Welcome back to Root + Revel’s monthly traffic + income reports! You might remember back in January we published an annual income report for 2017 (hint: I earned over $75,000 blogging in my second year!).
But, as promised, moving forward I’m going to be sharing monthly reports so we can dive deeper into the every day of running a blogging business.
I know this might seem a little crazy to you, but let me explain.
P.S. If this isn’t your first rodeo and you’ve been following allowing 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:
- to help anyone interested in starting a blog learn the ropes and find inspiration and motivation to be successful and change your life, whether that’s simply finding an outlet for your passion, improving your financial situation by making some extra money, or finally quitting your job and making six figures working for yourself. I hope that by sharing my own journey, my transparency and story might help you to achieve your dreams.
- to show fellow skeptics (hi, I used to be one of you when I was a full-time journalist who wrote for real publications and turned my nose up at bloggers who were running their blogs without integrity, transparency and a business mindset) that it IS possible to make money online and to do so while keeping your soul intact.
- to help myself. Yes, I’ll admit it. I do have some selfish motivation for publishing these income reports. Because quite honestly, it’s a great opportunity for me to reflect on my business, to look back and see what worked and what didn’t, to learn from my mistakes and to track my achievements.
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 June 2018…
Total Income: $13,560.73
- Mediavine Ad Network, $1,592.86
- Affiliate Commissions, $6,100.18
- Butcher Box $2,485.00
- Amazon $457.22
- Food Blogger Pro $369.16
- US Wellness Meats $801.71
- Dry Farm Wines $207.76
- Thrive Market $780.00
- Bluehost, $235.00
- Ultimate Bundles, $206.69
- Kris Carr, $199.50
- True Botanicals $57.15
- Vital Choice $103.04
- AnnMarie Skincare $82.53
- SunBasket $40.00
- Aillea $19.25
- Truvani $16.45
- Credo Beauty $18.03
- Kettle & Fire $15.20
- Beautycounter $86.50
- Melyssa Griffin $43.50
- Adventures in Blogging $41.60
- The Detox Market $7.56
- Daily Harvest $10.00
- Reward Style $43.55
- Intelligent Blends $0.50
- MightyNest $10.50
- Vital Proteins $32.88
- ConvertKit $8.70
- Love Goodly $3.00
- Pique Tea $14.39
- Raw Spice Bar $4.16
- Four Sigmatic $3.20
- 23andme, $25.00
- Everlywell, $20.30
- Urthbox, $17.00
- Dr. Axe Ancient Nutrition $2.56
- Redmond $0.75
- Sponsored Content, $5,812.00
- 13 Pitches That Worked eBook and Superfood Green Smoothies, $44.85
- Outbrain, $10.84
Total Expenses: $3,950.90
- Social Media Management $29.98 (this includes tools like Tailwind)
- Virtual Assistant $2,647.67
- Video Editing, $250.00
- Website/Tech/Tools $222.07 (this includes partial payment for a website redesign and tools like VaultPress, my hosting service Cloudways, my tech manager, The Blog Tutor, and and tools like Milotree)
- Ads $189.43
- Accounting/Bookkeeping/Payroll $229 (this includes Tax Prep and my online accounting service, Bookly)
- Courses + Education $199.00 (this includes Food Blogger Pro, The Blog Village, B-School and more)
- Office Supplies + Networking $183.75 (this includes resources like Texture and Audible, networking meals, conferences, etc.)
- Adobe Creative Suite $9.99 (this is what I use to edit photos)
Net Profit: $9,609.83
Whew! I know that’s a lot to take in. One of the things I hope people will takeaway 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 June.
Traffic Overview: 99,896 pageviews for the month
Top Ten Traffic Sources
Top 5 Posts on Root + Revel Last Month:
- How I Reversed my PCOS, Leaky Gut + Insulin Resistance Naturally!
- Top Sources for Organic Meat Delivery
- DIY Mold Remover: How to Get Rid of Black Mold Naturally (Without Bleach!)
- A Butter Coffee Recipe to Balance Hormones + Improve Digestion
- Keto Beef Stew in the Instant Pot
Note: This screenshot comes from my dashboard in ConvertKit.
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.
Hourly Rate: I worked on the blog for a total of 60 hours in June (that’s right…the 4-hour Work Week is a real thing). With a gross income of $13,560.73, that means I earned roughly $210 per hour. And that’s counting 20 hours of travel for a work trip with Sprouts. Not too shabby!
If you look at my net income instead, my hourly rate drops to about $104/hour, which is still above my goal of $100 per hour. This is my second month of meeting that goal, which is really exciting!
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 two main things I worked on this month:
- Ads: Last month I mentioned that I had been running paid ads with Outbrain, and while my pageviews were up, they weren’t converting to subscribers or spending more than a few seconds on the site. So I decided to stop the ads and see what would happen. My pageviews did drop, but guess what? My income was the highest it’s ever been! It’s such a great reminder that quality matters SO MUCH MORE than quantity. Pageviews are ultimately just a vanity stat, much like followers and likes, but what really matters is whether your readers are taking action: buying the product you recommended, signing up for your email list, connecting with you on a deeper level, heeding your advice to improve their lives, etc. Also on the subject of ads, I decided to switch ad networks in July. I’m moving from Mediavine (which I loved!) to AdThrive (which I’ve heard you can make more money from). I truly can’t recommend Mediavine enough, but as they themselves said when I put in my notice–“the only reason to run ads on your site is to make money”. So fingers crossed the switch works.
- Working with Brands: I’ve mentioned in past income reports that I’m trying to minimize the number of sponsors I work with and instead of doing dozens of one-off posts, we’re requiring all sponsors book a package of at least 4 posts (except in rare instances). This has worked SO well for us, both in terms of revenue and work flow. But one big thing we spent a lot of time on last month was connecting with baby brands, pregnancy/maternity brands and the like. Because we have so much baby content coming up, and there are so many thousands of products to talk about, I’ve decided to work on a trade basis with these brands rather than monetary compensation (meaning they send me free product to review/sample and I include those products that are a fit with our content). What’s important here is that we’re only working with brands we believe in and that fit our mission of organic, non-toxic and eco-friendly AND we never guarantee coverage as it’s not really a pay-for-play strategy. Rather, we would only accept free product from brands we’re pretty sure would be a fit and then we only recommend those brands we truly love. It’s a win-win as it’s much more cost-effective for brands to send product than to pay $$, plus I’m in need of tons of baby/mama products and we’re able to really research and test out dozens of products. But here’s the disclaimer: you can’t pay your mortgage with free onesies (or supplements or food or cleaners, etc.). So at a certain point you have to decide what’s more important to you: free product or actual money. The answer will likely be different for every brand and campaign, but it’s something important to consider.
Goals for July 2018
We’re officially less than 3 months away from Baby K’s arrival and I’ll be honest–I’m definitely feeling the pressure to get my act together so I can take an actual maternity leave.
That includes getting ahead on emails and blog posts, getting my business manager set up for success so that she can continue doing her thing and kicking ass while I snuggle with my little man and (hopefully!), FINALLY launching my course to add another passive income stream to my arsenal.
I’m meeting with a course designer next week to lay out the blueprint and content plan for the course, which is going to be all about making money with your blog, and I’m really excited to finally get this thing going.
Wanna help? Fill out this survey so I can make sure the course answers all of your questions and provides the exact kind of roadmap you’ll need to achieve your own success.
Featured Question: Every month, I feature one question from a reader in each monthly income report. Here’s the question from last month:
That’s just awesome and truly inspiring. I can’t wait to be there eventually. I’m a nurse who’s recently decided to blog too, on what passionates me the most: health…
I really like the flow of your website: I truly think it is important to have an appealing site so that, when people actually reach it, they won’t be turned off by its complexity.
As a new blogger, what would you recommend for me to have a better website flow?
Also, do you have a resource available to increase one’s website traffic?
And last question: how do you go about setting realistic and achievable goals on a monthly basis, especially when you started and had little to no income from your blog?
Thank you for your time and for sharing this income report with us!
Thank you so much–you’ve got a lot of great questions! Here are my answers:
- Website flow is something I’m actually working on right now with a web designer. I’m so glad you find R+R easy to navigate, but I know there’s lot of room for improvement. Here are the key things I strive for:
- clean and simple layout with common sense navigation bar
- compelling call to action to subscribe to your email list
- powerful bio section to help readers get to know you
- high-quality photographs
- as few ads as possible while still having enough to boost your bottom line
- branded logo, buttons, graphics, icons, etc. with an eye-catching color palette and easy-to-read fonts
- I’m glad you asked! One of my favorite resources for boosting traffic is from my friend Lena Gott, founder of WhatMommyDoes. Her ebook, The Traffic Transformation Guide and blogging school, Adventures in Blogging, are both amazing resources to grow your audience and get more people on your site. For more blogging courses and resources, check out this post:
- Setting realistic and achievable goals on a monthly basis can be an art, for sure. What I like to focus on is starting small. Don’t make your goal “earn $10,000”; rather break that down into how you’re going to do so. So maybe that’s launching a paid product, adding new affiliate emails to your Welcome Series, creating a resources page, etc. I love what Bjork from Food Blogger Pro says about the 1% infinity principle:
The biggest difference between a blog that’s growing and thriving, and a blog that isn’t, is one perfect infinity…What one percent infinity really means, is improving just a little bit, like one percent, everyday, forever. It’s not about making these huge sweeping changes, it’s about finding ways each and everyday over a really long period of time, to make small and sustained changes.
For next month, please leave a comment below if you have a question that you would like me to answer.
It’s All Thanks to You
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. This month, I donated to Real School Gardens in your name.
I learned about this charity on a recent visit to Phoenix with Sprouts Farmers Market and I immediately connected with their mission: boosting academics, improving nutrition and getting kids excited about healthy food with experiential outdoor lessons and sustainable gardens.
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 extra cost to you when you purchase through my links.