October was a perfect example of the flexibility of blogging as a business. I had to take some time off from my regular promotion activities to deal with a car accident and driving my oldest son to community college. Since I had less time for promoting my posts and other bloggers, I focused on creating content for my site and revising old content.
Amazing Resource for Bloggers:
Starting on the first Monday of every month, I will be publishing an income and expense report for A Life in Balance. I have 2 goals. First, to share what it costs to run a site. While it doesn’t cost a ton to start blogging, it does cost money to turn a blog into a business.
- Accountability: I want you all to hold me accountable. Keep me in check if I stray off the straight and narrow. Turning your blog into a money-making venture is often a delicate balance between authentic and smarmy, and I really want to err on the side of authentic—and I’m hoping you guys will help keep me there.
- Transparency: I think it’s hard to be authentic when all things financial and traffic related are hidden under a cloak of mystery. I’m hoping by sharing my numbers and stats, we’ll all feel a little more comfortable with the business side of my blog.
- Motivation: My goal is to make the work I put into this blog “worth” my time financially. The problem is, I love doing what I do here so much that I’d do it for free. That doesn’t really light a fire under me to work on the business side! By sharing my financials every month, I hope to motivate myself to keep on keepin’ on the road to figuring out how to make this blog financially efficient.
- Inspiration: Maybe along the way, I can figure out a thing or two and help inspire some other bloggers out there to find out how they can make their own blog more successful and profitable. That’d be super cool.
Second, to encourage new bloggers and other bloggers seeking to turn their blogs into a business. I haven’t got all the answers for turning your blog into a business. I’m still pretty new at this. I do know that it helps new bloggers to understand what’s involved in running a blog as a business when a blogger is transparent.
Lessons Learned During October
As I continue to use and modify my daily checklists, I find myself being more deliberate in my blogging. One area I need to work on is reviewing the amazing amount of data for my site in Google Analytics. Thanks to a new ebook about Google Analytics Dashboards from my blogging friend Clare of The Super Mommy Club, I have 12 new dashboards for data mining. I’ve already revised my pinning schedule for my best times, and modified my site posting times. I’ve added specific stat checking tasks to my daily checklist to make sure I stay focused on my goals.
Clare’s $15 ebook with 12 downloadable dashboards for your site covers:
- Key blog stats – pageviews and visitor numbers at your fingertips
- Realtime stats – check the pulse of your traffic throughout the day
- AdSense – find out which posts are generating the most income
- Best times to post on social media – the best times for your blog, not the average blog
- Demographics of your readers – so you can get inside their minds
- Email – how well is your newsletter performing?
- Engagement – which channels send the most engaged readers?
- Referrers – which social networks and other bloggers send you the most readers?
- SEO and Bounce Rate – what keywords are you ranking for, and which posts are not sticky enough?
- Social Media – which posts are social networks sending readers to, and what are your top referring pins?
- Technical – how long does it take for your posts to load, and do you have any 404 errors that need fixing?
- Traffic Sources – where is all your traffic coming from?
- Ad Networks (Adsense, BlogAds, Rivit, Sovrn, Today’s Mama): $49.78
- VigLinks: $7.00
- Infolinks: $18.17
- Escalate: $13.85
- PadSquad: $11.86
- Affiliate Income (ShareaSale, ShopHer and Commission Junction): $0
- Fresh Roasted Hosting Referral: $0
- Freelance Work: $50
I am continuing to diversify my income streams. While I haven’t made much progress adding in additional ad networks for my site, I have signed up with PadSquad for the mobile version of my site. Since I made $11.86 over 8 days, I am hoping to make at least $30 with PadSquad in November. I think I can increase that rate by letting my readers know about the new mobile version of my site.
I am going to try out a new linking company called Brand Crumb for the next 2 months to see how it looks on my site and how readers will react. Similar to VigLinks, Brand Crumb will not write over existing affiliate links. According to the site:
Crumbs do not over-ride existing hyperlinks in the text of your articles. If you have already inserted a hyperlink in the text for a brand which has a registered and active campaign with BRANDCRUMB, then crumbs will not take over or appear in place of the existing affiliate link.
For sponsored posts, I set myself a goal of applying for at least 3 each week. While I haven’t gotten one yet, I know I’m increasing my chances by applying, and I’m improving my pitches as I apply to more. I added applying for sponsored posts to my daily checklist to ensure I check out each network on a regular basis.
For November, I am going to try out a new site I found called Guide Central. Similar to Pinterest in look, Guide Central is the site for makers. Readers can search for how-to’s on their computer, phone, or tablet using the site or apps. Bloggers can create projects guides using the following guidelines:
- 6 photos and captions
- 1 descriptive title
- 1 cover image
- 1 supply list
I read on another site that each guide earns $7 when approved, and additional income when readers like the Guide. You get paid when your earnings reach $50.
As I finish up my holiday guides, I’ve been signing up for various affiliate programs through LinkShare. I just signed on with ShopHer, formerly My Savings Media. Part of my weekly and monthly planning checklists will include a daily and weekly check on affiliate programs for deals for my readers.
Starting in October, I decided to pursue freelance opportunities. I have one job currently, and I’ll be putting out the word about my service for providing round up posts complete with pinnable images to other bloggers.
- Fresh Roasted Hosting (paid in full in June $125.31): $10.44 monthly
- Virtual Assistant: $60
- Viral Tag: $5.60
- Feedblitz: $4.95
- CoSchedule: $5
- Giveaway: $15
- Inlinkz: $19.99 (yearly fee)
Net Income: $39.82
Follower Stats for October
- Facebook: 2,453
- Twitter: 2,087
- Pinterest: 4,011
- Google+: 868
- Instagram: 416
- YouTube: 42
- Newsletter: 429
- Pageviews: 71,106
- Unique Visitors: 14,549
Unfortunately, my traffic dipped in October from 76,106 in September. My son was hit by a hit and run driver early in the month while he was driving my car to class at the local community college. Fortunately, my son was okay; unfortunately my car was not. While it was in the shop for 3 weeks, I had to drive my son to class which reduced my blogging time by a day each week.
With things back to normal and the new detailed information from my Google Dashboards, I will be focusing on building my Pinterest and Facebook traffic while rebuilding my traffic from participating in linky parties.
Audience Overview for October 2014
Where the traffic came from in October 2014
November Blogging Goals
- Continue working on affiliate income and sign up for several more ad networks.
- Try out Guide Central using already published projects from my site.
- Use the information in my new Google Dashboards for social media promotion, Adsense monetization, and content creation.
What are your November blogging goals?