Welcome to our second profit report on our internet marketing blog! We dove into internet marketing full-time just over a year ago in October of 2014, so this month marks the end of our first full year of internet marketing. We also had some major life changes this year, so we ended up taking six full months off from work, and still managed to make over $44k! No bad for rookies eh?
Total traffic to sites: 59,002
Affiliate site #1: 4,885 (previous month 4,326, 12.6% increase)
We woke this site up after being dormant for six months, ordered a high-quality article for the holidays from iWriter that we did outreach with, and even played with running ads. According to SerpBook, we are ranking #5 for an 8,000 search volume keyword and we are ranking #12 for a buyer-intent keyword with 14,800 searches per month. This site made us $607.53 this month… not bad. It’s a highly technical product with low conversion rates and high commissions.
- Affiliate site #2: 560 (663 previous month, 15.4% decrease)
* Wrote two new articles for this site as silo content but didn’t do anything else. Affiliate site #3: 461 (561 last month, 17.8% decrease)
* Didn’t touch this site at all, or do any social media engagement which is the foundation of the site.
- Affiliate site #4: 1,339 (1,161 last month, 15.3% increase)
* Didn’t touch this site at all but the traffic and revenue is holiday driven. We sold the domain at the end of the month for $4,000 to the previous owner. Affiliate site #5: 2,532 (2,840 last month, 10.6% decrease)
* Moved this site from the Divi theme by Elegant themes to Magazine Pro by StudioPress. Did a little clean up on the site and implementing more hummingbird SEO strategies (on-page), but traffic dies on this site after December 15th every year, and it turns out we lost A LOT of the backlinks just before the holidays. Many of our PBNs were de-indexed and we believe that’s because they were hosted with IPNetworx. Read why we moved out sites off of IPNetworx here.
- Affiliate site #6: 8,217 (10,747 last month, 23% decrease)
- Affiliate site #7: 508 (603 last month, 19.4% decrease)
- Authority blog #1: 37,387 (19,869 last month, 88.2% increase)
* We have been working on this site heavily with lots of outreach, multiple blog post, high quality YouTube videos, email marketing, and even minor on-page SEO work.
- Authority blog #2: 3,059 (1,270 last month, 140.87% increase)
* We’ve been working on this blog heavily as well with lots of case studies, outreach, and getting involved with the community after being away for over six months.
Here are some highlights of the past month as far as traffic goes.
The end of fourth quarter
It seems that so far, we’ve done a great job at building all of our affiliate sites to produce well in fourth quarter, which is great in fourth quarter, but not the rest of the year! This means the sites wake up come September or so, but die off drastically at the end of December.
Our authority blog is really taking off
We’ve been working incredibly hard on this site since the beginning of September. SEO is on the bottom of the priority list on this blog; up until now we’ve been building it completely “white hat”. This is the child of everything we’ve learned in the internet marketing world in the past year and we have to say that it’s performing quite well. Even generated a #1 Google ranking in 5 hours. All content is gold, the niche is large enough, we’re providing real value, we’ve been successful in our outreach, and our email list is growing out of control.
Our affiliate sites aren’t really growing because we aren’t working on them
Since we’ve taken six months off from work, we haven’t given attention to our affiliate sites. We did a lot of work on them up front but a lot of them have remained stagnant. Once we rolled up our sleeves and took a peek under the hood, we realized that we have a lot of thin content, some of our PBNs were de-indexed, and rankings have been slowly slipping.
- Affiliate site #1: 46 (total 134 subscribers)
* Prior to December, we weren’t actively collecting emails. We’ve added the SumoMe Welcome Mat to all of our sites and list growth has increased drastically. We also did some outreach with quality content for this site and sent out some emails in hopes of capitalizing on holiday buyer intent.
- Affiliate site #2: 1 (total of 1 subscriber)
* Put up the welcome mat by SumoMe but the site isn’t getting much traffic.
- Affiliate site #3: 2 (total of 95 subscribers)
*Didn’t work on this site and it’s 100% social media driven.
- Affiliate site #4: unknown: we sold the domain
- Affiliate site #5: 6 (total of 125 subscribers)
- Affiliate site #6: 45 (total of 121 subscribers)
* This site did well with conversion after installing the welcome mat by SumoMe.
- Affiliate site #7: 2 (total of 10 subscribers)
* This site didn’t get much traffic but we forgot to turn on the welcome mat by SumoMe! It wasn’t even live!
- Authority blog #1: 1,228 (total of 2,282 subscribers)
This site went from a 0.65% email subscriber opt in rate to a 5% opt-in rate. This is how we increased our subscriber conversion rates.
We had to turn off the “auto import to MailChimp feature on SumoMe because we’ve blown past the 2,000 mark on our list which means that we need to start paying for MailChimp! As we aren’t ready to monetize this list yet, we’re going to export some of our emails out of MailChimp to buy us some time. We’re also going to look into switching to Aweber or ConvertKit as those seem like they may be better email marketing platforms for professionals.
- Authority blog #2: 46 (total of 178 subscribers)
In last month’s profit report, we had this big revelation that we were getting a lot of traffic across all of our web properties but were doing a poor job at converting those visitors to email subscribers… even on our authority blogs.
One thing we did was start a case study on increasing email opt-in rates and our biggest success was bringing a site from a 0.65% conversion rate to a 5% conversion rate. This wasn’t the pattern across all of our sites, but it’s something we’re going to work on. There are ways to add value with a straight-up affiliate site, you just need to get creative. We have big plans for this in 2016.
Read about our biggest mistakes of 2015 and our other goals for 2016.
- Amazon US:$2,461.32
- Amazon (Other Countries): $87.46
* 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.
- Parasite SEO for 2016: $148.50
- Ringio: $68.75
- Black Hat Community: $122.00
- Envato Marketplace: $2.10
- NameCheap: $3.52
This was a pretty good month for us affiliate-wise, but really only because it’s fourth quarter which is prime time for our affiliate sites. Even though December was our first month back after a six week break from internet marketing, we spent the month doing mostly clean up… dealing with multiple website hacks, cleaning up our PBN, moving 100 websites from IP NetworX to Traffic Planet Hosting (here’s why we will never use IP Networx again) and things like that.
- On-page ads: $73.86
- YouTube: $529.13
December is usually a big month for us based on the sheer volume we get on some of our affiliate sites, but this month was a little slower as we didn’t have time to maintain our affiliate sites (we lost a handful of quality links which resulted in a slight drop in critical rankings).
We did start a case study to help us improve our YouTube earnings, and we are quite pleased with the results! It turns out our channel wasn’t really monetized at all, so once we enabled monetization, implemented some sort of ad strategy and released a couple videos that went viral for our niche, earnings sky rocketed.
We are excited to watch our YouTube Adsense earnings grow in 2016. We are aiming for a steady $3,000/month.
Product #1: $149
Not a big month for products – we haven’t been marketing them. We have new products in the works for 2016 so stay tuned!
- Selling domains: $4,000
We haven’t been scraping expired domains or selling them actively for the past six months or so, but we did have an old owner of one of our domains reach out to us wanting to buy their domain back. They let the domain expire but are now interested in starting their business again and wanted the domain back.They offered $500 for the domain, and then $2,000, but because we were invested in the domain and it has been making us money, we said that we’d let it go for $4,000. It’s hard to say if we made the right decision or not as this could have made us a lot of money in 2016, but we still have all the content which we threw up on another site.
- High DA link rental: $130
We have a LARGE PBN that we’ve built in the early part of 2016 with some very high DA domains. We want to rent links on them but haven’t had time to do any outreach or make the option publicly known. That said, a few people got in early and it looks like we already have a few new link renters on board for January 2016.Here are just some of the domains in our PBN. Some of these domains were expired domains that we scraped ourselves, and others were purchased at auction from $400-$1,400/ea with an average domain age of 13 years. So yea, if we can get this thing profitable in 2016 that would be great.
Blog Posts Written
Here are all the blog posts that we wrote in December! It’s nice to be back in the saddle and we have some really great seo case studies underway, and even an ebook. Lots of good stuff is scheduled to be shared in 2016.
- How to Rank #1 in Google in 5 Hours
- Blogging, SEO and Affiliate Marketing Mistakes in 2015 and 2016 Action Plan
- CASE STUDY: Making Money From You Tube – Optimizing Our YouTube Video Ads
- CASE STUDY: Email Conversion Rate Optimization On Our Authority Blog
- Our Horrible PBN Hosting Experience With IPNetworX & What We Do Now
- Making Money with SEO: 4 Experts Reveal the Most Common Mistakes New Marketers Make & Tips to Avoid Them
- November 2015 Profit Report
- WordPress Giveaway Plugin by KingSumo: First Promotion to Build Our Email List
December was a great month for us all said and done. While we had hoped to make a bigger income this month, the fact that we made any money coming off of a six month break is astonishing, and we made $7,736.72.
In January some of the things we have scheduled are:
- Massive PBN clean up: We are in the middle of diversifying our PBN hosting hardcore including opening up reseller accounts with HostNine, GoDaddy and HostGator. We’re also investing in articles for our PBN through iWriter, and putting premium WordPress themes on some of the sites from StudioPress. We’re done with uploading archived sites from the Wayback Machine.
- Working on ONE keyword for ONE affiliate site: There is one keyword we are in position 12 for and gets 14,800 searches a month. It’s a keyword that has buyer intent and we’re already earning decently from long tails of the term. We believe that if we can get this into the top 5 positions then that will make for a nice affiliate income stream for the year. We are ordering a lot of articles through iWriter for silo content, are renting some links and doing a little outreach on the site.
- Strategizing: January will be another month of cleanup and strategizing. The work is simple, we just need to make sure we’re headed in the right direction and not going in too many directions at once.
That’s it for now! Stay tuned for more great content on the blog and our next profit report!