Monthly Income, Growth & Traffic Report – April 2016


This is the 43rd income report as part of the zero backlink experiment.

Every month I will publish a post like this one that shows you how this blog is progressing and everything I have done across the month to get it there.

These reports will help me track my own progress while teaching you what to do and more importantly what not to do.

ATTENTION: Learn My Secrets With Instant Access To The Income Report Archive

What I Have Done In April

I’m glad to see the back end of April because I have spent the last month working away on what seems like an endless amount of back end tasks.

That has included everything from updating old posts to planning improvements to my email marketing strategy & a bunch of grinding boring tasks.

Unfortunately I still have a couple weeks more grinding ahead of me but all of this will add up to a much better reader experience across the blog.

So let’s take a closer look at what I have done in April.

Introduced A “Smart” Contact Form

One of the tasks that takes up most of my time is dealing with email.

There are already a number of things I have implemented to help reduce that but this month I have taken it a step further by introducing a smarter contact form that I built with GravityForms.

To do that, I went through all of the emails I had received from the contact form over the past couple of months and categorized them as follows-

  • Hire me/consultation requests
  • Interview requests
  • Expert roundup features
  • Event speaking
  • Blog advertising
  • Want me to feature their product/service
  • Want me to share their article
  • Write a guest post
  • Problems with the site
  • General IM/SEO questions

Then for each of those categories, I looked for common threads in the email trails.

For example, when someone wants to feature me in an expert roundup they tell me where it will be published, when it will be published along with the question I have to answer.

With that information to hand I was able to build a smarter contact form that helps me get all of the information I need upfront-

smart contact form

This changes dynamically based on what option people choose for their reason of contact.

For example I get tons of emails with people asking to write a guest post for the blog and the same thing happens every time.

People haven’t read the guidelines and then submit something awful which is a huge waste of my time and their time.

So I made the contact form ask people to read the guidelines-


Unless they answer yes, they cannot submit the form.

Equally after they say they have read them, other questions magically appear that reinforce the guidelines further-


The submit button only appears when all questions have been answered correctly.

All of this took a while to plan out but it offers a huge number of benefits-

  • The form is much more challenging to fill out which will reduce tyre kickers
  • When someone contacts me, I have all the information I need upfront without going back and forth in emails
  • I can segment and tag people in my CRM
  • I save huge amounts of time
  • I know that if someone has gone to the effort to fill it out, they mean business

You can check it out for yourself right here and if you want to do the same then grab a copy of GravityForms because it’s super easy to setup!

Experimenting With A New Post Layout

This month I also took the opportunity to experiment with a new post layout.

For a while I have been considering ditching the sidebar and making all of my posts full width to help improve the user experience.

This helps to remove distraction and also increase readability because there is more screen real estate for me to work with.

So my updated Long Tail Pro review got some special treatment this month-

updated long tail pro review post layout

I made quite a few changes to the layout which I used Thrive Content Builder to create-

  • I used the full width post template in my theme
  • I changed the font and increased the size
  • I added a new review summary box at the start and end of the post
  • I added tabs to separate the video version and the text/image version of the review
  • I increased the sizes of all of the images
  • I added 2 content upgrades
  • I created a new FAQ section

Only time & data will show if the changes make a positive impact or not but I am going to continue experimenting before making a decision on rolling it out to every post on the blog.

What do you think of the layout? Please let me know in the comments!

Get Your Copy Of My 6 Figure Blogging Authority Theme Now

One of the most common questions I get is people asking where they can get a copy of my theme.

So last month I ran a contest to giveaway 3 copies of my blog’s theme.

And this month I have made it available for public sale


I soft launched it earlier in the month with an exclusive discount for anyone entered the giveaway, but now its available for anyone to buy at it’s full price.

You can learn more about all of the awesome features of the theme here.

Content Creation

I published a total of 6 posts this month which exactly the same amount as last month.

We kicked off the month with 20 Marketing Lessons I Learned in 20 Years of Digital Marketing which is invaluable regardless of your experience.

Then we looked at How To Make Money Online As A Teen Online in an over the shoulder type case study.

That was shortly followed by my updated Long Tail Pro review that talked about some very important changes.

Other than those we just had the regular income report roundup post and I didn’t find time to write the very best of internet marketing post this month.

Crunching The Numbers

So let’s get our hands dirty and take a look at what my lack of attention to the blog has done to the important metrics.

Visitor Statistics

Traffic showed steady growth again this month increasing from 52,439 (1,691/day) to a total of 54,826 (1,827/day).

That is a step closer to my current traffic goal of maintaining 60,000 people per month steadily and with the changes I have made recently, I expect to hit that goal in the coming months.


Most Popular Content

The most popular post this month is 465 ways to make money online which also stole the show last month.

My updated Long Tail Pro review jumped back into the top 10 this month in a close second place.

Weirdly, what I consider to be the most valuable post of the month only made it to spot number 8.


Top Traffic Sources

Not much has changed in the top traffic sources this month which are still dominated by organic search and social.


Search Engine Traffic

Search engine traffic dropped to 39,382 (1,270/day) last month but that has increased again gently this month to 39,562 (1,318/day).


YouTube Views

I lost all of my historical YouTube views because of changes I made to the branding – so I keep track of them separately.

YouTube views dropped this month from 23,847 to 21,572 which is strange because normally when I publish new videos those metrics increase.

This also meant that total minutes watched decreased from 113,433 to 100,006!


Social Shares

This month the total social shares across Facebook and Google+ increased from 49,161 to 51,551.

  • Google+ – 18,193 (17,677 last month)
  • Facebook – 33,358 (32,090 last month)


The most important metric on the entire blog – earning a subscription from someone is the ultimate form of commitment and conversion.

This month brought 2,338 new subscribers which is nice increase on last months 2,118 new subscribers.

There are now a total of 136,095 subscribers across all of the various channels!

  • E-mail – 1,577 (1,352 last month) / Total: 74,588
  • Twitter – 327 (358 last month) / Total: 11,913
  • YouTube – 244 (244 last month) / Total: 10,970
  • Facebook – 223 (365 last month) / Total: 20,291
  • Google+ – -13 (1 last month) / Total: 17,853
  • RSS – -20 (18 last month) / Total: 480

Unable to post graphs at the moment – will update asap

Income Report

Here are the numbers you really want to see-

Affiliate Earnings

ATTENTION: Learn My Secrets With Instant Access To The Income Report Archive


Consultation Earnings

I separate out the consultation earnings from the affiliate earnings. The blog drives affiliate sales directly and whilst it does generate consultation leads these are separate projects in their own right.

I didn’t take on any consultation work this month which resulted in a juicy zero dollars!

Other Income

I’m working on another project right now that is part of the blog but not something I’m ready to talk about publicly yet or maybe ever.

I will declare the income here though as it wouldn’t be possible without the blog and ‘technically’ it is affiliate income.

This month that income has dropped slightly from $10,413.07 last month to $9,290.41 this month.

Earnings Total

  • Affiliate Income – $12,494.64
  • Consultation Income – $00.00
  • Other Income – $9,290.41
  • Expenses – $929.15

Grand Total: $20,855.90 / £14,275.09 ($22,208.26 / £15,616.53 last month)

Unable to post graphs at the moment – will update asap

Signing Off

While spending all of my time making planning and making improvements to all of the back end operations, I haven’t had time to focus on growing traffic or income on the blog.

As I am writing this, I am around 3 weeks behind schedule with where I wanted to be so I’ve got a lot of making up to do this month.

All of that will pay off in the long run of course, but I am looking forward to the day that I can get back to driving the blog full force.

It’s time to up my game :)

Thank you to everyone that has helped me reach my goals – I couldn’t do it without you, the reader!

54 Responses

  1. 5.1.2016

    I do wish YouTube made it easier to update / rebrand videos. I’m sure your numbers will bounce back up over time.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • May 2nd, 2016 at 2:55 pm

      Yeah it’s annoying and a constant problem that I have =/

  2. Hey Matt,

    Thanks for the income report. I always enjoy reading these because I truly find them very motivating.


  3. Sean

    Hey Matt,
    I noticed the format shift on your LTP review a few days ago, and I am personally not a fan. As a reader who visits here often, I’ve gotten used to the layout, font, and thick sidebar.
    Also, you’re not linking to your ’20 for 20′ post.
    Anyway, I really look forward to your blog posts every week or so. Please continue publishing amazing content.

    • May 2nd, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      Hey Sean,

      Did you not find the readability better?

      Which is the 20 for 20 posts you are talking about?

      • Sean
        May 2nd, 2016 at 3:02 pm

        I was talking about the 20 lessons learned in 20 years, under the ‘Content’ section for the monthly breakdown, but now I see that it was anchored differently by another phrase further down the page.

        Meanwhile, for readability, the big difference maker to me was the font. Your typical font is darker which is easier for me to see. The Long Tail post has a softer font. I read a lot of your posts on my iPhone, usually in a place where sunlight can make glare.

        I might be weird, but I don’t really like the change.

        • May 4th, 2016 at 9:17 am

          Ahhh yeah I see it thanks Sean, I have fixed it up :)

          Interesting feedback on the font colour, something I hadn’t considered. So you are saying if the font was a pure black – it would then get your vote?

      • Adam Bartley
        May 3rd, 2016 at 5:22 pm

        “We kicked off the month with 20 Marketing Lessons I Learned in 20 Years of Digital Marketing which is invaluable regardless of your experience”

        I believe this is what Sean meant was not linked.

        You did however link it further down in “to be the most valuable post of the month”

        Hope that clears up the confusion.

  4. 5.2.2016

    Congrats Matthew for another great month. The new post layout is just awesome as you.

    I have also liked the changes you done at contact us page, it can be a great of help.

    • May 2nd, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      Thanks Ali, yeah the contact page is already saving me a lot of time. I get much less junker emails coming in as well

  5. Queen

    Hi Matt, thanks for sharing your earnings report, that are powerful motivations for me every month.

  6. 5.2.2016

    As a number nerd, this is an awesome read as always. You’re proof that one can achieve a lot while keeping true to your own principles.

    I’d wish you best of luck but you’re making your own!

  7. 5.2.2016

    wow income report #43… You’ve been doing this for awhile, when I first started to read you blog was the Ahrefs vs Majestic SEO showdown post.
    It was a great read. And still coming back :)

    • May 2nd, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      Hahaha yeah it’s being a while now, I think I will stop publishing them at $1 million though

  8. 5.2.2016

    Hi Matthew! Thank you so much for another insightful income report. I always find the reports really helpful to get the behind the scenes look at how one makes money online. It’s really useful.

    I had a question for you. I noticed that some of your affiliate accounts are with companies that don’t publicize their affiliate programs. How do you go about finding those relationships? Do you reach out to them or do they reach out to you?

    Do you have a post on to approach people for an affiliate relationship if they don’t publicize it? If not, that would be a good one to produce.

    Or any recommendations.

    Thank you!

    • May 2nd, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      Hey Brandon,

      If I’m looking for them, then I reach out and have a conversation – quite often they do have the ability to bring on affiliates but then sometimes people approach me and its an invite only basis.

      My approach is to just link to my about page and ask if they want to talk

  9. 5.2.2016

    I’m working to do a lot of the “clean u”/ back end work as well. I think some of it will lead to better rankings, some will lead to better conversions, and all of it will lead to better customer service experience.

    but, man, it feels trivial

  10. 5.2.2016

    Hey Matty are you still living in Jumanji??? Congrats for another awesome month … This is my 2do month blogging luckily I doble what I did the first months cool he? But I’m feeling a bit stuck I want to post long articles but it’s taking me too long … How long does it take you to create a post like this ???

    • May 4th, 2016 at 9:16 am

      Hahaha yes I still live in Jumanji :)

      It takes me around 5-6 hours to put this post together from start to finish which includes collecting all the data I need

      Good job on your success Marco!

  11. nandu reddy

    The new post layout is awesome.
    I’d wish you best of luck but you’re making your own!!

  12. Sam

    Hi bro Congo for your income :) But Can you tell me How you earn from other sources So we can also earn from it if you don’t mind ;)

  13. 5.3.2016

    hai matt, your post every month make another great motivated for me,
    and i wanna read next report,


  14. 5.3.2016

    Great post as usual. I especially like the fact that you have created a new contact form, I guess that will streamline things a lot.

    I have a question about your affiliate earnings. You obviously earn a lot when looked at overall, but how to keep up with all of the smaller earnings. For example, you show your overall monthly earning, but each of those affiliate payments would come in at different times which I imagine is a right pain in the a***.

    So is there any software that you use to automate it all, or do you just track it all manually?

    • May 3rd, 2016 at 11:48 am

      Hey Harry,

      Unfortunately no, it’s a manual job and it SUCKS!!!! I hate the 1st of the month, every month :)

      • May 4th, 2016 at 12:12 am

        Well I guess you can take solace in that you are not collecting the money for someone else, right?!

  15. 5.3.2016

    Matt, do you have a deal with some of the Affiliate programs you work? I am not able to find ahrefs affiliate program, or affiliate program. How can you work with them?

    Another question: what does “other income” represents?

    Cheers Matt!

    • May 4th, 2016 at 9:11 am

      They are private programs/invite only basis sorry =\

      • May 4th, 2016 at 9:42 am

        That´s what I expected!

        Cheers Matt

  16. 5.3.2016

    Hey Matthew,

    Inspiring stuff as usual, great to see transparency in your reports.

    It helps me push forward. Every time I get disheartened I just dip into these reports and concentrate on creating content.

    I’ve even started doing my own reports as a reference point of how I’m doing.

    When you create traffic reports and put pen to paper it gives you more ideas for future content. The results again when etched on a blog can be quite inspiring.

    You don’t realise you’ve actually done well until it’s laid put before you!

    Thanks again Matthew, keep em coming ;-)

    • May 4th, 2016 at 9:08 am

      Yes I agree the reports really help you as the website owner more than they help the people that read them!

  17. 5.4.2016

    Awesome earnings. But unlike other bloggers you are not much depend on hosting affiliate. Nice to see that.

    • May 4th, 2016 at 9:04 am

      Yeah but I wish I had that as a strong revenue source :)

  18. 5.15.2016

    Hello Matthew,

    This is the first time I am visiting this site and the first post I read is this, you have given every single detail without hiding anything which is commonly hidden on other blog’s reports.

    Impressive earning reports and the list of affiliate programs for marketers as it will give them choice to choose a reliable revenue source.

    Looking forward to read more.


    • May 15th, 2016 at 5:21 pm

      Hey Karan,

      No problem, I like to share my knowledge and experience with everyone that wants to learn it :)

  19. 5.15.2016

    Your income reports and aproach to online business is an inspiration.
    Feeling like competing you; and make sure am ‘that’ guy.

    On the topic of scraping links from tumblr and other expired 2.0 blogs, I am researching on its complement. Hope you would like to check on it when it’s ready.

    Awesome content you produce!

  20. 5.18.2016

    Great Stuff Matt. I’m curious though, how did you earn Ahrefs affiliate income?

    I thought they don’t have an aff program?

  21. Jeff

    What software do you use to keep track of all the affiliate income or do you just login to each dashboard separately each time?

    • May 24th, 2016 at 10:48 am

      I have the sucky task of waking up early every morning of the 1st and doing it all manually!

  22. 5.28.2016

    I’m a happy Authority theme customer. Just downloaded a few days ago and it has been a breeze to set up. Thanks for making this available to us!

  23. 6.23.2016

    Thank you so much for sharing all the best that you are sharing with all of use here you have been one of the great motivation.

    All those that are are looking at getting started online there are really getting motivated here with all these tips that are here

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