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What happens if you coast? 2016 Q1 Income & Traffic Report

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What happens if you coast? 2016 Q1 Income & Traffic Report

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Q1 2016 Blog Income Report

I looked at my entire year back in January and honestly, I was a little embarrassed. I was surprised at how little money I “cleared” – and that wasn’t even taking taxes into account. I drug my feet a little. I thought about stopping income reports. But that’s silly, right? I share all my failures and successes creatively, and will continue to be transparent on the business side too. Furthermore, after writing this post and rereading it, “make more money” has never been one of my goals and maybe it should be. Funny how obvious things like that slip by, sometimes.

So, here is my first quarter! I really have taken a laidback approach to posting the past few months, ramping down from two posts minimum to just one. I’ve continued my newsletter and really enjoy finding creative inspiration and posts to share in it, I’m so glad I started it (sign up here!).

This covers January, February, and March of 2016. 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.}

Despite all of that, as you’ll see, my traffic has stayed pretty steady and my other numbers have continued to grow.

Average Daily Visit Count

(September: 1276)

January: 1648

February: 1516

March: 1619

Subscribers

I thought it’d be interesting to keep one more chunk of time in there – it makes sense to see that the platforms I enjoy using the most have the most growth. I’ve stopped spending time promoting my posts in G+ communities without any noticeable dip in traffic.

[September 2015 vs. December 2015 vs March 2016]

Instagram [647 /825 / 1030 ]

Facebook [772 /961 / 1150]

Twitter [618 /648 /730]

G+ [341 / 374 / 393]

Pinterest [ 2929/ 3608 / 4150]

Newsletter [747 / 1201 / 1580 ]

Money

Income

income q1 2016

Another pretty balanced quarter, I feel good about where all my money is coming from! Most of the pattern income is from my patterns that were published in magazines, as opposed to direct sales from my site, which is a little misleading. I’d like to focus some thought on boosting pattern sales from my site in q2- I admit that I pretty much only buy patterns when a sale catches my eye so maybe I need to run a sale!

My affiliate money is primarily from Amazon – hundreds of people bought this* when it was over 90% off and I shared the deal in my newsletter! I was excited to publish my Lark Tee as a Craftsy affiliate because the kit was awesome, but then after one sale processed, it went mysteriously out of stock in all 3 colors? I am a little puzzled and disappointed. I only found one sponsored post that felt like a good fit – I shared a free embroidery pattern for it.

Expenses

q1 expense

Something I am SO excited about paying for was my Tailwind subscription. You can try a free month through my referral link* – it allows you to repin something to several different board spread out, with one click. This has saved me SO MUCH time in promoting my posts, I can’t even begin to tell you. It also lets you queue up other pins so they space out throughout the door, and their new ‘tribes’ feature make it easy to find content. I am a big fan!

Other expenses weren’t particularly notable; lots of smaller purchases for posts and recurring expenses like my domain renewal, etc. I did buy these photography backdrops* which seemed like a great deal, so far I’ve only used one for flat lay photos like in this book review post.

Total in: $1218.1 Total out: = $513.99 Quarter Overall: $704.11

Year to date=$704.11 Life to date= $3104.67

Traffic In/ Out

This section seems silly to keep writing, because for the third report in a row it is all pretty much the same!

Out

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

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

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

4. Another headband hit, the twisted headband from this post.

5. A new link into the mix, this beautiful butterfly paper piecing pattern*, from my free foundation paper piecing pattern post.

In (Referrers)

1. Pinterest —  my tips for thrift shopping has really taken off this quarter, with the log slice pouf gaining traction.

2. Search Engines

3. Facebook

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 floor pillow tutorials

5. All Free Sewing – this quarter my free dump truck pillow & jogger pant refashion were popular.

Top 5 posts

1. Five Tips for Sewing to Upcycle or Refashion

2. Free Knit Beanie Sewing Patterns Tested

3. 4 Free Headband Sewing Patterns Tested

4. First Birthday Party Prep – Giant Photo Display

5. Log Slice Pouf for Birch Fabrics

Search Terms

Nothing funny this quarter – several people found my simple tutorial looking for ‘pattern for brother serger dust cover’. I had lots of options for a ‘diy babywearing coat’ in this round up post and hit the very specific query for ‘Ottobre 3/2016’.

A little vague, but at least one person Googled to ‘join something new’ so hopefully they are jumping in to Try Something New Every Month with us!

Goals

Here is how I did for my 2016 Blog Goals:

I decided to switch from the actionabe, specific goals to some broader hopes for the year. You can see my 2015 in review for the business side & for the creative side, respectively.

Take Better Photographs

I think this is going well! Only pushing for one post a week is giving me more freedom and time to wait for better light or add staging that results in a better photo.

Work Smarter

As I stated at the end of last year, I made several significant changes to how I work. I’ve been uploading pictures directly to WordPress instead of hosting them on Flickr, using Tailwind to pin, and stopping promoting on G+. This has all dramatically cut down on the time it takes me to write and promote a post.

One other thing I’ve been doing ‘smarter’ instead of ‘harder’ is only sorting my photos once – I create a folder of ‘no’ pictures, leave out the ones I need to edit, save all the edits and make sure I didn’t need any of the ‘no’s before deleting them. Less digital file space used and it’s much easier to look back through later.

Promote Old Content Better

Every week, I’ve included 1 or 2 old posts ‘from the archives’ in my newsletter and it’s been going great! I am so glad I started doing this. I’ve kept track of everything in a spreadsheet but still need to finish adding the rest of 2015’s posts. I could definitely use a few days to schedule out pins of old content, and need to make that happen.

Work Smarter on Freelance Posts

The more I think about freelance posts, the fewer I am signing up for. I am going to finish out my commitments and then probably solely write for this site in 2017. I will say that this post about tips to refashion was very easy to write and has been very popular. It was prompted by another article I wrote for So Sew Easy, so food for thought!

Make More Money

New goal! Adding this one in after writing this post. I am going to schedule out some sales on my own patterns and try to be more diligent about sharing affiliate links regularly.

I made a BIG change in this quarter that won’t be reflected until my q2 report – I signed up with Mediavine. They are an ad network – so they handle all the pricing and availability as opposed to me trying to “waterfall” things myself between different companies. I’m currently in the third month of earnings (which won’t actually pay out until q3) and making almost three times a month what I had been, which is great!

I’m feeling a little less dejected about the financial state of things – I know what the general Internet would say. Create more products! Promote what you have more! But honestly, at the end of the day, I’m still spread pretty thin time-wise with the kids and want to make sure I’m enjoying what I’m doing. We hired a bi-weekly housekeeper, which has been amazing, but I’m still working in the margins of the day. I literally can’t remember the last time I slept longer than 4 consecutive hours! So, I’m cutting myself some slack and continuing to try and do what I enjoy, make a little money, and stay true to what feels ‘right’ for my site and my readers.

Lastly, I got another project accepted for publication in q1! I won’t be able to share it until the end of the year, but I’m excited about it. I look at it as a resume builder more than anything, and it is always nice to see my name in print and on the stands. Maybe I will be able to make time to work on my book proposal by the end of the year (but wow, how is it May already!).

If you’ve made any creative or blogging goals, I’d love to hear how they are going! Are you surprised at how little money I made? Have you experienced similar, slow growth this quarter?

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