HONEST Blog Income Report – March 2018

This is an income report was originally published in April 2018 on my first (and main!) blog – www.LifesCarousel.com

I have a love-hate relationship with blog income report posts. I love to read them because it gives me an insight into how other bloggers do things, but I also hate them because I’m experienced enough to know when they are stretching the truth!

So first off… I promise you that everything below is completely true and I’m not going to sugar coat anything!

If you’ve read any of my other posts or subscribed to my emails, then you know I’m all about telling it like it is! I’m not going to blow smoke up your behind!

Check out my other posts about blogging:

How to Start a Parenting Blog

7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Blog

How to Increase Your Pageviews

First Blog Income Report

This is officially my first income report for Lifescarousel.com.

So why is it my first? It comes back to that love-hate relationship. I just didn’t want to add to the noise of blog income report posts that are already out there. Well-meaning, nice bloggers often write reports that distort the truth and make wanna-be bloggers think it’s much easier than it is.

I fell for that trick! I thought I could be making thousands of dollars within a few months. Nope!

OK, so maybe there are some people that do achieve that success. And I’m very happy for them. But there is more to their story. Maybe they have 10-12 hours a day to work on their site? Maybe it’s their second (or third or fourth) site and they have experience?

Truth #1! Very few brand new bloggers make thousands of dollars within a few months. 

I decided to release this income report to show what the reality is!

My friend, Marybeth at Lifestyle for Real Life, wrote an awesome income report – How I Made $575 in my 57th Month Blogging. That’s honest reporting!

The Start

Before we move onto the blog income report, let’s start at the beginning. I started my blog in December 2016 about 2 weeks before Christmas.

Maybe it was the expense of Christmas or maybe I had just read too many fake income reports, but I decided that I would start a blog so I could start making money!

Blog Income Report - CLICK TO FIND OUT MORE! How I increased my pageviews and earned over $500 in March 2018. A detailed and HONEST look at how bloggers make money! Learn how to make extra money in your free time.

Well, starting a blog 2 weeks before Christmas is a bad idea! I have 3 kids, so Christmas is a VERY busy time for us. Add to that the fact that we were also packing up our house to move in January and I really didn’t have the time needed to make it a success.

So I threw up a few posts, read a few articles about starting a blog and watched a couple of videos. Yeah… that’s not the way to go about learning a brand new skill!

It was June before I took the time to learn more about blogging and actually work consistently on my site.

For those first 6 months, I did very little on my site except obsess over which theme to use (note: this is soooo unimportant in the long run!).

In June I suddenly realized that if I was going to be successful then I needed to treat my blog like a business or a part-time job. CONSISTENCY is key!

Truth #2! To make progress you need to work on your blog each and every day – even just for 20 minutes. 

I should backtrack slightly and say that in April 2017, I joined an amazing Blogging Community/Course/Resource/Cult called Dare to Conquer (formerly Billionaire Blog Club).

This group has really made the difference for me, but that’s really a whole post in itself! (If you want to find out more about this secret weapon of blogging, click here –Dare to Conquer).

Although I joined in April 2017, I didn’t start taking the advice seriously until late summer (yes… I’m a slow learner!).  So I like to think that I started my blog in September 2017!

Before that, I was just playing around with it and had no idea what I was doing!

The Middle

From September 2017 to December 2017 I was on a VERY steep learning curve. It was actually more about maturing as a person and learning more about myself. I had to learn to GET OUT OF MY OWN WAY!

I was doing so many things that were actually sabotaging my own success! Thank goodness for Scrivs (aka Paul Scrivens, the founder of Dare to Conquer), he set me straight and helped me see what I really had to do to succeed.

Although I started to see progress in the Fall of 2017, there were still ups and downs I had to negotiate.

November and December 2017 were pretty rough months for me. After months of very hard work, my Pinterest account was suspended (through no fault of my own!). Without a Pinterest account, it was difficult to grow my blog.

Truth #3! Sometimes things happen that are completely out of your control. You can either quit or ride the wave and figure it out!

It took 2 1/2 months for my account to be reactivated (late January 2018). It was only then that was when I could REALLY start concentrating on growth!

I started the new year with a fresh outlook and a blog full of potential!

The Present!

I can honestly say that I have never worked so hard on something in my entire life! The amount of work you will WANT to put into your blog is astounding! But it doesn’t feel like a chore, because I love it!

Truth #4! It will take a lot more work that you are expecting to run a blog.

I feel like I am thinking about my blog 24/7. I have a regular full-time job, but even at work, I’m still thinking about what I’m going to write about next, what direction I want to go in and how I can make more money!

Anyway, I should probably get on with the part that you want to know about! My blog income report and pageviews!

Increasing Pageviews

I’ll start with my pageviews so you can see my progress over the last few months. Let’s go back to September, as that’s when I really started treating my blog like a business (before then my pageviews where always around 1k a month).

Blog Income Report - CLICK TO FIND OUT MORE! How I increased my pageviews and earned over $500 in March 2018. A detailed and HONEST look at how bloggers make money! Learn how to make extra money in your free time.

September 2017 – 1,437

October 2017 – 7,055

November 2017 – 16,419

December 2017 – 23,170

January 2018 – 44,610

February 2018 – 38,132

March 2018 – 112,562

Now, don’t forget that for most of November and December (and part of January), I wasn’t able to promote my site because my Pinterest profile was suspended! So the growth during those months was severely affected. But I still almost doubled my pageviews most months!

A note about February – as you can see my pageviews dropped a little. There are a few reasons for this – a) February is a shorter month. Fewer days = less monthly page views! b) Pinterest changed quite a few things during February and it takes time to adjust. c) I’ve no idea why it dropped, it’s just the nature of blogging to have good months and bad months!

Traffic Generation

So where is this traffic coming from and how did I get it to increase so quickly?

Pinterest is my number one traffic source – I get between 80-90% of my traffic is from there. The rest comes mainly from Google.

Blog Income Report - CLICK TO FIND OUT MORE! How I increased my pageviews and earned over $500 in March 2018. A detailed and HONEST look at how bloggers make money! Learn how to make extra money in your free time.

I only promote on Pinterest – I know I need to expand to other referral sources (like Facebook or Twitter), but because my time is limited, I invest it where I will get the most results!

To help reduce my workload, I use mainly Boardbooster (unfortunately Boardbooster is no more in business. Instead I now use Tailwind) to automate my pinning to Pinterest. Using Boardbooster means that I probably spend less than 20 minutes a week on Pinterest and yet it brings me the most traffic!

Using Boardbooster/Tailwind to pin my posts to Pinterest is a large part of my marketing strategy. But really I can simplify things even further. To increase my pageviews I basically did 2 things (this is what Scrivs at DTC teaches us!):

  1.  Write good content that people want to read
  2. Promote that content to the people that want to read it

I know you are probably very frustrated with me right now because you wanted to know “The Secret” of increasing pageviews, but I’m sorry to tell you that there isn’t a secret! It’s just hard work, experimenting and targeting your audience.

There might not be a “Secret” but following the advice and steps laid out in Dare to Conquer will definitely help you increase pageviews and income! It’s like the ultimate cheatsheet for blogging!

Blog Income Report

OK, let’s get down to it and talk about MONEY! Time to look at my blog income report!

This is the part where you will see that the amount I earned in March 2018 does not match my pageviews!

There’s a good reason for this – life throws you curve balls!

One way to make money blogging when you have a healthy amount of pageviews is to put adverts on your site. There are a few different companies that help with this, but my ad company of choice is MediaVine.

You have to have over 25,000 sessions (sessions, not pageviews) in a 30 day period to qualify, but once you reach that point you can actually start making some pretty good money!

I reached the 25k sessions point in January 2018 and eagerly applied to MediaVine. Well, because of a series of misfortunes (my mistakes and theirs!), it took over 6 weeks to get ads on my site! For most people, it takes less than 3 weeks!

That meant I didn’t get ads on my site until March 24th! I missed the best part of the month, especially where I got 12,000 pageviews in ONE DAY from a viral pin, so my income is MUCH lower than it would have been if my ads had been up the whole month!

If you are interested the post that went viral in March was my guide to Quick Cleaning Tips for Busy People!

Note: This is the money I EARNED in March, not the money I received. With most blogging income, there is a delay in getting paid. In the case of MediaVine, I won’t receive the money I earned in March until the beginning of June!

Income

So here’s the break down:

  • Adverts (MediaVine – March 24th to 31st): $327.32
Blog Income Report - CLICK TO FIND OUT MORE! How I increased my pageviews and earned over $500 in March 2018. A detailed and HONEST look at how bloggers make money! Learn how to make extra money in your free time.
  • Affiliate Sales (Amazon): $193.21
Blog Income Report - CLICK TO FIND OUT MORE! How I increased my pageviews and earned over $500 in March 2018. A detailed and HONEST look at how bloggers make money! Learn how to make extra money in your free time.
  • Total: $520.53

I decided to torture myself and work out how much I would have earned in March IF my adverts had been up on my site for the whole month… I would have made over $3,000! Yeah… that stings a little!

But in blogging, you have to learn to roll with the punches and not let the “What ifs” slow you down! I can’t go back in time and change things, so I just need to move on!

Expenses

To make this a balanced (and honest) blog income report, I need to include my expenses too.

My monthly expenses are pretty basic. Just Boardbooster (for scheduling my Pinterest pins – no longer in business), Canva (a graphic design software that I use to make pins) and Mailerlite (my email provider that I use to send out emails to subscribers).

I haven’t included my site hosting or domain name. I paid for those upfront (instead of monthly installments) when I first started and the money I’ve made in previous months have already paid for that.

Profit: $487.58

The Future

I have to say that I’m pretty pleased with making $487.58 in one month. Running this blog is a part-time job for me. I have a full-time job (a high school teacher), 3 kids and 13 animals (!!), so running Life’s Carousel is squeezed in around my “real life”.

I still spend weekends with my family and have movie nights with my kids. Cooking, cleaning, laundry and all the other chores still have to be done. I’ve had to learn to balance my time better so I can work on my site for an hour or 2 a day (more at weekends), while not neglecting other aspects of my life.

I’m now part way through April and things are looking good. I don’t think I’ll learn $3,000, but I will definitely earn more than any other part-time job would pay me!

Truth #5! Blogging is hard work. But it’s worth it!

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