Monthly Income, Growth & Traffic Report – September 2015

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This is the 36th 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 September

Now that I finally have full time internet access again, I spent a lot of last month and this month catching up on all of the things I had let slip which included everything from creating new split tests to boring things like accounting.

When I wasn’t fighting fires I have invested most of my time trying to finish off my first premium course. The actual course is finished it’s now just a case of tieing up things like technical integration and sales pages.

Having never launched a product properly before, there has been a steep learning curve!

As I have not spent much time on the blog, I’m not 100% sure what income is going to look like this month. Normally I have a rough idea at this point but right now as I write this I’m clueless.

So let’s take a closer look at what I’ve done this month on the blog specifically.

Content Creation

As I slowly reduce the amount of posts that go out each month on the blog, this month remained consistent with last month by publishing a total of 5 posts.

We started with how to drive traffic to your blog that is easy for anyone to implement.

Then we built on that with these growth hacking techniques to take advantage of Reddit, Twitter & Google+ for easy targeted traffic.

Other than those we just had the regular income report roundup post and after a few months away we also saw the return of the best of internet marketing this month.

Major Fail (Sorry Guys)

Earlier in the month I deployed a new experiment on the blog to start collecting data for an all new case study as part of a sponsored post for InfoLinks.

Unfortunately it turns out if you want any chance of making money with them, you have to quite literally let them take over the site-

adspam

Honestly it completely destroyed any form of user experience, it was awful.

It’s very rare I get complaints but I was getting emails like the below frequently-

Screenshot_100115_094012_AM

The system ran for less than 24 hours generating 3,606 page views and 7,104 ad views which are no small numbers.

So how much money did completely destroying my user experience get me?

Screenshot_100115_090758_AM

That’s right!

A staggering $0.87 – which isn’t even enough to buy a beer to relax with after spending a bunch of time dealing with complaints… and a beer only costs $1 here!

So I would like to apologize to all the readers that I inconvenienced over those 24 hours that InfoLinks was live.

But that is the beauty of internet marketing sometimes – you’ve got to be constantly experimenting, failing and growing. I expect to do that a bunch more in the near future :)

Increased Conversions With This Free Plugin

On the flip side I did have an experiment that went very very very well.

I don’t want to go into too much detail here as I’ve got a freaking awesome case study coming for you next week with all the juicy details.

But by using the free Welcome Mat plugin by SumoMe to replace the premium PlugMatter plugin that costs $57 I was able to take conversion from this-

Screenshot_100115_091252_AM

To this-

Screenshot_100115_091526_AM

It’s taken a couple of split tests but that is a huge increase in conversion from a measly 1.12% to 6.38% and unlike Infolinks, it didn’t generate a single complaint!

I’ll have a much more detailed post about this for you next week including all of the split tests I ran, but in the mean time I highly recommend you spend the next 15 minutes setting up your own welcome mat.

Added New Exclusive Deals

While I’ve been catching up on tasks I had let a couple of new exclusive reader deals slip through the net and sit dormant in my task lisk.

So this month I pulled my socks up and added some new exclusive internet marketing deals that you can’t find anywhere else.

There are deals for LongTailPro, Content Marketer, GSA Captcha Breaker & many more!

If you have a good product and would like to be featured in the deals section please get in touch.

Hard Drive Failure

While I was back in the UK in May I picked up a couple of new Western Digital Red 4TB drives for storage.

At some point during the month one of these drives developed bad sectors and is now completely unreadable by Windows-

Screenshot_100115_092330_AM

Luckily I have all of my important data backed up so it was no biggie, but it could have been a critical mass meltdown if I didn’t. Chkdsk couldn’t access the drive either nor any specialist recovery software.

And this is a brand new hard disk drive that was only 5 months old! Always assume your hard disks are going to fail.

So I wanted to give everyone a gentle reminder to make sure you have all of your important documents, files and websites backed up!

It’s as simple as getting a free DropBox or Onedrive account and installing some software on your computer and a free plugin on your website.

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 increase from 51,140 (1,649/day) last month to 53,478 (1,782/day) which is a small but welcomed recovery on last months big drop.

Even so it is still quite far off my current goal to build stable traffic at 60,000 visitors per month.

I have a couple of posts coming up this month that should help me reach that goal though so stay tuned :)

analytics-overview

Most Popular Content

The 3 killer growth hacks tutorial stole the show this month with a significant lead over the simple traffic generation methods.

Close behind was the how to make money with Fiverr tutorial. It’s always great to see older content jump into the top spots sometimes!

analytics-top-content

Top Traffic Sources

Not much has changed in terms of the top traffic sources this month.

The only difference is an increase in traffic from Facebook due to pushing a few posts this month but nothing special-

analytics-traffic

Search Engine Traffic

Traffic from Google held relatively steady this month with a little growth at 39,912 (1,330/day) compared with 39,906 (1,287/day) last month.

As you can see most of the top referring keywords (that we can actually see) are brand based-

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.

Like last month, I didn’t publish any new videos on YouTube this month which saws views drop from 22,181 to 20,195.

With views taking a hit so did total minutes watched from 111,497 to 103,086 which still works out at that at least 2 people are watching my videos every second of every day.

youtube-stats

Social Shares

I have this section of the income report disabled for the past 7 or 8 months but have finally managed to find a reliable source for the data.

Total social shares across Facebook, Twitter and Google+ increased from 82,038 last month to 83,841 this month-

  • Google+ – 18,133 (17,871 last month)
  • Twitter – 37,052 (36,064 last month)
  • Facebook – 28,656 (28,103 last month)

I’m using this free plugin to collect that data which also breaks down shares by post as well.

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 2,251 new subscribers which is roughly in line with last months 2,328.

There are now a total of 121,833 subscribers across all of the various channels!

  • E-mail – 1,470 (1,438 last month) / Total: 66,308
  • Twitter – 255 (270 last month) / Total: 9,903
  • YouTube – 269 (292 last month) / Total: 9,119
  • Facebook – 306 (186 last month) / Total: 18,245
  • Google+ – 34 (17 last month) / Total: 17,873
  • RSS – -83 (125 last month) / Total: 385

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

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.

Last month saw a small drop to $9,679.15 but this month that has pushed to $11,371.38 which is a steady increase of $1,692.

Earnings Total

  • Affiliate Income – $13,469.23
  • Consultation Income – $00.00
  • Other Income – $11,371.38
  • Expenses – $630.99

Grand Total: $24,209.62 / £15,974.15 ($23,470.16 / £15,328.95 last month)

Unable to post graphs at the moment – will update asap

Signing Off

Well last month was a fall from grace after seeing the biggest earning month in the blogs history from $35,209 to $23,470.

I was worried that drops was going to continue this month but it’s good to see it has stabilised at $24,209 this month which is a $739 increase on last month.

Half A Million Dollar Blog

That also means that the blog has officially crossed the $500,000 mark in total earnings since it was launched in August 2012.

When I launched this blog as an experiment I never thought it would reach half a million dollars!

Granted it has taken a total of 38 months to reach $521,815 which works out at an average of $13,732 per month – but wow, it’s been a wild ride to say the least.

I would love to eventually take this blog cross the 7 figure mark and if it’s taken 38 months to hit the half way point then it’s time to step my game up and make the other half in 12 months.

An ambitious goal but more than achievable with significant elbow grease and left handed s**** drivers!

Now & Next…

In the coming month I have some extra juicy content for you including an awesome case study to increase conversion that anyone can apply and revealing a sneaky but powerful authoritative backlink source from Russian newspapers!

In the mean time I am 100% focused on finishing and launching my first premium training course. All that is left to do is to script, record and build 4 sales pages and a few technical bits.

With any luck that will launch to my loyal readers by the end of this month – that’s the plan anyway and we all know how plans usually go…

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

67 Responses

  1. 10.1.2015

    Awesome job Matt. No small feat to make half a million from a Blog. But that’s what dedication and hard work does for you.

    No surprise you’re making decent money with the info you put out. Keep it up mate.

    Can’t wait for the case study.

    Simon.

  2. 10.1.2015

    Thanks! more inspired from Zero BL experiment, I didn’t follow it before.

  3. 10.1.2015

    Matthew, I don’t know where you find the time. lol
    Inspiring!
    Thanks

    • October 1st, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      Hustle n flow :) and getting up early and going to bed late :)

      Oh and no annoying kids!

  4. 10.1.2015

    I have several of websites, one of which (linked) is over 7 years old and gets roughly 30,000 visitors a month. They others are all relatively new.

    What advice would you give me to grow them? I just need something lays everything out for me.

    Love your blog and congrats on your success.

  5. 10.1.2015

    Hi Matthew,
    Whoa! that’s been a hectic month. I can understand the problem with infolinks. Their ads always have the lowest return. I had tried them on my site too but removed them and replaced with subtle affiliate banners that are doing a better job.

    I loved your post on killer hacks too. Reddit research is something I am waiting to delve into.

    Lots of money earned… way to go! you inspire the heck out of me! 😉

    • October 1st, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      Yeah much better putting that adspace to use either building your own list, promoting your own products or affiliate products!

      Keep up the good work!

  6. Ankit Yadav
    10.1.2015

    Great stuff Matt and i am glad to see that you have crossed the half million milestone.

    Best of luck

    Ankit Yadav

  7. 10.1.2015

    Awesome, thanks! Using some great tools you’ve recommended.

  8. 10.1.2015

    Amazing Matt,
    I recall you launching the blog, you provided a tutorial on launching your own blog – it seems those few years have really flown. Congratulations on passing the half million mark!

  9. Odin
    10.1.2015

    Hey Matthew, I was wondering, I see on most other blogs privacy policy, affiliate disclaimers and such stuff linked footer or somewhere like that.
    Is there a reason why you don’t have that?
    Cheers :)

    • October 1st, 2015 at 3:17 pm

      Weird they used to be in the footer, good spot! I think when I changed my theme it dropped the menu I will check it out thanks for the heads up!

  10. 10.1.2015

    Awesome Matt,
    I always do enjoy to read your income reports, it’s I courage me to work hard on my blog which I’m going to launch soon.
    Hope you would love to know about it.
    Thanks

    • October 1st, 2015 at 3:16 pm

      Drop me an email when you launch and I’ll check it out!

  11. Ray
    10.1.2015

    congrats matt, your a big inspiration to many. I look up to making my own success story. Sharing income report is not always the usual thing but it also encourage both the reader and writer to scale up process.

    Hey, i look up to the case study, lol

    • October 1st, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      Thanks Ray – the income reports help keep everything on track and accountable :)

  12. 10.1.2015

    matt, your the men. when i grow up i want to be like you. but on the serious do you have any training on fcs networker. i want to see how you use it, if you can.

    • October 5th, 2015 at 8:48 am

      Haha thanks Michael! I don’t really use it so much myself sorry

  13. 10.1.2015

    very inspiring post.. your income report is one of the post I always read..

    sorry if this out of topic, How did you make animated gif in your email newsletter subject line? I’m using gmail, and your email newsletter really stand out with that little animation gif

  14. 10.1.2015

    Congratz Matt ! You’re making this happen with a blog receiving less than 100,000 pageviews, but i’m struggling to make $500 with traffic about 200,000 page views .

    But ofcourse the Niche matters :)

    Thanks again for sharing awesome tutorials & your income reports.

  15. 10.1.2015

    Hi Matt,

    Been following your blog for a year now. Good to learn you crossed the half million dollars mark from a blog. Congratulation! Please continue to share your experiences and expertise.

  16. 10.2.2015

    Infolinks is a monetization solution but not for this HQ type of website, glad you finished the test, they are the worst… Oh… G**.

    Good luck with the new training course. See ya’!

  17. Musonda
    10.2.2015

    Great post Matthew. Revealing were your income came from is very enlightening.

    Not one product, or one thing, but several things. Interesting too is that your earnings, at a glance, without doing actual calculations (no time), seem to follow, in some way, 80/20 principle. Most money is coming from a few things.

    By the way, if you’ve read Perry Marshall’s 80/20 Marketing and Selling Book, there are a few chapters there that show how you (and I think “you” specifically) can start making 10X more income from a few clients…

    Lastly, I think I know how you made the “Other Income”. Muhahaha…, Pay me or I’ll spit it ooooout! But seriously, I think I know.

    Good stuff
    Musonda

    • October 2nd, 2015 at 10:44 am

      Yes that is very true although it does depend on the promotions I’ve ran but yes the bulk of the income comes from a handful of affiliations, however what those handful of affiliations are changes with the seasons.

      Thanks for the book suggestions sounds interesting I would drop it onto my Kindle later.

      What do you think the other income is, no one has had a stab at that yet!

      • Musonda
        October 5th, 2015 at 2:59 am

        Hmm. That’s even more interesting. So I guess you need to find out quickly what’s working at any given time so that you can invest more money there…

        About your mysterious “Other Income” source, I think it’s from lead generation marketing you are doing for a local business like a law firm or dentist or cosmetic surgeon.

        Am I close?!…

        • October 5th, 2015 at 8:29 am

          A very good guess but that would fall under consultation income :)

  18. 10.2.2015

    Matt, I was also one of the few visitors who saw your InfoLinks experiment live and it surprised me. I test a lot (lot, lot) of ad networks for my sites so I know their potential. With the money you are making from your deals though you should not bother like I do.

    • October 2nd, 2015 at 10:40 am

      Yeah I think all ad networks are a waste of time for the most part, its the lazy mans monetization option

      • October 2nd, 2015 at 11:51 am

        It is true that it takes less effort to put any ad on a site than to pitch for the right product, but we would miss a lot of great sites if it wasn’t for ads. Some types of content don’t perform with affiliate programs like yours does.

  19. 10.2.2015

    Congrats Matt, you’re awesome.

  20. 10.2.2015

    Hey Mat awesome report and congrats for the rise. I have been noticing that your youtube videos are not earning money. Are they not monetized or is your adsense banned.

    Asking this coz my adsense got banned due to some experimenting and now my youtube earnings are also gone.

    Thanks,
    Nabeel

    • October 2nd, 2015 at 10:39 am

      I dont like to use adsense on them really as I would rather give people engaged in the education

  21. 10.2.2015

    Hi Matt
    I always look forward to these income reports for news of hard work paying off and the variety of things that can go wrong even for experienced bloggers.I hope it all goes well for you in the future and look forward to reading about it right here.
    All the best,Scott

  22. 10.2.2015

    Congratulations on the milestone Matt and looking forward to the case study!

  23. Steve Ogida
    10.2.2015

    This monthly report is staggering and i will put the recommended tool to trial,when you are hard working the reward must be spectacular.

  24. siddhesh
    10.2.2015

    hey matthew i am regular visitor of your site.
    Any review about this service????is it safe to purchase backlink from this guy
    http://www.wickedfire.com/links-and-seo/181640-high-pr-private-network-400-posts-24-thing-works-press-release-add.html

  25. 10.2.2015

    WOW Matthew, half a million in just over 3 years.

    I follow your blog posts with eagerness as I know there is always great info and new things I can learn to grow my own online following.

    I have just purchased LTP and am starting to research new keywords which I can hopefully use to gain extra traffic. Is there any one tip you can advise to use it well?

    • October 5th, 2015 at 8:46 am

      Thanks Mark :)

      What I intend to do with LTP is go through all my old posts and ensure I’m targeting and optimised for the right keywords on site.

  26. 10.3.2015

    Hi Matt,
    Mubarakbaad (which means congratulations in India), you are a role model for me. I’m sure that you are a huge inspiration for all the bloggers worldwide. Your Income reports are very motivating, I mean the hard work can be easily seen through your growth and success every month, I’m working hard to reach somewhere near you in terms of traffic and earning. Even after your loss you didn’t give up which Just Inspired me a lot. At Last Thank you so much for reveling your tips and tricks which helps you in continuous growth and success. Hope to implement it on my blog soon. Respect & Peace.
    Regards
    ~ Piyush Dhiman

    • October 5th, 2015 at 8:34 am

      Thanks Piyush :)

      If you’re not failing, you’re not working hard enough :)

      Good luck with your projects, but by the sounds of it you don’t need any luck!

  27. 10.4.2015

    This is really awesome Matt,
    You really did very well last month. I also noticed that infolinks ads but just assumed that you were actually testing something and i was right.

    I will also not use that on my sites because i see them as cheats.

    I’ve really discovered lots of awesome tools on this post and will start checking them out one after the other.

    Thanks

  28. 10.5.2015

    Congratulations – $500,000 is an amazing achievement.

    Looking forward to the course.

  29. 10.6.2015

    Hi Matthew,
    Glad to be joining the conversation.
    I read your report and there are a few things I think you and your readers should know regarding Infolinks.
    it takes our algorithm a few day to learn your site and start showing the most compatible ads – so 24 hours is definitely not enough time for you to reach any conclusions. Moreover, out products are very flexible – you can choose from a large variety of products, each with a different look and feel. So if you felt the ads were too much for you, or not compatible with your site, you could customize it to your liking – add and remove the products you see fit. You could also contact us so we could help you customize the ads in the best possible way.
    So we thank you for trying our service but encourage you to try again for a longer period, while making some adjustments – so you can reach the great results Infolinks are known for.
    Thanks!

    Sandy from Infolinks

    • October 6th, 2015 at 8:19 am

      Hey Sandy,

      You make some valid points however as a blog owner I have to choose how I divide up my real estate. There are only so many clicks to go round and in my case that ‘click’ is better spent clicking on my optin forms or lead magnets rather than an advert for next to no profit and more complaints in 24 hours than the blog has had in 3 years.

      FYI I was in contact with your team throughout the entire process, in fact – you guys approached me.

  30. 10.6.2015

    Wow. Great to see another fantastic month from you Matthew.

    I love to see how wide your income streams are, I know that I have to get off that Adsense treadmill as it seems to be paying out less and less every month. Really looking forward to this new course of yours.

  31. Ethan Coen
    10.11.2015

    Hi Matthew,

    The big part of your income comes from affiliate sites.

    It is easy for you to get affiliates for internet marketing niche.

    But, what about academic sites; like any blog on TOEFL preparation.

    Can they make affiliate incomes from an array of affiliate sites?

    If yes. Can you please cite some examples?

    • October 12th, 2015 at 9:10 am

      Well the simple question is – do affiliate programs exist for related products in that niche?

      If they don’t – could you create a product?

  32. Fred
    10.25.2015

    Hi there,

    I like to see your income reports because they work like motivator for new people like me. I want to learn more about how to monetize your traffic and make more money online. This is a good source of information for me.

    Best regards,

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