Call me nerdy or just downright nosey, but one of my favorite kind of blog posts to read is a solid income and traffic report. If you’re not familiar, an income and traffic report is a blog post or series that outlines the monthly (or quarterly) earnings and analytics that blog has received, with the purpose of educating others about how to analyze growth and earning potential. Oftentimes, it will include screenshots from Google Analytics with a breakdown of pageviews, unique visitors, bounce rate, traffic referrers, and other useful stats, along with an explanation of where and how they have earned some extra cash.
For me, these reports serve two purposes:
- They show how a blogger has obtained new traffic, maintained a strong readership, and generated income from services, products, advertising, and sponsorships.
- They demonstrate what is actually possible for the average, normal, every day person.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that a person making six figures off a blog is actually someone like you and me. Take Regina from ByRegina.com, for example. Her regular income and traffic reports reveal that her dedicated multi-medium approach to content marketing as an infopreneur has brought her crazy good traffic and a healthy living income. What I love about Regina, however, is that she’s the real deal. She’s that fierce woman everyone wants to be friends with because she’s unapologetically her quirky, wonderful, ninja self at all times. Through her incredible personality, she consistently reminds her readers that we –you, me, your friend, your dad, whomever–all have the ability to meet ANY traffic or income goal with the right approach and effort; these achievements are not limited to the “special people of the internet” that you only read about.
Though it’s undoubtedly inspiring to see results from veteran bloggers like Regina, reading income and traffic reports from newly established bloggers and businesses can feel a bit more relatable and encouraging to those who are just starting to monetize or take analytics more seriously.
Erika from Olyvia.co is one of my absolute favorite solopreneurs out there for many reasons, but I have particularly admired her transparency and honesty when it comes to growing her readership and boosting her income. In her first humble (and wildly useful) income and traffic report, she reminds us that the big bucks and the huge page views don’t come in a day and that there are many small steps you can take to reach your goals.
Jasmine from The Blenderist shared an excellent and realistic post on her first six months of blogging. Among her other tips and helpful links, she suggests focusing on good quality content over everything else. What I really appreciated about her post was her honest take on investing in your blog from the beginning.
Danielle from Fitness Fashionista has been posting income and traffic reports for a while, but even in her first report, she has a great deal of fantastic advice for growing your readership and diversifying your income potential. She breaks down some of her top referrers with a really helpful warning to be cognizant of spammy pay-for-traffic generators.
Abby from Just a Girl and Her Blog (who also happens to hail from Pittsburgh–hey neighbor!) shows how affiliate programs can be an incredible way to earn an income. What I find most interesting about her first income and traffic report, however, is how she and her husband Donnie have set a high-achieving income goal for themselves, one that might seem unrealistic to a newbie blogger, but their drive and attention to detail makes it a complete possibility! Spoiler alert: They met and exceeded that goal in under a year!
I debated even sharing my first ever income and traffic report for several reasons:
- I just launched this blog on April 24th so reporting a week of traffic seemed a bit silly.
- I definitely haven’t made any income yet on Ampersand Creative.
But then I realized those reasons make it all the more worth sharing. Chances are, many of you will be in this same position or have been or currently are and want to start tracking your traffic (and eventually your income) as well. I hope that sharing my journey with you from the very beginning will be informative and that it will help hold me accountable (No pressure, right?).
So let’s get to it!
April 2015 Income and Traffic Report
Things to Consider:
- The blog officially launched on Friday, April 24th, so while there was some traffic beforehand due to sneak previews sent to my exclusive email subscribers, most of the traffic below is from the first seven days after launch.
- A good portion of my readership has followed me from my 2.5 years of blogging on The Modern Austen. I would have had to work three times as hard to get my new site in front of as many eyes had I not have the leverage of my former blog.
- My launch involved several wonderful blog friends sharing a link to my new site, which really helped generate some initial buzz. Many thanks go out to Heidi from Literate & Stylish and Sara from Sincerely, Sara who were so very kind to share a link in their great blog posts, and also to Sam from Sam Bell Creative who shared her side of the design process behind this beautiful blog of mine! I also was so humbled to receive so much support on Twitter from @Douglas_AmongUs, @Kayla_Hollatz, @mylifeasateacup, @OlyviaMedia, @ChloeWest28, @marianney, and @TheCommonGreat (among others!).
Unique Visitors: 810
Bounce Rate: 68.92%
Time on Site: 2:14
Highest Traffic Day: Launch Day, April 24
Top 3 Posts:
Email Subscribers: 40
At least 10 of these subscribers came from a Sneak Peek Preview sign up form and 25 were from a survey I asked people to fill out several months ago to gauge interest in specific topics for Ampersand Creative. I sent my first newsletter last Thursday and hope to make it a consistently monthly (or bi-monthly) feature. Join me?
Social Media Stats
Note: Most of these followers were gained during my 2.5 years of blogging on The Modern Austen, but growth continued during my hiatus through Twitter parties (like #bufferchat) and organically reaching out to people I already admired and followed.
Thoughts on Traffic:
While I am humbled and grateful for the amount of support in announcing the launch of the blog and absolutely loved giving a sneak peek to my email subscribers, I also did not go above and beyond in throwing a huge launch party. Regardless of this, I was still about to leverage a decent amount of traffic from The Modern Austen. I also found that using consistently branded images in all of my posts really increases my Pinterest referral traffic.
While I have been doing a decent job with pinning on Pinterest and sharing on Twitter, I would like to step up my Facebook game by posting in all of my various groups like Julie Harris Design’s fantastic collaborative group, The Creative’s Corner. I also want to do a better job at creating images and designing content specifically for each social media network and see how that affects reach and clicks.
Furthermore, I want to seek out some guest posting/interview opportunities and start collaborating with others on my brand new What I’m Working On series (Did you catch my first episode?). Not only will this bring in a new audience, but it will also be so wonderful to make solid connections with some fantastic creatives.
Really this section should be titled “Expenses” because that’s all I got for you this time, folks. But that is simply just the reality of launching a new blog. While I did make a few hundred dollars (maybe even a thousand or so, especially if I factor in products and their value) through The Modern Austen through a combination of advertising and sponsorships, that took a long time to develop and I expect this to be the same case with Ampersand Creative. And again, this particular income report is after a week of being live so . . . there’s that.
BlueHost Domain Name and Domain Privacy – $22.98
Barnes and Noble gift card to survey winner – $10
Sam Bell Creative Design Services – $240.43
ByRegina.com #EpicAtHome Workshop – $35
Total Expenses in April 2015: -$308.41
There’s probably several little things I’m forgetting to factor in to these costs, but I am actually completely okay with the investment I’ve made thus far. Because I already had domain hosting purchased for unlimited number of domains, I only had to purchase a domain name and privacy this time around! That’s definitely something to consider whenever you’re purchasing hosting for the first time; though I had no bloody idea that I would ever continue blogging, much less start an entirely new website, I went with the recommended package that allowed for unlimited domains under one c-panel login. Nicely done, Bluehost*.
Potential expenses ahead:
- Adobe Creative Cloud: I’ve been playing around with the free month trial of Illustrator and I kind of love it. I will likely have to invest in this within the next few weeks, which could mean somewhere between $10-30/month.
- Buffer’s Awesome Plan: As much as I have absolutely adored and recommended Buffer’s free plan, I think I may take the plunge to upgrade to their $10/month (or $102/yr) plan. Not only can you schedule up to 200 posts (instead of 10 with the free plan) with the Awesome Plan, but you can also schedule your pins on Pinterest! Definitely will be taking advantage of their 7-day trial first to see if it’s worth while.
- InLinkz Renewal: I used InLinkz a lot for link parties last year (such as for my Pantone challenges) and I am testing to see if it’s worth keeping for What I’m Working On posts. I might find that text link-ups are just as sufficient.
- MailChimp: I really would like the ability to send autoresponders, but I haven’t brought myself to pay for this feature since my email list is still small. However, I know this will be very inexpensive and will more than likely bring in a much larger return overall.
Right now, I am currently using affiliate links for Bluehost and Genesis and Foodie Pro themes (through ShareaSale), which allow me to share links without any extra cost to the reader to recommend products I use and love already*. Hopefully down the road, these will be good passive income generators.
With all of that being said, I have some things up my sleeves to try and get the earning potential going. In the next few weeks, I’d like to:
- Get signed up with Google Adsense and explore other options like Sovrn.
- Get approved by Creative Market to become an affiliate.
- Finish my first eBook (!) that includes some affiliate links.
Lots of things to do! I am interested to see how May will go with a full month under my belt. My plan is to finish up this posting theme of “getting started” and moving on to “balance and motivation.” We’ll see how it goes! :)
If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a gold star! Thanks for sticking with me. I’d love to know what you think of this income and traffic report: Is it useful? What would you like to know more about? What questions do you have? I’m all ears!
*This contains an affiliate link.