January was another great month for me personally, one of the best I’ve had in a while actually. This is particularly true in the context of continuing to really redefine my relationship with work (I’m grateful to embrace the fact that I don’t need to work all day/every day), and I’ve been creating a lot of space for self-discovery, reading, hiking (looking at my picks for Yosemite hikes to get back to) and a lot of rigorous exercise. On the blog, it was a pretty flat month across the board from a numbers perspective. Income came in at $23,205.48 and I brought in 140,667 readers—with 197,224 unique sessions.
Taking a closer look at the numbers for January… blog income dropped pretty substantially over the previous month (due largely to a delayed affiliate payout skewing last month’s numbers a bit higher than they otherwise would’ve been). That being said, I’m still seeing consistent commissions from my guide about how to start a blog and ramping up longer-term oriented gains with other monetized articles. I had another solid month of enrollments in my comprehensive blogging course, Built to Blog: How to Get Your First 10,000 Readers and Earn Six-Figures Blogging (enrollments are still open, so come join us 👋).
Overall, I generated $23,205.48 in blog income during January of 2021—while once again spending very little time in actual work mode, which shows me just how much my blog has been one of the most rewarding investments I’ve ever made… and something I’m continually very grateful for.
Expenses remained pretty low for the month, and profit for January came in at $19,722.40.
The Forecast ☀️: For February, I’m expecting my blog income to remain in about the same range, landing revenue somewhere between $18,000 – $24,000. I’m anticipating I’ll stay in that general range over the coming months, while I’m ramping up a major new partnership (more on that soon), staying focused on updating my most important content, implementing SEO improvements and keeping a cadence of new content coming out with the goal of rebounding my traffic over the next few months. I’m also preparing to do a major overhaul & relaunch of my Built to Blog course very soon. I’ll be reigning in business expenses a little bit more for the coming months and allocating resources more intentionally toward my biggest growth areas.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission. Know that I only recommend products and services I’ve personally used and stand behind. When you use one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me, which helps me run this blog and keep all of my in-depth content free of charge for readers (like you).
Now, on to the details of my January blog income report…
Blog Income in January 2021: $23,205.48
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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Now, let’s do this.
Blog Income Breakdown for January 2021
Built to Blog Course Sales
Freelance Clients & Sponsorships
Amazon (Business Books)
Food Blogger Pro
Web Services: Hosting & Storage
Online Tools & Subscriptions
ConvertKit (Pre-Paid Annual)
Bluehost (Test Website)
Adobe Creative Cloud
Zoom.us (Video Conferencing)
DeBounce (Email Verification)
Simplecast (Podcast Hosting)
Apple (Storage & Apps)
Rev (YouTube Transcriptions)
Travel, Office Supplies & Misc
AT&T Service Plan (iPhone)
iPhone 12 Payment Plan
Amazon (Office Supplies)
Transaction and Processing Fees
Net Profit Breakdown
Now, on to my blog and email-related statistics for January 2021.
2. Blog Stats for January 2021: 197,224 Sessions and 153,097 Total Email Subscribers
January was almost exactly even in terms of traffic compared to last month, which is hovering around some of the lower readership numbers I’ve seen on my site in at least a couple of years. While I’ve mentioned a few times recently that this is due largely to increased volatility in my key organic search rankings (fueled by several major Google algorithm updates over the past year), I’m now spending most of my work time on experimenting with technical SEO tweaks and exhaustive content updates to halt the decline I’ve been seeing… which seems (for now) to have stemmed the tide.
I’ve mentioned in the last couple of income reports that I’m carefully monitoring this activity, but it’s also important for me to hold the context that short-term volatility has always been the norm within this extremely competitive niche, and I know exactly what works best for maintaining high-ranking content over the long-term.
Ultimately, I’m grateful that I can zoom out to see a clear pattern (with 8+ years of traffic history) that peaks and valleys are the norm. With that in mind though, it requires a healthy dose of proactivity and willingness to experiment in order to rebound from the low points. I’m continuing to implement some key technical SEO improvements that I can identify—of which I rely primarily on Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool for actionable insights and specific fixes—while regularly updating my key articles to make sure they stay fresh and helpful for readers.
As we’ve talked a lot about in these reports, I’m the first to tell you that blogging is a long game… and short-term hits can’t discourage you from investing in creating resources that’ll lead to a brighter future. One of my takeaways from this decline I’ve seen, is that I need to more thoughtfully diversify traffic sources (away from primarily Google search) and revenue sources (away from affiliates as my top channel). You can expect to see a renewed focus on updating & promoting my Built to Blog course in the next two months 💪
I was down 0.89% in Sessions from December as my traffic volatility appears to have leveled off, at least for now. Pageviews only fell by 0.57%.
Here are my top 15 most trafficked posts from January, ranked in descending order of which drove the most readers:
- business ideas
- make money online
- how to start a blog
- freelance jobs
- best remote jobs sites
- free blogging sites
- how to name a blog
- business books
- remote job
- how to freelance
- how to pick a blog niche
- blog post ideas
- make money blogging
- work from home jobs
- blog layout examples
Throughout the past year still, readers to my 25,000+ word guide, How to Start a Blog and Make Money have remained surprisingly steady—which still holds rankings in organic search for competitive terms like how to start a blog, how to blog and such. As usual, when more readers land on that guide… more are joining my free course, How to Build a Blog in 7 Days and they’re offered an opportunity to join my more comprehensive paid Built to Blog course that’ll help level up their blogging skills even more.
Also in January, I published one new long-form article for my growing audience of bloggers:
I’m continuing to find that the majority of my time spent on content goes toward maintaining my existing library of 300+ articles. It’s a lot of work updating and expanding these guides on an ongoing basis, so new long-form content will come a lot slower this time of year as I focus mostly on 2021 content updates for the next couple of months.
This is all with the continued mission of signaling to Google (and other search engines) that my blog’s niche is clearly focused around the topic of blogging and I’m expecting that intense focus to keep delivering more readers looking for tactical blogging advice over the long-term… this is an investment for the long game!
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.
January saw the addition of 1,713 subscribers to my community with my total email list growing to 153,097 subscribers.
This was a slight uptick in email subscriber growth from December, which is a positive signal for now. Email list growth is directly impacted by a few of my key articles getting less traffic than than they’d received in previous months (due to the many Google algorithm updates, which sent fluctuations in organic traffic), so I’m expecting fluctuations to mirror my traffic rises and dips over the coming months.
As with previous months though, most of my new email subscribers came from the influx of blogging-related content and free downloads I have across my site (like my blog business plan, blogging books, outreach email templates and blog post templates)—which is my ultimate goal to remain focused on, as that’s the niche I’m all in on serving for the years to come.
A significant chunk 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) for those looking to get more hands on help in growing their blogs.
That’s it for my January 2021 blog income report
As we touched on in the beginning of this report, I’m predicting blog income to hover around the same general range I’m in right now for the next couple of months, landing somewhere between $18,000 – $24,000 in February as I experience fluctuations in traffic and corresponding affiliate payouts that are directly related to the volatility in traffic I’ve been seeing for the past several months. My main focus is shifting toward updating my flagship course, Built to Blog, and preparing for a major relaunch next month.
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 😊