Our Monthly Income Reports are a monthly series, written around the first week of the month, to examine the results of the previous month. Before we launched our blog in July of 2012, I was curious about how blogs make money. So, I did some research. And, I found oodles of ways that blogs make money.
I was also curious about how much money blogs make, so I researched that, too. Finding out how much blogs make is harder – because that requires “transparency” on the part of bloggers and their willingness to share that information. But, I found two that write reports monthly – Pinch of Yum and Smart Passive Income – and I follow both.
I follow both because they inspire me. I write this Monthly Income Report because it inspires me, too. I always learn from my own research in writing these reports and my hope is that other bloggers will find them helpful, too!
The Monthly Income Report – March 2014 represents a milestone. We’ve made it through a revenue slump and are back, working hard, making things happen!
Yes, we made $391.22 last month on Toot Sweet 4 Two. This is actual income that we have received, not income that we have earned. Did you catch the distinction? In the beginning of writing this monthly series, I was reporting income that we had earned. But, several of the sites that we work with (Amazon and Google AdSense included), only pay you once you have reached a certain threshold.
This was getting impossible to track, so I decided that going forward, I would only report income that we have actually received. Yes, only cold hard cash in hand! Consequently, there have been many dismal months of reports because of the minimum payout threshold by our affiliates and advertising networks. But, my intent in sharing this very personal information with our readership is to tell readers that blogging isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. It’s hard work. And, creative thinking. And, constant self promotion.
So, staying the course as a blogger is challenging, if your motive is money. Because this is not a “get rich scheme”. So, bloggers need to love what they do, find their bliss or rethink their endgame.
I love what I do, I’ve found my bliss and I know my endgame.
Here’s how Monthly Income Report – March 2014 breaks down, with a brief explanation of each:
$377.00 freelance guest posting jobs – through my continuing relationship with Prime Publishing (refer to earlier Monthly Income Reports for more details), they asked if I would be interested in creating guest posts for two of their blogs: Recipe Chatter and Creative Income Blog. And, they would pay me! Of course I said yes! So, after “pitching” them several ideas, we reached an agreement on the content of several posts and I wrote them, photographed them, submitted them and they (Prime Publishing) published them AND paid me!
$14.22 Amazon Affiliate earnings – we have a menu tab called Shop Toot Sweet. We also run Amazon ads on our sidebar. If a reader clicks through these links, they will be redirected to Amazon. If the reader makes a purchase from Amazon, after being redirected from our site, Amazon pays us a small fee. This fee does not change the price of the items for the buyer, so we absolutely appreciate it when any of our readers click through from our site! So, thank you very much, sweet peeps!
Part of this report also addresses blog traffic. Because, in the end, blog traffic is the single most important thing in all the ways that blogs make money. Because without traffic, there’s no opportunity for blogs to earn revenue. So, here are the numbers for Monthly Income Report – 2014:
You will see by the graph above that our traffic spiked on March 20th. On that day, we had 1,164 visitors to our site – a new all time record! After some research, I figured out it was from All Free Casserole Recipes, again (thank you very much), publishing and releasing a newsletter that included Charlie’s Layered Mexican Casserole!
In February, we had a spike that was the result of All Free Casserole Recipes including our Peach Pineapple Dump Cake in their newsletter. You can see by the report above, we are still receiving residual traffic from that recipe plus now Charlie’s Mexican Layered Casserole!
You can see from the Acquisition Report above that the top three referrers are Google (search results), All Free Casserole Recipes and Pinterest. I love this report because it shows me that even though we are getting the majority of our traffic from referrers, we are still doing well in Google organic searches. This means that we are still optimizing search engine optimization in our posts.
I like to include the Device Acquisition report because I think it’s also important to understand how readers are accessing sites. I’d read an article about 6 months ago that more than 50% of website traffic is from mobile devices. In that article, they included tablets as mobile devices, too, so if you add those two together in the above report, we are running true to form based on this report.
This appears to be a trend that is worth following closely because if that trend keeps climbing, it is very important to make your blog easy to read and navigate from a mobile device to keep traffic coming back!
I wanted to include the graph above because it is so motivating, personally, to me. This is our all-time traffic graph. We installed Google Analytics on our blog on October 15, 2012. Prior to that date, we did not understand the importance of tracking our traffic, so these numbers are not since launch date of this blog (July 28, 2012). But, readers will note that our traffic was minimal until mid-June 2013 – almost an entire year! Then, the universe aligned (not really, but I like to think so!) and we started seeing relatively steady traffic, constantly climbing with spikes.
What happened in July 2013? Pinterest. The Pinterest gods started sending traffic our way.
(other Monthly Income Reports)