January has been a rollercoaster of a month both with the blog and in my personal life. I wasn’t planning on writing an income report so soon after the last one but this month has been a steep learning curve in so many ways that I decided to share it with you.
I started writing income reports as I wanted to dispell the myth that you need to have huge traffic to be successful with affiliate marketing. It is possible to make BIG money with a SMALL blog. I wanted to show you real-life examples that are obtainable.
There are many affiliate marketing experts out there earning 6 and 7 figure salaries from affiliate marketing but they also have a million page views a month. I wanted to give you a more down to earth case study that you could see working for YOU.
So drumroll, please…
This month I earnt $5733.53 with 58.6K page views with passive income methods ONLY.
My January Blog Income Stats
My income can be broken down into 4 sources;
- Travel blog ad revenue $835
- Travel blog affiliate revenue $4327.44
- Passive income Superstars affiliate revenue $544.09
- Sales of digital products $27
This is based on
- Travel Blog 52.9K page views
- This blog 5.7K page views
- Total 58.6K page views
As you can see, affiliate marketing accounts for 85% of my blogging income this month. I want to teach you how you can earn a similar amount. Make sure you sign up for my FREE 5-day affiliate marketing course to pick up some of my favourite tips!
And if you want to take affiliate marketing to the next level, I have an advanced affiliate course coming out soon! Take a sneak peek here.
Let’s look at January in more detail
- Traffic is up by 45% since December
- Income is up by $403.57
- I had a successful open-close cart affiliate sale with the Genius Bloggers Toolkit. It was my first time promoting that product yet I made my way onto their affiliate leaderboard.
- Facebook Group has grown by 25%
- My email list has grown by 115%
- We had a successful 5-day affiliate marketing challenge launch.
- I got headhunted by a company I love who want a long term working relationship.
- I got hit by the latest core Google update
- Ad revenue is down
- My most lucrative article dropped from spot 2 on Google to spot 4.
- Multiple family, work and personal stressors which I admit I could handle better. When I’m stressed, I turn to my work for distraction which makes me very productive in one aspect but unproductive in many others. I haven’t been to the gym in weeks but I have produced a shed load of content on the travel blog. Does this resonate with anyone else?
I’m going to go into some of these ups and downs to explain why they happened and how I dealt with them.
Let’s start with the good stuff…
Traffic is up…
This is pretty normal for this time of year so I can’t claim to have done anything mystical or wonderful to see this uptick in traffic. Simply put, more people are interested in booking holidays and growing their online businesses now that Christmas is out of the way.
However, all my traffic growth is down to two things. Pinterest and SEO.
Without mastering these two platforms, I’d still be relying on my Mum for pageviews…
If you don’t have them already, I’d highly recommend investing in both Tailwind and Keysearch to start growing your traffic. They will pay for themselves many times over and will be the best investments you make in your blog.
Want to learn more? Read these next;
The Genius Bloggers Toolkit was a success
Recently I joined the Ultimate Bundles affiliate programme. It is now one of my absolute faves.
Ultimate Bundles is a totally different type of affiliate programme but it is incredible because
- The commission is 40-70%!
- With a 30-day cookie period
- There are products for virtually every blogging niche from parenting to health to finance or travel (and many more)
- The affiliate support is 2nd to none. They hold our hands every step of the way
- They have prizes! From Ipad Pros to $1000 in cash. There are big incentives to do well with this programme.
Now I said it’s a different type of affiliate programme and that is because it is open – close cart. Meaning that the products are only on sale for a short period of time so you will need to market it differently to normal affiliate products. But it can be very lucrative. I made over $400 in 2 days on my first open-close cart sale even though this blog is still new and my email list is still quite small.
I did this by writing a review on the blog (this converted best) and sharing frequently on social media as well as to my email list. I also paid a small amount for Pinterest ads but this is optional! Next sale I am going to be running a lot more ads as the conversion rate is great.
The best thing about these bundles though is that after the open-close cart sale, you can sign up for individual affiliate programmes for all the products in the bundle and promote them year-round. I haven’t written any reviews yet (it is on my to-do list) but even with just a few pins, I made over $200. Those pins took 5 minutes to make…
These are the bundles they are promoting over the next few months.
- Ultimate Women’s Wellness Bundle 2020 – February 5-10
- 2020 Smart Travel Super Bundle Flash Sale March 4,-5
- Ultimate Productivity Bundle 2020 Flash Sale March 11-12
- Grow Your Business Bundle 2020 April 1-6
- 2020 Ultimate Homemaking Bundle April 29 – May 4
They also have evergreen photography, finance and essential oil bundles which you can promote in a similar way to your normal affiliate products.
See any which you could promote? If so, sign up here to get started!
I launched the 5-day affiliate challenge mini-course and it was a success!
For my new website to be a success, I need to show that I can provide a lot of value when it comes to affiliate marketing. I decided the best way to do this was to give away some of my best tips in a free mini-course.
I decided to launch it to my Facebook group and we had daily threads to discuss problems or share ideas. It was a raging success and we had 160 people taking the challenge alongside each other. I had some really lovely feedback afterwards – thank you for that!
If you took the course and found it useful, you may be excited to learn that I am working on a much more detailed extensive course which will be launching later this year, probably late Springtime.
The free challenge has now been made evergreen but without the daily Facebook threads so if you missed the launch, you can still join now. In fact, in the last couple of weeks, a further 56 people have taken the course.
I got headhunted!
One of my least favourite things to do is send cold pitches. It just seems so formal and cold. I’m also not a big fan of sponsored work. I don’t like feeling like I’d have to promote something which I may or may not love. Authenticity is so important to me and one of the biggest reasons for my affiliate success. I only promote products I LOVE.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll do the occasional sponsored trip if it is somewhere I know I’m going to love or if it’s with a travel company I’ve used and loved previously. Personally I feel this means that the companies I do promote on a sponsored basis get a much better return from my loyal readers.
So I was thrilled to be headhunted by a company that I have already had a brilliant experience with previously.
My affiliate success had been noted and they told me they’d been following me for a while for that reason. Even better, they want a longterm working agreement, not just a one-off trip. We’re still working out some of the finer details but this is a company I actually want to work with.
Just another reason why affiliate marketing can be so brilliant!
My email list grew by 115%
If you don’t have an email list, you need to get one. This is the number one way of selling affiliate products. By sending regular newsletters packed with juicy tips, your readers build a relationship with you and learn that they can trust you.
You can then refer them directly to products you mention in your newsletter or refer them to posts that convert sales.
Email marketing can be successful for any niche. However many bloggers don’t have a list. Often this is because they don’t know how to get people to sign up or what to send to them each time.
I’m thinking of creating another email challenge this time about setting up and growing an email list. Who’s in?!
Let me know in the comments!
Okay, let’s move onto the stuff that didn’t go so well this month and what I did (or intended to do) about it.
I got hit by the Google Update
A new core Google update came out mid-January. My travel blog was affected as many people in the travel niche experienced.
Don’t get me wrong, traffic is still better than in December but that is mostly just seasonal.
But my traffic dropped by about 15% in mid-January compared to the previous week and it hasn’t recovered. YET.
So what did I do about it?
Firstly I checked Google Console to see where my rankings had dropped. I then set about trying to secure some new backlinks to those articles.
I also went through my website correcting broken links to help improve my overall SEO/ Domain authority.
I started creating more pins and putting more effort into Pinterest to help counteract the loss. Some of those pins are just starting to take off nicely now.
Ad Revenue is down
This is unavoidable in January. Advertiser budgets are lower after Christmas. It is normal to see a big dip in RPM. Even though my traffic increased by 45%, my ad revenue was actually down!
It’s best not to overthink it and instead focus on other sources of income like affiliate marketing or creating your own products.
My most lucrative post dropped in ranking
Amongst other articles, my most lucrative post went from rank #2 where it has been sat for a year to rank #4! This might only be a little jump but stats show if you are not in the top 2-3 search results, your traffic will be a tiny fraction of the search volume.
The two sites that took over from me have domain authorities over 50 but I’ve been outranking them for a year before this.
So what did I do about it?
I made my post better!
I added a few keywords. I added an FAQ section. There had been a few changes so I made sure my content reflected that.
I added 2020 to the title so people know its current. I also added the exact month I updated it at the top of the post and will continue to update regularly.
I then made a video on youtube with the same keyword and embedded it in my post.
I then went looking for more backlinks and did a collab linking to that post.
I plan to make some more content on similar topics to help strengthen my authority.
That #2 spot will be mine again! I’m determined.
DA 54, I’m not scared of you because my DA32 page is BETTER!
My personal life went crazy.
Alongside one of the busiest months with my blog, I also had a crazy personal life. I went through a breakup just before Christmas, I had work dramas in my GP job (fun fact, I’m also a doctor) and there are dramas going on in my family that have me very worried for my loved ones. It has been mega stressful.
I am the sort of person who throws myself into work as a distraction when I’m stressed. But I can take it too far. I can’t remember the last time I had a day off and I haven’t done normal things like go to the cinema or go to the gym for weeks.
I sat down and gave myself a telling-off for this last night. So I went to bed early for the first time in forever. Those ZZZZ were GOOD!
I’m going for a swim as soon as I hit publish on this article. I’m going to book myself in for a massage and tonight I’m going to sit down and make some travel plans.
I’m telling you this as I think it’s an important reminder as self-employed business owners that sometimes we need to look at the bigger picture and remember to be kind to ourselves.
I want you to ask yourself, when was the last time you were kind to yourself and put yourself ahead of your business?
If you do need to look after yourself better, maybe it is healthy eating, exercise, meditation or yoga, check out the Ultimate Bundles Well Womans bundle on offer until February 10th. It’s a deal way too good to miss!
- How to make BIG money with a SMALL blog
- The complete beginners guide to affiliate marketing
- My favourite affiliate programmes and 4 ways you can make money with it
- Thirsty Affiliate review – the one plugin every affiliate marketer needs!
That’s all for now folks! I hope you’ve gained something from this income report and have plans for the next month whether that be to get involved with Ultimate Bundles, update your old posts or just take more you-time.
Let me know what your plans and goals are in the comments!
And don’t forget to do a fellow blogger a favour and pin this to your Pinterest boards! Thanks a million!