSway, and IZEA. I did not do any posts with TapInfluence this month. Those opportunities seem to come around once per quarter, not every month.
Sponsored post agencies like Clever Girls are companies that hire bloggers to complete blog posts and social media amplifications on behalf of brands. If you would like to learn more about these agencies, I wrote all about them in this post: Recommended Blogging Resources.
Although my sponsored post income was lower than usual this month, I found that two posts in one month was a good number for me. Last month, I felt stretched to complete 4 sponsored posts in addition to posting my regular content, but I didn’t feel burdened by two. I’m glad I decided not to apply for as many posts two months ago (there’s an approximate two month lead time between applying, landing the gig, and posting). I also implemented a minimum payout threshold in the past two months (meaning I would not even apply if it didn’t pay a certain amount), and this is another reason for the lower post count – I simply didn’t apply for as many. Going forward, I don’t plan on accepting any sponsored posts that don’t pay at least $300 unless I just really love the concept. This month I did one for less than that, and I didn’t feel properly compensated for my time.
This income stream is dependent upon page views. More page views = bigger quantity and higher paying sponsored post opps. Although it is great revenue in the short term, it is not everlasting unless I keep my blog page views up at high levels and spend time applying for opportunities. I will continue to do sponsored posts in the future, but these will not be my main focus.
Advertising Income – $2,376
Advertising income is one of my favorite ways to make money blogging. The beauty of ad income is that it’s “set it and forget it.” I did nothing to earn this money except place ads on each post (except the sponsored ones) and work on getting traffic to my blog. I continued to work really hard on improving my pin designs and descriptions this month, and it seems to be working!
Overall ad income this month was $10.24 per thousand visitors. I am very pleased with that! My page views were down significantly this month, which I was expecting, because this is typically my lowest month of the year (I have quite a bit of Valentine’s Day content, so March is always a let down). :/ Note to self: add some St. Patrick’s Day content! 😀
I have never signed up with an ad network like AdThrive or MediaVine because honestly I wanted ads on my blog before my blog was big enough to apply to their networks. To this day, I am not with an ad company that manages my advertising spots. I think $10.24 RPM is in line with blogs managed by a network.
I’m here to tell you you do NOT have to wait on an ad network to manage your ads in order to earn a good income from them. You can place them yourself using a plugin and widgets!
Even though I could join a network now, I still do it all myself because I like control over where and how my ads appear. I can add them, move them, change my ad mix any time I want without having to ask permission or wait on someone to fix it for me.
I’ve tested the placement and styles of my ads and feel like I have a good mix. I place all of my ads using a plugin called Ad Inserter and have 4 different types of ad companies in the mix – Media.net (most of them), Sovrn (one), AdSense (shares a spot with Sovrn), and Amazon CPM ads (two spots).
I get asked about my methods all the time, so I am working on a guide to help bloggers figure out how & where to place ads on their blog. Stay tuned for my Ad Placement Guide in an upcoming income report! I am working fewer hours on the blog than I used to, so my best guess for this guide is a February publish date. If you would like to be notified of its release, make sure to sign up for my Blogging Tips Newsletter (I will also send you an invite to my private Facebook group for advanced bloggers!)
Although ad income is 100% tied to traffic, it’s a set-it-and-forget-it type of income, so I plan to keep ads on this site as long as they continue to earn a good rate per thousand. Note: I have started to turn OFF ads on posts that contain affiliate links because I don’t want 25 cents in ad revenue when I could potentially earn many times that much in affiliate sales. This is something I plan on testing into the future.
Affiliate Sales – $2,102
Affiliate sales trending down this month compared to February, which was expected due to lower page views. However, the interesting thing is that my revenue per thousand DID NOT decrease very much. I am not 100% sure I know why this happened except perhaps the traffic I’m getting is distributed in the same manner it has always been – partially to monetized content and partially to content written just for page views. This is a cue to me that perhaps I can work on monetized more of my content with affiliates and produce more content specifically designed to sell affiliate products. If I can do this, I think I can increase my revenue per thousand visitors because more visitors will be taking action.
Takeaways from March 2016 Results
I am actually glad my income and page views were lower than usual this month….because of insights like the one directly above under Affiliate Sales!
The golden nuggets of information about how my blog really earns the most income become most apparent when the numbers are low. That’s when one obvious major swing in any one metric can impact my bottom line drastically (or not).
What I mean is that when overall page views are down and the income streams tied to it (ad revenue + sponsored posts) are down proportionally, I am better able to analyze & focus on the income streams not directly tied to page views (product sales + affiliate income). Not only am I able to see the data more clearly, but there are fewer distractions and I feel the pressure to make improvements. When all the numbers are flying high and income is coming in from all directions, I don’t really feel the pressure to work all that hard! Am I the only one who does this?
I’m having fun figuring out which income streams to focus on in terms of return on time investment. The jury is still out whether the winner is my own products or affiliate sales. I can say confidently that sponsored posts and ad income is NOT where it’s at for multiplying income quickly. With that said, I love both of those streams of income because they can still be significant!
Starting in April, I will focus more on analyzing one income stream at a time and see just where that will get me by the end of the year!
I am back to give an update on my testing & theories regarding the best ways to scale income. I’ve been on quite a ride in the past 10 months.
After testing many many theories related to income generation, I have made some interesting discoveries.
What I’m finding is that by focusing on selling products (for affiliates and my own products) and doing things that MATTER when it comes to making money online, I can earn a LOT more from my blog from a lot less traffic!
I never would have thought this was possible if I hadn’t seen it for myself. I am working on a big course to teach you all my income strategies, but in the meantime I have an ebook that covers 7 of my favorite income-generating strategies >>
It’s only $27 during the pre-sale so grab one now if you want it!
Monthly Blog Traffic & RPM
One thing people always ask me when they learn my income numbers is how much traffic I had that month. In March 2016, WhatMommyDoes.com got 232,088 page views.
This is lower than it’s been in quite some time (mid-2015 to be exact), but I completely expected it for this month and chalk it up to normal page views cycle.
It seems way low compared to recent months, but if you look at March 2015, I barely broke 24,000 page views that month, so 232,088 is amazing to me!! Over 900% higher one year later!
I earned $6,032 and had 232,088 page views, which means my revenue per thousand visitors, or RPM, was $25.99. This was up ever so slightly from January’s RPM of $25.90.
Income Reports Landing Page
I started a landing page to house all of my income reports! Progress, people! I’m digging this as a one-stop shop so no one has to guess where to access my income reports.
Make sure to pin it or otherwise bookmark the page so you can access it in future months:
This blog has been the most amazing thing for me and my family. It has allowed us to do so many things and have so many experiences we may not otherwise have had.
I think blogging is so much fun. Who would have thought that something I started while my second child was an infant and worked at on and off over the years would turn into a real business?!
If I can do it, you can too. I hope to see you on my adventures.
Starting & Growing Your Blog
- 17 Strategies I Used to Increase My Monthly Page Views from 17K to 350K+ per Month
- Ebook Creation Guide
Courses I’ve Taken & Highly Recommend!
I get asked quite a bit to recommend blogging courses to friends. I admit – I have taken A LOT of courses. I’m a bit of a course addict!
Even though I’ve taken over 13 courses this year, I am only recommending a few so far – I call them the best of the best.
1) Elite Blog Academy
Elite Blog Academy is a comprehensive course that takes you from identifying your audience, crafting your message, developing opt-ins, thinking like a business person, to marketing and more. Enrollment opens once per year and EBA 3.0 opens in February 2017….to learn more and get notified of the enrollment period, I recommend getting on the EBA waiting list)
2) Pinning Perfect
Pinning Perfect is the foundational Pinterest course I think every blogger needs to take. If there was a blogging degree program, you wouldn’t be able to graduate without taking this class! Created by Blog Clarity and taught by Anna Luther from My Life and Kids, you’ll get must-know knowledge from someone who gets millions of page views from Pinterest every month. I use all the strategies I learned in Pinning Perfect to this day. It comes with help setting up a Pinterest tracking spreadsheet so none of your posts get left behind and a tutorial for using Tailwind to schedule your pins.
3) Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is an amazing course by a super knowledgeable blogger about affiliate marketing sales with your blog content. Another must-take course if making money from affiliate marketing is part of your blog business plan. This course is rather inexpensive for the valuable knowledge you will gain. It has paid for itself many times over already. Here’s my in depth testimonial.
4) Brilliant Pin Promotion
Brilliant Pin Promotion is a more advanced Pinterest course by Beth Anne Schwamberger of Brilliant Business Moms. This course teaches you additional principles that will build on your base from Pinning Perfect, including how to use Promoted Pins to boost your content. I’m currently testing some of the Promoted Pin strategies on monetized content and have been pleased with my results!
If you already have a blog and would love to join me on my adventures, I’d love to see you on my Blogging Tips Newsletter. This is where I share deeper strategies to building an audience, thoughts on new things I’m trying, miscellaneous tutorials, and more. By joining, you’ll also get an invite to my private Facebook group for advanced bloggers and a copy of my printable 2017 blog planner. Click here to get instant access>>
Hope to see you there!
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