February 2015 Traffic and Income Report

Traffic and Income Report February 2015 | Just a Girl and Her Blog

Oh hey there! It’s income report time again! (Where did THAT month go?!) If you have no idea what I’m talking about, for the past year or so, my smart and oh-so-talented hubby has been putting together income reports for this little blog of mine. He used to post them over on his blog, but we made the decision to bring them all over to Just a Girl and Her Blog in 2015 in hopes that the larger platform would make it possible to help more people who are asking the age-old question, “How do you make money from blogging?!”

If we’re being honest, I actually thought I may get some hate mail after last month’s income report. I know talking about money isn’t always the most comfortable thing in the world. But I should have known that since you are the most delightful readers in the history of everything, you would all be so incredibly supportive, and I was surprised at the overwhelming number of people who gave positive feedback about it during my reader survey— thank you!

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And now you’re thinking, “Abby, stop with the chatter and hop to it!” I hear ya! Here is Donnie with the February 2015 traffic and income numbers…

Income

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Total Income: $11,138

Expenses

  • Haven Conference Ticket – $307
  • Gumroad Transaction Fees – $168
  • Mailchimp* – $155
  • Affiliate Payouts – $144
  • Virtual Assistant – $158
  • Synthesis Hosting – $67
  • PayPal Transaction Fees – $29
  • SendOwl* – $15
  • Zapier* – $15
  • Crashplan – $14
  • Domain Registration – $13
  • ViralTag – $12
  • Adobe Creative Cloud – $11
  • CoSchedule* – $10
  • Stripe Transaction Fees – $5
  • Fizzle.co* – $0 (Usually $35)

Total Expenses: $816

February 2015 Net Profit: $10,322

Income Analysis

Our income went down slightly from January, but February was still the second highest month ever for the blog! Abby’s two eBooks continue to do well (Thank you!) but the big deal for us in February was the amount of Bluehost commissions we generated. Let me talk a little about why that happened…

Bluehost

Abby receives emails every week asking her how to start or grow a blog, so when it was time for her to write her eBook on blogging, we made sure to provide hosting reviews and blog setup instructions. We also created a How to Start a Blog page where people could ask technical questions in the comments section. After implementing these two things we started to see some Bluehost commissions. For the first few months it was $500-$1,000/month.

This past month Abby recorded her first ever video for JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com! Here’s the link to Abby’s YouTube channel. We have big plans for video later this spring so we thought we’d start by making a screencast of Abby walking through the Bluehost and and WordPress setup process. I think there are a lot of people who would much prefer to follow a video screencast than read step by step instructions. It makes the setup process seem less intimidating.

Traffic and Income Report February 2015 | Just a Girl and Her Blog

It’s so fun for Abby and I to get new emails from Bluehost*. If someone registers their free domain when signing up, we get to see the url! We’ve seen some awesome domain names the past few weeks, and it gets us excited to see what all these new bloggers will accomplish!

I still get the sense that people want to have everything all planned out and just perfect before they start. So many people tell us that they want to start a blog but they are waiting for things to settle down at work or waiting until their kids are a little older. Trust me when I say this: there is no perfect time! The people that are successful at this blogging thing are the people that just do it. They decide they’re going for it and they get started — that very day!

I always smile when I think about the time Abby told me she wanted to start a blog. We were eating dinner at Red Lobster (we had a babysitter for the kids!) in late December of 2012. We were going over our goals for the year and Abby sheepishly told me she wanted to start a blog. She seemed almost nervous to tell me. I had no idea what Abby wanted to write about but I instantly knew it was a great idea! She needed a creative outlet. By making it a goal for 2013 I thought Abby was thinking “at some point this year I’ll get around to starting a blog.” No! If my memory serves me correctly, I think she had me register her domain name and set up WordPress that very night. She wasn’t waiting around for anything or anyone. She knew that she could learn as she went and that the most important thing was to start consistently publishing posts. No excuses.

Speaking of hosting, over the years I’ve done a tremendous amount of research and testing of various hosting options and I can say without hesitation, in my mind Bluehost is the very best place to purchase your first hosting plan. I get this question all the time so I thought I’d mention it again here but as of today here are my hosting recommendations:

  1. Bluehost*- Affordable, reliable, and great customer service. The best choice for a new blog. I recommend Bluehost without hesitation.
  2. MediaTemple*- A good intermediate choice once you start getting traffic over 3,000 visitors/day. They now have managed WordPress hosting for $20/month which is a good deal. There is room to grow with MediaTemple.
  3. Synthesis*- If you get lots of traffic and run the Genesis Framework, Synthesis is the way to go. It’s managed. There are zero settings for you to mess with. You tell their support team what to do and they do it. The incredible speed and service comes at a price. The professional plan is $97/month. (We pay $67/ month because we locked in that price during a promotion they had last year.) Synthesis is owned by StudioPress, the same company that makes the Genesis Framework (this site runs on Genesis).
  4. WPEngine*- This is another advanced option for those with lots of traffic but don’t run the Genesis Framework.

Hosting is a big decision when you are starting a blog. It’s really the first decision you make and one of the only things you need to spend money on when you are just starting. Hopefully you’ll find those recommendations helpful!

Framework and Simplify eBooks

I love seeing Abby’s two books continue to do well! It means that she’s been able to reach more people — either helping them start and grow their blog with Framework, or helping them organize their lives and get some sanity back with Simplify. Thank you for continuing to purchase these two books month after month.

Amazon Associates

Recently I was asked what strategies we use to earn a few hundred dollars in Amazon Associate commissions each month. The majority of the income is from my two posts on going paperless where I recommend various scanners. These aren’t cheap items, so when someone purchases one through our Amazon links, we get a higher commission than if they bought something like the Tape ‘n Drape Abby recommends in another post. That being said, we only recommend the scanners because we own one, use it every day, and stand behind it 100%.  You can see how I go about making my recommendations in these posts:

Organizing Your Life: How to Go Paperless and Add Hours to Your Week
The Ultimate Guide to Going Paperless

One of the benefits of using Amazon links is that people buy all sorts of other things on Amazon once they click over. Even if they end up purchasing a product we didn’t link to, we get credit for any purchases made when people visit Amazon via any of our affiliate links.

If you’re a new blogger, this is one of the easiest ways to start earning a few dollars. Just make sure you only link to products you have experience with and can confidently recommend. Don’t force an Amazon link into a post just to try to make money– people are smart and will see right through that. But if you’re able to make an honest, natural recommendation, by all means, use an affiliate link; write with the goal of helping others with your recommendations, not yourself.

Three Legs of Blog Income

  1. Affiliate Income – $6,651
  2. Ad Revenue – $1,241
  3. Product Sales – $3,246

When I started including the “Three Legs of Blog Income” section in these income reports, the idea was to monitor the three distinct categories of income on this blog. At the time, I thought a “healthy” blog income would be somewhat evenly split between these three categories. I wanted to make sure we didn’t rely too much on one category while neglecting another.

Traffic and Income Report February 2015 | Just a Girl and Her Blog

After keeping track of this for some time now, I think my idea of equally balanced income between these three categories is unattainable. I don’t see ad revenue ever catching up to our own product sales or affiliate income. Since we fully trust our ad managers and believe they are doing everything in their power to keep our ads as optimized as possible, I expect ad revenue to continue to grow with our traffic. Other than making sure our ads are optimized, though, there’s no special strategy for drastically increasing this number.

Looking at the balance above makes me want to work really hard on increasing product sales by helping Abby create useful things for her audience. Without a doubt, creating and selling your own product is the most satisfying way of earning income from a blog. So while we’re excited about the increased Bluehost* commissions lately, we’re even more excited about our upcoming products. At the end of the year when we look back, I’m hoping product sales will have surpassed our affiliate income.

Top Posts of February 2015

1.Our Secret Weapon For Saving Money: The 2015 Budget Binder
2.10 Simple Habits that Will Help You Stay Organized
3.How to Make Pretty Labels in Microsoft Word + FREE Printable
4.Our Home Binder: A Tour {with FREE printables!}
5.How I Organized My Whole Life

Traffic Report

We’re down nearly 200,000 pageviews from last month. January traffic was so far outside our normal range we knew it couldn’t last. Our goal with the the over half million pageviews last month was to convert some of those new visitors to regular readers. I think we’ve done that! So while our traffic is down significantly from last month, the trend is still up. Slow and steady growth.

Traffic and Income Report February 2015 | Just a Girl and Her Blog

Email Subscriber Statistics

  • 2,503 New Subscribers
  • 19,797 Total Subscribers
abby

I think that one of the big reasons our email list continues to grow is because of the two challenges we currently offer– the “7 Days to a More Organized Life” challenge and the “7 Days to Start a Blog” challenge. Both of these challenges are a free week-long email mini course that readers can use to get themselves motivated to make changes and work toward their goals. The longer I blog, the more I learn about how important it is to add value for your readers! If growing your email list is something you’re currently working on (and it should be!), ask yourself what helpful information you can give away for free, either as a one-time PDF or in email mini-course format. Your readers will thank you!

RPM

donnie

RPM is a metric to track revenue per thousand pageviews. This is a measure of the overall effectiveness of a blog and is a handy benchmark for comparing blogs even if they have vastly different traffic numbers. I first learned about this metric from Bjork from Pinch of Yum.

February 2015 RPM: $30.52

This is the highest RPM we’ve seen on a non-launch month. Our highest RPM month was last June when Abby launched Framework*. While I don’t think an RPM of $30 is sustainable, maybe I should increase my expectation of $15 RPM being the benchmark for a good month.

and to recap…

Gross Income: $11,138
Net Income: $10,322
Pageviews: 364,986

Click here to see a running tally of all past income reports.

7 Days to Start a Blog Challenge

abby

And speaking of that blogging challenge… we were SO delighted to see *hundreds* of you make the leap and start your blogs this past month! You guys are AWESOME! Because of the amount of positive feedback we’ve gotten about the blog challenge, we have decided to run it for just a little while longer.

So if you’ve ever wanted someone to walk you through each step of the “setting up your blog” process, then this is the challenge for you, my friend! Our email course will give you the tools you need to set up the technical end of your blog, put the most essential elements into place, and help you start creating amazing content and building relationships with other bloggers in your niche right away. Sign up below and I’ll walk you through it. Let’s do this!

Thank you again for all of the support and encouragement you’ve given us over the last month as we’ve taken on this blogging thing full time. We truly would not be here without you and are so grateful for all you do for us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! <3

You can see our other income reports here:

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This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

23 Comments

  1. You are a real life #girlboss! I love reading about your projects!! Way to go girl!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Lol! Thank you, Lauren! You are the sweetest! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  2. I love these reports.
    They are so interesting. I teach computer science and love telling my students about this blog.
    Thank you!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thank you, Gigi! That means a lot! Hope you’re having a wonderful day!

      ~Abby =)

  3. I love these reports! I have blogged previously but took a little ‘break’ and just recently launched my new blog. I have a 5-year goal to make blogging my FT job and with the way things have started…it’s looking pretty good. These posts are inspiring and encouraging.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yay! Good for you for getting back into it, Toni! Best of luck with reaching your goal!!

      ~Abby =)

  4. I don’t comment often but I have been following you since last June when Donnie made a comment at Pinch of Yum on their monthly income report. I have enjoyed watching you grow! And I very much enjoy these reports. There is so much information and it is so very generous of you to share.
    I may have to quit procastinating and take your challenge. You both are great inspirations. Wishing you many blessings on this new leg of your journey.

  5. justagirlabby says:

    So nice to “meet” you, Peggy! Thank you so much for your encouragement. We would love to have you as part of the challenge! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

    ~Abby =)

  6. I discovered your blog last year, and you and your husband are an amazing team! I teach and tutor math and sell my materials on teacherspayteachers.com. I have been using social media to advertise (especially Pinterest), but I have decided it’s time to start a blog to promote my online store and also to use as an outlet for all of the other ideas I have running through my head! When I became a laid-off computer programmer, I learned web development and set up a website to use for experimentation, using GoDaddy for domain and hosting. This blogging thing has been nagging at me in the back of my mind, and I have played around with Google blogger somewhat. Well, now to my question: It’s time to renew my hosting through GoDaddy and I am wondering … should I switch to Bluehost? I can install WordPress through GoDaddy, but I am wondering if for blogging, Bluehost is the better option. Also, a consideration is if my blog actually starts attracting a lot of visitors and I have to upgrade, is it easier to switch from GoDaddy or Bluehost to another hosting option? Did you consider GoDaddy when you were doing your research? I have had a good experience with this company for the websites I have worked on, but I am wondering about its value in the blogging world. Thank you so much for sharing all of this valuable information. Your “Building A Framework” book is fantastic! (P.S. I just noticed the GoDaddy ad at the bottom of this page!)

  7. Great questions Dawn!

    I never considered GoDaddy but if you’ve had good experiences with them then I see no reason for you to switch. They never appealed to me because of the way the company was marketed but it looks like they are changing that now.

    Migrating a WordPress blog from one host to another is fairly easy. It will take a few hours of work but there are tutorials and services that help with the process. Definitely not something you want to be doing all the time though.

    My initial reaction is that if you already having hosting and WordPress setup, unless there is a major issue just leave it be. Spend your time and energy on your blog posts.

    1. Donnie, thank you so much for taking the time to reply and answer my questions! That sounds like good advice. Now I have to get going and make it happen!

  8. Rita C at Panoply says:

    Donnie & Abby, you guys are doing a great job – keep up the good work! I hope to see your success continue in the months to come. 🙂

  9. Emily, Our house now a home says:

    These income reports are awesome to see. I think you guys being willing to put it all out there is amazing. Just know that many (like me) look at this, get ideas, try new things, and see the possibilities. Because of me seeing your amazon affiliate success I signed up and have seen some huge strides. I am also currently working on getting my blog onto wordpress, reorganizing my site for better viewing, and upping my email subscriber game. All of this has been because of results I have seen from you and ideas you gave. You are a blogging guru! When I started a little over a year ago everyone said it will take time, lots of years before you see money and growth. Then I found your blog and had proof that was not needed. I am not up to your numbers, yet; but each day it gets bigger because I took it serious and hit hard. I do things differently, try new things, and just put myself out there. Our goal is to have my husband home working on blog stuff, home improvement stuff, and then programming projects on the side. Each day we are getting closer. Thank you for laying all of this out there and being honest!

    1. That’s awesome Emily! One little step at a time. Consistent growth and not giving up is the name of the game.

  10. Thanks so much for sharing your income report. You really provide valuable insight each month. Also your traffic is “relatively” low for someone making big$$$. So it’s very encouraging. It’s doable!

    By the way, why did you say WPEngine isn’t good for genesis theme? Because I’ve been using it in that combo in the last two years, without problem.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Sue! We think WPEngine is a great host for Genesis theme as well. We use Synthesis ourselves, which is specifically designed to pair with the Genesis theme, and have been extremely happy with them, so we just mentioned that first. You can’t go wrong with either of these hosting options. Thanks so much for checking out my blog!

      ~Abby =)

  11. Erin Ludwig says:

    Hi Abby! First, I want to express my gratitude to you for your blog which, hands-down, is THE VERY BEST BLOG for helping newbies like me. I purchased Building a Framework, which has become my go-to, step-by-step guide. {For real folks, if you’re on the fence, just buy it – you won’t be sorry!} I also want to share how much respect I have for you and your husband for posting your blog financials and statistics. Talk about transparent! You are the only blogger I’ve come across who is willing to put this information out there – information that has been instrumental in helping me outline my monetization plan. Okay, I need to shut up now and get on with the question. 😉

    I live in Colorado and as I’m sure you know Amazon doesn’t allow CO residents to be affiliates {among a handful of other states}. I am curious if you have suggestions for those of us who live in Amazon no-zones? I hate that I may have to simply look the other way because your Amazon affiliate income is rather significant.

    For now, I will be researching and implementing other affiliate opportunities. But I am an avid Amazon user – though I’m beginning to question that now that I’ve done some research on this issue. I have to admit I’m a little upset with them!

    Perhaps this extra-long question would be more appropriate for email, but I’m sure you have readers who will benefit from your take on the matter just as much as me.

    Thank you so much and keep doing what you’re doing! You truly are a blessing to us all!

    P.S. Please save yourself the time of popping over to my site. I know how awesome you are about giving your readers this courtesy! She’s at least a couple weeks away from her big debut. Exciting!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Erin! Great question. That is so stinky about Amazon. I would check out sites like shareasale.com and cj.com. Each of those sites have partnerships with tons of different brands and you can apply to the brands’ affiliate programs directly rather than linking through Amazon. I know a lot of bloggers also use VigLink, who partners with many different companies in an affiliate capacity, though I don’t have a ton of experience with them myself. I hope this helps get you started in the right direction! Best of luck with your blog!

      ~Abby =)

      1. Erin Ludwig says:

        Thank you so much, Abby! I’m going to head over and check out the options right now. 🙂

        1. Ashley Rowe says:

          I’m in the same boat! I had just really gotten started with Amazon, as an affiliate, when they pulled the program from Missouri. I was so frustrated! I even emailed the government big wigs to see what was up. They responded, and were very nice, but it didn’t change anything. I keep hoping it’ll change, but I’m not too sure.
          Good luck to you!

  12. Brandi O'Dell says:

    I love how detailed and open you are about every step you’ve taken in your ebook and these monthly reports. I’ve heard so many people talk about the success they’ve had and the very generic ways of how they got there, but not really the details (and I’m a details person) so this helps a lot with figuring out the specifics. I think this is the best blog out there and you’re an extremely generous person for sharing.

  13. Love that you publish income reports! I publish them as well and you don’t see many female bloggers posting them. Love how detailed yours are as well. I hope March is an even better month for you. 🙂

  14. Sydney @ Tastefully Frugal says:

    Way to go Abby (and Donnie)! I love that you guys work together so well on the blog; any tips on how to get the hubby involved I would love to hear!! I think it is AMAZING to see how far you’ve come in the last year…you are a superstar!!

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