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Hey there! This marks the 10th straight month that I’ve posted a monthly income report for FinanceSuperhero. January turned out to be a record month for the blog (I predict it will be a short-lived record), and I couldn’t be happier.
If you’re new here, I started blogging less than two years ago. True story: it was 100% my wife’s idea. I’m a pretty stubborn person, but one day in late March I signed-up with Bluehost and started a blog.
I never expected that starting FinanceSuperhero would be a life-changing decision, to be honest.
But that is exactly what it’s been.
Over the past 21 months, I’ve learned a lot about how to help people better their lives and support my growing family at the same time. I’m no Michelle Schroeder-Gardner or Pat Flynn. But I’m improving my business model each month. And hey – everyone starts somewhere, right?
It’s exciting. And a year can make a HUGE difference!
Maybe you’re like I was a year ago at this time – a discouraged blogger searching for answers. (BTW, if you’re still looking to start a blog, open this post in a new tab for later reading!)
I know I’ve poured over hundreds of bloggers’ income reports hoping to find the secrets to profitable blogging. And most of them didn’t have the insights I needed.
That’s what I am aiming to provide with this monthly income report.
January 2018 Monthly Income Report: Stats At-a-Glance
January is historically a great month for personal finance blogs like this one. But to be honest, I was pretty nervous heading into the new year.
One year ago, January 2017, was the month I almost threw in the towel on blogging altogether. At the time, I had been averaging around $6.00 per month in earnings on my blog – and it was depressing.
But rather than quit, I decided to do something about it and enrolled in the course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I’ll be honest: this was a last-ditch effort for me. I was just about ready to throw in the towel.
What happened over the next 10 months was pretty wild and shocking to me: applying the lessons I learned led directly to significant results.
Since this is a finance blog, after all, I’ll break down the important numbers:
- I purchased Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing for $197.
- In the 10 months after completing the course, my blog has earned $11,700.
- The ROI (return on investment) isn’t a perfect calculation because I also had to put in the time and work on improving my blog, but the numbers below speak for themselves:
($11,700 – $197) / $197 = 5,839%
The takeaway: Investing in education is, beyond a shadow of doubt, the best way to begin generating revenue on your blog.
Without further delay, here is a look at the key statistics for January 2018 (i.e. what you really want to know):
Total Revenue – $3,004
Page Views – 116,910
Total Expenses – $173.88
Tailwind – $104.88 (yearly subscription)
What Worked in January
As I wrote in the previous monthly income report, my focus heading into 2018 was repurposing and refining old content.
In the long run, this has proven to be far more effective than focusing on pushing out new content every week.
By building this blog on a foundation of 8-10 evergreen (i.e. always relevant) posts, I’ve eliminated the need to worry about churning out content just for the sake of grabbing page views.
In fact, 8-10 pillar posts drive nearly 70% of my traffic. Every month. Each post has several pins on Pinterest, is primed for SEO, and written to maintain relevance for the long haul.
By taking the time to audit poorly-performing posts and optimizing them with better SEO, stronger H2 headings, actionable content, and crisp Pinterest pins, I’ve managed to revive several fairly dead posts.
Example: This example is so powerful that I’m including it again. I first published the post 7 Unmistakable Habits of the Rich in May 2017. As the graph below shows, it never really gained any traction, except for landing nearly 500 page views in July.
I spent an hour cutting down what was a rambling introduction, improving readability, and designing a few new pins for this article, and it received 6,318 page views in January.
Key takeaway for bloggers:
Don’t give up on older, under-performing content if you think the piece has potential. Refine, restrategize (yes, I’m continuing to try to make this word happen), and give it some life!
What I’m Doing to Grow My Business This Month
I set out to accomplish some pretty big goals in January when I published the year end 2017 and November/December monthly income report. I guess I like to bite off way more than I can chew.
1.) January 2018 is all about continuing to audit and improve existing content, churn out a few seasonal and evergreen posts, and develop a final outline for my course/e-book.
PASS – I published a few posts which are doing well, improved a few older posts, and actually finished the first few modules of my new finance course, Financial Foundations.
I’m really excited about Financial Foundations because I feel it is the personal finance course everyone has been waiting for. I know, I know – that sounds REALLY arrogant, but I don’t mean it to come across that way.
But for the past several years, I’ve read dozens of personal finance books and taken many personal finance courses. Some of them were pretty good, but I think almost all of them have a central flaw: they contain way too much fluff and not enough action-oriented advice.
Financial Foundations will be different.
2.) I’m excited to expand the horizons of my business and do more to help other bloggers grow their businesses. To that end, I’m going to begin creating more content and guides to help bloggers build traffic, create better content, and optimize existing content.
FAIL – Not much to say about this. Ambition got the best of me, for sure. I’ll try to do better in the next few months.
Goals for February
Things really start to change when you view a blog as a business. For me, I realized that my business needs to evolve with the times. Hanging my hat on what got me this far with FinanceSuperhero isn’t going to work long-term.
Here’s what I’m doing to grow this month:
1.) Grow the FinanceSuperhero Facebook page.
Up until now, this page has been embarrassingly bad. Numbers are low, engagement is poor, and to be honest, I have ignored Facebook because it wasn’t working for me.
This month, I’m testing a few Facebook ads to improve my presence on this platform. It’s going well so far, but it’s definitely a learning process.
Why Facebook ads? Organic reach seems to be getting harder and harder by the month. So driving traffic to high-converting posts at a low cost-per-click is working out to be a decent substitute for pure organic growth. I’ll have much more insight on all of this in next month’s income report.
2.) Finish a few more modules in Financial Foundations.
Working on this course is a love-hate experience, but I just need to keep grinding and get it done. It’ll all be worth it when it launches later this spring.
3.) Bring in $3,000 in revenue for the second straight month.
January was a record month for the blog, but I don’t want to get complacent. I need to continue to improve conversion percentages, getting better at tracking conversions in the first place, and use my email list to generate more revenue without turning off my subscribers. Since switching over to Convertkit my open rates and click rates have improved. But it’s time to take things up a notch.
Sometimes I have to stop and pinch myself because life is pretty darn good right now. I’ve really hit my stride with my day job (music teacher), my real estate business continues to grow (sometimes it’s a second full-time job), this blog is growing every month, and my wife and I are going to welcome our first child into the world in the next few days. Soli Deo Gloria!
As I reflect, the funny thing is that I was literally afraid to start down each of the paths I mentioned above. I’m an outwardly confident person who is inwardly full of doubts. But blogging and building a business has started to change that.
I want to be 100% clear: I’m NOT succeeding with this blog because of any exceptional talent. It’s a product of hard work and doing the right things at the right time. And based on that, I truly believe almost anyone can start a successful, profitable blog if they are willing to put in the grunt work and be patient.
The joy of being your own boss and building something from scratch is hard to put into words. I took a chance and started a blog for less than $4/month and never looked back. It’s been a wild ride, and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.
Further readingCheck Out the Course That Brought Me a 5,000% ROI