During the month of July, I finally saw the effects of my recent volatility in search rankings over the past couple months punch my blog income, ending the month at $39,448.92 (still amazing considering where I was this time last year, but a sizable drop from last month’s figures). Traffic held steady though, bringing in 371,128 readers and just over 457,000 unique sessions. Overall, still a lot to be grateful for last month!
On the personal side of things, I’ve been settling into my new life as a full-time blogger (😂) after leaving my day job last month and I’m really enjoying the amount of flexibility I now have in my schedule. Shelly and I traveled to France for the first couple weeks of the month to a good friend’s wedding and bounced around to a few different cities with a group of friends. Even being completely offline for a couple of weeks—I still had one of my most productive months ever from a new article publishing standpoint. After getting back from our trip, we also decided on a beautiful venue here in the Bay Area (up in Petaluma) for our 2020 wedding!
Now, let’s dig into the numbers… last month saw my biggest drop in blog income this year, landing me at the bottom end of my forecast range. I still saw pretty strong affiliate commissions from my guide about how to start a blog and another consistent month of sales for my premium blogging course, Built to Blog: How to Get Your First 10,000 Readers and Earn Six-Figures Blogging.
Overall, I generated $39,448.92 in blog income during July of 2019.
I’m on a big new content push, which again translated into more freelance writers helping out last month (and moving forward). Profit for July still came in at a healthy $33,256.98.
The Forecast 🌤: For August, I’m anticipating another big drop in my blog income as the effects of recent search algorithm updates are only slowly starting to show signs of recovering to my previous highs, which should land me in the range of $25,000 – $30,000. As I’ve said in my last couple of income reports, I’m expecting this drop to deepen a little more before leveling off due to my dependence on one affiliate (a good lesson), but on the positive side I’m also seeing an uptick in revenue from more of my affiliate channels. In the grand scheme, I still expect to recover most of my traffic and income by the end of this year. Expenses will remain pretty steady as I double down on more content and stay pretty lean elsewhere.
Now, on to the details of my July income report…
Blog Income in July 2019: $39,448.92
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.
Then I talk about my podcast download numbers for the month, and which episodes performed best.
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 July 2019
Course & Book Sales (Built to Blog)
Freelance Clients & Sponsorships
Amazon (Business Books)
Quora Partner Program
Podcast Sponsorships (Side Hustle Project)
Web Services – Hosting and Storage
Online Tools & Subscriptions
Quuu Promote (Pre-Paid Annual)
Travel, Office Supplies & Misc
iPhone X Payment Plan
AT&T Service Plan (iPhone)
Uber and Lyft 🚖
Net Profit Breakdown
Now, on to my blog, email and podcast-related statistics.
2. Blog Stats for July 2019: 457,446 Sessions and 113,735 Total Email Subscribers
My blog traffic stabilized last month, but remained below the half a million monthly reader mark with the organic ranking shakeup I’ve been continuing to experience in a few of my top keyword phrases.
I was down in Sessions from June by only 1%, signaling that my traffic drop is likely leveling off a bit now. Pageviews actually increased slightly to 582,529 pageviews.
Most of my top articles were either flat or saw slight dips in traffic—a continued effect of the ever-changing search algorithm still not favoring sites that cover a broad range of topics. Though I’m still taking a hit right now, I’ve been learning a lot more about how I should be able to recover in the long-term (which I talk more about at the very end of this post).
Overall, I’m still up more than 59% in growth year over year compared to July of 2018. That increase is tied to my most trafficked posts still continuing to deliver strong traffic from organic search—coupled with increased activity on Pinterest that’s resulted in more readers.
Here are my top 15 trafficked posts from July, ranked in descending order of which drove the most readers:
- business ideas
- freelance jobs
- how to start a blog (most attributable revenue for the month)
- make money online
- best remote jobs websites
- motivational quotes
- remote job
- business books
- how to freelance
- business advice
- freelance contract
- work from home jobs
- freelance proposals
- how to sell phone cases
- amazon affiliate marketing
July thankfully saw a moderate leveling off in the traffic decline I was experiencing to my 25,000+ word guide, How to Start a Blog and Make Money—which is still holding onto decent rankings in organic search for competitive terms like how to start a blog, how to blog, and other related terms.
Still, as more readers land on this post, more are joining my free course, How to Build a Blog in 7 Days and are offered an opportunity to join my more advanced, comprehensive paid Built to Blog course that’ll help them level up their blogging journey even more.
Also in July, even though I was offline for half the month, I published three new articles for my growing audience of bloggers:
- 40 Smart Ways How to Grow a Blog Quickly (on a Budget) in 2019
- 6 Best Monthly Billed Web Hosting Plans (Month-to-Month Payment) for Bloggers Today
- 10 Blog SEO Strategies to Get 584,958+ Readers Each Month (SEO for Bloggers) in 2019
My plan is to keep publishing a higher volume of in-depth content for bloggers throughout the rest of this year, with the goal of clearly signaling to Google and other search engines that my blog is primarily about blogging.
2. Email Subscribers.
I use ConvertKit to manage my email subscriber community and deliver my emails.
July saw the addition of 5,322 subscribers to my community with my total list size growing to 113,735 subscribers 🎉
This is almost the exact same number of email subscribers as I acquired in June, which marked a big slow down in new sign ups (again due to the shift in organic traffic rankings). It’s a positive sign that this figure has leveled off, and I’m still seeing a meaningful number of new email subscribers come through, largely in my “blogger” cohort. Much of my new subscriber growth continues to be fueled by my new 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).
3. Podcast Downloads for July 2019: 25,016 Downloads
My podcast, The Side Hustle Project is still remaining steady with a healthy growth trajectory.
With 25,016 downloads, last month saw another sizable leap beyond June’s figures.
Here are the episodes that went live last month:
- #119: How to Build a Freelance Side Business with SaaS Content Marketer Marijana Kay
- #120: How Kat Cole Hustled from Hooters Waitress to President of a Multi-Billion Dollar Food Empire
- #121: The Psychology Behind $148,823.65 in Online Course Sales with Spencer Lum of Extra Bold
- #122: Kaleigh Moore on How to Go From Side Hustle to a Profitable Freelance Writing Business
- #123: SEO Veteran Tommy Griffith on How to Rank Your Blog Content #1 in Google Search
July brought my total download numbers for the show to 326,536 downloads!
If you’re not a listener yet, give it a try right here 🙂
That’s it for my July side income report.
For August, I’m predicting my blog income to take another pretty big hit, landing around $25,000 – $30,000 as the effects of my organic rankings continue to rock me a bit. I’m expecting this trend to continue for another month or two before it turns around, but I believe I’m actually in the middle of a relatively short-term fluctuation that I’m planning to recover from by the end of this year.
The biggest SEO lesson I’ve learned over the past couple of months is that the major search engines like Google are (at least right now) appearing to greatly favor niche websites over those without a clear single topic focus. Up until recently, new content on my blog has spanned several major topic areas for the past six years. And that’s been interpreted by recent search algorithm updates as my blog being a generalist, rather than a specialist. I’m now working to turn this tide and release a lot more content in the topic area I want to focus my expertise on moving forward (blogging).
I promised to share the ups and the downs with you, so expect more learnings as time goes on.
I strongly believe in the importance of not just showing you the positives, but also digging into the negatives when they happen.
Though it’s been the best year ever for my blog so far, this is proof that we’re all still learning and growing together.
If you’re looking for some additional reading to help grow your own blog (on the side), I recently updated my 25,000 word free guide to building and scaling a profitable blog right here that I’d love for you to read 😊