Welcome back to my blogging experiment.
As you may already know, in January, I started a brand new blog with the goal of seeing if I can make money through blogging within a year. Every month, I share a list of the things I’ve been doing to try and move the blogging needle toward profitability, as well as real figures on how it’s going (is traffic growing? Am I showing up in Google?).
This, as you’ve probably guessed, is the latest in that series.
So, what happened with the new blog in April?
The answer is that I slowed down quite a bit. I hit the ground running in those early months and now I’m starting to scale back to a more manageable pace.
Here are the details.
(Psst, this post may contain affiliate links, which means if you purchase something through one of my links, I get a commission at no extra cost to you.)
I slowed down majorly on the link-building front this month, only writing a handful of guest posts in order to focus my time on other things (both paying work, because a girl’s still gotta eat and remember, this is my side project, and on other key parts of building a profitable blog).
Ultimately, I wrote a handful of guest posts or contributions. I meant to follow up on existing posts (as not all of them have gone live), but I dropped the ball on that, so will have to do some follow up in May.
So, if I wasn’t writing piles of guest posts to build links into the site, what did I do with my time?
The answer is that I started to attempt to monetize.
Now, monetization on a blog can mean a few different things: ads, affiliate links, selling products through the site, etc.
In my case, the site really isn’t big enough yet to get into any good ad networks. So I decided to start with placing some affiliate links.
Now, if you aren’t familiar with affiliate links, here’s the skinny:
Bloggers (and other types of affiliates) can join an affiliate program for a business or product they like (for example: Amazon or Booking.com). Once you’re part of an affiliate program, the program will give you special affiliate links that they can track back to you (making sure they know which visitors you send to their site). When someone clicks on your link and goes to the affiliate site and purchases something, you get a small commission (usually a percentage of the total purchase price).
It doesn’t cost your readers anything extra and if you’re doing it right, you’re probably only recommending products you and your readers would like, so win-win.
There’s a lot more to it once you start to really get into affiliate marketing, but those are the basics of how it works.
Now, on the new blog I’d already started adding the occasional Amazon affiliate link, as well as links back to my books, but this month is when I got serious about getting set up. I applied to several different affiliate networks and…
And oh my god, I didn’t realize how frustrating this could be!
Since the only affiliate stuff I do here is Amazon (which is easy) and Airbnb referral links, I totally forgot how completely disorganized, difficult to navigate, and painfully slow affiliate programs could be.
Thus, as the month draws toward its end, I’m still waiting to be set up and start really getting my affiliate sales game on.
Which I guess means it’s a good thing I decided to get started early in the year. Losing a whole month once I already had a lot of site visitors would have been even more frustrating.
My domain authority (a ranking that gives you an idea of how likely you are to rank in Google) keeps creeping slowly upward. Last month it was at 16. Now we’re closing in on 20.
These are still low numbers, but going from 0 to 20 in less than four months isn’t too shabby.
What I Spent on Blogging in April
Nada. As usual, I’m spending time on blogging rather than money.
April Blog Traffic
Yay hooray, friends. This month saw two significant spikes in traffic and an overall small increase day-to-day.
The spikes came from my interview with the top female chef in the world, which was shared widely, and a review of my favorite restaurant in Brasov, Romania. When the restaurant saw the review, they shared across their social channels and sent me around 500 new visitors.
Which is a good reminder: Whenever you feature someone, let them know. You never know if they’ll share with their own channels.
I’m happy to report that my appearance in search engines and the click-throughs on my pages are slowly, surely rising.
As you can see from the report above, I had a smattering of clicks in February, an increasing number in March, and am starting to see a rising incline into April. The numbers are still small, but it’s all progress.
April Blog Earnings
Another goose egg. This time it’s a little bit of a bummer because I would have loved to have those affiliate programs up and running. I’m still small potatoes when it comes to traffic, but who knows whether a visitor would have been stoked to book my favorite B&B or grab a recipe book through one of my links.
I want these reports to be as detailed, interesting, and helpful as possible, so let me know if there’s something else you’d like to know or something I can do to improve them!