september2016

September marked the beginning of Rosevibe!

I finally did a soft launch, even though the site isn’t fully ready yet. It’s been a totally new experience and I’ve learned a LOT this month, both about having an online business and about what I want.

From now on, my income reports will be more in-depth. I’ll go over what worked and didn’t work, social media growth, and upcoming goals (and I may or may not ramble a bit!).

My progress for my second year of blogging so far:

  • July 2015: $1,487.82
  • August 2015: $1,735.64
  • September 2015: $1,521.11
  • October 2015: $1,784.43
  • November 2015: $2,391.96
  • December 2015: $3,069.71
  • 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 Income Breakdown

What’s Up In September

Most income sources pretty much stayed the same. I didn’t have any sponsored content, and I lost a steady income stream because of MODE Media shutting down.

Amazon earnings:

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Ad revenue:

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However, 2 things brought some extra income this month:

1. Promoting subscription boxes. My “other affiliate income” above (about $400) is from subscription boxes. I’m not sure if this is something I’m going to keep doing in the future.

2. Bluehost commission. My Bluehost earnings nearly doubled this month. This commission is from my post How To Start A Beauty Blog.

September Traffic

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My traffic went up slightly in September, with an increase of 0.91%.

What Worked This Month

1. The power of creating a habit.

Every day of this month, no matter how much of a slump I was in, I decided to work on Rosevibe, even if that meant for only a few minutes.

This lead me to creating a course I’ve been planning for months! This project has been such a new experience and I’ve been LOVING it. It’s also helping me figure out what I want to achieve with Rosevibe.

I also made new graphics and I’m finally happy with them, in addition to tweaking my unfinished theme (which is still unfinished). I’m getting closer to taking Rosevibe where I want it to be, and forming a habit got me far this month.

This showed me how much can be achieved if you put your mind to it and do the work, no matter what’s standing in your way.

2. Cross-promoting.

Cross-promoting different projects is definitely a big plus to grow new sites. I realized I can use my existing audience to launch new and exciting things, so that it doesn’t feel like starting from absolute scratch.

I’ve been contemplating the idea of using my main blog’s mailing list to promote Rosevibe and other projects, but I never took the plunge until now.

I e-mailed a list of over 10,000 about the course I’ll be launching, which is going to be free for a limited time. Even though the list I e-mailed had very little to do with blogging and business, I received responses from over 200 lovely ladies who were interested in the course, and I’ve grown my Rosevibe mailing list from 7 to over 200.

3. Crashing hard.

Yes, hitting my personal rock bottom in August made me get my shit together and try harder.

I’ve had so many projects on the backburner for over 12 months, but it never felt like the timing was right. This month, I went for all of it at once. Working daily on Rosevibe, but also starting yet another site I’m really pumped about.

What Didn’t Work This Month

1. MODE Media

Speaking of crashing hard, MODE Media just went down in flames (i.e. went bankrupt). The sad part is that they won’t be paying their past employees, which some are owed up to $14,000. Bad, awful management.

I was a writer for MODE and this didn’t affect me that badly, since I only haven’t been paid for $450 worth of articles. Writing for MODE was quick and easy, since we had to use little words and an app to link to content. Not gonna lie: I wondered how MODE was able to monetize and stay huge.

2. Experimenting with freelance writers.

I hired 2 freelance writers for a new site I’m working on, and I was disappointed by the result. Their dry, journalistic tone wasn’t blog-friendly. The posts were essentially short essays.

This taught me 2 things.

1. When hiring writers, have clear, printed guidelines in a document. Simply asking for “a friendly or casual tone” isn’t enough.

2. If you’re passionate about a topic, either write the articles yourself or hire a writer that’s just as passionate.

Tailwind

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Pinterest Followers: 9,475 (+647).

Facebook

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It’s been a particularly good month on Facebook.

Facebook Likes: 11,492 (+979).

Upcoming Goals

1. Minor redesign for Cruelty-Free Kitty.

One thing on my agenda is to redesign and polish my beauty blog. I won’t be making any major changes and my bounce rate slightly dropped since my last redesign, but I was never 100% satisfied with the overall look of the site. It feels heavy and bulky whereas I’ve always wanted it to be light.

Main changes I’m considering:

  • The freaking logo. I haven’t had a finished logo for CFK, ever. Every one of them was supposed to be temporary because logos are hard, man! I took Dre’s free course (a 45-minute video) and I finally made a logo I love, which will be shared once I redesign the site. You rock, Dre!
  • A consistent, lighter color palette. There’s too much black and bulk. The black bar at the top will be removed and replaced by something lighter.
  • The front page, which is still unfinished. My php knowledge is very limited, but I’ll make an effort since the front page needs more structure. My popular posts are buried while they should be right there for new readers.
  • Cohesive images. This is something I’ve always struggled with, but I’m working on it. Filtering pictures, taking similar photos, making similar graphics. I need to stick to one style instead of jumping around.
  • Possibly changing the fonts.
  • Customizing the social sharing buttons. At this point, I only learned how to make social sharing buttons that don’t have share counters. I’d like to keep the number of shares.

2. Redesign for Rosevibe.

I’ve learned a lot about branding this month, and I also realized that my current design doesn’t reflect what I want the site to be.

I’m working on a new theme as we speak. It’s similar to the current one, but more in line with my values and what I want the site to be.

3. Long-term goal: getting rid of third-party ads.

I’ve never hidden my hatred of third-party ads. They make your site crazy-slow and cluttered, not to mention they drive visitors away for multiple reasons. Ugh! I hate ads.

Unfortunately, ad revenue is responsible for most of the revenue from my main blog. Wiping ads from Cruelty-Free Kitty would be like a dream come true, but it’s not doable without replacing that revenue stream with something else. My options right now are sponsorships, private ads, and selling my own products.

For one, this would mean that my income would be less passive. I would need to seek sponsorships and private ads. And two, I would have to take the blog more seriously: better branding, better photography, publish more content, seek brands, create products.

This is definitely a long-term goal that I won’t be able to reach until everything else is taken care of, but I feel very strongly about it. In my eyes, my ads on CFK are ruining my site.

That’s it for this month! There are more goals I’m working on, but I’ll tackle them in my next income report.