Welcome to May everyone. Is the year really almost 1/3 over? Time is FLYING! This month I’m very happy to report my blog income didn’t take it’s normal nosedive, it increased!! I’m really excited since this is my first time having two consecutive months where the blog really paid me. I am counting a large gift card I received to make a project, but I kept the supplies and the fruits of my labor. So I’m counting it, and since I have to declare it on my taxes – it’s in.
The SITS Girls: Home Depot eGift Card – $190
The SITS Girls: TONX Coffee Review – $40
The SITS Girls: Sam’s Club Diaper Review – $50
Google AdSense: January, February & March – $126.07
Clever Girls Collective: Marie Callenders Pi Day – $150
Technically without the gift card I made $366.07, but that’s still a lot more than the roller coaster income I’m used to. And considering my traffic is still kind of on a down slope, I’m happy. It’s not like my numbers are dropping a lot. They’ve just kind of pleateaued-ish. Here…
I finally started looking at all of my traffic sources, not just my referral traffic. While I knew Pinterest was #1 in both areas for me, I never realized how much direct traffic I was going how many people were googling to get to me.
You can ignore all the WLOW blogspot referrals. Those are most likely pins or bookmarks from before I bought my own doamine and are considered and referral because clickers are redirected to my WLOW .com address. I got some loving from Lisa of Wine & Glue with her collection post for Nikki at Chef in Training - which bumped Chef in Training up to my top 10 referrals this past month. Thanks ladies!! A Helicopter Mom featured my friend Amy’s chocolate pudding cupcakes on her 101 Cupcake Recipes list too. Double featured. Woo!!
Okay, so I promised you some insight on Google AdSense. I’m going to do my best, because everything got flipped on it’s head this month. For my ads I have one above my header, one about 1/2 way down my sidebar, and one toward the bottom of my sidebar – maxing out the allowed 3 Google AdSense ads. Kelley from Miss Information shared this heat map with me she found.
White – lowest income potential
Yellow – okay income potential
Orange – better income potential
Reddish – best income potential
This heat map is based off income potential only – not audience satisfaction. I’ve seen maps that incorporate the two and there are a million (not really) reasons to put your ad here and not there. I like to keep at least one ad above the fold to make sure it’s seen. The other two I keep to the side so my readers have a better content experience. But I also know that having and ad lower down on my sidebar means I’m not making tons of money off it. I just moved all my ads around – like right now – so we’ll see if there are any significant changes. Google did make a recommendation to me at the beginning of April to help increase my profits, and I did it.
Here’s where things got weird. My estimated earnings for March were $69.45 (see picture above), with actual earnings of $58.49. My estimated earnings for April were $135.21, with actual earnings of $85.52. EIGHTY-FIVE DOLLARS AND FIFTY-TWO CENTS. Where did the other $50 in estimated earnings go?!?!?!?!? I asked some other bloggers if anyone else ran into this, and they had! Some only had a $20 discrepancy, but others are loser to a $40 or $60 difference like me. WTH? I was so so so jazzed to get paid out by AdSense 2 months in a row and I totally got hosed. Are my veiws being counted in the estimated? How do clicks play in? There are just so many questions and factors behind the scenes. I can’t stress it. I’m focusing on other ways to boost traffic and income. But what a bummer!!!
Something important I did learn last month was about accepting ads from outside sources. I never really got the whole “no follow” thing with links. Then I emailed Lindsay and Bjork a couple questions. One of them was about an email I got to purchase a year’s worth of ad space on my sidebar. Sounds like a dream, right? Well turns out other websites can use “do follow” links to boost their SEO and rank higher in Google. ”No follow” links basically keep things legit and make sure you’re not just being used – money or no. I had accepted a paid link for a post previously, and now I’ve changed to “no follow” since I know what the deal is. So always tell people yes (if your interested), but let them know it will be a “no follow” link. You can learn more about this from Bjork’s reply to me.
But the thing I really had trouble with is the guy told me to name my own price – for a year! Where do I begin? What number do I pull off the top of my head. I went with Bjork’s suggestion $1 per 1,000 impressions. It was just a place to start, no equation or blogging logic behind it. Right now I fluctuate around 70,000 page views per month, so $70 per month. This past holiday season I got all the way up to 220,000 page views per month (it was exciting). Since this was my first offer, I flat rated. 12 months at $70/month = $840.
**UPDATE: I was just referred to an amazing Google+ Hang Out about AdSense and setting everything up to maximize profit and find out what your ad spaces are worth. I’ll talk about this in July so it can run for a couple months and I can have some good info for you.
No answer to my offer, but oh well. Now I feel like I have to power and a point of reference in the future.
I know this post was a little more of a rant than usual, but with all the ad space craziness I feel a little flustered. I hope some of this has helped. Money is such a hard thing to get a grip on in the virtual world, but I feel like I am making progress, slow as it may be.