Ever wondered how much money I’m making? This covers January, February, & March of 2018. 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!
If you like these income reports, I’d love to hear what you think in a comment or your support shopping through my affiliate links 🙂
I am super duper late writing this post; but better late than never! A big change from previous years is that I’m no longer using Jetpack stats. I love the Jetpack plugin to look at traffic coming in, going out, etc. quickly and easily. Apparently it doesn’t do a good job of filtering out bots and fake visits, but in the past it has always been very close to my Google analytics numbers. Recently I realized that at some point an algorithm changed, or something, and there were huge discrepancies. I know Google Analytics is more accurate, so for my average daily visit counts, I switched to using Google Analytics (which shows fewer visits, generally speaking).
Average Daily Visit Count
Following past years’ growth patterns, my traffic frequently continues to grow after the holidays, although I’m not sure why (maybe people get machines or make resolutions to start crafting?). People talk about how numbers don’t matter, engagement does, but when you run ads, numbers matter too. I’m always glad for traffic boosts because they mean more money in my Mediavine paycheck.
[December 2017 vs March 2018]
Nothing new here; same plodding lack of strategy on most social media outlets and same growth. The biggest jump is in my newsletter; I created a “resource library” with all my free files and folks have to get the password in my newsletter welcome email. It’s been great! People are still engaged and opening, but my growth is getting faster and faster with new sign-ups.
As always, a reminder that I record income as it’s received as opposed to when it’s earned! This quarter I received payouts from when my teddy bear pattern was included in the Ultimate Bundles flash sale last year. It was a great experience for me and I am bummed they aren’t doing another craft bundle this year (but they did turn last year’s bundle into an evergreen offering, if you want to go take a peek, my pattern and a few of my favorite designers are included).
The ratios balanced out more than any quarter in 2017, with my ad revenue dropping below 50% of the pie for the first time since I joined Mediavine (who I love). I think this was my biggest revenue earning quarter yet and I’m excited about potentially hitting my goal of doubling my profit this year.
I paid for my flight to the SNAP conference (more thoughts on that below), my yearly payment for Tailwind (that I love), and an SEO course, Sticky Blogging. The other notable expense was a new logo and blog theme!
Total income earned: $4298 Total outgoing expenses: = –$1980 Quarter overall profit: $2,317
Year to date profit=$2,317 Life to date profit= $31,236
(note, these are rounded numbers for estimate purposes, and none of this takes taxes into account)
Traffic In/ Out
1. Affiliate window – this is the program I use for Etsy affiliate links. Over 200 people clicked on this link from the bunny post, followed in popularity by this (from this post) and this (from this post).
2. Pinterest- At some point I switched my pinterest strategy from hiding long pins to not only making them visible but explicitly inviting people to pin them with a link and the photo (in addition to floating share buttons). Over 300 people clicked on that link, directly repinning this popular post. followed closesly by one of my favorite recent posts, and this perennial favorite that I updated with a fresh photo.
3. Do it yourself Diva – their free pattern linked in this post
4. imaginegnats. People love my beanie hat post; lots of clicks over to her free pattern!
5- Share a sale – the program I use for Craftsy affiliate links; most popular were this this adorable llama pattern and this monster quilt* (I reviewed it here!).
1. Pinterest — exact same as last quarter, the most popular pins were tips for thrifting, the easiest way to transfer an embroidery pattern, and free headband patterns tested.
2. Search engines
4. All Free Sewing – most popular including my serger cover (that I reallllly need to remake and photograph) and felt bunny softie.
5. Craftgawker – most popular was the bunny softie again
Top 5 most popular posts
1- 20+ Free Foundation Paper Piecing Patterns
2- Five Tips for Thrift Shopping to Upcycle & Refashion
3- The Easiest Way To Transfer Embroidery Patterns: Fabri-solvy
4- 50+ Most Popular Free PDF Patterns in 2017
5- 4 Free Headband Patterns, tested
The top post that was published in this quarter was at #9, 50 Bunny Sewing Patterns
Reflection & Goals
I shared my goals for 2018 at the end of last year, you can read them here, and like checking in quarterly to see how they’re going. I shared why q4 of 2017 was super stressful for my family, and am happy to report that 2018 has us in a new state, a new home, and finally settling in a little bit.
I think the biggest thing to happen this quarter was attending SNAP, a creative blogger conference. I wrote an objective, descriptive show report for Craft Industry Alliance that you can read here (and read why you might want to join CIA here). I’ve had a few people ask me if I thought it was “worth it” and it was! One of the classes gave me the kick in the pants that I needed to charge significantly more for my sponsored posts, and I then landed 5 of them at my brand new rate. I had a great time connecting with a few businesses, loved meeting fellow bloggers face to face, and felt energized with ideas (and also exhausted from so much smiling and introducing myself).
Another positive aspect of attending SNAP was that I suddenly had to spruce up! Going through old posts, updating my theme, getting real business cards. All things I’d been meaning to do, but the conference finally gave me a firm deadline. I have no clue it if mattered, or anyone looked at my site ,but it was great motivation. If you have any specific questions about the conference, just shout out!
- Finally pick a new newsletter provider and
provide full PDF tutorial downloads as a lead magnet, for my top 10 posts (Q1)
- Ehhhh. I have wasted SO many hours reading about different newsletter providers. Mailchimp does not allow for “tagging” so people get different welcome series depending on where they found me. Every time I go to switch, I read some horrible hullabaloo someone else is experiencing with that provider and I stay put. I decided instead of making full PDF downloads for everything, I’d just use the templates as a lead magnet, which is done.
- Set up a ‘custom; autoresponder welcome series for the different categories that I blog about (embroidery, quilting, sewing) (Q2)
Finally decide if I’m going to merge my second blog in with this one (Q1). I also write www.desmoinesoutdoorfun.com but since moving away from Des Moines, have debating 1. selling it (no one has expressed interest yet) 2. Changing it into a travel/parenting/nature blog 3. Merging it into Swoodson Says. Nothing would change for newsletter subscribers – it would be a separate section drawing new traffic, with its own newsletter. But I still have hesitations.
- DONE!! So many hours wasted waffling on this and reading other peoples’ opinions and experiences. I opted to create a second blog, I’m not sure it was the right choice but I made it and have been very slowly moving forward. Explore More Clean Less (blog — instagram) is for all of my family related posts, homeschooling, travel, board games, etc. It takes a backseat to everything at Swoodson Says but slowly I’ll be sharing our itineraries from family travel, etc.
Network more. I’m attending SNAP in April (eek!) and will be meeting other sewing bloggers face to face for the first time. I am used to being an introvert faking extrovertedness, I interacted with the public constantly in my pre-kids professional life in the nonprofit sector, but that was almost 7 years ago. I am genuinely excited to meet a few online friends but it will be an exercise in determination to introduce myself, shake hands, go out of my way to talk, when I really will want to go upstairs and recharge in silence after the first few hours.
- I went to SNAP! Networking for the year done (haha). But seriously, I went even though it scared me, I enjoyed it, and I’m glad I did it. I don’t have an official plan for networking throughout the year but am trying to reach out to people more often and collaborate like I did more often a few years ago.
- Stick to a more cohesive plan. This includes setting up and following a weekly “to-do”, a monthly “to-do”, and actually following up on monthly ideas I have, planned out now.
- I have been doing better at this! Not a quantifiable goal, whoops, but I have, with one or two exceptions, stuck to what I planned, and been more methodical about things.
- Continue trying to improve my photography and staging.
- Double my yearly profit to $20k (Q4)
- Hit 10k newsletter subscribers with a 40% open rate (Q4)
- Design 2 new paid patterns
Complete and share at least 1 video tutorial (Q4)
- Release 4 free patterns, at a minimum
Set up a ‘resource library’ that is password protected for smaller downloads that aren’t full patterns (Q1)
- Creatively, I want to finish my paper pieced lion quilt! I hate having UFOs floating around, and this one has really been lingering.
Did anything surprise you? Let me know if there is anything I’ve left out, you know I’m an open book.