March 2014 Traffic and Income Report

March 2014 Income ReportIt’s the end of May and I’m just now publishing the March Traffic and Income Report! I want to get this thing out into the world before everything becomes stale. It’s been insane around our place with some big projects on the horizon. More on that later…

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. That title includes 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)

March Recap

There was a lot of behind the scenes work in March. Abby worked on her home office makeover that was later revealed in April and she also secretly started writing an eBook. That cat has long been out of the bag and the book is scheduled to launch on June 10th.  Abby’s 30th birthday! 30,000+ words later and we now have an awesome resource for beginner bloggers available for sale starting on June 10th. After the launch check back here for a recap of our launch strategy and results (with sales numbers).

Let’s get right into the numbers…

Income

Total Income: $1,010

Expenses

  • Synthesis Hosting – $67
  • Mailchimp* – $50
  • Fizzle.co* – $35
  • Viral Tag – $12
  • Adobe Creative Cloud – $11

Total Expenses: $175

Net Profit: $835

Income Analysis

Our income is less than half of what it was in February. February was an amazing month for us and when you reach new highs in blogging there’s an inevitable backslide. That’s exactly what happened. We didn’t have any single post blow up like we did in February and we didn’t have that one post that generated a lot of affiliate income, like the paperless post in February.

It’s easy to think, “oh no! what did we do wrong?” But it’s more a case of  the stars aligning for us last month. There are certainly areas where we can improve our income but I’m not sounding any alarm bells.

It is nice to see some Evernote Essentials* affiliate income spill over into March. At the time I’m writing this (May) we are still seeing a sale every day or two. Each time that happens, we net $6. It’s not much but it keeps trickling in. If you missed it, make sure you read how we made $2,000 from one blog post.

As traffic climbs and we learn more about optimal ad placement I expect the ad revenue to climb. Google highly discourages us from disclosing Adsense CPM (cost per thousand impressions) but I know once we have multiple ad networks competing against each other we could see the ad revenue more than double. The hard part is setting it all up in Google DFP.

Traffic Report

Unfortunately we had a glitch with Google Analytics from March 3rd to March 9th. It was a 6 day period where the analytics were not reported. I fixed the problem but I had to “guestimate” some numbers to come up with the following:

  • 88,326 Unique Visitors
  • 103,753 Visits
  • 199,182 Page Views
  • 78.3% New Visitors

This is less than last month only because we didn’t have any single “huge” day like we did in February with over 17,000 views in one day. Overall, the traffic consistency was better in March than it was in February.

Email Subscriber Statistics

  • 1,062 New Subscribers
  • 2,611 Existing Subscribers
  • 3,673 Total Subscribers

We haven’t changed anything from the opt-in strategy we used in February. It slowed down this month but we are still excited to get over 1,000 new subscribers in March. 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. I first learned about this tracking metric from Bjork at Food Blogger Pro. In this post he 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: $4.19

Talk about the RPM dropping off a cliff! Last month we were over $10. The way to read this is that we made $4.19 for every 1,000 pageviews on the blog from all income sources. I suspect that as I explore Google DFP and ad layering, a $4.19 RPM will be a thing of the past.

You can see from the income report above that the only significant income was from Adsense. In the future, I see monetizing in the four main areas:

  • Advertising
  • Affiliate
  • Selling our own product
  • Sponsored posts

We have a lot of work to do to maximize all four of those categories but we’ve already taken some significant steps that will hopefully pay off in the months to come.

and to recap our income…

Net Profit: $835

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

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  • http://www.liveworktravelusa.com Daniel

    Donnie, thanks for sharing the report. Google DFP sounds interesting and I should probably consider that for my blog too. Do you have a good resource to quickly learn everything necessary about that?

    • http://donnielaw.com/ Donnie Law

      Unfortunately I do not. I’ve watched videos here and there but I’m trying to piece it all together and write a resource.

      We’ve been accepted to several various ad networks and I’d like to run everything through DFP with the various networks competing against each other for space. I’ve heard setting things up this way can potentially more than double earnings from Adsense alone.

      As soon as my wife’s eBook launches 6/10 I’m going to dive into this DFP stuff.

      • http://www.liveworktravelusa.com Daniel

        Thanks Donnie. I hope the book launch goes well.
        I’m going to start diving into the DFP stuff too and hopefully we can check in in a few weeks and fill in each other’s gaps.

        • http://donnielaw.com/ Donnie Law

          Absolutely. I’d love to hear your experiences.

          Today I took the first step and bought this eBook: http://kierstenfrase.com/how-to-monetize-your-food-blog-ebook/

          It’s for food bloggers but she goes into details about setting up the “waterfall” method for ads and letting networks compete against each other. Check with me next week and I’ll let you know if the ebook was helpful.

          • http://www.liveworktravelusa.com Daniel

            Cool! Yeah, I’d love to hear about it, especially if it goes beyond the basics.

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