Monthly Income, Growth & Traffic Report – October 2014

This is the 25th 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 October

October has been a great month all round, not only have I been super productive I also managed to take a short break.

I have pushed the blog forward this month and also pushed 2 other projects pretty hard which has had me working stupid hours the past 2 weeks, but entirely worth it!

So let’s see what all of that hard work has done for me this month, in previous months when I worked like a crazy man income dropped so let’s see whats going on!

Content Creation

I published a total of 6 posts last month which has jumped to a grand total of 10 this month! I think that is the most posts I have ever made in 1 month on the blog.

First of all we updated the blackhat case study which I have an awesome new update for this month as well.

Then we took a look at what this Arnold Schwarzenegger motivational speech can teach us about internet marketing and delved into Ecommerce SEO.

Next I gave the Apple fans what they wanted with my SEO software for Mac roundup and revealed the details of 5 sites that survived Penguin 3.

Last but not least Stuart Walker made me look stupid on my own blog.

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

Blog Features

The blog was featured in a few posts this month namely 8 proven methods to increase social media shares by Zac Johnson over at

Then WordTracker shared one of my link building strategies and I was mentioned in these entrepreneur lessons.

Anti Spam Upgrades

If you have followed income reports recently you will know that the blog and mainly the forum have been getting spammed left, right and centre.

Over the past few months I have tried every combination of anti spam that you can think of and while some has been effective nothing really did the trick.

This led me to giving CleanTalk a try last month which is essentially a more robust version of Akismet.


I rolled it out fully just over a week ago & you can check out the live stats yourself but so far it’s done a great job of dealing with sign up, forum and comment spam.

The odd few are still getting through but I can deal with that – I just need to clean up the residual spam accounts now!

Opt In Conversion Optimisation

At the start of this week Stuart Walker made me look stupid and showed me how to increase the email optin conversion rate of the blog.

Well 2 days ago I took his advice to heart and put together a step by step plan of attack which I worked nearly 17 hours on yesterday to get it done in time for the start of November.

In the post Stuart suggested 7 improvements-

  1. Create a lead magnet
  2. Ask for less (only email field)
  3. Make optin boxes ugly
  4. Make in content optins standout
  5. Create content upgrades
  6. Add a headline feature box
  7. Add 2 step optin technology

So I went to town and created lead magnets for 7 different categories of post such as social media, conversion, SEO etc. These are now live across every single post on the entire blog via an exit popup, corner slider, 2 step yellow bar & ugly in content optins.

I have also created 6 content upgrades but I haven’t deployed them yet. Once they are done I just need to add the headline feature box!

I completed the changes less than 12 hours ago and already I’m seeing optin conversion rates on my exit popups jump from 0.78% to 4.14%.

I will make the final couple of changes on Monday and track all of the data over the coming month!

Broken Affiliate Links

Last week I decided to upgrade to WordPress 4.0 and do all of my plugin upgrades at the same time.

All of the upgrades went perfectly and I tested the site, everything was working as expected. The one thing I didn’t test though was affiliate links.

It turned out that the plugin update broke all of my affiliate links so they were hitting blank white pages – they were broken for just over 2 days in total.

That certainly cost me money so please learn the lesson from my mistake and don’t learn it the hard way yourself – always check your links!

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

Last month traffic came in at 45,999 (1,533/day) which has increased to 51,116 (1,649/day) at long last!

I have been trying to break the 50,000 unique milestone for a while now so it was a tense couple of days checking if I was going to fall just short of the target, again.

Now I have hit the target I’m going to look to maintain it throughout the Christmas period.


Most Popular Content

The spam rank case study was very popular this month along with my Penguin 3 observations.

Arnold also broke his way into the top spots and my GSA Search Engine Ranker tutorial snook in as well!


Top Traffic Sources

The top traffic sources haven’t changed that much really and everything is staying nice and steady.

Seems I was featured in another Follow Weekly email but I still have no idea what that site is or who is behind it – please tell me :)


Search Engine Traffic

Google organic search traffic has remained steady this month at 36,808 (1,187/day) compared to last months 36,636 (1,221/day)

I would still love to get past the 40,000 per month barrier again, maybe next time :)


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 YouTube brought in 21,366 views which has seen dropped a little to 20,404 this month.

Alongside a drop in views also saw a drop in minutes watched from 110,109 to 105,215 – I have a couple of videos planned this month to help change that!


Social Shares

The blog has seen a total of 56,384 shares across Facebook, Twitter and Google+ this month compared to 53,617 last month.

  • Google+ – 17,096 (15,129 last month)
  • Twitter – 24,044 (23,231 last month)
  • Facebook – 15,244 (15,257 last month)


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

This month brought 5,205 new subscribers across various channels which is a nice jump from last month’s total of 3,376.

There are now a total of 81,223 subscribers across all of the different channels.

  • E-mail – 3,440 (2,517 last month) / Total: 38,653
  • Twitter – 260 (448 last month) / Total: 5,801
  • YouTube – 267 (266 last month) / Total: 6,190
  • Facebook – 819 (307 last month) / Total: 12,932
  • Google+ – 196 (203 last month) / Total: 17,039
  • RSS – 223 (-365 last month) / Total: 608

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 $6,314.70 which is a nice jump from last months $5,438.76.

Earnings Total

  • Affiliate Income – $11,231.13
  • Consultation Income – $00.00
  • Other Income – $6,314.70
  • Expenses – $49.99

Grand Total: $17,495.84 / £10,937.98 ($16,804.29 / £10,379.55 last month)

I’m still aiming to breka the $20k target barrier and if it is anything like when I was trying to break $10k I have a few more months on frustration ahead.

I’m not expecting to break the target this year with November and December on the way the Christmas gold rush will take effect.

Who knows though – stranger things have happened!

How to start a successful blog in 7 days

Signing Off

Overall it has been a great month both in terms of having time to relax and re-energise but also in terms of just how much I have got done.

This isn’t reflected in earnings directly but there are some powerful seeds planted. On top of that the increase in optin conversion rate will do wonders for traffic and income in months to come.

I have some great posts lined up for this month and I’ll be speaking at the BHW/Ungagged conference in Las Vegas – let me know if you are around!

If you feel like you can produce a high quality case study/step by step tutorial and would like to guest post please get in touch.

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