This ” December 2016 Blog Income Report: I Made Over $34,000 Last Year ” is my 9th income report. I truly cannot believe that I would earn money through blogging. This post contains affiliate links/ads. See disclosure policy.
My blog made it past 2016. I never thought that I would be earning early on my blogging journey but I did. Before I created this post, I had reflected what I did last year when it came to blogging. It's a roller coaster, if I can sum it up in just two words. I went through some challenges and triumphs over the past year and I believe that I learned from them and grew into a better blogger.
Welcome to my December 2016 income report. This post is the only post that I create every month where I detail how much I made for the previous month, where the earnings came from, what I did and did not do, what my failures and triumphs were, and what my next month's goals are.
Previous Months' Blog Revenues
For those of you who haven't had the opportunity to see how my blog has progressed over the past couple of months, here is the information. I compiled all my income reports for easy access and just to give an idea how I have done (money-wise) with my blog. As of December 2016, I made $5,435.21. This means that as of December 2016, I have made over $34,000.00 in just ten months.
- November 2016 Income Report (10th month of blogging) – $5,858.90
- October 2016 Income Report (9th month of blogging) – $5,765.11
- September 2016 Income Report (8th month of blogging) – $5,243.17
- August 2016 Income Report (7th month of blogging) – $4,010.00
- July 2016 Income Report (6th month of blogging) – $3,430.89
- June 2016 Income Report (5th month of blogging) – $2,972.33
- May 2016 Income Report (4th month of blogging) – $1,441.87
- April 2016 Income Report (3rd month of blogging) – $657.17
Most Visited Posts
I credited my traffic and income to several posts I published this past couple of months. I did not know so many people would see these posts. Here are my most read/visited blog posts for the past month:
- Tight Christmas Budget: 10+ Low-Cost and Free Christmas Gift Ideas – 40,012 visits
- 25+ Survey Sites That Will Add $600/Month or More – 30,545 visits
- Save More Money and Be Richer By $14,000 A Year – 25,466 visits
- What To Do When You Are Behind With Your Bills? -12,766 visits
- 5 Clever Saving Techniques To Trick Yourself Into Savings – 9,445 visits
Before I show you my blog traffic and earnings for December 2016, let me tell you why I wanted to blog my income.
Income Progression. I like to see my progression (income) from one month to another and want to share it with other people. My blogging income only covers the income I made from blogging. I don't count my day job income, freelance writing, and everything unrelated to blogging. This way, the readers know this income report is about blog income. You will see survey money in this report, too. This survey money is affiliate money. This survey money is not the money my wife and I earn from taking surveys.
Success and failures. Blogging is not as easy as many people think. If it were, then, a lot of people would be doing it and be making money. You can and will succeed in blogging, but you will have to invest time and effort. You will go through some trials and errors. You will succeed and failed along the way. Don't be discouraged, though, if you fail because that's part of blogging. I failed so many times. I made a bunch of errors that caused a lot of big problems in my blog. But I didn't quit. I took them as lessons and learned from them.
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Reward. I want to show people they can earn money through blogging. For those who want to start blogging, you will see a lot of posts stating it is a scam. If you have not seen them yet, you will eventually. Blogging is not a scam. Not at all.
I have earned at least $34K in 2016 just by sharing my thoughts on personal finance and experiences. Please don't get me wrong. Blogging can and will be rewarding but ain't easy. You need to put in your patience, time, and dedication to make blogging work for you.
As I said above, if blogging were easy and people could earn money right away, then, a lot of people would be doing it. That said, you could earn money from blogging. I took a risk and paid $100+ to get my blog up and running. It paid off.
The best advice I can give you is to blog what you love. I love personal finance. I love managing my money and making sure that my family has money now and in the future so we can meet our needs. So, that's what I my blog is all about. Whether you like to cook or create a DIY project, make sure your blog speaks your interest.
If you want to learn if blogging is for you, please check this post “Is Blogging For You?: The Truths About Blogging”
Inspiration. I want to serve as an inspiration to those who started or think of starting their blogging journey. I honestly did not think it's possible to earn money this early on, but it has happened. I was skeptical about blogging at first, but I took a chance and tried it anyways. I know it will only continue to be better from here. I can sense it. I want to share to the world earning this early is possible.
I believe my commitment, tolerance, willingness, perseverance, and a ton of luck continuously help me with my blogging success.
Transparency. I believe in transparency. While I blog about everything under the realm of personal finance, my blog is also a monetary vehicle for my family. When you see ads in my posts, those are income-generating ads.
When you see companies I recommend or use; those companies may provide me commissions. I only recommend products and services I use and I believe will provide beneficial effects to my readers.
I have been fortunate to receive offers from different companies. I choose to limit those offers simply because I do not want to share products and/or services that I do not think are good or beneficial to my readers. If my intentions were just to make money, I would be able to make more because of those offers. But that is not my main intention.
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Tips for Bloggers
I have dealt and used ad networks to find the best of the best products to offer to my blog readers. I don't just apply and use the offers from these ad networks because I want to make sure I bring forth products that truly help my readers make money, save money, and manage their finances effectively.
It can be exhausting to find networks that will really help you and your blog propel to new heights especially when there are thousands of them over the internet and you can't figure out the right ones for you. If you are a publisher or a blogger and are looking for ad networks that work and pay out really well, I highly recommend the following ad networks.
I'm recommending them because I get positive reviews from my readers and my revenue from these ad networks are great (to say the least).
If you are in the personal finance niche and are looking for survey sites to add in your list of income-generating networks, then, IGain is for you. I have made over $2,000 over a few months with this ad network. The range of survey sites impeccable. The customer service it provides is beyond outstanding. I've worked with a lot of ad networks and IGain's customer service is, by far, the best.
If you are looking for exclusive offers, which can't be found anywhere else, then, IGain is for you.
In addition, one of the most exciting things about this ad network is that it offers games and promotions almost every month. Some of their past promotions included increased payouts, cash incentives, and Amazon gift cards.
Truly, there are so many great things about IGain.
I lumped these two together because they are almost the same in many respects. They have a ton of offers for just about any product out there in the marketplace.
I mainly used it for survey-related offers but it caters a wide range of niches. Some of niches include, but are not limited to, pets, family, books, health, beauty, entertainment, games, employment, education, and home.
I'll tell you that I'm not alone when I say I make a lot of money (i.e. commissions from Panthera). A friend blogger of mine who is in the fashion niche makes at least $600 a month through Panthera. Another friend of mine who is health and fitness makes around $900 a month.
December 2016 Blog Income Report : I Made Over $34,000 Last Year
My blog income for December 2016 decreased by 7.23% from November. My blog traffic, however, increased by 1% to 176,265 views. I am happy to see that my blog traffic increased and that I still managed to pull it some sweet blog income despite not putting a lot of hours into blogging. Yes, I didn't do a lot of blogging-related activities this past December because I took time off for Christmas season.
Income and Expense Strategies
First of all, I didn't have any expense last month. Yes, my expense for this past month was zero, nada, zilch.
To improve my income, I employed several income strategies. These strategies included working with advertising networks and becoming affiliates for products and services I use, which helped me earn commissions when people sign up for such products and services. I also allowed businesses to do guest posts on my blog and/or to be mentioned in my post for a set fee.
I don’t promote products I won’t use or even recommend to my loved ones. I turned down a lot of great opportunities from a lot of companies because I didn’t feel my readers or I could benefit from what they offer. I just don't want to compromise my beliefs.
Here are the products and services I recommend for those who want to make money, save money, and better manage their finances. I get these offers mostly from my ad networks. I recommend Share-A-Sale and FlexOffers. These two ad networks have a ton of offers for just about any product out there in the marketplace.
- Do you have CENTS TO INVEST? I have had Acorns for months now, and I can’t believe how much I have saved so far using it. Now, you can invest as little as $0.01 through Acorns. Acorns will roundup your purchase and invest the spare change. It invests your spare change automatically. If you sign up via this link, you will get $5 BONUS. With Acorns, who says investing is difficult and costly? Not me.
- I did not know anything about coding, WordPress, and other things related to blogging. With Bluehost, you can create your blog in 15 minutes or less. I took a chance and it paid off. I earned over $34,0000 in 2016. For $2.95/month, you have little or nothing to lose but, potentially, a ton to gain.
- iGain has surveys that pay well. Most of the survey affiliate money I receive came from iGain. If you ever want to take surveys, you can view this link. It has over 30 survey sites you can use to earn possibly earn thousands or more every month. If you live outside the US, you can view this link.
Offer Juice: $67.50
- Roughly around 20% of my readers are from outside the US. After a couple of months of research, tests, and trials, I found those opportunities… thanks to Offer Juice. If you live outside the US, here is the link to the best surveys outside the US.
- I love Swagbucks. Every month, my wife and I make $70. This is good for gas and some groceries. When you sign up via my link, you will receive $5 bonus right away.
- Tailwind is the reason my traffic increased in such a short time. I've been blogging for less than a year but my traffic per month hovers around 150K. If you sign up using my link, you will get $15 as well. There's a Tailwind Free Trial, and you can also subscribe for $9.99/month when you sign up for a year. You can always contact me for FREE if you have any Tailwind questions. I don't charge for helping bloggers, but if you want to donate, you can do that as well. 🙂
Google Adsense: $249.20
Pinterest Coaching: $453.00
Smart Asset: $67.53
Sponsored Posts/Mentions: $2,316.84
Total Income: $5,435.21 (with $0.00 in expense)
My Pinterest Coaching Side Hustle
I earn extra income by providing Pinterest coaching service to bloggers. I don't charge for helping others improve their Pinterest traffic.
I get paid by donation. I do not ask for payments. If those who I help give a donation, then, that is good. If I don't get anything, then, I am fine with that as well. I like to help bloggers without expecting anything in return.
I could potentially make a lot of money from Pinterest coaching. Having said that, I don't want to spend a lot of time away from my family. I assume if I do go for e-courses, I will need to dedicate hours to create those e-courses. I will also have to dedicate time entertaining questions about e-courses from both current and prospective subscribers. I want blogging to be a part-time blogging. I spend an hour or so blogging every day and spend the rest of my free time with my family. I like it to be that way.
Money is good but spending time with my family is priceless and is more important. That is the only reason I want to keep my blogging time to a minimum.
Social Media Strategy
I have been asked so many times what my strategies are to increase my traffic. The shortest answer I can say is I heavily focus on social media. When I am not creating my post or working on my blog design, I focus my time using Pinterest. I don’t pay a ton of attention on Twitter and Facebook.
I decided to focus on Pinterest. I made the right call.
If you want to know how I was able to increase my traffic from 0 to over 170,000 in just 9 months, please follow the blog post below.
My Pinterest presence is great. Since I started using it a couple of months ago, I have gained a lot of followers every day. As of December, I had 10,523 followers.
How did I improve my Pinterest presence? I credited my Pinterest success to my favorite program, Tailwind. I just cannot stress enough how Tailwind has helped me improve my blog's traffic in such a short time.
Some of the features of Tailwind include:
- Pin scheduling (Optimize pinning schedule based on your audience’s engagement)
- Time management (by allowing you to do multi-board pinning, bulk upload, and others)
- Content discovery on Pinterest right from Tailwind
- Results Measurement (see which pins are working and which aren’t)
- Pinterest Management, Analytics, and Marketing Tool
- FREE trial. I recommend you opt for a year subscription for only $9.99/month with unlimited pinning ($119.98/year) versus monthly subscription of $15.00/month with 400 schedule pin limit per month.
- If you sign up through my link, you will also receive $15.
What I Did and Didn’t Do
I decided to include this section because I know a lot of my colleagues (i.e. bloggers) and those who want to begin blogging would love to see what I did to earn money and increase my traffic. This also includes the things I didn’t do or failed to succeed on.
- Surveys. I finally created a separate page exclusively for surveys. I've been asked by a lot of people if I could consolidate all the surveys I have in the different posts in my blog and if I could find other surveys that I think would benefit others. After searching the world wide web and working with ad networks, I was finally able to create the most comprehensive list of survey sites you may or will ever see. Here's the link to that page.
- Blog layout. I changed my blog layout to a simpler one. I like this new layout because it's cleaner than my previous blog layout. It also loads faster than my previous one. I have had great reviews from my readers and co-bloggers regarding this new blog layout. It also has the same format as that of The Handy Foodie, my food and DIY blog.
- Adthrive. Adthrive is an ad network similar to Adsense. Since my monthly views are in the upper 100,000s, I was able to get into the ad network. The ads that you see on the sidebar are ads from Adthrive. If your blog’s monthly views are 100,000 or above, I recommend that you apply so you can take advantage of the benefits of the ad network.
- Pinterest Strategies. I am seeing some positive traffic improvements using the Pinterest strategies I applied in October. I will update you guys on what these changes bring to my Pinterest traffic. I like my traffic to increase, and I highly expect these changes will help me gain more referrers from Pinterest.
- Pinterest Boards. My Pinterest collaborative boards have gained a lot of contributors. In the past month, at least 25 people became contributors. I consider it as an accomplishment because a couple of months ago, I only had a handful of contributors and less than 10 pins before I opened it to the Pinterest community. There are a ton of people who emailed me or messaged me stating they wanted to join. I have not really gone through all of them, unfortunately. But I will. As of December 31st, the statistics for these boards are:
Did not do but should have done
- Reviews. I planned on creating reviews for some of the products I have used in the past. I have been asked by a lot of people what I thought about Acorns and Bluehost, to be specific, but was not able to create these posts.
- New products. I have so many products to try and/or review in my inbox right now. I have not had the time to get through them for a couple of reasons: (1) I created a new blog and it took me more time than I anticipated; (2) My family and I took time for some needed vacation, and (3) I worked on some honey-do list this past month (It was a long list).
January 2016 Goals
Going through life, in general, without a goal is like walking on winding road without a foreseeable end in sight. The blogging goals I set for this January are both easy and challenging to achieve.
- Page views. I want to see 7,000 views a day, at least. Maybe it’s impossible to achieve it, but I will try my best to make it possible. (Dec Goal: 7,000/day ; Result: 5,685.97/day) – Failed. Getting closer, though.
- Income. I want to double my income from December. Yes, double the amount it is. (December Goal: Double my November's income of over $5,858.90 ; Result: $5,435.21) Didn't reach it. But, of course, I am more than happy to earn additional money.