How Much Money I Make Online: Income Report December 2016
Making money online was never a lifelong goal of mine. I mean, the first company I worked for after college still used a fax machine on a regular basis. Earning money from the comfort of my own home, or from a beachfront cafe in Thailand, wasn’t on my radar back then. But that all changed a few years ago when I realized the work I was putting into my websites could turn into a real income. Here’s how much money I made online in December 2016.
How much I earned from blogging: December 2016
Now the majority of my income comes from Travel Made Simple. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I also have a lot to share with you so you can learn how to start a blog and how to make money online. I’ve decided to start showing you how much money I earn from blogging each month, plus what’s working and what isn’t and what I’m learning along the way.
In case you missed it, last week I talked a little more about how I got here. In that post I also provided a summary of how much I’ve earned from blogging so far. Check out my not-so-straight path to making money from blogging.
These numbers do NOT include money I earn outside of my own websites. I do VA (virtual assistant) type work for two other websites, and I occasionally write freelance articles.
$1,202.59 – AdThrive (Note: AdThrive requires a minimum of 100,000 pageviews per month)
$663.81 – Amazon Affiliate Commission
$127.43 – Google Adsense
$114.22 – Shareasale (tour bookings through Viator)
$58.40 – Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course
$12.44 – ebook sales
$2,178.89 – Total Income from Blogging
$281.25 – Blog consulting
$119.88 – Tailwind (annual expense)
$119.40 – Canva for work (annual expense)
$80.67 – hard drive recovery
$75 – online backup plan (half of the annual expense – Andy and I are on one account)
$15 – MailChimp
$8.73 – Genius Links
$0 – Themify (website theme – I pay this annually)
$0 – HostGator (web hosting – I pay this annually)
$699.93 – Total
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Notes about my income numbers
I’m reporting my income in the month I was paid, not the month it was technically earned. This is how I track things for tax purposes, so it makes more sense that way. There is often a delay between “earning” the money and actually getting paid, and it can be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months delay.
For example, the Amazon affiliate commission I got in December was from sales made in October. The money I got from AdThrive was mostly from advertising in October and even a little from September.
As for the expenses, a lot of what I paid for in December was either a one-off thing, like the consulting, or annual fees, like Tailwind and Canva. My monthly expenses were higher than normal for December because of these. I’m not including expenses for things like health insurance, travel costs, living expenses, etc.
One thing I want to point out is the hard drive recovery. I have a ton of photos, plus lots of other important files, stored on an external hard drive because my laptop doesn’t have enough storage space for everything. In early December, the hard drive suddenly wouldn’t work. My laptop wouldn’t recognize it, Andy’s laptop wouldn’t recognize it, and of course, I started to panic. My whole life is on that thing.
Luckily we found someone who was able to recover everything for the price of 75 euros. But this shouldn’t have happened! We had been saying foreeeever that we needed to sign up for a good back-up system, but we just kept putting it off. Now we have an account with CrashPlan, which automatically backs up all our files throughout the day, for $150 annual for both me and Andy. Totally worth it for the peace of mind, and really, a back-up plan is a necessity for those of us with a digital life.
Update: CrashPlan no longer offers smaller plans. They’re really aimed more at larger businesses, and it’s just not worth it for us. So we’ve switched to a company called BackBlaze, and that’s working out nicely.
What’s working…and what isn’t
One of the best things I’ve done recently was take this affiliate marketing course. I did know some of the information given in the course, but I also learned a lot.
Some of the tips were so simple to implement and result in more clicks and more income. Some of the advice takes a little longer to see results, but I’m working on it. I’m learning a lot about using Pinterest and Tailwind. I’m learning about affiliate programs I never knew existed and ways of promoting things I believe in. And best of all, there’s a private Facebook group that is incredibly helpful and supportive. Sometimes bouncing ideas off other people is just what I need. I’ll write a full review of the course soon.
>>Read more about why I love making money from affiliate marketing.
As for things that aren’t working, I’d have to say my ebook. The amount I earned from my ebook is pretty sad, huh? When I first released the packing book two and a half years ago, I didn’t do much marketing for it. Travel Made Simple had enough traffic to get me a handful of sales for awhile, usually anywhere from 20-40 books a month (so roughly $40 to $80 a month earned), but that has dropped off, and I don’t promote it much anymore. It’s had a nice run, but I can’t put energy into it these days.
What’s going on with me and Andy
Since my blog is often behind what’s currently going on in my life, I thought this would be a good place to give you an update on what’s happening in real time.
Overall 2016 was a bit of a struggle for us. Money was tight, and we didn’t get to travel nearly as much as we thought we would. I also had some health problems late November/early December, but luckily I’ve recovered really quickly this time.
Things are starting to pick up though. Work for both of us has improved, and we’re feeling pretty optimistic about 2017.
In just a few days, we’re flying to Panama. We’ll be traveling with Andy’s parents for two weeks through Panama City and the canal, Boquete, and Bocas del Toro, enjoying the sun and exploring a new country. After Andy’s parents fly back to the States, Andy and I will continue on to Costa Rica and Nicaragua for another two weeks.
Our views on winter travel keep adjusting every year, but for now one month of travel in a warm destination works for us. Berlin is just too gloomy in the winter. Seriously, in December and part of January we get less than 8 hours of daylight per day, and it’s almost always overcast. It gets depressing, so we have to get out and go someplace warm and sunny.
I’m starting to write about my Berlin international restaurant project. My goal is to try one new restaurant in Berlin for every country in the world. You can read the first post here about restaurants in Berlin for Russian, Sudanese, and Vietnamese food. I’ll continue writing these posts as I try new restaurants.
Watch out for January’s blogging income report coming to you in February from Central America! And if there’s anything you want to know about making money online, let me know.
You might also enjoy:
- On Living a Non-Traditional Life
- How to Start a Travel Blog
- How I Make Money Online and Travel Up to 4 Months a Year
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course
January 16, 2017 @ 11:35 AM
Thanks for the link! And loving the new series.
January 16, 2017 @ 5:54 PM
No problem, and thanks, I’m so glad you like it!
January 16, 2017 @ 10:31 PM
I really appreciate this insightful post. I’m interested in this combination of income streams, but I didn’t realize I could follow practical steps to learn how to make it work. Thank you!
January 16, 2017 @ 11:12 PM
Thanks Amy! I’m really hoping to show how it is possible to make money from blogging.
January 16, 2017 @ 10:31 PM
Wow, interesting how much comes in through AdThrive! Was it difficult to get set up with them? I just had a look on their website and it says that there’s a waitlist, whoa… 🙂
I loved that you included what’s working and what isn’t! And re. ebooks, I’ve been reading a bit about them lately (not that I’m keen on writing one, I’m just always interested in a million things 🙂 ), and it sounds like others have had similar experiences to you and that they’re not really the money-makers (anymore maybe??). Would you consider writing another one or is the time of ebooks over for you?
Enjoy your trip to Central America, you’ll love the sunshine, I’m sure! Berlin can be soooo grey in winter (especially in Jan/Feb when all the Christmas cheer has evaporated).
Great blog makeover, btw!! It looks nice and fresh.
January 16, 2017 @ 11:17 PM
Thanks Kati! Yeah, I always hear that people don’t make much from advertising, but I think it depends on the site. Travel Made Simple has some pretty focused traffic, and I think that helps with the ads. Getting set up with AdThrive wasn’t so bad at all. I think the wait was 6-8 weeks if I remember correctly? They have a minimum for the amount of traffic your site gets…not sure if it’s 50k or 100k pageviews a month. When they did start setting me up, it was a stressful week of getting everything tweaked to what I was comfortable with, and I was so paranoid about NOT making more than with Adsense. But it all worked out, and my ad income more than doubled from what it was with Adsense. Well worth it.
I don’t know if some bloggers still make good money with ebooks. I probably didn’t put enough effort into mine as far as promotion or the writing, if I’m being honest with myself. I’ve been saying forever that I want to write another one, but I haven’t even started. So I think I actually don’t want to write another one!
And thanks about the site! Just put the new theme on yesterday!
January 18, 2017 @ 8:25 AM
Do you pay AdThrive a commission or how that does work?
When you say you had to tweak things – what sort of things did you have to tweak?
(Sorry for all the questions, just curious 🙂 ).
January 18, 2017 @ 9:54 AM
No worries about the questions! AdThrive takes a cut, so whatever rates they’re charging the advertisers, they take a piece for themselves. I think they said it’s somewhere between 5% and 25%. It’s actually similar to what Adsense does, but I think Adsense takes a little more. As for tweaking things, they set up the ad layout, and I had to decide which ads I was comfortable with. There’s a small ad towards the top of Travel Made Simple, between the header and the posts, and it was originally much bigger. I didn’t like it, so I had them change that. There were probably a few other things, but it was last May, so I don’t remember all the details. But it was a few days of set up and seeing how I liked things.
January 23, 2017 @ 3:43 AM
5-25% doesn’t sound too bad!
Thanks for all the info, Ali! 🙂
January 24, 2017 @ 3:11 PM
January 16, 2017 @ 11:50 PM
thanks to you I shall try to repair (or hire someone to do it) my online ad links……just seems to be no time to travel, write about it and repair or improve the blog
decided after a trip to japan and Australia that sitting for 2 months after I return to try to write all the stories is NOT the way I want to travel…………….
I shall check out all the programs you listed on your expense list and see what I might be able to use
January 17, 2017 @ 2:52 PM
Thanks Lee! Yeah, trying to write about your travels so long after you went is tough…happens to me all the time! The advertising money is nice, though very dependent on the amount and type of traffic you get. Travel Made Simple is a decently high traffic site, and the traffic tends to be really focused on 2-3 topics, so I think the ads work well. But for reference, Ali’s Adventures only has Adsense (the traffic isn’t high enough to qualify for AdThrive) and I only have one ad in the sidebar, and it earns between $5-10 a month. Grounded Traveler (Andy’s site) is on the same Adsense account, and it earns $10-15 a month. So it’s not exciting money at that level. But you gotta start somewhere! And that’s why for a lot of sites, affiliate marketing works better because you’re promoting products/services you already use and like to a loyal audience.
January 18, 2017 @ 11:17 PM
Congrats, Ali. That’s amazing progress. I’m guessing Dec #’s (which may come out in Feb/printed in Mar) will be strong w/ higher ad revenue and Amazon. Smart idea to travel during the winter. I’m amazed that you can be away so long. One of these days I’ll be able to travel again.
January 22, 2017 @ 3:21 AM
Thanks Debbie! You’re right, December was amazing for ads and Amazon, and I’ll get paid for that in February, so that post will go up in March. We’re able to be away for so long because we’re both freelancers, so it’s not so difficult for us to tell our clients we won’t be working for 4 weeks. Helps a lot that I have this income that keeps rolling in even if I’m not doing much work for a few weeks!
January 30, 2017 @ 7:20 PM
This is literally my goal! I want to finish uni, improve my travel blog and get the whole thing a lot more professional, and then eventually I want to be able to make at least part of my total income from it so that I can officially reach my dream of becoming a travel writer. I literally adore posts like this, they’re super interesting and useful also!
February 1, 2017 @ 4:02 PM
Thanks Amy! It’s a lot of work, and making money from blogging is certainly not easy, but I love it and I’m so glad I kept pushing and working at it to get to where I am now.
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