Why did I start publishing my monthly income reports?
Blogging is never about talking the talk.
That’s what politics are for.
It is my goal for these reports to show that walking the walk and actually bringing in income from our online ventures is possible and within reach for all of us, whatever the niche.
As you’ll see, traffic and perceived popularity doesn’t always automatically translate into cash.
I’ll show you my traffic stats, let you know what I’ve done in the previous month to improve them, what worked and didn’t work, and how much went into my bank account in terms of earnings as well as left it in terms of expenses.
Let me start by saying this: I was absolutely overwhelmed by all the support I got from you in the past couple of months!
Emails, prayers – YOU have provided me with the kind of emotional safety net I never knew I had.
Month of January was very challenging in many ways:
- 2 weeks of flu for me and my daughter,
- constant job searches and interviews for my husband,
- our house is currently for sale, so we have to keep it neat and clean and get out at any given moment for showings,
- having very little “quite time” to work on the business.
However, having faith that everything will work out at the end, we are moving into February hopeful and refreshed, with a possible job offer and 2 offers on the house.
Despite of all personal challenges, January was still a pretty good month business-wise.
- Posts were still getting published and read.
- You still showed me you were alive and kicking by leaving me great comments on those posts.
- Traffic Generation Cafe still got a lot of love in social media – thank you for taking your time to share my posts!
- Many bloggers added my feed to their respective Twitter RSS feeders, so my new blog posts are getting retweeted automatically when I publish new content.
If you haven’t thought of doing that yet, but would like to, here’s my feed for you to add to your Hootsuite, Marketmesuite, Twitterfeed, or whatever else you are using:
That way your followers will get great fresh content delivered by you, and I’ll get some social media love!
Also, January was a busy month of tweaking my design to serve you better.
“Making more with less” has become my new motto.
Quite a few things have changed, thanks to my awesome designer, Ian Belanger from IMGraphicDesigns.com (whether your project is big or small, make sure to give him a shout when you need help with it) and Derek Halpern from SocialTriggers.com stepping in and giving me tons of actionable advice on how to increase my website conversion rates and my bottom line.
January Traffic at a Glance
Let’s take a look at my January Google Analytics traffic snapshot and compare it to December traffic:
Looks like, while the quantity of traffic went up, the quality went down.
Let’s see what sources brought me most of the traffic that doesn’t like to stick around:
For some reason, my direct traffic (for the most part, these are people who type the URL directly into their browser address bar, i.e. they already know my site) went through the roof, while my search engine and referral traffic are way down.
I sort of don’t know where to go with this, quite honestly.
Especially, considering that 80% of the direct traffic are new visits.
Ideas? Let me know in comments.
And by the way, my highest January traffic day was January 3 (over 1,700 visits) – the day I published my December income report.
Thumbs Up to These Blogs
I really appreciate everyone who mentioned me in any shape or form last month.
These five blogs were my top blogging referral traffic sources.
1. Kikolani.com – Kristi Hines doesn’t need introduction. If you’d been a blogger for even five minutes, you would’ve seen her posts all over the web.
She’s always been very generous with her mentions of Traffic Generation Cafe on her blog and ended up being my top traffic source from blogs in January.
2. Nick’s Traffic Tricks – what’s the point of driving traffic to your competitor’s site, you may ask?
Give and you shall receive – one way or another.
Thank you, Nick!
3. Kim Roach’s BuzzBlogger – Kim does know how to create buzz, I’ll tell you that much!
She mentioned my blog once (as far as I know) months ago, and the traffic from that post keeps dripping in.
Better get on her good side!
4. SteveScottSite.com – Steve and I have know each other for a long time; just about since I started Traffic Generation Cafe.
It’s good to know he still likes me and even sends traffic my way.
I am trying to recruit him to write occasionally for Traffic Generation Cafe; I think you’d love the kind of in-depth to-the-point posts he writes.
No way out now, Steve!
5. BasicBlogTips.com – Ms. Ileane Smith always brings a smile to my face; she just has that kind of personality.
Definitely a great way to set yourself apart from the sea of other bloggers, don’t you think?
Much appreciated, Ileane!
What are my plans to increase my traffic in February?
More SEO Traffic
However, as I was searching for such reviews, I realized that in 19 months of Traffic Generation Cafe existence, I reviewed only 8 paid products!
For someone who draws most of my income from affiliate marketing that’s abysmal.
I suppose there’s always that fear of turning away some readers by doing too many reviews – I am sure you are familiar with the feeling.
On the other hand, if you are looking into purchasing a product that you believe might help your business, wouldn’t you rather get an opinion from a blogger you trust?
I know I would.
So, I need to find more great products that will help us to run our businesses more efficiently and increase our bottom lines.
If you have any suggestions of such products to consider, let me know in the comments.
Oh yes, back to SEO traffic… lol
So far, in the month of January, I was able to improve my rankings for most of my reviews, including my internet marketing tools page.
Most of them are on the first page now for their respective keywords, but I still have a lot of work to do.
In case you are wondering, here are some things I do to improve my rankings:
1. On-page Factors
First, I always make sure that the post I want to rank mentions my target keywords in the SEO title, meta description, heading tags especially H1 (which should be your post title) and H2/H3.
If you have no idea how to do any of this, make sure you get hold of my free SEO report.
If you already have it, READ it.
2. Build more links
Much of SEO rankings come down to how many and what quality links you have pointing to the post you want to rank.
I am a busy gal, so I heavily rely on the following 2 tools to help me with rankings:
It’s been a great tool as far as helping me rank for my keywords – some of my posts rank just from CommentLuv Premium links.
There’s a trick to it though and you can find out more about my CommentLuv link building strategy in this post:
- Article Samurai
I’ve been also using Article Samurai from the makers of Market Samurai to build in-content links with targeted anchor text.
In case you don’t know what it is, it’s a private blog network comprised of about 50,000 blogs that are ready to drip-feed your submitted articles to the network and let Google naturally discover those links – just the way Google likes it.
Unfortunately, Article Samurai is closed to new members, so here are your two alternatives:
1. Fiverr – there are several gigs on Fiverr that offer to submit your articles to Article Samurai network. I wouldn’t shy away from this option.
2. Build My Rank – this is another quality network I’d recommend for link building. Requires more work (you can submit only unique articles, no spun content), but is well worth it because of the link quality.
My January Bottom Line
Let’s get on with the best part.
By the way, as I write this post I have no idea how much I made, so I am in anticipation as much as you are.
Note: these are all paid earnings, meaning I might’ve actually made those sales in the previous month, but got paid for them in January.
Here are my income sources for January:
1. Affiliate marketing
- Market Samurai – $447.36
- TweetAdder – $302.50
- Income Blogging Guide – $207.71
- Ryan Deiss’s Digital Marketer’s Lab – $202.70
- CommentLuv – $82.00
- Aweber – $32.40
- Kristi Johnson: Blog Post Promotion – $30
- Thirsty Affiliates – $29.50
- WPSubscribers Plugin – $21.12
- Media Pass – $6.47
- TransformX Consortium (misc products) – $5.53
Considering that most of my affiliate earnings last month came from huge promotions of CommentLuv Premium, this amount is not bad.
I used to be much more active with offering consulting through my blog, but have recently decided to cut down on it to focus on more passive income streams.
I still pick up an occasional client or two, but don’t actively seek them out.
3. Paid Advertisement
- Banner Ads – $575
FamousBloggers blogging contest (don’t ask me why I didn’t win it – it’s a sore point):
Difference from December:
Again, the big difference comes from the absence of CommentLuv Premium income.
Still pays the mortgage….
After I published last month’s report, many of you asked “What about your expenses?”
Here’s a list of my expenses:
- SEMRush.com (my favorite SEO tool) – $49.95
- Aweber –$49
- Pippity (a pop-up that sounded great, but caused a lot of mess – will ask for a refund) – $37
- Fiverr.com (outsource tedious tasks I don’t have time for) – $35
- Blogengage.com (RSS subscription service – testing to see if it brings any traffic) – $29.95
- GoDaddy (new domain registration) – $23.65
- Hostgator (hosting) – $9.95
FINAL JANUARY INCOME: $2457.29
How Much Do I Work?
Another good question that came up last month.
Since last November, my husband and daughter have been hanging around the house a lot more than they normally would.
That translated into hectic work schedule for me – or no schedule at all, I should say.
I’d be lucky to get 3-4 hours per day in.
With that little time, I have to prioritize and here is my priority list:
- Write content for TGC.
- Tweak the blog to maximize conversions.
- Work on traffic (social media, SEO, blog comments).
- Respond to emails and comments.
There’s no such thing as free bacon.
Making money blogging is entirely possible, as I was surprised to learn from my own experience.
Just takes time, determination, and a lot of work.