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First off I just wanted to say that it’s been a VERY long while since I posted a pageview and income report…a really long time.
And I wanted to do this a little differently.
Now there were a few reasons why I didn’t want to post an income report, and a couple of them were:
- For the majority of 2018 and a few months into 2019, my pageviews had dropped quite significantly (which I’ll go into later on), so I was a bit worried about posting my numbers.
- I wasn’t sure if this was going to last. I didn’t want to start talking about my pageviews again only to have them drop.
But now, I’m ready. And to be honest, since the spike last year, I’ve continued to be surprised and in awe.
When I first started getting viral traffic to my blog in 2016, I was getting around 50k pageviews a day (with a few spikes here and there), which is incredible! And I really didn’t believe it could get better than that. Pinterest was giving me a certain amount of pageviews that didn’t seem to waiver, so I assumed that was all they would ever give me.
Now, my husband believed different, he knew we could get better, but I just didn’t see how. And since I was in charge of the Pinterest side of the blog, and I had certain limiting beliefs about how much traffic we could get through Pinterest, we stayed at that level for a while.
But then April of 2019 happened…
Now to give you some background, from early 2018 to early 2019, our pageviews dramatically dropped and varied anywhere from 15k to 25k pageviews (sometimes 30k) a day. After having had around 50k pageviews a day in our past, this was very discouraging.
It felt like Pinterest had changed and there was no way to make more traffic than what I was getting. I still had that limiting belief whatever Pinterest gave me, was what I got. There was NOTHING I could do to change this.
But then in January and February, after taking a good look at our Pinterest strategy and realizing that there was so much that needed to change, our traffic started to look different.
And finally, in March of 2019, my pageviews started to reach the 50k’s (and the 60k’s(!) for a couple of days). That honestly felt SO incredible.
But that’s when my limited belief got punched in the face…
In April, we had 139,560 pageviews… in JUST ONE DAY alone with Pinterest.
So my husband and I, ecstatic, decided to celebrate in one of our favorite pastimes… we went to McDonald’s for breakfast (don’t judge).
And then my limiting belief got hit again when we had 200,513 pageviews in a single day with Pinterest the very next month.
Again, we were very surprised and excited! 🙂
I daily check my Google Analytics to see what my pageviews were the day before. However, when you first go onto your homepage of Google Analytics, it will show you how many people you have on your site at that very moment. So when I saw that I had somewhere between 500-700 people on my site right then, I decided to check my analytics to see what the pageviews were for that day so far.
After seeing the numbers… I was quite sure we were going to hit 200,000 pageviews. And I was right, we made it just over my prediction.
We were thanking God (we credit Him with our success), and also thanking our coworker/good friend, Chris, who had helped us in the process of optimizing our Pinterest account to get so many pageviews.
How Blogging Changed Our Lives
Now for those who don’t know our story, back in 2015 (wow… that’s been 5 years ago, crazy!), my husband, Silas, started talking about finding ways to work online so we could travel full-time.
Silas’ idea: Since he had the college degree (I only have a high school degree), he would work outside the home since he could make more money and I would work on making money online. Then when he got home, he would help me.
I LOVED the idea of traveling full time, however… I thought he was crazy. I didn’t see how I could even make that work. The best I had done was a $10/hr. Trader Joe’s job and I had never been through college.
But he believed and helped me in pursuing this dream and because we kept to it and didn’t give up, we’ve been able to…
- Make more than his corporate job 3 months after our blog went live and had him QUIT.
- Go to over 30+ countries in the nearly 4 years we’ve been blogging, and see anything from hot springs in Mexico to beautiful temples and gardens in Japan during the fall.
- Be with family and friends and decide how much time we wanted to take off to be with them.
You guys have NO IDEA how happy I was to get my husband out of his soul-sucking corporate job, get out of the poor apartments we were living, get rid of our car that kept on breaking down (it was driving me NUTS) and leave Indiana for a beach town in Mexico.
We went from toxic working conditions and poor living to having the freedom to book one-way tickets out of the states. It was honestly a dream.
And what our lives have looked like recently…
If you’re subscribed to my email, you’ll see me talk about my travels (with photos!) along with blogging tips and freebies.
And so I thought I’d share a bit with you of what I’ve shared with them.
This past year we were able to live in France for over a month, see a yacht show in Monte Carlo, see a friend’s wedding in a small village in France, explore the medieval town of Split, Croatia, go to Italy, take the cable cars up into the mountains of Medellin, Colombia, and paraglide (and don’t get me started on all the food!)
And all while working from our Airbnb. We didn’t have to get up at a specific time unless we wanted to, and we were able to spend more time with each other than if we had stayed in the US and worked a normal job.
It really has been an incredible blessing from God and a beautiful opportunity to have before we have children.
And I know this is something you can have too! Which brings me to…
Why I Post Income & Pageview Reports
One of the main reasons why I post income and pageview reports is because I want to show others that it’s possible for them to do it too and how to do it.
I know it might seem strange for others that I would post how much I made and what my income sources were. However, there are so many people out there who are looking for a way to get out of the regular 9-5 and start living a life they want to live. And I want to help you get there too.
Because, if you’re reading this, I doubt that you just want to stay in the same place you’re at right now. In fact, I’m pretty sure that you might want to start designing the life YOU want, and I’m happy to help. 🙂
So, how did my pageviews drop in 2018 and 2019?
I’m going to be VERY honest with you right now.
After my initial success with Pinterest, it was so easy to feel like I didn’t need to learn from anyone. But boy was I wrong!
As Pinterest started to make some changes, our pageviews started to decline drastically in 2018. And for around a YEAR, I was stubborn in making any changes. Sure I made a few small ones here and there, but nothing that would actually give me the results I wanted.
And… the idea of changing my strategy scared me. A lot. What if it hurt the reach I had on Pinterest even more? What if it didn’t work?
I think it’s easy for others to think that I have it all down and I don’t have any fears or problems, but the truth is, I’m no different than any other person. I still have my struggles.
And I wanted to show this in my income report. It doesn’t matter how big someone is, they probably have a lot of the same struggles as you. And by showing my own, I hope that it helps you not feel alone in this. We’re all growing and changing together. 🙂
What Changed & Brought Back My Viral Traffic
Around the last week of January 2019, Silas and I had a serious discussion about our pageviews and what needed to change with Pinterest.
I was in charge of the Pinterest side of things so I needed to update him on all the things I was avoiding. It was a hard conversation for me. Now Silas was very kind to me, but I had to swallow a lot of my pride and let go of my fears of someone knowing that I didn’t have it all together when it came to Pinterest.
But it was the BEST things I could have done.
And not long after that, we got our coworker Chris involved on changing our Pinterest strategy as well.
So here’s what changed…
Personal Boards: For those who don’t know a lot (or anything about Pinterest), I’ll give a quick explanation of what it is and how personal and group boards work.
(For those who DO know about Pinterest and the difference between personal and group boards, you can skip the next 3 paragraphs)
Pinterest is a site where you can find and save images of DIY projects, recipes, and much more. Now the reason why these images are useful is that you can click on the image once (the image is called a pin), which will enlarge it, then you can click on it again and it will take you to the actual blog post that has that recipe or instructions for the DIY project. And if you like that blog post, you can then save the pin to something called a board (think of a pinboard – that’s the theme). You can make as many boards as you want and name them different things. So for instance, you could name a board, Recipes, and save dinner ideas to it for later.
And for you, this means that you can create pin images for your blog posts, save them onto Pinterest, have people save and click through your pin to your blog post, and get traffic. Also, you don’t have to pay for ads (like how you do on Facebook) to have your blog posts seen.
Now those are personal boards, but group boards are where someone can add you as a contributor to their board and you can both add pin images to the board. This is great because if you only have 50 followers on Pinterest and this person, who added you to their group board, has 500,000, then that means you have the opportunity to have your blog’s pin images be seen by 500,000 people.
HOWEVER, and this is where Pinterest changed for us, group boards started to lose their influence. Pinterest started to realize that people weren’t using group boards the way they had intended. Originally, they had just meant it as a way for friends and family members to share ideas with each other (ex. baby shower ideas). But now, people were adding 500+ or 1,000+ contributors to their group boards, and there were so many pins that were being put out onto these boards in a spammy way. People’s Pinterest home feeds were getting flooded with pin images they weren’t interested in.
So, Pinterest decided to lower the influence group boards had in a big way… and this affected our reach in a big way.
And that was one of the first things to change for us. We didn’t get rid of all our group boards (just in case we were getting some traffic from them), but we started to mainly focus on our own personal boards. We started to create many boards around each of our niches (we’re a multi-niche lifestyle blog). We found highly searched for keywords in our niches and made personal boards with those keywords.
A quick explanation of how to find highly searched for keywords and why you need them.
All you need to do is to start typing in the search box in Pinterest, and keywords that have been searched many times before will drop down (see image down below). Now using these keywords for your boards’ names is important so that Pinterest will know what your boards are about and will be more likely to share the pins that are saved to that board, with those who are searching for that exact keyword (or a similar keyword). This is why it’s SO IMPORTANT to not have generic board names (ex. “Best Pin Ideas). So for example, if you save a sewing pattern to a board called “Best Pin Ideas” Pinterest might get confused about who to show that pin to and it’ll go unseen.
Next, new pins for old successful posts AND different pin image styles: Pinterest favors new pin content; their algorithm favors it. So if you have blog posts that have done well on Pinterest in the past, and you make new pins for that old post, you have a good chance of those new pins doing very well.
Now I had made some new pins for old posts before but had very little success. I was using old styles and didn’t make very many. But once my coworker Chris and I started to make new pins for our old posts and tried different styles, and took note on what was working, we started to see our pageviews go up and hit levels we had never seen.
Pin Automation: Whether you use Tailwind, or another pin automating tool, you want to make sure that the pins that are going out (through this tool), are being put onto Pinterest as new pins. Here’s what I mean: because Pinterest likes new pins, this means that they don’t just want to see a new pin image you created a week ago… they also want it to be a fresh upload.
And there are some pin automating tools that will do this for you. They won’t just put your pins out onto your boards on Pinterest, but make each pin they share on Pinterest, a new pin.
Now these were the top 3 things that we changed on our blog to get viral traffic. BUT, if you’re curious about the things we DIDN’T change that are also helping us get viral traffic, then head to this post. It’s an older post from when I first started blogging, but it’s been updated and will explain everything. 🙂
So what do our pageview and income look like as of January 2020?
Full Disclosure: I do get a commission if you click and buy Bluehost through my link at no extra cost to you. Any money I do make through this helps me to run my site and keep on putting out free content for you. 🙂
This month, our pageviews and income are a far cry from where they were just a year ago. For the most part, it stayed steady in the 60k-80k a day range, with one day shooting above 100k. And our RPM (or Revenue Per Thousand) averaged $17.52.
To translate that, it means that we get paid around $17-18 for every 1,000 people who saw an ad on our blog.
This is honestly incredible because usually, our RPM plummets at the very beginning of the year, since all of the companies who display ads on sites, save the majority of their budget for Christmas time (a highly-profitable time of the year when people are shopping). But once January 1 hits, RPM’s will go down when advertiser’s budgets reset.
So to have January, our least profitable month of the year (RPM wise), bring in the most money we’ve ever made through blogging, came as a complete surprise. Also, we’re just very excited to see where this takes us in the coming months.
This month our numbers were…
Here’s a breakdown of where our income comes from:
Ads displayed on our site:
An Explanation of Our Income Sources
Ads: Even if you just have a few pageviews a month, you can sign up with an ad company that will then display ads on your site. Then you’ll get paid whenever someone clicks on the ad and/or when people just see the ad on their screen. It’s probably the most passive way to make money with a blog. I personally go with Mediavine. You have to have 25,000 sessions a month to sign up for them. But if you’re a beginner, then I would definitely suggest Adsense with Google.
Affiliates: When you join an affiliate program, you agree to promote a certain product or products. And when someone clicks through your special tracking link (that the program gives you) and makes a purchase, you’ll get a commission at no extra cost to them. Some great examples of this for beginners would be Amazon or Target’s affiliate program. Just make sure it’s something you’ve used yourself and love! That way you don’t recommend something that hurts your reader’s trust in you.
Another good example of this would be Bluehost. It was the hosting company I first went with when I started my blog. For those who don’t know, hosting is a place where you can give your blog a home on the internet (it’s like renting space online). And they also make sure that if something happens to your blog or it goes down, it’s taken care of (this is just one of many reasons why you don’t want to go with a free blogging site).
And if you go with Bluehost, then you have the opportunity to promote them as an affiliate and make good money.
What I Plan on Changing in 2020
Diversifying Income: My main income source has always been ads, which is a bit unusual for a blog since it can be hard to make a large income through them.
However, we plan on changing and diversifying this year.
At the moment, we’re all working on product creation ideas and pushing those ideas out to our subscribers before making them. And if you’d like to be apart of this discussion, then I would definitely sign up for my newsletter down below. I’d love to hear your opinion too! I’m all about making products that my audience ACTUALLY wants.
Facebook Group: Right now I’m in the process of growing my Facebook group. It’s a way I can diversify my pageviews, but also give insider tips and great advice to people want to make and save money. So if you’re interested in making money online (whether it’s through blogging or something else) and/or saving money to get ahead and get out of debt, then you can ask to join here. 🙂
Diversifying traffic: This past year, we started to diversify our pageviews with SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This just means that we’re working on getting shown in the top results of Google searches. It’s not very big right now, but we’re working on it and we have to give a big thanks to Mike Pearson who created the course Stupid Simple SEO. The course has been super helpful for us in starting to get traffic from Google.
Just know that if you’re interested in taking it, you’ll need to sign up for their waitlist here. It opens up every few months, and they’ll notify you every time it does.
Actually Succeeding as a Blogger
We started out at 0.
I feel like it can be easy for a lot of people to think that it’s impossible for them to ever start a blog and make good money.
We honestly didn’t know we could. In fact, if it wasn’t for another blogger talking about how they made around $5k/mo in less than a year, then we probably wouldn’t have started.
We were always told by others that it took YEARS to make any real income through blogging, so we just avoided it.
And once we heard that interview, where that blogger disclosed how they got traffic to their blog and made $5k/mo (and quickly), we knew that this was the way to go.
No other ways to make money online provided this much potential (at least to us).
And because we took that leap, and started from nothing, we’re now able to work when and where we want.
It’s an incredible privilege that’s led us from parasailing in Thailand to cuddling with a puppy by the fireside at our parent’s home during Christmas.
We got to wake up when we wanted to, grab a hot cup of coffee or tea, stay home or head to a coffee shop, quit working when we wanted to, and explore the city… if we wanted to.
Right now, we’re in Taipei, Taiwan and have gotten to experience the nightmarkets (you honestly feel like you’re at the fair with all the delicious food they have available), their gardens, and Chinese New Year.
Side Note: if you wanna follow our travels on Instagram, feel free to check us out here! 🙂
But this was all because we stuck with it.
Now am I saying it’s going to be easy or you won’t want to quit? NO. NOT AT ALL. If I said that, I would be a complete liar.
There were times where I wanted to quit because we were struggling financially and I KNEW we needed the money bad. But my husband also knew that if I quit, we’d always be stuck in a place we didn’t want to be (financially and dream-wise). We’d stay struggling with money and never be able to go after our passions.
In fact, I can remember a time where I was SO close to quitting. I was crying my eyes out to Silas and telling him how much I wanted to quit. The car kept on breaking down in the middle of winter and we were both stressed out like CRAZY.
But he talked me through it, and just a few months later… he quit his job.
Could you imagine me quitting before making it? I was SO close to finding success with my blog, but I didn’t know it. I couldn’t see it. But it was there.
I honestly don’t know what I would be doing right now if I had quit.
And I get it, we all have different stories. And while yours may not be like mine, there are still plenty of bloggers out there who might just match yours closely.
For instance, Sarah Titus was a single mother who started making $10k a month through blogging in just a year. She worked hard and didn’t give up and now she’s still doing it and making EVEN MORE.
So I do want to encourage you, if you are thinking about blogging, or are already blogging, to stick with it. Get other bloggers who are on the same path as you and/or friends and family who believe in you.
And if you ever need help and/or encouragement, then I’m here too and you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to see more of you. 🙂
Have an INCREDIBLE day!