Q4 was an interesting time for me and the blog. I had a lot more freelance work than I typically do and I was just generally busier towards the end of the year with social gatherings so I ended up getting a lot less done here on Swift Salary.
For example, for all of Q4, I only got 4 new posts published. Just writing that out makes me feel bad but it's just the way she goes sometimes.
Another thing that happened toward the end of Q4 (mid-November) was a Google update that gobbled up about a quarter or more of my organic search traffic. That was a bit stressful at the time, but I got over it.
Looking back now, it was almost like a bit of a test.
See, I'm typically always working on my blog, and I've wondered in the past how it would hold up without much work being done on it for a few weeks or months. Q4 allowed me to see that happen.
And the results?
Well, Swift Salary really showed me in Q4 that it has become a nice, reliable, semi-passive income source. It doesn't need to be babysat all the time in order to generate revenue, and that feels great.
Now, with that being said, do I still feel like this could all disappear at any moment? Yes of course. I'm a paranoid freak. I don't think that feeling will ever go away.
However, I do feel much more confident in the thing that I've built here and I'm happy to be sharing my Q4 results with you in this blog income report.
If you haven't already, you can read my other income reports here:
- How Much I Made In My First Year of Blogging
- Q1 2019 Income Report
- Q2 2019 Income Report
- Q3 2019 Income Report
New Things I Tried in Q4
The only really new thing that happened here in Q4 was the launch of the Swift Salary job board. This is a simple tool powered by ZipRecruiter and I decided to give it a go just to see if people would actually use it.
So far I've had about 81 clicks on job listings (which is pretty low), and those clicks have resulted in about $20 in earnings (which haven't been paid out yet).
I thought this would be an interesting way to add another income stream and some more value to my site and it's going OK so far, so I'm going to keep it up for now.
Blog Income for 2019 Q4: $5,042.66 Net Profit
All income and expenses are in Canadian dollars and I only report income that has hit my bank account.
Income Breakdown: $5,346.34 Gross Income
- Affiliate ($3,795.15 total):
- Ads ($1,551.19 total):
- Mediavine – $1,551.19
With over $5,000 in gross profit, I made more in this single quarter than I did in my entire first year of blogging. That feels amazing.
This quarter the Mediavine payments started coming in which gave my income a nice boost. I'm averaging around $500/month with ads right now which I'm quite happy with.
My affiliate income also did exceptionally well this quarter, with TranscribeAnywhere pulling in the most revenue out of all the other programs.
This shows me that my 15-Day Guide to Making Money Online (which is a free email course I released last quarter) is producing results. I also saw a sale from ProofreadAnywhere which is another course I promote in the 15-Day Guide to M.M.O. Because the course has been such a success, I'm planning to update it this year to make it even better.
All in all, I'm really happy with how diversified my income was this quarter. It's pretty scary when the majority of your money is coming from a single source, but that wasn't really the case this time around.
Expense Breakdown: $303.68
- GSuite – $21.06
- Keywords Everywhere Credits – $14.00
- Blog Simple Dashboard – $51.82
- Affinity Photo for Windows – $47.99
- Affinity Publisher for Windows – $47.99
- EaseUS Todo Backup Software – $55.99
- Pinterest Audit – $64.83
Expenses could've been even lower this quarter but I made some investments into some tools and a Pinterest audit. Here's why:
First, Keywords Everywhere. This used to be a free SEO extension for Chrome but it recently went to a paid model. I use it all the time so I purchased 100,000 credits to see if it was worth it, and so far I'm happy with it. I purchased the credits in October and I still have over 70,000 left.
Blog Simple Dashboard is a new product from Paul Scrivens that is meant to make tracking blog tasks and knowing what to do next with your blog a lot easier. I thought this was genius so I purchased it right away, but I have yet to set it up. I'm going to implement it in 2020.
Affinity Photo and Publisher are both design software. I've had Affinity Designer for the longest time and I saw Photo and Publisher go on sale so I bit the bullet. No ragrets here. Seriously though, these are great pieces of software (best adobe competitors in my eyes) and one time purchases so super good value.
Backup software explains itself. Got to have backups!
And finally, the Pinterest audit is something I'm still waiting to hear the results of. I purchased it because my Pinterest game is lacking and I simply wanted an outside opinion to see where I could improve. One of my goals of 2019 was to increase my Pinterest traffic to 20k pageviews/month and I failed at that so hopefully, the audit helps.
Traffic Breakdown: 105,800 Pageviews
So as you can see, right around the beginning of November, I had a traffic spike one day, and then a massive drop the next. This is the result of the Google update I was talking about.
All in all, I had 22,969 fewer pageviews in Q4 than I had in Q3. Not a devastating loss, but definitely a noticeable amount.
It's funny too because in my Q3 income report I even mentioned how it scared me a bit that almost all of my traffic was coming from Google. I guess I wasn't just being paranoid after all.
Now, unlike some others, I didn't rush to try to “fix” my site to get my traffic back. I honestly just left it hoping that I'd recover naturally. Now as I write this in 2020 I'm starting to see some of my traffic come back, but it's too early to tell if it's going to be permanent just yet.
This is just another reason why I believe it's so important to start building an email list as soon as you're getting traffic. That way, you have a potential revenue source even if all of your traffic disappears overnight. No one can just take your email list from you.
Oh, and there is good news in all of this:
Even though I did have fewer people on my site, Q4 was still my most profitable quarter yet. Goes to show that more pageviews don't always equal more money.
Email List: 873 Subscribers
Ever since I launched my M.M.O. email course I've been gaining about ~100-200 new active subscribers a month. How? I've plastered an email opt-in on all relevant blog posts so it's easy to see and sign up for.
Keep in mind, it's not annoying or too disrupting, it's just there for people to see. They can easily scroll past if they'd like, and I don't do any email opt-in popups.
If you're a blogger looking to grow your email list, make an opt-in offer and make it visible. If it's not, how is anyone supposed to sign up?
Now, one thing I've learned from having a nice subscriber flow these past months is that getting ACTIVE subscribers is a lot harder than getting sign-ups. Right now, I have more unconfirmed email addresses than I do active subscribers. Worst of all, I'm not even sure how to fix this, or why it's even happening.
Do people just enter their email address and then decide not to confirm their signup? Do they accidentally enter the wrong address? Are my messages going to spam? This is something I'll have to look into.
For now, I've tried making it more clear in my opt-in that the subscriber must check their inbox for a confirmation email. Hopefully, that helps a bit.
P.S. For anyone wondering, I use MailerLite for all my email needs.
Goals Going Forward
I'm going to be writing down my big goals for 2020 in my complete 2019 blog income report, so keep an eye out for that! I'll be updating this post once it's released.
When I started this blog in October of 2017, I dreamed of making $1,000 in a month. Now I've done it.
On top of that, my blog survived a big test this quarter:
With the least amount of work being done on it, it held up and actually generated the most money in a single quarter than ever before.
That's a pretty damn cool feeling.
While I was working on freelance things and trading my time for money, my blog was working in the background, making money without me even touching it – even while I was asleep.
This is the beautiful thing about starting a blog.
If you'd like to experience the same thing, whether that's earning extra money while you're at your 9-5, or quitting your 9-5 altogether and working from home, I highly recommend learning how to start a blog that makes money.
If you want a COMPLETE guide, sign up for my FREE 10-Day Blogging For Beginners Course:
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I'm trying to help as many people as possible with this blog but I need your help to help more people (lots of helping). Thank you!