Monthly Income, Growth & Traffic Report – January 2014

This is the 18th 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 January

A new year brings fresh motivation and although you haven’t seen it yet – I have started the year with a bang.

I’m putting together the $100 start-up case study that will be delivered in a course like manner so you can follow along.

All of the planning & framework is done, just need to produce the content now!

Content Creation

I published 6 posts throughout January including an awesome guest post about how marketers can use dopamine in the brain to make people buy.

I also put together the second part of the YouTube marketing guide and took a closer look at GSA Search Engine Ranker.

I popped my Affiliate Summit cherry in Las Vegas and wrote the virgin’s guide.

I also published the January editions of the best of internet marketing & income report roundup posts.

Blog Features

The blog was featured in the UpCity top 25 & the Content Contender top 100 internet marketing blogs.

I shared a SEO lesson from 2013 & recommended my top 3 Wordpress plugins.

Landing Page Experiments

After launching my free SEO tool last month I have started to optimise the landing page to increase conversion.

I created an alternative landing page and set up an A/B split test with Google Analytics to see which performs better.

This is what the new landing page looks like-

rankcracker lead pages

I used LeadPages to create it which makes it surprisingly easy to deploy your landing pages in Wordpress – literally 2 clicks.

The early results of the split test are looking promising as well!

leadpages split test

I have been really impressed with how easy LeadPages is to use. It’s easy to customise designs and split testing is setup in a couple of clicks.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to use it to create a Facebook page opt in lander, lead generators for the blogs newsletter & more!

Email Optin Popup Testing

I’m also trying to increase the conversion rate of email subscribers on the blog.

Previously I tested an email subscription popup on the blog but I wasn’t happy with its performance so removed it.

I have deployed a new popup using OptinMonster that looks like this-


It is really easy to create split tests and I’m currently testing whether having it popup when a visitor moves the mouse to close the page or having it show on the users second page view is better.

I’m going to run a lot more tests with this so expect all the juicy details once I have all the data! In the mean time you can read my full Optinmonster review.

Improved Social Rich Snippet Markup

I rely on the Yoast SEO plugin on this blog which is great for the most part.

However it does lack in the social mark-up aspect and only includes the basic social mark-up for Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

I wanted to take advantage of all of the new social markup tags and the benefits they bring. As bloggers it’s important we get as much value out of our content as possible.

I installed the Social SEO Booster plugin and disabled the social markup in the Yoast SEO plugin.

Here are a few of the things it added-

In Depth Article Markup

Google announced support for in depth articles a while back which have started appearing in the SERPS.

indepth articles

Your pages can only show up there if they have the required article markup.

Google+ Interactive Posts

This is a new feature from Google+ that allows you to add a call to action button to a post when they get shared on Google+

In the image below you see a normal Google +1 share on the left, and a Google+ interactive share on the right.

Google+ interactive posts

Notice the added text and call to action button? You have full control over what is displayed including the CTA text itself.

I haven’t seen many people taking advantage of this yet and I’m still experimenting with the best way to integrate it.


Just click that to try it out for yourself!

Facebook & Twitter Video Markup

If any of your posts feature any kind of video content, even if it’s an embedded YouTube video. You should be adding the right tags for Facebook & Twitter.

When you do – you can have your videos play directly in the persons newsfeed / stream!

On Facebook this makes your posts really stand out – when people like them the full videos appear catching the eye even more.

And Much More!

That’s just a few things it adds, Social SEO Booster has support for every type of rich snippet including reviews, people, events, music, videos & more.

It also adds full markup for Twitter, Facebook, Google+ & Pinterest and adds all the tags need for local SEO. It will also track all of your posts social shares!

The list goes on….

Once it is setup you can forget about it.

It will automatically add all the tags you need to get as much value out of your content as possible from search rankings to increased social media engagement.

Increased Google+ Focus

I decided to put more of a focus on growing my Google+ following.

Having an authoritative Google+ profile already has huge benefits that are only going to increase.

Even right now, if someone circles me on Google+ and does any internet marketing related search – my content gets pushed up to the top through personalisation.

No link building required – once you have circled me I can jump to the top spot for pretty much any term I want.

Who knows what Google are going to do with that data in the future. All I know is I want a piece of it.

Connect with me on Google+ now so I can put a face to a name!

Getting More Google+ Followers

Out of all of the social networks I already favoured Google+ across the blog.

You’ll notice that Google+ is always the most left aligned button, at the end of posts, in the sidebar, in the social lockers – everywhere!

The reason for that is because it is the place that will naturally get the most attention.

With a couple of quick tricks I was able to take my following from 10-15 a day to 30-35 per day.

Sidebar Widget

First of all I added a new sticky widget to the sidebar that follows you down the page.

Take a look on your right hand side right now – you can see it for yourself!

Thanks For Commenting

I also updated my thanks for commenting page with a follow me on Google+ widget

Here is the page if you want to check it out and you can do the same with this plugin.

That was it – simple stuff but effective :)

I Want Your Guest Post

As I start to create the content for the $100 case study course I’m going to need to free up some time with the blog for a few weeks.

So I need a little help from you guys to keep things ticking over!

I have only ever published 4 guest posts on the blog and the quality bar is pretty high!

Here are examples of previous guest posts-

If you think you are up to the challenge please get in touch.

You’ll get full exposure to my audience along with a boat load of traffic, subscribers, backlinks & more!

Disabled Auto Sync

In an effort to get some peace and quiet time I have finally disabled auto sync on my phone.

Every time I got an email my phone would buzz and I get A LOT of emails. While it’s great we have technology that does that now it does mean you can never ‘switch off’ from work.

So I have disabled auto sync and only get alerts of new emails when I manually refresh the inbox.

If I’m expecting an important email I need to respond to I guess I can switch it back on temporarily.

Affiliate Summit

I also flew out to Affiliate Summit in Las Vegas this month! If you want to learn more about it you can read my full post here.

The ShareASale team flew me out in style with a 1st class round trip complete with chairs that turn into beds!


I also got to meet some of my internet marketing heroes like John Chow, Shoemoney, Zac Johnson, Syed Balkhi, Missy Ward, Shawn Collins & Rae Hoffman.

john chow - shoemoney - Syed Balkhi

The entire event was a blast – take a look at my virgin’s guide to see what else you missed out on!

One thing is for sure – no one throws a party like internet marketers!

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 remained steady at 34,036 (1,097/day) last month which has seen very nice growth to 38,639 (1,246/day) this month.

That’s nearly a 14% increase month on month and I’m not complaining about that!

analytics traffic

Most Popular Content

My how to how to start a successful blog and make money tutorial & the epic Ecommerce SEO post dominate this month.

My look at GSA Search Engine Ranker breaks the top 10 and my thoughts on SEO & link building in 2014 hold strong.

Nice to see my favourite link building trick breaking in again as well this month!

top content

Top Traffic Sources

Google is driving most of the traffic as usual and it’s nice to see the rest of the top 10 made up of social media and forums.

Except for 1, Charles finds himself a place in the top 10 traffic sources for the second month in a row!

analytics traffic sources

Search Engine Traffic

Google sent a whopping 35,522 (1,145 per day) visits this month which is up from last month’s 29,573 (953 per day).

Search traffic has shown steady growth over the past 12 months and hopefully the social SEO booster plugin will grow that further!

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 I had a total of 29,125 views which has dropped to 26,578 this month. I’m guessing that is down to the small number of videos I have published recently.

However the YouTube metric I’m most interested in the number of minutes watched. Last month that was 118,755 which has grown to 133,198 this month!

So while I might not have had as many views, people are sticking around to watch videos for longer.

That also means nearly 3 people are watching 1 of my videos every single second of every single day!

youtube analytics

Social Shares

The blog has seen a total of 33,822 shares across Facebook, Twitter and Google+ this month compared to 30,667 last month.

  • Google+ – 7,391 (6,460 last month)
  • Twitter – 15,645 (14,227 last month)
  • Facebook – 10,786 (9,980 last month)

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My Forum Statistics

There were 2,630 new users, 62 new topics and 180 new replies on the forum this month.

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

I’ll personally answer any internet marketing questions you have!

  • Users: 6,977 (4,347 last month)
  • Topics: 966 (904 last month)
  • Posts: 3,315 (3,135 last month)

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

This month brought 3,163 new subscribers across various channels which is a slight drop from last month’s 3,330.

There are now a total of 22,253 subscribers across all of the different channels.

  • E-mail – 1,370 (2,263 last month) / Total: 10,626
  • Twitter – 390 (196 last month) / Total: 2,803
  • YouTube – 357 (388 last month) / Total: 3,277
  • Facebook – 141 (203 last month) / Total: 1,408
  • Google+ – 645 (464 last month) / Total: 3,350
  • RSS – 260 (-184 last month) / Total: 789

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Forum Promotion Posts

I haven’t done a huge amount of promotion work recently as my time seems to just get eaten up!

Still managed to make a bit of a push though!

  • TrafficPlanet – 0 posts (156 visits)
  • WarriorForum – 0 posts (248 visits)
  • BlackHatWorld – 79 posts (739 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.

I passed on a small amount of work to another consultant which generated a $180.75 referral fee.

Earnings Total

  • Affiliate Income – $9,833.50
  • Consultation Income – $180.75
  • Expenses – $146.00

Grand Total: $9,868.25 / £6,005.51 ($16,400.92 / £9,920.70 last month)

I was expecting to see a drop in January due to last month’s figure been inflated with my launch and the fact it is January, which always shows a drop in sales for the most part!

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How to start a successful blog in 7 days

Signing Off

It has already been a great start to the new year that is only set to continue.

I have some excited things planned and my $100 case study course is really going to take internet marketing tutorials to the next level.

I promise you it will not be like anything you have seen before!

I’ve got data for a couple of interesting case studies ready to roll and I’ll be posting another scathing review.

I have also launched a new project in partnership with another blogger that is purely focused on making quick cash fast. I’ll be revealing more details & our progress in next month’s income report.

It’s a shame to see earnings drop below the $10,000 barrier again – but with everything coming in the next few weeks that will just be a temporary blip!

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

63 Responses

  1. Luke Glassford

    Hey Matt, always enjoy reading these posts every month. I notice the blog always has a very good bounce rate – have you got any tips to share on improving bounce rates?

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 2nd, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      Well, just take a look at the blog with your bounce rate hat on and you’ll see :)

  2. eddie harp

    Hi Mathew
    Just a quick one on scrape box . Have just purchased this after watching your video and wondered what the difference was between an anonymous proxy and a google checked proxy and in what situation would I use each. Love the blog by the way.

    Thanks eddie

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 2nd, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      I think you mean public proxies, which are typically slower/less reliable than a private proxy.

      I tend to use private proxies for scraping and public/private for posting.

  3. Nano

    good information,, i like it

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 2nd, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      Thanks :)

  4. Dave Briggs

    Refreshing to see someone publish their online income… and also a little intimidating to be perfectly honest!

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 19th, 2014 at 8:09 am

      Maybe if you follow it from day 1 its less scary :)

  5. Akshat

    hey matthew,

    I just noticed that you removed social locker from your posts. Why?
    And If you had to start over the blog , would you use social locker ?
    If not, then what would be your social strategy ?

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 17th, 2014 at 9:57 am

      It’s still there on the majority of posts

  6. phuonglinh

    Hi Matthew Woodward,
    I love this post. Really informative and useful for me, a newbie in online business. I am considering some of these plugins to improve my comment system. This article helps me so much. After reading your post, I think I have ideas. Thanks for sharing this post. Hope to read more helpful information from you. Great job!

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 10th, 2014 at 11:26 am

      No worrys :)

  7. Sagar Desai

    Hey Matt,

    Really awesome brother. Eagerly waiting for your case study!

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 4th, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      I’ve spent the whole of today fleshing out the plan more :)

  8. Dhruv Bhagat

    Matthew!! You rock man! :D

    With a BANG from the first month of 2014. Way more to go.. Keep sharing! Keep inspiring us :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 4th, 2014 at 9:55 am

      Thanks Dhruv!

  9. Stuart McLeod

    Another handsome month Matthew!

    It interesting to see who simple yet effective lead pages has turned out to be for whoever uses it, Clay certainly seems to know his stuff when it comes to conversion software.

    Recently we have seen a few redesigns from guys like Zac Johnston, Pat Flynn, David Risley and Corbett Barr, is this in your plans for 2014?

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 4th, 2014 at 9:56 am

      When it was first released I was unimpressed and requested a refund but its getting much much better now!

  10. Haroon

    Great great.. this post really inspire me. Wish you good luck for more income .

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 4th, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Thanks Haroon!

  11. Tim Soulo

    Looks quite great to me, Matthew :)

    All affiliate earnings are from your blog? or you have more affiliate websites?

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 3rd, 2014 at 10:03 am

      The income report only features income related to this blog.

  12. Drew

    Awesome. God damn first class is looking unreal.

    Why did ShareaSale fly you out?

    • Drew
      February 2nd, 2014 at 3:07 am

      Nevermind I now have my answer!

      Great report!

      • Matthew Woodward
        February 2nd, 2014 at 7:15 pm

        No worrys :)

  13. Kevin Grunert

    Interesting to see that you’ve turned off push email entirely, rather than just the notification sounds which was how I dealt with the problem you mentioned.

    Gives the best of both worlds – emails are still downloading in the background and ready for you when you want them, but without the annoying beep/buzz everytime one comes in.

    Great income/progress report – keep up the good work!

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 2nd, 2014 at 7:16 pm


      Because even though there is no sound, every time you look at your phone you will see the emails there still which stops you ‘turning off’

  14. Charles Floate

    Woohoo! E-Commerce guide still killing it and still getting in the top 10 :D

    Looking forward to my guide one day taking the #1 spot over your gigantic piece :P

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 1st, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      Over my what? o_O

      • Pratik Unadkat
        February 2nd, 2014 at 7:06 am


        I get that humor Matt!

        By the way, as always, an impressive report. I am much awaited for the results of the WpMonster.

        • Matthew Woodward
          February 2nd, 2014 at 7:14 pm

          Charles the kinky boy!

  15. Miki Vicioso

    Hey Matthew, another great post! Impressive detail you go into! wonder how long these posts take you. Keep it up!

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 2nd, 2014 at 7:18 pm

      That one took just over 7 hours

  16. Josh May

    Great stuff man! And that Google+ “read more” interactive thing looks pretty awesome. Thanks for pointing that out!

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 2nd, 2014 at 7:21 pm

      Yeah it’s pretty sweet only set it up the other day and sort of bodged it into the site, but the concept is awesome!

  17. Naveen

    Every month when I see your income not only I get inspirations, but I get an rough idea that how we can earn from difference sources.

    And you do not want to write a separate post like ‘ 50 ways to make money’, coz I see it all on your income round up post.

    Glad to see these figures Matt. Thanks.

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 2nd, 2014 at 7:21 pm

      I thought about going after the make money online keyword as a case study/experiment with the blog

  18. Justin McGill @ Workado

    Love these posts and the insights. Really great conversion rate on your tool!

    Also cool you are open to guest posts, but it’s just a little too early for our product lol.

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 1st, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      Thanks Justin! I wouldn’t accept a product focused guest post anyway

      • Walt @ Found Success
        February 1st, 2014 at 8:21 pm

        Well there’s the sponsored review spot, which I think is totally overlooked as your site gains mad traffic. Good month, glad to see you earn well and you have so low expenses. Do you really don’t use any software other than SEO Booster and Buzzbundle?

        • Matthew Woodward
          February 2nd, 2014 at 7:19 pm

          Not really had anyone take me up on that! Have thought about removing it recently anyway

          I use other software that I have previously bought (look in past income reports) but for the most part just publish and engage.

  19. Doug Belchamber

    Great roundup Matt – congrats on another stellar month.

    Insane jump in forum users – would be interested to find out how you ‘value’ those users (I recall your analytics tutorial which showed how you placed a value on mailing list opt ins).

    Just out of interest, are WPEngine paying you for the ‘Best Hosting For WordPress’ link in the footer, as there’s no affiliate link (like the Shareasale ones further up the page)?

    Keep up the great work!

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 1st, 2014 at 5:07 pm


      I think they are mostly spam users.

      Just taken a closer look at that, the cheeky sods are dynamically pushing that into customers websites!

      • Doug Belchamber
        February 1st, 2014 at 5:19 pm

        Yeah I thought it might have been snuck in, hence mentioning it. Little bit underhand, imo.

        • Matthew Woodward
          February 2nd, 2014 at 7:23 pm

          See my other comment :)

      • Pratik Unadkat
        February 2nd, 2014 at 7:10 am

        Wow, that’s very low of someone to do that, especially on a good paying customer’s website. If it was free, I could understand that.

        I wouldn’t try Wpengine anytime from this experience. Sniffing into other’s websites.

        • Pratik Unadkat
          February 2nd, 2014 at 7:14 am

          Also just look at the anchor text, it’s targeted for ranking high lol. “Best hosting for wordpress”. Real bummer. I am amazed that some company as big as this could do such a low thing.

          There guys are no different than the SEO guys who messed with Expedia recently inserting hidden links in theme’s footer.

          Sorry for the rant but I couldn’t just resist to comment on how low act this was on a part of a company as big as WpEngine.

          So they are getting high PR targeted anchor text backlinks from their customer’s sites. Real bummer.


          • Matthew Woodward
            February 2nd, 2014 at 7:14 pm

            See my other comment but from an SEO perspective it is a stupid thing to do and given they can insert the link however/wherever they want through Wordpress hooks it could be much better integrated :)

        • Matthew Woodward
          February 2nd, 2014 at 7:13 pm

          I think its because of the problems I’ve had they moved me to a free account which by default adds that link

          • Pratik Unadkat
            February 3rd, 2014 at 6:14 am

            Well in that case, I am noticing your site load faster than it was previously. Who said free ain’t better? :P

          • Matthew Woodward
            February 3rd, 2014 at 10:01 am

            Its on its own dedicated POD rather than sharing with others at the moment

  20. Gurjit Singh Khehra

    Going Great Bro. I am waiting for the case study.

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 1st, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      Soon :)

  21. Munir Nathoo

    Amazing! I look forward to the case study and am very optimistic that you will in no time achieve the goals that you have set for yourself!

    You are in inspiration! I just wish I could I work as hard as you to fulfill my dreams…

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 1st, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      No such thing as wishing, you either do or you don’t!

      • JR John
        February 1st, 2014 at 5:19 pm

        Too true. Time for me to stop reading this awesome blog, stop procrastinating, and GET TO WORK! :)

        JR John

        P.S. I really can’t resist – I’m checking out that second part to YT marketing.

        • Matthew Woodward
          February 2nd, 2014 at 7:22 pm

          One of the videos in it is broken at the moment but will fix it up tomorrow!

  22. Yeison

    Great Job Matthew, keep it up next month you will pass the 10 k again.

    Pura vida

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 2nd, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      Cheers Yeison :)

  23. Sheyi

    Okay, this is a wake up call to others that thinks writing content alone is enough to generate traffic from google. Content marketing matters a lot.

    I love the no back link method, but here, all I see are great contents and also the best of content marketing.

    Keep up motivating us and can’t wait for the $100 case study, but do I have any other option that to wait?

    Kebabalazi – means get drunk in South Africa !

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 2nd, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      Hahaha its just a matter of time :)

  24. kowisoft

    Hi Matt,

    unfortunately the high amount of new users in the forum is really due to spam. There are several spammers promoting their SEO services, FX trading and similar… Hope you can get around with this as the forum somehow makes this amazing blog even more special.

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 2nd, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      Yeah I zapped a few thousand of em :)

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