Blog Income Report Q1 2016

Given last week’s Net Worth post, I decided it only makes sense to provide a blog income report on how this blog is doing.

Luckily, the numbers are relatively easy to report so far (AKA: revenue = $0), but in the interest of full disclosure, I believe in providing a full “behind the scenes” look for my readers.

Plus, this post also serves as excellent fodder for my future self to look back on and laugh.

There is no doubt, I am making a lot of mistakes in my current process but I believe I will continue to get better.

I admit, the launch process for Distilled Dollar was much more stressful than I anticipated, so at the very least, I hope this post might help new bloggers to be better prepared for what it takes to “go live”.


I started to post on Distilled Dollar in January of 2016, but I didn’t officially launch the site until March 14th. A lot of my time was spent tweaking and re-tweaking the site and my posts.

The lesson I learned here was that it is better to get an imperfect blog in front of readers, than to try and achieve a level of perfection that doesn’t exist.

In short: get out of your own way and avoid making the mistake of being your own worst critic.

Blog Stats Q1 2016

Instead of telling you my stats, I opted for the easier route of just showing you:

Q1 2016 GA
Do I know what makes up a ‘pageview’ or ‘session’ or what these stats mean yet?


…but those are the stats according to Google Analytics which appears to be the popular tracking system used by other bloggers.

My twitter handle went from 0 followers on Feb 9th, to 5,000 followers on Apr 5th. I know I’m cheating by including an April date, but I don’t recall the number on March 31st. If you want to learn more about my Twitter approach, then skip to the bottom of this post where I write more about it.

My favorite stat is that my site hit 48 comments in its first quarter. Granted, half of those comments are my responses to comments, but my expectation was to have maybe 4-5 at the close of the quarter.

It is so rewarding to see you, my readers, appreciate my work enough to engage in a conversation.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by the site, read multiple articles or a single article, and thank you to anyone who took the time to leave a comment!!

The site successfully included one post for each Tuesday of the week. I’m hoping to work my way up to posting 2x per week but for now I’ve committed to at least once per week, every Tuesday.

According to another blogger, Financial Samurai, you know you’ve arrived once you, “start getting nasty comments or hate mail”. In this regard, I must sadly inform you all that I have not yet “made it”. But I’m gonna try to hit my new goal in Q2 of ‘gain haters’.

Blog Income Q1 2016

This is the easiest part because I did not make a penny off the site this quarter. Here’s the snapshot:

Revenue: $0.00
Expenses: $(187.72)
Net Loss: $(187.72)

(insert sad picture of my cat Pebbles. Editor’s note: she’s a cat, Matt, she does not emit sadness, ever.)

My blog income is actually a blog loss with nothing to report for revenue.

Expenses on the other hand, did involve a few items.

I set up my domain for $10.87. I wish I could recall the first name idea I had, because it was laughable in comparison, but my brilliant girlfriend suggested Distilled Dollar and saved the day.

I’m currently using HostGator at $11.95 per month for a total this quarter of $35.85. Apparently, BlueHost is amazing as I’ve seen about 4,000 bloggers promote it. I’ve heard good and bad things so I might switch over. I have even thought about writing a post on this topic since I have done way too much research over a relatively small expense.

My theme set me back $41. I couldn’t be happier with the customer service I have received, so I would highly recommend checking out their store if you’re looking for a theme. This is not a referral link, this is just me recommending something because it is awesome. I have zero code or HTML experience, so I appreciate the support crew being extremely quick to respond to all my pesky emails. A+++, would buy again.

Lastly, I had my first under the table expense (kinda cool, possibly shady). A sweet friend of ours took the time to customize and design our logo…free of charge! I have placed this as an $100 expense, because I know such a logo should have cost way more. I feel covering some type of double date dinner is the bare minimum I should do to thank her.

Social Media

When I started the blog, I had the intention of setting up social media profiles across each commonly known platform. After consulting with a successful friend of mine who engages in social media, he advised me to pick one platform and give it 100% of my focus before jumping into the next one.

I’m glad I took his advice because I picked Twitter and focused on making it as effective as possible.

I reached 5,000 followers on April 5th, which is not bad considering my first tweet was Feb 3rd.

That first tweet:

First Tweet

I did all this without spending a dollar on automation services.

I had no clue how twitter worked at first and the numbers demonstrate this.

It took me 16 days to reach 100 followers and I couldn’t believe how fast it happened.

By the end of February I had over 1,500 followers. Again, shocked.

On April 5th, I hit 5,000 followers. Shocked is an understatement.

I had gone from 100 followers to 5,000 in less than 50 days!

Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot about twitter in this short amount of time. If you have specific questions on how to utilize twitter for your platform, feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to consult.

If it makes sense and enough people care, I can even write a short post on what I did to get to 5,000 followers so fast.

The rapid rise in followers was only made possible because of ManageFlitter. It is a FREE online tool that does offer an upgraded version if you pay for the service. I highly recommend checking out at least the free portion if you’re serious about using Twitter.

I have only used the free platform to date, but I am considering upgrading so I can spend more time writing and reading.

Edit: I’ve since written a full guide on how I used Twitter to reach 10,000 followers in 4 months. Click here to check out the free guide.

Summary & Closing


Needless to say, Distilled Dollar has brought me more joy than I could have imagined, despite the blog income report being a blog loss report.

I use the word joy because for me it means a deeper sense of happiness. Being able to spend hours writing and rewriting a paragraph or sentence, just to see one message or comment noting how the analogy or sentence is great…makes all the effort well worth it.

Thanks for being along for the ride in Q1!

I’m thrilled to see what lies ahead for Q2!

Master Distilled

39 comments… add one
  • Ty @ Get Rich Quickish Apr 9, 2016, 10:24 am

    Congratulations on closing out Q1! 🙂

    You and I started on pretty much the exact same timeline. I’ve been impressed and jealous to see you Twitter numbers jump like that! And your site/logo are great! Very clean and easy to read.

    Looking forward to future posts on this topic so that I can use you as a benchmark.

    • Distilled Dollar Apr 9, 2016, 2:10 pm

      I figured I can get away with a post once a month or so about blogging without becoming a blog about blogging! haha

      Thanks a lot on the clean and easy to read compliment. That was my main focus when designing the site as I didn’t want the reader to be bombarded with too much. Cool to see it is working!

  • Apathy Ends Apr 9, 2016, 10:46 am

    Nice first quarter! I would definitely be interested in seeing a post about your Twitter success, I haven’t branched out into social media yet.

    • Distilled Dollar Apr 9, 2016, 2:13 pm

      I’m curious, are you planning on taking the leap into social media soon?

      I’ve already gotten some feedback on this post via comments here and direct messages, so I think I might write something short on my Twitter approach soon.

      • Apathy Ends Apr 9, 2016, 4:21 pm

        Planing on getting it going once I figure out a logo (might just make one for short term use until creativity strikes)

        Hopefully this week I will have something.

  • amber tree Apr 10, 2016, 1:07 pm

    Congratz on the results!

    Pls do that twitter and other social media post. I am nowhere there. Well, I just created a fecbook login for amber tree leaves… That is it!

    • Distilled Dollar Apr 11, 2016, 9:46 pm

      I’ll pull something together for a twitter post. As for Facebook, I did the same thing, haha. I created the login, then stopped at that point. I would like to get back into at some point.

  • The Practical Saver Apr 10, 2016, 1:55 pm

    Congrats. Your blog has grown tremendously. The twitter growth, wow that’s awesome. Keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll blog will grow more in no time. Again, congrats.

    • Distilled Dollar Apr 11, 2016, 9:49 pm

      Thank you Lan! You’ve been one of the earliest bloggers I’ve gotten to know and much of this early success comes from talking to other bloggers like yourself. So thank you for being so helpful!

  • The financial tech Apr 10, 2016, 9:39 pm

    Congrats for these awesome
    Stats. That’s an amazing growth.

  • The Green Swan Apr 12, 2016, 7:44 am

    Congrats Matt! That’s crazy growth on Twitter and it is interesting to see how the pageviews have increased as a result. Great progress that I hope to model myself after!

  • B.C. Kowalski Apr 12, 2016, 7:53 am

    Nice first quarter! I’m surprised those numbers didn’t bring any revenue though. Or haven’t you set up advertising, affiliates, etc?

    Anyway, good tip on the Twitter program. I’m going to look into that!

    • Distilled Dollar Apr 12, 2016, 8:43 am

      My focus Q1 was on writing and setting up the site, which has taken up a good amount of my time.

      Now that a good amount of the site is running smoothly, I’m hoping to break even by the end of Q2.

      The Twitter program has been sweet! Let me know how you like it.

  • Michael Apr 12, 2016, 9:45 am

    That is a great 1st quarter of blogging. Everyone has to find their own niche and that takes time, but you seem to be growing quicker than most! The Twitter growth is awesome. Hope to see more updates in the future!

    • Distilled Dollar Apr 12, 2016, 7:06 pm

      I’m curious how my growth compares with other blogs. I don’t often see blogs talk about their #’s so soon.

      Stick around and I’m sure I’ll provide another detailed look at the end of Q2!

  • Bryan Apr 12, 2016, 3:31 pm

    I recommend staying away from BlueHost unless you are familiar with setting up and managing servers or are going to hire someone who is familiar. Most of their plans are virtual private servers (vps) and they do not offer any assistance in managing them. Plus them being expensive is why I no longer use their services. I see you are using WordPress based on your theme so I would highly suggest moving to Flywheel (wish I could give you a referral link but my app is not yet approved). Flywheel has been the best for me because it is fully optimized and managed Wordpress. Leaves me much more time to focus on content, design, and development rather than dealing with servers. Hope you give them a look.

    • Distilled Dollar Apr 12, 2016, 7:04 pm

      Thanks for the info Bryan and I’m glad you provided some good detail. Between Blue Host, Host Gator & Flywheel, I’ve started to learn there are a lot of pros and cons to each option. I’ll probably end up doing a post on this down the road.

      • Bryan Apr 13, 2016, 10:12 am

        That would be a great post idea. I would be really interested to see what you find in your research. If you do feel Flywheel is the best choice for you I would greatly appreciate you signing up via my referral link at

        Looking forward to great content to come!

  • The Millennial Budget Apr 13, 2016, 4:43 pm

    Congrats on your great first quarter! I myself am very new into the blogging space (only 3 weeks!) and your post has encouraged me. I admire how you took the time to just focus on making your website what it is before the money. I think it will definitely pay off in the long run. I would love to learn more about your Twitter strategy and to talk to you more! Keep up the good work
    PS. I am also an accountant and am currently studying for my CPA! 1/4 parts down and hoping to be done by the time I finish school.

    • Distilled Dollar Apr 13, 2016, 5:43 pm

      Best of luck on the CPA! What part did you knock out already?

      Studying for those is all about discipline. The vast majority of the material is relatively easy to learn, but it just takes time. You have the right idea to get them done ASAP.

      I’m glad to hear this post has been encouraging! I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on Twitter so I’ll likely do a post on it in the near future. If you’re curious about something specifically, you can always contact me via email at [email protected].

  • Mr. Millennial Apr 14, 2016, 8:34 am

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks so much for sharing this!! Your site looks awesome and I love your candid commentary. I am surprised you haven’t seen more traction from Ads/sponsors given your following. Any thoughts as to how you might engage with them? You have done some awesome work in a very short period of time!

    • Distilled Dollar Apr 14, 2016, 9:52 pm

      I’ve received a few offers for ads/promotions, but my focus throughout Q1 was solely on getting the site up, writing posts, and getting some initial feedback via comments/messages. Between those three tasks and my full time job, I was swamped!

      My mentality has been to focus on making high quality content, gain a few readers to make sure my posts are not totally off the mark, and then repeat.

      Thanks Mr. Millennial for the compliment on my site, although I know I still have some work to do on the site. I’m still struggling on how to set up a ‘Home’ page, haha.

  • Chantal Steele Apr 24, 2016, 6:35 pm

    Hi Matt! I just wanted to add something about Bluehost. They are owned by the same GIANT company that owns HostGator. In fact, they own a LOT of hosting companies. I only know this because I had Bluehost and there were a lot of problems, so I started looking elsewhere. I’ve been using SiteGround for several months and it’s great. 🙂 Good job on your first Q, I too am jealous of those Twitter stats!

    • Distilled Dollar Apr 24, 2016, 7:33 pm

      Oh wow, that is interesting. I just looked into it and ya, the same company Endurance International Group appears to own both. Thanks for the information!

      As for twitter, I put together a post on my approach to Twitter (now at almost 6,800). I’ve been hesitant to put it out because I don’t want to be another blogger about blogging, but I’ll put it out soon since I know it can help at least a few people.

      • Bryan Apr 24, 2016, 7:38 pm

        Yes please put that blog post out. It would be very helpful for me. Thanks. I am very excited to read it.

  • Fortune Cookie Millennial Apr 30, 2016, 7:15 am

    I’m amazed at the progress you have had in this short period of time. Congrats!
    I do agree with you that you should’ve launched your site earlier. We indeed are our own worst critics. I have seen so many international students who were too afraid to make mistakes and wanted to be perfect in regards to practicing English, and it ended up setting themselves back making any progress. I have no problem with speaking, but I can be too harsh on myself with writing, even though I was never good at it. (I’m more of a math & science kind of guy.) Seems like it’s a trend that if you’re new to or not good at something, you’re more likely to be critical to yourself.

    • Distilled Dollar May 2, 2016, 9:31 am

      Exactly! I’ve had a few more gleanings on the process of starting a blog, and I’m always finding it shocking to see how similar the process has been to when I started saving up money through retirement accounts. We often just need to get out of our own way.

  • Andy May 2, 2016, 11:53 pm

    i have the same question, how do you start making money, even a few dollars even when you are getting some traffic now? btw i am jjst wondering dont have a page yet

    • Distilled Dollar May 3, 2016, 5:02 am

      Hi Andy, thanks for the tough question! Since writing this post I have made a few dollars, so I might be an ‘expert’ now in making a few dollars. 🙂

      I don’t know as much about monetizing a site as other bloggers. My focus has solely been on writing high quality content and expanding my readership.

      While I believe becoming a full time blogger would be great because I can read and write full time, I’m not hugely motivated by $ because I’m already living a great lifestyle of reading, writing, and on track to reach FI in my 30s.

      With that said, I have made a few dollars now via ads and I would guess my best opportunity to make more money is through affiliate links. Those two approaches appear to work well for other bloggers I know. From there, you can expand into online consulting or offering your own products (such as ebooks or online courses).

      Best of luck on your journey! I’m sure you’ll start getting some page views soon. If you want any extra advice on Twitter, feel free to contact me and I can share a few tips/tricks that I’ve written up so far.

      • Andy May 3, 2016, 8:27 am

        thanks for the reply. I guess it will all come together when you get more traffic going forward. I read about ten blogs in total from time to time, your is one of them.

        • Distilled Dollar May 3, 2016, 7:17 pm

          Haha, it is my site, so I must thank YOU for the reply!

          I’m also glad to hear I make it into your top 10 list!

          What other blogs do you read? Any that you would recommend? I’m always on the look out for more blogs to check out.

          • Andy May 3, 2016, 7:23 pm

            to name a few retireby40, financialsamurai, genyfinancialguy, rootofgood, 1500days, and a few others. from time to time i visit some other ones.
            you probably know those already 🙂

          • Distilled Dollar May 3, 2016, 7:47 pm

            I’m familiar with each of those, but I feel I need to read more from retireby40 & rootofgood. I’ve only seen a handful of articles from those two and have been meaning to check out some more.

            I’m a big fan of Sam at Financial Samurai, largely because he’s able to write such in depth articles three times a week! That frequency of posting is something I’m hoping to get to one day.

          • Andy May 3, 2016, 8:10 pm

            yes, they all are interesting in their own way, sam gets me with numbers , graphs, % etc love numbers. i think sam doesnt have kids or wife? or maybe he just doesnt talk about, it could be why he writes more, more time. i know my wife would want me to be with her most of the time… or at least cap my online time.

          • Distilled Dollar May 4, 2016, 7:46 pm

            Yep, that’s the best part of the online community…everyone has their own story to share and everyone offers something unique.

            I’m not too familiar with Sam’s personal life, but I have seen him mention a lady friend recently. If we see new posts coming up on engagement rings or the price of a wedding, then we’ll know for sure!

  • Rudy SMT May 17, 2016, 1:40 am

    It’s a great start and I can see dollars making you drunk in the next months.

    Will follow you

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