• Nick Burgess

Personal Finance Blog Income Report - August and September 2022

How Much My Blog Made In Q3 2022

Alright, hang with me on this one. This income report is...different. If you go back and read past income reports of mine, you'll see that each one builds on itself in terms of strategy or learnings. From one to the next, it might be building on things like technical SEO or keyword research, or better marketing techniques if you go back to my last income report. Well, this income report is truly a culmination of most of my learnings over the last 16 months of this blog, and I'm really excited to share them with you. Let's get into it.

a computer, coffee cup, cell phone and pad of paper sitting on a deesk

Related: Personal Finance Blog Income Reports

New Posts In August and September

Big Blog Wins

Introducing Guest Writers!

I think one of the biggest lessons I've learned about this industry is that you really can't go it alone. Blogging seems easy from the outside and when you're starting, but then you get into the nitty gritty. You need to learn SEO, site structure, analytics, pixels, marketing and, on top of all of that, you have to actually create content!

For all of this, I've historically relied on other sources of knowledge. You know my guys over at Income School for the SEO and keyword research elements, but other sources like Neil Patel have been invaluable for me in terms of on-page SEO (site speed, interlinking strategies, errors, etc). However, I've always relied on myself for the content. Well, I wanted to dive WAY more into marketing in August and September, and it just so happened I had the solution to my time problems sitting in my inbox...


Introducing the incredible John Dunbar! John is the founder of HousingSecrets.net, an awesome blog that covers all things real estate. John jumped in for me during the month of August to hold down the fort and write some awesome articles, in which you can find the links above.


John also seems to be a trendsetter here, as I now have others in my inbox that would like to follow John's lead! If you're an interested party, please let me know using the form on my Contact page.

Fixing Old Articles

I'll admit it: my oldest articles are rough. Before I knew anything about structure or keyword research, I just wrote things that were interesting to me. While that can certainly have its positives, the negatives were pretty obvious:

  • The flow of the articles were not good

  • The purpose of the articles were occasionally non-existent

  • They just weren't where I wanted them to be from a prose perspective

So these last few months, I've taken steps to begin updating my old articles to get them to where they need to be! Hopefully you enjoyed the first few attempts at this (Top 5 Millionaire Questions Answered and Should You Invest In Bonds?). What do you think? Let me know!


Marketing!

I've been circling this one, but now it's time to get to it: I've started the paid media campaign to drive traffic to my site...and it's working. It's working extremely well. Let me explain.

In my last income report, I noted that I've discovered a bit of a white space in terms of finance writing and general interest categories. For instance, I've noticed that there is a ton of interest in the general sports world around LIV Golf. I've also seen Tom Brady in the headlines, and the NBA season is nearing its return. I happen to have investing and finance based articles around these topics, which creates a disparity in what I'm paying for advertising on a site like Facebook or TikTok, and what AdSense advertisers are paying on my website in order to advertise to my readers. This spread is how I make money. And what a spread we've seen.


A Note On AdSense Policies

In one of my previous income reports, I provided a screenshot of my total clicks within Adsense to give a reference point for my earnings that month. Well, I ended up receiving a fairly threatening email from someone claiming to work at Google, that noted it was a violation of AdSense's terms and conditions to reveal specific numbers other than RPM (revenue per 1,000 ad impressions).


I was very skeptical of this email, until I actually researched the T's & C's, and this person was absolutely correct: as a content creator, you can actually get kicked off of the platform for revealing information about impression counts, CTR or cost per click charged by Adsense. So, in an effort to not totally tank my business model, I'll be giving you guys the raw revenue numbers and then walk away with my hands up (no doubt praying to my new Alphabet revenue gods).


Opportunities to Improve

Google...What the Hell?

Again noted in my last income report (starting to become a theme here), Google regularly releases a series of changes to the essential algorithm of their search engine, known as "core updates." Core updates are what keep content creators up at night, because it's largely unknown how these updates will affect rankings, site speed, advertising, etc, until after they're fully rolled out.

Google has been on one this year in terms of core updates. In May, they released a core update that was intended to push more "helpful" content to the top of SERP's, often rewarding that content with the featured snippet. In theory, this is awesome. In practice...not so much. Blogs were getting pushed out of the way in favor of answers buried in Reddit threads, and the whole featured snippet niche got obliterated overnight. Google did eventually fix this update, but then September rolled around...

September saw a core update meant to eliminate the use of A.I writing tools, which are the new cheat code in the blogging space. I proudly do not use A.I writers, but Google would beg to differ as my most profitable article on SERP's got absolutely obliterated. What was it replaced with? A Yahoo Finance article published in mid-September with absolutely no relevance to the search term. Awesome.


How Much Money Did My Blog Make?

OK, enough suspense. Here is how much my blog made in August and September of this year, along with my running total for the year:


Income:

  • Adsense - $7,702.38

  • Medium - $104.66

  • Affiliate - $35 (Robinhood)

  • Freelancing - $0

Expenses:

  • Facebook Advertising - $1,915.95

Total: $5,926.09


2022 Total: $7,618.93


Told you I found a winning formula. And do I plan to exploit the hell out of it? As long as it keeps working! We also just raced right through my $5,000 revenue goal for this year which covers a full year of my car payment. I love this thing.


Future Plans for the Blog

I've already made a few grown-up decisions about the site, but the last quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year are going to be very important to the future of this website.


First of all, Q4 revenue is historically massive thanks to holiday spending from major brands. However, we are *technically* in a recession and entering into a very strange holiday season, so I'm curious to see if this predicted increase in revenue translates into this upcoming quarter. If so, I could potentially have more in the warchest to go on the offensive in Q1 2023.

I've officially opened up a business checking account to handle my cash (that has a pretty juicy 1.1% interest rate for a checking account), as well as a business credit card to earn rewards on my business spending, specifically around online advertising (though I didn't go full bore into the American Express Business Gold Card because I still have some testing to do to ensure I can hit the minimum spend required for the sign-up bonus. 70,000 points is 70,000 points!)

The American Express Blue Business Plus, my preferred business card
The American Express Blue Business Plus, my preferred business card

Finally, Q1 is when I assess formally hiring writers. I have about 70 article ideas that have been keyword researched and ready to write, but I just don't have the time right now with the insanity of my day job. So this is an open casting call: If you're interested in being paid to write, and you've made it this far in the piece, please use the Contact form with the subject line: write for hire. You've earned it if you're this far down the rabbit hole.


Well, that's it for this one! Thanks for reading, and I'll be back with another income report in January of 2023 to cover my Q4 2022 holiday revenue. In the meantime, feel free to check out the other pieces on my site related to investing, budgeting, saving and personal finance!



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