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December Earnings Breakdown: My Best Month Ever

It’s that time of the month when I take a look over where income has come from in my own business over the preceding month—this time, December.

Let me start with the trending chart (click to enlarge it) that tracks earnings in the total and separate income streams for the last nine months. You’ll see from this that December was a very good month!

income streams 2010

Actually, “very good” is something of an understatement: it was my best month ever, and just under double the income for the previous month.

The increase came from a number of the income streams, and it occurred for two main reasons:

  1. A Christmas promotion on my photography blog: I ran a “12 days of Christmas” promotion on dPS that promoted 11 different products—my own eBooks as well as a series of affiliate promotions. This was the main reason for the leap in the affiliate stream (it’s over ten times higher than the previous month), but it also pushed ebook sales up significantly (double the previous month). I’d be happy to write a post on this promotion in the coming weeks if people are interested?
  2. Holiday shopping: AdSense income always rises at this time of year for me as a result of the Christmas rush (up by about 20%) and Amazon Affiliate earnings also rose (around double the average monthly income from the last year).

Following is the income stream breakdown:

income streams december

Note: ‘Continuity’ refers to membership sites ProBlogger.com and Third Tribe. I did not do any speaking/events in December.

Looking forward, it’s going to be slightly depressing to post January’s figures after this month—affiliate sales, AdSense, and Amazon will of course return to normal after the Christmas promotions (in fact they often are a little lower than average in January). However we’re also looking to launch a new ebook on Digital Photography School next month, so hopefully that stream will be healthy.

How were your December earnings?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Generally about the same here as well but like you said the first half of Jan is a bit depressing. But another year under the belt and another month behind us!

  2. Poor AdSense took a hit this month – if I remember correctly it was your equal highest earner last time round. It would be interesting to know what sort of affiliate programs were so successful this month i.e. were these for physical products or digital ones such as other e-books like the ones you’re selling?

  3. I only added affiliate links to my website late last year so it is hard to tell what the norm is. I have made about half the amount this month so far compared with December – but even so I’m very happy with the results.

    Considering my blog is only 5 months old, I’m shocked it’s making any money at all as yet. I even got my very first donation a few days ago and was blown away that the donation buttons had worked.

    Thank you Darren and ProBlogger for helping me to monetise my blog :) I look forward to reading the advice on here every day.

    • Chris Alta says:

      Marie! Just checked out your blog, that’s such a sick idea! Thing you can do with your kindle! I’m definitely going to write a post on your blog..I think I’ll title it (The most creative blog I’ve seen yet) You’ll definitely be getting a link from my page.

      Affiliate links are definitely the business, I haven’t come across one blogger who’s yet to have one. It’s really good to be honest with your readers and to let them know that you have affiliate links on your site because it builds more trust with them. I hope everything keeps going up hill for you and your blog! Cheers!

      -Chris Alta

  4. Was breaking records as well, I believe it has to do with changes to the way people shop online.

  5. Then I’m not the only one had a great income in December (60% increase in adsense), and January earning dropped very much.
    I got a chance to chat with a famous CPM network, as you said, “All promotions during Christmas are over and all advertisers used their balance budgeted money for adverting in December”.

    Thanks for sharing your earnings.

  6. Thats really good. I had a reasonably poor month in december because over the christmas season i got hardly any traffic. Nice to have a visual breakdown for all of your different income streams. Thanks darren

  7. sumanth says:

    great imporvement..but what was amount of money u got in dec??

  8. Ben Norman says:

    Well I got my first ever Amazon sale over Christmas so I’m very happy (not much on you though I have to say!). The diversity you have over your income streams is quite incredible, evidently the way to go!

  9. Felix says:

    I must say that I am amazed at the way you’ve been able to get income from multiple sources rather than just Adsense. Specifically, your adsense earnings are not even up to half of what you make from your Affiliate links.

  10. Vivek Parmar says:

    Quite impressive rise in earning, wish i could have 10% of it. December was a disappointing month for me (as december will be the 2nd month in pro-blogging). But get a quite certain rise in January month and still yet not over it. Will look forward to cross 4 figure (in earnings) this month

  11. aprillins says:

    very cool! It was from affiliate earning.. I wonder how much is it…. :lol:

  12. Roshan says:

    affiliate marketing wins hands down. but double from previous month you say? the graph show it is at least ten times than previous month.

  13. Mike Lopez says:

    Cool! Yes, please do write about the Christmas promotion.

    • Tim Woodbury says:

      I’ll second this. I’d love to learn more about the Christmas promotion.

      Do you think a similar promotion would be equally as viable at other times of year? Or do you think it was largely the holiday buying rush that made it so successful?

  14. Kingdom says:

    My blog is fairly new (2 months) so far I made $14 but this article really inspired me! I’m currently wroking on my ebook so hopefully that will bring in more revenue the affliated links are doing much for me so I’m considering taking them down.

    • Chris Alta says:

      Kingdom!

      Just checked out your site man it looks awesome! Who did that for you? The whole thing really catches my attention immediately. Plus I see your face and that’s always what people want! We want to know who’s stuff we’re reading right off the bat whether we realize it or not lol!

      My blog is also 2 months young and I haven’t made any money from it! However I’ve made money from clickbank products through some free google adwords money I got so I used it and put some ads up. I wouldn’t recommend you invest in adwords because you’re only as good as your last day you know?

      As far as your affiliate links go just be patient! It’s all about driving traffic, you can have 100,000,000 affiliate links on your page but if you only get 10 people to your site a day you probably aren’t going to increase your probability of making a sale. You should really chill on the affiliate links and just give people what they want and also give people the real you. That’s the reason they go to you ya know?

      it’s just like watching the news. Why do some people watch ABC over FOX news when they both come on at 10pm? It’s because one station is giving the viewer more of an emotional reaction when they watch the station and they may not even realize it’s happening.

      So for your blog just be yourself and like minded people will follow. Don’t be something your not because then if you do attract 10,000 readers per month they aren’t going to be like minded people like you because you yourself are not being you! (haha not sure if that made sense?)

      To talk about your ebook you want to find other’s in the same industry (looks like yours is religion) and build relationships with people who already have big lists, medium sized lists, small lists, and no lists at all! Build relationships with everyone you meet who has your common interest, because if you do it now and they should become big. They’ll remember you from the beginning and will be more than happy to mail your new eBook for you as long as it’s quality! So be sure to hook them up with a free copy! haha

      All the best “Kingdom”

      cheers!

      -Chris Alta

  15. Awesome Darren. My total income for December was also the best for 2010 :)

    Adsense income was down but affiliate marketing income shot up which is good.

  16. Thanks for showing your sources of income, this confirms what I have been telling my own readers and that the real money lies in Affiliate marketing online. Successful affiliate marketing is the key to really turning blogging into a career.

  17. Yes! The first half of January is definitely depressing! For days I was researching it, trying to find people that said “yea, January slows down a bit,” just so I could feel better!

    Great post. I’m creating some great info products for February, going to be a great month.

  18. Pumama says:

    Amazing Earning! I admire you a lots

  19. It would be interesting to see your strategy for that tricky post Christmas period?

  20. Very intelligent blogger! Not only you are making good money, your blog looks really great. I can see you are using StudioPress genesis framework, its affordable. But, I have bought lot of themes before and made no money out of my several blogs. So, this time I’m gonna make money and buy a theme like yours. By the way, thanks for the income pie chart, really persuades to become a full time blogger. I have one question, it would be great if you could throw an answer either here or in my blog. How long it really takes to get a blog make money?

    • Chris Alta says:

      Personally if you could get 10,000 subscribers to your blog in 1 week, but then you blasted them with affiliate links and product reviews, you’d probably lose over half of those subscribers that following week.

      Then after that you’ll have 5,000 subscribers, and most of them won’t even open your email, and then out of those that do open how will you entice them and have a minimal bounce rate if all you’re doing is shoving offers at them? I’d say you’d get 1-3% of sales.

      So I’m not saying this is your mindset yo lol but you’ve gotta build relationships with your audience! Yes we all want to make money but if you don’t build trust then it’s all pointless to even be blogging in the first place.

      I’d say to build that trust up and just give away as much free content as you can think of. Interview other bloggers in your same niche, ask for their advice all the time, basically pick their brains as crazy as it sounds haha but do whatever you can! This way the stuff you start to put out on your site is TOP NOTCH!

      Then as time goes buy and the trust builds, if you do happen to launch a product your readers will willingly buy something from you because they know the content and value you give them behind your work is genuinely meant to help them!

      So as far as a time frame goes, it really depends on what you’re in for. The “I want money right now!” or the “ok let’s build something long term.” That’s really up to you brotha! or sista? lol

      Darren’s a pretty busy guy so I thought I’d take it upon myself to answer your question, cheers yo hope this helped!

      -Chris Alta

  21. Nick Begin says:

    It’s still too early for me to have any income to report, but it looks as though diversification is the way to go.

    Thank you for the inspiration and the all of the tips.

  22. corey says:

    People are getting more and more comfortable with shopping online than they were just a few years ago. This is great for affiliate programs like Amazon that carry brand recognition.

  23. Carolyn Shearlock says:

    I’d love to hear more about the affiliate programs other than Amazon. My blog is only 5 months old, but Amazon is well over half my meager earnings — but I may lose Amazon due to a possible new state law (long story, many affiliates are pressuring the governor not to sign it into law).

    For anyone else, this is a big reason for having multiple income streams — don’t put all your eggs in one basket!

    • Chris Alta says:

      Ahh this is super true Carolyn!

      Gotta have multiple income streams!

      I just started my blog about 2 months ago (launched January 1st, 2011) and I’ve been increasing my traffic little by little. I think I have 350+ more viewers this month than I did in January so I’m proud of that, but I’m still broke and can’t get an auto responder lol.

      As far as your income streams go what else are you doing other than Amazon? That sucks big time about your state law! What state is that if you don’t mind me asking?

      cheers!

      -Chris Alta

  24. kari says:

    Oh WOW!!!! Please do share the numbers…… Now that will be even more inspiring :) CHEERS!!

  25. J.D. Meier says:

    It looks like your investment over time is paying off.

    That’s the beauty of building equity and going for the long-haul … it’s like a snowball impact.

    I think that you are gaining the sum of your effort, and the sum of your experience … and even better, you have a portfolio of results.

    I like the way your visual shows at a glance just how much your affiliate income is compared to the others. It really shows that it’s a powerful stream when done with skill.

  26. Akos says:

    Congratulations for the great month!
    My earnings for December are 100% from Amazon.

  27. Matt says:

    Glad to hear you had such a successful month. I had a great November and thought I’d be hard pressed to beat it. December blew it out of the water. I figured it was a year’s end thing. With a month to go in January, I’m already 15% up on my December earnings. Very encouraging end of 2010 and start of 2011.

  28. Derek says:

    Amazing transparency Darren. Looking at a very steady year for you, except for the affiliation spike you explained, what do you feel you gave the most attention to and what needed the least?

  29. yes … post on the promotion …!!!

  30. A Taylor says:

    Add me to the list of those interested in seeing a future post on the December Digital Photography promotion.

  31. Allan Ward says:

    Some good figures for December that show the value of diversifying your income streams. Do you set revenue budgets for the month / quarter / year and if so, did you exceed your budget for the year? Your DPS promotion was a great idea and can easily be extended to other holidays and events.

    Well done.

  32. Wallpapers says:

    It is always interesting to see where others are in terms on money made from blogging. Thank you for posting this. It was interesting.

  33. Rita says:

    Congratulations. You’re the pro.

    Rita blogging at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide

  34. Lakhyajyoti says:

    Huge earning.Thanks for sharing your earning details with us.

  35. Fred Tracy says:

    Considering the fact that I started my site this past December they weren’t particularly high, but it’s only uphill from here! Can’t wait till next December!

  36. Cleared2Fly says:

    My earnings were not that good, but its increasing as yours…

  37. Alan says:

    Hi Thanks for sharing your earning details and knowledge with us.

  38. dp-mall.com says:

    That’s great news Darren, doubling the income is SOMETHING…

    I mainly earn through affiliate marketing and CPA, never been very lucky with adsense or any ad networks.. (just don’t have that much traffic) ..

    December has been a great month…around 6K.. :)

  39. I saw a huge upswing in revenue from adsense in December myself. Can anyone explain what happened? I am sure it had to do with Christmas but is there anything else that caused it?

  40. Bash Bosh says:

    Congratulations on your achievements.

    December was the best month for my blog too. I have get 100% more earnings than a month before (through AdSense) with almost the same traffic.

    I guess this is because December is a month where most people would like to buy something online. And advertisers tend to pay more on advertising to promote their “holiday” products and offers.

    If there is more advertisers bidding on the same keyword – the price of that specific keyword is higher.

  41. Franck says:

    ¿6 figures month? Impressive curve anyway

  42. farouk says:

    i just love this post and all the similar ones , they help me know how famous bloggers make money
    thank u Darren :)

  43. Steve Miller says:

    This is really great stuff, Darren. Appreciate you sharing information like this! I would definitely be interested in learning more about your 12 Days of Christmas promotion.

  44. Strayblogger says:

    That line graph reminds me of a rocket ship made of cash flying straight up off the ground. Good job man. I hope to one day be as successful as you.

  45. I don’t have a nice breakdown like that yet, but December was my third best month ever and my 5th straight month hitting the goal to earn enough for my wife to quit her job and come work from home to help me. She starts on Monday and we are totally stoked!

  46. Wow- That is really impressive. Thanks for sharing. I make depressingly little income from my blog, so will definitely be reading more of your posts here for tips!

  47. Greg says:

    Congrats on the excellent month!

  48. Chakallas says:

    you saw that on 25th jan ?? if you would have seen it on 31st jan, then i your new year celebration would have been fantabolous :-) That’s really huge increment

  49. Strangely our best month was November. However, the affiliate sales went crazy in January. We made 10 times of our weekly average in a day.

    Regards,
    Free Calls Hub

  50. Chris Alta says:

    Hey Darren great strategy with the 12 days of Christmas offer for your photography website. Definitely something that we can all learn is to capitalize on the holidays. Obviously still give people what they want and don’t just sell them stuff lol but you know what I mean.

    I’ve been watching a ton of your youtube video’s lately and you’ve got some great stuff man. It’s no wonder you’re such a successful blogger/business owner/website master! hahah

    You’ll definitely be seeing more of me around the community since I’m new to the industry. Quick question. Do you think if your website wasn’t use friendly it wouldn’t have been as profitable? A lot of bloggers I’ve been following have been saying not to worry about your websites appearance but I think to myself

    well if I don’t have a user appealing and user friendly (friendly meaning simple to use, social media buttons, etc) website it won’t be as good as it could be. So to follow up with the previous question is did you teach yourself how to build a top notch user friendly website or did you outsource to someone else, and what would your tips be to someone who doesn’t have the money to outsource?

    I know you get a ton of comments but I’m sure these are questions a lot of new bloggers are facing and would really appreciate an answer to.

    Congrats on all of your success though you’re CRUSHING IT! haha I can only imagine what’s going to happen in another year when this income is doubled! keep doing your thing Darren, I’m planning on going to BlogWorld Expo in LA this November 3-5 so maybe we’ll run into each other.

    Thanks for reading yo, have a good one!

    Cheers!

    -Chris Alta