Welcome once again to our monthly income and traffic report!
We decided to do this to give you a glimpse into what is going on ‘behind the posts’ at Foxy Folksy and for us to keep track of the developments on our attempt in making Foxy Folksy an income-generating blog. Hopefully, sharing this will also help others who are interested in creating their own blog or those who are also trying to find their way in making money from their existing blog by learning from our mistakes and successes.
Foxy Folksy has been up and running since January 2014 but only as a hobby blog. This means I was just posting articles whenever I was in the mood, like twice in a month or so. We only really started thinking that maybe we could make some earnings from it in early months of 2016. You can see how Foxy Folksy was doing in the months from my first income report.
Another thing worth mentioning, I guess, is that we are not in the United States. We just moved to the Philippines from Germany but most of our traffic is coming from the US and then, second, from the Philippines. Why do I have to mention this? Simply because I am starting to learn that the opportunities for US-based bloggers are different for bloggers in my situation. I am also following some food bloggers who publish their monthly income reports but all I was able to find so far are US-based bloggers. It is a good way to get ideas where they get their income, sure, but some of their sources or advice are not applicable to me, a Non-US-based blogger. So I am trying to share the things that are working for me and those that did not.
Below are the numbers for the month of December:
Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and all of the products listed below are products and services I have personally used or still using.
- Adsense - $237.27
- BlogHer (SheKnows) - $1,424.20
- Youtube - $144.93
- Amazon Associates- $77.92
- ShareASale - $0
Income from Ads: $1,806.40
Income from Affiliates: $77.92
Total Income: $1,884.32
- Hostgator - $11.84
- Boardbooster - $20.00
- Monthly Giveaway - $42.64
- Food Blogger Pro - $23.25
- Mailchimp - $45.00
- MS Office 365 Home subscription - $7
- Facebook Ads - $3.23
Total Expenses: $152.96
NET INCOME: $1,731.36
These are actual screenshots from Google Analytics:
RPM FOR THE MONTH:
What is RPM you say? Well simply put, it is how much you earn per 1000 Pageviews and you calculate it with this formula:
(revenue / pageviews) x 1000
Why is it important? Well, it is a simple way of tracking how the blog is performing from month to month when it comes to generating income. With this, you are also able to compare your own performance to other bloggers who are also publishing their income reports. The goal is, of course, to get this number to increase or in the least stable. A decrease in RPM means some improvement in your income strategy is needed.
Our RPM computation only includes revenue from Ads as these are the income that is directly associated with the number of page views. Commissions from affiliates are excluded as these are earnings from a sale which has nothing to do with the increase or decrease in page views.
RPM FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS:
FACEBOOK : 4,265(up by 316)
INSTAGRAM : 6,775 (up by 449)
PINTEREST : 5,439 (up by 103)
TWITTER : 3,436 (up by 120)
YOUTUBE : 4,235 (up by 554)
EMAIL : 4,246 (up by 542)
- December's page views increased by 19.06% from 220,885 to 262,977. Way to go December! There were two big bumps that contributed to the increase...you guessed it! Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. But these were followed by big dips the following days which is quite normal based on our experience.
- Income increased by 8%, which we should be thankful for (and we are) but we cannot help but feel disappointed. December should be the best performing month with the highest RPM, but it is not the case for us. Our RPM went down from $7.73 in November to $6.87 in December and to compare that with last year's $8.15 RPM...hhhmmm.
- The total number of posts for December is 4. Not even half of the target 10-12 posts per month. I don't know what to say, only that there were a lot of things going on, like the holidays, both my nephews had their birthdays and my sister got married. Here's some proof:
- Orange Geek vs. Cloudways. It was really a difficult decision but in the end, we chose Cloudways. Yes, Foxy Folksy is now hosted on Vultr + Cloudways servers. The deciding factor was simply because they give a 3-day trial which we took to learn how things work with them plus migrating our site was so easy, done in just a few minutes really. So once we were in, it was not hard for us to stay with them. I (a non-geek) did the complete migration myself but with some help from their very accommodating and knowledgeable customer support thru chat. They also have a Knowledge Base that covers most of the things you need to know. Another reason is, they are cheaper. I have to mention, by the way, that both Orange Geek and Cloudways do not have CPanel. This almost made me change my mind about both but now I see that I do not really need CPanel after all. I can and am accessing my files thru SFTP (Filezilla) which is not all that much different if you get used to it. Cloudways also do not host emails but they offer an add-on to get an account with Rackspace who will provide mailboxes for your domain (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) for a $1 per month.
- We are now in HTTPS! At long last! So, after our move from our old host, Hostgator to Cloudways, we also moved from HTTP to HTTPS. Installing the free Let's Encrypt SSL Certificate from Cloudways is so simple, it is literally a push of a button. Of course, the whole process involved in moving to HTTPS is not that simple and required some hours to finish but CW support was there with me whenever I have questions or in need of assistance.
- An update on BlogHer/SheKnows. I asked them if they can optimize the ad placements on my site to cushion the drop in income during this lean time (Q1-Q2). They agreed and said they will give me a code to maximize the viewability of the Ads in mobile by suppressing the ads from the bottom (sidebar) on mobile view. Low viewability effects the CPM offer, so the higher the score the better CPM you will get. If you are with BlogHer or planning to go with them, remember to ask about optimization and help with improving viewability, it really helps.
What's next :
- We are now (actively) looking for a new theme. Yep, new host, HTTP to HTTPS and a new theme. That is how we want to start 2018. The theme I have now is a free WordPress theme called Elegant from WPExplorer. I got it in 2014 when this blog was just a hobby and made some changes in the design so you probably won't recognize it from the original version. I love this theme and it is a really great theme but as it is a free version it never got updated. So I think it is about time to change all that.
- Looking for Mailchimp alternative. We use MailChimp as our Email marketing service and Privy for our Popup and sidebar sign-up forms. Privy is free and really cool because of their exit-intent Popups that is highly customizable. It is great as it can also be integrated with MailChimp so it updates the contacts automatically. On the other hand, Mailchimp is not free but rather expensive in my opinion. We are now paying $45 (we got a $5 discount) up to 5000 subscribers and then when we exceed that, additional $5 for every 200 increase, here is a copy of their price index up to 11k subscribers. We have 300-400 average monthly increase in Email subscribers that means we will need to pay $75 in about 2-3 months, which is really too much for me. So, I think it is time to look for an alternative.
That's it for now! Until the next reporting!
Thinking of starting your own blog, you may want to visit my blog post on How To Start A Blog with a checklist of the things you should know before actually creating one and How to create a Blog for the step-by-step procedures on building your blog. You may also want to check out my Resource Page for the tools you need for your blog.