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2015 Q4 Blog Report

2015 Q4 Blog Report

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q4 2015 income and traffic report

How has the money been? I’m ready to share! This covers October, November, and December of 2015. As I’ve said previously, I really enjoy reading similar reports and figured sharing my own would entertain someone and also keep me accountable to keep track of these things. You can read my previous income reports all here. I am looking at average daily visits, income/expenses, subscriber & follower counts, traffic in/out, & goals.

If you’re a creative blogger yourself, be sure to check out my list of links for affiliate programs, networking opportunities, and places to submit your work!

{This post contains affiliate links, indicated by an asterisk*. Please refer to ‘legal stuff’ in the top menu for more info.}

Average Daily Visit Count

(September: 1276)

October: 1646

November: 1484

December: 1316

Subscribers

[September 2015 vs December 2015]

Instagram [647 /825 ]

Facebook [772 /961 ]

Twitter [618 /648 ]

G+ [341 / 374 ]

Pinterest [ 2929/ 3608]

Newsletter [747 / 1201 ]

Money

Income

income q4

This was a booming quarter for me! I started doing sponsored posts with Social Fabric and there were loads of opportunities for the holidays. I tried to only choose posts that were 1. products I could/have/would genuinely use and 2. a natural fit with a tutorial/idea I already had in mind. When I read an opportunity, if I find myself thinking “welll it could fit”, I know that no, it wouldn’t fit. Hopefully readers have felt the same way? I haven’t heard any complaints; I did a coaster tutorial with Sodastream, a dog toy tutorial with Pedigree, and a wall Christmas tree with Hallmark!

I ran a blog tour for all 4 of the Swoodson Says patterns and had so many warm, fuzzy feelings from seeing blogger friends sew up my designs! It boosted pattern sales for me in a great way and was super fun. You can see  a round-up of all the blog tour toys here by starting on the first day and clicking through to day 5!

My Google ads continue to be a nice, easy passive income for me with a couple bucks a day and my Amazon affiliate income has slowly grown. I feel good about this balance of income streams!

Expenses

q4 expense chart

Expenses are pretty boring; supplies for tutorials and lots of web hosting bumps. I feel like I need to shop around for web host options to see if I can get more bang for my buck, but it is one of those things that seems to have no “good” or easy answer. Everywhere has good & bad reviews, it is overwhelming. I did buy one piece of equipment that I’m pretty excited about, this pop-up light tent/cube*.

Total in: $1879.21 Total out: = $689.42 Quarter Overall: $1189.79

Year to date=$1998.33 Life to date= $2400.56

 

Traffic In/ Out

Out

1. imaginegnats. People love my beanie hat post; lots of clicks over to her free pattern!

2. Delia Creates, with links from my free beanie hat post and free headband post.

3. Pinterest, my favorite. People have checked out this free hat & my refashion board most often.

4. One last beanie outgoing link, with 700+ folks heading to Heidi & Finn for their free pattern.

5. Etsy, with people clicking over to check out my pattern shop there and also to this fancy seam ripper, from my Stocking Stuffers for Sewists post.

In (Referrers)

1. Pinterest — a few of the same popular pins, but a newcomer gaining steam with my tips for thrift shopping.

2. Facebook

3. Search Engines

4. So Sew Easy — I switched over to writing more round-ups for the site and including some of my own posts garnered lots of traffic. The top two were ‘things easy to sew and sell for a profit‘ & ‘free softie patterns‘.

5. All Free Sewing – My DIY Body Double was popular, as was my scrappy bookmark tutorial.

Top 5 posts

1. Free Knit Beanie Sewing Patterns Tested

2. DIY Ewok Hood Tutorial

3. 10 DIY Babywearing Coats

4. First Birthday Party Prep – Giant Photo Display

5. 4 Free Headband Sewing Patterns Tested

Wow these stats are not changing very much from quarter to quarter! I will be curious to see how long the Pinterest wave of constant traffic on the beanie post lasts, it has been well over half the year. I’m not sure if it is a good or a bad thing that these are remaining the same.

Search Terms

Lots of predictable searches for ewok hoods and free beanie patterns. I was pleased to see ‘plastic canvas patterns for cat ears’, which lead them to this perfect post. I am also now wondering ‘can you needle felt around tin foil?’ – I used tin foil to create a needle felting frame but not an actual base.

Goals

Here is how I did for my 2015 Blog Goals:

I shared my creative resolution(s) for 2015, these are specific business goals.

1. Continue to post every Monday and send out a Friday newsletter.

Nailed it! With the exception of the week after Christmas when I took a deliberate break, I posted every Monday, and at least one other day each week, and sent a Friday newsletter. I am so glad I created my newsletter, even though it felt silly to send it out to all of 5 people the first few weeks, because it has been a great experience!

2. Stick to my Try Something New Every Month project.

Done! And started another round for 2016, you should join us.

3. Review a Craftsy & Creativebug class. I started the ‘Sewing With Knits‘* class a long time ago and let myself get sidetracked, then I got pregnant. I’d like to increase my income from Shareasale, which includes Creativebug* and Craftsy*, and that’s the most genuine way I know to do it.

Nope. This just fell off my radar. I have no excuse! e

4. Spend more time leaving thoughtful comments and supporting blogs I enjoy.

Kinda. I had been doing well for the first half of the year and fell off the blog reader wagon at some point. My mailbox for Bloglovin’ summaries is well over 400 and I really miss it. My daughter has dropped to one nap, nurses super fast, and my son has been fighting taking a peaceful rest – free time is at an all time low. So, unfortunately, this just isn’t possible for me these days.

5. Have another project published in print.

Kinda. I had a third project accepted to be put into print, it will be released this summer! First was my fox ornament, then my camper pillow, and next up will be a toy (I’ll share more once I can).

6. Create and list at least 2 new paid patterns. I have several rough drafts and dozens of ideas, I need to make time and make it happen.

Done! The Little Photographer Camera & The Little Collector Backpack

7. Improve my photographs. I took a class and am continuing to gain confidence shooting in manual. I’ve purchased and need to set up my studio lights and continue to make my photos brighter, cleaner, and more appealing.

Yes! I am confident that my photos are better in December than they were in January. This is a continuous improvement project, but I have definitely improved.

8. Reach out in Q3/Q4 and secure at least one sponsored post. I wanted this to happen this year but have pushed it back, as previously discussed.

Done! The post went live in Q4, my 4 Free Baby Pants Sewing Patterns post, sponsored by Mabel Madison. Emily, the owner, reached out to me after my past report and it was just the motivation I needed to get a media kit together and woohoo, I’m so happy with how the post turned out! I also worked with UpCraft Club for this post about their PDF sewing pattern cards.

9. Stick to a monthly schedule. I’m planning on having each of these, for each month: a sewing/craft book review, a tutorial, a round-up post, a refashion.

Kinda. I re-evaluated and decided that refashions weren’t going to happy monthly. I stayed strong with the round-ups, which I not only enjoy but generate traffic & revenue for me, and the tutorials. Book reviews take SO much time and really don’t get many eyes, a reader gave me some tips on improving traffic to them last quarter and I need to take action on her tips.

10. Work ahead more.

Kinda. Christmas gifts got the best of me again. I have several posts that are 90% done, photographed and everything, which is rare for me. I do, however, have a plan for how to work smarter and work ahead more this year, in 2016!

 

Woof! This quarter has seen lots of highs – I am surprised that my top posts continue to be the same month after month. I’m on the fence if I want to continue doing these quarterly reports in 2016 – I definitely like seeing the numbers and don’t mind sharing them, at all, but contextualizing everything, creating the charts, formatting it all takes a lot of time. I’ll also be sharing a year in review post, and 2016 plan with new goals – and hopefully catching up reading other bloggers’ versions of both!

 

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Nienke

Friday 29th of January 2016

Thanks for sharing Stephanie, really interesting & inspiring! Great to read that your hard work is starting to pay off!

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Sunday 31st of January 2016

Thanks Nienke!

Bethany

Wednesday 27th of January 2016

Stephanie, I find these posts really fascinating, interesting, challenging, and inspiring (I am sure there are other descriptive adjectives as well!). I'd really like to (and need to) improve and develop the business aspect of my blog this year. I feel like I *almost* know how but still have so much to figure out. Thank you for sharing.

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Thursday 28th of January 2016

Aw Bethany, thanks for taking the time to say as much! They take forever to write and don't generate a whole lot of traffic - but I like forcing myself to look at it all and it's nice to hear someone else reads them too :)

Deby at Blogging for Beginners

Tuesday 26th of January 2016

Congratulations on the new sponsored posts Stephanie, those look to be doing really well for you. And good increases in followers and subscribers across the board too. Glad to hear that the roundups at So Sew Easy have been good for driving traffic to your site as well - nicely done! Thanks for sharing all these important stats with us. It really brings home how hard you work and how difficult it can be to earn good money. I'm hoping to see more from affiliate earnings from you next time.

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Thursday 28th of January 2016

They definitely are starting to drive regular traffic - which doesn't surprise me, SSE has a great readership :) Thanks for commenting Deby!

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