I’ve kept you waiting for this for a little longer than I ought to this month. It’s been an insane month of activity in my personal life, which I touched on in my last post. So for all of you that wait to see how I’m going, I’m sorry for the wait.
Why I’m publishing monthly income reports
Want to know why I’m publishing my income reports? Start at my income reports page.
I’m hopeful these reports will motivate, inspire and encourage readers like you to start being sensible with your cash. The aim of the blog is to help you find ways to get out of debt or earn extra income.
My online income reports detail my activities for the month. I share what I’m doing, what’s working, what’s not working and how much I’m earning.
It’s a journey, I hope you will follow along. Please sign up to my mailing list and I’ll let you know when I publish a new post so you can keep up to date on my progress.
Here are this month’s details:
June 2016 Online Income & Traffic Report
As I’ve mentioned, June was a little mental for me but I’ve made some superb progress in some areas. This is largely due to the strategy I am taking which is to pull traffic in from Pinterest and search engines via SEO. Months of work up front has meant that if I’m impacted in any way and can’t work the traffic keeps coming in. For any businesses reading this, I am setting up sources of free traffic. If you read my other income reports you can see my strategy building up and starting to pay off month after month.
What would be ideal is to have this monetized so that I get an income that is not disrupted if I am unable to keep my foot on the pedal. That’s the whole point of this project for me, that is what passive income means to me.
Here were my goals for June, struck out items are achieved:
2000 Sessions 1500 Users 3700 Page Views
- 2000 Twitter Followers
- 100 Facebook Fans
- 1200 Pinterest Fans
- Complete About Me Page
- Minimum of 2 Posts Per Week
Increase Mailing List to 100 subscribers
Not bad really. I nailed my traffic results, which is great, but I mentioned last month that these are nothing short of vanity metrics. What I need to be doing is building a funnel and turning my mind to creating something that would be useful to visitors that they would pay for. This is at the forefront of my mind and has been for over a month.
I didn’t complete my “about me” page. Who would have thought such a page could be so damn hard? I began writing it last month and lost all my work when I was almost finished. This month I’ve worked on it some more. I’m struggling to ensure it has the right tone and the right level of detail. I would have had this finished if it weren’t for events over the last few weeks.
I completed three posts in June. These were:
- Why a Cost-Cutting Strategy Helps You Pay Off Debt Quickly
- How to Make a Budget Planner
- Start a Blog in 4 Simple Steps
A number of personal events prevented me from sticking to my 2 post-a-week schedule. I detailed some of these frustrations in my recent post about finding the time to make extra money online. What bothers me most is I have tons of ideas for posts and just can’t get down to writing them. Some issues I’ve faced this month relate to my debt, work has been insanely busy as well as some health issues with my Dad so it’s been really important for me to focus on those.
On a more positive note, I subscribed to a course by Melyssa Griffin. I’ve picked up a ton of great information from the course already and I’ve also been partnered with an accountability buddy to whom I’ve touched base with already. It’s early days but my accountability buddy is switched on, full of energy and has a great background. We’ve decided to form more of a Mastermind rather than just being accountability partners. I’m really looking forward to working with someone in this way, it’s going to be fun and productive.
I had Melyssa’s Social Media Superhero course bundled in. I completed that first. She charges $37 for it. I have to say, well worth the price! I got some wicked takeaways to help me I tried a couple on Pinterest and got some near on instant results. Whilst this is not a bad thing, I have a lot of work to do on my Pinterest pins and boards to get them optimized.
Let’s discuss the wins:
Social media growth
I know I didn’t cross any of the social media goals off my list but I got fairly close to these and I’m pretty damn pleased with the results
Twitter growth has been steady. Last month I was mid-way through trying a tool called SocialQuant to help automate gaining Twitter followers. It was a 14-day trial. My conclusion, it wasn’t brilliant. Save your pennies folks. The followers I gained were not decent and as the trial ended I noticed too many followers drop off. There were a lot of accounts remaining in my following list that were promoting selling followers. If you are on Twitter you probably know the type, the guys that want you to buy 5,000 followers for $5. I don’t want to be following accounts like that. Consequently, I spent well over an hour cleaning my account up. Thanks, SocialQuant.
I did learn some tips from the experience which I’m putting into action now.
What has been working for me is continuing to use a technique used by Alexander at Cash Flow Diaries which I linked too in my last income report. This involves following a bunch of people at a certain rate every day and unfollowing if they don’t follow back after a few days. This sounds a little spammy. But the benefit to me doing it manually myself is that I can ensure I’m only following people in my niche that I think would be interested in my content, or people I’m genuinely interested in.
I’m targeting people I feel I would have synergies between their audience and mine, or to put it another way, are these people likely to share any of my content. My view is that by doing this I stand a better chance of getting my content out there rather than the exercise simply being a vanity metric building exercise. I can’t prove this theory (yet) because my crap month had a major fail on social media scheduling also.
I’m using CrowdFire on their free plan to help me with this approach. I have to say Crowdfire is pretty awesome. If I had the cash I’d definitely pay for it.
Yet again I’ve given very little energy to Facebook.
My followers increased from 58 to 79 in June.
Not bad considering. This is largely because of an automated direct message when people follow me on Twitter.
Pinterest, the core of my strategy!
Where I’ve had time this month I’ve put some effort into Pinterest. Efforts in the past have been paying off and they continue to do so. Pinterest remains my biggest referrer of traffic. My view of Pinterest is that it is a snowball effect.
Profile impressions on Pinterest are up over 300%. My average daily viewers are up over 380%. Daily saving rates of pins pointing back to my site are up 260%.
More exciting is the average daily views that pins from my site are obtaining. I’m getting 433% more impressions of my pins and over 500% more daily viewers.
Click through rates back to my site have, according to Pinterest Analytics, increased by 145%. Google Analytics tells me I’m up 233% against May.
Now here’s the awesome bit:
I haven’t been doing a massive amount on Pinterest in June. This, I believe, is the power of Pinterest.
The one thing I was doing was clearing out a whole bunch of people and boards that I was following that was cluttering up my feed with uninteresting pins. Why? I considered the learnings I obtained from SocialQuant in regard to Twitter followers. If you have a lower ratio of followers to following on Twitter you are given more of an “authority rating”. It makes sense. If someone is being followed by more people than they are following then that’s a likely indicator of value. I wanted to test if Pinterest had a similar element in their algorithm.
From the results so far, I think so.
When I started on Pinterest I started following a whole bunch of people, just to get noticed.
I have to tell you; that works.
However, when you follow a profile you also follow all of the users boards. There are a lot of bloggers out there that have a lot of random boards that I’m not interested in and I doubt my audience would be either.
I’m interested in topics related to my blog, so debt management, blogging, blogging tips, passive income, affiliate marketing and SEO. I have no interest in cats or Disney or Paleo recipes. I found I was following a whole bunch of these boards as a result of simply following a person and it was stuffing up my feed.
If you want a tip on how Pinterest views your content, look at your feed. It’s a reflection on who they think you are and what would interest you.
So, I went through everyone. All 4,200 people that I followed. If a profile had a good proportion of boards related to topics I was interested in I would continue following that profile. If there were just a few, I’d unfollow the person and just follow the boards. Everyone else got culled.
I now get more relevant pins in my feed which is suggestive my content is more on point with the niche I’m targeting. In turn, this likely to make my pins show up to an audience that’s on the same wavelength. I have effectively distilled by relevancy to become more potent and I think it’s paying off.
Yes, there is the argument that someone who likes Paleo diets or cats will like topics such as “how to save money” but we’re saving content for an algorithm here. I won’t bore you with the intricacies of graph databases, but we use them at work, they are spectacular things and I know that I’m designing for a computer to decide who to put my content in front of.
I mentioned earlier I’d signed up to a course. None of these tips came from Melyssa’s course. My learning from the course are yet to be put into action in their fullest, the above tips are not from the course, I plan on implementing the course tips this month.
I hit all my site traffic goals this month despite having a quiet month on delivering content. Organic SEO is starting to kick in and maintaining a schedule of fresh content is so very important to keeping that momentum.
I’ve increased page views by 83% to 3,853. The number of sessions and users have increased also.
The not so good news is my engagement is down. Pages per session and average time per session is way down. That’s not good, but I’m in a good position in being able to understand what content is engaging users and I can begin to deliver more of that.
This is the single most important element for me right now and I’ve had some good success in this area. In June I grew by 46 subscribers. The main reason for this success comes down to two activities:
- I was A/B testing opt-in forms and determining the best places to prompt people to follow along with my journey.
- I identified my most popular landing pages in Google Analytics and added some inline opt-in forms. This has had the most impact.
If you are not A/B testing elements on your site you are losing out, big time! Also, don’t be afraid to go back and tweak old posts. You should revisit old posts regularly to create links to newer content on your site, modify keywords for any terms you want to your ranking for and add in a more relevant call to action.
I also subscribed to MailChimp’s basic plan this month which costs $10 a month. I did this so I could take advantage of Marketing Automation which allows me to send out a link to my Budget Planner spreadsheet that I give away free to subscribers on this post and others. Having that set up has saved me a headache and now guarantees people get the email.
It’s a bad month on income. It was always going to be and next month may be a climb as well. I need to get my shit together, personal challenges aside.
I had a single source of income and that was:
- Google Adsense- $9.29
I’m considering removing Google Ads from my site.
Once I hit the $100 threshold I’ve decided to cash out and remove them.
I just don’t find it worth the money.
You probably think this is a little crazy considering I have no other income streams but I’ve noticed that placing image links to my most popular posts in my sidebar has been very effective. If I can create a product that I can sell I’d be much better to make use of this space. I think the ROI would be greatly enhanced.
Plus, Google Ads just look so crappy.
I had a few expenses as well this month. Primarily because I took a couple of courses. One course is on a payment plan so I’ll be seeing this recurring expense for a while. I’m a big believer in investing in yourself and I’m seeing results from one course already.
Total expenses then have been $112.00 this month.
Overall I’m covering a $102.71 loss this month.
Have to do better!
Next Month’s Goals
I’m actually going to cut myself some slack next month. My personal challenges are absolutely going to bleed into July and August. I’m going to try to keep some consistency to traffic levels but improve the pages per session read rates and opt-in rate of my mailing list.
- 2000 Sessions
- 1500 Users
- 4000 Page Views
- 2000 Twitter Followers
- 120 Facebook Fans
- 1200 Pinterest Fans
- Complete About Me Page
- Minimum of 1 Post Per Week
- Increase Mailing List to 170 subscribers
- Optimize my Pinterest account
Got any tips you can give me? Are you planning on starting a blog of your own and finding some of the tips useful? Tell me what information you’re finding useful (and not) in the comments and I’ll try to include more detail in future reports.