We’re a part of a society where it’s just not polite to ask someone about what they’re making. And there’s something taboo about publishing online and blogging income reports.
But I love talking about making money blogging. Why? I like being a part of the conversation that you can make money online. And I love talking about steps we take each month that either works, or doesn’t work, for our brand new blog.
Plus, I like crushing the fear that the blogosphere is too crowded and newer bloggers can’t compete. Yes, it’s true – people have been making money blogging for years. But you can make money blogging, too.
If you’re a seasoned blogger, contribute to the conversation that inspires people who may want to start a blog…inspire them to conquer their fears and do it. Instead of being negative and suggesting the blogosphere is oversaturated (which, okay, valid point), be positive and encourage (or better yet, empower) others to stand out in an oversaturated market.
Enter Reroute Lifestyle: a space for creatives to learn the ins and outs of blogging, and the steps they need to take to make money blogging so they can kick their 9-5 and be the CEO of their own life.
How We Report Income
We report income as income that is paid to us in any given month. Previously, we reported income as it was earned, which doesn’t really paint the reality of making money blogging:
- Programs have different minimum payouts before you can get paid (e.g. advertisement networks with $100 minimums, or affiliate networks with $50 minimums)
- There’s sometimes a long wait before you get actually get paid (even after you meet the payment minimum, you’re still operating on the advertiser’s terms. So you might not get paid for one or even three months depending on the company)
It’s a tough call.
We’re still celebrating earning via ShareASale affiliate network, but won’t get paid until later this month. We also saw another Ebates referral this month, but those earnings only get paid quarterly. So while we’re celebrating a successful month in terms of earnings, we just can’t report that yet.
Something we can celebrate is… our first month breaking $1,000 blogging!!!
Previous Blogging Income, Month by Month:
- February (month 1): $0.00
- March (month 2): $60.00
- April (month 3): $230.00
- May (month 4): $324.00
- June (month 5): $962.15
- July (month 6): $698.23 (click here to read the July 2017 Income Report)
- August (month 7): $898.78 (click here to read the August 2017 Income Report)
- September (month 8): $1,140.95 <—- OMG.
Related Reading: How to Make Money Blogging: Make Your First $1,000 Blogging
But… do you make REAL money blogging?
There are a lot of skeptics on the Internet. And considering the Internet is a place where you can pretty much say anything, it’s valid. As a couple who writes with an intention of honesty, it’s hard to accept.
But some people want proof that we’re getting paid, like, “real money.” So we share screenshots of our income to prove to people… you really can make money blogging.
This is our Sendowl data from our launch of Career in the Making. During our launch period, we made 16 sales which totaled to $382 (minus Paypal fees, all of which was paid immediately after each sale). But sales teetered off after our launch period (i.e. they were totally nonexistent).
Given that our mailing list is about 500 people, we saw a barely above average conversion rate of email subscribers to purchasers (the industry average is 1-3%).
We make most of our other income from affiliate marketing.
Related Reading: Affiliate Marketing for Beginners
Interested in finding programs to partner with and start making affiliate income? Download our list of affiliate programs for bloggers.
What We Accomplished in September
It’s hard enough to hold one person on one blog accountable to achieve a blog’s goals, but we actually have to hold two people accountable. And while we thought this blog may grow more quickly with two people behind the wheel, it’s definitely been a challenge to manage two blogs. Especially since we both work full-time on very different schedules.
Regardless, we still have accomplishments to celebrate from crushing our September goals!
- Post private, weekly lessons and grow our free Facebook community to 100 members. Yes! We did continue posting private, weekly lessons in our free Facebook community. And we ended September with exactly 100 community members.
- Submit our first guest post on another blog. Yes! We submitted our first ever guest post. Although it’s not published yet, we’re excited to let you know as soon as it’s live!
- Launch our first ebook, and make $100 from it. Yes! We launched! However, after our ebook launch our sales fizzled out entirely so we are brainstorming how to keep the momentum and make a consistent $100 from ebook sales each month.
- Created a Freebies page and grew our mailing list to over 500 subscribers. Yes! Wow – we made it! We ended the month at 515 email subscribers. Stay tuned for tons of free content coming your way.
- Work together to get 6,000 page views. Yes! We did not think we would make this goal, but we hit 6,000 page views on the last day of September! We’ll talk more about how we achieved 6,000 page views in our second month blogging below.
Going forward, we are going to have fewer goals to knock out of the ballpark. It’s very difficult to focus on so much. Together, we will each decide on a project, goals for that project, and brainstorm ways we can support each other throughout the month.
What We Failed to Accomplish in September
Well… we failed to accomplish our social media goals, which shows we should pay more attention to these.
- Post 8 times on our Facebook page to grow our likes to 25. We only grew from 11 to 18 likes on Facebook, but definitely have plans in place to grow this page. We received 5 out of 7 of our likes this week after we added a sidebar to our blog along with a Facebook “Like” widget – so this definitely helped our (small) Facebook page growth! To increase Facebook likes and engagement, we’re going to brainstorm exclusive content to broadcast on that page… and change the cover photo to one that matches our brand.
- Engage more on Twitter, and grow to 175 followers. We grew to from 135 to 167 followers on Twitter, so not a significant amount. We are trying to push more relevant content on there, but there’s definitely tons of room for improvement and growth on that account.
- Grow our Pinterest account to 125 followers. We actually only grew from 55 followers to 90 this month. We really slowed down on pinning after the ebook launch which stunted our growth. But we did shift our focus to continue growing our Pinterest account – and we rebranded our Pinterest graphics towards the end of the month! In October, we will apply to more niche-related group boards and invest in a Pinterest scheduler for our Reroute Lifestyle account.
At the very least, we know where we went wrong… and where we can improve in October (wow, I seriously can’t believe it’s already October).
If you couldn’t tell already, I’m super focused on our goals for Reroute Lifestyle. But because our income does come from two blogs, I’m including the traffic from my lifestyle blog, KristaAoki.com, in this report.
You might think that we have it easy in terms of earning income from two blogs. Actually, keep in mind, it’s very hard to manage two blogs. You have to manage two social media accounts, two mailing lists, two posting schedules. It’s a lot of work, and it’s anything but easy. If you can narrow down your niche and vision for your blog, and create a monetization strategy for it, you can be just as successful (if not more) than we are.
With that being said, KristaAoki.com received 8,093 page views in September. I anticipate these numbers will continue to drop as I redirect traffic from my older blogging articles to RerouteLifestyle.com. Not that I’m making excuses, but instead of creating content I’m rewriting old content so I imagine those numbers will stay low for a while.
As for RerouteLifestyle.com, we made our goal of 6,000 page views in September!
We received 6,321 page views last month! Like I said, I’m redirecting old articles from KristaAoki.com. We only received 249 redirects from KristaAoki.com, so I imagine we would have either made our goal or been close to making it had we not seen that referral traffic. (This means that with a proper strategy, you can reach these numbers in the second month of your blog, too.)
To be honest – we almost thought we wouldn’t make our traffic goals.
As you can see, around September 20-23, our traffic was incredibly low. Like not-even-getting-50-page-views-per-day-low.
Mike and I got totally discouraged and wondered why we saw such a sudden drop in numbers.
Albeit discouraged, we were determined to at least try reaching that goal we had set for ourselves at the beginning of the month.
You can reach the goals you set.
So instead of sulking about our low traffic days (FOUR of them in a row!), we put our heads together and strategized how to grow our traffic. Here’s what we came up with:
- Totally redo our Pinterest images. We rebranded our Pinterest images to stand out more. So far we’ve received incredible feedback from this, so we think we hit the sweet spot.
- Added a sidebar to our blog posts. Our sidebar isn’t totally optimized for browsing yet, but I think it enhances the user experience. I just like the way it looks on our blog – it felt so bare without one!
- Pick up activity on social media. This one seems like a no-brainer. But, we picked up posting on our Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts the last week of September which definitely helped us reach our traffic goals.
Look at where your traffic comes from month by month. What did you do to get that traffic? And, what can you do to continue growing your traffic?
Where’s our traffic coming from?
Our traffic largely comes from social media, although you can’t discredit the referral traffic we get from other sites. We actually see a small amount of traffic from commenting on other blogs, being mentioned on other blogs, and being mentioned on others’ mailing lists.
Pinterest accounted for 62% of our social media acquisition. Overall, we can estimate about 25% of our traffic comes from Pinterest (especially considering we’re getting referral traffic from my other website).
Related Reading: 5 Pinterest Strategies that Will Boost Your Blog Traffic
Otherwise, for social media, we receive traffic from Facebook and Twitter. I try scheduling at least one promotional tweet per day on my personal Twitter account, but I balance my tweets promoting posts from my lifestyle blog and this one. This month, we’ll try tweeting from the Reroute Lifestyle Twitter account more.
And lastly, we do see some traffic from Reddit – 80% of which were new users who spent an average of four minutes browsing our site. People on Reddit like to read and browse, so it’s worth finding a subreddit for your niche and testing how your content would be received. One of our Facebook group members actually credited her most popular post to Reddit.
Self-promotion is (generally) frowned upon on Reddit, so don’t go overboard trying this for your own blog. Mix promoting your blog in with authentically engaging with the community.
With all this being said…
Our income report proves you don’t need huge amounts of traffic to make money blogging.You don't need tons of traffic to make money blogging. Click To Tweet
You really just need a solid, targeted marketing and monetization strategy. Now let’s get into why you came to this post: how much money we made blogging in September.
September Income Report
Siteground: $525.00 (Siteground is my incredible website host that saved me from a technical crisis I had in the middle of the month. And their lowest plan starts out at $3.95/mo. Click here to get started with Siteground at only $3.95/mo.)
LendEDU: $100.00 (Since I love talking about money, it makes sense that my favorite affiliate helps people save money in the long run. LendEDU compares rates for up to 6 of the top student loan refinancing lenders using a totally free and easy-to-complete application that doesn’t affect your credit.)
Career in the Making (ebook): $382.00 (My own ebook, which goes into the exact marketing and monetization strategies I used to make $2,200 on my lifestyle blog. Because you need the right monetization strategy to make money blogging. But you need the RIGHT kind of people on your blog, too.)
The She Approach to Boosting Your Blog Traffic (ebook): $8.75 (I learned so much from Ana’s ebook for both newer and more seasoned bloggers on boosting your blog traffic. She gives invaluable advice on headline writing, authentic audience growth, and soo much more. Click here to learn more about Ana, and her ebook!)
Amazon Affiliates: $17.87 (You might know I made my very first affiliate sale on Amazon Affiliates. It was $0.44. Well, eight months later, I finally got it! LOL.)
Total Income: $1,140.95
September Expense Report
Our expenses went up this month given we wanted to invest in graphics and promotional material for our ebook!
We also committed to donating 50% of the profits from our ebook during its launch to Hurricane Irma response & relief. We chose to donate to GlobalGiving‘s Hurricane Irma fund because they partner with local nonprofits. Which – side note – THANK YOU SO MUCH for helping us raise that amount. Whether you shared our book on social media, purchased it, or liked one of our posts, every action from each of you helped.
Siteground: $0.00 (prepaid the $3.95 monthly cost of Siteground for 2 years upfront)
Tailwind: $0.00 (prepaid for an annual Tailwind Plus plan for Pinterest)
G+ Suite for Business: $5.00
Paypal fees: $20.56
Ebook Design: $20.00 (shoutout to VonSnips who reached out to me and pitched her design skills with a super personable and honest message. I replied to her with super vague descriptions about what I wanted – “I like watercolors and flatlays” and I’m so so happy she was able to turn that into a beautiful ebook cover people have said really displays my personality.)
Placeit.net: $36.00 (we used PlaceIt to create our ebook mockups)
Donation to Global Giving‘s Hurricane Irma Relief Fund: $134.00 (Originally I intended to donate 50% of all profit from our launch to Hurricane Irma response, rebuilding & relief. But, I wanted to funnel as much as possible to the cause and instead donated 50% of our gross income during the launch period.)
Total Expenses: $215.56
Total Income After Expenses: $925.39
Biggest Takeaways from September
- Your audience and your community are your backbone. In an interview with Nichole from The Daily Pursuit, I talked about how initially I approached blogging as “this is my blog.” If there’s anything these past few months has taught me, it’s how important your community is. Like the reason I started a blog was to inspire others, so what the heck was I doing by not interacting more with my community?
- Revisit your goals. If something’s not working, something needs to change. We really did not think we would meet our traffic goal for September, and that was so discouraging. At the same time – it meant we needed to change something. So we redid our Pinterest images, added a sidebar to our posts, and really focused on how we could improve the user experience. If you’re not meeting your traffic goals, figure out why – or, get a second opinion (like our blog audit).
- Participate in Facebook groups. As you can see, Facebook accounted for 27% of my acquisition from social media. Making genuine connections in Facebook groups is invaluable! Not only did I really enjoy the conversations and insight from our own Facebook group, but I also loved participating in the groups In Search of Blog Squad and BTOP Ultimate Blogging Group. All three of these Facebook groups are on the smaller side, so the conversations feel more intimate.
The Reroute Lifestyle Plan for October
Wow… it’s already October! This week, I’ll start making the transition from employee to self-employed (EEK). Mike will continue working full-time until November – which is when we’ll be hopping on a plane to Southeast Asia! These are our goals for the month:
- Continue posting private, weekly lessons and grow our free Facebook community to 150 members. Mike and I have made an effort to use our Facebook community as a way to give weekly blogging lessons. The response and engagement from our community has been great! If you want in on our weekly discussions, click here to join the Facebook community.
- Work on an update for Career in the Making. I have a ton of projects on my list, but I’d love to survey my readers for feedback as well as send them a juicy update of Career in the Making by the end of October!
- Make $100 profit from Career in the Making. Right now, my goal is to make $100 profit monthly from Career in the Making. Big shoutout to the folks in the BTOP Ultimate Blogging Group on Facebook who gave me incredible, constructive criticism to help me improve my sales page.
- Update 1 old freebie, and create 1 new one. So last week on my Instagram stories I asked you guys what you needed help with when it came to your blog (the overwhelming majority said monetizing your blog + growing it). So I want to come out with at least one freebie to help you guys out! Follow me on Instagram or the Reroute Lifestyle Twitter to receive the first updates once it’s out.
- Work together to get 7,500 page views. Growing an additional 1,500 page views will definitely be tough. But we have a lot of exciting plans – like new posts and tons of freebies – that it might be possible to make this happen.
- Grow our email list to 600 and write down a detailed email marketing plan. Email marketing is definitely my weakness. So given my transition to working on this blog full-time, Mike and I are dedicating ourselves to really focusing on improving our email game. This is a project he wants to take on (thank freaking goodness) so I am really excited for that to be out of my hands (hahaha!). Any tips/tutorials for Mike to read??? (leave them in the comments)
Blogging: lots of work, and yet incredibly fulfilling
With all this being said, thank you for joining us on our blogging journey! If you learned something you can apply to your own blogging journey here, please pin or share!
- Affiliate Marketing for Beginners
- How to Make Money Blogging: Make Your First $1,000 Blogging
- 10 Ways to Make Money Blogging This Month
And always remember that blogging is definitely a “learn-as-you-go” activity. At first, you might feel overwhelmed by the tasks you have to conquer. After eight months of blogging, I can confidently say that to build a successful blog, you first need to conquer your fears and stop WORRYING! So many people have such brilliant ideas, and end up self-sabotaging themselves with words of discouragement.
We ALL have these BRILLIANT ideas buzzing in our brains. But what’s a successful idea until you act on it, right?
Starting a blog can be intimidating. In fact, I felt apprehensive before I started this blog. So many questions ran through my head. Would people think I’m weird? What if I’m unsuccessful? Now, in retrospect, I’m only overwhelmed by all the positive support given to me by others!
Even better, blogging is a great way to make money on the side and turn your play-thing into a pay-thing.
Considering starting a blog? Or, are you already blogging? What are your goals for the upcoming month? Did you learn anything from this income report you’re going to try?