April 2014 Traffic and Income Report

april 2014 income reportApril wasn’t about breaking new ground but rather about preparing for the future. Abby and I spent the month preparing for the launch of her eBook. Fortunately it wasn’t me writing over 170 pages and 28 chapters. I had the much easier job of preparing a launch strategy and working through technical issues. Next week you’ll get a behind the scenes look into our launch (including income) but for now make sure you stop by Abby’s site and take a look at her eBook:

Building A Framework: Everything I Learned My First Year of Blogging

If you’re not familiar with my story you can read the “About” page, but earlier this year my wife Abby asked me to manage the business side of her blog. My responsibilities include all the technical aspects, financial progress, and even some overall big-picture strategy. I gladly accepted and in the process decided to start this site in order to track our progress.

Why An Income Report?

1. Accountability. Knowing we have to publish our numbers every month is a great way to light a fire under us. It also gives you, the readers, the chance to hold us accountable to our goals and raise any issues you might see in our businesses. Abby and I are pretty good at holding each other accountable but these income reports take that to a whole new (and potentially embarrassing) level!

2. Reflect, Learn, and Pivot. It’s one thing to have ideas in my head about how the business is going, but one of the best ways for me to learn is collect the data and present it to my readers. By paying attention to different metrics including web traffic and income, I’ll start to get a sense for what works and what doesn’t. This learning experience is important because it will provide an opportunity for me to make changes and adjustments to improve the business moving forward.

3. Teach. My hope is that you can take something away from these reports. While we have a long way to go in order to do this online thing full time, it might be encouraging for someone a few steps behind us in the process to see that it is possible to earn actual dollars online. Even more than encouragement, I hope these income reports teach you something you can immediately apply to your business. Without transparency in our business these teaching moments would diminish.

Unlike other some other income reports your see online, we don’t make a ton of money yet. Abby just started in January 2013 so we’re giving you the opportunity to follow our journey from “nothing” to a full-time, self-sustaining business. Get in on the ground floor and join us in our journey. These early stages of our business are critical and the mistakes and lessons will be many! Don’t make the same early mistakes we do.

(*asterisk denotes affiliate link)

April Recap

April was spent hidden away, out of sight, preparing for June 10th. You wouldn’t believe how much goes into writing and launching an eBook! Maybe we went overboard with our launch strategy but this was our first time so we wanted to do it right! It remains to be seen how it turns out.

Let’s get right into the numbers…

Income

Total Income: $894

Expenses

  • Synthesis Hosting – $67
  • Mailchimp* – $65
  • Fizzle.co* – $35
  • Viral Tag – $12
  • Adobe Creative Cloud – $11

Total Expenses: $190

Net Profit: $704

Income Analysis

Our income has gone down for the second straight month. I’m ok with that. In February when we netted over $2,000 it was largely due to one blog post that did extremely well. It was great but I knew it was a mountain peak and not a steady plateau. We learned a lot from that post and have been working hard to re-create the success but there is always a significant lag. The hard work we put in now may not pay off for many months. We are certainly feeling those effects right now with a very lackluster April. To be honest, we’re hoping all our hard work in April will pay off in June.

Traffic Report

  • 84,217 Unique Visitors
  • 101,688 Visits
  • 182,304 Page Views
  • 77.67% New Visitors

Not much change here. I’m thinking next month I’ll do away with a few of the metrics. I’ll keep tracking page views and unique visitors but I think reporting on all four metrics here is overkill.

There was no real big content push in April. Abby’s creative juices were flowing into her eBook more so than her blog in the month of April.

Email Subscriber Statistics

  • 932 New Subscribers
  • 3,657 Existing Subscribers
  • 4,589 Total Subscribers

The changes we made in February keep paying off! I’m thrilled with the rate our email list is growing. This list has been incredibly valuable to us as we went through the eBook launch process. You can’t always rely on people coming back to your blog, but if you have their email address you can always reach out to them en-masse. Overlook email lists to your detriment. By the way, we LOVE Mailchimp*. Every day I find a new feature that blows me away. With some web apps I can’t wait to get out of them. With Mailchimp I leave it open in my browser all day long. The ease of use and design factor is the best in the industry.

If you want to read about the details of our email opt-in strategy look at the “Email Subscriber Statistics” section of our February Traffic and Income Report.

RPM

RPM is a metric to track revenue per thousand pageviews. Bjork of Food Blogger Pro explains:

RPM shows you how much you make from every 1,000 page views on your blog. It’s commonly used to measure the performance of your ads, but I like to use it to measure the overall effectiveness of a site’s income generation.

RPM: $3.86

This number needs to approach $10. Talk about not living up to the potential of our traffic! The only way we are going to hit $10 RPM on a consistent basis is by maximizing multiple revenue streams. I need to setup ad layering, we can be better about our affiliate relationships, and most importantly… We need to sell our own product! That last one is happening right now so we’ll see how the June numbers play out with Abby’s eBook launch.

and to recap our income…

Net Profit: $704

Click here to see a running tally of all past income reports.

Don’t miss a thing!

  • Alicia

    Hey Donnie,

    I know you said you guys are actively trying to grow that subscriber list. I was browsing through Abby’s blog (I love it and purchased the eBook today.) And as I was looking through the Project Gallery I noticed that older posts do not have the option to subscribe to her email list on the bottom of the posts. I’m not sure if it would be worth the time to go back and add that into older posts, but it’s just an idea.

    I really appreciate the honesty and transparency you guys are showing here. It’s also very motivating and inspirational to see how your hard work is paying off. Keep it up!

    -Alicia

    • http://donnielaw.com/ Donnie Law

      I’m guessing you are referring to the little paragraph at the bottom of her posts with a text link? You make a good point Alicia. That text link converts very well and we do not have that on all of her old posts. I know she’s added it to some of her more popular posts from 2013 but I should go and look at her top 25 posts of 2013 and make sure they all have the little paragraph with the newsletter link at the end of the post.

      It doesn’t work as well, but all the posts do have the email subscriber box after the post but before the comments. I created an after post widget area for those.

      Thank you so much for reading Alicia. I’m sure you’re busy with Abby’s book! It’s something like 33,000 words!

  • http://www.liveworktravelusa.com Daniel

    Sorry to throw in another metric, Donnie.
    But what’s the bounce rate on Abby’s blog?

    • http://donnielaw.com/ Donnie Law

      Ok I just looked. In April it was 70.9%

      How would you read that number Daniel? I’m not quite sure I understand that metric.

      • http://www.liveworktravelusa.com Daniel

        From what I googled, 70.9% is at the end of a normal range. Mine used to be around 80% until it dropped to a single digit number back in October. Something must have screwed up Google Analytics, because a single digit bounce rate is nearly impossible. I will have to investigate.

        In general, a bounce rate shows you how many of your visitors just look at one single page, don’t click anything and then just leave.

        • http://donnielaw.com/ Donnie Law

          Ok I see. So it’s a measure of engagement, the lower the number the better. I’m going to start tracking this statistic in my income reports. Thanks for pointing this out to me Daniel.

          Wow single digits would be amazing!

          Yesterday the fizzle sparkline posted a really helpful article on another way to measure engagement within google analytics:

          http://fizzle.co/sparkline/favorite-analytics-report-4-steps-find-important-pages

          • http://www.liveworktravelusa.com Daniel

            Yeah, I saw that article and already thanked Chase for it. Great way to find out what your best articles really are besides the number of visits.

            I read that some plugins (e.g. photo galleries) can throw off the bounce rate, so I have to check what I did back in October in order to fix it.

    • http://donnielaw.com/ Donnie Law

      Question for you Daniel… How is the Hello Bar at the top of your blog performing for you? Is that something you keep track of?

      • http://www.liveworktravelusa.com Daniel

        I’ve been testing the Hello Bar for the last 3 months and I get a few more subscribers this way. But still, my list is growing veeeeery slowly.

        The Hello Bar was a tool I wanted to try, because I just don’t like pop up windows to promote my newsletter. I hate them personally and I’m hesitant exposing my readers to this annoying pop up. So the Hello Bar was something a little more “in your face” than what I did before (sidebar, end of post), but not as irritating as pop ups.

        I like that you can split test right in Hello Bar, but I wish it would trigger the same double-opt-in process than through my regular MailChimp form. I have a giveaway for new subscribers, that my Hello Bar sign ups unfortunately don’t get, because there’s no confirmation email to click on. Hello Bar syncs up with my MailChimp list, but once you put in your email it just gets added automatically without having to confirm anything.

        Makes sense?

  • http://www.ConfessionsOfARecoveringChocoholic.com/ Laura Jane

    Great report – it’s interesting to see actual numbers. My RPM is not so high either – definitely not $10! I think you’ve inspired me to try adsense. I tried it some time ago when I think I only had maybe 10 or 20k pageviews/month, and I made less than $10/month. Perhaps now that I have a lot more page views, I would do better. I also read Pinch of Yum’s reports and find them fascinating.

    • http://donnielaw.com/ Donnie Law

      Let me know how it goes with Adsense.

      If I could only keep one unit it would be the rectangle after post content but before comments. That one works well for us.