Recently there’s been a real negative undercurrent running through the blogging community, from discovering that fairly successful bloggers have bought a large proportion of their followers, to people dedicating the time to calling them out on it. Trolling is rife, and it’s amazing to see how many people will quickly knock down a blogger because of how successful she or he has become. What happened to supporting a fellow wordsmith?

There’s also a huge amount of secrecy surrounding how to make money by blogging, whether it’s how much they earn through a sponsored post, or how many people have read their blog that week, whether someone is undercutting another blogger, or whether they’re in fact lying about unique visitor figures.

I don’t really wade into “drama” like this on social media – instead, I spend that time grafting away on my own goals, safe in the knowledge that I’ll get there in my way and it will be worth all the hard work in the end.

But, and it’s a big but, I do pride myself on retaining an honest voice throughout Apartment Number 4 and I want complete transparency over how I run this business and where I’m at in my career. So with the 2016-17 tax year drawing to a close earlier this month, I decide for the first time ever I’d disclose how I make through blogging, what to charge for a sponsored blog post and how many people read my blog.

I’m not saying these figures are right or wrong in the grand scheme of blogging of course – I’m just saying that last year, this is how I measured up.

Visitor Figures

In the space of a year, from April 6th 2016 to April 5th 2017, I had 44,429 visitors to my blog, with 87,792 page views. It’s a small amount in comparison to some, but an amount that had almost doubled from the previous financial year. Was I happy with that? Abso-freaking-lutely. My main audience were females in the 25-34 age bracket, living in the UK and the US. I totally geek out at Google Analytics, so I love taking a look back and seeing where exactly my traffic is from and how they’re behaving. My main referral was organic search, followed by social media, with Facebook being the biggest driver of traffic (surprising as I imagined it would be Twitter). Finally, my DA (domain authority) and PA (page authority) rose every month bar one, and now stands at DA 30 and PA 31. In terms of social, everything kinda’ stayed stagnant at 1500 followers (I hate that term but I don’t know how else to phrase it) on each platform. I’m super excited to see how much this has grown by the end of next financial year.

Brands I Worked With

Last year I was lucky enough to work with some amazing brands, including DFS, Heart of House, Liz Earle, Sainsbury’s, Rose & Grey, Wayfair, Desenio, Radisson Blu Hotels, French Bedroom Company and so many more.  I hosted two events, one with B&Q and the other with HomeSense, both of which gave me a big old boost of confidence.

How Much Did I Charge

To be honest, I will always see what budget a brand has at first. I’ve been in situations where they’ve happily accepted my offer of £75 a post, and I find out someone else is getting paid £120 for the same work. It differs every single time, but I will never work for less than £75 on a sponsored post with a link insert. If it’s a styled post, where I’m shooting, say, products within my own home, I’ll charge anything between £150-£250. If I’m speaking at, or helping to organise events, I charge £300-£400 and if it’s a more bespoke partnership which includes posts, social media coverage and attending the event, it can be anything up to £600. The most I’ve ever been offered for a post was £1250 and I say “offered” because I carried out the work – which was A LOT – and then out of the blue my agency Mode Media went into liquidation the week before I was supposed to be paid and that £1250 was lost forever. The brand who I worked with subsequently used my images in their store and on their social media yet completely wiped their hands of anything to do with me getting any form of payment. Nice.

How Much I Earned

I know most of you are reading this to get to the juicy part – money. Don’t worry, no judgement here, I’d do exactly the same. Bear in mind, this is not a job for me. I already work full time, so I dedicate minimal time to blogging in comparison to what I’d do if it were my career. But last year I earned £5,685.50 through brand partnerships, sponsored posts, social media campaigns and speaking at events. I used a large chunk of that money to buy things to help my blog grow, from a new Olympus Pen EPL7 camera and a bloody expensive HP Envy laptop with Lightroom and the latest Photoshop and Premiere Elements installed, to light boxes and two lenses, so when the sums are calculated, I actually earned about £3,000 profit. I was blogging on average 1-2 times a week throughout the year, sometimes more, sometimes less (one month I didn’t blog at all), so I can only imagine how it could change if I dedicated more time to creating engaging and exciting content for you guys.

So there you have it. I’ve stripped my blog and laid it bare for all to see. You might be charging more than me and attracting a smaller audience, or you might have double the visitors I do and are charging less. You see, there are no guidelines in the blogging industry, and seen as most people refuse to talk about how much they charge and how many people visit their blog, it’s hard to gauge if you’re doing the right thing.  We are often made to feel like our worth is measured on the numbers when it comes to blogging. The number of Instagram followers. The number of “Likes” we get for a funny tweet. But these numbers don’t define me. And each time I find myself getting caught up in the madness of them, I remind myself that I’m here to do what I love doing the most – inspiring people to create a beautiful place to live.

Now I just have to do the hard part and declare all this to the tax man.