May 2014 Traffic and Income Report

may 2014 income reportWe had one focus in May: Prepare for the launch of Abby’s eBook. Wow this was a time consuming process. The book had long since been written but there were still hundreds of little details to work through. If you want to read 4,500 words on everything we did to launch the book check out this post:

Anatomy of an eBook Launch (With Sales Numbers)

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…


Total Income: $1,620


  • Mailchimp* – $75
  • Synthesis Hosting – $67
  •* – $35
  • Viral Tag – $12
  • Adobe Creative Cloud – $11

Total Expenses: $200

Net Profit: $1,420

Income Analysis

Our Adsense revenue continues to climb a little each month. This isn’t because of anything we are doing other than increased blog traffic.

It still amazes me how much residual income comes in each month from my post on going paperless. Not only the Evernote Essentials affiliate income but also a large percentage of the Amazon Associates income is from scanner purchases through our links on that post. Sometimes I sit and brainstorm for ways to duplicate the success of that one post! Unfortunately I don’t think it works that way. We just have to try a million different things and hope something resonates with the readers.

Traffic Report

  • 213,085 Page Views
  • 93,304 Unique Visitors
  • 69.31% Bounce Rate

I finally settled on tracking these three metrics (thank you to Daniel from Live Work Travel USA for explaining bounce rate to me). If you have too many data points it can be confusing comparing things month to month. I added bounce rate which is the percentage of single page visits. If someone clicks over to Abby’s site but never clicks on anything else (interacts with the page) that would add to the bounce rate. The lower number the better.

69.31% seems like a really high number but I’m not sure what we can do to engage these visitors enough so they click on other links and posts. I will say this seems like a huge opportunity. Just imagine how much more traffic we would receive even if we got that number down to 50%! I need to look at some industry standards to understand what type of bounce rate is possible.

On May 14th Abby’s home office was featured on I Heart Organizing so we saw a nice spike of about 12,000 pageviews that day.

Email Subscriber Statistics

  • 1,087 New Subscribers
  • 5,109 Existing Subscribers
  • 6,196 Total Subscribers

It looks like about 1,000 new subscribers per month is our new average. This is good but I really think we could do better by periodically changing our opt-in offer.

I will say that without this list Abby would not have had the success she did in launching her eBook. Her email list was the single most important marketing tool we used. You can read about how we used email to help launch her eBook in this post.

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 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: $6.66

That’s a scary number. This certainly is better than last month but the only way we will consistently be over $10 RPM is by the sale of our own products. This is the largest missing piece of our May 2014 revenue streams.

and to recap our income…

Gross Income: $1,620
Net Income: $1,420

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

Don’t miss a thing!

  • Laura Jane

    Great job! I think it’s hard to get really low bounce rates on blogs. Mine is around 60% for the year so far. It might be interesting to segment the bounce rate of new visitors and that of returning visitors. Really, it’s the new visitors you want to stick around. Returning visitors may have already subscribed to your newsletter and explored your site and are simply coming to read the latest post. I can’t wait to see if you determine a way to lower your bounce rate.

    • Donnie Law

      Thanks Laura. That’s a great idea to segment the bounce rate. I’ll look around in Google Analytics and see if I can figure something out.

  • Dan @ Live Work Travel USA

    Thanks for the mention, Donnie. Your traffic is amazing, so is your new subscriber rate!
    Any progress on your DFP research?

    • Donnie Law

      Thanks Dan.

      My next post is going to be a review of How to Monetize a Food Blog and in that post I’ll start talking about how to optimize ads with a waterfall technique. That’s going to be my first step before I tackle DFP. I still think using the strategies in that eBook I can double if not triple my CPM.

      We’ve applied to about a half dozen premium ad networks and have been accepted to most so that’s the first step.

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  • heather t

    Newest follower and subscriber here, and having only been entrenched in this world of blogging for a few short months, can I tell you how much I feel like you have thrown me a lifeline here?! I adore your wife’s blog, and yours is PHENOMENAL. Thanks SO much for the forthright, honest information. I can’t tell you how helpful it is. I am going back through your posts one by one from beginning to end, and I have a few questions (which you may actually answer in later posts, so if so, sorry).
    1. You mentioned “premium ad networks”. Could you elaborate? Is this blogher, blogging network, etc? Others you know of?
    2. It sounds like you are able to join multiple “ad networks”…is that the case? And if so, I’m sure they all likely have rules/regs with regard to where/how many ads/etc you can use…how do you organize your ads/make sure you are following the rules and that each of these “ad providers” have?
    3. You mentioned your income from “sponsored posts”. Are those companies that reach out to Abby directly via email or something like that?
    Thanks SO much, Donnie. I hope you guys have a wonderful holiday season!

    • Donnie Law

      Thanks for reading Heather!

      1. Yes a premium ad network would be blogher, sovrn, yellow hammer, etc… I put together a list on Abby’s blog

      2. We actually have Adthrive manage all our ads now! It has saved me so much time. You’ll see Ad Thrive appear in the October income report. Before them, I was spending lots of time managing Abby’s ads.
      3. Generally these are companies that have reached out to Abby. We should be more proactive and reach out to companies that we like. We could probably command a higher price that way.

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

      • heather t

        Thanks a ton Donnie. Honestly, it’s so great to run across a blog with such valuable, helpful, insightful information. It’s a breath of fresh air, and I really appreciate it :)