learn the business of blogging – always free
September was an exciting month for a few reasons, none of which involve increasing my income! My affiliate income totals just weren’t where I would have liked them to be this month. Nevertheless, it was a super productive month (especially compared to August) and I genuinely made progress in advancing my business. That’s what’s important after all. I’m in this for the long run, and hopefully one day I’ll look back and laugh at this little dip in income.
In September, I opened my first business bank account, got accepted to a higher-paying display advertising network, and developed a blogging workflow which I hope will make me more productive.
I’m trying to combat blogger burnout, so I turned to a few new tools lately: Asana and Airtable. Actually, I tried out a ton of productivity tools including Zenkit and Todoist, but Asana and Airtable seem to be the ones which fit my needs the most. Stay tuned for a full post on how I’m using these tools to organize my blogging projects, tasks and ideas.
Let’s jump into the income.
While I didn’t make as much money as I did last month, that is part of the reality of blogging. Furthermore, traffic isn’t always aligned with income I’ve come to learn.
At first I panicked when I realized that my income from RewardStyle was dropping. Was I doing something wrong? Did taking the month of August off come back to bite me?
I decided to do some digging.
It turns out my traffic increased in September even though my income declined. Looking at RewardStyle, I actually had more clicks in September than August – yet my conversion rate decreased.
The only reason I can think of for this drop in sales is that people are buying less in September once they are back to work and school after the summer vacation months. Once I realized the drop in income had nothing to do with something I did and was likely just a seasonal change in consumer buying habits, I was so relieved!
The lesson here is always to do your due diligence before drawing conclusions.
In more positive news, I have recently implemented ads from Mediavine, an ad network that comes highly recommended from many bloggers. Mediavine has a minimum session requirement of 25,000 per month before you can apply to join. I applied in August when I had a few hundred over that minimum and was accepted!
One of the reasons I’ve been wanting to change ad networks is that I suck at monetizing mobile traffic, and it just so happens that 60% of my traffic is mobile. As easy as AdSense is to install, Google surprisingly doesn’t have a lot of great options for optimizing earnings from mobile traffic. The majority of my AdSense earnings have always come from desktop traffic, which is the minority of my overall traffic.
AdSense also pays really poorly. Just take a look at my per-day earnings for each network:
Google AdSense ran from September 1-17 and earned me $108.48, or $6.02 per day.
Mediavine ran from September 19-30 and earned me $208.45, or $17.37 per day!
I essentially tripled my display ad income just by switching networks. What’s even better is that for the last 2 days or so I’ve been averaging $20+ a day. I’m thinking this will only go up from here as Mediavine optimizes its ads for my site.
I’m very excited to see where Mediavine can take my site’s display ad income!
I just love how cheap is it to blog (thanks to my $5/month hosting from A2 where I host my three blogs!). This month, I bought a new Tailwind subscription for my Travel blog so I can schedule all my photos to my Pinterest group boards.
I read that blogs tend to receive less traffic during the summer months, so I thought I’d see a jump in September. My traffic just barely increased this month to 36,868. I need to figure out a strategy to drive growth as soon as possible. I posted 8 times during September, a pace I’d like to keep up in the months ahead.
Plans for the Month Ahead
Traffic growth is my top priority so this month I’m going to be focusing on that. While I have an unofficial goal of 50,000 page views in October, I don’t want to have an arbitrary number in mind without a solid plan of action. After all, a goal without a plan is just a dream.
What I’m thinking is investing in two new tools this month to help me reach my goal.
I’ve read some Pinterest strategies that relied upon promoting your site’s most popular pins and repinning them to group boards. Because of Pinterest’s algorithm, these pins tend to get shown more in the smart feed which can drive tons of traffic to a site. Boardbooster is the first tool I’m going to use to help me do this.
I have no background with Boardbooster so it will be a learning experience for me! I had always shied away from using more than one Pinterest posting tool at a time but I think it’s the right step forward now that I have a solid income from my blog and can afford to test new tools.
I’m also looking to invest in a keyword research tool. SEO is something that I’d really like to start putting effort into (beyond using the Yoast SEO plugin!) and this blog in particular seems to be getting good search engine traffic naturally. I’m leaning towards testing out Long Tail Pro, but I’ll keep you updated on what I eventually decide on.
Thanks for reading about my income journey! Take a look at all my previous reports here.