January 2016 Traffic and Income Report

This couple made over $30,000 from their blog last month, and they explain how they did it in this post! Such great insight for anyone who wants to start a blog or online business! Click through to the post for details!
May 2015 Income Report | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

Wait, don’t go! You’re on the right blog! If you haven’t been by the blog in a few days, things may be looking a little different around here. I haven’t changed the look of the site since late 2013, so it was long overdue! We are still tweaking a bunch of little things behind the scenes (hence the silence around here this week), but we will be sure to share more details about the redesign when it’s a little closer to being finalized.

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Our income report is a little earlier than usual this month, but Donnie was super quick about crunching the January numbers, so we thought we’d spill the beans! If you’re new around here, you’re probably wondering, “Why are they doing an income report on a home decor blog?!”

Well, we have always learned so much and have been incredibly motivated by other bloggers who have been willing to be transparent with their businesses and share what’s working for them and what’s not, so we thought we would “pay it forward,” so to speak, and share what we’re learning (and what we’re making) in case other bloggers or bloggers-to-be find it helpful as well.

When we started these reports almost two years ago, we weren’t making much at all, and now we’re able to support our family on what we earn from our blog; if we can play even a tiny role in helping other families do that, we’ll chalk it up as a success!

Here’s how January shaped up…

Income

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

Total Income: $34,662

Expenses

  • Framework Affiliate Payouts – $1,465
  • Assistant – $728
  • Gumroad Transaction Fees – $587
  • ConvertKit – $379 –> We We Switched from MailChimp to ConvertKit
  • Design Work – $350
  • Creative Market – $289
  • PayPal Transaction Fees – $210
  • Stripe Transaction Fees – $191
  • Optin Monster – $99
  • Training – $97
  • Microsoft Office – $75
  • Brunch Pro Theme – $75
  • Instapage – $69
  • Synthesis Hosting – $67
  • AutopilotHQ – $65
  • Adobe Creative Cloud – $53
  • Zapier – $51
  • Meet Edgar – $49
  • Intercom.io – $49
  • Wistia – $25
  • CloudFlare – $25
  • PO Box – $25
  • Asana – $25
  • SendOwl – $24
  • Board Booster – $20
  • BackBlaze – $15
  • Google Apps – $10
  • Backupify – $3
  • Fizzle.co – $0 (usually $35)
Total Expenses: $5,120

January 2016 Net Profit: $29,542

January 2016 Review

Abby Lawson, Just a Girl and Her Blog

January brought the relaunch of our eBook Simplify: 35+ Printables to Help You Organize Your Life, which we originally introduced in January 2015. When we were planning for the relaunch, I thought it would be a quick and simple process; however, along with a new design and several new printables, we also added a junior version of all of the printables this year, which can be printed on half sheets, so it ended up being double the work! We had received several requests for smaller sized printables, though, so I thought it was important to make sure we included them.

The longer I blog, the more I realize that my #1 job is not just to share pictures of my house or my projects, but it is truly to serve the readers and help meet the needs that they have. Having reader-driven content not only helps people who visit the blog, but it has helped me to discover some strengths and passions I hadn’t realized I had before. If you are a blogger– no matter what stage of the game you’re in– I encourage you to listen to your readers and give them what they’re asking for! It really is a win-win for both of you– they end up with content that is helpful for them, and you end up with a blog filled with posts that will really be useful for others, which will keep them coming back for more!

Donnie
What I’m thinking about in the new year…

As the new year rolls around, it always seems to get us thinking about new projects, ideas, and strategies to try. Here are just a few things that have been on my mind at the start of 2016:

  1. Launching a dedicated online business blog. [Coming soon!] More than half of our income each month is from blogging-related product sales and affiliate income, yet we don’t often blog about blogging. We have some interesting blogging-related posts buried on this site, but we almost try to hide them (besides these income reports) since most people come to the blog for organization and decorating posts. Abby and I have lots to share in the area of blogging, and it’s fun to write business related posts. We may or may not already have twenty-ish business related posts written and ready to go– stay tuned for more details!
  2. Customer Journeys. As we enter the second year of doing this blogging thing full time together, Abby and I are starting to think about customer journeys. When someone brand new visits the blog, what’s the first thing we want people to see? After they see that thing, what do we want to happen? What product should we offer to visitors first? In 2016 I’ll be mapping out various customer journeys and then taking those plans and working them into the blog design.
  3. Course/Product improvement. 2016 will be a time to launch new courses and re-vamp existing courses. In addition to providing great content, we want to provide students with a great learning experience. There’s a difference between providing information and teaching.

Three Legs of Blog Income

  1. Affiliate Income – $13,503
  2. Ad Revenue – $1,891
  3. Product Sales –$19,268

January was our highest product sale month ever as well as our highest affiliate income month ever. The increased traffic certainly helped existing product sales, but we also re-launched Simplify. As far as affiliate income goes, that’s just a byproduct of the increased traffic working its way through our site and clicking affiliate links, as well as the increased number of email subscribers working their way through our email courses.

Top Posts of January 2016

  1. Printable Student Binder
  2. The Konmari Method: Organizing Clothes
  3. How to Set Goals that You’ll Actually Accomplish
  4. 5 Ways to Maximize Space in a Shared Kids’ Room
  5. 5 Reasons You’re Failing at Organization

Traffic Report

Income Report | JustAGirlandHerBlog.com

January was our best month ever in terms if traffic — it wasn’t even close! Previously we had never even cracked 600,000 pageviews, so to go over 700,000 pageviews in Google Analytics was a huge leap from what we’re used to.

Predictably, for the past few years we’ve seen huge spikes in our January traffic due to our organizing, productivity, and goal setting posts. Here you can see our annual “January jump” from the past few years…

Income Report | JustAGirlandHerBlog.com

Notice January 2014, 2015, and January 2016. It seems like every year the blog takes a major step forward in January. Nearly all of the increased traffic is social, and nearly all the social traffic is from Pinterest. I’m guessing that right around the new year people start searching for and pinning organization-related posts. At the same time Pinterest may be promoting organizing and productivity type posts in their smart feed. It’s the perfect storm for us, and we’ll take it!

As much as we like the increased traffic, we know it won’t last. You can see that last January we had an abnormally good month traffic wise, but then in February things calmed down a bit, and it would be another 12 months until we passed January 2015. The good news is that after these surges in January, things never fall to the previous lows. The “normal” months become a little better.

The nice thing about this January is that we were expecting the surge in traffic. We made sure our systems, funnels, forms, affiliate links, and products were all optimized and ready to go. It’s one thing to get lots of traffic, and it’s another thing entirely to convert that traffic in to long-term readers and maybe even customers.

Email Subscriber Statistics

  • 7,513 Net New Subscribers in ConvertKit
  • 56,135 Total Subscribers

In December we created a lot of dedicated landing pages with ConvertKit. These pages definitely paid off in January! Once people click over to the landing page, these things convert insanely well! To compare, our pop-ups convert between 2%-5% while our landing pages convert at 10x to 20x that rate. Here’s an example of the stats for one of our simple ConvertKit landing pages:

Income Report | JustAGirlandHerBlog

This budget binder landing page is converting at nearly 70%, and this single page added thousands of new subscribers in January alone. You can see that there is nothing fancy about the landing page. It’s very plain and took less than 10 minutes to create with ConvertKit. But once the landing page is created, it does take some effort to go back through well-performing posts and insert relevant links to the landing page.

It’s fun to predict “online business” trends. I started using ConvertKit last March when no one was using the software. Fast forward 10 months and ConvertKit now seems to be one of the most popular email marketing solutions for bloggers. After using ConvertKit for the first time I remember saying to Abby… “This is going to be huge… just wait!”

Let me make another prediction when it comes to email marketing… Pop-up forms, in-line forms, slide-in forms, and just about all other email signup forms will convert less and less. People are becoming blind to forms. It’s like ads: they see them, but they just tune them out.

In 2016 I think the winning formula for email list building will be dedicated landing pages– landing pages with an absolutely irresistible offer and compelling copy. If I was starting over in 2016, I would think of and create 2 or 3 amazing opt-in in offers, create dedicated landing pages, and then drive visitors to the landing pages with natural links inside blog posts and maybe a sidebar image or two. That’s it.

RPM

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 of Pinch of Yum.

January 2016 RPM: $49.37

During months like January I’m glad I track RPM. It was a great month… but relative to our traffic numbers it was fairly standard.

So to recap…

Gross Income: $34,662
Net Income: $29,542

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


Abby

Well, that wraps up another month! It’s crazy to think that when we first started doing these income reports, some of them didn’t even hit four figures, and now, less than two years later, they have certainly escalated.

Donnie and I are both totally normal people. We knew nothing about blogging when I started Just a Girl and Her Blog 3 year ago. Neither of us have business or marketing degrees. (His is in political science and mine is in English.) Yes, we’ve worked harder at this whole blogging thing than probably just about anything we’ve ever worked at in our lives. We’ve had to learn a lot. (And still have a lot more to learn!) But we are proof that it is totally possible to start from nothing and be able to create an online business that thrives. And if we can do it, so can you. Go get it!

You can see our other income reports here:

35 Comments

  1. Kaitlin @ The Mom on Purpose says:

    That’s incredible! You guys are doing so insanely well! I always come back for these posts to see what you all are doing that’s working! Thanks for sharing! I’m sure these posts take a great deal of time, but I just want you to know that they are so helpful to little blogs like mine! They are so inspiring to see what could be! 🙂

  2. Sarah @ the frugal millionaire blog says:

    YAY!!!! Congratulations to you both! You are one of the most inspiring bloggers to me 🙂 I’ve been blogging 1 1/2 years and am just now starting to see an income. I do work FT though and have two toddlers, so I’m just slowly trying to grow and increase my following. I just launched a new blog, too, – http://www.coffeetalkformamas.com which has been fun!! Congrats on your blogging blog! I cannot wait to check that out!!

    Hope you both have a wonderful day today!! 🙂

  3. Christina @ Embracing Simple says:

    Loving the new site design, it seriously looks so beautiful! Well done! And congrats on an amazing January!! You two are such an inspiration to me, and I have no doubt will continue to see great success. I’m excited to see where you’ll be at by end of this year 🙂

  4. Ciara @ Favored Mom says:

    Wow, wow, wow!!! So awesome! And, so encouraging!! This definitely proves Blogging is worth getting good at! Thanks for sharing!! =)

    1. Organizedmarie says:

      Totally agree with you!

  5. Organizedmarie says:

    Congratulations on awesome month!! And I’m in love with the new look, nice work! 🙂

  6. Bonnie Schallermeir says:

    Congrats! That’s awesome! You have a wonderful thing going here! I’ve just set up a blog and am looking forward to getting things rolling with it (need to come up with a strict schedule to get it going!) I’d love to hear/see a post about how you handle taxes and such with having a blog as a business. I wouldn’t even know where to start … except of course to hire an accountant! Love the site!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Bonnie! We actually have an expert interview with a CPA + blogger as part of our Building a Framework Master Package that is super helpful! You can get all of the info here: https://justagirlandherblog.com/framework . Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  7. Wow, this is amazing and very inspiring! What I love most is that a lot of your income comes from products and not just affiliate links. Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing.

  8. Rachel Gault (@rachelgault) says:

    Wow, congrats! You guys are rockstars!

  9. Congratulations! You all are such and inspiration and I got the courage to start my blog last week because of you! It’s not live yet, but I’m getting closer and I use your ebook as my guide! Thanks for all you do to inspire us all!

  10. The new site design looks great. It’s very clean. Thanks for sharing so much information about what is working on your blog, especially the landing page conversions. I’m going to have to think about how to implement that idea in my blog.

  11. Heather Alexander says:

    YAY!! I’m super excited for you! I’ll probably say this every month, but, it’s really inspiring. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the new design of your blog. It’s super cute + clean.

  12. Wow! Congratulations, Abby! This is a great accomplishment!

  13. Brittany N. Stephenson says:

    Wow! What a huge accomplishment! You are always such an encouragement and an inspiration to me! Also, I love the new site design:)

  14. Carl @ Blog Income Insider says:

    Happy New Year Indeed!! A MASSIVE congratulations to both of you, seriously inspiring stuff!

    Loving the new layout design too, although I would love to ask; were you nervous about changing something on your blog like this? Did you see it as a risk?

    Have an awesome February and thanks for the advice/prediction on how to grow a tribe in 2016 Donnie, I have taken note and WILL be implementing this strategy!

    1. Donnie Lawson says:

      It’s always a little nerve-wracking to make a big change but I don’t think the changes are too drastic to have any major negative impact on traffic or income.

  15. I love the new blog design – it looks great! Congrats on another stellar month!

  16. Daundra Becker says:

    This is so inspirational! I’ve just started a blog and I’m really trying to go all in, but there is so much to learn.
    When do you suggest monetizing? If you don’t mind me asking.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Daundra! The first priority should definitely be creating awesome content and connecting with other bloggers, but we put Google Adsense ads on our site within the first 2-3 months and began using Amazon affiliate links around that time as well. Some people start earlier, some later, depending on preference! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

      1. daundrabecker says:

        Thanks for getting back with me. 🙂
        My goal is to publish 4-5 quality posts a week. I work Monday-Saturday for 8-14 hours trying to get this off to a strong start. There is so much to learn. I’m working toward 50,000 in traffic a month. It seems like a long way off, but I am determined to do this well.

  17. cafeandlove says:

    Congratulations! You are truly an inspiration! Much love and blessings to your beautiful family!<3

    (I just had a small side note: I love the new page design, but the "faded" effect of the font colors makes it a bit straining on the eyes. I found my eyes straining most with the light blue texts.)

  18. jason @ CompulsiveCreative.com says:

    New design looks great, Abby. It is exciting to see your income increase 593% in 13 months… That is crazy!

    Donnie, can’t wait to see the new online business blog. Any thoughts on when it will be live?

  19. begintobelieve says:

    Abby, you and Donnie are on fire! I’m following your foot steps and praying things work as well for me and my family!

    Congratulations!

    Robin-

  20. konradbraun says:

    Wow Abby!
    I will say that I am blown away at how much money you made with that traffic. Not saying the traffic is little. Not by a far stretch. It’s just the income is so large compared to it.
    It shows a solid following… which is a direct (positive) reflection of you.
    Congrats girls,
    Konrad

  21. Your profits are insane! Congrats! I started a blog in 2014 and have had sporadic time for it. I just published a 2015 Earnings Report to keep myself accountable. What was the biggest motivator to keep you growing? And, what was your first months income? Keep up the great work. Inspiring!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Carlin. I did not make any money in my first month of blogging. I didn’t monetize until later. My biggest motivator was that I started seeing consistent growth so it was a challenge for me to beat the previous month! Thanks and have a wonderful week! ~Abby =)

  22. Wow, this is inspiring! I’m just getting started in the blogging world at mommysnotperfect.com and this is definitely incentive for me to keep at it. In the few short weeks since we launched the site, it’s consumed our lives!

  23. diane @smartmoneysimplelife says:

    I love reading income reports – they’re so inspiring!

    I’m trying to decide if I should publish one or not… I’ve been blogging for just over a year and I’m delighted to say, having been making money each month for the last three. I know I find the income reports of established bloggers, like you guys, very informative but I have to wonder if mine would be anywhere near as informative or inspiring? Something to ponder, I guess.

    Here’s to an awesome February!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Diane! When we first started publishing our reports, we weren’t making much either, but it’s been fun seeing it grow! There are some bloggers who publish reports when they are actually netting in the negative, but it’s still great accountability for them and fun for their readers to see their progress. Hope you have a wonderful day!

      ~Abby =)

      1. diane @smartmoneysimplelife says:

        I did it! I’ve published my first income and traffic report (Feb).

        Thanks for the encouragement Abby!

  24. “People are becoming blind to forms. It’s like ads: they see them, but they just tune them out.” This is so true. I am so blind to adds, I intuitively block them out and do an auto click on the X to get out.

    I love the new fresh and clean design. You were my inspiration when starting my blog. I have so far to go, but am learning so much in the process!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Melissa!! Best of luck with your blog!

      ~Abby =)

  25. I love all your information. As a new blogger it is so helpful to get such great stuff:) Thanks for sharing.

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