In this report, I’ll be looking back at my progress for May and sharing with you what worked, what didn’t, and what I’ll be focusing on next month.
This is my second month posting my progress and income report, and my third full month blogging.
If you missed my First Ever Blog Progress and Income Report where I talked about how I made $148.28 in my first two months as a brand new blogger, then feel free to check it out to follow my blogging journey right from the start.
Why I’m Sharing My Blog Progress And Income Report
Some of you may be wondering why I want to share my monthly blog progress and income report, so please allow me to enlighten you.
Note: If this isn’t your first time reading my blog income and progress reports, feel free to skip ahead to the next section titled “The Numbers”
When I first started A Cure for Monday, I had three main goals:
- Make money (yes, I set out to monetize right from the beginning);
- Find out if blogging is actually something I’m passionate about and would want to do long-term (hint: so far, all signs point to yes); and
- Share the knowledge I pick up along the way (I also want to help others escape the 9 to 5).
I have always found the best way to achieve your goals is to share them publicly, so this is me… sharing.
But it’s not only about that.
I want to document this journey of mine, right from the start, with the hope that it will inspire others to go after what they want in life, regardless of the perceived hurdles.
To sum it all up, I have three primary reasons for sharing my blog progress and income reports:
#1 – Because I Love Reading Them (And Hope You Do Too)
I’ve been reading blog progress and income reports from a number of successful bloggers for years and I absolutely love them. Even before I started blogging myself, I’ve always found blog income reports fascinating.
Income reports from blogs like Making Sense or Cents and Well Kept Wallet helped keep me motivated and focused back in 2016 when I was aggressively paying down my student debt. Even today, they continue to inspire me to keep on pushing my limits and working towards my goals.
When I first started A Cure for Monday, I knew that I would post progress and income reports for the blog, right from the early days.
Much like my favorite bloggers, I want to document the journey and show how it’s entirely possible to create a life you love and not be dependent on the standard 9 to 5 that takes so much from so many of us.
I’m not there yet, but one day I will be and I want to be able to look back on the journey and see how far I’ve come. I also hope that you, dear reader, find some value in what I learn and share along the way and use that knowledge to find your own freedom.
#2 – To Be Transparent
I’m a huge fan of knowledge sharing and collaboration. When I find a product that I love or a new strategy that works, you bet I’m going to share it.
So often I read about these bloggers making thousands of dollars per month, but with no real details on how they got there (unless you want to pay for it).
I hope that by sharing my own journey honestly and providing a transparent view into what works for me and what doesn’t, it will help others make progress along the same path.
I am starting my blog progress and income reports now, instead of waiting for months until A Cure for Monday is fully established because I want to show the full journey – not just the story from those that have already made it.
#3 – Because I Suck At Remembering The Details
Ok…so this reason is a little bit selfish.
While I love trying new things and making progress, I often forget to stop and reflect on how far I’ve come so far and what I did to get there.
By publishing a regular blog progress and income report, I will be creating a record of what I did at a certain point in time and how I did it.
This will not only help me be forward-looking and figure out my goals and next steps but will also allow me to look back in 6 or 12 months time (or even longer) and see what worked and what didn’t.
This will also help me help those of you that are newer to blogging and want more information on how to get started…right from the start.
A Little More About A Cure for Monday
Before we dive too much into numbers and strategies and the like, I want to give you a bit more information about A Cure for Monday and my blogging journey so far.
My progress from the very beginning looks something like this:
- I originally purchased my domain name, hosting, and theme back in April 2018, had a bit of a poke around in WordPress, then found myself super busy with work and promptly forgot about my site for a good 10 months.
- In early February 2019, I had a serious reality check that made me re-think my life and what’s important to me. I won’t go into details here, but it made me realize just how unhappy I am working in a corporate role and gave me the motivation I needed to seriously look for a way to escape the 9 to 5.
- I spent a few weeks thinking over the options and eventually decided that blogging could be the answer I’d been looking for. I found my WordPress login details, renewed my domain name, wrote a few initial posts, and launched A Cure for Monday on 24th February 2019.
- I started with no email list and brand new social media accounts on all platforms except Pinterest (on which I had an old personal account with less than 10 followers and 50 monthly unique viewers).
- I earned $148.28 in my first two months blogging (as a brand new blogger), which you can read about here. And that brings us up to month three – my May 2019 Blog Income Report.
And a bit more about me…
- I have no prior blogging, website building, professional writing, sales, or marketing experience, so I’m figuring it all out as I go.
- I currently work full-time (average 50-60 hours per week) as a compliance professional.
- I earn six-figures in my day job and I’m good at what I do, but the older I get the more I realize that working in a corporate role is not for me long-term.
- I didn’t go to a fancy school or come from money. Everything I have so far has been earned through hard work and with the support of a loving family and spouse.
- My husband and I are expats living in the U.S. with our dog. At the time of writing this post, we are a single income family (mine) as my husband is currently back at school working towards a career change.
Before I get into the details of my May 2019 Blog Income Report, I want to share that May wasn’t a particularly good month for me when it comes to blogging.
My team was re-shuffled at work and I ended up with a new manager, which made things a bit crazy. I’m also coming to the end of a big project, which means that I’m working even longer hours than usual.
As a result, I haven’t spent nearly as much time on A Cure for Monday as I had planned for May, and it definitely shows. While I’m a bit dissappointed to have lost my momentum, I’m excited to get back on track in June and really get things rolling again.
If you’re struggling to find time to focus on the stuff that’s important to you, I want you to know that this happens to everyone and that slow progress is still progress. Don’t give up, keep working at it, and you’ll find a way to achieve your goals.
Speaking of goals, let’s start with a recap of my goals for May:
May 2019 Goals Recap
Goal #1 – Grow my Instagram account from 153 followers to 203 (+50 followers).
ACHIEVED. I’m happy to share that I successfully achieved this goal (just), ending May with 202 Instagram followers.
Goal #2 – Successfully complete my May No Spend Month Challenge and post weekly updates.
ACHIEVED. I’m calling this one a win, even though it wasn’t 100% of what I set out to achieve. I did post regular updates, but on Instagram rather than on the blog. And I achieved 27/31 no spend days, which isn’t perfect, but still a far cry better than a typical month.
Goal #3 – Update all of my existing Pinterest images with keyword-rich pin descriptions and 3-5 hashtags per image.
FAILED. I didn’t complete this goal. I went back and updated the descriptions for 4 of my existing posts, which is a long way short of my goal of updating all of them.
I think this will end up being a gradual process, and I will plan to update 4-6 posts per month until they’re all done.
Goal #4 – Increase my monthly page views 10% to 1913 page views in May.
FAILED. My Traffic tanked this month, which I think can be largely attributed to the fact that I just wasn’t online as much. I wasn’t able to spend much time on promotion and I didn’t create much new content – I only published 4 new posts in May vs. 10 in April, and 9 in March. See the Blog Traffic Overview section for more details on my traffic for May.
Goal #5 – Network more! Read and comment on at least 5 new blog posts related to my niche per week.
FAILED. I definitely wasn’t consistent with this. I commented on 11 new blog posts in May but didn’t achieve my goal to be consistent with 5 comments per week.
Income And Expenses
Just a few quick notes before I dive into details of my May 2019 Blog Income Report:
- When it comes to income, I am reporting figures in the month that they are earned, not when they are paid out. This is because different programs have different payment thresholds and terms.
- I report my expenses in the month that they are incurred. If they cover more than one month (for example an annual subscription), I will still report them in the month that I realize the expense. This is just easier than doing a monthly breakdown.
Total Income: $77.22
- Media.net – $37.22
- Respondent Surveys – $40
As you can see, my total income has increased a little from April (up to $77.22 in May vs. $56.26 in April), but this is mostly due to my income from completing Respondent surveys.
My income from my Media.net ads is actually down from last month, which I expected due to my lower traffic.
Hopefully this will increase again once I get back on track with my regular publishing and promotion schedule.
Total Expenses: $0
I didn’t incur any blog-related expenses for May. I do want to complete a course to improve my performance on Pinterest but decided to push this expense into June when I (hopefully) have more time to focus on implementing the strategies I learn.
Blog Traffic Overview
May Traffic Report (1st May to 31st May)
As mentioned in my May Goals Recap, my traffic wasn’t great this month. I had hoped to increase my page views by 10% to 1913, but instead of improving, my traffic actually decreased.
While this is disappointing, it’s not entirely unexpected. Considering that I had been spending a lot of time on promotion via social media in March and April, I think that it makes sense that my traffic dropped in May when I didn’t have time to maintain the promotion.
On the bright side, my Pages / Session and Avg. Session Duration did increase in May, which means that my visitors are hanging around a bit longer.
Hopefully this will continue to increase as I put the focus back on creating more high-quality content in June.
Top 10 Traffic Sources (1st May to 31st May)
Compared to April, traffic from Facebook has reduced significantly. This is because I was much less active in my favorite blogging-related Facebook groups in May, and I did expect to see the drop in traffic from this source in May.
I was excited to see that A Cure for Monday is starting to get some more traffic from diverse sources, including increased organic traffic from Google, referrals from the Rockstar Finance Personal Finance Blog Directory, and an increased number of visitors from Instagram (via Linktree).
As you can see, I still haven’t cracked the code on Pinterest, but it is increasing slowly (up to 213 in May from 123 in April). I plan to invest in a Pinterest course in June, so we shall see if this can help me drive more traffic from Pinterest.
Other Stats For May 2019
A busy month at work meant that I didn’t get much new content created for the blog. In May, I only managed to write 3 new posts, which is a significant decrease from the 10 posts I wrote in April and just below my target of 1 new post per week.
I did, however, publish my first guest post, bringing the new post count to a total of 4 in May.
PS: If you’re interested in guest posting here at A Cure for Monday and you think that you have something that would fit in well, head on over to my Contact page and get in touch.
In June, I hope to have more time for content creation, but this won’t be solely focused on new blog posts. I plan to publish at least 4 new posts in June, but I also want to get started on creating some great, useful content for a new free resource library for all of my email subscribers.
So far I have my No Spend Challenge Month printable and an awesome Zero-Based Budget template that will go into the free resource library, but I plan to create a few more great resources before I open this to the public, so check back later in June if this is something that interests you.
My social media accounts continued to grow slowly in May, with the biggest increase being seen in my Instagram and Pinterest followers.
As of 31st May, my stats are:
Learnings From May
Things I Did Right
Updated Instagram Strategy
I never really paid much attention to Instagram in the past, but with my goal to increase my followers from 154 in April to 200+ in May, I decided to revise my strategy here.
I still haven’t had a lot of time to really focus on optimizing Instagram, but one thing I did do was create a new “look” for my feed. I now focus on posting images with similar fonts and color schemes and I have started to choose lighter, brighter images for Instagram.
I have also started engaging more with the accounts I follow and my own followers, and I’m really enjoying the conversations around personal finance and development.
My numbers seem to fluctuate a lot, and I think much of this comes down to so many people playing the old “follow / unfollow” game, but my total followers have been steadily increasing, which is great.
I hope to continue learning more about what kind of content my followers want to see and evolving my Instagram strategy over time to better serve my audience.
I finally got my act together and submitted A Cure for Monday to the Rockstar Finance Personal Finance Blog Directory.
I’ve been using the Rockstar Finance blog directory as a source of personal finance and early retirement inspiration for years and I’ve always wanted to have my own blog up there one day.
Well, In May I submitted the site and made it happen.
A Cure for Monday was approved and added to the directory on 21st May, and I’m super excited that I received 15 new visitors from the directory in the last week of May.
I don’t expect to get a huge amount of traffic from the directory in the future, but it’s a great feeling just to be a part of something that I’ve been following for so long.
I’ve included the income I have received from completing surveys via Respondent in my blog income this month. While it’s not strictly an income source earned directly from the blog, I did join Respondent primarily for blog post research purposes, so I’m counting the income here.
So far I’ve had a positive experience with Respondent. I’ve been selected to complete two surveys and have earned $40 total (after PayPal fees).
While this isn’t really a scalable blog income, I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to earn a few extra dollars in the course of my blog research and I’d definitely recommend it for those of you that might be looking for a small side hustle.
I plan to keep applying for surveys through Respondent over the next month or two so that I can share my detailed experience with you all in the future.
Things That Didn’t Work
I don’t have a lot to report here for May since it was a slow blogging month for me.
I was a bit disappointed that my first opt-in freebie (a printable No Spend Challenge Month tracker) didn’t generate much interest – I only managed to gain 3 new email subscribers through this opt-in during May.
In hindsight, I think that this printable might have been too specific, and perhaps a lead magnet with broader appeal (such as a budget tracker or Pinterest templates) could be more effective in the future.
Things I’m Still Figuring Out
Pinterest And Tailwind
Once again, Pinterest and Tailwind make this list.
I’m still not entirely sure what I’m doing wrong here, but I haven’t experienced the large inflow of traffic from Pinterest that I see so many other bloggers write about.
I did implement a few changes in May, including creating a few new personal finance-specific Pinterest boards, setting up some board lists in Tailwind, and sharing more content from my Tailwind Tribes.
I feel like I might be starting to do something right on Pinterest as my Average Monthly Viewers have been on a steady increase from around mid-May, after a sharp decline that started in late April and lasted until early May.
Another small win on Pinterest this month is that my Average Daily Link Clicks increased from 5 in March / April to 9 in May.
Yep, it’s a tiny increase, but it’s a step in the right direction and I’m still determined to crack the code on Pinterest and start driving some more consistent traffic.
Goals For June 2019
Similar to May, I’m expecting June to be a busy work month for me, so I’m not setting any real stretch goals. My main focus is on continuing to create more content, building my blog traffic, and continuing to grow my social media accounts, even if it’s slowly. After all, slow progress is still progress
My goals for June will be:
- Grow my Instagram account from 202 followers to 277 (+75 followers)
- Research and sign up for a Pinterest course and implement at least 2 new strategies to drive more traffic to my blog from Pinterest.
- Publish at least 4 new blog posts.
- Begin planning and content creation for my new free resource library.
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