Monthly Income, Growth & Traffic Report – November 2012

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

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 November

I’ve put a lot more time & effort into creating content this month and tried a couple of new experimental pieces to see how they went down. I did however slack off on promotion as a lot of my time was invested in getting things organised for my upcoming software.

Content Creation

Last month I only published 3 posts so this month I decided to change that. I published 8 posts in total and taught you how to spin content properly with The Best Spinner and my how to use BBPress forum tutorial.

We also took a look at how not to launch a website which teaches us the 7 figure lesson of getting the user journey right before launching a national advertising campaign.

I was able to create a really unique John Chow vs Search Engine Journal post that measured the value of different types of related traffic – a very interesting read if you missed it!

I also tested out 2 new pieces of content – What I read this month and a round up of income reports from other blogs.

I wasn’t sure if either of those posts would go down well but you guys seem to have thoroughly enjoyed them so they’ll both be making a return next month.

Upgrade Time

Rendering and uploading tutorials was taking far too long. It would take a good 5-8 hours to render each tutorial and convert it into the different formats which made the computer unusable during rendering.

So I upgraded the hardware in my PC from a Intel 2.5Ghz Core 2 Duo with 4GB RAM and a standard hard drive to an Intel i5 3.4Ghz Quad Core with 16GB RAM and an OCZ Agility 3 SSD drive.

What used to take hours and hours to complete now happens in minutes and the computer is still usable during rendering, perfect!

Home Office

The other problem I had was some tutorials were weighing in at over 500MB a piece and uploading them (and the tablet/mobile versions) was taking a while as well.

Previously I was on 24MB down / 1.1MB up ADSL but last week upgraded to PlusNet fibre broadband which gives the following results (speed test was ran during peak period) –

Site Speed Test

Not bad huh? What makes it even better is 24MB + line rental was costing me £32.86. While 76MB Fibre + line rental only costs £30.48.

Fantastic deal if you ask me!

Be sure to check out PlusNet fibre broadband if you’re in the UK.

Marketing Is Teaching

Once I again I was lucky enough for Terry Kyle to feature me in his weekly Sunday SEO series..

This time Terry was discussing why your site can’t convert visitors into buyers and he used this site as an example of selling through teaching.

Check out the full post it’s a great read for anyone – you should also sign up for the weekly series in the sidebar. Terry always puts out top quality stuff each week.

John Chow Feature

After writing my John Chow vs Search Engine Journal post, John Chow also posted about it on his blog.

Not often John writes posts himself anymore (not like the good ole days) so I’m very grateful for the opportunity!

Thanks, John!!!

Internet Marketing Magazine

I was also contacted by the Internet Marketing Magazine to be featured in. They even included my picture and everything!

They have a readership of around 26,000 people across the UK, USA and Australia.

Another great opportunity which allowed me to get some additional exposure, thanks to Greg for hooking it up!

SEO Powersuite Competition

I also launched my biggest competition yet with a total prize fund of $1497.00.

There was an Enterprise license ($999) and Pro license ($399) of SEO Powersuite available as well as any one of their standalone products ($99.75) available to win.

The competition is now closed and the winners will be announced on Monday so stay tuned to find out if you have won.

There will also be a prize for everyone that didn’t win – you guys should know the drill by now!

Want To Sponsor A Competition? If you want to provide prizes for a competition and get exposure to your product or service then please contact me.

Super Secret Software Update

Last month I mentioned I had finished getting all the ground work done for the software and now I just needed a developer.

Well the developer was hired 3 weeks ago and the first beta version is nearly ready for my testing!

While he was working on that I’ve spent time preparing for the launch and putting together a launch plan. I’m also hiring a company to animate a promotional video for it as well!

Although the software will be 100% free to download and use forever, I do plan on adding an upsell into the funnel. A few of the members at TrafficPlanet gave me some great ideas so I’ll be working those into the upsell I offer.

However if you just want to download and use the software for free, you can ignore the upsell entirely :)

I’ve also plugged in an affiliate system so anyone can earn money by giving the software away free! Get in touch if you’re interested in promoting it.

Site Changes

There have been a few things bugging me about the blog that I haven’t had time to take care of.

So next month I’m going to putting a bit of time and effort into improving the site and making it more useful and easier to use for you guys.

Load Times

One of the things I have noticed is the site is getting slower as load on the budget shared hosting increases. The site now takes 2 seconds longer to load than it did in August and that is not acceptable.

So I’m going to optimise the entire site from the server level up all the way through to front end caching with an aim to get load time under 4 seconds.

I’ll be tweaking code, optimising server settings, adding a CDN and a bunch of other stuff – I’ll post a supporting case study & tutorial once it’s done.

Content Highlighting

I’ve also noticed that some of my best content is now buried away deep down in the archives.

My homepage gets the most traffic but it isn’t working as hard for me as it could be – so I’m going to be looking at ways to highlight my best content to each and every visitor.

As a quick fix I’ve added some submenus to the navigation but I can do much better than that with a bit of time.

Other Changes

I’ll also be making a range of other tweaks to the site including creating an informative advertising page and trying to achieve a zero bounce rate.

Taking A Break

One thing I have worked towards throughout November is winding down my work load so I can have a decent amount of time off in December.

In the past 3 years of self-employment I have taken next to no time off at all. I tend to work 6-7 day weeks for 8-16 hours a day and have being doing that for so long it’s just normal routine now.

It’s important to relax every once in a while and I’ve been trying to convince myself to have a break for the past year.

So throughout all of December, if I can’t be bothered when I wake up – I won’t be! Which is probably going to be a bit weird for me to be honest.

There are still things that will need doing to keep the business ticking over and I have a couple of small commitments with consultation clients but nothing major.

Don’t worry though I will still be publishing posts and working to improve the blog! I love what I do too much to walk away completely so any time I do spend ‘working’ will be ‘fun time’ spent on the blog.

As a result I’m expecting Decembers income report to take a heavy hit – so don’t expect anything special in next month’s report, I know I’m not!

Traffic Generation

Last month I really slacked off with the promotion side of things as I decided to focus on content creation instead.

I only made about 200 posts across 3 forums (WarriorForum, TrafficPlanet, BlackHatWorld) and didn’t really take advantage of any of the Google Alerts that came in or get involved much on social media.

I’m going to start putting BuzzBundle to use more as it provides the perfect interface for finding your audience and engaging them. It certainly has the potential to become one of the most used pieces of software I own!

I seem to struggle to find the right balance of time investment between content creation and promotion. Hopefully taking a break will help me out with that!

#1 – Buy SEO

Remember the whole point of this blog is to try and find out if you can do SEO without link building.

Last month I mentioned I had moved up to the #2 spot for the term ‘Buy SEO‘ in the UK.

Well this month its Number 1!


I would like to point out that this has happened completely by accident. At no point did I decide I was going to try and rank for that term, I just wrote a post highlighting a scammy product.

As you’ll see later in the report, Google has been very kind to me this month,

Time Invested

This month I’ve spent a total of 75 hours on the blog which is slacking off by my usual standards!

Upgrading my PC at the start of the month didn’t help which saw a couple of days downtime while I was getting everything setup.

The 75 hours are broken down as 40 hours content creation, 10 hours promotion, 15 hours on the new software and 10 hours answering questions/emails.

Crunching The Numbers

So let’s see what all of this work actually translated into.

Visitor Statistics

Last month saw record traffic to the blog with 6,240 unique visitors but this dropped to 5,008. Ouch!

My new visitor percentage dropped by 5% which is a direct result of the lack of promotional efforts this month.

Visitor Analytics

Most Popular Content

The tiered link building tutorials have climbed their way up to the top spots again this month.

Last month the income report was the most popular post but this month it’s in position 8? Will have to take a look at why that is!

You’ll also notice the forums have had an impact in the top 10 for the first time this month as well!

Top Content Analytics

Top Traffic Sources

I normally only reveal the top 5 traffic sources but I’m going to start sharing the top 10.

Google is quickly becoming a dominant traffic source moving up to the 2nd spot from 3rd with forums and social media channels making up most of the rest.

Traffic Source Analytics

Search Engine Traffic

With Google moving up the traffic source rankings it will come as no surprise that Google traffic is up for the 3rd month running.

Last month Google sent 1,681 visits across 217 keywords but this month they sent 2,319 across 291 keywords. That’s another huge increase on last month!

It would seem the Google Webmaster Guidelines experiment is going pretty well!

Keyword Search Traffic

YouTube Views

Last month saw a drop in YouTube views and this month sees another drop. There were a total of 3,852 views in November compared to 4,836 the month before.

Total time watched also dropped from 27,207 minutes to 21,880 which means that 12 hours per day at least 1 person is watching one of my videos which is pretty good when you look at it like that.

YouTube Analytics

Social Shares

Social sharing is going very well with a running total of 3,469 shares across the blog compared to last month’s total of 2,464.

That means 5,008 unique visitors shared 1,005 times which is roughly 1 in every 5 visitors.

Down from last months 1 in 2.5 visitors – you guys hate me :(

  • Twitter – 1,736 (805 last month)
  • Facebook – 1,163 (451 last month)
  • Google+ – 570 (274 last month)

My Forum Statistics

The forum has seen steady growth this month with double the number of people registering and a whole bunch of new topics and replies!

Feel free to get involved on the forum or find out why you should launch your own and how to do it!

  • Users: 99 (43 last month)
  • Topics: 39 (33 last month)
  • Posts: 176 (134 last month)


Now we are getting into a metric that really counts!

Having a loyal base of subscribers is critical to the long term sustainability of the blog. I’m hoping that by publishing high quality content people will naturally subscribe without it being forced on them.

Last month I had a total of 1,145 subscribers across all channels and this month that has grown to 1,571 people!

  • E-mail – 237 (224 last month) / Total: 777
  • Twitter – 67 (68 last month) / Total: 360
  • YouTube – 39 (51 last month) / Total: 171
  • Facebook – 25 (36 last month) / Total: 114
  • Google+ – 27 (0 last month) / Total: 48
  • RSS – 31 (70 last month) / Total: 101

Forum Promotion Posts

I really slacked off on promotion making a combined total of 209 posts. When I put effort into promotion I do around 500 posts across the month – I think a happy medium is around 400.

  • TrafficPlanet – 96 posts (1,131 visits)
  • WarriorForum – 49 posts (570 visits)
  • BlackHatWorld – 64 posts (720 visits)

Income Report

Here are the numbers you really want to see-

Affiliate Earnings


  • Hosting – $1.89
  • PC Upgrades – $596.06

Consultation Earnings

I separate out the consultation earnings from the affiliate earnings. The blog drives affiliate sales directly and whilst it does generate consultation leads these are separate projects in their own right.

This month I generated $7,114.65 / £4440.00 in consultation earnings up from last months $4,189.32 / £2,591.91.

Earnings Total

  • Affiliate Income – $2,798.89
  • Consultation Income – $7,114.65
  • Expenses – $597.95

Grand Total: $9,315.59 / £5,777.47 ($6,993.49 / £4,328.99 last month)

I was hoping to break the $10,000 barrier this month but just fell short and given I’m taking some time off next month I’m going to aim to smash that target in January now.

How to start a successful blog in 7 days

Signing Off

Well that brings me to the end of another income report and I’m looking forward to getting it published so I can relax for the rest of the day. Accounts and reports were not designed to be done on a Saturday in my opinion =D

While I’m taking some time off next month all of the time I do spend working will solely be invested in improving the blog, adding new content and further promotion – with minimal project/consultation work booked I’ll be able to put all of my focus onto the blog.

At the moment I don’t have a competition prizes arranged for December so if anyone wants to provide some please let me know!

Help Me Help YOU!

I would also be interested to hear your feedback on the blog and its direction.

In the comments can you tell me-

  • 1 thing you like about the blog
  • 1 thing you don’t like about the blog
  • 1 thing you would change about the blog

This feedback will be critical throughout December as I work to improve the blog for you all!

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

Any questions? Head over to the forums!

Have You Enjoyed This Post?

If you have enjoyed this post then please take 60 seconds to tell a friend.

Whether that’s on a forum, an instant messenger, on the phone or in the pub – please help me to spread the love!

I invest a lot of time creating posts like this (over 8 hours so far for this post alone) so please take 60 seconds to say thank you.

Every little helps and I rely on people like yourself to help grow traffic!