Blog Income Report for September 2020: How I Earned $43,297.99 Blogging (Last Month)

September was another very successful month for my blog and the third highest in terms of revenue generated for this year, which I’m super grateful for as I celebrate my birthday (yesterday 🎉). Income came in at $43,297.99 and I brought in 255,427 readers—with 316,888 unique sessions.

Now, digging into the numbers for September… blog income remained at a sustained level, again landing far above my forecast range thanks to increased affiliate commissions from my guide about how to start a blog, and another month of steady 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 if you want to join us 👋).

Overall, I generated $43,297.99 in blog income during September of 2020.

Business expenses remained low again as I kept my freelance writers as many articles as they wanted to take on throughout the month, so that my content pipeline remains stocked for the next several months. Profit for September came in at $39,505.03.

The Forecast ☀️For October, I’m expecting blog income to temporarily drop from the highs I’ve been seeing these past few months (as a result of some short-term volatility in search rankings), landing somewhere in the range of $32,000 – $38,000. Income is likely to hover in this general range over the coming months before increasing again, as I continue benefiting from a relatively steady rebound in traffic and spend more time updating up my existing content library. My business-related expenses will also remain steady at a lower level as I dedicate more of my time to supporting important causes and organizations that I care deeply about.

Now, on to the details of my September blog income report…

Blog Income in September 2020: $43,297.99

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 September 2020

Gross Income

$43,297.99

Built to Blog Course Sales

    $3,989.24

Freelance Clients & Sponsorships

    $0.00

Affiliate Earnings

Bluehost
Elementor
Kinsta
Dreamhost
HostGator
Liquid Web
Namecheap
HubSpot
CreativeLive
Amazon (Business Books)
Udemy
Flexjobs
Shopify
SolidGigs
Survey Junkie
ConvertKit
Skillshare
Teachable
Adobe
Bonsai
Stencil
Contena
Food Blogger Pro
OptimizePress
Visme
Wix
WP Rocket
Weebly
Hunter
Automattic (WordPress)
Consumers Advocate
GreenGeeks
Freshbooks
Designrr
Twinword Ideas
Novashare

$43,597.91

$23,615.00
$221.00
$0.00
$11,428.60
$500.00
$0.00
$42.74
$250.00
$17.40
$141.00
$130.26
$1,141.63
$58.00
$484.92
$318.00
$103.80
$0.00
$0.00
$0.00
$330.72
$0.00
$179.06
$0.00
$0.00
$0.00
$0.00
$0.00
$0.00
$71.07
$109.71
$0.00
$206.39
$5.00
$13.85
$0.00
$0.00

 

Expenses Breakdown

Total Expenses

$3,792.96

Web Services: Hosting & Storage

Kinsta
SmartWP Hosting
RightBlogger Hosting
Dreamhost
Google Drive
Cloudflare

$461.82

$300.00
$25.00
$25.00
$101.83
$9.99
$0.00

Online Tools & Subscriptions

ConvertKit (Pre-Paid Annual)
Teachable
Bluehost (Test Website)
Adobe Creative Cloud
Calendly
Quickbooks
Zoom.us (Video Conferencing)
DeBounce (Email Verification)
Simplecast (Podcast Hosting)
Apple (Storage & Apps)
Frase (Appsumo Deal)

$539.90

$0.00
$99.00
$0.00
$52.99
$10.00
$0.00
$14.99
$0.00
$0.00
$62.92
$0.00

Professional Services

Freelance Writers
Technical Consultant
WordPress Development
Rev (YouTube Transcriptions)
Business Insurance

$2,387.25

$1,150.00
$1,000.00
$150.00
$0.00
$87.25

Travel, Office Supplies & Misc

AT&T Service Plan (iPhone)
Internet (Comcast)
Amazon (Office Supplies)
Health Insurance
Transaction and Processing Fees

$703.99

$116.08
$89.91
$74.37
$413.63
$10.00

 

Net Profit Breakdown

Net Profit

$39,505.03


Now, on to my blog and email-related statistics for September.


2. Blog Stats for September 2020: 316,888 Sessions and 151,384 Total Email Subscribers

Blog Income Report September ryrob (Google Analytics Screenshot)

September saw one of my biggest month-over-month drops in traffic in years, due mostly to increased volatility in my key organic search positions (fueled by Google algorithm updates and some technical issues that needed to be addressed with my site). As a result, traffic hovered at a far lower than usual level, but has already begun to bounce back. Not something I’m too overly concerned about though, as a bit of volatility has always been the norm for me, but I’m continuing to work on cleaning up some technical improvements—of which I rely primarily on Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool for actionable insights.

As you already know, I’m the very first to tell you that blogging is a long game… and I’m still investing more than ever into impactful content that’ll lead to strong future performance around more profitable topics (with less dependance on traffic to a small number of articles).

I was down 20.37% in Sessions from September as I took a pretty decent punch. Pageviews also fell by 19.38%.

The good news is that my traffic (as of this writing) has already begun to rebound in a major way. That being said, my blog was down 35.27% in traffic year-over-year compared to September of 2019, which was a super strong month that year. Fortunately, my most frequently read articles are already back to delivering healthy traffic from organic search—and my some of my best, newest content pieces (most less than 1 year old) are again climbing in organic search rankings. I’m in a positive position considering my key priorities and focus on increased revenue from existing traffic throughout this year.

Here are my top 15 most trafficked posts from September, ranked in descending order of which drove the most readers:

At the end of the day, September saw one of the steepest declines in traffic that I’ve experienced in years… granted seasonality suggests September is usually a slightly down month, and 2020 has been a wildcard for everyone. Still, I’ve been working hard to course correct over the past few weeks with some technical tweaks, consistently publishing new content and continuing to update my existing articles.

That being said, much of this short-term volatility has been from frequent search algorithm updates and isn’t fully in my control, but I’m adapting to interpret what the search engines are suggesting they’re trying to reward most. Readers to my 25,000+ word guide, How to Start a Blog and Make Money remained pretty steady, thankfully—which still holds rankings in organic search for competitive terms like how to start a bloghow 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 September, I published three new long-form articles for my growing audience of bloggers:

Another consistent theme—the majority of my time spent on content these days (as my library of articles grows to 290+ pieces) is still going towards updating and expanding my guides on an ongoing basis to keep them relevant, fresh and highly actionable. New long-form content comes in second and I’m still publishing at least a few new articles every month. My plan is to keep publishing more in-depth, highly actionable content specifically for bloggers this month, and moving forward into the future.

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… and I frequently need to remind myself that this is an investment for the long game 💪

2. Email Subscribers

Blog Income Report September ryrob (ConvertKit Subscribers Screenshot)

I’ve used ConvertKit to manage my email subscriber community and deliver my emails for several years now and I absolutely love the product.

September saw the addition of 2,644 subscribers to my community with my total email list growing to 151,384 subscribers.

This was a pretty sizable drop in email subscriber growth compared to August, my largest in several years actually. This was due largely to a few key articles getting less traffic than than they’d received in previous few months (due to the many Google algorithm updates, which sent fluctuations in organic traffic), so new subscriber growth again took what looks like is going to be just a short-term drop.

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 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 September blog income report

With all the wildfires in California, on top of record heat temperatures, a global pandemic and everything else this year has to offer… I’m really embracing my freedom to work a little less right now and focus on myself—it’s been a welcome shift in mindset that I’ve been really enjoying.

As we covered at the beginning of this report, I’m predicting blog income to drop a bit in October, landing between $32000 – $38,000 as I experience continued fluctuations in affiliate payouts that are tied closely to the ups & downs in traffic I’ve seen throughout the summer. My main focus still remains on publishing more in-depth blogging content that’ll pay off over the course of the coming months and years. 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 😊

Hi I'm Ryan Robinson

Full-time blogger, podcaster and side project aficionado. Join me here, on ryrob.com to learn how to start a blog, make money blogging and grow a profitable side business. I also write for publications like Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, Business Insider and more. Let’s chat on Twitter about business and side projects.

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18 replies to “Blog Income Report for September 2020: How I Earned $43,297.99 Blogging (Last Month)”

  1. This was actually one of the most insightful thing. Thank your to sharing. One big problem i am facing is;

    I have invested over $350 on my Ghost blog and this is actually everything i has. I want to find a way to monetize and doing affiliate marketing as well as Running Google AdSense. One problem with running Google AdSense is that it reduces page load speed.

    I am confused as hell about weather i use it or not?

    My plan is to generate over $400 till Auguest 2021 to cover my hosting cost. Do you think it is a good decision? or what should i do.

    Thank you! and have a nice and safe day. 🙂

    Reply
    • You’re welcome, Aamir! Thanks for the really thoughtful comment (and questions).

      Agree with you re: Google AdSense. I talk a bit about why I don’t have any ad platforms on my blog anymore in this guide, closer to the end: https://www.ryrob.com/blog-layout/

      Personally, I chose to remove the ad network I was using for this same reason (page speed drag) and it pushed me to get better at optimizing my content for more affiliate revenue & in pursuing more keywords that are closely related to affiliate opportunities. That being said, if it’s already generating some revenue for you and that’s your primary channel to monetize your blog right now… I wouldn’t immediately turn it off. Keep it going and work to slowly continue building up your traffic & diversify your revenue sources with affiliates and possibly your own digital products.

      There’s also a lot more in my guide about how I monetize my blog here: https://www.ryrob.com/make-money-blogging/

      Reply
  2. Hey Ryan, you know these are my favorite blog posts 😉

    I see some trends with the previous income reports (top posts, income distribution, etc). I think you have a VERY solid business.

    Do you believe the world’s current situation has benefit you in a good sense? (more bloggers, entrepreneurs, digital marketers, etc).

    I’m curious of your thoughts.

    Thanks a keep it up for the these last 3 months of 2020!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Pablo! I really appreciate the insights (and great questions) from you too, it always keeps me on my toes 🙂

      This year has been pretty tumultuous in some ways, but overall I’d say there’s an increased level of people wanting (needing) to figure out more online ways to work and earn a living—which are two of my biggest focus areas of content. So in some ways, that’s worked to my benefit since the category has gotten a lot more activity overall, certainly. But it’s also gotten increasingly competitive, as all things to… but the pace at which huge companies are investing a lot more resources to going all in on some of these content topics is pretty staggering 😅

      Reply
  3. Great report to boost beginners morales and not to give up too soon. Congratulations on this.

    Reply
  4. Ryan,

    With your blog, SmartWP, and RightBlogger, I don’t know how you can write about the same topics over and over again, always offering something new.

    You’re a great inspiration! Thanks for your income reports.

    Reply
    • Haha now THAT is a great question. I’ll be totally honest with you, I definitely go in phases of my motivation level to keep writing/thinking/editing/talking about the same subject for such prolonged periods of time. It’s not always easy, but I’ve been able to teach myself to derive a lot of satisfaction & purpose from hitting publish on something I’m super proud of. So knowing that feeling is at the end of getting a new article live, helps me stay focused—but I’m not immune to dips in interest or motivation, either. When I’m on though, I really try and lean into that as much as I can.

      🙏 thanks for the thoughtful question, Vasco!

      Reply
  5. You said in this article that “Business expenses remained low again as I kept my freelance writers as many articles as they wanted to take on throughout the month, so that my content pipeline remains stocked for the next several months.”

    I’m confused by how you said, “I kept….”
    Do you let FL writers choose to write as many articles as they want?
    How much do you pay per article?
    Do you tell your writers the topic and main keywords for each article?

    Reply
    • Great questions, Denise! I’ll take them one at a time here for you:

      – Do you let FL writers choose to write as many articles as they want? — Yes! Right now, I’m grateful that I have the ability to flex quite a lot on my “content budget” (i.e. I don’t really have a firm one) to make sure the 2-3 writers I regularly work with, love and have a ton of gratitude for are staying as busy as they want. For example, one has kids that just went back to in-person school, so she’s been a bit busier at home than usual… whereas another writer has been hungry for taking on more content lately, so I’m keeping my editorial calendar filled with ideas for them to pull from once they’re ready for a new piece.

      – Do you tell your writers the topic and main keywords for each article? — I like to call the way I work with my writers, “outsourcing first drafts.” The process starts with my keyword research (to decide on future content topics that have traffic or revenue potential, as the articles I do with my freelancers like this are almost always tied to a business goal somehow – note that I still have plenty of pieces I write by myself from start to finish that answer a reader question or scratch my own itch somehow though). Once the topic is settled, I usually take a first pass at an outline based on what I feel the piece needs. Then a little research looking at what already ranks well in organic search to make sure I didn’t miss anything essential, and to look for opportunities to deliver more value with my take on the subject matter. Then the outline goes to one of my writers and we workshop on it based on their input too. From there, they get to work on a first draft that tends to be somewhere in the 3,000 word range (sometimes more/less depending upon the topic). After that, I hop in to make edits, add lessons learned from my own experiences, examples, etc to make a really well-rounded, comprehensive piece with screenshots, graphics and such that’s often 2-3x the length compared to what I get back in the first draft. It’s a process I’ve sort of naturally developed over time based on leaning into what I enjoy most about the blogging process right now… though sometimes that changes and I feel compelled to do more full on writing myself 🙂

      – How much do you pay per article? — It can vary a bit, but I tend to work with my freelance writers on a per word basis these days. Never below $.10/word though and some have been 4-5x higher based on experience (i.e. how much editing/writing time I’ll have to invest) and whether they offer add-on services to promote the content after it goes live. I also regularly work with my writers on increasing their rates over time (which so much of my own content/advice talks about).

      Reply
  6. Hey Rob,
    Thanks for such a transparent monthly income report.

    It’s a great source of motivation for many people like me out there.

    Congrats!

    Reply
  7. Hi Ryan!
    You motivate me so much! I need your help to know what I’m doing wrong on my blog, I’d be glad if you could help me.

    Reply
  8. Thank you so much for sharing this info, you gave me a huge boost of confidence and motivation to continue to work on my blog that I really needed.

    Keep it up!! Good luck!!

    Reply
  9. Hi Ryan. Brilliant content and you are a great blogger. I have a question for you and I hope you will take some time out of your busy schedule to answer my question. And here is it.
    I want to start blogging and affiliate marketing is Google Blogger a good place to start with? I’m completely new to blogging and wanna have a close understanding of the things in the business. Your thoughts.

    Reply
    • Hey Sudipraj,

      Good question! Google’s Blogger platform is really only a decent option to start a blog on, if you absolutely need to use a free platform… and even if that’s the case, there are much better free platform options that I write about here: https://www.ryrob.com/free-blogging-sites/

      If your focus is on building up an affiliate business around your blog though, there’s really no better option than to start a self-hosted WordPress blog where you’ll have full control of everything on your site… no restrictions on the types of income or how much you can earn. This guide of mine walks step-by-step through that process of getting a WordPress-powered blog set up: https://www.ryrob.com/how-start-blog/

      Reply