to generate over $3,000/month
in less than 10 months!
Well it was another record month for my Authority Website case study site (PayMyStudentLoans.com) with over 100% growth in both visitors and income! This income report will break down exactly what I did over the month to achieve these earnings and what I plan to do next month to keep this going!
I have achieved over 100% traffic growth in the last 2 months! Last month I was thrilled to report that I crossed the 100 visitor per day mark – well this month I was getting over 300 visitors per day!
Blog Commenting + Guest Posting – This continues to be the backbone of my SEO and traffic strategy. Blog comments as an outreach strategy and then guest posting on the sites using my inexpensive articles has proven to be a winning combo.
Joined a Mastermind Group – It was an exciting month where for the first time I have joined a mastermind group with some really smart online entrepreneurs at different stages in their journey. Being able to help each other out and bounce ideas off each other has proven to be both valuable and very fun! I highly highly recommend anyone who is going at this journey of making additional money online to join a mastermind group!
Effectively Tracking All Outbound Links – I now finally have Google analytics and PrettyLinksLite working together so that I can track and split test all my affiliate links easily. I now know which visitors are clicking through to which links and where those visitors came from.
Press Releases – I created an article on my PayMyStudentLoans.com that was a combination of investigative journalism and consumer watchdog. Based on how helpful I thought the article was and the suggestion of a friend I thought testing press releases would be a good strategy. It may be but I made the mistake of being lazy and simply hired 2 gigs on Fiver to create and submit press releases. The article got completely dropped from the search results. This was my mistake trying to take the shortcut on a potentially legitimate strategy. One of my favourite quotes definitely applies – There is no substitute for hard work.
Quoted Conversions – Last month I had generated 44 leads to an affiliate program that quoted an 8% conversion to a $250 offer well as of this writing none of those 44 have converted into a sale. The lesson, which I have mostly followed, is never trust conversion numbers provided to you always test and verify for your own audience!
Authority Website Stats for November
Income = $452.13 (+161%)
A great month for monetization! With the January student loan rush this is to be expected!
My main affiliate offer continues to get tested and I have branched out and started writing program specific review posts which have yet to result in any significant affiliate commissions.
CPA Offer #1 = $267 (+$135)
This is not my main affiliate offer but there are still links on the site which drive around 10-15 clicks per day. The conversions are great and the analytics for this offer are also excellent!
CPA Offer #2 = $185.13 (+$185)
This is really where the I was hoping to see significant gains month over month. I have been using this affiliate program for a couple months now and am working on being as patient as possible but the minimal reporting and long sales cycle really makes it difficult for me to measure and improve.
As a result of the effort I put in to set up Google Analytics to track clicks I am able to clearly see how many clicks I am getting and where my best visitors are coming from.
Costs = 115.68
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 = $33.52 @ ODesk (research for a couple epic posts)
- Content Creation (5 on page articles) = $15.00 @ ODesk
- Content Creation (20 articles) = $60.00 @ ODesk
- Hosting = $7.16 @ HostGator
Running Net Income/Loss
This website is now after five months in the black! I have earned money after paying for all expenses this website has added to my businesses bottom line!
Traffic =6,686 (+265%) Unique Visitors
What a great month! Following up last month’s 100+% increase with a 265% increase this month is fantastic!
However, there are 2 reasons that I am cautiously optimistic…
- High Level irrelevant keywords driving high amounts of traffic – I have been getting 25-50 visitors per day for the keyword “teachers”. My site is not optimized for visitors coming for this keyword and I expect this traffic to go away.
- January trend – In January there is typically a spike in students searching for student loan related items as shown in Google Trends especially when compared to December.
Here are the traffic stats for January…
Email Opt Ins – Still a failure!
Total sign up = 8! (2 in the month of January with 6,686visitors!)
Brian at http://backlinko.com/ provided me with some suggestions on improving my conversion based on his experience. I have modified the opt in box based on his thoughts…
Content, Promotion and Backlinks
In this section I will show exactly what I have done over the last month to get to 300 visitors a day.
On Page Content = 11 Posts (2 more than last month)
I am happy with the 11 posts I published this month, many of them are really high quality with a couple posts that should be evergreen pieces of content that get traffic on an ongoing basis.
Outreach – Blog Commenting & Social Media (~20 blog comments & ~20 tweets)
Again I focused on this at the start of the month but it dropped off a little as I went. I should be doing a better more consistent job of blog commenting and reaching out to other bloggers in my niche. I will try and resolve this problem next month.
However, the outreach at the start of the month was very effective and generated several great 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 – Jan 21 – PR1 – Alexa 2,477k
- GP2 – Jan 3– PR2 – Alexa 78k
- GP3 – Jan 21 – PR2 – Alexa 1,381k
- GP4 – Jan 16 – PR3 – Alexa 705k
- GP5 – Jan 9 – PR 3 – Alexa 314k
- GP6 – Jan 9 – PR6 – Alexa 305k
All of these guest posts were achieved using the method I talk about here.
January’s guest posts were on average on a higher PR website but lower Alexa rank site than the previous months…
- 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
- Average PR and Alexa Rank for January guest posts = PR 2.83 & Alexa 876k
Guest Post Tip – If you are an affiliate for any companies I recommend approaching them to request the opportunity to guest post on their main website which is likely an authoritative relevant site! This worked out very well last month and resulted in me generating a PR6 backlink!
Outreach Success! – I created a couple list posts this month and had my VA contact all the companies listed, this strategy continues to work well and was directly responsible for generating 1 University website link!
I use majestic SEO (free) to track my link profile and help estimate how my link building efforts are being viewed by Google.
- Referring Domains = 80 (+5)
- Backlinks = 1243 (-274)
- Citation Flow 31 (-1)
- Trust Flow 20 (+7)
I was happy to see my trust flow bounce back up to 20 and I will continue to not worry as much about volume but more about quality authoritative links to build my trust flow!
This month I did not do any work on building web 2.0 properties and as a result I believe that was the main reason for the decrease in backlinks.
Image From – MajesticSEO.com
My Secret SEO Sauce – I also picked up an expired domain that was highly highly relevant and 301 redirected it to a relevant post. This technique is definitely in the grey hat world. However, I only buy domains where the visitor that had been going to the expired URL would be happy to land on my page. By executing this strategy I was able to pick up a PR2 domain and take all the link juice/small amounts of traffic from a dead resource and redirect it to a live page on my site on the same topic. This strategy is a great way of providing extra juice to your most important pages!
Last Month’s Goals
- Continue Guest Posting – (guest post on 5 high quality sites) – Achieved (6 sites)
- Continue Content Creation at 10 posts/month – Achieved (11 posts)
- Monetize – Get data under control(know how much each link makes) – Achieved
- Monetize – Earn over $500 -
Next Month’s Goals
- Continue Guest Posting – (guest post on 5 high quality sites)
- Continue Content Creation at 10 posts/month
- Develop Editorial Calendar
- Outsource 2 Activities – Carnival Submission & Blog Commenting
- Monetize –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
- So far in 2013 I am 0 for 1
- January (-$2,796.18)
- $452.13 for PayMyStudentLoans
- $3248.31 for SecurityGuardHQ.com – Report
My 7 Favourite Articles I Read This Month…
1 – The Advanced Guide to SEO (BEST ARTICLE OF THE MONTH MAYBE YEAR!)
I am by no means an SEO expert living/breathing SEO everyday but even still I struggle to find much information where I feel like I am being intellectually challenged to learn more. Most SEO learning once you know the basics comes from doing….However… Neli Patel’s guide blew my mind! It is the best guide to SEO I have read in a long time! What I really liked was how he focused on tricks/tools to get the most out of ethical strategies!
Everything Neil writes at QuickSprout.com is worthy of being on this list!
2 – Public Niche Site Project
Spencer Haws from NichePursuits.com is creating a public case study similar to the purpose of this site. I am really looking forward to following along as he builds out his site publicly! For those of you that like this sites public case study I recommend checking out his site!
3 – The Definitive Guide to Guest Blogging
Brian from http://backlinko.com has created a great article talking about Guest Blogging. His strategy is very similar to my one but he adds some additional strategies to find guest blogging prospects.
4 – Ulysses Grant – Confirmed Failure at Age 38
Everyone loves a great comeback story. As a sometimes fan of history I appreciated Dan from the TropicalMBAs post on Ulysses Grants story. Dan and Ian at their blog and in their podcast always provide a massive amount of motivation and everyone should check it out!
5 – Shoemoney Interview on Mixergy
Jeremy Shoemoney has been around the world of internet marketing for a long time and has a very unique personality. He plays a little to close to the line of ethics/legality for my taste and have never been a huge fan of his popular blog, however, his interview on Mixergy was great! He shared a lot of details about his personal and business story.
6 – Panda Update January 2013
James Shramko from SuperFastBusiness.com provides some insight on how to stay in Google’s good books in 2013 and talks a lot about building author authority
7 – Authority Internet Business Case Study
Steve Scott from SteveScottSite.com is also going to be creating an authority website case study. I always learn the most from watching other people actually make their site and am excited that a couple people in the new year are going to be sharing their journey.