Editor's Note: The content regarding eHow and Infobarrel is no longer relevant. Please visit our Getting Started page, which we keep up to date with advice for getting started with earning money online. (Updated 10/2015)
It's the first Monday of the month, which means it's time for another income report!
Each month I write a detailed report about my online income—how much I've made, where it comes from, and most importantly what I did and what I've learned along the way. I do this not only to help me keep track of how my multiple online businesses are progressing, but also to teach, inspire and show the world that a regular person like myself, with some hard work and smart planning, can do some wonderful things online—and so can you.
These monthly reports have grown to become the most popular and most visited posts on the blog, so as long as you still feel they are useful, I will definitely continue to publish them. And as always—thank you for your support!
Let's get started.
Important Going-Ons in April
Something a little different than usual—I was paid for some social media consultation and web design work that I've been doing for the past couple of months for a client who actually found me through my podcast on iTunes.
I typically don't agree to do that much consultation work, but I was in full support of what my client is aiming to achieve and was happy to provide my services.
A lot of the work included designing and programming a new website, which I handed off to my programmer who did an awesome job. In that sense, it was indeed an extra form of passive income. In total, I would say I spent about 10 hours of actual work on this project myself, which isn't very much time at all.
My Security Guard Training Niche Site
My security guard training niche site, which was born from the Niche Site Duel, saw record earnings again in April. Still sitting at the #1 position in Google, I had a couple of $60.00 days which is awesome.
[Editor's Note, 2019: While the Niche Site Duel challenge was really formative for SPI, the strategies presented are no longer current, and so we made the decision to remove those posts. We don't want you to waste time pursing outdated strategies.]
I did not add any new content or do any backlinking, so my time invested here in April was next to nothing.
I did, however, spend about a half an hour posting a new job on Elance to help complete the site. Let me explain…
You see, every state in the U.S. has different security guard training requirements—different hours, different courses, different procedures, etc. Currently, my site only provides specific information for 11 of the 50 states. Although they are the most popular states in the industry, I stopped adding new content when the site hit #1 in Google as I began to focus on creating new niche sites.
I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier, but I hired a person on Elance to complete the information for the remaining 39 states. It makes sense now that I have a steady flow of income that I can reinvest in the site.
I'm hoping that after information about all 50 states are published on the site, it will:
- Look much more complete and official as an authority resource for security guard training.
- Help rank for keywords that relate to security guard training in the other 39 states.
- Increase traffic to the site because of keyword rankings and word of mouth.
- And as a result increase revenue from Adsense and advertising.
Plus, if I ever plan on selling the site, it will be worth much more since it'll will be complete.
The person I hired is an American-based writer who has a fantastic reputation on Elance with a ton of great feedback and a number of repeat customers. After a quick interview, I hired her with confidence knowing she could get the job done. She even agreed to make phone calls to companies in each of the remaining states to make sure the information was 100% correct.
I'll keep you updated on the progress, but because I know you're interested, the fixed price for this job with this particular provider on Elance came out to be $875.00, which is about a month's worth of income for the site. I suspect that the cost will be easily made up after all of the new information is published on the site.
Good times! 🙂
My Getting Started Page
As many of you know, I finally completed my first version of a Getting Started Page here on The Smart Passive Income Blog. The purpose of this page is to give new visitors one place where they can get all of the information they need to get started on the blog—either as a newbie who wants to know where to begin, or someone experienced who wants links to my best content.
I talk more about the purpose of this page on The Hole on Most Blogs (Including Mine) That Needs to Be Filled.
I think the page I created does an excellent job of organizing and condensing the 400+ pages of information that exist on SPI for anyone new, however when I announced that the page was live last week, it was met with mixed reviews.
A number of people told me the page has way too much information on it and is overwhelming. Others, including some first timers to the blog, tell me it's perfect and exactly what they wanted to see.
I think compared to what the blog was like before this page existed, it's a home run—especially considering how overwhelming the blog was to a new visitor beforehand. But, I also agree that the page does have a lot of information on it. I may try to break the information up into 2 or 3 different pages and see how people respond to that.
Overall, it's a major success and already I'm tracking a number of affiliate sales coming from the “domain and hosting” portion of the page, so it is being read and it is being used.
Lastly, I'll be attempting to “double index” SPI for the term “passive income” on Google with this page. Double indexing is when you have your website show up twice, right next to each other, on the search engine results page. Here's an example from CopyBlogger for the term “copywriting”:
Similarly, SPI ranks #2 in Google for “passive income”, outranked only by Wikipedia. If I can do this, it will drastically increase the traffic coming to my site since I'll have the #2 and #3 spots in Google (or better yet, the #1 and #2 spots…if I can outrank Wikipedia).
There are various strategies to achieve the “double index”, but I'll save that for a later post.
Ok—I think it's time to get into the numbers for April!
Full Disclosure: Some of the items in the list below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase through that link, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
Also, please note that these are figures from reports from each individual company for the previous month. It does not necessarily reflect the actual payment which, for some of the companies listed below, come 30 to 60 days later because of potential refunds.
Note: Items with an empty difference percentage were not present on the previous month's income report.
This is definitely my highest grossing month ever, although the figures are a bit skewed because I don't usually have the large sums from consultation and coaching like you see in this month's report. Even without those, my income still remains fairly steady around the mid 20k mark, and although it's true that a large percentage of that does come from this blog and “making money online” tools and resources (thanks to those of you who have used my affiliate links!), I hope it doesn't take away from the fact that I am still earning a decent income from businesses outside of this niche, which was really what I wanted to showcase on this blog when I created it back in 2008.
My large affiliate earnings are starting to classify me as one who only makes money by teaching others how to make money online—and I do not want to be put into that category, but—I guess it's almost inevitable because of the numbers and how popular this blog is growing. It sort of overshadows that I still earn between $7k and $12k a month outside of this niche, which is an amount I would be completely happy with if that was all I earned. Don't get me wrong though, I am extremely happy about the affiliate earnings and especially my non-aggressive, “this is how I do it and these are the tools that I use myself” approach to it.
Ready to learn about affiliate marketing?
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- How affiliate marketing works and the simple five-step framework I've developed for creating an affiliate marketing program.
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- Learn the common mistakes that new marketers make (so that you can avoid them).
- I'll show you why sometimes smaller is better when it comes to finding partners.
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Things I Learned in April
One important thing I learned in April is that you cannot please everybody, and you shouldn't try to! When I went live with my Getting Started Page, I thought it was perfect and that it was everything people were looking for, but as I mentioned before, it was met with mixed reviews. It can be really easy to get caught up in the comments and suggestions, to make immediate changes and then more changes when more comments come in, but it's best to let things settle down first and wait until the new-ness factor of whatever it is goes away.
Do you remember how many people hated Facebook's “like” button when it first came out? It replaced the “Become a Fan” button and everyone went crazy for about a week, but now that the change isn't new anymore and people are getting used to it—the “like” button can be seen as a major success that has changed the way we interact and share things on the web. I'm glad Facebook didn't give in to what a lot of people wished for, because now the “like” button and Facebook are the #1 traffic source for SPI.
I'll sit on the current design for now, and maybe make a few tweaks here and there as time goes by, but I know it's a good page, and I'm going to stick with it.
Another thing I learned in April was that you should make it a daily routine to check your stats—or at least a couple times a week. With passive income, it can be easy to just let things ride without checking, but the problem with that is that if something happens, you'll never know until you either get a notification, or you check and find out on your own, at which point it could be too late.
The reason I bring this up is because—if you noticed, my iPhone application earnings took a bit of a hit in April. The reason was because our “paid application contract” expired, and we were not sent any notifcations about it. Two weeks went by and all of our paid applications were taken out of iTunes, and as a result we lost about $80-$150 a day.
When I finally checked my stats for this income report, I saw that the later half of April produced no income from paid apps, so I logged into our account with Apple and of course, there was a notification that said we had some paperwork to take care of.
Now, I could blame Apple for not sending an email—and they totally should have, but it's a two way street and as a business owner it's my responsibility to keep tabs on how the business is progressing at all times…not just once a month for an income report, but at least twice a week (preferably every day—it only takes a minute) to make sure all systems are go.
To streamline this, it would be smart of me to allocate maybe 10 minutes a day to check the stats of all of my businesses and websites, just to make sure everything is healthy. I could maybe have a “quick open” tab or shortcut that opens them all up at the same time. That said, I have to be sure to not get too engulfed in the numbers and what they mean, which I tend to do when I'm looking at stats. That should be reserved for another time during the week or month.
It's a learning process!
Thanks for all of your support, and here's to a profitable and healthy May!