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The month of December was a busy month for me with the Holidays and I did not work on my website as much as I would have liked. However, my site has continued to grow and even though December is typically a low traffic month it has saw over a 100% increase in traffic and I am now receiving more than 100 visitors per day!
In this monthly income report I will show you my income for my case study site PayMyStudentLoans.com and the strategies I have used to get to 100 visitors per day in 4 months.
Backlink Outreach – I Received 3 and counting .EDU backlinks! – My strategy based on a post by Neil Patel at Quick Sprout (Link Builders Guide to email Outreach) was to outsource the creation of an epic resource and then contact each of the people on the post. This has resulted in 3 links already and with many people off on holidays I expect for more links to come in January from this effort.
100+ Visitors Per Day – 100 visitors is a decent milestone I achieved part way through the month and I anticipate will continue into the New Year.
1.5 Weeks Off For Holidays – I am not sure if this was a success or a failure…I took a couple weeks off due to the holidays and being away from my home office. I know I will need to work extra hard in January to catch up!
Authority Website Stats for November
Income = $172.92 (-28%) ***potential commissions($750) have not cleared***
Another solid month for my monetization efforts while I continue to test what mix of offers makes the most sense for me and my readers.
I switched my main affiliate offer to a new company which I have been able to vet and know they offer valuable services to students. This switch has resulted in lower immediate payouts since it is a pay for performance vs pay for lead.
A frustration I have had this month is my inability to get all the data I want to be able to get a clear understanding of…
I can not answer – What links are generating what # of clicks resulting in x dollars?
I know many people struggle with this and there must be a solution which I plan to find in January!
Pretty Links is a great basic tool to collect raw data but it doesn’t connect with my affiliate partner to know of the say 100 people link 1 sent what number converted.
Adsense = $ 40.92 (+16.66)
I have now made the decision to remove AdSense off my website to focus more on my affiliate offers. My reasons for removing Adsense off my website are as follows…
3 Reasons I Removed Adsense:
- Money – The real estate AdSense was taking up can be better utilized with higher earning affiliate offers.
- Control over offers – There were still Pay Day Loan ads on the site that I don’t believe will help my visitors but with AdSense I had limited control over the offer being promoted. Now I know and can vet any offer that makes it onto the website.
- Ability To Build Backlinks – By not having as much blatant advertising I have a higher probability of receiving backlinks from bloggers and institutions when I reach out to them. Many bloggers and institutions don’t like linking to sites who focus heavily on making money so by having more subtle affiliate links I hope to increase my link building success rate. Unfortunately this is only a theory I won’t be able to test with data.
CPA Offer #1 = $132.00 (-$84)
There are still a few links on the site that direct people to this CPA offer but I am now testing another offer which doesn’t provide immediate payouts/feedback.
CPA Offer #2 = $0 (potential = $750)
The main affiliate offer was switched from CPA offer #1 to CPA offer #2. Offer #2 is a pay for performance commission which takes longer for each potential payout to progress through the system.
So although this offer resulted in 0 earnings I will continue monitoring to see what kind of conversions I can expect from Pending commissions to Earned commissions.
Costs = 73.54
Again the majority of my costs associated with my website is content creation using my method I talk about here.
The VA’s do a lot of things for me such as research post material, identify potential guest posting opportunities, publish content, modify graphics, upload and syndicate videos I make and other assignments as they come up.
- VA’s = $20.82 @ ODesk (research for a couple epic posts)
- Content Creation (5 on page articles) = $15.00 @ ODesk
- Content Creation (10 guest post articles) = $0.00 @ ODesk (I wrote all myself)
- Dedicated 1 Article/Wk Writer (4 articles) = $24.00 @ODesk
- Content Creation Management = $6.56 @ ODesk
- Hosting = $7.16 @ HostGator
Running Net Income/Loss
In total this website has not made money yet with still a cumulative loss, however with 2 profitable months I am looking forward to seeing what happens next month.
Traffic = 2,519 (+102%) Unique Visitors
This is the kind of month over month traffic growth I like to see! A 102% increase in traffic is great! Although based on some of the engagement stats I don’t believe the traffic quality was as good as I would like it to be.
New Traffic Not as Engaged/Valuable…
- Bounce Rate vs last month (+9.83%)
- Pages / Visit vs last month (-0.14)
Not all traffic is equal, I have been generating traffic from some related high level keywords like “Teacher”. It is tough to provide a quality user experience for keywords that are that “short tail” and my engagement levels show it.
The positive I take from this is that by ranking for these non-targeted high level keywords I believe Google is currently looking kindly upon my new site.
Email Opt Ins
Still a failure!
Total sign up = 6! (2 in the month of December with 2,519 visitors!)
I have now changed the call to action on the homepage this month to the consolidation CPA offer to better utilize that homepage real estate.
Using Pretty Links I will be able to tell how many people have followed this link.
Content, Promotion and Backlinks
In this section I will show exactly what I have done over the last month to get 100 visitors a day. If you are looking to achieve the same results than there will hopefully be some actionable information shown below…
On Page Content = 9 Posts
In the month of December I only published 9 articles! Not as many as I would like but a couple were very long and helpful resources.
My method of creating articles has been slightly modified when I hired a contributor to upload articles directly to the website for $5/article.
Outreach – Blog Commenting & Social Media (~30 blog comments & ~30 tweets)
I really focused at the start of this month on continuing to reach out to other bloggers in the personal finance field and did so by leaving valuable comments on their blogs and tweeting their content @their-user-name.
This outreach was instrumental in receiving more relevant guest posting opportunities.
Guest Posts = 6 Posts on Quality Sites
Guest posting continues to be where I personally spend the majority of my effort by reaching out to the blog owners and writing the articles myself.
- GP 1 – Dec 5 – PR3 – Alexa 427k
- GP2 – Dec 7 – PR1 – Alexa 1,733k
- GP3 – Dec 17 – PR2 – Alexa 125k
- GP4 – Dec 17 – PR3 – Alexa 556k
- GP5 – Dec 28 – PR 2 – Alexa 119k
All of these guest posts were achieved using the method I talk about here.
Decembers guest posts were on very similar quality sites as previous months, next month I will continue to try and level up on the sites I am guest posting on…
- Average PR and Alexa Rank for November guest posts = PR 2.2 & Alexa 577k
- Average PR and Alexa Rank for December guest posts = PR 2.2 & Alexa 592k
Contact Webmasters – Received 3 .EDU Links
By creating an epic post (list of 150+ grants) and then contacting each of the grants I referenced in the post I was able to generate 3 backlinks already with likely more coming in January.
The success of this strategy warrants its own post. I have added it to my growing list of blog post ideas!
I use majestic SEO to track my link profile and help estimate how my link building efforts are being viewed by Google.
- Referring Domains = 75 (+19)
- Backlinks = 1517 (+833)
- Citation Flow 32 (+2)
- Trust Flow 13 (-7)
I don’t like seeing my trust flow decline to the low teens; I believe the .edu links I have received late in December will help correct this for next month. But it is concerning seeing my trust flow decline the way it has. As a result I will slow down on building any new Web 2.0 properties and focus on the higher quality link building strategies I have been doing.
Image From – MajesticSEO.com
Last Month’s Goals
- Continue Guest Posting – (guest post on 5 high quality sites) – Achieved
- Continue Content Creation at 15 posts/month – Failed – only 9
- Monetize – Test higher value CPA & receive 2 commissions – Failed – 0 earned so far (but they take longer to clear and with the holidays at the end of the month this could be why)
- Social – See measureable traffic/outreach with traffic efforts – Achieved
Next Month’s Goals
- Continue Guest Posting – (guest post on 5 high quality sites)
- Continue Content Creation at 10 posts/month
- Monetize – Get data under control(know how much each link makes) & earn over $500
2013 Website Goal
My website case study PayMyStudentLoans.com will earn more per month than Pat Flynn’s case study site SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com for at least 3 months of the year
In October Pat’s site earned $3,048.69 and mine earned $105.39
This isn’t exactly fair for Pat (mainly because he doesn’t know) and he has about 100 other things he does incredibly well online. I will be putting the majority of my online efforts into my site.
This goal is only meant to help fuel my competitive side and wish everyone all the success possible in 2013.
My 7 Favourite Articles I Read This Month…
Making Money from a Niche Website
Spencer Haws from Niche Pursuits showed that his niche/authority sites are still able to be making money with one of his post panda sites on track to make over $500 per month – on track for $500/month from a new niche site
How To Create an Auto responder Series
How To Run Mastermind Groups
Jaime wrote a guest post on Smart Passive Income on the benefit of masterminds. This is a really great how to guide on running a mastermind group Read more here. In 2013 I plan on starting to participate more with mastermind groups so this article was great.
Outreach Emails (QuickSprout and SEOMoz)
Neil Patel from the Blog at Quick Sprout is always putting out amazing content. This month the post Link Builders Guide to Email Outreach had some great tips that I was able to implement to generate several high quality backlinks. This topic was also written about by RandFish at SEOMoz in his Whiteboard Friday video here
Broken Link Building Bible
Here is a massive post written over at SEOMoz on how to find broken links and generate backlinks as a result of you finding those broken links. Read the whole article here