The Extra Income Project’s March 2017 Online Blogging Income & Traffic Report
March has been an interesting month. I have had some wins and some failures. I guess more failures than wins, but nothing I’m too concerned about at this point. I feel like I’m making forward movement under the hood. I’ve had a number of challenges in respect of my time and energy several months back. My site traffic, I believe, has suffered as a result. And I’m still paying for that. Last month I put in quite a lot of effort behind the scenes. This month follows suit. I’ve struggled for time in the areas I wanted to focus on, but haven’t been slacking off. I know that I need to focus on a posting schedule. But before we get into the details, here’s the usual intro into why I’m doing these traffic and income reports for the folks who haven’t read them before…
Why I’m Publishing Monthly Income Reports
Why am I publishing income reports? Start at my income reports page for the full details. In a nutshell, I’m hopeful these reports will motivate, inspire and encourage people like you to start making your cash work better for you. I want you to learn how you can make an extra income online. Starting a blog is an awesome way to do that. The aim of this blog is to help you find extra cash you thought you never had, get out of debt, earn extra income or just be better with the money that you have.
My online income reports detail my activities for the month. I share what I’m doing, what’s working, what’s not working and how much I’m earning. It’s a journey, I hope you will follow along. Please sign up to my mailing list to keep up to date on my progress.
March 2017 Online Income & Traffic Report
So, if you haven’t noticed I have again struggled to keep to a regular posting schedule this month. It was my primary goal, and I failed. My new job, which is arguably not so new anymore, is really gnawing away at my energy levels. It’s actually getting frustrating now. It’s not that I don’t like the job. I do. I love the job and the people I work with. There’s just a lot of insanity going on and I’m starting to learn that I’m a tad demotivated by corporate bureaucracy. Whilst the job realized a significant pay increase for me it feels like it’s stepping me away from my long term goal.
I’m currently working on evaluating what my options are. In the meantime, I’ll continue to give the job my all. I’m not one for throwing the towel in easily, but in the same vein, I value my time and energy.
I have to admit however, I do still have some significant stresses going on in my life outside of work. I have an ongoing court case with a firm of lawyers, some of the high-level details you can read in this post, along with some other stresses. I would undoubtedly have far more energy if I didn’t have these stressors going on. But they are what they are and I work hard to knuckle down anyway. When in a hole, you can sit there and cry about it, or you can get off your ass and find a way to climb out.
Here are last month’s goals, with the achieved goals struck out:
- 20,000 page views
- 3 new posts
Work on productand get back on track with my blog plan RPM (revenue per mille) above $4
Not so good!
I crossed out half the line for work on the product. I did some work on a product but I’m way off what I had originally planned at the start of the year for this blog. I can blame the technical issues I faced last month, but have no real excuse this month other than energy levels. My blogging consistency is off and that’s knocking out my whole strategy.
I had hoped last month to publish three new posts. However, if you count last month’s income report, I only posted one. I have been writing and I have written three posts, one of which I published last week on April 1st (so it doesn’t count). The writing process, at least for me, is more than just writing. It includes SEO research, creating artwork and promotion. When I write, I like my posts to be around 2,000 words so these take quite some time to produce. I work really try hard to deliver as much value to the reader as I can in each post.
The writing process, at least for me, is more than just writing. It includes SEO research, creating artwork and promotion. When I write, I like my posts to be around 2,000 words so these take quite some time to produce. I work really try hard to deliver as much value to the reader as I can in each post.
The upside is I have two other posts that just need polishing off and I’m done so the same goal next month may be achievable.
But, with other things going on in my life it’s hard to find this level of commitment when I have a job that burns my brain out by the end of the day.
My ultimate goal is to get back to being self-employed. I say get back to being self-employed because I used to be a freelance web and software developer. I’m over the days of doing that, I long to do something different. That can’t happen until I kick two debts into touch and have some savings set up. I have children to feed and so I can’t just dive in without some security. I need to ensure I’m in a reasonable financial position before I do. And, right now, I’m not.
Thankfully, my budget is helping me figure out what it will take and when it’s likely to happen. And, consequently, a lot of my time this month has been figuring out various scenarios and possibilities on how I can make this happen more quickly.
Back to the details, traffic has been down again this month.
Not as drastically compared to last month and, again, it’s not so unexpected given I’ve not been working hard to promote my posts.
As for my wins, income levels have done well this month in terms of my page view RPM (revenue per mille). This was one of my monthly goals, which has been achieved. I was hoping to get my income to a point where this site was at least breaking even on costs.
I’m proud to say I think I’m past that now; just!
I’ve also made awesome progress working on a survey I want to send out to my mailing list.
Pinterest traffic has dipped again. I largely put that down to not putting any effort in at all. I’ve just left all the effort to Board Booster. Normally I spend some time in my month to tweak Board Booster and do some cleanups on my boards. In addition, I’ll also spend time in the app looking for content to share. I’ve done none of this in March.
I’ve noticed also that Pinterest has been updating the app a little bit. Honestly, I don’t like the changes they have made. The feed now only includes the pin images. It shows no details for the content creator, the title or the description. I have to wonder if they are changing things behind the scenes too. I’ll have to get in touch with some other bloggers and find out if they’ve experienced a decline in traffic since these updates too.
You can see that my pin impressions have taken a decline.
And, so have my click through rates.
That said. Close to 9,000 sessions still came from Pinterest this month. That’s not bad for having done nothing. I’ve talked for many months about using Tailwind in my Pinterest strategy and I think the time is about right to give it a try.
Site traffic was painful for me. I only hit 16,500 page views this month. It’s painful to watch it slip under 20,000. For some reason that figure has become the benchmark in my mind. But nearly all my metrics are down on last month. Here are the usual stats:
They speak for themselves so I won’t go into too many details. Since I’ve not been doing a lot on the front of the site there’s really not much to talk too. It’s super simple, it’s declining because I’m not posting new content regularly.
Mailing List Growth
My mailing list, fortunately, continues to grow.
I’ve gained 731 subscribers in March.
The growth has been pretty evenly spread across the month:
I’ve was working on another content upgrade which formed part of the post I recently published. This content upgrade provides subscribers with a cash envelope template that they can print out and create. You can get the template by subscribing in the optin box in that post.
I have also been working on a plan to engage with my mailing list more.
I’m cautious about starting up an activity and not having the time to maintain it. I know I need to make a concerted effort to write a new post each week. Engaging with the mailing list needs to be done also, but it takes some effort too.
I know I need to do this.
I have nearly 6,000 people who have opted into my list and I’m just not encouraging them to come back to my site.
That sounds dumb!
It is dumb!
I should not be ignoring this source of traffic.
But that’s the bind I’m in right now, isn’t it? I don’t have a lot to encourage them to come back and read if I’m not publishing consistently!
I know better.
I’m making excuses for myself!
Aaaargh! I need to sort myself out!
The mailing list has been an area I’ve been focusing on more this month. I’ve been tweaking opt-in boxes to improve opt-in rates with some success. What I want to be doing is engaging users beyond sending out the content upgrade.
This means working on some follow-up emails!
So this month I plan on working on creating some follow-up emails to try to add some further value to the content I’ve sent them.
For example, when I send out the budget template I follow up the next day with an email to show people how to use the template and with ideas on how they can approach their budgeting. I’m figuring how to best do this at the minute. I want to understand what people need help with, and that’s the purpose of a survey email I’m about to send out.
This kind of activity is all stuff that takes up a lot of my limited time, but you don’t see it because it’s behind the scenes. I need to find a happy mix so that my blog doesn’t start to appear like it’s stagnating whilst starting to do the wiring up behind the scenes to enable me to do awesome things.
Thank goodness I have something positive to talk about!
I’ve had a good month on income. Yay!
You may recall last month that I wanted my income to consistently surpass my expenses. Well, I think I’m there.
Mediavine ads are generating more income than Google Adsense, which makes me happy.
For some reason, I’m still getting a very small amount of income from Google Adsense. I shouldn’t be, really. I thought I’d removed all my ads from my site when I switched to MediaVine. I need to hunt those little suckers down and switch them off.
Here’s a breakdown on where my income has come from this month:
- Google AdSense – $11.51
- MediaVine – $120.29
- $5 Meal Plan – $12.00
I’m happy with that!
I’m even happier that my pageview RPM is $8.71 this month compared to $3.29 last month.
My goal was to get it over $4! I thought that was going to be a stretch but MediaVine really pulled me through here.
Expenses are down to a manageable rate. I have no courses to pay for and I’ve got these down to consistent but necessary subscriptions. I have just two expenses this month:
My ConvertKit subscription has moved up a tier. I’m now on the $99 a month plan from $79 after moving above 5,000 subscribers a month and a half ago. I’ve been charged $104.97 because of some strange way they work out pro-rata amounts. It appears they charge a month in advance and, if you go over your tier mid-month, they charge you the following month.
So, overall I turned in a $23.83 profit.
Nothing to write home about, but I’m glad to be making a profit, particularly with the declining traffic.
What I can look forward too is increased revenue when I get traffic to increase again.
My focus is still on creating a product. I have been working on that in the background but I’m trying to remold my blog plan to factor in my current time constraints. I have to get consistent with my posting, however.
Next Month’s Goals
I’ll keep these concise. I really want to achieve all these goals next month:
- 20,000 page views
- Content survey sent out to mailing list
- RPM to $9
- 4 page posts
How do you think I’m doing so far? Have you got any advice you can offer that may help me out?