Hello and welcome to my first ever blog progress and income report!
It’s hard to believe that it’s May already and that A Cure for Monday is officially two months old.
It’s a funny feeling to think that I’m at the two-month mark already. It feels like just yesterday that I decided to go for it and created A Cure for Monday, but at the same time, it feels like I’ve been blogging for ages.
Nevertheless, it has been over two months now since I launched A Cure for Monday and I have decided that it’s time I started posting blog progress and income reports.
For this first report, I will cover blog progress and income for the last two and a bit months since launching A Cure for Monday, and going forward I will aim to post a new report every month.
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.
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).
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.
And now we come to the numbers…otherwise known as the part you’re probably all here for.
I have been fortunate to make a small income from A Cure for Monday, right from the first month. However, for the sake of transparency, I want to highlight that blogging is neither a quick nor an easy way to earn money.
While I believe that it is entirely possible to make a sustainable income from blogging and live a life that you design, it is not a get rich quick scheme. It takes hard work, consistency, and persistence.
If you understand this, and you still want to learn more, then read on and I’ll share my honest blog income and progress report, including my experience and numbers from my first two months blogging.
Income And Expenses
Just a few quick notes before I dive in here:
- I’m reporting data for both March and April 2019. I’m including the last week of February in my March numbers since I officially launched A Cure for Monday on 24th February 2019.
- 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
Total Income: $148.28
March Total: $92.02
- Bluehost – $65
- ShareASale – $25
- Amazon Associates – $2.02
- Media.net – $0.58
April Total: $56.26
- ShareASale – $0.02
- Amazon Associates – $1.40
- Media.net – $54.84
Total Expenses: $607
Since this is my first blog progress and income report, I am including all blog-related expenses so far. Since I originally purchased web hosting and my premium theme back in 2018, I didn’t pay these amounts in 2019, but for the sake of transparency, I am showing you what it would have cost to start from scratch in February this year when I actually launched A Cure for Monday.
I also want to highlight that many of these expenses are for annual or multi-year subscriptions, so they will not come up again for at least a year.
- Bluehost Web Hosting (paid until April 2021) – $148.33
- Domain Renewal (paid until April 2020) – $15.99
- Premium WordPress Theme – $59
- Tailwind (12-month plan, paid until March 2020) – $104.88
- StockUnlimited 3 Year Access (paid until April 2022) – $49
- Social Warfare Pro (paid until April 2020) – $23.20
- Courses – $206.60
As you can see, my expenses year-to-date are quite a bit more than my earnings, but I’m not worried about that. I’ve always planned to treat A Cure for Monday as a business, and expenses are a normal part of setting up a business.
I haven’t gone crazy buying every tool, resource, and course out there, but neither have I skimped on the things that are important to getting started in the right way (like self-hosting and a premium WordPress theme).
I’ve also purchased two courses so far because investing in my blogging education is important to me and I believe that the return on investment will be worth it in the longer-term.
Earning My First Dollar
Before we move on to the rest of the numbers, I just want to pause here for a moment to tell you a bit more about earning my first dollar.
Because it was such an AMAZING feeling.
The day I made my first income from A Cure for Monday was one of the most thrilling and satisfying days I’ve had in a long time. I actually got up and danced around my apartment when I saw that first income.
Yes, I earn six-figures from my current day job, but I was so darn excited just to make that first dollar online.
Earning that first dollar gave me so much hope and motivation and really made me believe that I can actually do this.
And every dollar I have earned since gives me that same joyful feeling because it means that I’m that much closer to making blogging into a viable income and escaping the 9 to 5.
I wanted to share this for those of you that might not have reached this point yet because I want you to know that it truly is an amazing feeling when you start making an income from your blog (however small) and that all of your hard work will be worth it.
Blog Traffic Overview
Since I’m covering two months in this first blog progress and income report, I have split out the traffic overview into two separate months – March and April.
I have included the last week of February in the March report (since I officially launched A Cure for Monday on 24th February), although I do realize that this will skew the numbers a little bit since this means that the March report covers 5 weeks and the April report covers 4 weeks.
March Traffic Report (24th February to 31st March)
I launched A Cure for Monday without much fanfare or pre-launch promotion, but I had a massive traffic spike in the few days after launch. I attribute this to sharing my new blog on one of my favorite new blogger Facebook groups to ask for some initial feedback.
As you can see, after that initial spike the traffic trailed off for the rest of March and I ended the month with 7,053 page views.
April Traffic Report (1st April to 30th April)
In my second full month of blogging, my total traffic was a fair bit lower than the first month, but I’m still fairly happy with it. I’m not expecting any miracles in the first few months, so I’m just glad to see that I’m getting some regular visitors.
As you can see, my traffic fluctuates quite a bit from day to day, but I averaged about 58 page views per day for April and I’m happy to see that quite a few of my page views are coming from returning visitors.
I will be interested to watch my traffic over the coming few months. I’m hoping for some steady growth from my April traffic report since the March report was artificially inflated by that initial spike.
Top 10 Traffic Sources (24th February to 30th April)
In the table above, you will see my top 10 traffic sources from the day I launched A Cure for Monday up to 30th April.
The overwhelming majority of my traffic currently comes from Facebook, but I also get a bit from Pinterest and my other social media platforms (currently Instagram and Twitter).
I was pleasantly surprised to see that I’m already getting a small amount of organic traffic from Google, which I wasn’t expecting at this early stage.
Other Stats For The First Two Months
I launched A Cure for Monday with 2 published articles and 5 pages, and I wrote an additional 21 articles and 3 pages during March and April.
I like to focus on long content, and the majority of my posts and pages are 2000+ words (this particular post is over 3900 words). More recently, I have been including some shorter articles, but I intend to continue posting regular detailed content.
My goal for the first two months was to publish 2 new posts per week, which I achieved.
Now that A Cure for Monday has a reasonable amount of content, I plan to scale this back to 1 new post per week to allow me more time to focus on improving my knowledge of marketing and promotion strategies and learning how to drive more traffic.
I started all new social media accounts for A Cure for Monday (except for Pinterest, which I converted from an unused personal account). So far, my audience across these platforms has been growing slowly.
As of 30th April, my stats are:
I have gained 92 email subscribers since I launched on 24th February.
I use MailerLite since it provides great functionality and is free to use for the first 1000 subscribers.
In March, I started sending out a fortnightly newsletter using MailerLite. I would like to review and optimize the design for my newsletter over the next few months, but for now, I’m happy with how it looks.
Learnings From My First Two Months
Things I Did Right
I love sharing knowledge with others, so one of the first things I did when I launched A Cure for Monday was to join a few blog-focused Facebook Groups.
These groups have been a fantastic source of knowledge and inspiration and I visit them almost daily. If you’re just starting out and are looking for a community of like-minded individuals, I highly recommend checking out Facebook Groups.
Media.net Image-Based Ads
I knew from the start that I wanted to use ads as a monetization strategy on my site, so I applied for ad networks early. My logic for implementing ads early is that I want people to know what to expect and get used to seeing ads early, even if they don’t earn much until traffic starts to build up.
I was approved for Media.net on 19th March and added some initial ad units to my site.
As you can see below, I earned pretty much nothing for the first two weeks. Around the two week mark, I emailed my account manager and requested that they enable a mix of contextual and display ads on my site.
After the settings were updated, my revenue shot up quite significantly, which was super exciting.
Media.net currently brings in a small but consistent income for me, which I hope will continue to increase as I drive more traffic to my site.
Getting Started With Affiliate Programs
I joined a few affiliate programs in early March – with ShareASale and Amazon Associates being the main ones.
So far I have been getting a few clicks to each program each month.
I have made two separate sales through Amazon Associates so far, 1 in March and 1 in April. The earnings from this program are only small at this stage, but I think it’s a great program so far and again, I expect it to grow as my traffic builds.
My conversion rate for Amazon Associates is currently 8.47%, which I’m happy with. At this early stage, I’m super excited to make any commissions at all.
For ShareASale, I have earned $25.02 in commissions since I joined in March. Again, I’m enjoying my experience with this program so far, but I feel like I’m not making the best use of it yet.
I hope to focus more on sharing my experiences with my favorite merchants over the next few months.
Again, one of the main reasons that I wanted to start with affiliate marketing early is to set the expectation for my readers. I only ever recommend products that I have tried and love myself, but the ultimate goal is to monetize A Cure for Monday, so it makes sense for me to share my recommendations as an affiliate.
Things That Didn’t Work
As mentioned previously, I wanted to implement ads right from the start on A Cure for Monday. Google Adsense was my first choice of ad network, but my application was rejected several times.
I’m not entirely sure why… the Adsense program does not provide a particularly clear explanation when your site is rejected. I tried my best to “fix” my site to meet their requirements, but in the end, I couldn’t really figure out what they wanted and decided to go in a different direction (hello Media.net).
As a point of interest, my application to Sovrn was also rejected, with the reason that they expected to see at least 3 months of blog content before they would consider my application.
Things I’m Still Figuring Out
Pinterest And Tailwind
I’ve read so many articles from bloggers getting amazing traffic to their sites using Pinterest and Tailwind. Seriously…that stuff is everywhere.
Unfortunately, my experience with Pinterest so far hasn’t been that great so far. I don’t seem to have cracked the code on Pinterest yet, but I’m working on it and hopefully I’ll figure out the missing ingredient and it will take off for me soon.
I’m not entirely sure what I’m missing yet, but let me give you some more context on my Pinterest experience so far…
I started adding new boards related to my niche and pinning regularly in the two weeks before I launched A Cure for Monday, and then I converted my Pinterest account to a business account shortly after the launch.
I signed up for a free trial of Tailwind straight away and then purchased the
Tailwind Plus Advanced Publishing Annual Plan on 9th March when my 100 free pins ran out.
Initially, I was super happy with the results. You can see that I had a big increase in avg. monthly viewers starting on 10th March, right after I purchased Tailwind.
However, around 24th March the increase leveled out, then towards the end of April, it dropped again, rather dramatically.
It looks to have leveled out around the 60,000 avg. monthly viewers mark, which is still quite good, but it’s a long way off the 200,000 that I was looking at for a while there.
I still haven’t figured out what might have caused these numbers, and I haven’t seen this kind of pattern before in any other Tailwind or Pinterest-related articles.
I know that a lot of people think that avg. monthly viewers isn’t a great metric to track, so I’ve also included a snapshot of the link clicks leading back to my website from Pinterest. As you can see, they’re still pretty low.
I’m determined to make Pinterest work, so I plan to continue learning and trying new strategies to drive traffic to my site from Pinterest. However, my experience so far hasn’t mirrored those stories I’ve seen from other bloggers so I’m at a bit of a loss on what I might be doing wrong.
I’m not in love with my current pin designs, so that will be the first thing I focus on to see if I can at least increase my click-through rate. I’ll be sure to keep you all posted on what I discover.
Lead Magnets / Subscriber Opt-Ins
I really want to create some great, useful, and free lead magnets to provide more value for my audience and also help build my email list.
In April, I created my first opt-in freebie, which was a printable No Spend Challenge Month tracker.
I’m really happy with how this one turned out, but I want to create several more freebies over a range of topics in my niche. By creating a range of opt-in freebies, I hope to provide more value to a larger percentage of my audience.
Goals for May 2019
The last few weeks I have been working 12-15 hours per day at my day job alone, so I haven’t had as much time to dedicate to the blog as I would like.
I’m in the final stages of a big project at work and I’m expecting to be super busy (even more than usual) during May and June. With that in mind, I’m trying to keep my goals for May somewhat realistic without lowering the bar too much.
For May, I want to:
- Grow my Instagram account from 153 followers to 203 (+50 followers)
- Successfully complete my May No Spend Month Challenge and post weekly updates.
- Update all of my existing Pinterest images with keyword-rich pin descriptions and 3-5 hashtags per image.
- Increase my monthly page views 10% to 1913 page views in May.
- Network more! Read and comment on at least 5 new blog posts related to my niche per week.
And Other Stuff On My Radar
In addition to my blog goals for May 2019, I also have some other items that are on my radar for the not-too-distant future.
This is stuff that I either want to focus on or learn more about in the coming months that doesn’t quite make it onto my list of goals.
- Food photography – to be honest with you, my food photos suck. I always seem to cook at the worst time of day and the lighting is terrible, which doesn’t make for good photos. I want to find time to go back and re-make and photograph the recipes for my $10 Dinners Series.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) – I know that SEO is important for driving organic traffic to my site but other than what Yoast tells me, I don’t know a lot about it. I want to learn more about SEO and implement at least 1 new SEO strategy within the next two months.
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