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.

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-

smart-contact-form-guest-posting

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-

guest-post-guidelines

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

Screenshot_050116_100503_AM

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.

analytics-april

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-content-april

Top Traffic Sources

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

trafficsource-april

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).

setraffic-april

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!

youtube-april

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)

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 2,338 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

Expenses

Consultation Earnings

I separate out my SEO consultant earnings from the affiliate earnings. The blog drives affiliate sales directly and whilst it does generate SEO 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

How to start a successful blog in 7 days

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!

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