How To Decode Income Reports – Sandbox To Success Episode 32

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On Episode 32 we’ll talk about income reports. You’ll learn what they are, how they’re helpful, and how to decode them.

How To Decode Income Reports - Sandbox To Success Episode 32

How To Decode Income Reports

What Are Income Reports?

Blog post that bloggers come out with where they report and talk about their income over a certain amount of time. Normally it’s monthly, but they can be quarterly or yearly as well. We don’t provide income reports at TOTS. We tried, but they’re a lot of work. We also weren’t comfortable showing all of our income. We had no problem with page views, but we did percentages instead of income. That’s because we’re an income sharing blog. The more money we make, the more money our contributors make. We didn’t want to put an exact number, exposing how much they make. Our readers didn’t like it, and felt it was a little shady to be sharing these numbers.

On the other hand, income reports are fun to look at. You can find them on the Internet, or on Pinterest. I have a Pinterest board of them for easy access.


When you’re looking at income reports, you want to look at someone in your own niche. Pat Flynn has been doing income reports for a long while, and his are really famous. If you’ve seen them before you may think “Oh my gosh, he makes like $200,000 a month, and I want to do what he does”. Reality is, if you have a food blog or different type of blog, you can’t do exactly what he does. You can take some of what he does and use it, but not all of it. You’ll want to follow the advice of someone in the same niche as you. You’re serving a different audience and making money in different ways.  On the flipside, I like to look at income reports from food bloggers, but we have less than 50% food content and aren’t considered food bloggers. The way we make money is different.


This is the second think you want to look at. You’ll want to look at how many monthly pageviews they’re getting and how many unique page views. This will tell you if they’re growing, how much traffic is returning, etc. You’ll also want to look at the traffic vs. the amount paid. I have a spreadsheet that I use each month where I put in the amount of traffic we have vs. the amount of money we made. This tells me the amount we make per pageview. Our lowest month was $35 per 1,000 pageviews; our highest month was closer to $50 per 1,000 views. I want to get that to both $100 per 1,000 views.

If you’re looking at an income report where they had 100,000 visitors a month but made $500, they aren’t capitalizing on everything they could. You want to look at people who aren’t only making money, but that are making smart money. You don’t want to be always putting in efforts to things that are taking away tons of money from your family. I know that a lot of you work either full time or part time outside the home and are blogging on the side. I don’t want you to do what I do, which is coming in and getting on the computer and rushing through dinner constantly working on the side and being up all night working. You want to be able to step away from the computer.

Look at the person’s traffic vs. their income, and see who’s doing the best job in your niche of making that amount the best possible.

Diversity of Income

How are they making their money? Are they making it all on affiliates, or on sponsored post? Through Ad networks? I call it the rule of three. I want to make stand alone ads, affiliates, and sponsored post the three main income sources on my blog. We also have products that we make like eBooks and that sort of thing. You want to have more pillars of sustainable income coming in. Think of it like Jenga. If you have several blocks and take away two, your structure won’t fall. If you only have a two however, you’re doing say Amazon Affiliates and Ads and Amazon Affiliates decides to take it away… half of your income is gone automatically. I don’t want that to happen to you. We try to work with as many companies as possible that make sense, we like, can keep up with, and will work for us. That way if we stop working with one company for any reason, we still have money coming in from other sources. We also use Google Adsense, knowing full well that we can’t depend on that money. If Google Adsense decides tomorrow that they don’t want to deal with us, we need to be okay with losing that money.


This annoys me more with income reports than anything else. These bloggers create these awesome well-written reports, but don’t tell us how much money they spent. They could be making $100,000 a month, and spending $99,000. You don’t know unless you disclose. There’s a popular blogger we follow whose income reports show their expenses, but they don’t show a breakdown of what they’re for. They just say “VA”. They don’t say how many hours they pay their VA. They just say “I’ve only worked 10 hours this month”. It doesn’t make sense. Either they aren’t counting overall time spent, or the VA is working a lot more than what they’re putting on there. I’m not saying the person is being malicious or trying to deceive, because they don’t have to do these! It just leaves more questions than answers.

The income reports I really like break it down to top 10 traffic sources and top 10 post. That helps a lot. You may notice a trend of the popular post for readers in your own niche.

It’s great to look at income reports, but it’s also great to be critical of them. You can see what the blogger did well, and what could use improvement. Every bloggers have slow months. You can usually notice a big disparity between traffic and income as well. That’s generally because networks like you to have a minimum of 10,000 pageviews per month. The blogger income reports where they hover right around there are very interesting. Particularly if you can see back a year or so when they first began, and how they grew over that time.

That’s all on income reports today. Here are a few of our favorites:

As always, special thanks to, our sponsor. If you are like me, you open blogs and websites all the time and don’t have time to make sure they’re submitted to all the search engines out there. Submit Owl will make sure it gets submitted to all the search engine out there. It cost $24.95, which is really just a drop in the pocket compared to the amount of time it will save you.
Until next time, thanks for listening to the Sandbox to Success podcast, with your host: Katrina M. Thom. If you like what you just heard, leave us a message at ITunes or Stitcher.  We would also love to hear what you have to say. Use the hashtag  #totspodcast to connect with us on twitter. Don’t forget to check out the show notes, which can be found at Join us next time for another edition of the Sandbox to Success podcast. Have an AWESOME day!

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