The Rise of the Income Report

Income reports are not new. I read articles from website owners over ten years ago in which they shared how much money they made. Yet, they seem to have grown in popularity over the last couple of years. Even my friend Sam has started posting income reports on his blog WP Squared.

The reports show how the person has made money over a specific period of time. Most bloggers post updates every month, however a few people post more infrequently. Reports usually show changes in traffic and changes in income, with a comparison to how they performed in the previous period.

Sharing income is something I have never been interested in doing in the past. When I launched WP Mods a few years ago, I wrote a few follow up posts that detailed my goals for the website and detailed how traffic was growing. The only time I have shared income online is when I had to i.e. when I was trying to sell a website.

The Pros & Cons of Sharing Income Details

I have always been hesitant to reveal too much online about a particular website. Income reports are a good way for people to see how you operate your website and how you are making money through them. I have no doubt that if I started posting income reports here, they would be very popular with readers. From a reader’s point of view, I can understand why so many people like reading them as they allow you to see exactly how someone is making money online.

Income reports should inspire people to work harder, though that isn’t always what happens. Many people duplicate what another person is doing rather than looking at the methods they used to become a success and be inspired by that. So for the website owner, it is probably better not to delve too much information to readers. For example, if you start sharing detailed traffic stats which shows where your traffic is coming from, you are making it very easy for people to see what your most profitable keywords are. Of course, it is not too difficult to find this kind of information out using a keyword analysis service, however by telling people “I am getting 1,000 visits every day from Google because of this particular article“, you are encouraging people to target the same keyword.

Perhaps I am looking at the whole situation wrong and should be more transparent about what I do online to make money, however I have always preferred to keep those details private until I have sold a website. I suppose I could always focus income reports on one particular subject: be it money made from freelance writing, selling websites, or Google Adsense. Though it is interesting that EmpireFlippers are no longer detailed income breakdowns and Pat Flynn has not been open about one of his new niche projects because some of his followers were duplicating exactly what he done before.

At the moment, the most interesting statistic for me is traffic. Making money through a blog with traffic is not that difficult. If you have a blog with 5,000 unique visitors per day, it is going to make money. It does not matter if you sell products or promote third-party services, the blog will make money for you. When a website reaches that level of traffic, your aim is to increase traffic and optimise your revenue.

I doubled the traffic to this blog over the last month and I hope to repeat the same feat next month. So for me, reading “I increased my blog traffic by doing X, Y, and X” is more helpful that “Look here: I made $47 last month from my banner ad”.

So moving forward, I would love to share with you all the growth of this blog’s traffic levels. Remember, blog traffic is kind of like a snowball rolling down a mountain. Once you gain a good readership, you just have to keep the momentum going.

Blogs That Post Income Reports

There are many people that are transparent about their online income. Pat Flynn’s income reports are always hugely popular on his blog. It is easy to see why. He is completely open about what he doing online and how he is making money. The most astounding thing is that from his 60K monthly income, more than half of that is being generated from referrals to BlueHost.

Unfortunately, not everyone produces income reports as good as Pat Flynn. Most people simply publish how much they made last month, without going into great detail how they did it, which leaves suspicions as to whether they made that money or not. Also, many bloggers who post income reports do not really write about anything else. Their income reports account for half of their published articles. Their whole blog revolves around them making money online by explaining to people how they make money online.

Here is a list of some of the most popular blogs online publish income reports (in no particular order):

If I have missed any, please feel free to post a link to it in the comment area and I will update this post :)

What Say You?

Income reports are very popular with people who are just starting online. They illustrate what can be achieved and they show how it was done. From my own point of view, I have never felt too comfortable posting details of my income online. Am I wrong to feel this way? Should I be more transparent?

I would love to hear your opinion on this issue. Also, I am curious as to what you find more useful: Income reports or traffic reports?

Thanks,

Kevin

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