Monday, February 16, 2015

Starting a Blog Income Report and other news.

It is my goal to get back into the blogging swing of things and bring you lots of great new content about frugal living, home-making, cleaning, and the works.

But I'll be honest -- it's a struggle at the moment. As some of you may know, I'm currently working on a BBA in Accounting (getting some money-managing cred!) and I will graduate this December. HOWEVER, to graduate on time, I'm taking a pretty heavy course load. 18 credits this semester, 16 over the summer, and between 12-16 this fall (have to double check how many electives I have left.) And I'm still working 25 hours a week as your friendly neighborhood barista.

(Yes, in order to bring this blog post to you I am procrastinating on something else. Heh.)

In case you're curious, though, here's what I've got brewing (barista pun, get it?) for the future of Finely Ground....

Upcoming Projects
  • I'd like to compile great DIY cleaning secrets into an e-book -- including some that have already been posted here and some extras! This may involve printables of some of the more popular content, like that Spring Cleaning Checklist.
  • Actually, I've made a prototype printer friendly version of that one already, so hit me up if you want an advance copy!
  • Maybe a series on launching and monetizing a blog -- because at the moment mine's providing me with some mostly passive income, and who doesn't want passive income? What do you think? Something you'd be interesting in reading?
  • Cat Litter. So many choices. I'm currently running a trial of about 8 different brands of clumping (sift-able) litter, and soon I'll be able to give you all the dirt on what's the most budget-friendly, which wins odor control for small spaces, and which ones will end up tracked all over your house. Stay tuned! I only have about two weeks of trialing left.
  • I may need to discover the secrets of budget wedding event planning soon, too. ;) Shh!
  • But as for today.....Doing blog income reports is trendy right and I'm finding them so interesting to read. Just how DO regular people like you and me work their way up to earning $20,000/month off their blogs???! So I'm going to put a beginner's blogging spin on this idea, and show you what "starting small" looks like. And hopefully you'll be able to watch the income of this blog grow and learn from what works for me!
Show Me Da Money!

At the beginning of this year I got more serious about record-keeping. I made $579 on this blog last year -- yeah, small potatoes -- and I'd really like to see it grow. I'm taking a class in income tax accounting this semester, and it's helped and inspired me to be more organized about how I keep track of my freelance finances.

I created a spreadsheet of t-accounts and journal entries, and as I'm a cash-basis tax payer, I'm going to record here my cash-basis blog earnings and expenses with a few summaries about traffic and the performance of key projects.

Without further ado, here's what happened at Finely Ground during January 2015.

Traffic Stats

  • 34,525 page views
  • Social Sharing drove 44% of those page views, and Pinterest in particular was responsible for 75% of that traffic.
  • Most of the search terms that brought people to Finely Ground had to do with cleaning (not surprised!) but I noticed that my post on getting glasses without vision insurance is also  commonly searched! Awesome! That means this information is helping people.
  • Weirdest search query: "Accidentally inhaled Ajax." Yikes, dude. I hope you're okay.

Events

  • The Lush Decor Giveaway! It was actually the first giveaway I've hosted here, and I wanted to make sure it went well. I was pretty satisfied with its performance. During the week it was live it received over 1000 views and at least 370 unique entrants.
  • Connected to this event, I did my first foray into paying for advertising. I ran a facebook ad which drove a lot of engagement and new "likes" (120!) to Finely Ground's page but not a ton of clickthrough, a pinterest promoted pin which received a lot of impressions but not a lot of click-through, and submitted to various free and paid giveaway directories -- the one that sent the most traffic to my site was Giveaway Promote, so I'm going to tuck that one away as a future resource.
  • In prep for the giveaway, I cleaned up the sidebar here a little, and added a new section for "recent posts" -- I used to just have one for "popular posts." I've found it challenging to direct traffic to my newer posts, though. The older established and popular ones tend to continue to receive more views than anything new I post, so I need to figure out how to improve engagement and get those readers of my old posts to stick around longer.

Revenue

  •  $48.28 - Amazon Affiliate Program (the deposit of November's revenue.)

Expenses

  • $25.99 - Advertising Expenses
Most blogger income reports have lists of different revenue and expense sources about a mile long. Clearly, I need to work on diversifying!

Net Income: $22.29

Woot woot! Don't spend it all in one place, self.

Next month's report should be a little more interesting because some non-cash compensation will hit the books.

Random tax fact -- did you know if you barter services or receive free product, you're supposed to recognize income for its fair value??