This month’s income report is a little more exciting than the last. Last month, I made some money (finally) but I didn’t make a profit because of all the business expenses I had. But this month I did!
So here’s how December went on the blog, plus my goals for 2017. Happy new year!
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December 2016 Wins
Took a break!
This one was huge for me. I’ve been really bad for overworking myself this past year, even though every time I’ve taken a break I’ve felt refreshed. I know breaks are important and even good for productivity, but I always get into the work mindset and have a hard time getting out of it because I’m on such a roll. In December, I finally took a nice long break and I feel ready to take on the new year!
Made some wonderful new connections.
I spent some more time in Facebook groups reaching out to fellow bloggers and even just fellow feminists, and I made some awesome new friends. I even hosted some of them as part of my holiday Feminist Positivity series! It’s really encouraging to talk to people who understand what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. Blogging can get a little lonely when real life friends don’t quite understand me.
Had the most pageviews EVER.
I’m so excited! In December 2015, I had 1,369 pageviews and my bounce rate was impressive: 47.24%. This past December, I had 5,914 pageviews, more in one month than I’ve ever gotten! Unfortunately, I made some mistakes this year which made my bounce rate go up to as bad as 90%. Last month it was 84.80%.
But I’m still happy – the increase still means I’m growing, and I actually learned that bloggers tend to have higher bounce rates just because of the nature of how users visit blogs. Average is anywhere from 70-94%. I’m smack in the middle, and slowly going down, so yay! People are visiting, finding what they want, sticking around a little, and then leaving. Pretty normal.
December 2016 Fails
Couldn’t escape social media fully.
Yeah, yeah, I’m the worst. I took two weeks in December off for a break, but still couldn’t quite escape social media. Unfortunately, I don’t have my own Virtual Assistant to help me out all the time, so that’s kind of the nature of things. But I still did pretty well — I had scheduled ahead of time, and only checked once or twice a day.
Plus since I didn’t blog much in December, there wasn’t much else to do badly at!
What I Want To Do Now: Goals for January 2017
Create a consistent marketing plan for VA services.
I’m in a course about freelancing from the lovely Sagan Morrow, whom I actually met randomly while looking at feminist blogs and then also found in Elite Blog Academy. Her course Set Yourself Up For Freelancing Success has helped me a LOT with clarifying everything I’m doing for my VA services (and my blog too!) — there is a section on creating a customized marketing plan, and I’m definitely looking forward to that. I feel like I’ve been flailing! (And I’m only on Module 3 of 7!)
Beyond the marketing plan, I want to complete the whole course. There are 7 modules and I’m currently on Module 3. Shouldn’t be too difficult!
Finish Unit 5 of Elite Blog Academy.
I’m nearly done this unit, focused on social media and viral growth. I’ve learned a lot! Tons of info on Facebook, Pinterest, and even Instagram. I’m slowing down a little on EBA because Ruth, the instructor, is relaunching the course in February. It’s basically a full overhaul as opposed to the little updates when I signed up. I’m still going to work on it and see how far I get, but I’m not going to stress out too much about it.
Goals for the New Year of 2017!
I’ve only made monthly goals up to June, except for my end of year pageviews goal, because I think that’s as far as I can really plan at this point in my blogging “career.” Here they are!
January: Finish SYUFFS and have a more concrete plan for my VA services.
Self-explanatory since I already discussed this.
February: Finish Elite Blog Academy by March 2017.
I’ve been working on it since March 2016. I’m going at a snail’s pace for a good reason — to make sure I don’t get distracted and so that I complete every assignment before moving forward — but geez, I want to be done! With the revamp happening in February, I may end up completing it a little later because I want to quickly review what I’ve already done, but I think it’s achievable.
March: Create a consistent stream of clients by April 2017 by creating a waiting list.
With my goal of creating a solid marketing plan for VA work in January, I want to use it to make sure I always have a stream of clients coming in. It’ll be great to have retainer clients so that I know I always have a certain amount of income, but it’s also good to be sure I’ve got a list of other clients and projects going on to keep it coming if anything happens to the retainers. It sucks knowing if I lose one client I’m screwed, so I need to prepare for that.
April & May: Create at least 3 more freebies for the Awesome Feminist Resource Library by June to build my email list.
With the InDesign Adventure Guide which will help me design some awesome worksheets, checklists, ebooks, and other resources, I’ll have the tools to create more resources (and better ones!) so I’m looking forward to upgrading my posts with freebies and adding more resources for you to the library, which you can find here.
I want to focus more on my email list this year than social media. My Facebook and Pinterest seem consistent and are driving lots of traffic, but I don’t like relying on those sources too much since algorithms can change so quickly. I’ve neglected my email list a bit, including reducing how often I send out newsletters, but I think creating resources will help a ton! Plus that way you’ll still have lots to check out while you wait for a newsletter 🙂
June: Reorganize my blog categories.
This is something I’ve actually been working on for a couple months. I want to broaden what I write about and include topics I haven’t written about to get away from just thought pieces on feminist concepts. I feel like those posts aren’t as interesting and are a little less accessible, too. I’d like to write more about women’s health, relationships, women in STEM, and more. I hope you’re ready for some new themes in 2017!
All Year: Hit 10,000 pageviews/month by the end of 2017.
This may be achievable sooner, and I had originally thought maybe within 6 months, but I need to be realistic. Still, I’m including it here. Pageviews go up and down a lot, so it’s better to try and aim for a year and then if I get there sooner, awesome! The cool thing is pretty much all my goals will help contribute to reaching this one — even my VA-oriented ones.
That already seems like a LOT to work on, so let’s just leave it at that for now!
December 2016 Stats
These are my blog stats for the past month, according to Google Analytics. Super exciting — these are my highest since July. I’m gaining momentum, whoo!
- Page views: 5,914 (+1,186) !!!!
- Sessions: 4,698 (+1,045)
- Visitors: 4,082 (+853)
- 20.6% of all visitors were returning visitors — an increase of 1.5%.
- 79.4% of all visitors were new visitors — an decrease of 1.5%.
- Bounce Rate (percentage of people who leave right away): 84.80% (+1.77%)
- Average Time Per Session: 49 secs (-2 sec)
- Pages Per Visit: 1.26 (-0.03)
- Top Referral Sources: Pinterest brought 51% of my traffic, Facebook 19%, and search engines brought 13%.
Nice improvement! I’m pretty happy with this, but I’m wary because I remember I had a peak in December in 2015 and then later it slowed again. We shall see.
I started including my search engine traffic, because that’s been improving quite a bit over the past few months. 13% is a fair bit!
These are my social media stats as of January 3rd.
- Facebook: 270 page likes (+6)
- Twitter: 1,092 followers (+38)
- Google+: 70 followers (-2)
- Pinterest: 1,742 followers (+72)
- Instagram: 215 followers (+23)
- Bloglovin: 516 followers (+1)
- Email list: 86 subscribers (+16)
December 2016 Posts
If you’re wondering, these are the posts from last month that led to the above stats.
- 8 Feminist TV Shows You Need To Watch
- Bitch, Your New Favourite Feminist Magazine!
- Feminist Positivity: Why Is My Broken Body Worthy Of Delighting In?
- My Eleventh Month Self-Hosting My Blog
- The Freeze Response: How A Warrior Can Handle the Trauma of Sexual Assault
- Feminist Positivity: How I Found My Feminine Power
And finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for…
December 2016 Income Report
I made a profit this month! Whoo!
Virtual Services: $637.33 CAD
No payout for ads and affiliates until I reach $100 in any given account. but here’s what I earned within each account this month:
I also have to record anything I earn through things like Ebates, Pinecone Research surveys, and UserTesting — anything where I’m an independent contractor — through my business. I haven’t been including those in my blog income reports because the income isn’t related to my blog… but I also wasn’t really worrying too much about my blog as a business. But now that I am, I’ll start including it. Ebates and PineCone Research amounts accrue over time and are paid at different times, so I’ll only include them when I receive payment.
It’s a new year! So here it is for December:
PineCone Research – $30 CAD
Total Income: $690.40 CAD
Paypal fees: $34.90
Adobe Creative Cloud: $23.32
Business bank account fees: $14.15
Total Expenses: $277.50 CAD
Much better! It’s not quite enough to match my monthly breakeven amount, but it’s a great step in the right direction.
Unfortunately the courses I had to pay for had to happen because one of them is monthly and I need it for VA work. Set Yourself Up For Freelancing Success is definitely worth it (and is paying for itself!)— a blogger friend of mine Sagan Morrow runs it, and she is fantastic! It was at a sale price and I had to get it before the price went up (and it went up a lot!) so that was that. The rest was something I had already paid half of, also for VA stuff, and it won’t be recurring so yay.
But anyway. I’m set for courses for a while now! Lots to work on, and of course, now that my weird year of randomly having a business is over, I’m on a strict budget! (Read: a no-spend budget, except for expenses already accounted for!)
How Elite Blog Academy Helped Me This Month
It helped me take a break.
Seems weird, I know, but one of the nice things about EBA is that you also get weekly emails from Ruth. In December they were about goal setting for 2017 (of course) and also about why taking breaks are important.
Yes, we all know breaks are important, but sometimes it’s easy to push yourself especially when you’re in something structured like a course. (Or is that just me?) It was nice to have the instructor tell us breaks are necessary, because it made me feel like wanting a break is a legitimate way to feel.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this overview of December 🙂 see you next month!
If you want to see more about how I actually set up my blog and the costs of that, you can check out this post where I explain it all 🙂 and do share your blog with me so I can check it out!
What goals do you have for 2017? Let me know in the comments below!