by Anna Karsten

Lifestyle Blog Income Report November 2020 (6 months of blogging!)

I decided to share with you my income report to show you that making money blogging is indeed possible. Pandemic, economic situation, nothing will fully crash every single niche of blogging – it’s always possible to rebrand and make it a full-time job.


Why This Blog Even Started?

I’ve been a full-time travel blogger for a few years making an income from my blog AnnaEverywhere.com. Last year 2019 the blog’s total income after expenses was $94,396.

Note that expenses did include a pre-paid trip for early 2020 before the pandemic started, as well as half of the amount for a 20-days long Antarctica photo & video expedition. I also had my son Dylan in April 2019 and we moved back to the US from Italy, so I must say I worked a bit less with a newborn around.

I expected my income to increase this year, but right as I returned from my dream trip to Socotra Island, lockdowns started and boom – the travel industry basically vanished. Many affiliate programs closed completely or lowered commission, on top of people simply not traveling. My income naturally disappeared.

In April my income was less than $1000 per month and that’s even before expenses. Unsurprisingly, I had two options: to wait-it-out till travel resumes (which in my option was and is still years away to come back to what it was BC) or to re-brand and find a job or start a new business.

As a result, I started two new businesses: a new blog & toy store.

I could talk about why starting a store is not for the faint-hearted for a while and while my store has been successful, I probably wouldn’t recommend jumping into starting a store, because way too many things can go wrong and unless you worked in sales and customer service like me, it’s stressful and hard to get out sometime (ok, it was still pretty stressful!).

Anna in the House is really only 6 months old! While I did “start” this blog in late March (when I was stuck in bed for a few weeks), I didn’t do much for months apart from buying a domain and designing it. I wrote maybe 3 posts, but I started REALLY working on it really in July.


Overall, I’m glad I was pushed to reinvent myself. I re-tested my methods and had to start from scratch, and now I can be sure what works and what doesn’t.

I always say if someone is trying to sell a course on blogging or social media, they should try to build a new thing from scratch first. Why?

You can always get lucky (eg. viral post), algorithms might have been different (especially for Instagram and Pinterest), plus – and most importantly – it was way easier to start a blog and build a following a few years back when the competition was smaller.


At the moment I’m not planning on doing any consultations or courses as I don’t have time for it (I also think if someone’s “blogging income” is mostly from selling courses on how to blog then it’s not entirely money made from blogging, LOL!

I did run a week-long in-person course for travel blogging in the past and while I enjoyed it a lot, if I ever do it again it will be an application-based course because to me it’s not really about making money teaching (I can honestly say our course was the cheapest on the market), but to actually help people create their businesses.

Almost all attendees decided to start a blog “in a few years” or got overwhelmed with the amount of work involved, even though it was clearly stated it’s not a “build your empire in 5 minutes working 10 hours a week” because there’s no such thing.

This time I’d prefer to focus on people ready to dive into it, so thinking about how can I motivate people to do the work, not just thinking it will be easy after taking a course. Starting a new blog involves hours of work, hours of learning, hours of frustration – that’s the reality. One needs to be ready for it! 🙂

Meanwhile, I put together a new post on hosting services, buying a domain and starting a blog.


Let’s take a look at the stats for November 2020…

TRAFFIC:

Pageviews: 82,026
Sessions: 31,856
Users: 25,092

  • * These numbers are not super impressive if you compare with top blogs out there, but to put this into perspective in June 2020 I had:
  • Pageviews: 1,671
  • Sessions: 1,082
  • Users: 957
    That’s 4808% increase for page views in 6 months and both Google and Pinterest take time to rank things once posts are published! P.S. I do not have PBNs, never had them.

Also, before anyone comments “this is a holiday season” I’m aware that many people’s numbers might be higher in November, but comparing October to June the increase was also over 2525.43% and earnings were similar – I just didn’t start doing income reports a month before.

Traffic Sources:

Organic: 83.3%
Social: 8.4%
> Facebook: 51.38%
> Pinterest: 48.39%
> Instagram: 0.18% (understandably, I never created a separate account for this blog)
Direct: 7.7%
Referral: 0.7%


INCOME:

  • Mediavine (income from ads – this blog joined Mediavine on Sept 19th): $890.40
    • average RPM (pageviews) of $32.60
    • no videos on the site YET
  • Affiliate income (Amazon, Awin, ShareAsale, RewardStyle, various other small programs): $7123.53
    • I’ll not be separating income into different programs, because there are too many.
  • Social Media & Related Projects (Instagram & Photography Service via this blog): $4800
    • Projects I’ve been hired for based on this blog only
    • Technically speaking half of it is my cat’s money, because he was the model 😛
    • At the moment I have never done a sponsored blog post on this blog, I could, but I’m not chasing them either.
  • Shop income from the blog: $1000ish
    • It’s an approximate amount I calculated when buyers tell me they purchased my shop products, because of my blog. Not every buyer leaves a note or sends a message, so it might have been more.
    • It would have been more for sure if I didn’t sell out everything before even Black Friday week because my store was out of stock the week before.

TOTAL PROFIT: $13,813.93

Before you say wow, there are also expenses involved. I’ve been investing a LOT in my new food blog recently so my expenses were very high in November, but since it’s a completely other business my expenses below are for this blog only.

EXPENSES:

Freelance Writers: $432.6
Agathon (hosting): $26
(*I do pay $80 per month, but all my 3 sites are hosted there, so this is 1/3 of the price)
Canva (graphics for Pinterest): $5
(it’s $9.95 total, but split between lifestyle and food blogs)
Ahref (SEO tool): $32.50 (I split with my husband, it’s $197 total, $98 my share but split between 3 blogs again)
SEO Optimization & Outreach: $835.15
Cloudflare (web security): $7 ($21.32 total split between 3 blogs)
Mailchimp (email service): $0 (I was getting spammed, so currently not sending newsletters and using a free version for this blog)
Tailwind (Pinterest scheduler): $0 (doing everything manually for this blog, I use Tailwind for the travel blog currently)
VA: $0 – my current VA has worked exclusively on my food blog in November
Pinterest VA: $0 – my previous Pinterest VA worked on my travel blog exclusively and actually no hours in November due to unprecedented circumstances like a typhoon

TOTAL EXPENSES: $1338.25

PROFIT: $12,475.68

*Please note this “profit” does not take into account the taxes I will have to pay on it.


What I’ve Been Working On This Month:

1. Hiring More People for the Team

Finding the right editors, content writers, researchers, social media managers is tough. There are many people looking for work out there, but very few are actually good and more importantly reliable.

Over the years I had worked with quite a number of people from all over the world and a few things I’ve learned were that quality of work doesn’t equal price at all.

Quite often I got way better people doing excellent work for less and incredibly shitty job done from very expensive people. But, overall it’s a great investment for your blog!

In November I’ve been actively looking for a new VA and few more writers, as I’m aware that I won’t be able to work as much as I do now when we go to Mexico for birth in January. Happy to say that I found someone and so far it’s been going great, but she’s been working on my other blog at the moment, which brings me to…

2. Working on My Third Blog

In November I started a food blog. I was originally going to open a food section on this blog, but it was just too much, so I invested in a third separate website. It was a good call, but just like with any other website it’s a ton of work at first.

Especially when it comes to food blogging when you need to find time to develop recipes, cook them, test them, photograph and edit it, then do the whole work of writing the blog post and then only moving to SEO and social media. It’s a LOT!

I invested a lot of time, effort and money in it and while it obviously won’t pay off for months, it’s simply a new adventure.

3. House Redesigning

I’ve been trying to squeeze in some housework and while I’ve started a small section of home decor on this blog, it’s a slow process. When we bought the house in late March we didn’t want to spend a ton with the uncertainty of the pandemic and also had no time.

We only repainted and re-did the flooring in the living room, our offices and bedroom, as they were our mostly used living spaces.

The rest of the house has been left intact and partially a mess and while my husband has been working on the garden (when we bought it it’s been a mess, so we’re slowly cleaning it and fixing it up), I’ve been re-doing the basement bathroom as well as preparing the nursery.

In December I’m also planning on re-doing the kitchen, stairs and fireplace. We’ll see how it goes.

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