Another month is in the books… for what’s shaping up to be a pretty unprecedented year, with so much change going on across the world.
I’ve found that a lot more of my time lately has been going toward finding ways I can help better support people through initiatives like my blog scholarship program (which I ended up extending to 6 bloggers that I’ve been actively working with almost daily over these past few weeks) and making more time for deeper Q&A with my readers here. I’ve stayed busy creating more free resources and downloadable assets for readers than ever, too. It feels like there’s always more to do, but it’s also been a very positive experience seeing how resilient we are in this challenging time.
These times have reminded me that I have a lot to be grateful for, and that I’ve benefited immensely by investing in myself over the years—growing my blog business into an asset that’s providing a good measure of financial stability. Blog income for April came in at $28,700.06. Traffic increased a sizable amount too, bringing in 337,124 readers and 421,169 unique sessions.
Now, let’s dig into the numbers for April… blog income rose a little bit over the previous month, landing far beyond my forecast range thanks to increased affiliate commissions from my guide about how to start a blog and another month of increased enrollments in my comprehensive blogging course, Built to Blog: How to Get Your First 10,000 Readers and Earn Six-Figures Blogging.
Overall, I generated $28,700.06 in blog income during April of 2020.
Expenses went a little higher this month as I wanted to keep my writers as busy as they wanted to be—which built up my buffer of new content in the pipeline. Profit for April came in at $21,262.60.
The Forecast 🌤: For May, I’m anticipating a pretty decent increase in blog income, expecting to land in the range of $28,000 – $33,000 or possibly higher depending upon the timing of some payouts. Income is likely to keep rising a bit over the coming months as I continue benefiting from traffic gains, spend more time beefing up my existing content and weaving in new affiliate promotions throughout my content. May will go back to being lighter on expenses as I stay somewhat lean with everything going on in the world, and I stay focused mostly on content updates.
Now, on to the details of my April blog income report…
Blog Income in April 2020: $28,700.06
In these monthly reports, I track my total income every month, including each individual source of that income, and associated expenses with running my business. This is the good and the bad.
Next, I break down the traffic to my blog which heavily impacts my income, including what’s performing best and how I’m working to drive in more readers. I also cover how many email subscribers I’m at, the number of new subscribers acquired during the month, and what that growth trajectory looks like.
Finally, I cover updates on any other side projects I’m working on for the month.
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Blog Income Breakdown for April 2020
Freelance Clients & Sponsorships
Tax Preparation (CPA)
Travel, Office Supplies & Misc
AT&T Service Plan (iPhone)
Transaction and Processing Fees
Net Profit Breakdown
Now, on to my blog and email-related statistics for April.
2. Blog Stats for April 2020: 337,124 Sessions and 139,941 Total Email Subscribers
April saw a pretty sizable boost in traffic over March, as almost all of my key organic search rankings climbed a bit higher, suggesting a pretty positive outlook for May as well. Still, if there’s any constant I’ve come to expect—it’s that change and volatility are still the new normal in today’s digital environment, so diversification is key 🙂
Again this month, a very positive signal I’m continuing to see… is that almost all of my long-form blogging-related content that I’ve worked extremely hard to publish this past year are still continuing to climb higher up the first page of search results for their target keyword phrases (suggesting there’s a lot of strong potential for growth throughout this year).
The overarching theme I’ve learned though, is that this is truly a long game… and I’m investing much more than ever before into a more strategic content roadmap that should lead to stronger future performance around more profitable content (with less dependance on traffic).
My blog is also now driving a higher volume of traffic to a much greater number of different articles (and revenue sources) than this time last year. During April of last year, I was actually getting more overall site traffic, but it was mostly to about ~5 key articles that I began relying very heavily on for performance. After seeing some volatility with those search rankings, I started publishing new content like crazy and working very hard to spread my traffic out amongst a much greater number of articles… and I’m now starting to see similar levels of traffic again, but this time to more like ~15 to 20 different articles (which translates into more diverse revenue sources too).
I was up in Sessions from March by 20.37% as traffic climbed pretty significantly. Pageviews rose to 558,072.
Overall, I’m down 16.68% in traffic year-over-year compared to April of 2019, which was one of my best months ever in terms of traffic. Still, my most read articles continue to deliver traffic from organic search—and my newest content is consistently climbing in organic search rankings as well. I’m in a pretty positive position considering my key priorities and intense focus I have on increased revenue from my existing traffic.
Here are my top 15 most trafficked posts from April, ranked in descending order of which drove the most readers:
With April seeing traffic rise pretty dramatically, readers to my 25,000+ word guide, How to Start a Blog and Make Money increased pretty significantly too—which still holds rankings in organic search for competitive terms like how to start a blog, how to blog and such.
And as per usual, when more readers land on that guide… more are joining my free course, How to Build a Blog in 7 Days and are offered an opportunity to join my more comprehensive paid Built to Blog course that’ll help them level up their blogging journey even more.
Also in April, I published two new long-form articles for my growing audience of bloggers:
The majority of my “content time” last month again went to updating and expanding my biggest, most important guides—along with still fixing the formatting of some pages (as a side effect of my now finished blog redesign).
My plan is to keep publishing a steady stream of in-depth, highly actionable content for bloggers this month—and moving forward into the future.
This is all with the continued long-term goal of signaling to Google that my site is primarily about blogging and I’m expecting that to keep delivering more readers looking for tactical blogging advice over the long haul… and I have to remind myself that this is a long-term investment 💪
2. Email Subscribers.
I’ve used ConvertKit to manage my email subscriber community and deliver my emails for several years now and I absolutely love the product.
April saw the addition of 3,472 subscribers to my community with my total email list growing to 139,941 subscribers.
This was a positive turnaround in subscriber growth compared to the past couple of months, with a few key articles getting more traffic than than they’d seen in the beginning of the year (lots of little Google algorithm updates are still happening right now, which sends me fluctuations in organic traffic).
On top of that, I’m also still seeing the downstream effects of a new email subscriber verification tool I started using, called DeBounce—which guarantees only real, authentic email addresses are used to sign up for my list… thereby increasing the quality of my email subscribers and ensuring that no fake, spam or questionable email addresses are used to sign up for my community. That tool alone has already caught (and stopped) hundreds of suspicious email addresses from joining my list.
Still, many of my new subscribers came from my influx of blogging-related content and free downloads—which is my ultimate goal to keep focused on, as that’s the niche I’m doubling down on serving.
Much of my new subscriber growth continues to be fueled by my free course, Build a Blog in 7 Days which is well-optimized for both affiliate revenue—and for offering my more advanced paid course (Built to Blog).
3. Blog Scholarship Update
Working with the 6 people I chose to support with my blog scholarship program has been incredible so far, with a few already seeing some meaningful results in just 2 weeks of working together! And because this mentorship program & group community has been going so well, I want to share regular updates with everyone here, each month.
Here’s a quick snapshot from the Slack group we have together, showing some of the results Heather (of the sourdough baking blog, Leavenly) has already seen from starting to promote her content on Pinterest (something we talked about in our first 1-on-1 call together). Pinterest had never been on Heather’s radar as a promotional channel for her blog—and one of my first recommendations was that we change that!
“We only started pinning about two weeks ago. One of our pins started to take off and I saw traffic to the blog triple overnight. As a result, my daily sign-ups more than doubled and it looks like the traffic is holding steady.”
On top of Heather’s quick win with Pinterest already, we’re also working to update several of her key articles, plan out a strategic content roadmap for the coming months—and she’s beginning to pitch guest posts to several blogs in her niche this week too. Heather’s guide about how to make sourdough bread is seriously epic, so that’s going to be a major focus to get more traffic to this year.
And plenty of other wins are also happening in the group already…
- Pradip (of the product management blog, The Product Angle), was recently asked to write a guest blog post for a prominent publication/community in his niche—and we’ve been strategizing on exactly how he can scale up his guest blogging efforts while keeping pace with the rest of his blog’s priorities. One of the guides we’ll be working to rank higher on Pradip’s site is his tutorial about building practical negotiation skills (for product people).
- Corey, who runs the productivity blog Quickbooost, is also focusing 100% of his efforts this month on guest blogging to build up his blog’s domain authority. We set activity goals—so he’ll be identifying 10 prospective blogs & publications (with high authority) and sending them an email pitch we’re crafting together, to see how many guest posts he can land in just one month. Stay tuned for an update on his campaign! Here’s one of Corey’s most epic (updated) article about how to be productive.
- Dina, the insanely talented calligrapher behind Dina Calligraphy is planning out the details of migrating her blog from Squarespace over to WordPress, so that she can (soon) start scaling up her own content publishing efforts. We’re also strategizing on an influencer and blogger outreach campaign that’ll serve as a foundation for building relationships with several of the top calligraphers, hand lettering artists and designers in her niche. From there, we’ve got a plan for activating those relationships into win-win content promotion opportunities. One of the articles we’ll be promoting is her guide about how to write a calligraphy business plan.
- Kyle, one half of the team behind Nimble Bar, where they’ve built a pretty impressive online bartender training business already, is working hard on a few key long-form content updates we identified—which should help their site pretty quickly climb the organic search rankings for a few of their most crucial keyword phrases. We’re simultaneously starting to do some outreach to a small handful of high authority blogs with either a carefully curated guest post pitch or a more PR-driven angle based on their quick success transitioning their business to being primarily online this past year. We’ll be working hard to rank his guide about how to become a bartender higher in organic search, thus bringing in more targeted readers over the coming months.
- Hannah and her husband Ned over at The Making Life, have already experimented with a pretty fruitful strategy that combines their written blog posts with longer-form videos on their YouTube channel, so we’re identifying a handful of key articles to update (make more in-depth from a writing perspective) and also create video content to live side-by-side with those articles. We’ve also started to look at potential blogs in the maker/crafting/DIY niche that they can pitch on guest posting, and we’ll be sending some of those pitches soon! Check out her recent article on how to plant a vegetable garden.
This has seriously been some of the most rewarding work I’ve done recently, and I’m super grateful to be pitching in (even in just a small way) to the growth of a few hard-working bloggers. Stay tuned for more updates on how everyone’s doing over the coming months!
And as a quick aside, I’ve been getting more into Scrabble these days… so I started tinkering on a new side project with my friend, Andy (who runs SmartWP with me). It’s called Word Finder Pro and we’re hoping to eventually make the most robust Scrabble word finder tool on the Internet.
That’s it for my April blog income report.
I’m still on a break from recording new podcast episodes as my attention goes primarily to producing more standout written content (along with auditing & updating my existing content library) and eventually into more videos for my YouTube channel. Once the time is right though, my goal is to bring the podcast back with a new focus and format around providing the most actionable blogging advice out there. Stay tuned for updates on that!
As we covered at the beginning of this report, I’m predicting blog income to rise a bit during May, landing between $28,000 – $33,000 as I experience the downstream benefits of traffic increases positively impacting my revenue as well. My main focus still remains on publishing more in-depth blogging content that’ll pay off over the course of the coming months (and years).
If you’re looking for some additional reading to help grow your own blog, I’m always updating my ultimate guide to building and scaling a profitable blog right here that I’d love for you to read 😊