April has been an interesting month for us, mostly, because we’ve been working non-stop on our homestead (we’ve primarily been building a hot tub!), and the money continues to roll in. Terrible problem, right? We don’t let it go to our heads, but we want to share with you what this month has looked like for us financially even though we hardly worked on anything but our homestead and blog.
One of the things we preach is to be careful about what you work on. The entire reason we dove into the world of internet marketing was that we could build things that made us money passively. We were okay investing loads of time and money into our properties with hopes that they would one day make us money whether or not we work on them, and this month proves that the mindset has served us well. Sometimes, it feels that we should make more money for the number of hours worked, but then there are entire months or chunks of time where we don’t work at all yet the money continues to roll in. More info below.
Traffic / Improvements
Total traffic to sites: 75,687
Affiliate site #1: 7,537 (previous month 6,708, 12.36% increase)
We haven’t touched this site in months yet it continues to produce. Earlier this year we bombed the site with a high number of quality, high-powered links. This helped the rankings beautifully and we continue to rank 5 and 6 for highly-competitive, buyer-focused keywords according to SerpBook. Next, we plan to make a significant investment in content via iWriter just to bulk the site up a bit in terms of quality, relevant articles
Affiliate site #2: 573 (previous month 519, 10.62% increase)
We invested heavily in this site earlier in the year by sending a large quantity of high DA backlinks to the site and also donated A LOT of money to iWriter for some quality articles! The site has made a number of sales this year despite not having any page one rankings. We seem to be stuck on page two for a number of keywords despite bombing the site with links, so we determined that it’s not links holding the site back – it’s likely content.That said, we tried to rank for a new keyword earlier this year, invested in a few links, invested in a high-quality article, and our rankings for the word climb month over month. Below is a screenshot of our rankings for this new keyword. Since February, we’ve jumped fro 64 to 20.
Affiliate site #3: 2,755 (previous month 2,906, 5.20% decrease)
This site continues to make us $150-200/month and all we have invested into the site is a quality article (hand-written in response to a real problem), a few quality backlinks, and that’s it! We are still planning on selling the site since the income has been so consistent for 1.5+ years.
Affiliate site #5: 1,205 (previous month 818, 47.31% increase)
This is a site we built last year in a summer niche. Because we had so many sites that performed over winter, we wanted to balance our our income so that we had productive affiliate sites in the summer as well, and so this site was born after some niche research. We invested in this site a few months back by adding a few high-quality, articles and links – that’s it! This site is actually really, really tiny (maybe 5-8 pages total?) and rankings are doing well. We’re ranked 20 for a competitive search term and it had its first decent month of income. We also think that this site needs content rather than links… soon website, soon!
Authority blog #1: 40,132 (previous month 43,438, 7.61% decrease)
This site continues to do really, really awesome! This month we decided to stop focusing on growth and instead focus on revenue and outsourcing. Every site reaches a point in its life where it is “big enough” to monetize and a higher of volume of traffic won’t necessarily increase the income potential.
The first thing we knew we had to do was start outsourcing article creation. This blog is unique in the fact that much of its success stems from our YouTube channel, and we are the only ones that can create our YouTube content. We are unique and we aren’t content curators. That said, we can’t outsource video creation, but we can outsource turning those videos into blog posts and rewritting those blog posts for other websites that feature our content.
In our outsourcing efforts, we brought on an intern short-term to help us write articles in exchanging for consulting on her own blog. She helped us immensely turn our videos (sometimes a pile of words and ideas) into beautiful blog posts. We are happy to have her as a resource.
We also decided to play “SERP domination” with YouTube and we feel that we have it down to a science as far as how to rank #1 on YouTube in a short amount of time… but we wanted to take things just a bit further. We had a suspicion that having closed captions really made a video unique and could give the algorithm even more information about our videos, not to mention making them user-friendly for people hard of hearing or people that prefer to watch YouTube videos without sound, like if they are in class. We hired a woman named Jennifer in our personal network of bloggers and she did an awesome job creating closed captions for our YouTube video – it was perfect on the first try. Her service ranges from $5-10 depending on the length of the video, and for an extra $5, she will set the timings of the captions for your video as YouTube can sometimes mess that up. For this service, contact her on her Facebook page or email: Tygermystyc — at — gmail
Also this month, we continued to find brands to work with through this influencer platform… in a nutshell, we look for brands that have a high-quality product related to this lifestyle and if it’s a good fit and a product we can actually stand behind, then we feature the product through our blog for financial compensation. We never give our audiences sales pitches, just share quality brands which they are free to research on their own if they feel so inclined.
We also discovered a cool tool called Social Blue Book that can help you understand the value of brand mentions on your channel… this was totally in lined with what we thought our videos were work, but excludes the additional promotion we do with the videos as marketers. Social Blue Book is just a starting point to help you determine what a mention on your channel is worth – don’t sell yourself short! This etire concept is further helping us understand how we can create a profitable blog without asking our viewers for money.
Also, we negotiated our first long-term partnership with a brand which involves featuring their product 1-2x/month in either our videos or photos on our social media accounts. Partnerships are A LOT of work up front, and that can also entail a poor ROI up front, but long-term is where the money is at. Again, we are only working with brands we feel we can have a mutually beneficial relationship with and that have a product we genuinely stand behind.
We have LOADS more information about how we’re continuing to grow and monetize this blog, but if you want additional information, feel free to schedule a consulting session with us. Happy to share lessons of our success with the right people.
Authority blog #2: 771(previous month 1,009, 7.61% decrease)
We continue to not work on this blog much as our energy is focused elsewhere! It simply serves as a personal portfolio and record of where we spent our time, how much money we made, and we also share tips and tricks when we have time. We’re too busy making money and growing our business, not telling others how to do it! Sorry but it’s the truth – we only have so many resources to dedicate to internet marketing and this blog is not our priority.
Authority blog #1: 952 (total of 8,998 subscribers)
Read more about how we increased our subscriber conversion rates. We are actually trying to keep this list under 10,000 followers as the cost will jump up substantially when we hit that milestone. In addition to creating a 2-week auto-responder for new subscribers (helps weed out those that aren’t serious in following our journey), we’ve also been sending out more emails… about 8/month, which also helps to keep our list clean. We seem to be holding steady at the 9,500 mark which is okay with us. So far, it seems that no brands are interested in our email list, but we continue to see the value in owning our list and owning our blog, rather than getting caught up in relying on Facebook or another social media platform to keep in touch with our audience.
Authority blog #2: 7 (total of 226 subscribers)
We don’t actively try to grow this list but some subscribers are better than none. For this list, people seem to subscribe in order to receive something free and then unsubscribe – typical but okay with us!
- Amazon US: $1,942.59
- Amazon (Other Countries): $207.92
* Did you know that unless you have EasyAzon, you don’t get credit for Amazon sales in other countries? EasyAzon “localizes” the link for the appropriate country and once you set up accounts in those countries, you will get credit for those sales.
- Ringio: $68.75??
- Black Hat Community: Not yet paid out
- HostNine: $50
- Envato Marketplace: $9.33
- Shareasale: $40.98
- Donations: $10
This was a pretty good month for us affiliate-wise and it seems we are holding relatively steady with our affiliate income – even when it’s not November or December! We’ve learned that most affiliate programs are BS for one reason or another, but these are the ones that continue to produce for us month over month. This teaches us to be extremely picky with whose products we promote… more on that later. Not all affiliate programs are created equal and WHO you promote can make or break you!
- On-page ads: $9.74
- YouTube: $608.44
We continue to NOT stick ads on our highest-trafficked site, but our YouTube channel is once again growing in its profits. We’d never start a YouTube channel strictly for the Adsense revenue, but it is a nice perk. Our real money is made in sponsorships with big brands, not on YouTube views. While it’s tempting to make more videos to increase viewership, it’s a death trap and not sustainable. Our hearts go out to folks that are stuck in this trap.
We continue to earn residual income through an elearning course we built a year ago which remains as informative as it was then. We consider this bonus income.
Product #1: N/A
- Snappylinks: $402.00
- Famebit Influencer Marketing Gigs: $450
Again, this is a platform that exists for brands and influences to find one another. This has proven to be a great way to find brands that see the value in influencer marketing, but like most business, most of them don’t “get it”. We are extremely selective about who we work with but it is a place to build relationships and find potential for long-term relationships. We will continue to invest time scanning this platform for opportunities.
Blog Posts Written
No blog posts this month! We’ve been dedicating all of our time to developing our property, building a deck with lumber from our own property, and building our wood fired off grid hot tub (more on that here)! We are focusing on making the blog worth our time, but we’ve dedicated zero effort to other internet marketing or affiliate marketing efforts, yet continue to get paid. PERFECT!
Summary + Looking Forward
May will be another “lay low” month for us. We will continue to develop our property while the weather is nice but we are excited to get back into the swing of things in the online world. We LOVE taking breaks, because when we work we work extremely hard and tend to burn ourselves out. We’re all about times of rest and times of work, and each time we get back to work we have greater and great ideas about where to take our businesses.
Here’s to another great month in the internet marketing world!