November 2012 Income Report – Does the Streak Continue?

It’s time for last months income report: November 2012.

As a reminder, this is why we do the income reports:

  1. Accountability. These will allow us to finally keep track of our total online revenue – something that I’ve been horrible at.
  2. Progress. Now that we have it documented, we’ll be be able to chart our progress as our income increases (hopefully!)
  3. Truth. To show people that you really can make money online
  4. Transparency: We want others to see how we do it so that others can do it too.

Remember: We started blogging in July of 2008 so it’s taken us a lot of time to figure this blogging thing out. And truthfully, we still have a lot to learn. Don’t get the impression that you can start a blog today and turn a profit tomorrow. I promise you, it ain’t going to happen.

What went down in November

Test, test, and test again…..

That’s something that most bloggers don’t do on their sites.  To be honest, the term “A/B” test was something that was completely foreign to me until a couple of years ago.

The first A/B test that I did with my blog was testing the color of the links of Google Adsense.   For about a month and several thousand impressions later I tested between maroon, royal blue and slate grey.

The fact is, even though you think the color looks the best on your site doesn’t mean that it converts the best.

I’m always testing things such as ad placement or even ad networks.

Mandy made a good connection with another blogger, Beckie from Infarrantly Creative,  that had figured how to use Google DFP to earn higher payouts with Adsense and her other ad networks.  Mandy had said that another blogger had more than 6x her blog income since incorporating DFP into her blog.

Wanna know something funny?   I had no clue what DFP even was!   :)

Haha….

Google DFP

Nonetheless, I was intrigued.   We immediately setup a late night call with Beckie after all our kids were asleep, paid her a consulting fee (which was more than worth it!) and she got us setup up with DFP.  She walked us through the entire process which I know saved me at least two weekends of trying to figure it out.

For the entire month of December, we’re testing DFP on both our sites and can’t wait to see how it does.

If you’re a blogger that treats it like a real business, there are two important takeaways from this:

  1. Never be content.  You might think that your ad placement is the best or that you’re earning top dollar from your ad networks.  Don’t .   Always test, explore and connect with other bloggers that enlighten you on new opportunities.   The other blogger that installed DFP on her site went from $400/month to $2400/month.  Had she just been content she never would have thought to install DFP and see her income skyrocket.
  2. Be willing to invest into your blog.  Beckie charges a consulting fee for helping bloggers get DFP setup properly.   I know I said it before, but I’ll say it again:  It was totally worth it.  I even told her she should charge more.  :)  If you want to take your blog to the next level, you’re always going to have to reinvest back into your site.   That could simple things such as buying a new theme like Thesis, premium blogging tools, getting your newsletter through Aweber setup properly, etc

Ready to see some numbers?   We thought so…..

Here’s a look at the numbers for November:

Income Breakdown

Good Financial Cents

  • Adsense: $1,140.49
  • Adspeed: $1,300.92
  • Commission Junction: $1,101.99
  • Flex Offers:$2,998.20
  • ShareASale: $207.42
  • Direct Advertising: $109.00
  • Media Net:  $469.34
  • Aweber: $78.00
  • Consumer Track: $84.00
  • Clickbank: $24.92
    • Total: $7,514.28

Other Niche Sites

  • Adsense: $159.55
  • Flex Offers: $174.00
  • Direct Advertising: $300.00
  • Media Net:  $75.60
  • Niche Site Revenue:$3,491.27
    • Total: $4,200.42
House of Rose blog
  • BlogHer Ads: $818.82
  • BlogHer Sponsored Posts: $225.00
  • Direct Advertising: $145.00
  • Adsense: $98.96
  • BlueHost: $450.00
    • Total $1,737.78
Freelance Writing
  • Equifax: $0
    • Total: $0

Financial Planning

  • Online Planning Fees: $0
    • Total: $0

Total Revenue for November: $13,452.48

Revenue Last Month: $13,491.48

  • Difference: -$39.00
  • Total for 2012: $96,716.59

What Happened in November

After consecutive record months our streak finally came to a close.  And we only missed it by $40.  Doh!  Haha…. We’re still not complaining.  :)

I’ve been so busy launching the Debt Movement site that I didn’t have to time to write for Equifax in November so that would have set us over.  You’ll also notice that I had no Online Financial Planning fees for November.  I’m actually phasing out with that service on my site which might sound crazy.

I tested out offering financial plans on my site for $500 at the beginning of the year and I’ve had some people take me up on the offer.  One month I had 4 people contact me.   With increased demand I raised the fee to $750 (and one case $1,000) but people still kept calling.   With such high interest you’re probably wondering why I would be giving up what seems like a sure thing.

Here’s why:  they take way too much time.   To do a financial plan right, it will take me anywhere from 6-8 hours to complete.  As my online business grows, I’ve realized that my time can be spent better elsewhere.  Case in point example:  my niche sites.

This month was a record month for my new niche site with over $3,400 of revenue.  Not too shabby.   I think I’ve mentioned that I’m building out a secondary niche site to compliment the main one.   What I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet is that I secured 2 new domains that I’ll be building out in 2013.

As your online business grows you’ll realize that certain paths you started down don’t make as much sense as they once did.  I know I’ve learned that several times.

House of Rose Representin’

House of Rose recorded it’s highest month ever – go baba!  The biggest contributor was taking the time to write this page:  How do I Start a Blog.  From that page, she was able to get 5 Bluehost conversions and help 5 new bloggers join the web.   She’s already had 6 conversions in December!   Now that is passive income at it’s finest.   It took her a couple of hours to write the post, upload and edit pictures, and it’s already made over $1,000.

I’ve been trying to explain affiliate marketing to her for a while now but she never really got it.   Until now.  :)

New Media Expo in Vegas!

It’s official.  We’ve already booked our tickets and we’re heading to Vegas for the New Media Expo by Blogworld. This is a conference that I’ve wanted to go to for years, but scheduling has never worked out.   Since it’s in Vegas and that’s where my mom lives, we thought it would be a good excuse to take the family – Yes, all 5 of us! – on a plane to visit Grandma Lilly.

If you’re heading to the conference, too; be sure to let us know!

Other Bloggers Killing it Online

The cool thing about making money online is anyone can do it.   A few months ago we were included in a roundup up post from other bloggers making a very decent income online.   Courtney Tuttle who runs the site The Blog Builders (among others) recently included us in his November Blogger Income Report.

I discovered a ton of new bloggers that I wasn’t aware of including Lindsay and Bjork of Pinch of Yum.  What I found most intriguing about these two was that they are a couple (just like us) and they are building a solid online business in the food photography niche.  Yes, food photography!  See, anyone can make money online.   :)

If you like food with recipes to boot, be sure to check out their yummy blog.

What to Expect Going Forward

Our goal for 2013 is to make this blog more of a resource for bloggers just starting out to experienced bloggers looking to take their blogs to the next level.  We already have several posts outlined and can’t wait to start getting them published.

Do you have a topic you want us to cover?   If so, just let us know!

Comments

  1. Looks like you two did great! I really need to work on Adsense, I don’t even yet it on my blog right now!

  2. I’ve been thinking about have a “how to start a blog” post as it seems to be the most popular question with the playdate mom’s and reading hour mom’s.

    Derek (freeat33) and I are super excited about Blog World too. We’ll be seeing you at the PF bloggers meetup :)

  3. I would like to learn more about A/B testing… I have heard about it but have no clue how to do it.

  4. You guys Rock! Mandy helped me finally get my new site Daria’s Deals up and running, http://www.dariasdeals.com. Would love to do an ad in January if you could please email me the rates, specs. Thanks again!!!

  5. I love your sense of accountability. You are showing that multiple streams of income really does work…if you pay your dues first.

  6. Well done again! I like the idea of experimenting with ad placements and colors to see what yields the best results. And I’m interested to hear about the direct results of DFP on your blog.

    Quick question: When do you recommend implementing adsense on a blog. I’ve been at it for almost 8 months, and have sidebar ads, but have resisted adsense for fear of annoying readers. What are your thoughts?

    • @ Jake

      If you have decent traffic I would go ahead and insert them in. Regarding annoying readers, I wouldn’t worry about it much. Actually, I might be the wrong person to ask since I currently run 5 ad block on my blog. :) I think most people expect to see ads on sites nowadays.

      The only time I would suggest not running ads if you’re offering your own product or if you have a good amount of affiliates to offer. Adsense could actually hurt you then.

  7. Jeff and Mandy,

    Congrats to both of you…you’re creating great examples of success for us all. Keep in touch.

  8. Astonishing numbers. I’m impressed last month and this month were so close. Congrats!

  9. Hi guys..just wanted to say a huge thank you. I read your How to start a blog post back in November, and immediately after, set up my domain with GoDaddy and hosting with BlueHost on your advice.
    It was a big leap for me, and since then, I have been working on content which I plan to start regularly posting on the blog starting this week – 2-4 posts a week consistently.
    Next step from there will be to seriously look at the layout and blog design etc.
    I follow both Dollars & Roses and House of Rose, and will continue to do so – you guys set such a great example, and I can only hope that with time and hard work, I can strive to create something of quality that I am proud of, as you both have, and it will be thanks to the two of you for giving me the courage and inspiration to give it a go!
    Happy 2013 to you both!

    • Hi Kylie!! That’s awesome! Congrats on getting started! I am so glad you found our tutorial helpful. I will definitely check out your blog! Thanks again for the kind words!

  10. This is SUPER impressive, guys! I have also been blogging since 2008, and 2012 was my best year yet, but nowhere near these numbers! I am hoping to invest more time and energy into monetizing my site in 2013 and this really inspired me! Will definitely be subscribing to learn more from you two!

  11. WOW, so for about 6 hours I have been reading everything and anything on the two blogs. I have been blogging for fun.. with no real intention of making money until recently when I was approached by a few people stating that if I could trim the fat off some things and make things a bit more professional etc. etc. they’d be interested in sponsoring my crafting. I look forward to digging into more of the posts you all have written. I’m really wanting to get my own domain, and read alot about it from the two of you. However, it scares the daylights of of me to loose anything I may have anywhere.. the links I’ve had out there still bringing people to my blog. I know there’s alot I could do but mostly it all just scares me in losing anything.. sounds silly because obviously the two of you know what your doing.. I’m just a sissy. I do long for my blog to be more though so considering starting some of the baby steps…. eeeeekkkkkk

  12. Nicely done guys, and thanks for sharing all of this – it’s both very inspiring and interesting! We’ve just started our own blog – http://www.college-cooking.com – we’re trying out different approaches to see what works the best. Blogs like your’s help us tremendously!

  13. Hey Jeff. It’s late, but it’s heartfelt – thanks for mentioning us in this post. It means a lot. :) Hope you and Mandy (and kids) are doing well!

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