I have to say that in all of my 10 months of Blogging, August has been my favorite.
This was my first full month of selling my eBooks and collaborating alongside with new bloggers as they implemented the same strategies I use on Swaddles n’ Bottles.
In total, my income was $6,456.31. I was just $80 away from having a new personal best month for income!
I want to make sure that I clearly state why I am sharing my income reports. As a new blogger, I was constantly bogged down with “blogging bloggers” telling me that they make $20,000 a month blogging and therefore I should take their course or read their eBook so I too could make buckets of money! Then I would sign up to take the course only to find out that the $20,000 they were making was from course sales and affiliate marketing for course related products. They didn’t actually have a blog that had applied the strategies they were teaching to prove that it worked. It wasn’t a very good feeling as a new blogger. I felt like I had been tricked. So to be clear, this is an income report for BOTH of my websites, but I will clearly state how much is made on each.
A few other clarifications I want to make: I still work HARD on Swaddles n’ Bottles. I posted 5 times in August, which may not seem like much, but I also worked hard to promote this site as well. I estimate I worked a total of 4-6 hours a day AT my computer. That’s not including time I spent on my phone answering emails, FB messages, etc. I don’t want to send the message that making this much money is a walk in the park and I just sit back while it rolls on. I WORK HARD and I love it!
Affiliate Income: $2,998.00 (Swaddles n’ Bottles)
I have to admit that I made a big mistake when it came to affiliate marketing the past two months. In my Business Blogging Blueprint eBook, I discuss the importance of really digging into your stats each month and analyzing. I had been so focused on building, launching and promoting the new site that I neglected my Amazon Affiliate statistics for Swaddles n’ Bottles. I saw a big drop in income from June to July. As a blogger, I had always heard about the “summer slump” that brought less income than usual and just chalked it up to that. Then I sat down to look at August numbers and my gut was just telling me something was not right. So I spent about an hour digging into the numbers. And I think I found it. It’s heartbreaking to admit that I had missed this, but here it goes.
In June 2017 I had 295,000 pageviews, 6,478 clicks on my Amazon links and a total of $3,600 in Amazon income. In July 2017, I had 290,000 pageviews, just 1,794 clicks on my Amazon links and only $2,393 in Amazon income. WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED IN JULY?! AND AUGUST? The consistency in pageviews did not line up with the drop in clicks and affiliate income.
So I racked my brain trying to figure out what I had done in July that would have changed things.
For those of you who are not familiar with Amazon OneLink, it is a feature that connects your Canadian and UK Affiliate stores so that any readers in those countries who click on your link are taken to their appropriate Amazon store for their region. This is a fairly new feature that was just released in July 2017 (which is when I installed it). I knew I had about 30,000 international viewers a month so the potential here seemed great. So what was the problem?
Well, first of all, I quickly learned any clicks that were being re-directed to the international sites were not registering with my Jetpack Site Stats. After logging into my Amazon.ca account, I saw that I did have a few thousand clicks to that site, however, my conversion rate was in the 1%! I had over an 8% conversion rate in July on my US account. After more searching I found the major issue: my top selling products were not available on Amazon.ca and Amazon.uk. However, the US based products were available to ship internationally. So I literally directed my readers to a dead end when it came to purchasing the product. I was disappointed in myself when I realized this… but mistakes happen. We’ve just got to learn from them.
Now, I’m not sure if this is the case for everyone. Some niches may have products that are redily available in other countries and OneLink may be a huge benefit for them. It just wasn’t right for the type of products I use and promote. I would encourage anyone who wants to use this feature to check if their products are available on the other sites. You can do this by visiting the main OneLink Page under tools. If you scroll down to the bottom, you will see an option for “check matching options””. Insert your affiliate link and see where the readers are being directed to. As I mentioned, I checked my top two selling products and both read “This item does not ship to your selected location”.
All in all, I believe I lost close to $3,000 in affiliate commission over those two months. As of last night, I have removed OneLink from my website and will be CLOSELY tracking sales and clicks over the next month. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.
Ads Income-$2,222 (Swaddles n’ Bottles)
Ad income was higher than usual this month. I noticed lower than average RPM’s in July and after some conversations with AdThrive and analyzing which ads were performing well and which were falling short, we made some changes. It proved to be a good thing and my RPM’s were up by almost $3 this month!
I only run my ads on Swaddles n’ Bottles. My pageviews for August 2017: 247,900. This is almost 40,000 pageviews less than July. It just goes to show how much the analytics of ad placement and performance can make a huge difference.
Again, I can’t wait to see what Q4 has to bring! The AdThrive Facebook group has been buzzing all week about how wonderful the last quarter of the year is for Ad Income!
My Products: $1,236.31 (The Basics of Blogging)
Ahhh my eBooks. I just love what they have done in the past few weeks. I have received countless emails and Facebook messages from readers letting me know how much they have benefited from reading them. I even had a reader tell me that my eBook trumped a VERY popular $170 eCourse she purchased! On top of that, there are so many screen shots of pageview stats and income drastically increasing being sent my way. It’s so rewarding to see it and I hope you will all continue to send it to me!
There is a private Facebook group for readers who purchase the books and it has been such a great little hub of collaboration and information this past month. I continue to become more and more passionate about my 2nd blog and helping others build their blog into a successful business.
Goals for September:
3 New Blog posts for Swaddles n’ Bottles. Focus on last minute holiday posts.
3 New blog posts for The Basics of Blogging. The members of The Basics of Blogging Facebook group have requested a SEO guide for beginners. This will be my main priority for the first few weeks. I anticipate it will be a MEGA blog post!
Swaddles n’ Bottles email marketing is a well-oiled machine and has great results. I just simply need to set up my 3-4 emails for the month.
It has really been on my mind to create a more supportive email follow up for those who purchase The Basics of Blogging eBooks. I would like to create a timeline of contact for each eBook in order to ensure there are open lines of communication for questions and follow up.
Blog Post Promotion
Adjust pinning schedule: In the past, I have always scheduled my pins for 3 months at a time. With the new material for the Basics of Blogging, I am going to adjust to just 30 days so I can have time to analyze which pins are performing well and which are lagging.
More contributions and activity in my Tailwind Tribes. I don’t feel as though I have been utilizing this tool as well as I could. I plan to
Make contact with 10 new board owners to join group boards in the blogging niche.
Another big reason I believe I enjoyed the tasks of this past month so much was the collaborations I was able to do with other bloggers. Just last night I did a Facebook Live with Kelly from Unapologetically Kelly over Pinterest basics. I also had a chance to chat with a ton of other mom bloggers in my network as they helped me promote the eBooks. I want to make an effort to continue this in the coming month by setting up at least 3 new collaboration opportunities!
Somewhere in my spare time of all of this, I also really need to start getting ready for the arrival of baby #2! The nursery is painted and furniture has been ordered but that’s about the extent of my preparations. I have just 60 days until the big day!