It’s been a long time since I published an income report! Somewhat ironic because the more money I make, the less I seem to share. I have no intention of ever becoming a blogger who blogs about blogging so it doesn’t make sense to spend a ton of time on these instead of creating content that earns me money and/or that I have fun doing!
However, 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!
Here are some blogging tools that I use & recommend!
- Tailwind (I use this to repin pins, and get my stuff repinned by other bloggers with their Tribes feature)
- Craft Industry Alliance (They have webinars that are useful and just launched new courses for members – I share more about the group here)
- Picmonkey (Simple photo editor for adjustments & watermarking)
- Filmora (Intuitive video editor)
- Mediavine (ad network)
- Etsy Affiliate Program (join Affiliate Window here and then apply for the Etsy program)
- Some of the tangible blogging tools I use like lights & camera are linked here
Average Monthly Visit Count
This is an average calculated using data from January-December; 160,255 pageviews a month.
Follower count – [December 2018 vs December 2019]
As always, I’ll remind you that I keep my newsletter highly pruned with an open rate of 30-40%, so the number fluctuates wildly as I clear people out, I just did a month ago when I switched to Mailer Lite. I had a post gain steam extremely quickly on Facebook & Instagram, giving me a nice boost on both platforms. The only social media platform that I feel like I’m doing anything differently than last year is Instagram; I’m trying to be more diligent about posting similarly colored/vibed pictures and post more regularly than I used to. 10k (for the swipe up feature) feels very far away but I’ll keep chugging along!
This year I haven’t had my patterns in any bundles or magazines, taking a big hit to that portion. I also haven’t released a new paid pattern all year (womp womp).
Major expenses have been paying in advance for my new newsletter service, hosting, and the SNAP conference trip I took in spring. Nothing particularly noteworthy!
Total income earned: $52,490 Total outgoing expenses: = –$7862 Jan-Aug overall profit: $44,627
(note, these are rounded numbers for estimate purposes, and none of this takes taxes into account)
Traffic In/ Out
Out – links people clicked most often
1. Affiliate window – this is the program I use for Etsy affiliate links. #1 is this embroidery kit (from this post) and #2 is this sweet felt ornament pattern (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 2400 people clicked on that link, directly repinning this popular post. followed closesly by one of my favorite recent posts, and this favorite.
3. Sew Mama Sew – their sweet bunny pattern that I linked from 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/Bluprint affiliate links; most popular was this hand embroidery class, from this post
In – links people clicked to get to my site
1. Pinterest — the most popular pin is the same as all last year, tips for thrifting, but the second most referring is a new one with hand embroidery!
2. Search engines
4. All Free Sewing – most popular including a runaway favorite, my flannel infinity scarf, along with diy blackout curtains.
5. Craftgossip, where I had a very popular post about fabric scrap sewing projects
Top 5 most popular posts
2. 50+ Most Popular Free PDF Patterns in 2018
3. 20+ Free Foundation Paper Piecing Patterns
5. 32+ hand embroidery sampler patterns
All of those posts were originally published before this year (although a few have been updated); the top post that was published in 2019 was at #15 and actually published last week which is bananas, it’s blown up: how to add fabric to a shirt to make it bigger.
Reflection & Goals
So far this year I’ve made as much as I did in the past four years combined! I also have already made more than I ever made in my professional, pre-kids life (I worked in the non-profit sector) which feels fantastic particularly because I am only working part-time hours. We always talked about me going back to work when the kids were Kindergarten age, which would be next year, and I could not be more thrilled to be earning that income from home, doing what I LOVE, and around our increased traveling schedule.
2019 has gone SO quickly, with a few wonderful surprises. Amazon contacted me to work together (this was my first post with them) and loved the result, teaming up with me again. I talk often about the joy it brings me to hear people are using my tutorials and liking them but there is also a thrill when you work with a company and they love what you’ve done. Being self employed has many perks, but outside feedback/praise is rarely one of them and I’m being frank in that it feels good! I’ve continued working with two companies I absolutely love, I used their products long before they ever paid me, which feels like a treat to then work with them professionally as well (Sulky + JOANN).
I was on a podcast! Katy is so sweet and while it makes me very anxious to have TALKED and recorded it, unable to go back and edit my thoughts or elaborate where I think it might have been muddy, it was a fun experience and you can listen to it here. I know it sounds cheesy but I really do love seeing other people succeed with their pattern companies, their blogs, their instagrams, whatever. Of course my Etsy affiliate money makes ME happy but it also thrills me that I’m making other makers, small shops, etc. happy by directing sales their way. I guess that goes back to why I write these income reports despite not having an ebook, course, etc. to sell anyone…. I want to clearly lay out not only that it is possible (yay!) that it takes patience and determination (boo.) to make “real” money craft blogging, since you can click back and see just how little I was making for along time.
Anyways, 2019 is treating me well despite me working less and ignoring some of my goals. Planning on releasing 1 pattern before the holiday season and nailing down finite plans for a (sewing!) e-book in 2020. Still so thankful for everyone who reads my site, subscribes to my newsletter, and supports me, can’t say that enough!
Did anything surprise you? Let me know if there is anything I’ve left out, you know I’m an open book.
Friday 13th of December 2019
I just wanted to say hi and thank you for this type of posts! I’m a sewing enthusiast living in Romania and a 32-year-old mother of three. I learned to sew five years ago, I am completely self-taught and recently I started a blog where I share my sewing projects. I discovered you not long ago and had a blast reading your blog. You are awesome! <3 I wanna be like you when I grow up! 😊) (And no, I won’t ever copy other’s ideas) Right now I’m happy and proud I made my first dollar online – lol! I wish you success and happiness in the coming year and always. You certainly deserve it! Thank you again! Violet
Stephanie - Swoodson Says
Tuesday 7th of January 2020
Violet, you are so kind and I wish you the best of luck in your blogging journey :) :)
Sunday 6th of October 2019
Stephanie! Thank you so much for generously sharing your income information as well as providing resources. Your projects and patterns are really good, so it's wonderful to see you are having success in sharing your own work. I've finally started working towards my new website and I hope that with diligence I can create the same kind of success. My old website is really holding me back. It's so full of technical issues that it's too much to try and fix. I'm starting with a clean slate at this point. Congratulations and cheers to further growth and income!! Patty
Wednesday 2nd of October 2019
Hey, Stephanie -- I'm here by way of the link in this morning's Craft Industry Alliance newsletter. YES, something surprised me -- seeing the piddly trickle of affiliate links and Google Ads income coming from my own blog (As in pennies that take months to reach the payment threshold!) and reading about how "the glory days of blogging are fading away," I am surprised to read that it is still possible to generate a decent income from craft blogging AT ALL. You've included links to a lot of resources that I was unfamiliar with and will be exploring. Another surprise is that you do NOT list any of the linky parties that are so popular with quilt bloggers as generating significant traffic for you. Oh, and here's a question -- is there a way to make your Instagram post link back to your blog or web site? I've tried copying and pasting in the link that goes along with an image I'm sharing, but then those links don't work when my post shows up in other people's feeds. Since you don't currently offer an e-Book or anything like that on the business of blogging, can you recommend an up-to-date source that's been helpful to you? Thanks and congratulations on your well-deserved success!
Stephanie - Swoodson Says
Friday 15th of November 2019
Hi! I'm so sorry it took me forever to respond, this comment slipped by my radar. Google ads is realllly slow and tiny, it's not just you! I was so glad when I could bounce up to Mediavine instead. Linky parties used to be more popular a few years ago, the only one I ever saw a significant return on stopped earlier this year. I am not as familiar with the quilting niche though! I think a lot of that show/share/tell moved to Instagram.
Do you mean how to get a hyperlink in your instagram captions? Unfortunately there isn't a way to do that, let me know if I'm misreading that though!
I don't have any general ebook or resource to recommend about blogging as a business :( I have just picked pieces up here and there or bought a course specifically on SEO, or Pinterest.
Tuesday 1st of October 2019
Are you showing us poor people how much you make off of us. Personally I think this is plum tacky.
Stephanie - Swoodson Says
Wednesday 8th of January 2020
Definitely not, I aim to help other bloggers. Sorry you feel that way; I think transparency helps everyone and the money I make allows me to provide free tutorials and patterns for readers.