October Traffic & Income Report

Monetizing my blog with little to no effort

This isn’t really a how-to guide, because in order to make any pennies with your blog, you have to start one, and in the beginning, nobody is reading it except for maybe your mom and your brother who thinks you are funny. I’ve been blogging for a million years, and finally decided to see if I could monetize the traffic I already had. If you’re interested in building up your blog readership to the point where ads make sense, my only advice is this: Write frequently about things you care about.

October’s partial report:

October’s report isn’t complete. I put up the first ads on the 10th and tweaked some junk on the 21st. I’m definitely still experimenting. I’m also on the waiting list for BlogHerAds. Oh to have the clout I had in 2004. Anyway, here’s what I’ve got so far.

I should have taken a traffic screenshot on October 31st, but oh well. Here is the report for the last 30 days as of this morning:

October's traffic report

You can click that image to embiggen. I use Cloudflare for reporting and to help lock down my site against hackers and threats. I like them a lot. I just have the free plan; I’m not sure if you can get more in depth (choose your date ranges, for example) if you pay for the Pro program.

Right, so as soon as I announce that I’m getting like 130K pageviews, my traffic plummets to the 110K range. Oh well, it is what it is. I like how it separates out the stupid bots and crap so you can see the actual human pageviews was around 90K for October, with 22K uniques.

Blog Revenue for October:

Total for October: $238.09

Blog expenses:

  • Hosting costs: $8.95
  • Affiliate payouts (for my own affiliate program): No affiliate sales in October, $0.00
  • E-Junkie (my notebooking packet downloads are hosted here): $18.00

Total blog costs for October: $26.95

Total Profit:

Total profit after costs: $211.14 Not too shabby for a first stab.

Now, here’s a rundown on what I experimented with last month:

Google Adsense:

Most are familiar with Google Ads, and sadly many have had bad experiences with it. I’ve read horror stories where they freeze your earnings and you have to jump through all kinds of hoops to free it up. I’ve used Adsense for many years without any hiccups (knock on wood), but I’m not one of those people building a frillion websites plastered in ads either. I’ve definitely always been a casual user.

The good: The code is easy to generate, you can customize it to show text ads, media ads, or both. And you can do a little customizing to make the link colors match your site. The reporting is pretty clear, and they can pay you via a direct bank wire transfer. You can also block certain URLs. I haven’t seen anything offensive prop up here (please let me know if you do) but you can block ads if you see something you don’t want to be advertising.

The bad: Well, it’s google. They’re big and huge and therefore customer service is next to nil. If you have a problem, it’s kind of good luck figuring it out on the forums, you know?

The creepy: Right now my Google Ads are targeted, meaning they Big Brother your IP and deliver ads you think you might be interested in. It does it to me, too, so I’m seeing ads for places I recently checked out, like Createspace. I’ve no idea what you’re seeing! This kind of bugs me, and I think there’s a way to turn it off so it just crawls your site and delivers ads based on the content.

Lijit / FM:

This is where Federated Media sends you if you aren’t in the in crowd anymore. I’m only half kidding. They have a bigger, better paying (I hear) ad network, but I think you can only get in if you know someone these days, though in their defense, I’m sure they are hit up with a ton of inquires, many of whom have much larger audiences than I do.

The smaller Lijit branch is somewhat similar to Google Ads, though I was getting a ton of ‘blanks’ and filler ads that I don’t get paid for, so I checked out CPM Only below.

CPM Only:

It’s a little confusing, but after you sign up, they replace your Lijit code so that while the Lijit code still displays, they fill in the empty spots with more ads at a slightly higher rate so you can increase your earnings. The reporting page is clunky, so I’m having a hard time figuring out what, if much more than nine pennies, I earned in October. The jury is still out on this one.

Amazon Affiliates:

I’m a long time member, and I like it quite a bit. I’m sure the system gets abused, but I’ve always liked how I could link to stuff I was going to link to anyway and get a bit of money if anyone clicked through and purchased anything. I’ve always been careful to disclose whether or not an item I’m linking to can be found more cheaply elsewhere, or whether or not I thought the reviews were worth looking into, etc.

Again, I think people out there can maximize their earning efforts in ways I just don’t have the time or energy to do, but as a casual user, I’ve always been happy with this program. I’ve opted to have my earnings delivered via gift cards so I can save them up for birthdays and Christmas.

Viglink:

This is an experiment, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Viglink automatically links you up to available affiliate programs you might not know of. Say I write about a Widget I bought from Company ABC. Viglink looks to see if Company ABC has an affiliate program, and if they do, they link up automatically to it. If someone clicks through and makes a purchase, we share the affiliate revenue.

It’s next to impossible to disclose other than a broad “Hey, Viglinks may be herein!” because the links are added after your post is published. They even get added to the comments. (Augg, case in point – they made “Amazon” up there a link, and linked their own “Viglink” as well. Hmmm.)

My Notebook Packets:

I decided to include these since I guess they are blog generated revenue. I do have an account with Teachers Pay Teachers but very few sales come in there, and I don’t really market the packets anywhere else.

Various Affiliates:

This month I had a payout from the company I use to host my website, Midphase. I have affiliate accounts with a handful of other companies I honestly use and can wholeheartedly recommend, and will report those earnings when they come in.

That’s it! Any questions?

So, what do you think? Do you like the rundowns of the different things I’m trying or should I just stick to numbers and profit/loss? Do you have any questions for me?

Though I have no plans (anti-plans, really) to turn this website into anything resembling a ‘career in blogging,’ I’ll keep these reports filed under the currently pretty empty ‘work’ category for now.

Comments

  1. says

    Love this! Really, really refreshing to see actual numbers. The always-popular “I make a bit from my blog here and there but nothing significant/I have a decent readership” is so vague it’s maddening. Why even bring it up?

      • says

        I agree with Jessica (commenter number one Jessica). Thanks for giving actual numbers.

        I’ve never tried to monetize because there is some thin connection between monetizing and admitting to myself and others that I actually invest time and energy into what I do. AND monetizing implies that I think I have enough readers to make even $.07/month. Which I don’t (seriously- the most views I’ve had in one day was like 250 and I was all “Noooo waaaaaay”). But I have certainly thought about it.

        So thanks for giving your actual numbers. It’s really helpful.

        And I like that you’ve ditched blogging a few times, come back, and still enjoy it. Very nice to see, from someone who regularly considers burning the whole thing down:)

        • says

          There is definitely that – looking at it all, and even seeing the potential to make it bigger or better… but then, totally lacking the desire to do so. And I know my skill set, I could make it bigger / better / more profitable. But I really don’t want to, and is that weird?

          My relationship with blogging is very hit and miss. I often want to set it all aflame. I like that I have the ability to do so, and that I could always switch domains and start over if I wanted. That alleviates the “Ack, I’m stuck here” feeling I get when I realize I don’t have these archives printed. :o)

  2. Alissa says

    Fascinating, thank you!! I wish more would do this, I’d be so curious to see.

  3. says

    Okay don’t laugh, but I expected you to be raking it in with those notebook packets! Is this not so? How can we get the word out, because they look so cool.

    My only question is what does CPM even mean?

    • says

      That’s nice of you, thanks. I dunno, I kind of like that they spread via word of mouth (though I did do some giveaways in the beginning) and don’t take too much brain space. It would be nice to have more time to make more in a quicker manner, but maybe someday.

      CPM is cost per impression. You’re supposed to get paid per eyeballs, whereas CPC is pay per click. CPM is better, but my numbers don’t reflect that yet, so I’m not sure if I’m reading the stats wrong. Or if I’m doing it wrong, period, which could totally be the case.

  4. says

    I love that you are sharing!

    I’m kind of disappointed in the direction that BlogHer has gone, and when they dropped me from their ad network earlier this year, I didn’t even bother fighting it. I found too many instances of them allowing bigger Bloggers to play by different rules, and favorites (not necessarily bigger) going longer without content. I understand it’s a business, but they seem to have strayed a bit from their original intent of quality over quantity and that makes me sad.

    • says

      Thanks, oh I didn’t know! Well, now that you say it I remember reading some brouhaha a while back. I’ll have to search. I was with them when they first started the ad program and it paid so well back then. I’ll have to check it out if they ever let me back in, but I’ll keep my eyes open for other opportunities, too.

      • says

        I actually liked Blogher fine too, but then I kept getting these ads I didn’t want on my blog. I thought I had more manageability with it, but couldn’t seem to get them filtered.

        After that, I just didn’t want to dedicate my best spots to ads. But in the end, I think Blogher does a lot of good for a lot of bloggers.

        • says

          It seems like you no longer have to have the list of links under the ad spaces, but I can’t find much more out about it. It does look like they make concessions for bigger sites.

          I do vaguely remember being thrilled at first, and then the pay got smaller even though my traffic went up, but I’m so foggy on it all. That was like ten years ago. My brain is old and feeble now.

  5. Lauren says

    Interesting! Do you consider it “worth it” when compared with the time/energy/etc that you put into blogging?

    • says

      THAT is a good question, because my relationship with blogging can be rather tenuous. Sometimes I really enjoy it and other times I want to pack it all in.

      Right now (and this may totally change), I kind of look at it like this: I’m doing this anyway, so if I can make some pennies, great. Cherry on top sort of thing. But whether or not it’s worth it feels like a deeper question. If I actually recorded the time (and hey, that might be something interesting to try) and compared it to the money coming in it probably wouldn’t balance out, but I don’t know.

      That would be really interesting to know about the big time bloggers, don’t you think? How their hours they put in compare with the monies generated? I wonder if it’s hugely out of balance in one direction or the other, or if it works out.

  6. says

    Niiiiice run down lady! Thanks. I am getting AT&T and GEICO ads. Hmmm…

    I love Amazon for all the reasons you stated. I haven’t used any other advertising. I think about it from time to time, but then my brain chases down something else and *kaput* I’m done with the thought.

    Maybe in another decade…

    • says

      OH WOW…VigLink just linked my “Amazon” link in my comment. NOW THAT is something I’m not used to seeing!

      • says

        And er…it wasn’t an actual “link”, I just wrote the word “Amazon.”

        Wow, “Hi! I’m Heather and I’m consuming Jess’s comments.”

        • says

          Hey if we put it in quotes “Amazon” doesn’t get linked. What would be funny is if I wrote about our study of the “Amazon” River. And Viglink was linking up all over it.

          • says

            Well, you know that Amazon.com river is deadly…it soaks everything up and drowns us all in debt.

            Oh wow, I need help.

            • says

              Ha ha ha! I can’t decide if it’s deadly or absolutely necessary to my survival. I kind of think the latter. What would I do without Prime??? Which, by the way, you totally got me on and I’ve never looked back. Slashed cable, slashed newspaper, slashed car payments, and cut up all our biz credit cards, but PRIME MUST STAY.

              Hello, I need my tape, paper, pencils, markers, vitamins, hairspray, etc, etc. in two days free shipping please.

              Surely this is justified living out in the sticks? Thirty minutes to town? Who needs it! Prime! (Somewhere small children in the Nairobi desert are playing me tiny, sad violins).

    • says

      Isn’t it weird? I’m going to watch the numbers for November, but Viglink is probably going byebye. Weird how they linked the Amazon in your comment, but not their own??

  7. Kansasmom says

    I came here to learn about your hair growing experience and found myself realizing you make about as much blogging as I do as a guest teacher. I am going to look into this further. You may have just changed my world. Thank you so much for posting numbers. I had no idea

    • says

      I’m so glad! It can be a slow process in the beginning. Many give up before they get to the point where they can make dollars with their website. I think you can speed the process if you have a product to sell – check into Teachers Pay Teachers too, since you’re already a substitute. Lots of teachers make some pretty amazing money over there (though I’d say most make a modest amount).

      If you need any help setting up a blog and getting going, just give me a holler.

    • says

      Oh, and I should mention most ad revenue places pay a month or two behind. So once you do start earning monies you have to wait on their pay schedule. It can be annoying, but okay once you get past the initial wait.

  8. Michelle says

    What are threats?!?!

    I see ads for Klean Kanteen (I’m drooling over the new canisters and just waiting (hoping) for a sale or promo soon) and J. Jill. What’s funny about that is that I only looked at their website to find a customer service number to call and complain about the horrible store clerks in one of their brick and mortar stores. Those women were so condescending and impolite to me the day I stopped in, I’ll NEVER buy anything from them.

    • says

      Oh that is ominous looking, isn’t it! Those are the spammers and hackers and spambots and probably hackbots who try to bust into my website (and all websites) on a daily basis. I have a bunch of protections in place (plugins and Cloudflare) so nobody’s succeeded (knock on wood).

      HA! I have a J.Jill dress that I bought online. I’ve had it for years and really like it (basic black dress) but I had a similar experience in their brick and mortar store. One of my friends had a terrible experience there, too. It’s like they act like they are Prada or Gucci or something? Weird.

      I think you can click the little ‘ad choices’ thingies in the corners and either opt out of targeted ads or just say you don’t like that one?? I am still learning.

      • Michelle says

        It doesn’t bother me that much. I didn’t even notice the ads until you mentioned them in your post. I’m sure this isn’t what advertisers want to hear, but I’ve gotten in the habit of just tuning them out. I don’t even notice them on blogs anymore.

        I’ve never been treated so unkindly in a store in my life. They must be doing very well if they can afford to turn away customers with that attitude, ya know? I wandered over to LL Bean, and they were happier to see me and my wallet.

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