When I made the decision to stop posting monthly blogging income reports and to switch to a quarterly format, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about going radio silent for a few months at a time.
However, the first quarter has had a fair share of ups and downs when it comes to the growth of This Online World, and my personal life has also been quite up in the air as of late. Overall, I think taking a step back from tracking monthly progress has been quite positive.
I still want to remain 100% transparent in terms of the income I make from blogging, so I’m still going to get into all of the nitty gritty revenue details in this post, as well as some useful blogging tips I have learned along this journey.
Let’s get to it!
Blogging Income Report – Holding Steady
I’m going to cut to the chase and get right into the income since I know this is what interests many readers.
This Online World generated roughly $578.96 over the past 90 days, with income-per-month descending from January to March:
More specifically, my income-per-month breakdown is as follows:
- $204.50 earned in January.
- $196.96 earned in February.
- $177.50 earned in March.
I’ll cover why income has slowly decreased over the past 2 months when discussing my monthly traffic over the past 90 days, but I’m quite happy with the fairly stable level of income since Google updates have hit me hard the past 2 months.
In any case, here is how my blog revenue breaks down over the last 90 days:
- Google AdSense revenue: $383.79
- Affiliate revenue: $195.17
I’ve recently added more ad units to my blog and experimented with new ad sizes and various layouts for mobile/desktop, and I think I’m slowly getting the hang of AdSense optimization the more I tinker with things, which is cool to see!
I definitely recommend other bloggers split test or mix up their display advertising placements every so often to see the impact on revenue! If you are ever lost on how to even effectively implement AdSense on your blog, you can also hire plenty of skilled developers on Fiverr for less than $50.
I expect RPMs (revenue per thousand views) to increase in Q2 as January/February often see a RPM dip following the massive amount of ad spending during the holidays.
As usual, I don’t make any money through course sales, and I think I have a fairly weak affiliate presence on This Online World (I find it hard to write single product/service reviews since I don’t personally purchase many of them for blogging/personal finance purposes).
Most of the affiliate income stems from my dropshipping guide and from referring new bloggers to SiteGround web hosting.
I’m still seeing bits of revenue trickle in from Amazon Associates and FlexOffers every single month, but I rarely cross the $10/month mark in that branch of affiliate income.
While I don’t prioritize affiliate sales on This Online World, I highly suggest other bloggers take a look at FlexOffers. They have over 10,000 vendors to choose from, and there are some high quality offers in plenty of verticals!
As I mentioned, I’m pretty ecstatic about the revenue over the past 90 days.
I haven’t been able to put as much time into blogging as I would have liked to because of a bunch of personal matters and work, but it’s reassuring to know that even with 3 months of reduced work performance doesn’t completely tank.
If you want to check out how I reached the first $100/month threshold, definitely check out my post on The Road to a $100/Month Blog!
Quarter 1 Blog Traffic – 2 Steps Forwards, 1 Step Back
Q1 has been quite an interesting one in terms of blogging traffic, Google updates, and my progression with social media promotion, and I’ve had a fair share of ups and down.
First off, I want to thank all you lovely readers because I finally crossed the 200k pageview mark, which is pretty exciting!
Secondly, I actually had my highest pageview month ever in January, and while I’ve still only hit around 16,000 sessions/month the progress is very reassuring. Once again (for any potential bloggers who are on the fence about starting out), I think this is simply a testament to the fact that decent content + basic SEO + time can equal growth!
In terms of my traffic breakdown, most of my strategies have remained the same; I focus on writing content around long-tail keywords that are low in competition, and I use Google KeyWord Planner to find most of these (I explain how to do this in my blogging for beginners guide).
Additionally, I’ve also been doing a lot more manual searching on Google to find topics to write about. If the entire first page of Google is covered by enormously powerful websites/really stellar content, I generally won’t waste my time writing an article on the subject because I won’t rank and the existing content is already solid.
One notable change/experiment that yielded nice results was writing my Hurdlr App Review at the end of December.
I had never written a specific app review before, but I decided to give it a whirl after a Hurdlr employee approached me and taught me more about the app (which is pretty useful for anyone hustling in the gig economy).
Anyways, after about 75 days, I was rank 1 on the term ‘Hurdlr Review’ and sometimes rank 1 on ‘Hurdlr App Review,’ having pushed some fairly decent websites out of the way:
Now, the keyword only gets around 200 searches a month, but if I hold my position I will theoretically benefit from any marketing/growth Hurdlr experiences. Since I believe the platform is solid, I think there is a decent chance they will grow with time.
I think this whole experiment shows that there is some value in mixing up your post styles!
If you find a new and exciting app or service you want to promote (for the right reasons, hopefully), you might be able to snag some high rankings before the subject is saturated with reviews. You don’t always have to write about the most popular apps or software out there if you find and use alternatives.
Just a thought 🙂 Hopefully this strategy works for you as well!
Anyway, aside from that, there has been the same emphasis on establishing backlinks, and I’ve managed to get some very juicy links over the past few months from a mixture of roundup posts, networking, and just generally being linked back to (I love when people do this).
This Online World is almost at the 1000 backlink mark according to The Hoth backlink checker, so that’s very exciting progress!
I’m still looking to get more total referring domains and some higher authority ones, but hey, good enough for now.
If you struggle to get backlinks, I highly suggest:
- Joining as many relevant forums/communities to your blog niche as you can, and actually collaborate with people!! This is a great way to find roundup post opportunities or guest post exchanges.
- Join blogging Facebook groups. I don’t use them very much for promotion, but there’s a fair number of roundup post offers that get tossed around in them as well.
- Using HARO (Help A Reporter Out). Make an account, and respond to reporter inquiries via email for a chance to be featured in their pitches.
If you diligently do these 3 things, you should see some backlink progress!
Recent Google updates have been wonky and I’ve been hit slightly by both the Valentines and March algorithm changes, but at the end of the day everything is more or less the same: write great content, establish authority, and provide enjoyable user experience/an optimized website. The rest is all noise.
Social Media Marketing Changes + Pinterest Progress
One of the major changes/actions I took at the start of the quarter was to purchase Tailwind, a Pinterest (and Instagram) scheduling tool many bloggers rave about.
Tailwind is only $9.99/month, but when you factor in the Tribe Power-Up that I argue new bloggers need to ramp up their exposure on Pinterest, the total comes to around $240/year.
I’ve written a post that covers if Tailwind is worth buying for new bloggers, but here are some of the reasons I decided to dump more than $200 into this marketing tool.
Firstly, I’ve come to realize that SEO takes a lot of time (why am I surprised by this, still?). Between Google updates and the nature of the beast, it will help to have supplementary traffic sources to help this blog grow. This is why I’ve also put so much effort into things like Quora marketing.
Secondly, I believe that if I can crack the Pinterest/Tailwind puzzle and consistently add just another 50-100 people in traffic per day, the software will more than pay for itself. In fact, I’ll make a profit from all the display advertising and affiliate sales that are generated.
Anyway, Tailwind, like Q1, has had a fair share of ups and downs.
Starting up on Pinterest again spiked my initial traffic for January/February, but I’m convinced I actually over-spammed Pinterest near the end of February out of excitement and that caused my reach to drop back down:
After tinkering with my Smartloop and general strategy to reduce quantity while focusing on building mutually beneficial relationships with other Pinners, the algorithm seemed to have forgiven me and traffic is back on the rise.
The last few days have been particularly good with several 50-75 users coming to my blog ever day from Pinterest, and I’m starting to see my follower count and general reach improve.
I think I’m finally starting to understand more of the Pinterest algorithm and how to grow sustainably, and I have to give a massive thank you to Shruti from Indian Girling for helping me out on my Pinterest journey.
Shruti has guest posted on This Online World before about social media marketing, and she also has a really awesome Pinterest marketing strategy/following and was kind enough to share some tips with me.
Some of the best tips she gave me regarding Pinterest marketing included:
- Creating more boards – I’ve tried adding more niche specific boards, and this is definitely helping in terms of making my Pins more relevant.
- Sending out more requests to join group boards (the more the merrier). You can use Pin Groupie to browse a directory of group boards.
- Actually invest time into Pinterest SEO! Don’t just write basic descriptions for your pins/boards, or leave those fields blank. Add some keywords into the mix!
- Manually pin alongside automation.
I cannot stress how important this last tip is.
I don’t know if the Pinterest algorithm seriously rewards manual action over automated ones, but lately I have been making an effort to manually pin throughout the day on my breaks or at home and it is slowly paying off.
If you are currently struggling with your Pinterest blog marketing, I suggest trying out these tips! They certainly helped me, and I believe with enough diligence this sort of work can grow Pinterest into a serious driver of traffic.
Wrapping Things Up
I just wanted to give another massive thank you to everyone who sticks around and reads This Online World.
I’m not going to lie…Q1 was a shit show in every sense of the phrase.
Between getting out of a relationship, moving 3 times (twice for myself and then once to help some family move), and working full time, it has definitely been tough to consistently create content.
However, I am now settled in, more motivated than ever before, and I have some great posts and other fun experiments coming in the not too distant future!
Aside from my plans to post more frequently, I also want to mix up some of my content moving forwards to deliver fresh and exciting things. So, expect some more interviews in the near future, as well as some other fun stuff (maybe some YouTube? I’m on the fence about this one, but I have so many ideas!)
I’ve also been looking into some other advertising networks while I’m working towards my 25K monthly session goal, so there might be some changes to the ad layout on This Online World. Hopefully things go smoothly and I have some new money making tips for other bloggers come Spring/Summer!
As always, I’ll catch you guys in the next post.
Tom is a full-time blogger and freelance writer with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and the gig economy. His work has appeared on dozens of personal finance websites like Money Crashers, The College Investor, Investor Junkie, and more. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
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