Whew! This income report is coming to you late, but I’ve been enjoying a lot of offline time exploring several of my favorite US National Parks these past couple of months, so my attention has been elsewhere. November saw a pretty consistent slide across the board with my blog, from revenue remaining flat (due to a major affiliate missing a projected payout date), to a dip in traffic and drop in email subscriber growth. Income came in at $23,024.04 and I brought in 191,989 readers—with 259,767 unique sessions.
Now, digging into the numbers for November… blog income stayed relatively static compared to last month (due in part to a delayed affiliate payout), but 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. We had another strong 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 $23,026.04 in blog income during November of 2020—while I spent much of my time out hiking in the wilderness.
Business expenses spiked significantly this month as my once a year ConvertKit (email marketing platform) annual plan bill came through. Profit for November came in at $10,997.67.
The Forecast ☀️: For December, I’m expecting my blog income to increase a bit, landing revenue somewhere between $28,000 – $33,000. Income is likely go back down a little bit or hover around this general range over the coming months, while I work on some SEO tweaks and content overhauls with the goal of rebounding traffic for the first quarter of 2021. I’ll be tighter reign on business expenses for the months to come while I invest more of my time into curbing the traffic decline I’m seeing.
Now, on to the details of my November blog income report…
Blog Income in November 2020: $23,026.04
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 November 2020
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 November.
2. Blog Stats for November 2020: 259,767 Sessions and 153,074 Total Email Subscribers
November saw a dip in traffic (again), which I’ve experienced a few times in the second half of 2020, keeping me much lower right now than my average over the past few years. While I’ve called out a few times already that this is due mostly to increased volatility in key organic search rankings (fueled by several major Google algorithm updates), I’m now spending most of my work time on experimenting with technical SEO tweaks to stem the tide of this downward trend.
While I’m definitely concerned & monitoring this activity as best as I can, it’s also important for me to retain the context that short-term volatility has always been the norm within my competitive niche, and I know exactly what works best for maintaining high-ranking content over the long-term… and when I zoom out to look at my 8 years of traffic history, peaks and valleys are the norm. That being said, 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 updating my key articles to make sure they stay fresh & useful for readers.
As we’ve talked a lot about, I’m the very 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. If anything, one of my greatest takeaways from this sustained dip I’ve seen, is that I really need to more thoughtfully diversify traffic sources (away from just Google search) and revenue sources (away from primarily affiliates). You can expect to see a renewed focus on updating & promoting my Built to Blog course as we head into the new year.
I was down 19.16% in Sessions from October as my traffic decline really set in. Pageviews fell by 19.31%.
Here are my top 15 most trafficked posts from November, ranked in descending order of which drove the most readers:
- business ideas
- make money online
- freelance jobs
- how to start a blog
- 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
Most of the short-term volatility I’m seeing right now is from major search algorithm updates, and that isn’t fully in my control—but I’m adapting to interpret what the search engines are suggesting they’re trying to reward most… so you may notice some small layout changes to my blog already (like colors, fonts and more technical tweaks under the hood).
Throughout this all though, readers to my 25,000+ word guide, How to Start a Blog and Make Money have remained pretty 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 November, I published two new long-form articles for my growing audience of bloggers:
- How to Be Productive Working From Home in Our New World
- 10 Best Green Web Hosting Plans (Eco-Friendly Hosting) to Choose
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.
November saw the addition of 1,872 subscribers to my community with my total email list growing to 153,074 subscribers.
This was a sizable drop in email subscriber growth from October’s figures, which continues a pretty consistent downward trend from where I’d been throughout the first half of 2020. 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).
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 November blog income report
As we covered at the beginning of this report, I’m predicting blog income to remain in this general range for the time being (with some ups and downs), landing somewhere between $28,000 – $33,000 for December as I experience continued fluctuations in affiliate payouts that are tied closely to the volatility in traffic that I’ve seen throughout the last few months. My main focus still remains on updating my in-depth blogging content that’ll pay off over the course of the coming months and years.
Reminder to myself (and you)—this is the long game.
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 😊