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Last Updated on September 30, 2022
Welcome back to Root + Revel’s monthly traffic + income reports! You may remember back in 2017, I published my very first income report detailing how I earned $75,000 from my blog in its second year. Then I started writing monthly income reports in 2018, culminating in an annual report showing you exactly how I earned $150,000 from my blog that year.
And last month, I shared how I was able to earn over $20,000 IN ONE MONTH. WHOA?!?!
I know this might seem a little crazy to you–or perhaps you’re just here for the healthy living tips (might I recommend this Keto pantry checklist to hold you over), but let me explain.
P.S. If this isn’t your first rodeo and you’ve been following along with these income reports for a while, you can skip to the next section titled Total Income.
And they’ve inspired me so much, not only to know what’s possible in the world of blogging as a business, but also with their incredible ideas and generosity in sharing their mistakes and successes along the way.
And now, I want to return the favor. I feel like I’m at a point with Root + Revel where I have something valuable to share about making money online, something that I hope will help you learn how to make money doing something you love, something that lights you up every day and makes you excited to get to work, something you’re passionate about, something that impacts others for the better, something you can do from your couch in your jammies or on a beach in the Caribbean or at a desk in a co-working space at whatever dang time you please because YOU’RE YOUR OWN BOSS.
Please know, the goal of these income reports is not to brag or show off or pat myself on the back (though it’s always a good idea to celebrate your own successes, too!). Rather, my goal with these income reports is three-fold:
I’ve been self-employed for nearly a decade at this point, but since I began blogging full-time in January of 2017, my life has exponentially improved.
I’m finally writing the stories that I want to tell, I’m finally helping others to live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives, and I’m doing it ALL on my own terms.
I’m so proud and happy to report that life is so much better now that I’m truly my own boss and a full-time blogger. I look forward to each and every day–I wake up excited to work, I’m always learning something new and I love the challenge of running your own business, constantly coming up with new ways to monetize and help people, simultaneously.
Alright, enough talk. Let’s take a look at the numbers for January 2019…
Whew! I know that’s a lot to take in. One of the things I hope people will take away from these reports is just how much work, energy, thought and heart goes into running a blog. It’s not just as simple as slapping up a few words and an iPhone photo and pressing publish.
Before we get into the details, I also wanted to share my traffic totals for August.
Traffic Overview: 209,507 pageviews for the month (a -8.32% decrease from last month, which makes sense since February is a shorter month)
Top Ten Traffic Sources
Top 5 Posts on Root + Revel Last Month:
So excited to see my natural pregnancy with PCOS post as our most popular! This is so near and dear to my heart 🙂
Email List: 1,967 net new subscribers
I’m not showing a screenshot this month because we switched from ConvertKit to ActiveCampaign and so our tracking looks wonky. But we started the month with 17,055 subscribers and ended February with 19,022 subscribers.
My goal for 2019 was to get 1,000 new subscribers per month and we almost doubled it, so that’s really exciting! I also wanted to increase my open rate from 20.99% to 25% opens. According to our open rates for our Welcome Series, we’re getting a 24.17% open rate, so we are VERY close. I also wanted to increase my click rate from 3.47% to 5% clicks. Our Welcome Series is now getting a 6.08% click rate, so it’s so encouraging to see our goals being exceeded 🙂
Note: RPM stands for Revenue Per Mille, or the revenue earned per 1,000 pageviews. When you look at RPM, you put the focus on optimizing your revenue as efficiently as possible, rather than just getting the most people to your site. For example, a site with 100,000 pageviews and a $1 RPM makes $100, while a site with 20,000 pageviews and a $10 RPM makes $200. This is good news because it means you don’t have to have TONS of traffic to make a great income. In fact, when you niche down and focus on providing as much value as possible to your current audience, you earn more money.
What I Focused on This Month:
Running a blog is a TON of work and each month I feel like I could fill an entire notebook with “what I focused on” details. But for everyone’s sanity’s sake, I’m going to focus on the three main things I worked on this month:
Goals for March 2019
I’m going to keep this one short and sweet as my goals haven’t changed much this quarter, and I still need to FINALLY finish my Blogging Business course. One day it will happen. We’re getting closer. Stay tuned. But there is one quick thing I want to talk about here:
Income Ebbs + Flows: You may have noticed that we had a relatively low income month in February, especially in comparison to January when we earned over $20,000 (this month’s was nearly half that). Some of that was intentional–due to all of the other work we had on our plates, we decided not to take on any sponsored content in February, which was a loss of roughly $5,000 for the month. We also had a snafu with one of our affiliates and a coupon site, which caused that income to drop by about $2,000 for the month. And it was just a shorter month in general, so less ad revenue.
So we can pinpoint exactly what happened and we know what we have to do to get that number back up. But I won’t lie to you: it didn’t feel good to see that number drop so much.
You’d think that after 10 years of being self-employed (read: no steady paycheck), I would be used to the ebbs and flows, but they still get me every time. While I know how to manage my personal finances in such a way that these drops don’t make me immediately go into feast or famine mode, the dips still always give me a punch in the gut and it’s hard not to get down on myself.
I’m trying to remember that it’s all relative. This time last year I would’ve been OVER THE MOON to make $11,000. It’s only because we’ve grown our business and revenue that now $11,000 seems like not enough. It is. In some ways, it’s more than I ever could’ve dreamed this little blog of mine could generate. And it’s more than I need to provide for my family. I am grateful and I’m putting everything in perspective.
But I’m human, too. And seeing your revenue cut in half is a hard pill to swallow. And a good kick in the ass to get busy for March and beyond. I’ve realized that I’m not at a point yet where I’m ready to forgo sponsored content income, and I truly love working with our partners. We just need to be more strategic and raise our rates to correspond with our much larger audience size and unique reach every month. So we’ve come up with a new plan, are reaching out to some new brands about partnering and hopefully by April, we’ll be back up to $20,000 per month and beyond! Stay tuned 😉
Featured Question: Every month, I feature one question from a reader in each monthly income report. Here’s the question from last month:
Hey Kate! Congrats on an amazing year! I love seeing how all your planning and hard work has paid off. One of the biggest takeaways for me is investing in your business to help it grow. So far I’ve invested in technology (ActiveCampaign, Leadpages etc….) but I have not taken the plunge on hiring help yet. If you had to pick the place where hiring helped you the most, what would it be? The PR person, social media, video production, a VA to add links to posts…. to be honest, I’m not sure where to start! Thanks!
Thanks so much for asking such a thoughtful question. I’m glad you’ve seen the light in terms of investing in your blog. It’s funny to me that bloggers are so hesitant to spend any money on their blog before they’re making tons of money. And I get it–the money has to come from somewhere right?
BUT in nearly every other business, you’d expect to have an upfront investment in ads/marketing, supplies/materials, building/construction if you’re a brick and mortar, employees and customer service, etc. There’s almost no business that you can start with $0 down and grow into something profitable. And yet bloggers try to do it this way ALL. THE. TIME.
Would a restaurant open without food? Would a retail store open without clothes? Would Apple open without iPhones or Genius bar dudes? No! So why should an online business open without the resources that we need to run our business? It IS a business. Treat it like one, invest in it, and it will reward you with revenue much faster than if you try to do EVERYTHING yourself. I don’t know anyone who is a writer, photographer, marketer, accountant, social media guru, video producer, publicist, SEO expert, AND succeeds equally well in all of those fields. Don’t try to be everything for your business, you’ll burn out so fast that way!
Ok, getting off my soapbox, let me actually answer your question. What was most helpful? I hired my VA/business manager nearly 2 years ago and without her I can guarantee you that R+R wouldn’t exist. She is a Jill of all trades and helps me with everything from PR and pitching me as a podcast guest to writing content for the blog and our emails, and working with our affiliate and sponsor brand partners. She is THE BEST MONEY I have ever spent.
I made sure when I hired her that she had not only the background and experience and skill set I was looking for, but also the personality type: I wanted someone that was really self-motivated, ambitious, and hard-working, but also kind, green-thinking, health-minded and a genuinely good person. Sarah delivers on all fronts and she has grown to be such an important part of my business that I honestly can never imagine doing it without her. So do your due diligence and make sure you hire someone that has the skills AND qualities you’re looking for in a team member.
Sarah never feels like an employee of mine, rather like a trusted advisor and partner who is equally invested in the success of Root + Revel. She works roughly 20 hours per week for Root + Revel, though she’s not paid hourly. Instead she’s paid a flat fee, plus a commission on our profits, which we’ve both found to be an excellent incentive.
Hope that helps!
For next month, please leave a comment below if you have a question that you would like me to answer.
Please know, I am keenly aware that I have the flexibility, freedom and finances to work on this blog as my full-time job because of YOU–dear reader, sharer, Pinner, commenter, Liker, customer or silent follower of Root + Revel. Your support and participation in the R+R community reaches beyond just this website.
Last month, I donated to Nicholas House in your name. And then they reached out to me to say thank you and I went on a tour of their shelter a few weeks ago. I was so blown away by their incredible mission and want to do as much as I can to help these families make the transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency. So this month, I donated to Nicholas House again.
I love the structured but home-like environment that requires they earn a living wage, maintain the physical, mental and social health of parents and children, and maintain safe and stable housing. They’re also highly rated on CharityNavigator for their accountability, transparency, and performance. Join me, won’t you?
I am so incredibly grateful for you. Thanks for showing up! 🙂
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.
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