Traffic and Income Report - August 2018
August was awesome for the blog, and although not our best “financially”, I saw a lot of really great growth, and it is finally starting to feel like all my hard work is doing something. I was able to stay pretty focused with my goals, and met most of the big ones. Of course there is always a million and one things to do, but it always feels good to meet your biggest goals.
If you’re new to these reports and would like more details on why I’m writing these income and traffic report posts, here is the short and sweet version:
To be transparent and share the amount of work that goes into maintaining something like this, even after only about a year, I have learned SO MUCH. I’m sure you can see the difference just by looking at my first income report to this one.
To practice sharing and get away from having a "scarcity mentality", I want to believe that helping others won't hurt my own growth... it should just make it better. So this is one way I'm sharing with you!
To break some taboos about money! Money is a necessity in this life, and I hope that as I grow this online business I can inspire and show other outdoor enthusiasts how to make money online so they can be location independent too (that's my dream anyways)... The less time we are tied to an office, the more time we can spend climbing and hiking (can I get an Amen?!) Not saying that it will be all fun and no work (this kind of thing is a lot of work!), but there's freedom in the ability to choose. Some people say we can't have it all, but I want to prove them otherwise.
To reflect on past months and to pivot where needed. Life seems to be a series of action, reflection, and pivoting... taking time to look back at what's working and what isn't and make the necessary changes.
supporting us & the blog:
The reason and inspiration behind starting this whole digital nomad blogging business journey of mine was originally to find a creative way (doing something I loved) to help pay off Michael and I's massive student loan debt. At first we were embarrassed to say it, but to be transparent, we have over $190k in student loans. I could get into the details here, but I will save that for another time. The short story is private school tuitions + San Francisco living = lots of debt. While we look back at our choices sometimes and feel regret (we would pick a different path if we could turn the wheels) but hindsight is 20/20 and we've got to get creative with the situation we have right now and not dwell on things we can't undo.
So I started a blog! And at first I had no idea what I was doing, and honestly I didn't think anything would come of it, but I've found a new love for learning about becoming an online entrepreneur and I love being able to connect with fellow outdoor enthusiasts via this platform! The She Dreams of Alpine Blog has become the perfect melding of my first true love (outdoor adventure) and something that was hidden inside of me (the entrepreneurial spirit!).
If you like what we are doing and want to support Michael and I on our journey toward debt free living, you can do so in a few ways! (of course, please don't feel obligated, we will always provide great free content on the site!)
1) Shop on Amazon: Any time you click on one of our Amazon affiliate links, you are supporting us at no-extra cost to you. Need to do some shopping on Amazon? Click through with our link, add items to your cart, and we get a small percentage in return from Amazon.
2) Shop on REI: If you prefer to shop through REI it works the same way. If you use our REI affiliate link, you are supporting us at no-extra cost to you.
3) Become a Patron on Patreon: Patrons of She Dreams of Alpine are continual supporters of the blog. You can pledge $1, $3, or whatever you want a month to support us. If you would love to support us in this way, you can learn more about our Patreon here. We currently have 7 amazing patrons! We are so grateful for all the support and love we have received from this community so far. These people have helped me keep up the momentum on this blog, while I learn how to turn it into a business.
**A quick note: Some of the links below are affiliate links.
As I eluded to above, August was a good month. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good and I feel more excited than ever to keep moving forward.
What we worked on for the blog:
I've continued to focus a lot on SEO. Writing new posts and optimizing old ones. It's a long process, but it seems to be paying off! My traffic is up by 28% from last month... and I sort of feel like this has to do with my SEO work. At this rate, I will hopefully be able to apply for Mediavine ads by December/January.. which should help the overall blog revenue. Laughably, we finally reached our “payout” threshold on google adsense this month.. so next month I’ll be getting a payout of about $130 from google adsense finally.
I continue to work on building backlinks to the blog each month via various backlink building strategies.
I officially got and EIN (employee identification number) for my business and got my first business banking account and a subscription to quickbooks. Next step is to get my revenue and expense streams funneling in and out of those accounts. I decided to stay a sole proprietor since I live in California and LLC is super expensive here. Maybe if I move one day I will register as a LLC. I also started reading this book called Profit First, and I hope to set up my business banking accounts similar to this method. I like the idea of always slinging a profit from my business.
I ended up getting a new Pinterest VA to help me focus on some new traffic building strategies (to help supplement the SEO traffic increases), and she will also start helping me with my Instagram account too. Social media might be one of my least favorite parts about building a business, although, I still plan to do the main side of content creation on those platforms (creating my own pins, posting my own images and captions)... In fact, I’m going to start doing an IG live once a week, to start getting myself more comfortable on camera. If you aren't already following me, you can find me at @shedreamsofalpine
I finished the core content of my Bschool program, AND went to the Entrepreneur Experience in San Diego (which was a conference included with signing up with Amy Porterfield for Bschool) and I met some really awesome women (Table 19!) and that whole event was super inspiring. Reminding me that I am a big deal, and I can do hard things! I’ve got some surprises in the works as a result of the conference, and I look forward to working on them for the coming months. I sort of hope I have the chance to go to something like that every year, it's super inspiring too be around a bunch of badass women entrepreneur’s (and some men there!)... but it just gets me super excited by the possibilities, and I just want to surround myself by the high achievers and go getters and learn from them!
I continued testing out "batch writing" articles this month, where I attempted to write 5+ articles in one week, so I could focus the rest of my month on other things. I only ended up being able to batch 3 articles in one week, but it definitely still helped to spread out the work load! I'm going to keep trying to do this going forward.
I continued my biweekly email newsletter, and am working on my copywriting skills and growing that email list!
Domain Authority- domain authority only moved up 1 point... from 17 to 18, so... idk, it doesn’t seem to be affecting my traffic.. which is growing, so I try not to care about this vanity metric too much.
We grew our email list by +90 new subscribers this month with Convert Kit!
I purchased a virtual ticket to Social Media Marketing World Event for next year. I would love to go in person, but it is during the work week and the price was much more expensive. I’m hoping to learn more about FB ads, chatbots, IG TV... all the new good stuff out there.
I created a customized 404 page for the blog >> Check it out by putting in this url www.shedreamsofalpine.com/49jfdl (or any random URL really that I don’t have).
Like I said above... I did a lot, and I’m gosh darn proud of myself. I hope to keep up this momentum till year end and finish 2018 strong. I’m coming up on my “official” 1 year since treating my blog as a business in October. Can’t wait to do a 1 year recap. It’s amazing what we can do in a year.
Life Outside of Blogging in August:
The first weekend in August Michael and I got to visit my brother and sister-n-law while they were visiting Napa. It was fun getting to hang out with them and spend some time up there enjoying good wine, beer, and food. A nice change of pace from the norm.
A coworker and I took a stab at backpacking and summitting Middle Palisade, a California 14er that I haven't done yet. We turned around at the Palisade Glacier. I chickened out/ had been feeling altitude sick all weekend. But will definitively share the backpacking portion of that trail with you guys here one of these days. It was a beautiful area!
I mentioned above that I went to San Diego one weekend for the Entrepreneur Experience Conference, and it was awesome! I wish I could do something like that every quarter. While we were in San Diego though, Michael and I also went to the Mesa Rock Climbing Gym and rode those electric scooters around town a bit (which was pretty fun!)
I started climbing training again, and finished up the first 3 weeks of a training plan that my friend wrote for me. Got to get ready for Bishop bouldering season!
Books this month. The Dream of The Alpine Book Club's choice for August was "Into the Wild", which I am still working on finishing, but I really love it! In September the book club is reading, "Daring Greatly" which has been on my reading list for quite some time now. I almost need to take a break from adding books to my list because they are piling up now. I can’t read fast enough these days with all the work on the blog. I’ve got about 5 books in the works right now... oops!
August Blog Posts:
We aimed to publish at least 5 to 6 new articles on the site this month, or revamp older posts. Here's how we did:
7 Tips for Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail >> a Guest Post!
Your Ultimate Trail Guide: Mount Langley Hike and the Cottonwood Lakes >> Revamped Older Post
I also participated in about 6 different collabs/guest posts in August
So I only ended up publishing 4 total posts, so I missed my goal there a bit. However, I have 2 other posts I started in August, but I just didn’t get to finish because they are turning into beasts... writing takes me so long sometimes.
August profit was pretty break even, but that is still sort of to be expected at this point. Still the blog is growing and we are focusing mostly on SEO at the moment to build momentum around traffic and growing our email list. We don't want to spread ourselves too thin with sponsored content, so we are trying to really be focused on who we work with. However, I look forward to doing more in the future! Ok, so what did we earn in August?!
"THEORETICAL" Revenue Totals: $231
Patreon Sponsors: $103
Amazon Affiliate Income: $82
Other Affilaite Programs: $8
Google AdSense: $33
Skillshare Classes: $5
ACTUAL Blog Expenses: $252
Monthly expenses breakdown:
ConvertKit (monthly): $29
I made the leap to ConvertKit at the end of December and I couldn't be happier! I love love love it. I wouldn't go back to Mail Chimp now, it has seriously made my life so much easier and given me back so much time. I used to spend hours trying to figure out how to do something in Mail Chimp that is very intuitive in Convert Kit. I'll write a more detailed post sometime soon about why I moved from Mail Chimp to ConvertKit.
Virtual Assistants: $200
I finally upgraded my Canva membership to the pro version from the free version because I wanted to be able to save my "brand" colors and fonts, and build folders within Canva.
Email domain name service
Other tools that I pay for (but only get charged yearly, not monthly)
AND if I’m being really honest, I also personally invested in a couple of things this month... Social Media Marketing World ($300 for a virtual ticket) and something additional... which is a surprise for now! (Come on... I’m allowed some surprises)
We saw a 28% growth in our traffic (sessions) this month from July, and August was our highest month to date for overall traffic since I re-launched the blog. That’s 8% higher than last months growth. Woo! I’m trying not to expect that each month, but it’s still exciting none-the-less.
As far as Social goes, nothing out of the ordinary as far as growth compared to last month.
Pinterest - 799 sessions
Facebook - 523 sessions
Instagram - 113 sessions
Redditt - 24 sessions
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.
I am feeling VERY AMBITIOUS for the rest of 2018.... I know I said that last month, but I just upped the ante at the Entrepreneur Experience Conference and consequently have set myself some very lofty goals. PLUS, I am also going to continue focusing on climbing and have high hopes to send Solarium this season (a climb in Bishop that I still haven’t been able to do). I have a great feeling about September... and October... and November... and life... Let’s just say, I’m feeling optimistic.
I actually don’t have my full plan fleshed out for September yet, but there are a few core things I will continue to work on.
Write 4-5 new or revamped (Keyword optimized) posts on my own site
Participate in at least 4-5 collaboration articles/guest posts to build backlinks
Keep up with my bi-weekly newsletter
Continue a weekly IG Live
Move my spending and revenue streams to funnel in and out of my new business banking account.
And oh.. that secret project I mentioned above... :)
I can do hard things. I can do hard things. I can do hard things.
Here we go!
Hope this all was helpful and insightful, please leave me a comment if you have any questions or want to follow up! Thanks for following me on this online business journey!