Editor's Note: The content regarding eHow 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)
Another month, another income report!
Each month, I spend time to complete a detailed analysis of my earnings from the previous month, which includes how much I earned, where it came from and what I've done that may have had an effect on my income. I do this not only to keep track of how things are progressing, but also so that you can learn from my wins and from my failures. I've been keeping this up for almost 2 years now, which means my annual income report go live very soon, so look out for that. In the meantime, please enjoy September's report.
Important Going-Ons in September
In case you missed my P90X results post, I completed the extreme home fitness program and I've never felt better! It's amazing what a change in diet, strength and stamina can do for your business, as it seems to me like I work with a lot more energy now. Apparently, I've inspired a lot of other bloggers to start the program too, like Corbett Barr and Tony Ruiz, and this is me holding them accountable now.
Beyond that, I'm all booked and ready for Blog World Expo in mid-October. I'll be meeting with some of the world's top bloggers and I'll definitely make sure to send you updates while I'm there and fill you in on as much as I can. This is my first convention-type event ever, so it will be interesting to see how it all goes down. I just hope I don't feel like a lost child in a crowded amusement park…again.
Niche Site Duel
A lot of September was dedicated to building and advancing my niche site for the Niche Site Duel with Tyrone Shum. Unlike Tyrone and many of the other contenders, I'm not using a VA to help me along. That being said, I'm proud to say that I've had a lot of success with my niche site so far, even though it's only a month old.
In September, I was able to climb from the #184 to #26 in Google. I was also the first person to earn money from my niche site, earning a total of $18.76, strictly through Adsense.
It's not much, but it's a good sign that I'm potentially sitting on a goldmine. A high cost-per-click means there's definitely a market out there for this niche, and to see this much come in this early in the game, without even reaching the first page of Google yet, is awesome.
I'll be talking more about my long-term monetization strategy in the future, but in case you missed the posts I did in September related to the challenge, I've listed them for you below. The backlinking article in particular (006) has created a lot of buzz with almost 150 comments so far.
Tomorrow (Tuesday, October 4th, 2010 at 8pm EST), Tyrone and I are hosting a free webinar where I'm going to ask him about working with a virtual assistant. I won't use a VA for this challenge, but I do feel like I'm at a point where I could definitely use a full time VA's help for some of my other projects—so if you're interested in listening in on that discussion, feel free to signup for the free webinar here. There are only 100 seats available and already over 300 people are signed up, so make sure you get there early! Editor's Note: The webinar is over; thanks to all who participated!
Smart Passive Income
I know I keep saying this, but the growth of SPI has been incredible. It's honestly hard for me to believe sometimes because it was just about 2 years ago that this blog was born (Oct. 17, 2008).
I don't do traffic reports each month, but I decided to throw a small one in today's post since September was the best month of traffic SPi has ever had. I really love how my buddy Glen does his traffic reports over at Viperchill.com, so I'll do something similar for you below so you can get a snapshot of my stats:
- Visits: 58,144
- Pageviews: 149,092
- Avg. Time Spent on Site: 4 minutes and 23 seconds
This is actually a 30% increase from the previous month, which is amazing. I think there were several factors involved, including a recent surge coming from the Podcast and YouTube Videos, as well as interviews and features on sites that have audiences that I've never been in front of before, such as Podcast Answer Man & Sources of Insight.
Plus, the niche site duel has been grabbing a lot of attention too, and my move to create a Niche Site Duel Hub, a specific page that holds all of the participant's posts about their own niche sites (there are 18 of us as of today), proved to be useful because a lot of sites are linking to it, and it happens to be the 5th most visited page or post in September. [Editor's Note, 01/2020: The advice in the Niche Site Duel posts is no longer current, given the nature of how search algorithms change over time. Those posts have been removed from the site, in an effort to keep you from spending time on out-of-date strategies. Thanks for understanding.]
Top Referring Sites
As you can see, Facebook is at the top, thus proving my point about Facebook as a viable means of driving traffic to your website (see The Bloggers Guide to Facebook). However, there are some other interesting metrics to look at here.
Although Facebook is first, check out the % of New Visits. Like Twitter, the percentage is on the low end, which means they're driving traffic to my blog, but it's traffic that has already been to my site before. This makes sense because generally speaking, the people who are following us on Facebook and Twitter probably did so through our websites.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing though—it's always good to have people returning to our site and now I know where a lot of my existing audience can be found (and are active). This just means that I probably should focus campaigns and marketing strategies that target new visitors elsewhere, such as YouTube.
Side Note: Google.com / referrals are not the same as organic search engine traffic. As Google puts it:
“Not all referrals from Google.com domains come through organic search or AdWords ad listings. Referrals may come from a variety of sources, including Google Groups posts, base.google.com listings, or static pages on related Google sites. Such visits are tagged as [referral] instead of [organic] or [cpc].”
Since we're talking about Google, here are my top referring keywords for the month of September:
In total, Google organically brought in a total of 16,495 visitors from a combination of 3,364 different keywords and phrases.
I'm really stoked to announce that I also surpassed my 2010 goal of reaching 10,000 RSS subscribers! I know that in reality, 10k is just an arbitrary number and it doesn't really mean all that much, but in order to reach high places you have to set goals just like this and do what you can to achieve them. Now that I'm here, I've reset my 2010 goal to 15k.
Taking It To The Next Level
Although I know this blog has been very successful so far, there's still a lot of room for improvement. The blog is nowhere near perfect and it seems to be lacking in the area of search engine optimization especially. Although the search engines have been treating me fairly well so far, I still only rank 4th for my primary keyword and would love to climb even higher. I should be able to reach the #1 or #2 spot with some expert help, and that's exactly what I got.
In mid-September, I paid for a Site Analysis Report from Joost de Valk, the man behind Yoast.com. Yoast ranks #1 in Google for WordPress SEO, and Joost has created a number of excellent WordPress SEO plugins and he definitely knows his stuff.
I just received the report and it really put things into perspective. Basically…this blog's SEO is terrible.
Joost didn't say that outright, but there are plenty of recommendations that lead me to believe that is the case. I am doing some things right, but I'm also doing a lot of things wrong. This is me learning as I go, which has never failed me so far, so I'm excited to implement a lot of these changes in the upcoming months.
I won't go over the 8 page report in detail here today, but I'm thinking about doing a webinar about it because I think what I learn for SPI could be extremely helpful for you too. Let me know if that's something you've be interested in attending, and I'll set it up.
Okay, 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.
Another fantastic month! Although it's less than my 20k month in August, it's still above average and I'm happy with where things are going.
What I Learned in September
As good as things may seem, no matter what level you're at you can always do something to improve. I thought my blog was decently optimized for SEO, but apparently not, so now I can improve and do even better. Getting an outside expert opinion really helped me realize what I wasn't doing right.
The lesson is to always be looking to improve because if you don't, you're going to level out and things will start to slow down or plateau. I don't want the growth of SPI to plateau.
Another thing I learned is that there are so many things I want to do, but so little time to do them all. I'm sure this is the case for many of you, which is why prioritizing becomes super important.
Lately, I've had so many ideas pop into my head, it's almost driving me crazy. I'm having a hard time letting go of some of the ideas and opportunities, but I've learned to figure out which ones are worth more to me now, and just write the rest of them down on paper and put them in a folder for later. This is just what you have to do sometimes so you can focus on the things that have top priority. It's great to have a ton of ideas, but too many can get in the way. Focus and take things one at a time.
October should be a really exciting month for me. I'll be headed to Vegas for Blog World Expo, and I'll be beginning the development process on a new project I have that made it onto my top priority list. There's not much I can say about the project right now, but once it's underway you can be sure I'll keep you informed. Don't I always?
Wishing you all the best. Here's to a safe, healthy and profitable October. Cheers!