Monthly Income, Growth & Traffic Report – February 2015

This is the 29th 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.

How to start a successful blog in 7 days

What I Have Done In February

I took a couple of weeks off towards the end of February but had an ambitious task list to work through, so I bit the bullet and put myself through a fairly brutal couple of weeks.

At the moment I’m overhauling the blog on all fronts from a complete content audit to a new theme. Along with trying to automate as much as possible and preparing for a change in direction for the blogs future.

I will be back in full swing again from Tuesday so expect to see some rapid changes across the next month, as your about to see I already changed a lot of things.

Content Creation

This month I published a total of 9 posts which is 2 more than last month and might be the most I have ever posted! Did it feel like too much for you guys this month? Let me know!

I showed you some awesome Gmail tips, tricks and secrets along with 43 expert social media marketing tips to boot.

You also learnt how to promote your website with key influencers & a detailed local SEO guide.

If you want to fast track your success you should focus on these blog metrics and you might learn something from these 3 exit popup case studies.

Last but not least I dove into Stuart Walkers bounce rate problems by showing him how to reduce bounce rate.

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

Specialist SEO Agency Development

Last month saw the full launch of my specialist SEO agency which was met with great reception.

In the first few days the team were drowning in enquires and we had to fight through the queue to speak to everyone on the phone & draw up proposals.


Even though it was a bit hectic for a while it was a very smooth launch and we have already delivered a number of ranking increases for new clients (case studies to come).

We specialise purely in ranking sites in search engines. Nothing more, nothing less. There are 5 core services-

We also have a few active client case studies available for you to check out-

  • Diet & Weight Loss Recovery – This client was penalised by Penguin 2.1 & now has over 4,000 1st page rankings brining over 500,000 organic visitors per month.
  • Pet Store Ecommerce – We have more than doubled search traffic for this client by ranking for core commercial terms.
  • Video Streaming Site Recovery – This client was hit by a manual penalty losing rankings for terms like ‘online movies’ – we removed the penalty & they now enjoy 114 #1 spots with 980 other top 10 listings.

I’m going to be adding more case studies & testimonials to the site this month so be sure to check them out!

Blog Development Round 1

I’ve got a very clear plan mapped out for the blog during the first few months of this year. I’m looking to build on what I already have by doing a complete revamp of well, everything.

This includes the theme, content, images, optin process, an app, automating processes, growth & more!

I have already started executing parts of the plan meeting deadlines as I go – the entire process will be complete in a couple more months but for now I will keep you update on what I’m doing in these reports.

New Theme

Let me start with telling you the new theme will be deployed in the next 7 days.

The guys from MyThemeShop were kind enough to re-develop the current theme from the ground up.

This means at long last the site will be fully responsive and won’t look rubbish on mobile devices – this has to be the #1 complaint from the past few months and I’m happy to finally address it.

It also takes advantage of modern coding standards like HTML5 & CSS3 along with all of the latest schema markup for articles, comments, reviews & more baked into the core.

On top of that it is super lightweight, for example the homepage is now only 512KB compared to 988KB with the current theme.

But what might shock you is what it actually looks like (so far)-


As you can see – not a lot has changed and with good reason.

The problem with changing your design, layout or theme is it comes with great risk. If you get it wrong you can see engagement metrics drop off a cliff and your search rankings slip away.

So I decided to manage that risk as much as possible by keeping the design/layout identical to the current theme with some minor visual tweaks to measure the impact that has on both engagement and search rankings.

The idea is that will give me the perfect platform to build on with split testing rather than going for a radical design change in 1 crack of the whip.

The new theme should be deployed within the next week so keep your eyes peeled, you’ll need to :P

Social Network Auto Poster

As part of my overall blog changes I have looked for as many time saving opportunities as possible.

One of these was the posting of new posts on social media. Although I could do it all with 1 click with Buffer for free (except Google+ personal profile) that still meant I had to actually do it every time I posted.

That not only means remembering to do it but you also have to be sat at your computer when a post goes live.

On top of that when you post via something like Buffer you tend to get a very basic post with just the title & URL that looks like this-


It’s not exactly engaging and Facebooks algorithm doesn’t take kindly to that type of page update anymore.

So the solution was to use Social Network Auto Poster which not only updates every single social network automatically, but it also adds lots of additional content-


Now my social media updates are working harder for me whilst I have stopped thinking about them entirely.

Seems like a good deal to me!

Content Audit

I also started work on a complete content audit which includes updating old content, creating new featured images, optimising headlines, create a solid tag structure & more.

Featured Images

So far I have created 185 new featured images with only 52 more left to complete this week. It has been a real grind to do but it’s a very low invest/high reward task.

For example I used this guide to make sure every image looks great on every social network.

So now when they are shared they should stand out more & encourage people to engage more than they would before.

I want every piece of content I have produced to work as hard for me as possible so I decided to dig in hard and update every single one.

Headline Optimisation

Whilst I was optimising images I also decided to optimise the headlines of every article.

I did this by setting up a split test so every post has 3 possible titles. Again it was a pain to do but is something that has a very high reward ratio.

I tried a couple of different solutions for this start with HeadLines by KingSumo. Less than 12 hours after setting it up though I had to pull it.

It was adding query strings to all of the URLs, which was causing issue with caching and was too much of an SEO risk for me. Also how it collects the data seems like a good idea on the surface but would take forever for the average blogger to collect.

So instead I opted for title experiments which unlike Headlines is 100% free.

It collects data by split testing post headlines on your blog – so when people are browsing archive pages they are shown different titles to measure which attracts the most attention.


As you can see it is really easy to setup & the results can only help lead to increases in engagement over time.

Paid Advertising Assault

I have a very solid email marketing strategy plan in place which was recently improved with my new email conversion rate formula.

With a funnel like that in place I know that new subscribers are worth $17.81 to me over a 90 day period. So in essence if I can buy each subscriber for less than that I will see steady growth.

To do that I have launched a number of paid advertising campaigns across Facebook, Twitter & YouTube which are detailed below.


I have decided to attack Facebook on a number of fronts because I have spent an awful lot of time experimenting with Facebook Ads over the past year.

First of all I have deployed all of my lead magnets by retargeting blog readers.

So if you read an article about social media on the blog and have not opted in – you will start seeing adverts for my social media lead magnet.

I have also started to spend $60 promoting some new posts. This is split into 2 campaigns, 1 targets blog subscribers & facebook likes that have not read the article to re-engage my existing audience.

The second campaign is designed to find new audience members through interest targeting that have not read the article and aren’t current subscribers.

Then I have some secret sauce in the pot that is currently eating through some tests.


As you can see that is making for some very cheap clicks & conversions.


While I am well versed with Facebook Ads I haven’t spent a whole lot of time experimenting with Twitter ads.

So I have decided to replicate my post promotion strategy from Facebook on Twitter to measure early results. So far they are encouraging as clicks are cheap and the traffic is decent.


You will see a CPA of $25 for new email subscribers which seems high compared to above but the campaign in the screenshot is purely the promotion of a blog post – it is not a landing page.

The cost per click is pretty cheap though and helps me reach a new audience so I’m going to do some more experiments over the coming weeks to try and automate future growth.


I have spoken at 2 conferences that Ben Ezra also attended and he keeps telling me to take advantage of YouTube advertising. So I decided to implement his advice.

In essence I can have any video I want to play as an advert on top of other peoples videos. So that is exactly what I did using the video from here.

The results are fairly encouraging so far-


Well that was until this email landed in my inbox-


Which put an instant halt to the campaign shortly after it started.

I’m not really sure how to fix that so if you have any ideas – please let me know in the comments I’ll be eternally grateful =D

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

This month I managed to stay above my 50,000 visitor threshold with 58,946 (2,105/day) visitors which is a nice jump from 54,827 (1,768/day).

I put that down to the additional paid promotion work that has been done this month that will begin to bear fruit in the coming months.


Most Popular Content

The local SEO tutorial stole the show this month grabbing the most amount of pageviews.

In a very close second was my favourite link building strategy & it was nice to see the new Google keyword ranking factors post getting some attention.

But better than all of that is the fact my thank you page broke the top 10 visited pages. That page is only accessible after you subscribe to the blog.

In the perfect world that would be the most visited page on the blog – I’ve got some work to do!


Top Traffic Sources

Traffic has grown steadily this month and the break down below shows you that the majority of that is from Facebook.

You will also notice an increase in Traffic from Twitter as I tested some post promotion campaigns out.


Search Engine Traffic

Organic traffic from Google has grew gently this month with 37,426 (1,336/day) visits compared to 36,887 (1,190/day) last month.

As you can see the majority of top 10 keywords driving traffic that Analytics reports are brand driven.


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.

Views have dropped from 23,115 to 21,977 which is a decent view rate but is a rate that is steadily declining.

Total minutes watched also took a knock from from 127,157 to 119,225! That still means there nearly 3 people were watching one of my videos every minute of every day!


Social Shares

I have temporarily removed this section while I find a better solution to collect the data


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

This month brought 4,595 new subscribers across various channels which is a steady increase on last months 3,441.

There are now a total of 102,184 subscribers across all of the different channels breaking the 6 figure barrier for the first time!

  • E-mail – 2,588 (2,549 last month) / Total: 53,704
  • Twitter – 487 (201 last month) / Total: 7,264
  • YouTube – 245 (318 last month) / Total: 7,243
  • Facebook – 979 (176 last month) / Total: 15,882
  • Google+ – 180 (101 last month) / Total: 17,612
  • RSS – 116 (66 last month) / Total: 479

Income Report

Here are the numbers you really want to see-

Affiliate Earnings


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 $9,669.50 which is up quite a bit from last months $6,412.00.

Earnings Total

  • Affiliate Income – $9,169.62
  • Consultation Income – $00.00
  • Other Income – $9,669.50
  • Expenses – $2,063.22

Grand Total: $16,775.90 / £10,865.58 ($20,963.73 / £13,914.14 last month)

On the surface, it looks like income has dropped, but income actually remained at a similar level even though I took 2 weeks off.

My increase in expenses this month with paid social advertising impacted the bottom line, but that supports the future growth of the blog and will come full circle in time.

How to start a successful blog in 7 days

Signing Off

While I’m still technically ‘on holiday’ I’m going to make the most of today before picking everything back up again tomorrow.

I have some huge changes to make to the blog and that is going to require a boatload of good old fashioned elbow grease.

Nothing beats hard work. Well, except working smart AND hard :)

So I’m going to sign off for the day and make the most of my relaxing time while I still can!

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

60 Responses

  1. erpsandeep

    Thanks for posting this blog………

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 20th, 2017 at 8:16 am

      No problem!

  2. Yashu

    Congo. and Thanks for your inspirational post

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 31st, 2016 at 11:53 am

      No problem Yashu

  3. Mariano

    Matt how much do you earn from MTBB/MOBE program ? I read the old post from September 2014 but cannot find any update, did you give up on it ?

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 24th, 2015 at 7:57 am

      Look through all my income reports

  4. jasa seo

    very inspiring matt, i like it

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 19th, 2015 at 9:08 am

      Thanks Jasa

  5. Tuan

    Hey Matthew, how can I create the income graph like yours? Thanks

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 19th, 2015 at 9:15 am

      Google Graphs

  6. zaid

    Hilarious ! Since when are you working online ?

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 10th, 2015 at 8:33 am

      Nearly 15 years

  7. John Tommervik

    Hey Matt,

    We had a little fun with your latest income report. There is something that stood out so we wrote about it : )


    Thanks again for your transparency and inspiration.



    • Matthew Woodward
      March 9th, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      The answer is on this blog, you’ve just got to look for it :)

  8. Rohan Bhardwaj

    This is why I love your income reports, I wish to see your paid campaign’s success. I am taking notes from you, and making guess on where to spend my money.

    In earlier days, I spent money on Adwords and nothing significant came out of it.

    Now, I might try it again to see the benefit , but first I am going to try facebook.


    • Matthew Woodward
      March 6th, 2015 at 9:46 am

      I have found Facebook to be hugely beneficial

  9. Andy


    I can see gsa has dropped over time what link building service/software or multiple would you recommend? (automated services only)

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 5th, 2015 at 8:12 am

      Depends what you are trying to achieve, but GSA is a core piece

  10. Ze Pipo

    Hi Matt,

    Another great report.

    In terms of YouTube ads, can you provide full URL you’re using (in case it’s live)?

    Unless you’re a big brand promoting own products Youtube ins’t much permissive in terms of lp’s.

    Things like using squeeze pages without main nav, or not providing enough copy to tell more about you and the product/service are enough for Youtube to shut you down.

    Youtube is one of the ads platforms most worried about lp’s at the moment. They know they can only keep doing good money if the users are happy with the ads and lp’s experience.

    Hope this helps ;)

  11. Satya

    Man, looks like I got a lot of learning to do.. it’s nice to see growth.. always motivating to do more..

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 3rd, 2015 at 3:44 pm

      We all always have a lot of learning to do, that never changes :)

  12. Darren Boland

    Hi Matthew,

    Awesome results… I am a huge fan.. based in Australia. I have noticed how much your doing with Facebook ads….

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 3rd, 2015 at 8:58 am

      Thanks Darren, I do target Australians as well :)

  13. Albert Czajkowski

    AdWords don’t like affiliate sites but your blog have great content. Try to contact with them I don’t see another way to resolve it.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 3rd, 2015 at 8:58 am

      Yeah I’m going to try a new lander first and then see what happens =/

  14. Silas Wilk

    Hi Matthew!

    Your blog is one of the blogs i have read in a long time!! i have learned alot and use your tips in my blogs. One off topic question.

    Your optin box on your pages


    Whats is the plugin you use?

    Thank you

  15. Ash

    Great report as usual!

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 3rd, 2015 at 9:01 am

      Thanks Ash!

  16. BeatDaBest

    Nice article as always!

    You might’ve been in a rush, but you misspelled penalty as penatly removal and recovery when listing your services. ;)

    We specialise purely in ranking sites in search engines. Nothing more, nothing less. There are 5 core services-
    Google keyword ranking
    E-Commerce SEO
    Casino & Gambling SEO
    Private blog network building
    Penatly removal & recovery

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 3rd, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      Nice spot thank you fixed :)

  17. Drazen Prastalo

    Hey Matt, nice report and even better earnings :)

    Regarding social automation, I once used some WP plugin for auto-share of my blog posts to FB and other networks (damn, I think it’s the same plugin actually, it was called SNAP but it was free), but I’ve noticed that the reach in FB posts that were published automatically was significantly lower. What’s your experience with this plugin so far?

    Regarding Title Experiments Free, does that affect SEO, I mean having different titles for the same article?

    P.S. I had a good month too, not as good as your but I made around $400 with my blog :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 17th, 2015 at 11:31 am

      Yeah there is a free version of it but I have the paid, but this morning I asked for a refund as I think I’m going to use CoSchedule instead.

  18. tom

    Adwords issue could be your text Ads violate policy. Are you on the GDN too?
    Had many issues similar to this, happy to contact Google partner agents if you want to resolve.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 2nd, 2015 at 12:19 pm

      They are purely YouTube video ads

  19. Thomas

    Love your advice on posting on social networks. Do you post your blog posts in any groups on Facebook or Google+? I am currently posting into 9 different Facebook groups and 3 different Google+ communities. This takes a while! Any suggestions? Thanks for the help!

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 17th, 2015 at 11:36 am

      Take a look at CoSchedule

  20. Matt Insardi

    Matt that’s awesome! I love the transparency and inside look into your business. Thanks for all the tips!

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 2nd, 2015 at 8:54 am

      No problem Matt :)

  21. Daniel T

    Great detailed information. As usual, motivating and transparent.
    Thanks for the push.
    Hopefully soon I can help people and transmit tactics the same way you do.
    Good lesson !

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 2nd, 2015 at 8:48 am

      No such thing as hope, just hard work and determination :)

  22. Alex

    I think you will find that your link from YouTube was just not in the ‘best interest’ of Google to allow it and as ‘low quality’ in this case probably means lower ‘profitability’ for them, seeing as you’re about the organic traffic ;)

    great read as always. keep on keepin’ on!


    • Matthew Woodward
      March 2nd, 2015 at 8:46 am

      Hahaha I did wonder the same thing but there are similar adverts running

      • Lova
        March 17th, 2015 at 4:23 pm

        Hahaha. Hi Matthew.

        They just want you to stop doing linkbuilding and advising how to do it on your blog. Because I can’t see how this blog could be low value :) :)

  23. Ryan

    Awesome post Matthew.

    Regarding your AdWords issue. My best guess is that the landing page(s) you’re sending people to, through your AdWords ads, are showing too many advertisements.

    This is assuming that your landing pages use your standard right-hand sidebar template. That’s pretty heavy w/ ads. Of course, if you’re using a different landing page without ads, then I’m way off base.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 2nd, 2015 at 8:47 am

      Actually it is a clone of this page http://www.rankcracker.co.uk/ but hosted on this domain.

      Originally the campaign used the rankcracker domain but it was rejected because the domain didn’t meet site quality guidelines.

      Then I resubmitted the exact same page but under this domain and it was accepted, the campaign ran for a few days before what happened above.

      • Ryan
        March 2nd, 2015 at 8:56 am

        I see. Well maybe that’s the problem…assuming the content on the page is an exact copy as well.

        Their resource page, regarding these kinds of penalties, mentions that the content on the landing page must not be copied from some other website.

        Perhaps if the content were completely unique, you could pass a re-inspection.

        • Matthew Woodward
          March 2nd, 2015 at 9:03 am

          Yes I think a higher quality landing page might resolve it but I can also picture myself headbutting the keyboard when it gets rejected in the near future :P

          • Ryan
            March 2nd, 2015 at 9:06 am

            I hear ya!

  24. Nick Clark

    This is cool man it’s awesome to see the earnings broke down into little achievable sums.

    I’ve been trying to make consistent income online for a while now but I’m still struggling. I can make, edit and style sites quickly and do the on-page seo but I always trip up when it comes to off-page seo.

    I can make Amazon affiliate sites pretty well, I seem to pick juicy keywords, terms and potentially good products. However, my backlinking sucks so I never make more than a few sales with the little traffic that trickles in.

    As I get conversions with next to no traffic I know I’d make a decent income if I could just figure out what the hell to do for off-page seo lol!

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 2nd, 2015 at 8:50 am

      Well in your case you should play to your strengths and outsource the rest :)

  25. Bob Jones

    Awesome post, sounds like you’re having a lot of fun putting these together :) I’m going to take my time going through the rest of the series as I’ve rebooted my personal blog a few weeks ago and this is exactly the kind of stuff I want to do with it.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 2nd, 2015 at 8:54 am

      Actually I hate the 1st of the month, it’s always a brutal day of accounts/reports and then I have to write this :)

  26. Enstine Muki

    This is impressive Matt
    I’m more impressed how you get into details with everything revealed ;)

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 1st, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      No problem glad to be of service :)

  27. Caleb

    With the exception of your blog advertising income I can see most are just a bunch of tiny micro commissions which just goes to show how wise it is to promote many different things which eventually adds up.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 1st, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      Every little counts =D

  28. Nicola

    What a great month! It must be nice to see the upward trend :) how do you keep track of all the affiliate programmes you do? Thank you for sharing all of this information :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 1st, 2015 at 11:26 am

      Thanks – I just login to them all

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