November Blog Income Report (And Traffic, Too)
Each month I publish a Blog Income Report. My desire is to inspire others to dream big and plan their own exit strategy from the cubicle hamster race. I also want to set the proper expectations that this is tough work. You’ll work harder than when you were working for the man with (a lot) less income at first and more fear than ever. But you know what? You’ll love it because you’re following your passion and have the opportunity to control your destiny. Get started running your own blog today!
November was a Strange Month
I had a vision that after Baby Gourmand was born I’d be able to jump right back into freelancing and blogging without any interruptions.
Naïve. I know.
Even with October’s rather abysmal results after coming off one of my best months ever, I still remained foolishly optimistic that November would be back to normal. And not just normal. November would be awesome!
For the most part it was awesome as my results below will show. But November was also very strange from a physical and personal standpoint, which made it also strange professionally.
Physically, I am still in a tremendous amount of pain from the car accident. Physical therapy has helped, but not enough. I have trouble sitting for even short stints of time at the computer. My inability to sit directly affects me professionally as a writer. If I can’t sit, I can’t write. If I can’t write, I can’t make money.
Personally, Mrs. G. and I struggled to figure out how I would get back to work in November. We agreed that paternity leave was over for me as we look to 2016 and the expense for childcare. Exactly how we would implement me going back to work fulltime remained a mystery given the lack of a writer’s studio in our house.
As we prepared our house for Baby G., I lost my private writing space and my office was converted into the nursery, displacing my studio to the dining room, which pretty much opens up directly into the rest of the house.
For a few weeks in November, we tried to make the arrangement of me working from home possible. I felt guilty as Mrs. G locked herself in either the nursery or our bedroom with Baby G as she tried not to bug me.
While I appreciated her effort, it didn’t work. Baby G’s crying has the ability to pierce walls, and I’m easily distracted, especially when my son is crying and I want to help comfort him. My productivity was directly affected. There was always the option of a coffee shop, but we only had one car since mine was totaled and we stilled hadn’t replaced it.
Towards the end of the month we bought a car, and I started to spend half the day in coffee shops for more intensive writing bursts. When I was working from home, I switched to tasks where distractions didn’t bother me as much.
Thus, as you read November’s Income Report, please know that I was not working fulltime due to pain and family adjustments. With that said, November’s results were still pretty good.
- Make $1,000 – Fail! But an improvement from October’s abysmal results
- Finish SEO optimization tactics – Check!
- Finish draft of my e-course – Fail! All I have is an outline.
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Even though I didn’t hit my income goal for November, I still have to celebrate my results. November was my second best month since I stepped out on this freelancing / blogging fulltime journey. I even showed progress above September’s awesome results.
Thus, I remain optimistic for December. Especially since I closed $1,000 in new opportunities for December at the end of November. That $1,000 is on top of my reoccurring client list.
Income Source Distribution
I was slightly disappointed with my income distribution though. Affiliate income completely disappeared after several months of growth. It appears as if my Resource pages aren’t living up to expectations as they failed to drive revenue in November.
I don’t necessarily think there is anything wrong with the pages. I’m not doing anything to generate traffic to them as I learned in a Food Blogger Pro webinar today. “If you build, they will come,” does not apply to the world of blogging. In December, I plan to incorporate those evergreen pages more into my regular posting.
Regular readers of my income reports may also notice that Advertising has also disappeared. Starting in November, I decided to break Advertising into two categories – Advertising (banner ads) and Sponsored Posts. I made $100 from a Sponsored Post but nothing from Advertising. This is by design as Advertising is not on my radar right now. I just don’t have the traffic to generate enough money to buy a beer with monthly advertising revenue. Thus, it sits on the backburner. Even those opportunities that present themselves to me.
Business Operating Expenses
My reoccurring expenses have remained the same:
- Buffer – $10
- Adobe LightRoom – $10.71
- Paid to Blog – $20
- Cell Phone – $60
- Internet – $30
One-offs for November are a few charges from coffee shops that I called “rent,” as that’s what they are. I also signed up for Food Blogger Pro and labeled this expense as education. (More on Food Blogger Pro in December’s Income Report).
My traffic took a nosedive in November. I know this may sound strange given the completed goal of implementing SEO strategies. However, the tweaks to my site won’t generate overnight increases in traffic. I blame the nosedive on lack of posting. In October, I said that I was back to a regular posting schedule. And I was.
For about two weeks.
Due to limited time in front of a computer, writing for my personal blog suffered as I spent those valuable hours working on freelance projects, which generate an immediate spike in income.
I’m not sure this was the correct strategy to take as I was investing almost 100% of my writing to other web sites and publications. While the pop in income was nice, I didn’t retain ownership over any of those pieces. Thus, they don’t provide the same long-term gain / investment that dedicating time to my site can.
What I did post in November did fare well. Two of my five posts from November landed in my top five most trafficked posts in November (a third landed in the top ten. In the past, that was not normally the case. Posts from the archives always received the most traffic.
- Life with Baby Gourmand
- October Blog Income Report
- A Craft Guide to Aruba
- North Country Brewing in Slippery Rock
- What to Pack and Wear in Europe This Summer
Only my Instagram saw an uptick in followers in November. Remember, until I can increase blog traffic and email subscribers, I am not focused on social media at all as I don’t technically own that audience. I credit my Instagram increase to two things:
- The Instagram widget on my new theme
- I started using LightRoom as my photo editor over Snapseed.
A Study of Time
In November, I began to clock all time spent with clients. I did this for a few reasons:
- To see just how productive I was given my new living / working situation
- To determine my hourly rate
- To determine if any clients needed “cut” because their hourly rate was too low
- To find time for developing my own writing products (I hadn’t touched my novel in two months and we see how far along my course is…)
In November, 57 hours were dedicated to freelance writing projects. Please note that I only tracked freelance time. I did not track blogging (which was minimal), blog technical updates (which was a lot), and freelance pitching (which was a lot).
For privacy purposes, I am masking my client names. Here’s the results:
As you can see, I’m far from my target of rate of $25 an hour for freelance writing work. Part of this is my fault. I need to become more focused during my writing bursts.
Some clients, however, just don’t pay enough. As predicted, Freelance Client 3 and my Brand Ambassador Client pay the lowest hourly rates. I plan to run this study one more month and will then either ask for a higher per word rate, or part ways to free up my time for developing my own products and searching for new, better paying clients.
The Experimental Client has failed to yield any revenue. In November, I started working as a publicist for a local personality. This is work I’ve never done before so I’m still working through the ins and outs of how I’ll get paid. However, that’s 15% of my revenue time that didn’t yield a penny. If I can’t figure out how to make money from this effort by the end of December, then this client will most likely also be on the chopping block. I can’t work for free.
- Make $1,500
- Finish draft of my e-course
- Get back on track with regular blog posting
- Place an article outside of my re-occurring clients