Last year around this time I wrote my first blog income report ever (check it out here). Now it's time for my YEAR TWO blog income report.
This report is going to summarize my entire second year of blogging. I'm going to break down my income and expenses, I'm going to talk about new things I did to grow the blog, the mistakes I made, my blog stats, and more.
And I'll be honest with you right now:
I thought I'd be farther along with the blog at this point. I'm happy with where I am, I just thought I'd be doing even better.
Time has been flying ever since I started this blog and I feel like I've been racing to grow and help as many people as possible. It definitely hasn't been an easy journey so far, but it sure has been rewarding.
Check out my quarterly 2019 blog income reports for more month-to-month info:
- How I Made $991.58 Blogging in the 1st Quarter of 2019
- How I Made $1192.18 Blogging in the 2nd Quarter of 2019
- How I Made $3,696.09 Blogging in the 3rd Quarter of 2019
- How I Made $5,346.34 Blogging in the 4th Quarter of 2019
New Things I Did in My 2nd Year
I can't list every single little thing I did for my blog in the last year, but these are the new things I started doing that I believe made the biggest impact on my growth:
- Started using HARO – HARO aka Help A Reporter Out is a site that connects journalists with sources, and I've used it a lot this year to get my blog featured on different sites. I try to submit a few responses a week, and I've had about 10-15 features.
- Got a few guest posts – I accepted a few guest posts in 2019 and it was nice to have some new voices on the blog. I'm looking for more personal finance bloggers to contribute in 2020 so if that's you, check out my guest post guidelines.
- Released a free Make Money Online email course – This was a huge one. After taking a look at my traffic and realizing I was getting a ton of readers interested in making money, I created this course as a free opt-in to really provide a ton of value in one area. This has increased the growth of my email list a ton. I should have made it way earlier.
- Worked a lot on my email list in general – The past year I've been consistently emailing my subscribers almost every week, and I've been sending out a monthly newsletter as well. This has been a lot more work than I thought it would be and it's causing me to spend less time writing blog posts, but hopefully, it pays off.
Now, you may look at the list above and think, “Well damn, this guy didn't do shit all year!”
Here's the truth for blogging and running a business in general:
You spend a lot of time doing a lot of the same things.
For blogging, that includes updating old posts, writing new posts, promoting posts, writing emails, managing social media, fixing site problems, networking, doing research, etc.
If you're thinking of starting a blog yourself, you NEED to know this. Here's why:
The hardest part of blogging is getting up and being willing to do that same (sometimes boring) stuff every single day in order to push the needle further.
This is probably the reason why most bloggers quit early on. At first, you think it's going to be all fun and games, but there's a lot of not-so-fun parts of running a blog.
That being said, there are a lot of awesome parts of blogging too. I love creating content and helping others. That's what keeps me going. (The money is a nice perk too, not going to lie.)
All I'm saying is, you need to be willing to do the crappy stuff if you want to make it in this blogging world. A lot of people like to make it seem like it's all rainbows and butterflies, but it's really not. It's hard work.
Ok, now that that's out of the way, let's get to the fun stuff:
Blog Income for Year 2: $9,438.20 Net Profit
I only record income that has hit my bank account and all numbers are in Canadian dollars.
Income Breakdown: $11,226.19 Gross Income
With $11,226.19 gross income, I averaged about $935/month. So close to $1,000/month! This is of course even less when expenses are factored in but it's still interesting to see.
- Affiliate Income (Total: $9,518.17):
- ShareASale – $870.05
- FlexOffers – $127.09
- MaxBounty – $2,206.06
- Panthera – $1,038.44
- AdBloom – $647.99
- Impact Radius – $134.45
- TranscribeAnywhere – $1,439.27
- $5 Meal Plan – $25.27
- VIPKid – $385.05
- MagicEars – $198.17
- ProofreadAnywhere – $198.26
- Rakuten – $165.55
- Mylo – $1,825.00
- Respondent.io – $25.08
- Qmee – $5.19
- Checkout 51 – $227.25
- Ad Income (Total: $1,708.02):
- Media.net – $156.83
- Mediavine – $1,551.19
One thing I'm really happy with about my income this year is how diversified it was. It may be coming primarily from affiliates, but the income is spread out over many different services and products.
Expense Breakdown: $1,787.99
I'm pretty happy with how low I kept my expenses this year. Most of my money just went towards services, tools, and courses, which are all great investments in my mind.
The services/tools, well, some of them I need in order to keep my blog running, and others just save me time or make things easier.
The courses help me learn and grow which ends up increasing my income anyway.
- Gsuite – $78.05
- Grammarly – $186.85
- Content Views Pro (blog layout plugin) – $25.69
- Pretty Links Pro (amazing affiliate link manager for WordPress) – $81.16
- AppSumo (Deposit Photos Offer) – $128.49
- Freepik – $118.73
- Tailwind (Pinterest automator must-have) – $226.71
- SiteGround Hosting (my favorite web host) – $338.69
- KeywordsEverywhere (awesome keyword research tool) – $14.00
- Blog Simple Dashboard (blog management tool) – $51.82
- Affinity Photo (Windows) – $47.99
- Affinity Publisher (Windows) – $47.99
- Business Registration – $71.50
- Think Build Blog Course (programming course) – $132.84
- Blog Simple Framework (fantastic beginner blogging course) – $65.27
- DTC 100k Walkthrough (advanced online business course) – $64.55
- DTC Pre-Nutloaf Challenge Access – $51.67
- EaseUS Todo Backup Software – $55.99
- Pinterest Audit – $64.83
If you want to learn more about blogging and online business in general, I highly recommend his courses. They're what I started with and they've helped me grow my blog from the very beginning. I owe a lot of my success to them.
If you're a bit further into blogging and interested in creating a product and optimizing your online business, go for DTC.
Traffic Breakdown: 406,445 Pageviews
So close to half a million page views! Looking at my traffic now, it's a bit disappointing to see that after the November traffic dip, I really didn't improve much at all from the start of the year.
Granted, it's good that my traffic stayed consistent, but I would've liked to see a bit more growth than I did. Clearly, I need to focus more on publishing new content and updating my old content in order to improve my SEO rankings and traffic.
Email List: 873 Subscribers
I started out 2019 with 114 active subscribers and ended off with 873. I'm pretty happy with this as I only started really focusing on my list about halfway through the year.
As you can see from the growth chart above, I went from 297 subscribers in August to 873 in December, equating to about 144 new subscribers/month. Not bad!
The biggest thing I can attribute to my subscriber growth in the past year was creating a relevant opt-in and actually getting it in front of people. I made a “Make money online” opt-in, put a subscription box on relevant blog posts, and bam – subscribers started slowly rolling in.
Here are my stats for the entire year:
Pretty decent I'd say! I'm happy with my average open rate and click rate, but I still have a lot of work to do with my subscription rate.
If you're wondering what types of emails I send my subscribers, well, a lot of what I do is just me experimenting – and that's what I recommend you do too.
As you experiment more and more, you'll learn which type of emails work for your audience and which don't. Sure, you may get some unsubscribes, but that's really not a big deal as long as you're learning.
To give you some ideas, here are the types of emails I send my list:
- Monthly newsletter – This is a mashup of new posts I've published, articles I find on the internet, interesting surveys, and other random money-related things.
- Money Tip Tuesday – This is a little series I do with weekly money-saving tips.
- Course emails – I have multiple email courses and they get great engagement.
Reflecting On My 2019 Goals
Back when I published my first-year income report, I wrote some blogging goals that I wanted to accomplish in year two. Having the goals public for everyone to see was honestly a bit nerve-wracking, but it also kept me motivated.
I always recommend having goals for any endeavor you embark on. For example, setting financial goals is one of the most important parts of personal finance in my mind.
If you don't write down your goals and have something to aim for, you're just kind of hoping for the best.
Here were the blogging goals I wrote down last year:
- Get into MediaVine (need 25,000 PV/month) – I hit this one in Q3 of 2019 and I was PUMPED. This has provided a very nice stable income so far.
- Grow my Pinterest more – This one I didn't do so well with. My Pinterest game needs work and I've thought about hiring a Pinterest assistant but I'm not sure it's worth it at the moment. I did purchase a Pinterest audit recently though, but I'm still waiting to hear the results.
- Make $1,000/month with affiliate marketing – I had 5 months in 2019 where I made over $1,000, but this was with some ad income included. I'm happy with this but I know I can do better.
- Make $2,000 in one month – My blog made over $2,000 in October of 2019 which sort of blew my mind. Hoping to make this sort of income more consistently in 2020.
So there we have it. I didn't set a ton of goals, but this was what was most important to me back at the start of the year. Glad to see that I accomplished basically everything (…damn Pinterest).
Blogging Goals for 2020
Since it went so well last year, I figured I'd set some new blogging goals for 2020. This time I'm stepping things up a bit.
Here we go:
- Make $2,000/month average – Last year I wanted to make $1,000/month consistently, now I'm going to try to double that.
- Release a product – I've been talking about this for long enough. 2020 is the year I release a product, even if it's something as simple as a printable. I won't rush this goal though just for the sake of completing it – the product needs to be high-quality and valuable.
- Publish an average of 4 posts a month – I need to really get into a better routine of publishing posts. This is something I know I can do.
- Upload 12 Youtube videos – My Youtube channel is really new but 2020 is the year I plan on focusing more of my energy into it. One video a month seems doable.
- Get a paid sponsored post – This is another thing I've talked about in the past but not put enough effort into. 2020 is the year I get at least one paid sponsored post from a sponsor I actually want to work with. To do this, I need to work on a press kit for Swift Salary.
And I'm going to leave it there. If I can accomplish all five of those goals in 2020, I'll be really happy.
Now you may be wondering – how did I come up with those goals? Or why did I choose those goals? Well, if you didn't notice, 4/5 of those goals are completely in my control. The “Make $2,000/month average” goal is the only one that is slightly out of my control.
Sure, I can do my best to make $2,000/month average, but ultimately, I can't control my income.
The other four goals are the important ones though. If I can accomplish those, the $2,000/month goal should follow. Also, by having four goals completely in my control, even if I don't hit the $2,000/month goal, as long as I hit the other four goals I'll be happy.
So that's my advice to you: Focus on the things you can control instead of obsessing over the things you can't.
Where I Think I Could Have Done Better in 2019
Ok, so I mentioned above that I thought I could have done better than I did this year. I got a lot done and I'm proud of what I accomplished, but there was definitely room for improvement. (I think there's always room for improvement.)
Here are the areas where I think I could've done better:
One big area where I think I could've done better was with blogger outreach. I think it's good to talk to other bloggers in the same niche but it's something I pretty much never do. Even as I write this out now I'm not sure how to really get started with this in 2020.
Maybe I'll make it a habit to start commenting on other blogs. Or maybe I'll start using Twitter more. I'm not really sure yet.
Why do I think this is important?
I think every blog niche has a community out there, and being apart of it gets you more known and therefore opens up opportunities.
There's a reason one of my big goals for 2020 is to start publishing Youtube videos consistently. I started my channel in 2019 and uploaded a couple of videos, but I really wish I had done more with it.
Why do I think this is important?
I think video is one of the best ways to connect with an audience. It's also a great place to get additional blog traffic, and it can become another revenue source in the future.
I'm pretty hard on myself when it comes to productivity. It's an area that I try to improve upon every single year. Right now I'm using a mix of different productivity methods to try to improve here.
Why do I think this is important?
More productivity = getting more done = more people helped and more money made. Being productive is an essential work from home skill to have.
Doing the quarterly income reports in 2019 was a fun experience for me. Even though they don't get a ton of traffic, I'm hoping someone out there is getting value from these.
If you want to learn more about making money blogging, I've put together a FREE 10-Day Blogging for Beginners Course that I highly recommend checking out if you're new to blogging. I've basically poured everything I know into the course and it will set you on the right track to making $1,000/month with a blog:
I plan on continuing my quarterly income reports in 2020 so be on the lookout for a new report at the end of March!
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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 (lot's of helping). Thanks a lot - you're awesome!