This is my first time doing what should become a monthly occurrence — an income and traffic report.
First things first — it’s intimidating and slightly terrifying to share this information. There’s a lot of self-doubt around creating this series (“Who am I to act like I know what I’m doing?” or “I’m not even making enough to share this!”). But I’m also really excited to share this information with you guys, because I want to help other creators be successful as much as I can by sharing my own experiences.
I’ve been wanting to start this series for a long time, and there are a few reasons why:
- I’m still in the beginning phases of monetizing. Even though I’ve experimented with monetizing since beginning my blog, I am still learning best practices and am just now starting to really focus on it. I think it’d be best to start these income reports now, when my earnings are relatively low, to share how I (hopefully) grow my income.
- I believe information should be shared. Monetization online is still a big experiment that changes all the time. I want to share any helpful strategies or tips with other online content creators so that we can all learn ways to be compensated for our effort!
- I want to prove it’s possible to make money from creating free content. Online content creators deserve to get paid. I want to show not only the work involved behind the scenes, but also that it’s possible to get paid to do what you love.
- Transparency is valuable. I don’t like leaving my readers in the dark about what is sponsored and what isn’t. I try to be as clear as possible in each instance, but these income reports will only further my efforts at transparency.
As a reminder, it’s not my goal to make a full-time income off my blog — at least for now. That said, I do want to start focusing on building my income streams and making my blog a more consistent and significant secondary income.
So let’s dive in!
My traffic is back to normal this month now that I’m back in the blogging swing (I’d say I usually get around 10,000 – 12,000 pageviews per month). Despite having a small hiatus during our Disney trip, my traffic was fairly even through the month. I’m excited to see how my traffic grows with more consistent blogging!
My bounce rate went up this month (it’s usually around 70%), probably because Pinterest was my top referrer this month.
Top Posts for the Month
- Cosplay 101: Underthings, Shapewear and More
- Cosplay 101: Detangling a Wig
- Cosplay 101: Basic Wig Guide (Part 1 & Part 2)
- Cosplay 101: Tutorials and Tips
- Cosplay 101: Planning and Budgeting a Costume
- Fun Fact: I’m Faceblind
- Cosplay 101: DIY Ramona Flowers Hammer
- My Life on Lexapro
- Cosplay 101: Basic Makeup Guide (Part 1)
- A Little Geeky Review + Giveaway!
Revitalizing these older blog posts with new images really helped make them my top posts for the month! I pinned them again to Pinterest, and I’m sure Halloween helped them become more popular this month. Pinterest is by far my top traffic source, and that’s a big reason why I’m working on revamping the images to be more Pinterest-friendly on my most popular evergreen posts.
Monthly Income + Expenses
- PassionFruit: $91.35
- Amazon affiliate sales: $22.40
- SkimLinks: $1.16*
- ShopStyle Collective: $2.24
- Google AdSense: $2.09
- YouTube AdSense: $2.11
- Trade4Cash: $18.19
Total income: $139.54
* I’m not sure how accurate SkimLinks is — it says I made around $3 in September, but I got a payment of $31. I’ll keep an eye on this for future months!
Thoughts on Income
For a more detailed look at the different ways I make money via blogging, please take a look at the Beginner’s Guide to Monetization.
This was a fairly average month for me. I didn’t make any new posts that were affiliate-link heavy, so my affiliate sales were fairly low, but my sidebar ads picked up to make up for the difference. I also didn’t have any sponsored posts, which are the largest money makers for me (when I get them).
The next few months, I hope to assess which ad/affiliate networks are worth keeping and which I should stop utilizing. I also applied for a new advertising network, so if I get into that I expect to see these numbers change significantly.
- Domain/hosting: $10.60
- Passionfruit: $4.17
- Adobe Creative Cloud: $31.38
- Buffer: $10.00
- Dropbox: $10.65
Total expenses: $66.80
Thoughts on Expenses
Yeesh. I had no idea my expenses were so high!
Buffer was a subscription I needed temporarily and forgot to cancel, so I went ahead and paused that for next month. I need to do some research and make sure my hosting costs are reasonable — I’ve been chatting with some blog friends and it seems like I might be paying too much.
Also, Dropbox is such a lazy expense. I have a huge external hard drive, I just need to transfer and organize my photos/videos!
Take Home Pay
This is net profit, minus what I will have to pay for taxes. The formula is Take Home Pay = .70(Income – Expenses)
This month’s take home pay is $50.92.
At least I made a small profit, but overall, I’m not too impressed. I spend a lot of time and effort on blogging, so I’d like a little more compensation for that time.
In October, I wasn’t super focused on making money on my blog. Now that I’m doing these monthly income posts, I want to take this opportunity to really explore what’s working, what’s not, and what I can do better.
Revitalize Old Blog Posts
For November, I want to continue to revitalize my older blog posts to look better in my new layout, be more Pinterest-friendly, and update the content to be more relevant. This month’s traffic has showed me that redoing these posts I worked so hard on is definitely worth it!
Create More Affiliate Content
My affiliate sales were low this month, and I know on months where I do Wishlist posts or tutorials including affiliate links, those sales go up. I’d like to explore more ways to make affiliate content while still providing value to my readers. The last thing I want is for my blog to feel like a dumping ground for affiliate links!
One idea I had is recommending some products that I use regularly on a static page, (i.e., cosplay-related products, like my sewing machine, dress form, dremel, etc. and blogging products like my camera, software, etc.). I get questions about this information often, so I’d love to have a central hub to refer people to.
Start Working on Products
One of the biggest moneymakers in blogging is creating your own products. I’ve wanted to create my own products for a year or two now, but until now, I haven’t really had the time. While I’m searching for a full-time job, why not work on my own products and services? I’d like to set aside some time in November for constructing a game plan of what kinds of products I’d like to bring my readers.