A New Year, a New Blogging Journey
I'd occasionally posted blog growth and income reports last year, but became caught up in new work and some big changes to my online earning situation (PayPal in Korea being a pain, mainly). It was a back and forth of intense blogging and intense freelancing times and while stressful and not always successful, I wouldn't want to undo the journey!
I learned a lot about blogging last year and am ready to tackle 2018 with a fresh mindset. Here's my January blog report!
Even if you don't plan on earning an income from your blog yourself, I hope you can find ideas, inspiration, and motivation for your own blogging journey through my little recaps.
This post contains affiliate links which means that if you shop through one of the product links, I may receive a small commission. None of the products are sponsored. You can check out my full disclaimer here.
Slow but steady growth in the months prior showed me that consistency is key and that anything is possible if you stick with it. This blog is very much a journey to self-discovery - finding my strengths, creative projects I truly enjoy and taking a step back to look at my life.
All the same, I wanted to set a concrete blogging & financial goal for 2018:
Earn 1000$ of passive income per month by December 2018.
Whoo. This feels so far-fetched, but I really hope that consistent work on my blog and creative products will get me there.
What I count as passive income via "blogging": All my online income that isn't freelance work of any sort and that's connected to my blog and traffic. That includes:
Digital product sales (traffic to my Etsy shop comes via my blog & the associated Pinterest account)
Affiliate Income (need to get the hang of that!)
Adsense (blog and Youtube)
A note on "blogging courses": I've never purchased any blogging courses and don't plan on it. I'm taking it slow and teach myself by trial & failure and via larger platforms like Skillshare and good old Youtube, with most of my time still going into art, commissions, freelance work, and writing/drawing comics.
So this series of blog income reports isn't for you if you're looking to find quick hacks or the "best" way to monetize a blog.
This is a side project of mine and I love my other work way too much to want to completely replace it, in any case.
I'm all about self-reflection, teaching myself new skills, organic growth, and hard work, though, so if you plan on taking it slow with your own blog or creative business, you might find my experiences helpful. :)
Read on to see where I am now!
I've still got ways to go - 2018 will be a journey!
RESULTS: January 2018
Blog Pageviews: 19'767
How wonderful but at the same time sad is that number?!
Guys, I didn't look at my analytics for the last week of January (super busy with freelance work near the end of the month as always) and now I regret it so much. Just one more share somewhere would probably have pushed me into the 20k.
Tracking my Blog Growth in a Bullet Journal
I did have to adjust my pageview goals for the year because I hit my mid-year goal in January. You can see how I drew over the previous number with a black marker and then added new goal numbers with a white gel pen (these and white-out tape are saving my bullet journal aesthetic!).
Keeping track of your blog's and social media progress in a bullet journal is such a motivation - you can see my minimalist blog & year planning setup here.
January Blog Posts Written: 5
I could probably have gotten one or two more done if we didn't have family stay with us for a week - after that, I had to skimp on sleep to just keep up with my freelance illustration deadlines!
Most Popular Posts in January:
My bullet journal layout tips & planning advice posts are always at the top, but this month, a stray post from long ago about Korean wedding guest wardrobe and etiquette made it into the top 5 thanks to a lot of organic search.
Exactly 200.10$ of passive income plus several custom orders which of course aren't passive. At all.
I'm a perfectionist, so a lot of work and time goes into each and every one of my printables. The growth was a slow progress all over the last year when I first added printable sticker sheets to my Etsy shop, but I think slow & steady while focusing on quality is what works best for my peace of mind.
INCOME REPORT Blog:
Viglinks affiliate: 4.50$
Amazon Associates: 8.68$
Adsense (Blog & Youtube): 6.61 + 1.87$ + 8.48$
Monetizing my blog is a slow process. I installed Adsense just a month ago so it will be interesting to see how this develops long-term.
A note on affiliate marketing for bloggers that don't live in the US:
I plan on writing about this in detail one day, but here just a quick note:
Not all affiliate networks accept international bloggers and payments can be a pain to set up. While I live in South Korea (and originally am from Switzerland, so English is my third or fourth language... Grammarly to the rescue!) most of my readers are from the United States, so I try to adjust for that - no point in linking Korean websites, for example.
Affiliate Programs that work globally:
Amazon, of course, is global - but most of my own shopping gets done on Korean online shops, so I only link to products I imported. My Etsy affiliate marketing can't be done via Awin (their Etsy affiliate network only accept bloggers local to the US) so I'd recommend joining an overarching affiliate network like Viglinks that's open to international blogs and saves you the trouble of navigating the individual affiliate programs. Also, cashback programs like Ebates that are active globally (and include online shops based in Japan and Korea!) are easier to use.
Blogging & Passive Income January 2018:
Etsy's digital products and the little bits of blog monetization add up to 221.76$
That's still far away from my goal of 1000$. Fingers crossed!
Twitter: 794 to 912
I've had Twitter for a long time (ten years? Anyway, it's why my Twitter handle doesn't line up with any of my other social media...), but only used it as an artist and then for impressions from life in Korea.
For a while, Instagram was THE social media place for me to be (I'm a visual person! I like pretty pictures!) but with every. single. thing. now out of chronological order, I appreciate Twitter and its orderly timeline so much more.
Still getting used to Twitter as a "blogger" instead of just private/art account. I don't even know how to do a #ff post! So much to learn!
Pinterest: 950 to 1k (I hit 1k sometime mid-January but forgot to write down the end number!)
Pinterest keeps growing steadily and I've finally found a style for my own pins that I really enjoy and works for all the different categories I blog about.
Follow me & send me a message - I've created a board just for sharing creative ideas to make daily life more inspiring! From unique journal spreads, pretty interior ideas, to blog projects or creative challenges...
Pinterest drives the majority of my bullet journal traffic, while other blog posts work with organic search. Social media like Instagram and Twitter only brings a small fraction of my pageviews - I use those mostly just because I enjoy them! <3
What didn't work in January:
Not enough balance between freelancing and the rest of my life & work
Didn't upload the videos I'd planned to my Youtube art channel
It's been so cold all month - I couldn't use my large desk because the heating there is bad! Result: My neck HURT after hours sitting on the floor bent over my Korean style low table... :')
Goals for February:
Hit 20'000 Pageviews!
Write 6 blog posts (it's a short month, but I want to improve on January!)
Prepare a complete set of printable Bullet Journal pages to use each month
Make a Media Kit (check out the wonderful tutorial by Stephanie here!) and add a Work With Me section
3600 followers on Instagram and hosting a giveaway when I hit 3.5k
Related to No.5: Finish this class on digital marketing and media kits on Skillshare!