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Quarterly Report – October, November, December

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Quarterly Blog Traffic and Earnings Report

Time to share numbers! As I’ve said, 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 first 6 months of blogging post here, and third quarterly report 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! I also have a free blogging calendar and check-list printable, and would love your input on the best WordPress plugins for creative bloggers.

Four major changes at Swoodson Says this quarter were:

1. I started writing as a contributor for Deby at Sew So Easy; in 2014 I shared these posts over there: Piggie Pacifier Clip, Hammerhead Shark Pillow Pet, & Modern Holiday Tissue Box Cover.

2. I added a mobile-response Google adsense ad in each post, after the “more” click through. I know ads are a very heated discussion point and tons of people hate them, but thus far I haven’t heard any negative feedback. The bulk of my readers are reading on a phone and never even saw my ad on the sidebar; so my earnings were very low. Since moving the ad, I’ve gone from an average of pennies per day to about $2 and I find it to be much less irritating than the over-image, pop-up, or banner ads that you have to X-out of.

3. I started a newsletter! Subscribe here. I stopped promoting direct email subscriptions and Bloglovin in the hopes that people will sign up for the newsletter instead. Replacing my Friday Favorites posts, each newsletter goes out on Friday and contains:

  • A picture, brief description, and link to the blog posts from the week
  • Links for things to Read / See / Shop that I think are thought-provoking, interesting, & unique
  • The week’s updates for the Social Sewing Calendar

You can see past newsletter emails on the archive page here!

4. I opened up my pattern shop!

{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

I had hoped to be closer to 500 average daily visitors but seem to have hit somewhat of a plateau. I did not/do not have very many holiday crafts or tutorials (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas) which may account for that partially. By using my planning calendar I’m hoping to post more seasonal tutorials in 2015!

October: 450

November: 381

December: 443



I’m glad to see steady growth on all of these! I’ve been trying to pin a few things every morning and keep my boards fresh and dynamic.

[September 2014 vs. December 2014 ]

Instagram [202 / 251]

Facebook [375 /428 ]

Twitter [480 /523 ]

G+ [169 /194 ]

Pinterest [1628 / 1845 ]

Newsletter (started 11/21, replacing Direct Email) [107 /172 ]


I did some things I think were right, on the business side (signing up for a DBA, an EIN so I don’t have to throw around my SSN, having a separate Paypal and bank account) and one that was wrong. When I bought something I didn’t have the money upfront for yet, instead of transferring money into my business account, I bought it from my personal account. Which made tracking down my entire financial scenario difficult! I went through month by month to figure out where I purchased something from and straightened it all out.


Swoodson Says Income Q4

I account for money as I receive it, not as I earn it, but I always think of it the opposite. So I have a nice payment coming from Amazon affiliate purchases and Ebates* referrals but won’t see them until spring. Two huge differences from past reports would be the freelance posts/projects & Google adsense payments. I’m hoping that I can grow the pattern sales by adding patterns in the new year; it’s hard to know what to expect and if a lack of steady sales is due to being new or to my pattern not being appealing!


Swoodson Says Expenses Q4

No specific huge expenditures since I’m already set with my DSLR, laptop, and lenses but my business expenses included: domain renewal, studio lights*, a PO box, and increased hosting fees. Project supplies were for freelance projects and my pattern prototype, I don’t include supplies for my everyday posts.

Total in: $632.94 Total out: 227.76 = $405.18

I anticipate being “in the black” overall come February, since I have a few payments outstanding for work or ad fees and no expected large expenses! Yay!

Year to date=-$410.01

Traffic In/ Out


This quarter my highest outgoing traffic was to specific sites but a ton of different actual links; so shows as the most clicked, but that breaks down into hundreds of different products. And that’s boring. So I’m sharing the top 5 specific posts that people clicked through to!

1. This awesome idea from Call Ajaire on making fabric from scraps and interfacing (shared in my Tips for Saving Money While Sewing post).

2. A ton of clicks from this post for free sewing room printables, going to each printable.

3. This free family binder and blog planning printable from GYCT Designs (shared in my Free Blogging Checklist & 2015 Printable Calendar Post).

4. The Meridian Cardigan pattern from imagine gnats (shared in my 10 Indie Patterns to Sew for Yourself this Fall post).

5. This post about CraftingCon 2015 on Friends Stitched Together; a monthly sewing competition and sew along (shared on my social sewing calendar).

In (Referrers)

1. Search Engines

2. Pinterest

[Especially Fat Quarter Shop’s Pin, My 1st Birthday Display Pin, and this pin from Linda Berglund]

3. Facebook

4. StumbleUpon

[This Halloween Hacks post blew up on SU and I have no clue why!]

5. All Free Sewing

6. Sew Can She

7. Craft Gossip – Indie Crafts

8. Sew Mama Sew

9. Craft Gossip – Sewing

10. Google+

Top 5 posts

Quarter 4 Top 5 Posts -

1. DIY Ewok Hood

2. Halloween Hacks Round-Up #3

3. How to Save Money While Sewing

4. 8 Free Sewing Room Printables

5. DIY Play Card Holder Tutorial

I should note that #7 was ‘My Projects’ page, which is a great reminder that I need to keep it updated as often as possible!

Search Terms

Everything ‘ewok hood’ still brought loads of search engine traffic as people prepared for Halloween, as did different iterations of ‘no sew and/or maternity ugly Christmas sweaters’.

A few amusing and random search terms include: “childs button on bonnet sewing pattern” “jocole a-line sqirt review” and “sew gag gift”. I have no idea where any of those directed to in my posts!


Here is how I did for my 2014 Blog Goals:

1. Get to 500 average visits per day

Nope. The only reason September was over 500 was one very popular share thanks to All Free Sewing, and as I said above I seem to have hit somewhat of a plateau. I’m not sure what to do besides continuing to produce posts that I’m proud of, improve my photographs, and continue to publicize them as I have been and hope the residual traffic continues to build up.

2. Digitize & release my first sewing pattern!

All the way done! I have two free patterns; a toy superhero cape and a Christmas tree softie and then my pattern for sale, the Little Artist Palette.

3. Set up a newsletter.

All the way done! Subscribe here. More details were shared above, but I started it in late November and have been sending them out weekly.

4. Figure out at least 2 sponsored post pitches, and send them out.

Nope, this one still isn’t going to happen, just like I said in Q3. When I set it, I didn’t know I was going to be pregnant/having a baby in March 2015. I’m not comfortable asking for sponsored posts when I’m uncertain of how frequently I’ll be posting for a significant chunk of the year. So, this will hopefully happen in the second half of 2015!

5. Post twice a week – Monday and Fridays for the entire year

Accomplished! I actually exceeded this goal, posting Mondays and Fridays through November and then bumping up to 2 or 3 posts a week and then my newsletter on top of those posts. So I’m proud of that.

Here are my 2015 Blog Goals:

I shared my creative resolution(s) for 2015, these are specific business goals. I am really hesitant because I have no idea how life will be with a newborn and a toddler at home. My 2 year old plays independently very well and I take an hour every morning to work on blog emails or posts while he reads, builds, etc. This flexibility will be out the window when I’m nursing an itty bitty baby and constantly sleep deprived! I don’t want to give myself a free pass though.

1. Continue to post every Monday and send out a Friday newsletter. I’m planning on additional Wednesday posts through at least March and would love to continue them, but am unsure how that will unfold with a newborn.

2. Stick to my Try Something New Every Month project. I am really excited about this and hate “going back on my word” so I would be mortified to announce this year-long project, invite others, and then not participate myself.

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.

4. Spend more time leaving thoughtful comments and supporting blogs I enjoy. Self explanatory, this one isn’t self-serving but simply a reminder that simply thinking about how much I like someone’s post or work doesn’t translate into letting them know. I want to share others’ posts more often too, on Stumbleupon and Twitter, etc.

5. Have another project published in print. I already have one completed and submitted for a summer 2015 issue, but would like at least one other project in print in 2015.

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.

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.

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.

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.

10. Work ahead more. Right now, I’m working ahead full steam in preparation of giving birth. I like having a few weeks scheduled out and some flexibility in what I continue to work on after that, it’s a good feeling. So I hope to continue it, even if it is at a slower pace!

Phew! That’s a lot of goals. I’d love to hear yours, whether they’re blog or simply creative related.

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Sunday 18th of January 2015

Thanks for sharing! It's so interesting to read how and why other bloggers are going about their business! Looking forward to seeing your work this year & signed up for your newsletter.

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Sunday 18th of January 2015

Thanks so much Nienke, hope you like the newsletter :)


Friday 16th of January 2015

Thanks for sharing this. I'm still not back on track after having bubs no. 2, but he is almost 6 months old now and I'm gaining more momentum once again.i have hope! I love seeing your daily traffic numbers and income. You'll crack that daily 500 visitors soon I'm sure. It'so great to see you have reached your goal of digitising and releasing your first sewing pattern. This is inspiring to me as this is one of my goals for this year. Looking forward to seeing your online journey this year

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Friday 16th of January 2015

I fixed your name for you, ha!! I am due with my second in 8 weeks so I can only imagine. You should definitely have hop though :) I hope you rock your goals this year, thanks for the kind comments (and for reading!).


Wednesday 14th of January 2015

I love seeing everyone's statements so thank you. I'm such a numbers geek so it's great knowing what's coming in and going out. I get so many click overs from you for that scrap post so thank you :)

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Thursday 15th of January 2015

Hey it was a great idea! Love that people are clicking over to check it out :)


Wednesday 14th of January 2015

Thank you for being so open! Great post.

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Thursday 15th of January 2015

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday 14th of January 2015

Thanks for this post - it's really interesting reading and so nice to have honest stats to refer to.

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Thursday 15th of January 2015

Thanks for reading Toya!

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