Yes, I get it.
You have just started blogging, and eventually, your goal is to grow your blog into a full-time business. You love content creation and interacting with your readers.
But you soon realize that no matter how exciting blogging is, there are also less-exciting tasks that you should do, although no one is forcing you to do them.
And believe me when I say: The sooner you do these kinds of tasks, the better! Because these core tasks are essential if you are serious about blogging for business.
The Boring Side of Blogging
Let’s be honest: I don’t earn a full-time living with this blog. Far from it. But even I know that certain tasks help you to understand better how you are doing with your blog.
I’m talking about tracking your blogging finances on two levels:
- Your expenses.
- Your income.
There are two ways to do the tracking: the manual, and the “less-manual.” It’s your choice how to do it because you can use both ways with your blog.
Two Tools for the Job
Two ways help you to stay on top of things in blogging:
- Expense tracking.
- Affiliate sales tracking.
So why do I think these things are essential? There are two reasons.
First, you know how much money it takes to run your blog, and if you can cut your expenses.
For instance, these are the costs related to this blog:
- Email Domain from Google: 4€/$4/month
- Google Drive Account: 1.8€/$1.9/month
- KWFinder: 24€/$26/month
- Proofreading: 30€/$33/month
- Approximately 60€/$65/month
- WPX Hosting: 180€/$197 (on February)
- Grammarly: n. 127€/$139 (on November)
- Thrive University: 204€/$224 (on May)
- FreePik: 49€/$54 (on June)
- Domains: 36€/$39 (throughout the year)
This list is just a Google Docs document that shows me what types of expenses I have and when I have to pay them.
The annual payment plans save you money, and I suggest that you choose them instead of monthly payments. But naturally, if money is tight, and you don’t have a huge sum of money to spend up-front; then go ahead and choose the monthly payment plan.
I also have other blogging-related expenses that I haven’t listed here. These are the tools or service purchases that I have done with a one-time payment. They are not on this list.
Second, do you know how much money your blog generates right now?
I have to admit that I was clueless about how much I had earned from my affiliate sales. And this started to bug me a lot.
To fix the issue, I had two options.
Option number one was to create a Google Sheet document, which listed all the affiliate networks I was a member of. The document looked like this:
Affiliate Network Name
Affiliate Network 1
Affiliate Network 2
Affiliate Network 3
Once I had all the affiliate networks listed, I then had to go through them frequently (like once per month), to see how well I was performing. And while this approach worked well, it was still … well, cumbersome.
A better way to do the tracking was to use a tool called Affluent:
This tool gathers all the affiliate networks you are part of and shows their reports under one user interface. Affluent has a free account, and you can take a look and see if it’s a good fit for you.
Although Affluent tracks over 400 affiliate networks and new ones are added all the time, it doesn’t necessarily include all the affiliate programs you are part of. For this reason, if I wanted to use Affluent, I would have to complement its statistics with my tracking.
Best Time of the Year to Purchase New Products or Services
The end of November, after Thanksgiving Day, starts America’s Christmas shopping season. And right at the beginning (end of November, early December) of this period, there are two special dates to keep in mind: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
During these two dates, you are most likely going to get huge discounts on internet marketing or blogging products and services.
So if possible, purchase your blogging-related products and services then.
Blogging for Business: The Conclusion
Tracking is an important activity for any level of blogger, especially if your goal is to build a full-time business out of your blog someday. Not only does tracking help you stay on top of your running costs, but it’s also easier to predict how much money is about to flow into your bank account.
If you haven’t started tracking your blogging money yet, please do so now. You don’t have to fix your tracking all at once. Do it in small steps, and you will be ahead of all the other bloggers who are too lazy to do so.