Welcome to my income diary. If you wonder how do websites make money and how to make money with a website, you may find my reports useful.
I release reports on my online income every month. In 2017, I am projected to make $15k on online income.
I’ve received many e-mails concerning this matter. Most people ask me “What can I do to start a side online business?” or “What can I do to make a few hundred bucks at the end of the month”? First, know that I offer consulting services for this, on 1:1 consultations. Either way, let me hash out a general recipe here:
0) Choose a niche. Many people choose niches based on keyword search. I highly recommend people to blog about what they are passionate about instead. If you add value, any niche will work out for you.
1) Set up a website. I host my website on Bluehost, which I highly recommend. For one, its cheap, two is highly reliable. If you are interested in starting a blog of your own, I created a tutorial here, to help you start off.
2) Blog. A lot. You may have noticed that I’ve posted twice in the month, on specific months when I started From cents to Retirement. Doesn’t work. It won’t tie people in, it won’t please search engines and your blog will rapidly be forgotten. Note that I am not saying “publish crap”. Do not, if you expect to have loyal fans and grow. But do not forget to publish.
3) Promote your blog. A big part of having your blog out there for people to see is through high-quality posts – eventually, people will share. Promoting your blog will not only get it out there faster but deeper. Promoting your blog can be very hard, but its necessary.
4) Monetize. Adsense is an option. I like Amazon a lot. If you offer consultancy services, as I do, you need to show you can do it yourself first, but clients will pop up eventually.
So, how did I make $208.58 this month? First, the breakdown:
Bluehost : $100
Affiliate marketing : $35.88
My book : $45.36 (I set the price of the book to $1 as a special offer to my subscribers)
Consultancy fees : $0 (turned down some work, because I was really busy with other projects)
Google adsense : $2.34
Paid surveys : $25
Total : $208.58
Disclaimer: the BlueHost and the Amazon links are affiliate links, which means that I get commissions if you buy products or services through them. The amounts reported above are before any fees, taxes or expenses. I can’t say exactly how much I will net from this.
Note that although I am commited to release my income diary and help those who want to know how to make money with a blog, if they and blogging for money, my primarily focus is not to make money.
This month, I had considerable expenses with the re-branding of the blog:
New template for site : $49
Programmer : $50 (eventually I had another programmer helping me out, but as he is my personal friend, I am not sure how I will pay him)
Promo video : $20
Total : $119
These expenses are pretty much 1-time expenses and now I don’t expect to spend money on the blog until the end of the year.
I changed my strategy pertaining to traffic. Although I’ve proven in the past that I can send a lot of traffic to the blog (see the traffic in Sep-Dec in the picture below), in I am not interested in doing that anymore. Yes, that does convert some people into loyal readers, it does increase the number of subscribers and followers (not to mention that I make way more money that way). However, not only that takes most of my time (which I could invest in producing awesome content for my blog) as the traffic falls immediately if I stop using those channels.
I am now interested in building a sustainable platform that grows steadily and organically, as I am confident that I have now enough valuable content for that. To do that, there are a few things I am focusing on: the site authority (PA and DA), high-quality referrals and growing my social media accounts.
This month, my traffic was pretty similar to that of February, totaling about 21k views. SEO is yet to take off (which now makes sense to me – I need 3 months of hard work to start seeing good results from that – I will talk a lot about this on Friday) and I’ve had increased traffic from referrals even though I haven’t been featured on any major site yet. Now, I did expect to drive a lot of traffic in a “sustainable way” but it didn’t happen. I know what went wrong and I will correct that in the future, when I use the same strategy.
and the number of sessions:
Once again, I have 50% new and 50% returning visitors and the bouncing has decreased to 71.46% (I am killing it on organic searches, as I have bounding rates of up to 43%!). The blog theme is now much more user-friendly and I do expect to decrease my bouncing rate even more.
My Alexa rank is still good, and I haven’t had a big penalty for “losing” the December stats (although you can clearly see the drop at the end of the month) – Alexa is based on the 3 previous months. Let us see how it will come out next month.
Last month, my Facebook page grew by 31 likes (an increase of about 8%). This month, I used many other techniques and I was able to grow it by 99 likes – to 530 likes – an increase of about 23%. This is more exciting because if I continued to grow my facebook page at 23% compound, I’d have 3415 likes by the end of the year. Yes, this is still nothing compared to my goal of 25.000 likes, but I will use some tricks to increase it and I am finally considering using some Facebook ads to put some gasoline in the process. Social media will be the cornerstone of part II of my crazy SEO experiment (check out part I here), and I expect a massive increase of likes.
As I said before, I am not keeping track of Pinterest, and I will hire a VA to take care of it for me.
The subscriber count grew from 900 to 938, wich means an increase of about 4%. I know exactly why I had a smaller increase than last month – I sent two many newsletters and I had a lot of unsubscriptions. I am still convinced that the goal of reaching 6000 subscribers until the end of the year is achievable because I have a few tricks that I will use.
Goals for March 2017:
- Release my book. DONE!
- Increase the number of likes on my Facebook page to 750. FAIL. (I was to partner with a SM company, which didn’t happen yet)
- Increase the number of blog subscribers to 1100. FAIL. (I expected to drive a lot of traffic to the blog, which didn’t happen)
- Reach at least 50k views on my blog. FAIL. (same as above)
- Make about $500 online. FAIL. (a direct consequence of not driving enough traffic)
Goals till April 30th:
- Increase the number of likes on my Facebook page to 700.
- Increase the number of blog subscribers to 1100.
- Increase the number of followers on Twitter to 200.
- Write at least 14 guest posts (check out the post on Friday to know why…)
- Reach at least 40k views on my blog.
- Make about $400 online.
In the meantime, let me know if this information is useful to you in the comment section down below.
Your biggest fan,