Monthly Income, Growth & Traffic Report – February 2013

This is the seventh income report as part of the zerolink building case study.

Every month I will be 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.

How to start a successful blog in 7 days

What I Have Done In February

I have managed to have a greater focus on the blog this month as I reduced the amount of client work to next to nothing.

This has come at the cost of upfront income but hopefully the time invested in the blog will pay off in the end!

Content Creation

I wrote 4 posts this month including a quick tutorial showing you how to use my custom Google Analytics profile to increase traffic to your site.

It seems you guys are hungry for more Analytics based tutorials – so this month I’ll be planning out a mini series for ya’ll! I’m going to cover affiliate link tracking through to building custom dashboards.

If you want something specific covered, now is the time to tell me!

I also wrote a BuzzBundle review which shared some of the tips and tricks I use to grow traffic to the blog.

I also published the regular What I Have Read This Month (needs a better title?) and Income Report Roundup posts.

To be honest I thought I had done more on the content front than that this month – I’ll fix it :)

Problogger 2013 One To Watch

I was lucky enough to be listed as one of the bloggers to watch in 2013 by Problogger!

As someone that has drank the Problogger juice for a number of years I’m pretty proud of getting mentioned over there!

That’s 2 awards under my belt now including ‘The Best Of Search Engine Journal 2012′.

Subscribe now and watch me grow in 2013 – Problogger says you have to!

Logo Split Test

I created a logo contest and had over 25 different logos to choose from.

I eventually selected a winner and have always wondered how much impact a logo has on user engagement.

So I decided to setup a split test using this plugin.

Here are the 3 logos I split tested-

Logo Split Test

I have now selected a winner and I’ll be publishing all of the data shortly!

Certainly answered the question of whether or not the logo impacts user engagement anyway!

Rebranding

Unfortunately choosing a new logo creates a whole bunch of work!

I had to update it on the site, across my powerpoint templates, redo my intro animation and I even went to the lengths of re-editing every single video tutorial I have produced so far!

That took an awful lot of work and I’ve still got more updating to do across social media channels and so forth!

YouTube Optimisation

While I was re-editing all of the videos anyway I decided this was the perfect time to go about optimising every aspect of YouTube.

Now the problem with YouTube is you can’t just update your video, if you change it you will lose all of your views, comments and ratings.

In the short term that is going to cost me, however in the long terms benefits are substantial – I’ll show you why!

Branded Video Outro

So the first thing I did was create to create a template that will allow me to promote my blog, other videos and get more subscribers on YouTube.

I then took advantage of YouTube annotations (mostly the Spotlight) to create links to the relevant places.

Here is a live example of the outro itself-

Pretty cool huh?

I then went through the painful process of creating a relevant outro for every single tutorial I’ve created so far & edited it in at the end.

Watermarking

I decided that my logo should be visible at all times – so during any software demonstration I have added a small unobtrusive watermark in the bottom corner!

Probably not going to make much of a difference but while I was re-editing anyway!

Custom Thumbnails

Previously YouTube gave you 3 thumbnails to choose from and with tutorials like mine they are usually butt ugly! But now you can upload one!

So I created a basic thumbnail template and added it to each video in an effort to grab the clicks from related videos/search results where possible!

Check them out on my channel – might as well subscribe while your at it as well :P

Still need to update my channel design but YouTube are testing a new layout right now so going to wait it out!

Do you think losing all my views, ratings & comments for those changes was worth it?

Google+ Follower Optimisation

I have tweaked the user journey on the site to make Google+ more visible and to grow the amount of people that circle me.

It was annoying me to see search results where I was only in 70 circles and competing authors were in thousands.

Over the coming 12 months we are going to see Google place a heavier reliance on AuthorRank so it’s time to step my game up in that respect.

In just a couple of weeks I doubled my Google+ following just by making a few tweaks-

Icon order – I made Google+ the most prominent icon in my sidebar and at the end of posts by placing it first.

Thank you page – I added a Google+ widget to the thank you page after people confirm their subscription.

Email follow up – I asked people to connect with me personally in my first email with Google+ at the top of the list.

I haven’t done it yet but I’ll also be adding the links to registration/forum/comment notification emails as well!

Social Meta Tags / Markup / Breadcrumbs

If you didn’t know Twitter launched Twitter Cards. This is basically their version of Facebooks OpenGraph mark up.

The benefit though is when anyone tweets your link it pulls in the post title, description & image Facebook stylee – but Twitter!

Twitter Cards

So I decided to review my current markup across Twitter, Facebook & Google to see where I could improve using these tools-

I noticed that there was room for improvement on the Twitter and Google front and found the best way to deal with it all was actually with the Yoast SEO plugin.

So I deactivated All In One SEO and installed Yoast, imported my All In One SEO settings then setup all of the social tags.

On top of that I also integrated breadcrumbs and the associated markup using the Yoast plugin. A bit more technical in that you have to edit your themes files but its pretty straight forward!

Feel free to run any of my URL’s through the linked tools above for examples. If you use one of my reviews you will also see review markup which is provided via this plugin.

Opt In Popup

I have toyed with the idea of integrating an opt in popup for a while. For the most part I personally find them annoying and close them but they do work and they do convert well.

I was concerned that adding one would turn people off and affect stats like bounce rate, time on site and pages per visit but then I read this.

So I decided to implement it and keep a close eye on how it affects things.

The only problem was I made a right mess of it late at night last week.

I originally decided to use WPSubscribers but it turns out they aren’t compatible with any form of caching. So when you tell it to only show the form 3 times in 7 days and it actually displays it on every single page view for the rest of eternity – I got a waive of complaints.

WPSubscribers is meant to be premium product and I would expect it to work with caching systems – basic stuff for any plugin if you ask me!

Anyway the developer was confident that plugins like this can’t work with caching so I bought Ninja Popups for a mere $18 instead which does work with caching.

I only added it in last night but I’m more than impressed, its lightweight and very easy to use! Bobs your teapot!

For the short amount of time the pop ups have being running – it has increased subscriber conversion by 250%! I’ll publish a full case study when I have more data.

Traffic Planet Sticky

Terry Kyle of SundaySEO made my link building series thread a sticky in the forum!

That will certainly help with exposure and traffic so thank you very much Terry!

Now go and sign up for is Sunday SEO series and check out his live traffic case study.

Buzzbundle Competition & Exclusive Discount

I launched the BuzzBundle competition this month with over $400 of prizes which had great success!

Congratulations to the 2 winners Mike Tilman & Barry Linton-Walls!

If you didn’t win then find out how to claim your exclusive $40 discount now!

If you watch the video on that page you’ll learn some of my sneaky tricks to grow traffic :P

Claim Your Exclusive Discount Now – Expires March 2nd

Upcoming Competitions

I’ve also managed to put together another couple of competitions! I now have prizes for 3 competitions in total with the next one due to launch next week!

I’ve got around $2,000 worth of prizes to give away so make sure you stick around for the announcements. Not many people enter so the chances of winning are high!

Time Invested

I have spent 80 hours on the blog this month most of which was spent rebranding and updating all of the YouTube videos which will pay off in time to come.

25 hours went into content creation with the remaining time spent on promotion, planning for my software launch and mapping out new tutorials.

My Biggest Tutorial Series Yet

I get a lot of requests for tutorials – site structure, keyword research, conversion, video production – you name it!

So there are a couple of ways I can go about it.

I can either record individual tutorials one at a time for each topic.

Or I could do something extra special and show you guys how to build a site from the ground up and make your first sale over my shoulder step by step.

Help Me Help You!

So to do that I want to know what you want to see. A few people want a live SEO/link building case study but the problem with that is if I reveal the URL/site then the case study becomes invalid & I’m sure a certain Mr. Cutts would be keeping a close eye.

That would also make it much harder to teach you guys how to research and build sites properly as I would have to introduce an element of secrecy.

Ideally I would like to publish it week on week showing you exactly what I did last week with all of the live URL’s for you to check out for yourself along with public analytics access.

Then you can follow along with me each week but in your own niche!

So what should I do?

At the moment I’m thinking about a hybrid blog/membership setup – this would also challenge the fact I’ve never built a membership site before.

Please let me know your thoughts on this! Still in the early stages as you can see but expect to see this starting at the end of April/start of May.

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 saw a huge 57% growth in traffic and traffic is up again even with only 28 days in the month!

I managed to pull in 9,938 unique visitors this month (avg 355/day) compared to last months 9,485 (avg 305/day).

Pretty happy with that growth to be honest!

Visitor Statistics Analytics

Most Popular Content

Yet again the tiered link building tutorial videos are still some of the most popular content on the site.

What is interesting though is the growth of link building forum this month (why you should add a BBPress forum) and you guys are still loving the best free SEO tools post!

Good to see that content published months ago is still popular!

Top Content Analytics

Top Traffic Sources

Not much has changed in terms of traffic sources, Google remains dominant in the #1 spot which isn’t bad for SEO without link building!

Traffic from Inbound is also on the up and thanks to the Problogger 2013 bloggers to watch award that sucked in traffic from a new source to enter the top 10!

Again, YouTube still delivers the best quality traffic and my recent tweaks to my videos should help me capitalise on that further in the coming months!

Top Traffic Analytics

Search Engine Traffic

Search traffic is also on the up this month with a total of 6,935 (247 per day) organic visits across 919 keyword up from last month’s 5,961 (192 per day)/828 keywords!

The 3 day difference in the length of the month makes all the difference as you can see!

Not to bad considering I’ve done zero link building on the blog.

Does make me wonder why this post isn’t consistently the most popular post though.

Top Keywords Analytics

YouTube Views

Don’t forget I lost all of my YouTube views because of the changes I made to all the videos this month.

I still have all of the old videos in my account so I can total up the view counts and keep track of it all, but the actual channel itself has had around 30,000 views wiped from the front end statistic.

Last month there were a total of 5,362 video views with a total time watched of 30,498 minutes.

This month however these were a total of 5,912 views and 34,641 minutes watched! Woop!

Slowly getting closer to my goal of having someone engaged on me with YouTube every minute of every day – that goal is set at 43,829 minutes!

Youtube Views

Social Shares

Last month there were a running total of 4,779 social shares across all pages of the blog.

This has now increased to 5,958 across Facebook, Twitter and Google+

How long until I acquire social media whore status?

My Forum Statistics

The forum is still growing at a nice rate adding 110 users, 78 topics and 303 replys!

I’m also starting to see a lot of you guys get involved with each other directly and answer each others questions which is great! I can focus on creating content then =D

If you haven’t joined the forum yet, get involved!

  • Users: 433 (323 last month)
  • Topics: 258 (180 last month)
  • Posts: 1,030 (727 last month)

Subscribers

The metric I most look forward to reporting on each month is the increase in subscribers. You are the guys that are going to keep coming back time and time again and I have earnt the right to stay in touch with you!

I now have a total of 3,197 subscribers across all of the channels now – that’s up an extra 1,001 subscribers from last month which ment you guys subscribed at a rate of 35 per day, wow!

  • E-mail – 543 (115 last month) / Total: 1,512
  • Twitter – 93 (73 last month) / Total: 589
  • YouTube – 70 (85 last month) / Total: 369
  • Facebook – 46 (43 last month) / Total: 225
  • Google+ – 159 (19 last month) / Total: 237
  • RSS – 90 (53 last month) / Total: 265

Forum Promotion Posts

Traffic from forum promotion is down heavily this month as I’ve not made anyway near as many posts as I usually do!

Makes me think what the traffic numbers would have being be like if I had spent a more time in this area :(

  • TrafficPlanet – 84 posts (720 visits)
  • WarriorForum – 41 posts (455 visits)
  • BlackHatWorld – 65 posts (783 visits)

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.

This month I generated $151.69 / £100.00 in consultation earnings down from last months $3,543.14 / £2,247.00

I decided to stop all client work during February while I focused on the blog. However I am taking on just 1 client this month (see below for details).

Earnings Total

  • Affiliate Income – $3,610.85
  • Consultation Income – $151.69
  • Expenses – $66.95

Grand Total: $3,695.59 / £2,456.68 ($9,511.93 / £6,012.22 last month)

I expected a big drop this month due to the lack of client work – by putting more time into the blog upfront something has to be sacrificed.

I’m more focused on the long term success of the blog rather than quick win earnings.

How to start a successful blog in 7 days

Taking On 1 Client

This month I have decided I will take on 1 client – preferably someone that is looking for a complete SEO analysis of their site to recover from existing penaltys as I quite enjoy doing them!

So if you have a penalised site and want to know exactly which penalty your facing, precisely what is wrong and what you need to do to fix it then get in touch now.

This will be available on a first come first serve basis.

Signing Off

Well it has certainly being a hectic month on all fronts!

Winning an award, finishing the software testing, publishing content, running a competition, arranging more competitions, rebranding, re-editing videos & engaging with you all!

At the end of this report I’m realising that I really slacked off on content this month. I actually thought I had published more than I had but nevermind.

Publishing new content brings waives of new traffic and subscribers and is going to be a key focus throughout March as I prepare for my product launch (crazy tech challenges here) and begin to plan my biggest series yet.

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

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