"A detailed report of Homemade Hooplah's income for August 2015 (12th month of blogging)."
Every month I post a summary of how Homemade Hooplah is doing both in traffic and income. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m trying to become a career blogger and I thought it might be interesting (and helpful!) to chronicle how this crazy idea of mine is doing from a business perspective. You can view past income reports here.
So without further ado, lets see how Homemade Hooplah did for August!
(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you make a purchase through those links. These are all products I have used and personally recommend. Thank you for your support!)
First Things First, How About That Income?
- The Blogger Network: $558.65 (went up 367%)
- Tailwind Affiliate: $17.98
- Amazon.com Associates: $6.54
- Food Blogger Pro Affiliate: $5.80
Total Income: $589.17 (went up 48%)
Homemade Hooplah’s income for August was pretty straightforward, with only one ad network and three affiliate sales. And you know what?
I love that about it.
As I mentioned last month, I dropped my old ad structure and took the plunge to join The Blogger Network’s Propel program – and so far, it’s been one of the best moves I’ve ever made for this blog. I no longer have to “fight the good fight” of wrangling placement, tiers, and floor costs across multiple ad networks. TBN now shoulders that burden so I can spend more time promoting my content, which I’ve been doing a lot of.
August also takes the spot of the highest earning month for Homemade Hooplah to date – huzzah! Making nearly $600 is certainly cause to celebrate, but at the same time, at the beginning of the month I had delusions of grandeur about possibly making upwards of $1000. And maybe I could have come close to that amount if I had been picked for any of the five sponsored post opportunities I applied for (which average for about $150 a pop) – but, alas, I missed out on all of them. Apparently I need to up my application game because that’s a staggering amount of potential revenue to miss out on.
Another factor that impacted this month’s revenue: In early August, my site exceeded 80,000 monthly pageviews (more on that below). Since TBN’s Propel program was designed for sites with 10k-80k monthly pageviews, I contacted their support to see if I could be moved up to the next tier, called Ascend. And not only did TBN promptly move me up to Ascend (which included another $0.10 eCPM on top of what I was making before) but a week or so later I got a email from TBN asking a few interview-like questions about my experience with Propel. I responded with some candid answers, thinking they were probably just collecting some user experience data on their new program – but turns out, The Blogger Network designated me as their first graduate of the Build Your Blog Academy and published my interview on their blog as a Propel success story. I was truly surprised – and extremely flattered – that they took the time to put all of that together for the accomplishment of my little site.
TBN published their article around the same time that I put out July’s Income Report, and they in return promoted my report on their social media accounts as well. The whole experience has really reaffirmed that I made a good, long-lasting decision to switch to The Blogging Network.
Secondly, How Was The Traffic?
- Total Visits: 135,555 (went up 128%)
- Total Page Views: 168,376 (went up 120%)
- Bounce Rate: 8.43% (went down 36%)
- Average visitors per day: 4,373 (went up 128%)
- Average pageviews per day: 5,431 (went up 120%)
- Best day: August 30th with 6,539 visitors / 8,024 pageviews
I don’t even know how to begin to explain this, but Homemade Hooplah’s traffic nearly tripled for August. I went from 69k pageviews for the month to 168k pageviews. I wish I could bottle that magic and pass it out to everyone I know, but honestly, I can’t pinpoint any *one* thing that made this happen. If anything, the wild success of August is due to a ton of little things that are all happening at once.
Working ‘Round The Clock
One big factor for this month is that I’ve been promoting the site like crazy. I’ve kept to the same schedule I outlined in last month’s income report, putting in 10-14 hours each day of submitting and reciprocating and researching. It has been a lot of hard work, probably the hardest I’ve ever worked for any job I’ve ever had, but thankfully it looks like it’s starting to pay off. Or, I think it is, anyway. I mean, all that effort certainly must be doing something good, right?
I’ve talked to a handful of bloggers about my current promotion schedule, and this is by far the most common response I get: “… But doesn’t [insert promotion task here] take you forever?”
And my answer to that is… well, yes and no. I do spend a lot of time on promotion, but each task doesn’t take very long on it’s own. I tried to get some time estimates of my most tedious tasks, and so far this is what I have:
- 15 Food Blog Submission Sites: 15 minutes.
- 20-30 Tumblr food pages: 30 minutes.
- Tailwind: 3 minutes.
- CoSchedule: 10 minutes.
- Link Parties: 20-40 minutes, depending on the day / amount.
- Populating my Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ Feed for 1 day: 30 minutes
- “Share for Share” threads on Facebook, typically 200-300 actions: 3-4 hours, spread out over 2 days.
These are just rough estimates – some days the tasks take me longer, other days I’m finished sooner. I’m also able to devote 100% of my attention to these tasks, without worrying about interruption, which is a luxury I’m sure most people don’t have. I don’t have everything down to a science yet, and each time I run through the tasks they seem to take me a little less time, but I’m hoping that once I streamline everything I can write out concrete instructions for anyone else crazy enough to give this breakneck promotion tactic a try.
First Ever Viral Post
This month I got lucky with my first ever viral post: Cookie Dough Dip. It’s been such a surreal experience for me, since this was a dip I whipped up at 8PM for some guests we had over for our weekly game night. I didn’t photograph it until the next morning, using the left over dip and natural light (which I hardly EVER use anymore, but I just didn’t want to fuss with setting up the artificial lighting.) Then I sat on the photos for a few days, thinking they were a little boring and plain, debating whether or not the recipe was really worth posting.
… But when I finally decided to “go ahead and publish it,” the recipe got an astounding 10k pins within the first 24 hours. It seriously blew my mind with how popular it was, because honestly, I had already accepted the fact that I’d probably never have a viral recipe. I figured my content would always have a “slow burn” sort of appeal – something that would take six months or so to really get it’s legs, and I was okay with that. I’m still okay with that. But it’s certainly nice to finally be able to say I’ve got one viral post under my belt after almost a year of trying.
At the time of writing this (just a week or so into August) the recipe is sitting at 47.2k shares – more than 2x my next highest ranking recipe, which has had 6 months to accumulate it’s current 20k pins.
Social Media Numbers
This is only the second month I’ve recorded my follower counts across social media, and I must say I was surprised by how much they’ve grown. Facebook in particular has done well, and I think a large part of that is from sharing the work of other blogs more often. Flipboard saw 0 growth this month, but then again, I also haven’t promoted it… at all. I actually have no idea how to promote it – but once I finally figure it out, at least I’ll have plenty of great content already on deck.
- Pinterest : 1521 (up 385)
- Facebook: 1023 (up 165)
- Instagram: 834 (up 108)
- Twitter: 480 (up 43)
- Google+: 118 (up 65)
- Tumblr: 86 (up 40)
- StumbleUpon: 50 (up 4)
- Flipboard: 0
RPM stands for revenue per mille, and “mille” stands for a thousand impressions. It’s a metric web sites use to see how much income every 1000 page views (note: that’s different than each unique visitor) could potentially bring to their site.
RPM for August was $3.50, which means it went down by 32.76%. That’s a pretty big drop, but last month also included a nice revenue bump from a sponsored post. Hopefully I’ll be able to fix that problem in September!
Like last month, Direct traffic is dominating the numbers – which is as frustrating as it is awesome. “Direct” is a term that should mean only those that access the main site (ie homemadehooplah.com) but over time it’s also been used to encompass all the traffic sources that Google Analytics can’t track directly, such as email links or certain phone apps. If I had to guess, I think the majority of the Direct traffic is coming from Tumblr’s app – but then, I really have no way to confirm it.
Pinterest also made a huge showing this month, more than doubling the traffic I received from them in July – which, actually, is the same thing that happened in July, where Pinterest traffic doubled from June. I certainly hope this is a trend I can (somehow?) maintain!
Google is still making a dismal appearance in my stats – but, at the end of August, something strange happened. For the longest time, I would only receive about 200-300 hits from Google each day. And that’s certainly not bad by any means, but it was frustrating that this number stayed stagnant even though my site traffic was growing. I had also verified my site with plenty of tools that gauge how much Google “likes” your site, and for every major update to Google over the past year my site should have shown increased search rankings… and yet that was never evident in my traffic.
Then, in the last few days in August, I suddenly started to receive 500-600 hits from Google each day – and (spoiler alert) it has stayed that way for the first part of September. You can clearly see the jump in the below graph, but I can’t for the life of me think why it would change so randomly and why there seems to be such a drastic cap on the exposure my site can receive.
Most Popular Posts
Of course, the crowning jewel in this list is my first “viral” post that I talked about above. The rest are posts that have either already been successful over the past few months, so that was to be expected, plus one other recipe from August that managed to garner some attention.
- Cookie Dough Dip – 34,017 Pageviews
- Grilled Honey Balsamic Chicken – 15,669 Pageviews
- Homestyle Sausage Gravy – 9,062 Pageviews
- Honey Garlic Shrimp and Broccoli – 7,484 Pageviews
- Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken – 6,358 Pageviews
That’s a Wrap!
That’s all for this month – thank you for reading! Here’s hoping there will be bigger and better numbers for September!