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March 2017 (Online Income: $208.58)

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.

views march 2017 blog traffic income diary blogging for money how to make money with a blog paid surveys

and the number of sessions:

sessions march 2017 blog traffic

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.

alexa ranking march 2017

Social Media

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,
Ben Davis

net worth update

March 2017 (247344.39€)

My current worth is €247344.39 (36.92% of my first goal – €670K).

net worth march 2017

And after 12 months of steady increases in my net worth, another (minor) decrease this month. And guess what, April will probably suffer even more.

Why another net worth decrease?

Same reason as last month… RP#3 continues to demand cash cash cash!!!! As I’ve been saying, I estimate the bleeding will only stop in May, when the renovation is over. I am confident that this property will yield nice money in the next 10 years, without me to worry much about it.

I still have 2 free units but I am not worried that they will stay vacant for another month or 2. I realized that I’ve been micromanaging this property. When you acquire more wealth, you tend to manage things in a more macro perspective, and that is what I am doing right now.

Rental income

The rental income for April will be €1225, which is the highest I’ve achieved in my lifetime (in May I will move to RP#1, and so the rental income will decrease to €950/mo, unless I rent another unit of RP#3 in the meantime). In September, one of my leasing contracts increases automatically by €50/mo, and so, if nothing changes, the overall rental income would be €1000/mo at that point + whatever I can get from the units that are not rented out yet. If I rent them, I may well hit €1500/mo of rental income. This money will entirely be used to grow the real estate business (in particular, renovate the other units in RP#3) to keep increasing it.

Online income

My online income isn’t yet anywhere I estimated it would be at this point, but I will comment on this in the online income report/income diary.

My Real estate business

My Real Estate business had to be suspended for 2 weeks, as the Real Estate license we were given had some kind of problem. It will be re-issued. Not sure how much money I will make in 2017.

Goals for March

The goals I had for March were clearly missed, not only because I have been sick for two weeks, as I also decided to change my strategy at the beginning of the month. However, I am comfortable with the results I had.

  1. Make at least $300 online and promote the blog. (this will be explained in the online income report)
  2. Read two books. FAIL (as I invested a lot of time re-branding the blog, creating content and working on the SEO)
  3. Complete the renovation of the first part of RP#3DONE! The bleeding will now stop. This is finally over (it took well over 4 months). I will publish a post on this, eventually.

My goals for April (does not include the goals for the blog – those follow in the income diary):

  1. Make at least $500 online and continue to promote the blog aggressively (details in the income diary).
  2. Read two books.
  3. Rent out another unit.

As you know, I was also offered a part-time research position, which fits my current situation very well. I signed the contract last week and I am excited to do this – it will give me the time I need to work on my projects while making some monies and continue to do some research. The contract will last for 12 months.



February 2017 (Online Income: $109.69)

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 will keep my promise of releasing monthly reports on my online income. In 2017, I am currently projected to make $15k on online income.

blogging february 2017


January 2017 (Online Income: $353.55)

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 will keep my promise of releasing monthly reports on my online income. I decided to do that regardless of how much I make; In 2017, I am projected to made $20k on online income.

online income blogging diary report