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.