May 2016 Traffic and Income Report
Hey there, friends! Another month is in the books, and that means it’s income report time again! Income reports might not be the first thing you’d expect to see on a home decor blog, but we started sharing them about 2.5 years ago in hopes that by documenting the strategies that were helping our business grow, we could in turn help and inspire others to grow their blogs and businesses as well.
What we hope we’re not conveying is that blogging is some sort of “get rich quick” scheme or something like that. I put lots of dollars and a ton of time into my blog before I ever made one cent! But we do hope that people realize that with intentional strategies, quality content, and a willingness to work harder than you’ve ever worked at anything before, it is possible to make money blogging in the long term.
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Our biggest takeaway from May: Ongoing course sales are difficult! Here’s our plan…
We sold over 400 copies of our course BookBoss: Write + Launch a Profitable eBook in 90 Days or Less during our recent pre-launch and launch periods. Abby and I were thrilled with the results, and it’s been fun watching students go through the course and take action by launching their own eBooks.
Our launch period ended in April and since that time we’ve had much fewer sales. Sometimes we’ll go a day or two without any new students enrolling the course. We’ve experienced this before after the launch of other products, but nothing as dramatic as we’ve seen recently. I think this has happened for two reasons:
- BookBoss is a higher priced course. $197 is certainly not an impulse buy, and it may be out of the price range of some people. A $14 planner, on the other hand, is more of a no-brainer purchase. People drop $14 to go out to lunch.
- BookBoss has a narrow application. The reality is that not everyone is a great fit for BookBoss. We teach something very specific – how to write and launch a profitable eBook. Not everyone is at that point in their business. There are more people who are just starting to blog and build an online business than the number of people who are ready to write and launch an eBook.
Abby and I knew we would have these challenges long before we created the course. We also knew how important it was to teach our exact eBook creation and launch process — after all, it’s what allowed us to do this blogging thing full time. There are other course topics that would’ve been more profitable for us, but there was no course we could’ve created that would have as much impact as BookBoss.
Abby and I have spent some time brainstorming ways to promote BookBoss on an ongoing basis. We’ve implemented some of these ideas but not others. If you have a course or eBook, hopefully this list will help you with your sales long after launch.
- Update primary lead magnet, Build Your Launch List, to include mentions of BookBoss. This free email course was hugely helpful in building buzz and interest leading up the BookBoss launch. This was the primary group we emailed during our launch. Now that BookBoss is available, we’ve updated Build Your Launch List to include links and mentions of the BookBoss course. We also have one final email asking people directly to consider purchasing BookBoss.
- Create and promote Pinterest images for primary lead magnet. We’ve had some success with Pinterest images for landing pages in the past, so we’ve created both short and long Pinterest images for our primary lead magnet. The idea is that people sign up for Build Your Launch List, learn our teaching style and what we offer, and then eventually become BookBoss students. We’ve created both a very tall and normal sized Pinterest image.
- Create and promote Pinterest images for BookBoss. This is the more direct approach — sending traffic directly to the landing page. Our hope is that even if visitors don’t make a purchase the first time they see the course, they may hear about the course somewhere else and be more likely to enroll. Here’s our course Pinterest image.
- Add a BookBoss sidebar image. This is the no-brainer strategy. Very few sales will come directly from people clicking on a sidebar image, but it does help to build awareness so that when people are ready to write an eBook, they’ll know exactly where to come to get the help they need.
- Add a Build Your Launch List image and description to our “Blogging Tips” page. When we have new subscribers in ConvertKit who are brand new to the list, we send an automated email asking them to indicate the type of content they are interested in. If they are interested in blogging and online business, they are re-directed to a mini resource page we’ve created with our best blogging and online business resources. On this page we added a link to Build Your Launch List.
- Implement a Pop-up on eBook related posts. We haven’t done this yet, but we are considering using OptinMonster to target eBook-related posts with an offer for Build Your Launch List. These visitors are already interested in writing an eBook, so it makes sense to offer them a free course on building an eBook launch list.
- Implement Genesis Simple Sidebars. Bjork and Lindsay from Pinch of Yum do a great job with this strategy. They use the Genesis Simple Sidebars plugin to create different sidebars for different posts and categories. If we have a blogging-related post, it doesn’t make sense to show offers for an organizing or paperless product.
- Continue to do JV webinars. JV webinars take a lot of work, but they are very effective. The idea is that we partner with another blogger and do a webinar for their audience but for our product and the split the earnings. The JV partner would email their list and advertise the webinar. Once readers sign up for the webinar, we take over with onboarding and follow up emails after the webinar is over. This is a great strategy for getting new people on our list and into our audience. We have several of these planned.
- Continue to do webinars for our existing audience. This is much easier than JV webinars. Abby and sit next to each other and go through a presentation, teaching one specific aspect of writing and launching an eBook. We teach and share our experiences for 45 minutes, spend 15 minutes presenting BookBoss, and then answer audience questions for the remaining 30 minutes. We haven’t done any of these since our launch, but I’d like to start a more consistent webinar schedule for our existing audience.
- Paid advertising. The only paid advertising I have experience with is promoted pins. I’m intrigued by the possibilities, but it certainly isn’t even close to as advanced as the Facebook ad platform. I’ve spent a few hundred dollars here and there with some promoted pins and will continue to experiment with various strategies. I’m currently experimenting with promoted pins that send traffic to Build Your Launch List as well as eBook writing / launching related posts.
Those are our ongoing BookBoss promotion ideas! I know many of you reading this income report are BookBoss students, and I want to say thank you for taking our course. Abby and I seriously get so excited seeing people sign up and work their way through the course, taking action after each lesson and module.
If you have other ongoing course or product promotion ideas, I’d love to hear them in the comments. What have you tried that worked? What have you seen other people try that looked intriguing?
May 2016 Blog Income
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
We’ve been publishing monthly income reports since February of 2014. You can click here to see a running tally of past income reports. As you read this report, it’s important to remember that this income didn’t happen overnight. It’s been a long process and a lot of work!
Our blog income our first year was very minimal, and we didn’t publish the first income report until we had been blogging for a little over a year. We strive to make these reports as accurate as possible, but our business accounting typically does not match these numbers exactly.
These reports count income which was earned during the month, but not necessarily paid out to us within that month. With many affiliate programs there is sometimes a significant delay between earning a commission and actual payment to us. We hope you find the reports helpful!
- Building a Framework eBook and course – $9,685
- BookBoss – $7,978
- Bluehost – $7,230 –> How to Start a Blog
- Ultimate Bundles – $4,039
- ConvertKit – $2,045
- AdThrive – $1,575
- Simplify eBook – $1,098
- Make Over Your Evenings / Make Over Your Mornings Affiliate: $826
- Paperless Home eBook – $786
- Sponsored Posts – $750
- Amazon Associates – $672
- Genesis Framework – $289
- 2016 Intentional Life Planner – $260
- Media Temple – $250
- Pretty Darn Cute Themes – $154
- Restored 316 – $115
- PicMonkey – $63
- Misc. Affiliate Income – $50
- Fizzle.co – $47
- Flywheel Hosting – $45
- OptinMonster – $10
Total Income: $37,967
- Building a Framework Affiliate Payouts – $2,246
- Assistant – $924
- ConvertKit – $457 –> We We Switched from MailChimp to ConvertKit, The Best Email Marketing Services
- Stripe Transaction Fees – $421
- PayPal Transaction Fees – $202
- Design Work – $200
- Autopilot – $200
- Teachable – $200
- Promoted Pins – $180
- Gumroad Transaction Fees – $138
- Training – $97
- Instapage – $69
- Synthesis Hosting – $67
- Crowdcast.io – $58
- Adobe Creative Cloud – $53
- Zapier – $49
- Meet Edgar – $49
- Flywheel Hosting – $40
- Wistia – $25
- SendOwl – $24
- Google Apps – $15
- CloudFlare – $20
- Board Booster – $20
- BackBlaze – $10
- Motion Mail Timer – $10
- Backupify – $3
- Fizzle.co – $0 (usually $35)
May 2016 Net Profit: $32,190
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.
New Posts from Just a Girl and Her Blog
- Free Printable Recipe Cards
- The Konmari Method: One Year Later
- My Quick and Easy Laundry Process
- Summer Hutch Decor and Styled X3
- How to Organize a Small Refrigerator
- How I’m Making Over My Evenings
- I’ve Held This In So Long That I Feel Like I Might Burst.
- An Easy and Inexpensive Way to Change the Look of Your Living Room (In Minutes!)
- Our New Home: A Preview
New Posts from Building a Framework
- What is Marketing Automation?
- Why Blogging is Best Done in Community
- How to Build Your Audience and Income with Webinars
Action step for the month
Abby and I are always nervous publishing these income reports. It makes us feel vulnerable and “out there” sharing these numbers. But we continue to do it because I think it’s the number one motivator for taking action. I used to read other income reports but then did nothing. Finally, because of Abby’s incredible work ethic and steady growth of her blog, I decided to get involved and see if I could help. I’m so glad I took some action.
If you’re reading this income report and thinking, “Man, it would be nice to earn a little extra each month doing things on my own terms without a boss,” I urge you take action. Nothing major! Just one small step, day after day after day. It’s totally possible!
So what will you do to grow your blog and business this month? I know I always used to be guilty of pushing things off to “someday.” It’s easy to come up with a million different reasons why you should put off pursuing your dreams, but the reality is that you will probably never just have this big, open chunk of extra time to chase after all those things you’ve been thinking about. You have to make it happen.
Now I try to think in terms of today. What small steps can I take today and tomorrow and this week to make these dreams of mine a reality? It won’t always be easy. A lot of times it’s scary. Sometimes it’s exhausting. But I’m so thankful that I took those first small steps and continue to take more and more each and every day. Because if you’re consistent, you strive to get better, and you keep showing up… incredible things can happen.
You can see our other income reports here:
- December 2016- $41,700
- November 2016 – $40,124
- October 2016 – $51,803
- September 2016 – $33,659
- August 2016 – $44,940
- July 2016 – $34,721
- June 2016 – $32,913
- April 2016 – $48,900
- March 2016 – $40,358
- February 2016 – $36,234
- January 2016 – $34,662
- December 2015- $20,441
- November 2015 – $23,663
- October 2015 – $17,639
- September 2015 – $18,225
- August 2015 – $17,162
- July 2015 – $18,334
- June 2015 – $26,041
- May 2015 – $10,593
- April 2015 – $13,322
- March 2015 – $13,887
- February 2015 – $11,138
- January 2015 – $13,991
- December 2014 – $5,841
- November 2014 – $4,920
- October 2014 – $5,330
- September 2014 – $3,396
- August 2014 – $3,254
- July 2014 – $2,659
- June 2014 – $6,956
- May 2014 – $1,620
- April 2014 – $894
- March 2014 – $1,010
- February 2014 – $2,446
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This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
I LOVE your graphs! My background is in Industrial Engineering and seeing those beautiful graphs and numbers just make me giddy! Thanks for being so open and honest in your report outs. I just recently launched my ebook and I have to agree, the initial launch was a huge success, but after a few weeks, it dies down. So this article was spot on for me, thank you!
Aw, thanks so much, Suzi! I’m so glad they were helpful for you!
Thank you for posting these! You guys are an inspiration to me, you make me believe anything is possible through steady, hard work 🙂 I appreciate that you specify all the sources of your income, but also all the places where you invest your money to get something in return. It lets me find new resources I had never heard about and that could be really useful to my own blogging path!
I’m currently reading Building a Framework, it’s been very handy so far, good job on it! Can’t wait to see what other great resources you create in the future!
Keep working hard, guys! May God have even better things in store for you!
You are too sweet, Rydi! Thank you! I’m so glad they are helpful for you!
Hey Abby and Donnie,
It is always such a motivator reading your monthly reports. I bet you do feel very vulnerable putting yourselves out there like that, I am not sure I could be that brave. However, your income reports are very motivated!
I do wonder though, what is the difference and which way is better in terms of keeping track of your monthly income as far as what the end of the month reports say and what you actually receive. I have done it both ways, but am wondering your thoughts on it, Donnie.
For our actual accounting we us a cash method. We count income and expenses when they actually hit one of our accounts (bank account, credit card for expenses, PayPal, etc.). I’m not sure if this is the best way but it was the easiest for me to understand and keep up with our books.
When we started doing income reports years ago it was fun to sit down at the end of the month and add up the money we “earned” during the month even though it hadn’t hit our accounts yet. It was a good way of predicting the future income. We used that method for our income reports because I think it’s more instructive without a long lag. For products we sell ourselves we are paid immediately for the most part. The lag happens with affiliate commissions. For instance, the Bluehost number you see in income report won’t hit our accounts until August.
So the long story short is that these reports are for entertainment and teaching opportunities rather than official accounting.
It is so much fun to read your blog and watch you grow your brand. You both amaze me. So proud of all you have accomplished so far. Love you guys.
Aw, thanks so much Kath! Looking forward to seeing you at day camp!
Great Article guys. It inspires me to keep pushing through with my very new blogs. I agree with the point made about BookBoss not being a impulse buy due to price – Its on my to buy list once im ready to write a Ebook within my business AND I have started putting money away each week to build up a account so that I can buy the more expensive products. Love you work and thanks for the report
Thanks so much, Kelly! So glad it was helpful for you!
Great list of ideas of how to promote a product after the launch. Webinars are something I really need to get into. Maybe one day 🙂
Congrats on another successful month! I just launched my blog about 2 weeks ago, so I am NOWHERE near this, but I aspire to be! These reports are very encouraging and helpful! Thank you for sharing them.
Since I’m still very new to the blogging game I wrote my very first content filled blog post (after the initial welcome post) this week and published it yesterday! It took me ages to draw it all, take the photos, edit, write and edit the text as well. I’m so amazed how you manage to write so many posts next to all the other things you guys do! I hope that with experience and routine I will get faster and more confident, so that I also can work again on my planned Etsy Shop 🙂
Besides that I set up the tailwindapp and boardbooster like you recommend in your book and did some additional research how I can up my Pinterest. Since I’m very unexperienced with this platform! I also planned out 2 Instagram posts a day for the next 3 weeks and already took most of the images. There is still a lot of editing to do, but I’m confident that I well through it this weekend. With that I’m set for IG & FB Groups for 3 weeks which hopefully gives me more time to concentrate on my FB business page, Pinterest and of course creating more valuable content!
Also one of my goals is to keep my daily pages views at 500+. That way I know if my social media strategies are working. Because last week there was a steady decline from day to day and then a big spike with the next post. I would love to keep my readers between posts as active on my page as on the days a new one launches. This goal might be a bit ambitious but I think we need to challenge ourselves to grow, so there we go 😀
Thank you so much for your insightful income-report! I’m in love with your new format where you add like an additional blog post into your income report and share your learnings. I hope I can tackle my first ebook in the beginning of 2017 with the help of your amazing program!
Many thanks and I wish you a most wonderful weekend!
Aw, so glad it was helpful for you, Sandra! Sounds like you have jumped right in… LOVE it!
Love your guys income reports. The graphs are so, so helpful!
I noticed that though my blog and shop pageviews are drastically different from yours, my monthly income matches up very well with what yours was for a given number of email subscribers. The money is in that list, for sure.
Steps I’m taking this month: driving more paid traffic to my email series. Setting up 1 new email course to set an affiliate funnel in motion.
Love the lesson here too and the encouragement to take a small step each day. Absolutely! Someday never comes….
Thanks so much for all of your tips! I have one question about the Pinterest image. What do you link that to? Congrats on another good month!
Hi, Sarah! The Pinterest image for the BookBoss course links to the BookBoss landing page, and the pins for Build Your Launch List link to the landing page for that lead magnet. I hope this helps! Have a great day!
Very inspirational! I look forward to seeing more of your success :o)
I love this list! Thank you for sharing! I love reading other blogger’s income reports because they inspired me to start my own! I hope to follow along in your journey and can’t wait to see where it leads!
So glad it was helpful for you, Amanda!
These income reports are so inspiring to me as a new blogger. Thank you for sharing your experiences with the world. Your posts are absolutely amazing!
I hope you’re okay with being featured in a blog post I’m writing about my favourite blogs at the moment. I am truly grateful for the help you have given me through my “starting a blog” process!
– Ellie S
So glad they are helpful for you, Ellie! Thanks for including me in your post! 🙂
Congratulations ! I am really inspired seeing your blogging income.
Glad to hear you are a Media Temple customer!. I am too!. Great blog you got here abbie!.