Monthly Income, Growth & Traffic Report – October 2014

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This is the 25th 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.

What I Have Done In October

October has been a great month all round, not only have I been super productive I also managed to take a short break.

I have pushed the blog forward this month and also pushed 2 other projects pretty hard which has had me working stupid hours the past 2 weeks, but entirely worth it!

So let’s see what all of that hard work has done for me this month, in previous months when I worked like a crazy man income dropped so let’s see whats going on!

Content Creation

I published a total of 6 posts last month which has jumped to a grand total of 10 this month! I think that is the most posts I have ever made in 1 month on the blog.

First of all we updated the blackhat case study which I have an awesome new update for this month as well.

Then we took a look at what this Arnold Schwarzenegger motivational speech can teach us about internet marketing and delved into ecommerce conversion optimization.

Next I gave the Apple fans what they wanted with my SEO software for Mac roundup and revealed the details of 5 sites that survived Penguin 3.

Last but not least Stuart Walker made me look stupid on my own blog.

Other than those posts we just had the regular best of internet marketing & income report roundup posts.

Blog Features

The blog was featured in a few posts this month namely 8 proven methods to increase social media shares by Zac Johnson over at SearchEngineJournal.com.

Then WordTracker shared one of my link building strategies and I was mentioned in these entrepreneur lessons.

Anti Spam Upgrades

If you have followed income reports recently you will know that the blog and mainly the forum have been getting spammed left, right and centre.

Over the past few months I have tried every combination of anti spam that you can think of and while some has been effective nothing really did the trick.

This led me to giving CleanTalk a try last month which is essentially a more robust version of Akismet.

cleantalk

I rolled it out fully just over a week ago & you can check out the live stats yourself but so far it’s done a great job of dealing with sign up, forum and comment spam.

The odd few are still getting through but I can deal with that – I just need to clean up the residual spam accounts now!

Opt In Conversion Optimisation

At the start of this week Stuart Walker made me look stupid and showed me how to increase the email optin conversion rate of the blog.

Well 2 days ago I took his advice to heart and put together a step by step plan of attack which I worked nearly 17 hours on yesterday to get it done in time for the start of November.

In the post Stuart suggested 7 improvements-

  1. Create a lead magnet
  2. Ask for less (only email field)
  3. Make optin boxes ugly
  4. Make in content optins standout
  5. Create content upgrades
  6. Add a headline feature box
  7. Add 2 step optin technology

So I went to town and created lead magnets for 7 different categories of post such as social media, conversion, SEO etc. These are now live across every single post on the entire blog via an exit popup, corner slider, 2 step yellow bar & ugly in content optins.

I have also created 6 content upgrades but I haven’t deployed them yet. Once they are done I just need to add the headline feature box!

I completed the changes less than 12 hours ago and already I’m seeing optin conversion rates on my exit popups jump from 0.78% to 4.14%.

I will make the final couple of changes on Monday and track all of the data over the coming month!

Broken Affiliate Links

Last week I decided to upgrade to WordPress 4.0 and do all of my plugin upgrades at the same time.

All of the upgrades went perfectly and I tested the site, everything was working as expected. The one thing I didn’t test though was affiliate links.

It turned out that the plugin update broke all of my affiliate links so they were hitting blank white pages – they were broken for just over 2 days in total.

That certainly cost me money so please learn the lesson from my mistake and don’t learn it the hard way yourself – always check your links!

Crunching The Numbers

So let’s get our hands dirty and take a look at what my hard work has done for me this month.

Visitor Statistics

Last month traffic came in at 45,999 (1,533/day) which has increased to 51,116 (1,649/day) at long last!

I have been trying to break the 50,000 unique milestone for a while now so it was a tense couple of days checking if I was going to fall just short of the target, again.

Now I have hit the target I’m going to look to maintain it throughout the Christmas period.

analytics-overview

Most Popular Content

The spam rank case study was very popular this month along with my Penguin 3 observations.

Arnold also broke his way into the top spots and my GSA Search Engine Ranker tutorial snook in as well!

analytics-content

Top Traffic Sources

The top traffic sources haven’t changed that much really and everything is staying nice and steady.

Seems I was featured in another Follow Weekly email but I still have no idea what that site is or who is behind it – please tell me :)

analytics-traffic

Search Engine Traffic

Google organic search traffic has remained steady this month at 36,808 (1,187/day) compared to last months 36,636 (1,221/day)

I would still love to get past the 40,000 per month barrier again, maybe next time :)

analytics-keywords

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.

Last month YouTube brought in 21,366 views which has seen dropped a little to 20,404 this month.

Alongside a drop in views also saw a drop in minutes watched from 110,109 to 105,215 – I have a couple of videos planned this month to help change that!

youtube

Social Shares

The blog has seen a total of 56,384 shares across Facebook, Twitter and Google+ this month compared to 53,617 last month.

  • Google+ – 17,096 (15,129 last month)
  • Twitter – 24,044 (23,231 last month)
  • Facebook – 15,244 (15,257 last month)

Subscribers

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

This month brought 5,205 new subscribers across various channels which is a nice jump from last month’s total of 3,376.

There are now a total of 81,223 subscribers across all of the different channels.

  • E-mail – 3,440 (2,517 last month) / Total: 38,653
  • Twitter – 260 (448 last month) / Total: 5,801
  • YouTube – 267 (266 last month) / Total: 6,190
  • Facebook – 819 (307 last month) / Total: 12,932
  • Google+ – 196 (203 last month) / Total: 17,039
  • RSS – 223 (-365 last month) / Total: 608

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

Expenses

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 results in zero consultation earnings.

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 earned a total of $6,314.70 which is a nice jump from last months $5,438.76.

Earnings Total

  • Affiliate Income – $11,231.13
  • Consultation Income – $00.00
  • Other Income – $6,314.70
  • Expenses – $49.99

Grand Total: $17,495.84 / £10,937.98 ($16,804.29 / £10,379.55 last month)

I’m still aiming to breka the $20k target barrier and if it is anything like when I was trying to break $10k I have a few more months on frustration ahead.

I’m not expecting to break the target this year with November and December on the way the Christmas gold rush will take effect.

Who knows though – stranger things have happened!

Signing Off

Overall it has been a great month both in terms of having time to relax and re-energise but also in terms of just how much I have got done.

This isn’t reflected in earnings directly but there are some powerful seeds planted. On top of that the increase in optin conversion rate will do wonders for traffic and income in months to come.

I have some great posts lined up for this month and I’ll be speaking at the BHW/Ungagged conference in Las Vegas – let me know if you are around!

If you feel like you can produce a high quality case study/step by step tutorial and would like to guest post please get in touch.

I would like to personally thank each and every one of you for joining me on this journey.

70 Responses

  1. 11.1.2014

    D*** ) Those numbers are making me jealous )

    I see you went to town with the opt incentives. Hopefully you’ll report back to use what effect they have on your subscriber rates.

  2. 11.1.2014

    Kind of scary to see that a plugin can break your affiliate links. It was the Pretty Link plugin update or another one that cause this?

    Overall good to see you had a good month and to see that your other income is increasing.

    I saw that you changed some colors in the opt-in forms, in my opinion they look better now (specially the one that appears in the below right part).
    Would love to see a case study with some A/B tests in colors of opt-in forms in your blog in the future, I think that optin forms with a good contrast of colors works best.

    • November 1st, 2014 at 7:34 pm

      It was ThirstyAffiliates but it could also be down to my server config not being compatible with the update =/

      I will have a split test on every single form by the end of the week :)

      • November 1st, 2014 at 7:49 pm

        Great, I was going to use Pretty Link myself for nice affiliate links to see how it goes.

        Looking forward to the split test report. That’s the best way to actually measure stuff in internet marketing.

        • November 13th, 2014 at 8:49 pm

          I’ve been using Pretty Link for years now, and they have yet to fail me. I had a similar incident with the Shortcodes Ultimate plugin ( which I use to create call to action buttons). I updated it and it broke ALL of the links. Took so long to fix it, I haven’t updated the plugin again since, more than a year I believe… :-)
          Great income report, Matt, it’s very inspiring.
          Looking forward to hearing you at the Ungagged conference.
          Cheers.

  3. 11.1.2014

    Matt,

    Seems you had a great month once again. By the way, what type of consulting you offer? Is it SEO?

  4. 11.1.2014

    Hey Matt,

    This is another record breaking income report from you.

    Thanks for the mention!

    I always love to see your updates inside my mail especially your income report as it do serve as motivation for me.

    With the motivation and encourage am deriving from here, i just posted my second income report on my blog a few hours ago.

    I hope to be a great blogger like you some day.

    I commented on your last income roundup article but noticed that nothing shows up even after 24hours, is this the work of your anti spam upgrades?

    Thank G** you are seeing increase in your optin conversion rates even up to 4.14%. Many thanks to Stuart.

    I will pick up the plugmatter and optinLinks this month to see how they work on my blog as well.

    Sorry for the broken affiliate links…. Learn about this from you as well.

    Take care and have a nice day ahead.

    • November 1st, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      Well be consistent and drive it hard for 6 months and you will be rewarded :)

      • November 1st, 2014 at 7:36 pm

        Sure Matt.

        I will try all my best…..

  5. 11.1.2014

    Hi Matt

    Great new report, good to see you are breaking records again!

    I will be coming to BHW/Ungagged conference in Las Vegas also, I just so happen to be working in LA the same week and have secured my place.

    I have a quick question on how you calculate the earnings, particularly the expenses.

    You mention the expenses are $49.99, but what does this normally entail, I’m guessing it doesn’t include hosting!

    All the best,
    Tom

    • November 1st, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      Hey,

      Thanks :)

      Well I guess I will see you there :) I’m not sure what your expenses question means

  6. 11.1.2014

    Good job on the income this month. I love how well you do with affiliate income. I hope to be where you are someday :)

  7. 11.1.2014

    Record breaking indeed.
    Nice one Matt.

  8. 11.1.2014

    wow matt superb impressive…..u r getting rewards of ur hard work ……. u r a role model specially for me

    i made one request regarding you tube videos i told u if u upload ur videos on daily-motion then for me n for Asians users easily access ur all tutorials bcz here you tube is blocked

    wish u all the best for more success

  9. 11.1.2014

    Matt, your trend is awesome. :)

  10. Bashoo
    11.1.2014

    I came back to your blog and i see alot of distraction

    tons of pops up and widgets

    is the blog gonna be same like others when time goes!

    • November 1st, 2014 at 7:30 pm

      Actually I have a solution to hide them from all email subscribers whether they are cookied or not, just need to implement it once I have everything in place :)

      • Bashoo
        November 3rd, 2014 at 12:16 pm

        i would say dont meet john chow again :D

        just saying this blog and his blog is full of adverts

        • November 3rd, 2014 at 2:16 pm

          I could remove the adverts if you would prefer to pay a monthly membership fee?

          • November 6th, 2014 at 12:22 am

            It’s easy to forget (or not realize at all) that running a blog, you know one that’s actually any good and helps people, costs money.

            I spent just under $1,500 last month on NicheHacks.

            It’s pretty much a full time job and I don’t work nearly as hard as Matt does.

            The man does 16hr days 7 days a week!

            All that content blog reader love to take advantage of, use to make money from, and further their own business costs to create – in the form of either money, time or both.

            Yet people will complain if you put an optin form in their way or recommend an affiliate product you actually believe in.

            I find it ironic that people who visit an internet marketing blog, run by a successful internet marketer, because they want to learn to be an internet marketer themselves get annoyed when they get marketed to.

            If you want Matt to be able to continue putting out the awesome content he does and provide you with all the information to become a successful marketer yourself then you need to understand that it cannot be all for free.

            No one can dedicate 16hrs a day creating content and running a blog, spending thousands of dollars a month on it, for no return.

            So it’s a compromise. Accept ads and optin forms or pay a fee to view it.

          • November 6th, 2014 at 4:10 pm

            I’m getting this complaint more and more often recently and I’ve put a lot of thought into switching the entire blog over to a paid content system where each article is priced at $7 each or you can subscribe monthly for full access at $67.

          • November 6th, 2014 at 4:17 pm

            Yeah I’ve had it a few times recently too.

            People complain because I mail about an affiliate product or that I have too many opt ins.

            It’s not a big deal and people are entitled to their views but I think most don’t realize the time and effort that goes into running a blog like yours.

            You give stuff away that people charge hundreds or thousands of dollars for.

            Some high end coaching and membership sites don’t even have the level of content and tutorials your ‘free’ blog does.

            It’s an interesting business model you’re considering there Matt and plenty people would see value in it.

            I would love to see how it pans out if you did. Do you know of any other blogs operating like that?

            I know one, outside of the IM niche, who keeps some posts for members only and you don’t realize until you try and read it and are asked up upgrade.

            Not sure what his conversion rate is like but it’s frustrating for me when I want to read something and then find out I can’t and his membership site just isn’t that appealing to me overall to bother joining.

          • November 6th, 2014 at 7:14 pm

            Oooo that is interesting – can you mail me the link to that site? It is something I am seriously considering but it’s the kind of change that once you’ve made it, there is no going back :)

          • November 16th, 2014 at 8:45 am

            In reply to the guy who doesn’t like your ads:

            Maybe the ads just become so obvious because of the strong colors you use.
            People who don’t like this should go and visit other sites.

          • November 19th, 2014 at 5:16 pm

            Actually I’m working on a way to improve this for current subscribers

  11. 11.1.2014

    KAPOW!

  12. 11.1.2014

    As always I still asking myself how you can put together all those statistics, articles, case history and have also free time for yourself. Great Report! Thanks Matt!

    • November 1st, 2014 at 10:03 pm

      Well last night I finish work at 11:30pm and today I start at 7am :)

  13. 11.1.2014

    As always another great month

  14. Jack Hartsell
    11.1.2014

    For the first time, I did a double take and compared my own earnings to expenses ratio to yours, and I can’t help but ask; is what’s listed under ‘other income’ already offset by hosting costs, etc? I ask because I’m sitting here spending upwards of $100 a month on hosting alone for my fleet of affiliate sites.

    Either way, impressive numbers, as usual.

    • November 1st, 2014 at 7:18 pm

      Hi,

      The expenses reported here are not of any other projects

  15. wahyu awaludin
    11.2.2014

    Holy!

    $!7.000 in October 2014. Phew..Well, My earning in October from internet just $100. I’m super newbie LOL

    Btw should I create earning posting in my blog? Well, my earning still not good, just $100 in October. It’s my first earning.

    What do you think, Matt? Thanks :)

    • November 2nd, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      Hey man we all start somewhere and your already on your way :)

    • November 3rd, 2014 at 6:59 am

      Hey Wahyu awaludin!

      You should share your earning report whatever you are earning. I have also started a new blog. And just like you, i was in same dilemma. But i have shared everything whatever i have done in October.
      Thanks to Rizvan Ullaz of RankTactics! He has been sharing everything since his blog was getting only 58 visitors.
      I have learnt a lot from him.

      Regards,

  16. 11.3.2014

    Hi Matt,

    I was waiting for your income report and now it is live. Congratulations! You have crossed your 50000 visitors marks.

  17. 11.3.2014

    Awesome results with some cool numbers ;)
    Keep it up man!

  18. Samuel
    11.4.2014

    Hey Matt,

    Great work staying focused while in paradise! What part of Nicaragua did you visit?

    • November 4th, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      Well I did lose that focus for a while :P Just over to san juan del sur!

  19. 11.4.2014

    Your simply awesome man

    :)

  20. 11.7.2014

    Hey Matt why no mention of earnings from you promoting Alex Beckers new course real hard? I know they were offering $500 CPA to affiliates so you must have made a killing with that?

    • November 7th, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Well that didn’t launch until November and this report is for October, Don’t expect to see any income from it though I told everyone to take advantage of the free prelaunch content as its usually the best stuff.

      What I will make a killing with is what they taught in video 1 of the prelaunch, got the perfect market locally!

  21. 11.7.2014

    you utter legend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. 11.11.2014

    Hi Matthew,

    I was also featured in a Follow Weekly email. Tried searching, and nothing is coming up at all.

    Has anyone let you know what that is yet?

    Cheers!

    David

    • November 11th, 2014 at 7:33 am

      I believe I’ve uncovered it, and figured I’d share.

      http://follow.net

      I found a Facebook page for Follow.net that said to join the Follow Weekly newsletter. After looking at Follow.net I think this is the source.

      I know I was very curious, so I hope that helps!

      David

      • November 11th, 2014 at 7:33 pm

        Thanks for finding that will reach out to them :)

    • November 11th, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      You found it already ;)

      • November 11th, 2014 at 7:40 pm

        Haha, so I did :)

      • November 13th, 2014 at 4:30 pm

        Hi Matt and David,

        This is Davide from Follow. How are you? :-) Sorry for all this mystery around Follow Weekly, it was not my intention at all. I personally take care of the newsletter.

        We are Follow.net (also called just “Follow”). We have a tri-weekly email at Follow, and we push just the greatest stuff we find on the Internet. Matt has already appeared a few times, but I discovered David only recently.

        I am happy to see you are receiving a good amount of traffic. We very often receive compliments on the selection of articles on Follow Weekly, so that’s a compliment to you too I’d say :-)

        One last thing: All the content that appears on our newsletter is always published on our blog as well (blog.follow.net), so it might be possible you’ll continue to receive a bit of traffic from us in the future.

        Hey, you can also subscribe to our newsletter from there if you wish.

        Thanks guys, and keep it up like that please. You’re both awesome :-D

        Cheers

        • November 19th, 2014 at 5:26 pm

          Thank you for spreading the love David it is much appreciated!

  23. 11.12.2014

    Affiliate legend. Just subscribed your mail box. Got many resources. Thank you..

  24. 11.20.2014

    Thank you so much for sharing all these figures monthly.

    They are really a great motivating tools that is encouraging us to keep on going. It has also been like our goal on monthly basis as we go on.

    Can you please advise what you are using to screen capture the pictures that you are using for illustration here. I ma currently using the snipping tool but when I upload the pictures there are not coming up very clear.

    Will be looking forward to hearing from you anytime soon.

    • November 20th, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      No worrys I just hope what I have shared helps you out :)

  25. 11.23.2014

    Your such a dude Matthew, its good to see someone putting the work in and making good money as a result. Read your 12 month breakdown article a few months ago and although I have gone a different quote to you, its nice to see a Brit doing so well.
    Lot of respect.
    Tom.

  26. 6.27.2015

    Hi Matthew ,

    I’m thinking of starting a social network site and enhancing it further but need to know about internet traffic and how to make money from it . Can you email me details about this.

    • June 27th, 2015 at 8:57 am

      What makes it different than any other social network site?

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