Blogging: Income – 2013 Review

It’s been FOREVER since we talked about the blog income around here.  The holidays took over and something had to give.  The good thing that did for this series is I got to try a few new things, tweak some stuff, and get involved with some new traffic sources.  Lots and lots to talk about kids.  Instead of doing a separate post for October, November, and December, today we’re looking at my entire blog income from 2013.  You’ll see each month’s total income and expenses, and how everything has progressed through the year.  And back in September when WLOW turned two, I set some goals for year three.  We’ll be checking in on those goals as well.

 

Ready?

 

Blog Income 2013 Collage

Yep.  I made about $9,500 last year blogging.  Seems totally crazy.  Now that number is after expenses, cause we need to be real about everything.  It’s great to say I made $10,000, but it’s not the same when I spent $1,000 on blog stuff.  Here’s how the year breaks down…

January

Made  $323.87

Spent  $210.03

Total Income  $113.84

February

Made  $19.00

Spent  $225.00

Total Income  -$206.00

March

Made  $395.06

Spent  $80.00

Total Income  $315.06

April

Made  $556.07

Spent  $90.00

Total Income  $466.07

May

Made  $653.00

Spent  $59.35

Total Income  $593.65

June

Made  $334.73

Spent  $24.99

Total Income  $309.74

July

Made  $350.00

Spent  $30.99

Total Income  $319.01

August

Made  $1,374.21

Spent  $64.97

Total Income  $1,309.24

September

Made  $1,556.53

Spent  $56.66

Total Income  $1,499.87

October

Made  $870.90

Spent  $21.95

Total Income  $848.95

November

Made  $1,432.73

Spent  $60.95

Total Income  $1,371.78

December

Made  $2,717.30

Spent  $82.75

Total Income  $2,634.55

2013 Income  $10,583.40

2013 Expenses  $1,007.64

Total 2013 Income $9,575.76

 

You can see December was kind of a stellar month.  I picked up A LOT of sponsored posts, and the virtual assistant service was in full swing.  Mike even asked me when I was going to quit my job last month after hearing how much I made in December.  While I surpassed my monthly income goal from the blog to quit, that was only one month.  Most bloggers know January is never the same as December, and that’s true for me too.  I told him we’d have to wait and see how the next couple months go.  I make a lot of my blog income from sponsored posts, but with the VA service, blog design, and another project I’m working on I’m starting to be able to rely more on myself for income (not brands and ads that are hit and miss).  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to quit next month.  There are some big changes in the works at my house, and if they happen I can blog full time and be home with the kids!!

 

Let’s talk some hard traffic numbers.  While I got an explosion of traffic last December (especially from where I had been), this year was just on par with where I had been in the previous months.  Floating between 95K and 110K page views for the month.  No big 250K spike like before.  That seemed really weird to me since I did the whole 12 Days of Christmas Cookies series, and more.  But I’m not sweating it.  I’ll take consistent traffic over a random spike that drops as soon as it came.

Oct to Dec 2013 Traffic

{October to December traffic}

Some ups and downs, but overall around the 100K mark, give or take, each month.  January was actually been better than the fall/winter season with 122K page views for the month.  That big spike is because of a Facebook shout out from Chocolate Chocolate and More (a blog I contribute for).  It’s good to make friends in the blog world.  One little word from anyone of them could give you an amazing day you never expected.  {Thanks Joan!!}

Jan Traffic

One of the big things I did for myself to help me focus where I want to blog to be is make some goals for myself.  I set a goal for every 3 months during my third year of blogging.  January was the end of the first quarter, and it’s time for a check in.  I wanted to track my page views, visitors, social media following, and subscribers.  Which basically covers every way people are interacting with me on a high level.  Let’s take a look at the starting numbers, full year goals, and first quarter goals/results.

Year 3 Blog Goals

Please don’t ask how my bounce rate got so low.  I have no idea.  One day I got the “your blog has auto updated to WordPress 8.1 and the next my bounce rate is under 50%.  It hasn’t been that low since I was on Blogger last year.  The time on site and pages/visit stats are telling me that the little things I have on my blog to get people interested in seeing more are working!  I need to up my game there to keep it going.

I fell a little short on the emails, but something I did notice was moving from using Hello Bar to not using Hello Bar.  I like the service and it’s an easy to use option.  But with an add at the top of my blog I feel like it got lost a little.  I had gone up about 30 email subscribers each month using Hello Bar, and I had the $12.95/month plan.  I forget how many clicks you get on that plan.  Anyway, I got rid of Hello Bar and added buttons on my sidebar to subscribe to my blog via email and BlogLovin’.  I saw about the same number of subscriptions the next month as I was getting before.  So it looks as though if people have any easy to find option to subscribe and they like you, it will happen.

I definitely need to put A LOT more work into Instagram and Google+.  And really, with FB’s 1%-ish reach Google+ is so the way to go.  Pinterest is the easiest builder for me.  It’s the networkI’m most active on (especially now that I’m wedding planning).  I’ve noticed a growth this last month with these new types of pins in my feed.  Which just goes to show, you can pin anything you like.  Don’t be afraid to start pinning things that don’t match your blog’s main topic.

Follow Julie {White Lights on Wednesday}’s board I Do on Pinterest.

Last time we talked blog income, I mentioned wanting to use DFP for my ads.  If you’re unfamiliar with DFP (Double-Click for Publishers), it’s a system from Google that lets you stack your ads, create competition for ad space, and (if done right, hopefully) make you more money for your ads.  Jessi from Practically Functional was nice enough to give up an hour to walk me through setting everything up and helping me understand how DFP works on a really basic level.  I got everything installed and to my delight I was making a little bit more money.  My affiliate ads were rotating into the mix a little too – not that I was seeing any income from them, but better to have the option than not.

In November, I was accepted to Riot Ad Network.  I was totally stoked because I had heard nothing but good things about them and their CPM (money paid per 1,000 impressions).  Things started off great.  I made $157 for the second half of November.  That was more than I made all month with AdSense!!  December was great for Riot, and I was still stacking with DFP which kind of made AdSense my #2 spot filler.  I didn’t clear $100 with AdSense in November, and made $119 with AdSense in December.  The bonus here is the $243 I made with Riot put me at about triple what I had been making on ads each month (barely clearing the $100 base to get paid on AdSense).

January was a different story for both ad networks.  I moved off DFP after seeing lots of white space on my blog.  Meaning Riot wasn’t filling ad spots, I was maxed out on my 3 AdSense ad placements, and nothing else was filling the space.  Empty real estate is NOT good.  I set Riot ad code in for my two above the fold ads, and had AdSense in 3 spots on my side bar and 1 spot under my blog post content.  For last month I only made $86 on AdSense, and Riot took a drop in CPM (under $1) leaving to only make $134.  While that’s still over $200 in total ad income, it’s not what I was hoping for.  I think I got a little spoiled in December.  But with my January traffic numbers being better than December, it shows just how fickle ads can be and that you can’t put your blog income completely in the hands of others.  For February, I’m back to DFP.  Riot is still only around $0.90 CPM for me and I’ll take make chances for some competition to see if I can make up the money I wasn’t seeing at the end on January.

 

My VA service is booming.  I currently have 20 active clients, and have blog and website designs popping up left and right.  I love designing.  I’m no full on graphic designer and make due with the skills I have, but it’s fun working with my friends and helping them get a make over.  I L-O-V-E blog make overs!!  I’ve even taken on a second VA.  Tanya from Lemons for Lulu is on the team, and so very excited to have her and help her learn the business based on what I do.

 

I’m contributing for 6 blogs now.  Yes.  I’m completely insane.  Most of those contributions are collection/round up posts which I totally  love making.  It’s fun finding new blogs and content to share, and I get a chance to feature all of you!  Giving back is the best.

 

All in all it’s been am amazing year.  While I love the monthly blog income reports, it’s time for a little change.  I wont’ be doing a monthly report.  Since I’m doing a quarterly blog goal check in, I’ll be making those posts and quarterly blog income post too.  {If you can see my monthly blog income posts from 2013 HERE.} If there are any revelations I’ve had or learned during those 3 months I’ll be sharing everything!  I’m an open book.  How else can we learn from my mistakes.  Haha.

 

Thank you all so much for reading.  None of this would be what it is without you.

You make me smile and want to pull my hair out and help me dream.

You’re the best!

Comments

  1. says

    This is really great information! I’m only dipping my toes into the water of earning from blogging so posts like this offer me some incredibly valuable insight!

  2. says

    You’re amazing Julie! I love how you share this with us and show people that with hard work and dedication, making money blogging is totally possible. You’re awesome. Congrats on such a successful year!!! xo!

    • says

      Thanks so much Kristy. I know some people like to really protect their numbers and stuff, but I wouldn’t know half of what I know without asking people one on one to share with me so I can get ideas for my blog. I’ve gotten so much help from posting things I want to know/work on in these posts that I’m addicted now. Haha. :)

  3. says

    I love that you break this all down & share it. Every time I read your recaps I realize I need to figure out ads & DFP – we have similar traffic and I’m only making about $90/month in ads (I’ve probably commented that before). You are a crazy lady for all those clients but I’m glad its working out for you! Here’s to 2014 =)

  4. says

    That so awesome Julie! You go girl! Thank you for sharing your income reports with us and I’ll be looking forward to your quarterly reports. I’m still chugging along but things get better and I keep learning!

  5. says

    You are a total inspiration, Julie! I haven’t thought about monetizing my blog since it seems overly complicated so I love how you break everything down here. I would love to hear tips from you on how you personally have grown your social media accounts, Facebook in particular :)

  6. says

    Woohoo, congrats to you, Julie! I had a similar spike as you last year – I hit 278k PV for November. I was like WHOA! But it dropped to only 210k in December and then dropped to 178k in January. I’m hoping things pick back up soon but I hear that January and February are pretty dull months for bloggers. I’m sure you’ll pick back up! Congrats again!

  7. says

    I love that you share your numbers and information. It makes it so much easier to see how things work. I’m so glad you are brave enough to let us all see how it works! Thank so much for the tips they are greatly appreciated! I’m just starting out and this is really useful!

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