Monthly Income, Growth & Traffic Report – January 2013

This is the sixth income report as part of the zero backlink experiment.

Every month I will be publishing 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 January

Well taking all of December off certainly had its toll – I spent the first couple of weeks running around like crazy trying to catch up on everything.

After finally getting on top of everything again its full steam ahead with an increased focus on the blog!

Content Creation

I wrote 5 posts this month which is a considerable improvement over the 1 I wrote last month :P

First of all I took a look at the traits on the successful people vs unsuccessful people chart which sparked some interesting conversation. Make sure you watch the video from Napoleon Hill and embrace what he has to say!

I also published a case study showing you how website speed damages conversion and what you can do to improve it! I was losing $30,587 per year!

This month also saw the return of the monthly what I have read this month and income report roundup features – these will be published every month without fail!

But the most interesting post of all came from trying to find the best backlink checker.

That post sparked a fair amount of controversy with responses from Dixon Jones at Majestic and a fully featured response from Viktar Khamianok (LinkAssistant CEO).

Talk about handling bad publicity like a BOSS – lessons to be learnt here folks!

Site Upgrades

I’ve put most of my time this month into improving the site in a number of areas. I’m expecting lots of new traffic in the next couple of months so I wanted to make sure the site was as polished as it could be.

Top Social Posts

I wanted a way to highlight my most popular content on the blog. I looked at a few different options but decided the best way to do it would be based on social shares.

So I found the Top Social Posts widget and added it to the sidebar which is working really nicely.

You can display the top posts based on the number of social shares network by network – check it out in the sidebar!

Increasing Email Subscribers

Previously the only way to subscribe to the blog was in the sidebar or at the end of a post. While this was generating subscribers I knew I could be getting more.

So I created an inline optin form that I can insert directly into posts at key points which looks like this-

If you haven’t subscribed already then enter your details above!

Email Engagement Sequence

Well there is no point driving a whole bunch of new subscribers if you don’t have a decent email engagement sequence setup!

The problem with blogs is that overtime your posts get buried away and new visitors may never see them!

So setting up an autoresponder in Aweber allows me to breathe new life into old posts while keeping readers constantly engaged with the site on complete auto pilot!

Here is the sequence I have setup-

Email Sequence

I’m not going to see immediate benefits from this as it only sends out 1 email per week, but the seed is firmly planted.

Click here to start your own newsletter!

About Page

The About Me page is one of the most viewed pages on the site and I knew it could be working harder for me than it was.

So I have made a few tweaks and made it more about you!

I also included a couple of testimonials/pieces of feedback I have received and you guessed it, inline opt in forms!

Income Reports Page

Previously I was linking to the income reports category in the main navigation which just returned a list of the income report posts like this.

Looks pretty bland right?

So I decided to create a dedicated income reports page and take advantage of my new shiney inline opt in form.

You can check out my income reports here – let me know what you think!

Thank You For Commenting

Normally when you leave a comment on a blog you just get taken back to the post. However this is a key opportunity to engage people and invoke additional action.

So now when you leave a comment on the blog you will now be redirected to a thank you for commenting page.

I have used a couple of tricks on that page to maximise conversion but if you want to see what they are, well you’re going to have to leave a comment :P

I integrated this using the comment redirect plugin.

Advertise On The Blog

A couple of months back I installed a self-serving ad platform so people can buy adverts on the blog.

However I didn’t really promote this so have now created a dedicated advertising page with some key stats.

It includes live traffic stats straight out of Google Analytics using the free widgets provided by Feel free to check them out and see how the blog is doing!

Then again, no one has bought a banner yet since putting the new page live ^^


Tynt is a really interesting service I came across that I added to the blog.

It tracks when people copy and paste content from your site, and even goes as far as to tell you how many words they copied!

If it gets pasted and used elsewhere on the web then a link back to the page it was copied from and your social media profiles are included!

I installed this on the blog less than 24 hours ago so the stats don’t have much meat yet but here is what it has tracked so far-


I’ll be reporting on this in more detail next month!

Facebook Sponsored Stories

When you post a status update on a page, Facebook give you the option to promote your post to friends of fans for either $5 or $10.

This essentially just ensures it appears in a bunch of your fans friends news feeds that in theory should have similar interests.

I spent a total of $77.10 on sponsored stories this month-

Facebook Sponsored Stories

To be honest I didn’t put much thought or planning behind this when I did it and just got click happy.

You can check out the difference this made in traffic from Facebook when we compare January with December though!

Facebook Traffic Analytics

Software Beta Testing

Any of my regular readers will know I’m working towards releasing a free piece of software. We are now into the beta stage and just ironing out any remaining bugs.

Then I’ve got to get the video created, landing page ready and a bunch of other stuff behind the scenes!

I was hoping to launch it this month originally but there is a lot more work going into this than first anticipated =/

Here is a teaser screenshot to keep you going though-

Software Teaser

Hopefully you’ll be amazed when it’s launched and probably think I’m stupid for giving it away free!

2 New Competitions

So far the blog has hosted 3 giveaways with thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes up for grabs!

There hasn’t been a competition since November so I have been working hard to secure prizes to get that ball rolling again.

So far I’ve managed to arrange some fantastic prizes for 2 separate competitions and will be launching 1 in February and another in March so stay tuned!

Time Invested

I have spent 70 hours on the blog this month most of which was thinking about how to improve the site and trying a few things out.

I would estimate about 30 hours of time went into improving the site as a whole with 30 hours on content creation and 10 hours on promotion.

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

Traffic is up 57% this month growing to a total of 9,485 unique visitors from last month’s 5,477!

That is a huge increase and although I spent 10 hours on promotion this month, I have spent more time on promotion for much less traffic in previous months!

Visitor Analytics

Most Popular Content

The tiered link building tutorial videos are still remaining strong in the most popular content.

The controversial best backlink checker case study managed to secure a spot high up on the leaderboard.

It is also great to see that traffic to the forums is growing as they secure 2 of the top 10 spots!

Most Popular Content

Top Traffic Sources

Not much has changed in terms of traffic sources, Google moves up to the #1 spot driving direct traffic down to #2.

YouTube still delivers the ‘highest quality’ traffic overall though – perhaps it’s time I optimised my YouTube presence to increase engagement and visits further.

Analytics Traffic Sources

Search Engine Traffic

Remember this blog is running a zero backlink experiment to measure whether just publishing high quality content is enough to harness rankings.

Last month Google sent 2,710 visitors across 436 keywords which isn’t bad when you consider I have given link building the proverbial middle finger.

But that’s nothing when compared with this month’s 5,961 visitors across 828 keywords! That’s an extra 3,251 visits from Google in January than December!

I must be doing something right huh!?

Keyword Analytics

YouTube Views

Now given that YouTube delivers the highest quality traffic to my site these stats are quite important.

Over the past couple of months view numbers and total time watched have gently declined, hopefully the extra traffic this month has helped turn this around!

Last month there were a total of 3,355 video views with a total time watched of 17,552 minutes.

This month however these were a total of 5,362 views and 30,498 minutes watched! Woop!

It would be great if someone was engaged with me on YouTube every minute of every day – there are 43,829 minutes in a month so guess what my goal is next month :)

Youtube Analytics

Social Shares

Last month there were a running total of 3,959 social shares across all pages of the blog.

This has now increased to 4,779 across Facebook, Twitter and Google+

  • Twitter – 2,283 (1,947 last month)
  • Facebook – 1,658 (1,400 last month)
  • Google+ – 838 (612 last month)

My Forum Statistics

Well I was pretty impressed by the growth of the forum last month but this month really is something else!

In just 1 month the user base, number of topics and number of posts has nearly tripled!

Thank you to everyone that has jumped in and got involved with the wider community behind the blog so far!

  • Users: 323 (113 last month)
  • Topics: 180 (68 last month)
  • Posts: 727 (244 last month)


This is a key metric that I am trying to grow across a number of channels. I have already made changes across the site yesterday to improve email subscriber rates so I’m expecting that to grow rapidly this month.

I now have a total of 2,196 subscribers across all of the channels below which is a great honor when you step back and think about it!

  • E-mail – 115 (77 last month) / Total: 969
  • Twitter – 73 (63 last month) / Total: 496
  • YouTube – 85 (43 last month) / Total: 299
  • Facebook – 43 (22 last month) / Total: 179
  • Google+ – 19 (11 last month) / Total: 78
  • RSS – 53 (21 last month) / Total: 175

Forum Promotion Posts

I worked a bit harder on the forum promotion side of things this month which brought some increased traffic.

I made a total of 266 post on forums which is a great improvement from last month’s relatively slack 102!

  • TrafficPlanet – 109 posts (738 visits)
  • WarriorForum – 45 posts (998 visits)
  • BlackHatWorld – 112 posts (1,671 visits)

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.

This month I generated $3,543.14 / £2,247.00 in consultation earnings up from last months $1,908.62 / £1,170.00

However I am going to begin winding down my client base to gain more focus on the blog.

Earnings Total

  • Affiliate Income – $6,102.84
  • Consultation Income – $3,543.14
  • Expenses – $134.05

Grand Total: $9,511.93 / £6,012.22 ($5,796.03 / £3,550.62 last month)

Not quite the $15,000 dollar target I was aiming for but a great start to the new year none the less!

How to start a successful blog in 7 days

Signing Off

Getting back into the groove after a month off was pretty rough – I don’t think I’ll be doing that again!

But after some hard graft I was able to get my head above water and move things forward with the blog again.

I’m going to start winding down my consultation clients to free up more time to work on the blog – I really want to develop it into something cool and am more than willing to sacrifice the income stream consultation work brings to do that.

I will perhaps take on 1 or 2 penalty analysis jobs a month though as I do enjoy doing them!

Hopefully the changes I have made to the blog this month will begin to pay off in time and I’m sure the email engagement series is going to be a key cog in the machine.

As I plan out my editorial calendar for the next couple of months I would love to hear what topics/tutorials you would like to see next so let me know in the comments!

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