Monthly Income, Growth & Traffic Report – December 2014

This is the 27th 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.

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What I Have Done In December

As we moved closer to the holiday season in December I began to wind down my work load in preparation for a couple of weeks off.

Behind the scenes I put a solid plan together for the blog in 2015 that will see a number of improvements across the board – including working less by bringing 3 staff on board next month.

Last month was a great month for earnings but this was because of a couple of unique events like the sun setting of my tutorials and Black Friday.

So with taking some time off combined with December usually being a slow month in the internet marketing world it will be interesting to see how that has affected things.

Content Creation

I published a total of 8 posts this month which is 1 more than last month even though I worked less – weird.

We kicked off with a roundup of Cyber Monday deals.

Then I took a close look at Bing SEO and let’s not forget all of the Google ranking factors as well!

I also revealed the 3 new Google ranking factors that you must be paying attention to in 2015.

You also learnt how to find influencers for your own gains.

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

The Best Laptop On The Planet

I was lucky enough for a Dell Brand Ambassador to get in touch with me and offer me the brand new Alienware 13 laptop.

It arrived a few days ago and let me tell you this thing is an absolute beast!

  • Intel i5-420U 2.7Ghz Processor
  • 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M
  • 8GB ram
  • 512 GB SSD
  • 13.3 Inch QHD Display

I was worried it wouldn’t be as portable as my current laptop but it weighs the same and is even a bit smaller – but with 4 times the power!

Thank you to Alvina Torres for sorting that out – she can also hook up some awesome discounts!

Turning Up The Heat With Facebook Ads

Not so long ago Stuart Walker offered some great advice which I instantly implemented across the blog.

As part of that I had to create a range of lead magnets and content upgrades to offer across the blog.

This month I decided to take that a step further by combining those with $2,000 worth of Facebook Ads to grow the blogs readership on auto pilot.

FBA1

You can see one of the campaigns I ran above which did a great job at bringing targeted traffic to the blog.

I’ve been experimenting throughout December so I will roll out a solid campaign for January soon. Here is a sneak peak at some of the split test results-

FBA2

I will be sharing all my Facebook learnings over the coming months don’t worry :)

Write For The Blog

I also introduced a page inviting people to write for the blog.

I spent a lot of time thinking about that before introducing it and put together a very strict set of guidelines for anyone that wants to publish here.

I am hoping that by inviting others to publish on the blog you guys will benefit from having a range of experts in their respected fields sharing their best bits.

That way you are not only limited to my knowledge – for example I get a lot of questions about Local SEO and that’s not something I have experience with.

I’m going to be keeping a close eye on this though but the few applications I have received so far are looking fantastic!

New Theme Coming Soon

I launched the blog over 2 years ago and since then not a lot has changed with the theme & layout.

On top of that the theme I use isn’t coded all that well and certainly doesn’t live up to modern standards.

Combine that with the amount of complaints I get about how bad the site is on mobile and the fact that Google prioritize mobile sites in mobile search – it was time to take action.

There is huge risk in changing your theme though from an SEO & conversion standpoint. A drastic design change risks crippling your conversion rate. A drastic code change risks crippling your onpage SEO and seeing you tumble down the rankings.

So I have decided to keep things simple. The design is not going to change at all – you won’t even know the new theme is live when it is live.

What will be different though is it will be coded to modern standards with responsive HTML5 & CSS3. It will also be much quicker and have full Schema integration baked in along with Visual Composer support.

The guys at MyThemeShop.com are working on it as we speak!

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

I’ve been trying to consistently break the 50,000 unique visitors barrier which fell just short at 49,075 (1,635/day) last month.

This month though that has leap frogged to 60,634 (1,956/day) this month which is largely due to the investment in Facebook advertising.

As long as it stays above 50,000 consistently though I will be a happy bunny.

analytics-overview

Most Popular Content

The new Google ranking factors post stole the show this month!

Following closely behind were the Google ranking factors and Bing ranking factors tutorials.

analytics-content

Top Traffic Sources

Traffic sources are mostly dominated from the various Facebook ad campaigns I ran throughout the month.

If you take a close look you will see that the traffic coming from those ads perform nearly as well as traffic coming from Google.

The only difference is I can turn up/down the volume of traffic with Facebook on demand.

analytics-traffic

Search Engine Traffic

Google have been very good to me with traffic recently and it has held steady at 36,887 (1,190/day).

That is a little bit of a drop from last months 36,905 (1,230/day) but there really isn’t that much in it!

The top keywords we can actually see are dominated by brand and direct URL searches!

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 19,619 views which jumped to 28,877 this month – the biggest jump in a long time.

That also had a knock on effect on total minutes watched which shot from 100,718 to 204,669! That means there were 4.6 people watching every minute of every day!

All of that jump is down to this single post.

youtube

Social Shares

The blog has seen a total of 60,206 shares across Facebook, Twitter and Google+ this month compared to 57,189 last month.

  • Google+ – 16,346 (16,198 last month)
  • Twitter – 24,685 (25,903 last month)
  • Facebook – 16,306 (17,957 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 5,318 new subscribers across various channels which is a bit of a drop off from last months 7,637.

There are now a total of 94,178 subscribers across all of the different channels.

  • E-mail – 3,507 (6,407 last month) / Total: 48,567
  • Twitter – 228 (547 last month) / Total: 6,576
  • YouTube – 270 (220 last month) / Total: 6,680
  • Facebook – 1,294 (501 last month) / Total: 14,727
  • Google+ – 147 (145 last month) / Total: 17,331
  • RSS – -128 (-183 last month) / Total: 297

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 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 $6,403.70 which is on par with last months $6,382.57.

Earnings Total

  • Affiliate Income – $16,018.20
  • Consultation Income – $00.00
  • Other Income – $6,403.70
  • Expenses – $2,049.99

Grand Total: $20,371.91 / £13,076.94 ($34,781.06 / £22,099.35 last month)

After an incredible month last month I was expecting to see a huge drop off in December.

Luckily though that still fell over the $20k barrier which is an income level I would like to maintain month on month along with 50,000 unique visitors.

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Signing Off

Normally this is where I write something interesting about next month or wrapping things up – but it’s New Years day and I’m really hung over.

So all I’m going to say is HAPPY NEW YEAR – I WISH YOU AN AWESOME 2015

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