Welcome to a new year! The last month of 2019 saw me taking a much-needed 2 week break away from work. Even still, I published 2 new long-form articles on blogging-related topics, while spending the bulk of my time updating and improving my top-performing content (to make my existing content library more impactful). Blog income for December came in at $22,344.89. Traffic was about the same as the previous month, bringing in 349,107 readers and 428,451 unique sessions.
On the personal side, I took the first true vacation away from doing any work, for the first time in almost five years. It helped that my fiancé, Shelly, had a full two weeks off from her job for the holidays 😉. But after how much time and effort I’ve put into my blog over the past year, it was a well-deserved reward to give myself some time away to recharge and approach this new year with a fresh focus on what’s most important for my business moving forward. Over the break, we went to a wedding of a good friend in Palm Springs, spent a lot of time with family and got away to Sonoma for a few days of wine tasting and relaxation. I’m really grateful for what this blog has helped me to do 🙏
Now, let’s dig into the numbers for December… blog income dropped slightly from the previous month, but still landed well above my original forecast range. I generated solid affiliate commissions from my guide about how to start a blog and saw another consistent month of sign ups for my comprehensive blogging course, Built to Blog: How to Get Your First 10,000 Readers and Earn Six-Figures Blogging.
Overall, I generated $22,344.89 in blog income during December of 2019.
My massive website redesign project has wrapped up the design phase and is on track to be deployed by the end of January, which I’m super excited about. As a side effect, my final payment to the incredibly talented designer I’ve been working with went through last month, so expenses remained elevated a bit over the average month. Profit for December came in at $13,025.51.
The Forecast 🌤: For January, I’m expecting blog income to take a slight dip as my traffic still continues to stabilize from all the volatility in search last year and as an impending revenue uptick from new affiliates still lags behind. I’m expecting to land in the range of $17,000 – $20,000. My blog income will likely start to climb again starting in February with a pretty sizable uptick (and moving forward consistently) from new affiliate programs as I continue investing heavily in new content to bring in more readers. January’s level of expenses will again be slightly elevated from one-time costs associated with my redesign and development project.
Now, on to the details of my December blog income report…
Blog Income in December 2019: $22,334.89
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 December 2019
Built to Blog Course Sales
Freelance Clients & Sponsorships
Amazon (Business Books)
Food Blogger Pro
Web Services: Hosting and Storage
Online Tools & Subscriptions
ConvertKit (Pre-Paid Annual)
Bluehost (Test Website)
Adobe Creative Cloud
Zoom.us (Video Conferencing)
Designrr (eBook Software)
Apple (Storage & Apps)
Custom Web Fonts (Redesign)
Web Redesign Project
Travel, Office Supplies & Misc
AT&T Service Plan (iPhone)
Uber and Lyft 🚖
Net Profit Breakdown
Now, on to my blog and email-related statistics.
2. Blog Stats for December 2019: 428,451 Sessions and 133,186 Total Email Subscribers
December was a pretty flat month in terms of traffic growth over November—largely due to the holidays, which tend to naturally produce less traffic and the near-constant stream of search algorithm updates that can sometimes send search rankings reeling without warning. The great news though, is that almost all of my newest long-form blogging content and guides are continuing to climb the first page of search results for their target keyword phrases (suggesting massive potential this year). There's been a lot of volatility with most of my competitive search rankings, but I'm confident my investments right now will pay off this year.
The most important evolution of my blog last year, was the amount of new content I consistently published. This year, I'll be in a position to not worry as much about the search ranking fluctuations of individual articles—as I'm continuing to drive significantly more traffic to a greater number of articles (and revenue sources). That's my real win last year, the positioning I'm now working with as we head into 2020.
I was down in Sessions from November by 5.31%, as traffic took another bit of a dip. Pageviews dropped to 544,271.
Overall, I'm still up almost 68% in growth year over year compared to December of 2018, so I'm doing alright. My most trafficked posts still continue to deliver strong traffic from organic search and my new content from the second half of last year is climbing in organic search rankings as well. I'm in a great position heading into this new year.
Here are my top 15 trafficked posts from December, ranked in descending order of which drove the most readers:
- business ideas
- make money online
- freelance jobs
- how to start a blog (most attributable revenue for the month)
- motivational quotes
- best remote jobs websites
- how to freelance
- remote job
- business books
- make money blogging
- amazon affiliate marketing
- blog post ideas
- business advice
- freelance contract
- affiliate programs
December saw a pretty static level of traffic given all of the holidays, but readers to my 26,000+ word guide, How to Start a Blog and Make Money remained strong—which is still holding onto good rankings in organic search for competitive terms like how to start a blog, how to blog, and others.
Plua, as 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 December, I published two new long-form articles for my growing audience of bloggers:
- Blogger Outreach 101: How to Do Smart Blogger Outreach in 2020 (+ Free Email Templates)
- 8 Best Cheap Web Hosting Plans for Bloggers in 2020 (Cheapest Hosting Plans)
In the lead up to the end of the year, I spent most of my time updating and expanding my most successful guides (to keep them fresh and as impactful as possible):
- How to Start a Blog in 2020 (and Make Money): Free Easy Guide to Start Blogging Today
- How to Make Money Blogging in 2020: 12 Ways I Made $451,238+ Blogging Last Year (Free Guide)
- How to Write a Blog Post in 2020 (Free Blog Post Template): The Ultimate Writing Guide for Bloggers
- 101 Best Side Business Ideas to Start in 2020 (While Working a Full-Time Job)
- 155 Best Blog Post Ideas That’ll (Actually) Drive Massive Traffic in 2020
- Guest Blogging 101: How to Guest Blog Post (for SEO and Traffic) in 2020
- 40 Best Blogging Tools in 2020 for Better Marketing, SEO, Writing, Research and Growth
- How to Pick a Niche to Blog About (+8 Profitable Blog Niche Examples to Inspire You) in 2020
- 8 Best Monthly Billed Web Hosting Plans (Month-to-Month Payment) for Bloggers in 2020
- How to Name a Blog (the Smart Way): Plus 25 Genius Blog Names to Get Inspired in 2020
- 10 Best Free Blogging Sites to Build (and Grow) Your Blog for Free in 2020: Tested and Reviewed
My plan is to keep publishing a high volume of in-depth content for bloggers this month, with the goal of clearly signaling to Google that my site is primarily about blogging and expecting that to keep delivering me more readers looking for tactical blogging advice over the long haul.
2. Email Subscribers.
I use ConvertKit to manage my email subscriber community and deliver my emails.
November saw the addition of 4,366 subscribers to my community with my total email list growing to 133,186 subscribers 🎉
This was a static level of new subscribers with the previous month, remaining a bit lower than usual (likely a combination of seasonal trends and short-term traffic swings).
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. 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).
That's it for my December blog income report.
I'm still taking a break from recording new podcast episodes for the foreseeable future. While I've loved getting to interview and chat with some of my top business heroes, my goal is to bring the show back with an entirely new focus (and format) built specifically around providing the absolute best, most actionable blogging advice for you. With that in mind, I'm slowly planning how to approach the new show and where it fits into my overall business plan for the year. Stay tuned for updates on that!
As I started this report with, for the month of January, I'm predicting blog income to drop a little bit, landing between $17,000 - $20,000 as my traffic has experienced a lot of volatility over the past couple of months (and revenue tends to lag ~2 months behind traffic). My focus remains on publishing a high volume of in-depth blogging content that'll pay dividends in the long run. Over the years, I've come to realize that there will always be ups and downs in blogging—and I'm in this for the long haul.
Another focus for January is to continue my slow update to all of the content in my comprehensive Built to Blog course with brand new lessons, refreshed videos, written lectures and more interviews with top bloggers. After the updates are complete, I'll be doing a relaunch of the course and increasing the price as the value is going up dramatically.
If you're looking for some additional reading to help grow your own blog (on the side), I recently updated my 26,000 word free guide to building and scaling a profitable blog right here that I'd love for you to read 😊