january-income

First income report of 2017! In January, my traffic increased quite a bit and I received 774,000 pageviews, which seems like an insane number to me. If you want to read more about what I learned this month, keep reading.

The Last 12 Months

My progress for 2016:

  • January 2016: $3,461.03
  • February 2016: $3,985.58
  • March 2016: $6,696.22
  • April 2016: $6,301.01
  • May 2016: $7,806.68
  • June 2016: $7,897.69
  • July 2016: $8,586.24
  • August 2016: $10,689.15
  • September 2016: $10,510.04
  • October 2016: $11,440.13
  • November 2016: $14,679.61
  • December 2016: $13,201.05

In 2016, I made $105,254.43 from my online business, most of which is passive income.

January Income Breakdown

January Expenses

  • NET EARNINGS: $13,342.12

What’s Up In January

Things slowed down after the holiday season, but my numbers aren’t totally reflecting that. In terms of ads however, it shows. My RPM went down considerably. I made $4,369 for 774,000 pageviews as opposed to $5,910 for 689,000 pageviews in December (peak month for ad revenue).

On a more personal and random level, I’ve been enjoying this winter a lot. Normally, the lack of sunlight has a big effect on my mood and I turn into a hermit. This year, January had me excited about taking long walks in the snow and appreciating the cold, fresh air. I’m on the up and up!

Amazon earnings:

amazon-january

Ad revenue:

ads-january

ads-2

You can see the drop in my RPM in January compared to December.

However, this should tell you how inefficient monetizing with ads is: 774,000 pageviews is bringing in just over $4,000. Assuming the ad network in splitting the revenue 50/50 with the publisher, going directly to the advertisers would bring in double, which doesn’t seem too bad.

I’ve been talking about trying this tactic for months but haven’t even started looking into it. I do know there are a few advantages to it, including having more control over your ads and the loading speed. It’s on my to-do list, but sadly it isn’t a priority.

January Traffic

traffic-january

As I was comparing my traffic for January and December, I noticed something weird.

In the graphs below, January stats are in blue. Look at the spike in users, both new and old, on January 22:

users

What’s interesting though is that January 22 also had a drop in bounce rate:

bounce

Usually, getting a spike of traffic also brings an increase in bounce rate. What happened instead is a considerable drop in my bounce rate, which means that this new traffic was actually interested in the content.

Looking into it more on Piwik (the other analytics tool I use), I also found that my front page received 4x the amount of traffic it usually gets.

The influx to the front page and lower bounce rate hints towards a mention to my site from a more popular site. What I did next is Google my blog’s name while only searching for content from the “past month” (under “tools”).

The third result is dated January 22 (the day of the spike). It’s a video by a YouTuber with nearly 1,000,000 subscribers! Mystery solved. She linked to my front page (super grateful, by the way!).

search

This Month’s Takeaways

1. Our analytics don’t lie.

Being obsessed with stats is no fun, but looking deeper into your analytics is essential to figure out what’s working for your blog (and what isn’t).

When I was starting out as a blogger, keeping an eye on my analytics was easy. Now that I have more content, it’s somewhat of a chore. If you’re in the same boat, don’t let the numbers overwhelm you and look at your stats every month. Where’s your traffic coming from? What are your top posts? How successful is your social media strategy?

Our analytics are speaking to us and we should listen to them as a guide to blog better.

2. My affiliate marketing mistake and takeaway.

In January, a brand contacted me to promote their yearly sale. This brand wasn’t directly related to my topic/niche, but it is still made sense to promote them. The brand in question sells vegan handbags, and my blog is about cruelty-free beauty. Pretty related, right?

I emailed my audience about the sale and it was a complete failure. Out of over 15,000 subscribers, I only made 3 sales. The affiliate revenue covered the cost of sending my email, but it wasn’t worth my time (nor bugging my subscribers).

The email did have a good open rate, but the sales weren’t there. Why?

1. My audience isn’t primarily vegan.

2. My audience isn’t primarily interested in fashion.

What I learned from this is to stop venturing out of my blog’s primary topic. My subscribers signed up for one thing, and that’s what I should be providing them.

I think this is a mistake that a lot of us tend to make. As we grow our audience, we get contacted by more and more brands, and we seek partnership opportunities. But we have to keep in mind that not all of these opportunities are the right fit.

2. Focusing on what works.

I’m a big believer in the 80-20 rule. The rule isn’t an exact science, but rather a basic principle to keep in mind: 20% of the work brings in 80% of the results.

This principle can be applied to my blog, and I’m sure it can be applied to yours too. You can see it reflected in my income report: 2 sources bring me most of my revenue (AdThrive and Amazon).

Here’s a pie chart of this month’s revenue:

pie

Amazon is in red, and it takes up almost half of my earnings. But notice how some revenue streams bring in so little that they barely show up on the chart. One of my affiliate networks only brought in $8, and my “other affiliate income” was under $35.

The problem is that each of those revenue streams often gets an equal amount of attention. When it comes to this “other affiliate income”, I sometimes sink in more time than I do on more substantial streams.

What I’ve been doing lately is focusing on the things that really matter, while making sure the site stays updated and alive.

If you’re a busy person and you don’t have endless hours to sink into your blog, figure out what your 20% is.

That’s it for this month, and thank you for reading! 🙂

Click here to go back to my income reports.