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Hey there, hi there, ho there. If this is your first time visiting, thanks so much for stopping in! I'm April and I've been blogging here since 2008. Just this past year though, I decided to get serious about things - so in August of 2014 I started buckling down and (inspired by Pat Flynn) also began publishing these income reports as a way to keep myself accountable and (hopefully) help others along the way. If you have any questions or suggestions, please please feel free to ask in the comments or shoot me an email. And if you're just interested in the numbers, by all means, scroll down to the bottom!
March was fine. My biggest struggle remains in finding balance. This is a very part-time job for me, so I have a difficult time deciding which tasks should take precedence. Of course, quality content is always top of my list, but unfortunately, the social media machine needs to be attended to as well.
As we've discussed (and I'll continue to reiterate until September), we're in the quiet time for me. My blog receives most of its traffic from September through January, so while it may look like things are going terribly, understand that this is a natural dip. My goal was to try and ramp up Spring and Summer pageviews, but thanks to the Pinterest and Google algorithm changes, it seems like all my work is just making up for traffic lost. But it's better than a backward slide, at least.
Also, I did finally add Shareaholic to my site, so it makes social media sharing easily but also it gives readers a print friendly option. And bonus, it's free. Yay!
I'm still with The Blogger Network (TBN), and Gourmet Ads, and they're about the same as always. I still haven't heard back from my Adthrive application yet, but in speaking with other bloggers, they generally take a while. I also continue to supplement with Infolinks, BuckBooks, and Google Adsense. Technically BuckBooks is an affiliate program, but I'm talking about it here because I run an ad banner in my sidebar.
I did several sponsored posts for SocialFabric/Collective Bias; in fact, they make up the majority of my earnings this month. For the most part I really enjoy working with Social Fabric, but it does get frustrating that they require you to find the product yourself and it's not uncommon to have to hit two or three stores before getting what you need. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you have limited time, and/or have to travel significant distances to locate products, this can impact your earnings. On the plus side though, each Social Fabric campaign chooses one or more posts to promote on Facebook and, if chosen, this can provide a large boost to your pageviews.
I didn't do any posts with Izea (formerly Social Spark), but I did do several paid tweets. Tweets aren't generally a lot of money on their own, but they do add up after a while.
LinkVehicle is still a mystery to me, so if anyone has a clue, feel free to chime in. Still haven't heard anything from Federated Media/FoodBuzz.
This month I applied to be part of Linqia, Sverve, and Find Your Influence. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
In good news, my Facebook engagement is still good and I did get two posts up that will (hopefully) help if you're having difficulty in this area: Why Your Facebook Page Sucks and What You Can Do About It, and 25 Statuses to Get Your Facebook Audience Engaged. I also started a group for local (Central Florida) food bloggers, hit me up if you'd like to join!
Pinterest is still a top referrer, but it continues to decline. I'll be honest, I'm still not sure I'm doing it right, so this is an area I'm going to try to delve into more with some Pinterest gurus. I read that organizing and cleaning up Pinterest boards is helpful so I spent a few hours doing that. We'll see if it helps and I'll definitely report back on my findings. I will say, I am still head over heels in love with Tailwind for scheduling pins. It works really really really well - I've never had it not send something out that was scheduled, and it's just got a ton of great features. Including being able to have separate log-ins for my VA (virtual assistant) and me. At this point, I have about 60-70 pins scheduled per day. Mostly other peoples' pins. While I don't seem to be owning Pinterest they way I used to, I will say that since starting a regular pin schedule, I'm gaining on average 20-30 new followers a day, which is fantastic.
I also applied for PubExchange, which is a publisher content exchange network that is primarily used (at least in my understanding) for sharing each other's links across social media, especially Facebook. I'm not sure what their minimum requirements are, so I don't know if I even qualify. But, can't hurt to try, right?
I still have my VA doing all the stumbling on my account, which is working out well because now when I stumble something of my own, it doesn't look like pure self promotion. If there's something I would absolutely, definitely recommend it would be to get on StumbleUpon at least every other day and do a few minutes of stumbling. SU takes your investment in them seriously!
Yummly is still gaining traction. Slowly, but surely. I'll take whatever I can get! I do really love the simplicity of Yummly and have no complaints. Hopefully they don't start mixing things up.
I personally find Google+ to be an utter waste of time. I know there are some folks who have it totally figured out, but I am not one of them. I keep my account up and post a few times a week because I'm supposed to, but it doesn't seem to have any ROI whatsoever. If ever there was something I would gladly quit and not look back, it would be G+. Maybe next month.
Twitter is great because I make money selling tweets, but I don't find that it gets my any significant traffic. Tweet selling is enough to keep me doing it though.
I love Instagram for me, but as I've said in the past, I don't use it as a traffic referrer. It does help me keep my Facebook page more personalized though which I believe is part of the reason I have such good engagement for a small page.
You guys. YOU GUYS. I am truly madly and deeply in love with Mad Mimi. It is crazy easy to set up, the emails look nice and clean, and the support staff is phenomenal. Every question I've sent, no matter how trivial or how late at night (seriously, I've emailed at 1am) has gotten a response in less than 10 minutes. I prepared a few auto-responders emails for new subscribers, and I was able to (SO EASILY) set up an RSS feed so that whenever I post a new article on my site, it sends an email to everyone on my mailing list about it. It's like a Christmas miracle. Seriously. I might marry Mad Mimi. Don't judge.
I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't even look at my ebook this month. This one is so easy to forget about and put off. Which, I know... dumb. Ugh. My new goal is to get it done by the end of my first year push. So, August.
So, it turns out that a lot of the bigger bloggers make a crap ton of money from affiliates. I have not figured out the secret to affiliate success yet, but it's absolutely on my to-do list. To that end, I went ahead and applied to Share-a-Sale, and Affiliate Window this month. These are both affiliate facilitators (i.e. they host the affiliate stuff for companies like PicMonkey and Etsy).
At this point, I make a dollar here and there with Amazon Affiliates and BuckBooks, but definitely want to branch out with this opportunity. If for no other reason than to use an affiliate network for my own ebook
I'm just going to make a list here of resources for now, but at some point I'll have an ongoing post to point you toward rather than burying this stuff in an income report.
Mad Mimi (email marketing)
GoDaddy (web hosting)
PicMonkey (online photo editing)
Canva (ebook/pamphlet/poster creator)
Swanky Prints (vinyl backdrops/fake wood)
Lowel Ego Lights (daylight mimicking photography light)
Fiverr (hire help starting at $5/task)
Social Fabric/Collective Bias (influencer network)
Izea/Social Spark (influencer network)
Blogher/Sheknows (influencer network)
Clever Girls/Fanny (influencer network)
One2One (influencer network)
Tapinfluence (influencer network)
Linqia (influencer network)
Sverve (influencer network)
Tomoson (influencer network)
Find Your Influence (influencer network)
Link Vehicle (influencer network & affiliate hub)
Markerly (influencer network)
Business2Blogger (influencer network/job board)
Pinterest for Business (social media)
StumbleUpon Ads (social media)
Tailwind (Pinterest scheduler/social media)
PubExchange (traffic exchange network)
BuckBooks (affiliate marketing for inexpensive books)
Amazon Affiliates (affiliate program for Amazon merchandise)
Share-a-Sale (affiliate marketing hub)
Affiliate Window (affiliate marketing hub)
E-junkie (affiliate marketing hub)
Commission Junction/CJ Affiliate (affiliate marketing hub)
Gourmet Ads (advertising network)
The Blogger Network (advertising network)
Infolinks (advertising network)
Adsense (advertising network)
Food Blogger Pro (food blogging course)
How to Grow on Twitter (ebook)
Blogging on the Side (ebook)
Tasty Food Photography (ebook)
Thoughts and Things To Do
I don't have anything especially inspiring to impart this month. I'm trying to keep busy and on task without burning out. It's definitely discouraging to see the low numbers, even if I did know it was coming. I love food blogging, but there's so much more to it than just making delicious food. My goal is to identify those things that are most important and also what tasks can be passed to others, like a VA for handling.
How about you? Did you try something new this month that worked? Do you have any questions about what's happening here? Hit me up in the comments!
MARCH 2015 - EARNED: $1,439.08
Money I earned during this month, but have not necessarily been paid yet. For example, most advertising companies don't pay until 30 - 90 days after your impressions, and many sponsors don't pay until your post has been live for 30 days.
Google Adsense: $23.48
The Blogger Network: $190.25
Amazon Affiliates: $7.60
Gourmet Ads: $56.83
Social Fabric: $1,100.00
MARCH 2015 - COLLECTED: $1,979.70
Money that actually made it into my pocket this month.
The Blogger Network: $382.13
Gourmet Ads: $99.66
Social Fabric: $490.00
Amazon Affiliates: $26.34
Clever Girls: $350.00
MARCH 2015 - EXPENSES: $386.44
Izea membership: $1.00
Constant Contact: $55.00
Groceries/post items: $153.44
Amazon gift card for contest: $5.00
Affiliate application fee: $5.00
MARCH 2015 - NET PROFIT: $1,593.26
MARCH 2015 - TRAFFIC: 58,178
MARCH 2015 - FACEBOOK:
- Likes: 2,580 (+43)
Income and Traffic Report August 2014 - $227.49
Income and Traffic Report September 2014 - $664.88
Income and Traffic Report October 2014 - $797.11
Income and Traffic Report November 2014 - $1,095.85
Income and Traffic Report December 2014 - $2,880.00
Income and Traffic Report January 2015 -$2,589.78
Income and Traffic Report February 2015 -$1,231.07