July 2014 Traffic and Income Report

July 2014 Income ReportJuly was a difficult month. I mentally prepared myself for the income crash (it happened)  after our record June earnings, but it was difficult on a personal/family level. Abby had a major surgery on July 21st that has been 10 years in the making. I don’t want to get into all the details, but you can read about it  here and here. She’s been incredibly brave and the surgery was a success. A month later, she’s doing great!

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)

Let’s get right into the numbers…

Income

Total Income: $2,659

Expenses

  • Gumroad Transaction Fees – $88
  • Mailchimp* – $75
  • Synthesis Hosting – $67
  • Fizzle.co* – $35
  • PO Box – $23
  • Fedex Printing – $22
  • Zapier – $15
  • Viral Tag – $12
  • Adobe Creative Cloud – $11

Total Expenses: $348

Net Profit: $2,311

Income Analysis

July was our second best income month for Abby’s blog, but it was still somewhat deflating. We knew eBook sales wouldn’t continue at the same pace as launch week back in June, but look at this chart from Gumroad:

gumroad ebook launch through july

That’s data from launch day (June 10th) through the end of July. Talk about a long, skinny tail! I’m hoping the last half of July will be the worst we see for eBook sales. We did zero promotion in July and still had over $1k in sales. Things are trending up (slightly) in August.

It’s also somewhat discouraging that the average price paid is trending downwards. The average price paid in July was $9.72. That’s down slightly from June. Read these two posts if you want to learn more about launching an eBook and Pay What You Want (PWYW) Pricing.

We’re happy with the continued affiliate commissions (Bluehost, Studiopress, and Restored 316) stemming from mentions in the eBook and Abby’s How to Start a Blog and Blogger Resources pages. I need to get better at tracking the source of conversions but we have a Mailchimp auto-responder setup to email purchasers of the book 3 and 14 days after purchase. These emails ask questions, check in, and direct people to those two pages on Abby’s blog.

Despite the reduced sales in July, it still amazes me that all of this is automatic. There is nothing to ship, no invoices to create, and Abby isn’t strictly trading her time for money. It’s all automatic! Even the follow-up email sequence. We really didn’t do ANYTHING with this book in July and sales still rolled in.

Affiliate Program for eBook

Thank you to those who have reached out to me regarding an affiliate program. This is coming! We are going to launch with a limited number of bloggers (around 25?) and once everything is up and running we’ll open it up to more people.

Three Legs of Blog Income

Our July blog income came from three categories:

  1. Product sales – $1,168 (44%)
  2. Ad revenue – $676 (25%)
  3. Affiliate income – $815 (31%)

Moving forward we should be looking at 1/3 split between product sales, ad revenue, and affiliate income.

Traffic Report

july 2014 traffic

July was filled with guest-posters while Abby was at a conference and recovering from her surgery. Traffic dipped slightly but not nearly as much as I anticipated.

Email Subscriber Statistics

  • 890 New Subscribers
  • 7,220 Existing Subscribers
  • 8,110 Total Subscribers

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: $12.76

Previously I stated that my goal was to consistently break $10 RPM. Well two months in a row we’ve been above $10! Let’s see how long we can keep that up!

and to recap our income…

Gross Income: $2,659
Net Income: $2,311

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

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  • http://justagirlandherblog.com/ Abby @Just a Girl and Her Blog

    Love seeing this breakdown every month! Thanks for taking care of the business end for me, babe! :-*

    ~Abby =)

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  • Charles Pobee-Mensah

    The tail might be long, but I’m sure it feels good to have the product finished and there to promote when you have the time and energy. Good for you guys! Theresa and I wish you great success!

    • http://donnielaw.com/ Donnie Law

      Thanks Charles!

  • Anna Mack Severn

    Happy to say I paid full price for the book haha-and it was WELL worth it! I learned so much from it and am so grateful to you both for creating it. I feel like I have such a better handle on what to do with the blog going forward.

    • http://donnielaw.com/ Donnie Law

      Thanks Anna! Was any particular section more helpful than the others?

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  • http://brilliantbusinessmoms.com Sarah & Beth Anne

    Donnie, I love that you do this every month. As super newbie bloggers and podcasters it is so helpful to watch others who are just 1.5 years ahead of us versus years and years ahead. Kudos to you guys for doing this and being transparent so that others can learn.

    Since you said part of this is about learning and pivoting, I have a few thoughts (and of course, feel free to take them or leave them!) Sarah can attest to the fact that I always “have a few thoughts” haha.

    Abby’s e-book, in my opinion, is worth a lot more than the $10 or so that she’s getting on average. What if you put PWYW Pricing on hold and tried a different strategy for a bit? What about a 3-option system? I’m not sure what the lowest-range option would be – a $10 portion of her book, maybe? A mid-range option at $24 for the full e-book and maybe even some sort of bonus, but then create a higher-priced option that includes a 30 minute skype call with Abby to talk blogging tips/consulting. She’ll get to know some of her readers and fans better and establish herself as even more of a go-to source for blogging. After interviewing her on the podcast, I know firsthand that Abby has SO MUCH amazing advice and information to share with new bloggers.

    At any rate, this makes the mid-range option much more appealing and gets Abby the $24 she very much deserves for her excellent book.

    If Abby is nervous about skyping, then it could be something different like, “ask me anything” and she emails back with a really great answer (she probably already does this but maybe new readers don’t know how awesome she is!)

    Or – she creates some other bonus content that the higher-end customers get.

    I feel like Abby could say a ton about networking, Pinterest, and any number of other topics.

    Those are all my thoughts. Feel free to completely disregard if you’d like.

    I do think the affiliate program will be a great strategy too!

    Keep up the good work you two!

    ~ Beth Anne