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Welcome to 2011! To start it off I'll be going over my monthly income report for December of 2010.
Each month I write a detailed report about my online income, sharing not only how much I've made but also where it comes from and the kinds of things I've been doing that may have had an effect on it. My income reports, however, are not about the money—they are about motivation, inspiration and staying focused.
Writing these reports force me to outdo myself and it's a great way to hold myself accountable for what I want to accomplish in the future too. More importantly (going back to my entire purpose here on this blog), I'm here to show you that it is possible to make a decent living online, to work less and make more, and to do it in a way where everybody comes out a winner.
A lot of exciting things happened in December, so lets get right to it.
Important Going-Ons in December
Upgraded Servers for The Smart Passive Income Blog
If you noticed a significant increase in the speed of this blog sometime mid-December, it's because I finally upgraded to a VPS (virtual private server).
Instead of BlueHost, SPI is now running on Servint.
Don't get me wrong—I love BlueHost and still recommend them for anyone just starting out. I still use them for all of my niche sites and I've never had any problems with them, but SPI definitely needs to prepare for more traffic and more activity on the site for all of my future projects. I would hate to launch a new product or get a sudden influx of traffic from somewhere (which has been happening lately) only to find my site is down because the servers couldn't handle it.
The transition from old to new was surprisingly painless. Servint has a great customer service team and they walked me through the entire process.
I am paying a bit more than I was. Prices for VPS servers start at around $49/month, compared to the $6.95/month for shared hosting, but this is a much needed business expense for me and where my blog is at and where I think it's headed.
So far, so good.
More High Ranking Niche Sites
In November, using momentum from the success of the Niche Site Duel, I decided to build two more sites for a couple of niches that I was holding onto for when I had some extra time. Using the exact same strategies as before, I was able to bring both of these new sites onto the first page of Google by the end of December (currently both at #4).
They are both earning an income, although at the moment it's significantly less than my original security guard training site for the Niche Site Duel.
That being said, using a strategy I learned from Chris Guthrie (you might remember Chris from the 10th session of the Smart Passive Income Podcast), I was able to reach the first page of Google much faster than before. The primary reason is because this time I'm using exact match domain names, which means the web address of my website matches the keyword that I've targeted 100%—with no extra letters or anything.
My security guard training website is at http://www.securityguardtraininghq.com.
Exact match domains are harder to come by these days, obviously, but if you can get them for your niche site it weighs in heavily with your search engine rankings.
iPhone App Businesses Love Christmas
As many of you know, I co-own an iPhone application business and for the past couple of years our trends show that our highest paying days come in December, particularly the days immediately after Christmas.
Because that's when a horde of new, proud iPhone (and iPod Touch) owners flood the app store looking for anything and everything to fill their devices. I mean, just check out the graph below:
And this doesn't even include revenue from our free apps.
It usually takes 1.5 to 2 months for the daily income to go back to normal—that is unless you're putting out new applications, which we are doing very soon. Of course, it would have been ideal to publish our new apps right before Christmas, but it's hard to time it perfectly when other people are developing the products for you.
If you're into iPhone apps and you missed the Christmas rush, don't worry—Christmas isn't the only time of the year you can see a spike in sales. You might want to pay attention to other holidays (i.e. Father's Day—dads love their gizmos and gadgets), special Apple announcements, and other times like when the iPhone picks up a new carrier (rumor has it that Verizon will carry the iPhone sometime in 2011, which is huge for app developers).
The Smart Passive Income Brand
Per the request of many of my readers, I've also recently added a small traffic report to accompany my income report.
December was once again a record month of traffic for the blog, which just blows my mind:
Here are some quick stats:
- 78,709 Visits
- 194,806 Pageviews
- 4 minutes and 15 seconds Avg. time on site
- +1360 RSS Subscribers
- 750 Comments!
- 2,078 YouTube Subscribers
- 4,599 Facebook Fans
- 48,026 Twitter Followers
I was also lucky enough to be featured on the following sites in interviews:
- Income Diary
- Foolish Adventure
- Online Business Zen
As always, thank you all for your undying support!
I think it's time for the monthly income breakdown.
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.
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.
Note: Items with an empty difference percentage were not present on the previous month's income report.
It's always great to see an increase in income, especially when certain segments of my passive income portfolio are down. Somehow, whenever one piece of the puzzle takes a dip another one comes and fills in the gap. It's just like the stock market and how it's always recommend to diversify, but to me this kind of business is much more reliable than buying stocks (because I have a lot more control over what happens), although I do dabble in stocks a little as well.
One thing to note about December's breakdown:
As you can see, I've extracted the income from my security guard training niche site into it's own segment of the report. I did this because I want to keep a track record of how the site performs on it's own as I work to make this site a significant income stream in the near future. Some of the parts of the breakdown are currently at $0.00, but they are potential income streams within that site that will hopefully see some dollars in the near future. I'll explain more about each of these in an upcoming Niche Site Duel update this month. Now that the holidays are over, hopefully the advertising deal I have with a third-party company will be finalized. 🙂
What I Learned in December
One thing I learned in December was how important the “small things” are in our businesses. Just like in a relationship, it's the “small things” that we often truly appreciate and it's the small little gestures that can make a long lasting impression on a person.
Right before Christmas, I received a package—totally unexpected. A medium sized box addressed to me, and when I opened it I saw this:
This awesome package full of goodies (which is now gone) came from a person who has a product that I'm an affiliate for, and included with it was a note that said, “Thank you.”
This little gesture, which probably took 5 minutes to order and maybe $30, really made me appreciate working with this person and you can be sure I'll continue to work hard as one of their affiliates. (This is not related to any SPI affiliate commissions, in case you were wondering).
This made me think about my own businesses and what “small things” I could do that would make a long lasting impression. I created a list of about 50 things I could do now and in the future that I would love to share with you, but part of the awesomeness of the gesture above was the surprise, the unexpectedness—overdelivering. So, I guess you'll just have to wait and see what I do. 😉
Lastly, before I go—if you haven't developed your goals for 2011 and beyond yet I definitely recommend you have a listen to my latest podcast episode: Mind Hacks, Physical Hacks and Work Hacks for Better Productivity and Getting Things Done. People are telling me it's a great episode to listen to as we begin the new year and strive to make it the best ever.
As always, thank you for your support! In my next post I'll be sharing my 2010 annual income report, so stay tuned for that.
I have a lot of great things planned in 2011, so I hope you'll stick with me and subscribe if you haven't already.
Here's to your success. Cheers!