December was my sixth month of blogging. It feels so weird to say that because I still feel like I just got started! With the start of the new year and new goals for my business I thought now would be a good time to start writing a blog income report for my website each month. I made more money in December than I’ve made in any other month so far, so it will be a good starting point for tracking my progress. Let’s go over my December 2019 Blog Income Report!
Since my website is primarily finance-based, I thought it would be helpful to some of you to show that blogging can be a viable side hustle. Even in 2020 when it seems like everyone is starting a blog! I’m going to share an overview of my milestones and income each month so you can get an idea of what really goes into blogging. It will also be great for me to look back on as my business grows!
I’m not sharing my income reports to try to brag about how much I’m making – blogging is a lot of work and I run my website and YouTube channel like a business. It takes long hours to build a profitable blog. I think sharing my progress and being transparent about what time commitment I’m putting in to get the income results I’m getting is a good way to show people the realities of blogging as a side hustle.
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December 2019 Blog Income Report
December was an interesting month for me because I experienced unexpected growth at the very end of November. My goal for November was to hit 4,000 page views, and I ended the month with 24,470! I had to reevaluate my goals for December because of that. Here are the goals I had set for December:
- Hit 1,000 subscribers on YouTube
- Reach 25,000 pageviews
- Apply for/get accepted to Monumetric
- Make $250 in affiliate sales.
So, how did I do with hitting those goals?
I did end up hitting 1,000 subscribers on YouTube… right at the very end of December! During the month I also reached my 4,000 watch time hours needed to apply for my channel to be monetized. I was expecting to hit 1,000 subscribers long before I hit the watch hours. However, I had pretty great timing on posting my 2020 Budget Planner Setup, and that gave me a ton of views, watch hours and subscribers in a short period of time! My channel was officially monetized on January 3, 2020.
I hit 40,000 page views in December! That number is crazy to me. My hope was to hit half that. One of my pins went viral in November, which boosted my traffic, and now I sit at around 1 million monthly viewers on Pinterest.
I did apply for Monumetric, but their application process takes several months from the information on their website. The process is moving forward though!
I also blew my affiliate sales goal out of the water! I nearly doubled my goal in affiliate sales – this ended up being the bulk of my income for the month!
Before we get into my income breakdown for the month, let’s talk about what kind of traffic I had in December. You can see my Google Analytics below for the month. I couldn’t believe I actually hit 40,000 page views in my sixth month of blogging!
How do I grow my traffic?
Traffic is an extremely important part of any online business, blogging included. Growing traffic is something that I have focused on a ton in the past few months. The main tool I use is Tailwind. I also highly recommend the ebook Traffic Transformations.
Tailwind is a great Pinterest scheduling program. I am able to schedule my pins ahead of time, set them up to post to different boards, and even use the interval tool to space them out. This has completely changed how I bring in Pinterest traffic without doing a ton of constant work. Click here to get Tailwind for your website!
My crazy growth at the end of November was due to one of my pins going viral. In November, I completely revamped my Pinterest account – I redid my board descriptions, updated my keywords in my pins, and set a better schedule for pinning going forward. The Tailwind interval tool is my FAVORITE. I started utilizing that when pinning from my website, and along with my new keywords based on keyword research, I was able to grow my Pinterest to over 800,000 monthly viewers by the end of December.
I also read through Traffic Transformation. This is a fantastic ebook from Lena of Adventures in Blogging. It has given me so many great tips that have helped make my blog posts more shareable and attractive to potential readers. I highly recommend it to anyone who feels like they are stuck with low traffic numbers and want multiple strategies to grow! She goes over a lot of strategies that I hadn’t heard much about anywhere else – I totally think it’s worth the investment.
Now on to the income…
December Blog Income Breakdown
For my income, I am going to be sharing what was earned during the month, not what I’m actually paid out. That’s going to be easier to keep track of for these posts. So everything I report in these income reports is what my reported “estimated earnings” are for the month for these different platforms. Most of this money will be paid out around the 20th of the following month.
December 2019 Blog Income Totals:
- Google Adsense: $119.55
- Share A Sale Affiliate: $511.35
- Amazon Affiliate: $9.50
- Chime Banking Referrals: $50
Total income: $690.40
I set up Google Adsense on my blog as soon as I got it started. I don’t agree with others who think it’s a waste of time. While Adsense is honestly a pain in the butt, I just turned on auto ads and called it good. I made a decent amount each month, but you can see I didn’t make much money for hitting 40,000 page views in December. However, I DO think it’s worth it to at least sign up for an Adsense account right away. Why? Most other ad networks require you to be in good standing with Google Adsense to be approved. I never see other bloggers mention this and I’m not sure why. Monumetric, MediaVine, and AdThrive all require this. It takes time to get approved by Adsense, so you might as well do it now!
All of my affiliate income is through Share A Sale, and all of it is from promoting Erin Condren! I use an Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner for my budget planner and sharing that through my website and YouTube channel has helped me make quite a bit of money so far. I absolutely LOVE Erin Condren products, so I’m really happy about being a part of this program. The majority of my income for the month came from Share A Sale. If you’re unfamiliar with what that is, it’s a network that you join to find affiliate merchants to work with. I have had a great experience working with them so far!
I am also an Amazon Affiliate. While I don’t make much money from this yet, I honestly haven’t focused much on promoting products from Amazon. I have plans to utilize this program more in the future. I did make a little bit from it this month!
If you’re new to the idea of affiliate marketing, I highly recommend Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. It is 100% worth the money! I am working through it again and updating my site based on the lessons in the course, and I think it is already helping me increase my income a little bit. Michelle definitely knows what she’s talking about when it comes to affiliate marketing (she makes A TON of money this way!) so I love that she has a course that walks through exactly what steps to take to be successful with this income stream! You check out the course here if you’re interested!
Finally, I received a referral bonus through Chime Banking. I use Chime for my business accounts, and I do recommend it. When somebody signs up using my referral link and receives a direct deposit within a certain time frame both they and I get a $50 bonus. One person signed up during November, and I got my bonus in December when they received a direct deposit!
December Blog Expenses Breakdown
Something that can be hard for a lot of people that are thinking of making the jump into blogging is that it costs money. It actually can cost quite a bit depending on what all you’re into. I think this is an important side of blogging to talk about because if you run your website like a business then you are going to have to put some investment into it to really make it work.
I have chosen to pay the majority of my business expenses on a yearly basis so I don’t have to worry about keeping track of a bunch of monthly expenses. I currently only have a few recurring monthly expenses for my ConvertKit (email service) and for the spam blocker on my website (which is SO worth it btw!).
- ConvertKit – $29.00
- Askimet – $5.00
Total expenses: $34.00
It’s nice that my monthly expenses are pretty low. One thing I did want to bring up is the tax aspect of running a business – and my blog is a business for me. Right now, I am saving 25% of everything I make to pay taxes. In the future, I plan to withhold from my normal paychecks so I don’t have to worry about paying in for my business expenses, but until I have a better idea of what consistent income I can expect, saving works for me.
I did not make a profit in 2019 with all the start-up costs for my business, but I am researching the tax stuff needed to do everything correctly in 2020 since I am hoping to continue making more money. I’m a CPA so I do all my tax work myself, but I would highly recommend working with a professional if you don’t have any experience with tax planning! I don’t see a lot of bloggers talk about planning for taxes in their income reports, so I wanted to mention it!
Goals for January
Throughout 2020 my goals will focus around continuing to grow my traffic and my income. The main way I’m planning to do that is by putting out even more quality content on both my website and my YouTube channel. I’m also working on adding additional affiliate merchants through Share A Sale to increase the number of products I’m able to promote (still only promoting companies I actually like!).
- Hit 45,000 page views
- Make $300 in affiliate sales
- Get accepted into Monumetric
Want to start your own blog?
I don’t agree with people who say you can’t start a profitable blog today! If you’re ready to get your own blog going, check out my blog post that walks you through starting your own blog. Blogging is a lot of work, but it’s been very rewarding for me so far! I absolutely love getting to talk to my followers and help people change their financial futures!
I want to be real about what type of time commitment blogging takes – it’s a lot. I spend most evenings and weekends working on my business. I do work a full-time job along with blogging, and I really don’t have much free time anymore. Blogging is also not a get-rich-quick type of business. I made pretty good money in my 6th month, but I know plenty of other bloggers that didn’t make any money in their first year. It all depends on what you’re able to put into your business and what monetization methods you use!
I will be sharing these blog income reports each month from now on, and I’m excited to see where my business goes in 2020!
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