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Welcome to my October 2017 Income Report! I’m happy to share with you an inside look at how I’m growing my business and be open about my successes and failures.
My goal is to give you 100% value and 0% fluff with this post.
Blogging for profit is a constant learning process, and hey – if you’re reading this, it’s a process that you’re pretty heavily invested in yourself.
Or maybe you’d like to be earning money with your blog. (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 sadly, most of those income reports read like regurgitations of affiliate programs. Many of them made outright false claims.
But a few actually are transparent about what works, what doesn’t, and how the blogger plans to grow his or her business moving forward.
That’s what I am aiming to provide with this income report.
In the blogging business model, some months are up and some months are down. But there are always lessons to be learned.
October 2017 Stats: At-a-Glance
October was a nice month for FinanceSuperhero. The theme of the month was survival.
After several weeks of school under my belt (if you’re visiting for the first time, my full-time job is teaching public school music), my real estate business (job number 2) kicked into high-gear. This was a great problem to have, but for the second straight month, the time I had available to grow my blogging business suffered.
That said, I still made time to keep my blog moving forward. Here is a look at the key statistics (i.e. what you really want to know):
Next month, I’ll feature a side-by-side comparison of month-to-month statistics.
What Worked This Month
Two words: evergreen content.
I published two posts in October, and one was a guest post. This level of inactivity is often the death knell for many blogs.
But my page views increased by 12% over the previous month.
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, these 8-10 pillar posts drive nearly 70% of my traffic.
Each post has several pins on Pinterest, is primed for SEO, and written to maintain relevance for the long haul.
Key takeaway #1:
If you’re a blogger, you need to start with a core group of well-written, timeless posts, and promote them consistently.
Quality beats quantity. Every time.
What you will gain by implementing this strategy:
Building a solid base of evergreen content won’t happen overnight, especially if you’re a newer blogger.
But if you put in the time, your core posts – or pillar posts, as some bloggers call them – will continue to drive traffic and income for months and even years after you hit “publish.”
Here’s an example. I published a post, A Detailed Guide to the Zero-Based Budget, on April 4, 2016. It was my fifth post on this blog. For months, this post was pretty pedestrian at best.
But in April 2017 – one year after I published it – the post **exploded**. As you can see in the graph below from my Google Analytics account, the post continues to do very well for me.
And don’t let the Page Value in the chart fool you. I estimate this post has generated over $3,000 in income in the past year.
Evergreen content is one of the best forms of passive income.
What Didn’t Work This Month
A little clarity is needed before outlining this month’s failures.
Sometimes I need to pause and pinch myself because it still seems surreal to be making money blogging.
When I started this blog, I had no idea what I was doing. And full disclosure – I almost quit after about six months. And again a few months later.
Things only started to click for me when I quit trying to do everything on the fly through trial-and-error. I had to humble myself and figure out what I was doing wrong.
This month I realized that I’m at this place again in the evolution and growth of my business.
Some cold, hard reflection showed me that one major things wasn’t working:
My pins on Pinterest weren’t good enough.
A review of my “Best of FinanceSuperhero” board showed a trend that concerned me. My pins went from downright horrible to decent after a few months of activity on Pinterest – and then they never really progressed beyond that level.
So I got to work on creating new pins.
Compare some of my earlier pins. . .
. . . to pins made in the past few weeks . . .
Key Takeaway #2:
Mediocre pins or even straight up bad pins used to drive traffic, but not anymore.
You need to get serious about creating several visually appealing, curiosity-inducing pins that compel readers to click, read, and repin.
As more and more bloggers step up their game on Pinterest, this is one of the best ways to elevate yourself above the competition in your niche.
What you will gain by implementing this strategy:
The formula is simple. Better pins and growing traffic lead to more satisfied readers and increased income.
I have never taken a Pinterest design course, but the following principles have helped me improve my pin designs over time.
1) Less is more. Busy pins don’t get clicks.
2) Pick two or three complimentary colors and implement them tastefully.
3) Crisp and stunning images will cause pinners to pause as they scroll through their Smart Feed and give your pins a second look. And it doesn’t always matter if your images relate to your niche.
4) Always use clean and simple fonts to write compelling titles. If pinners can’t read your title easily, they’ll keep scrolling.
If you don’t give pinners a compelling reason to click, they won’t.
What I’m Doing to Grow My Business This Month
This month is all about rebranding FinanceSuperhero on Pinterest.
I am continuously rolling out new pins and updating existing content on the blog to give readers what they want.
My other priority is studying email list options to improve subscriber acquisition and open rates. My lead magnets need some graphic renovation to match the branding of my pins on Pinterest.
As they say, the money is in the list!
Key Takeaway #3:
Your email list is the one thing that your site host and social media can’t take away from you. You own your list.
But getting people to fork over their email address requires convincing on your part. You need to give them a compelling reason to trust you and believe that you’ll provide the value you claim to provide in your lead magnets.
What You Will Gain From Implementing This Strategy:
This one is simple: loyal readers, their trust, traffic, and income.
If you haven’t started an email list, the easiest way to start is with Mailchimp. I have found their interface very easy to use, and if you’re a newer blogger on a budget, their service will help you get the job done until you’re ready to upgrade to Convertkit or a similar service.
Thanks for reading my October 2017 Income Report! I hope you learned something new to help you grow your blog and business!