Monthly Income, Traffic & Progress Report – September 2013

Well, it’s that time of the month, and I’m feeling kinda bitchy.

Many of my favorite bloggers and Internet marketers are talking about how much they earned last month from their websites, and it’s a little depressing.  I mean, I’m happy for them.  And just seeing that others are making this work gives me hope that I can make it work too, eventually.

And the fact that I actually made more money this month than I did last month — and more than the month before that — should make me happy, right?  Yeah, it should.  But I started doing this a year and a half ago, and I’m still making less than $100 per month.

So happy is not the word for what I’m feeling.

I’m kinda in a funk, so writing lots of my own content just isn’t happening right now.  But I’ll get over it.

September was actually a decent month overall.

“Income” per site is from all sources combined (AdSense, HP Ad Program, Amazon Associates, LoyaltEpays, etc).

Blog 1 (iWOC)

  • monthly income report for blog 1

    iWOC Monthly Unique Visits

    New Posts:  3

  • Total Posts:  70
  • Unique Visits:  685 (-338)
  • Page Views:  820 (-462)
  • Returning Visits:  75 (-34)
  • Income:  $1.76 (-$7.25)

Well, I Work Off The Clock saw a fairly large drop in traffic and earnings this past month.  What can I say?  That happens.  It was inevitable that the momentum would run out eventually.  I guess that happens — even on active blogs — but considering my lack of activity on here, it’s really no surprise.

I didn’t look into other monetization strategies yet for this site, but you know, I don’t really think that it matters a whole lot at this point.  I think I’d rather focus more on providing content than on trying to sell something new.  When I’m getting 100 hits a day, then monetization will be a higher priority.  But at this point, I just need more content, I think.

Blog 2 (Homeschooling)

  • monthly income report for blog 2

    Unique Visits Per Month

    New Posts:  1

  • Total Posts:  12
  • Unique Visits:  46 (-18)
  • Page Views:  61 (-35)
  • Returning Visits:  2 (-13)
  • Income:  not monetized yet

I wasn’t doing much on this one, but I slacked off even more on this one in September.  I decided that I’ll do monthly updates instead of weekly ones.  The fact was that there just wasn’t a whole lot to say, so the weekly updates were really, really boring and short.  So I think I’ll start doing monthly updates for now.

Blog 3 (Photography)

  • monthly traffic report for blog 3

    Unique Visits Per Month

    New Posts:  0

  • Total Posts:  3
  • Unique Visits:  16 (+2)
  • Page Views:  16 (same)
  • Returning Visits:  0 (same)
  • Income:  $0.00

Didn’t do anything on this one.

Niche Site 1 (Knives)

  • monthly traffic report for niche site 1

    Monthly Unique Visits

    New Posts:  0

  • Total Posts:  45
  • Unique Visits:  2,947 (-81)
  • Page Views:  4,416 (+59)
  • Returning Visits:  322 (+84)
  • Income:  $47.67  (+$16.52)

I mentioned last month that I wanted to start including knives from custom knife makers in addition to the commercially available ones sold on Amazon.

So I talked with a couple of guys that I know in this niche, and both of them were interested in working out some kind of arrangement that would be good for all of us, but both of them also said that now was not a good time.  So we’ll have to wait and see how that goes.

To my surprise, though, I received an unsolicited email from a well-respected knife maker in the niche — who I’ve never met or reached out to yet — who likes my site and wants to send me some of their knives to review, so I’m pretty stoked about that.  Haven’t received them yet, but hopefully that will still happen soon.

So, despite the lower number of traffic and earnings on other sites, at least this one is holding steady, and even improving.  The number of unique visits was technically a teeny bit lower than August, but if September had 31 days in it like August does, then that number would be almost identical as August.

But what really says something is that the number of page views and returning visits is noticeably higher than last month.  That tells me that visitors are engaging more with the site, reading more pages per visit, and coming back more often as well.

The number of Amazon clicks (and conversions) was also significantly higher, despite having less uniques.  I attribute that to the extra textual links that I added to nearly every review post.  I learned to add more textual product links from Chris Guthrie’s new site, although I’m sure that plenty of other guys recommend adding more Amazon text links too.

So, this site’s income won’t be paying my mortgage any time soon, but it’s holding its own and bringing in a good return.

There is something that’s making me a little nervous, though.  For several weeks now I’ve been seeing lots of new trackback/pingback notifications coming in every single day.  Spammy links are pointing at me from tons of sites completely unrelated to my niche, and they’re all obviously being created by the same company/source.

I’m wondering if one of my competitors bought a spammy link package and aimed it at my site to try to get me penalized.  That would suck.  I don’t really know anything about analyzing backlinks, so figuring out what’s going on is beyond my abilities right now.

(UPDATE:  Just 3 days after writing this, Google released another algorithm update called “Penguin 2.1″ which penalizes websites with spammy links pointing at it…and NS1 got nuked.  I talk about it in the December 2013 income report…)

Niche Site 2 (Anxiety)

  • september traffic report for niche site 2

    Unique Visits Per Month

    New Posts:  1

  • Total Posts:  16
  • Unique Visits:  34
  • Page Views:  44
  • Returning Visits:  0
  • Income:  not monetized yet

Not much happening here.

Niche Site 3 (Flashlights)

  • photo (24) New Posts:  14
  • Total Posts:  22
  • Unique Visits:  59 (+42)
  • Page Views:  66 (+47)
  • Returning Visits:  3 (+3)
  • Income:  $0.00 (same)

This is where my attention went in September.  I had outsourced individual articles on Textbroker for some of my niche sites when I was getting them started a few months ago, and it wasn’t cheap.  But this past month was the first time I outsourced groups of articles on Odesk and Elance.

Using an awesome tip I got from Jon Haver, I was able to get 16 decent quality, 500+ word articles for about $2 a piece!  Quality-wise, these would be equivalent to 3 star articles on Textbroker.

Since I’m planning on writing up a more detailed account of my experience and thoughts with outsourcing on those sites, I won’t take the time here.  Overall, it was a good experience, and I will definitely be using those sites again before the holidays.  Elance and Odesk even have affiliate programs (that Elance link is an affiliate link), so you can even make money if people sign up through your link, so that’s kinda cool.

Niche Site 4 (Family/Parenting)

  • monthly traffic report for niche site 4New Posts:  1
  • Total Posts:  52
  • Unique Visits:  225 (-107)
  • Page Views:  258 (-122)
  • Returning Visits:  15 (+5)
  • Income:  $0.01 (-$0.35)

Like iWOC, NS4 had been steadily gaining traffic for several months straight, but — also like iWOC — it took a big nose dive in September.

Meh.

UG Content Sites (HubPages, Squidoo, Yahoo & Bubblews combined)

  • New Articles:  0
  • Total Articles:  113
  • Page Views:  3,949 (+690)
  • Income:  $23.88 (+$0.82)

Expenses

  • Odesk:  $10.00
  • Elance:  $23.92

Monthly Totals

  • New Posts:  20
  • Income:  $73.32 (+$9.74)
  • Expenses:  $33.92 (+$0.34)
  • Net:  $39.40 (+$9.40)

So that’s what I’m up to.  How are you guys doing with your websites?  I hope you’re doing better than I am.

6 comments for “Monthly Income, Traffic & Progress Report – September 2013

  1. MMD
    October 2, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Don’t get discouraged. $73 is a start. Have you thought about focusing on just one niche site and really trying to build it up? It doesn’t seem like a surprise to me that the knife one has the most content and has seemed to earn you the most.

  2. October 2, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Hey,

    Yeah, I’m grateful for the income I’m getting, really. It took me over a year just to break the $10 level, and $73 is more than a lot of guys made last month. But it’s a long, frustrating process.

    I mostly just needed to vent :)

    Focusing my efforts further is a really great idea. Actually, the knife site started as a micro niche site along with 3 others that I started around the same time.

    The knife one is the only one that was getting any traffic, so I poured on the content there (and bought some links), and a few weeks later — poof. Income. I intend to keep adding to that one and build it out into an authority site.

    There is definitely a correlation between content volume and traffic, but it hasn’t worked out quite the same for all my sites (this blog and NS4 both have more posts than NS1 yet earned less than $2 combined).

    I think I might focus on the knife site in October and try to get that one up to 100 posts ASAP. I think that will likely double my income faster than spreading out my efforts.

    Thanks for the suggestion.

  3. Lisa O
    October 7, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Definitely focus on the one niche & as you say try to get to 100 posts-exactly what I am doing & I’m already at 60% of last months income already this month aiming to double page views- write, write, write- rather than focus on numbers- focus on percentage increase- they would be great in any offline business -well done!

    • October 7, 2013 at 1:05 pm

      Hi Lisa, it sounds like you’re making terrific progress already this month! Keep it up!

  4. October 15, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Ahhh, this was the one I was missing. I really look forward to reading your monthly income updates each month. Maybe I should start to do that as well on my blog about writing. It’s a good idea and I think it may get people coming back to check things out. I know it keeps me coming back to your blog Chris! One thing I don’t understand though is why you don’t have all of your blogs monetized? What harm could it do to monetize them?

    • October 15, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      Hey Karen,

      When I first started out making websites, it was advised not to put ads on a site right away because a lot of readers are turned off by ads and will likely bounce away without giving your content much of a chance.

      Also around that time, Google was penalyzing many sites with lots of ads or with prominently placed ads, so it seemed to be a good practice to wait for your site to gain some traction with the search engines and build some authority before placing ads on site.

      It’s probably not that big of a deal anymore, and I know that some guys monetize right away these days without any issues. I just haven’t bothered with it yet on the low-traffic sites.

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