February has been a great month for us. Last year, we took a full six months off from digital marketing to start building our dream lifestyle and when we decided to get back into the swing of things in December, it was rough. In February, we made quite the comeback.
While December and January were spent doing a lot of clean up in our business and on our PBN, Feburary was all about seeing some of the fruits from our labor. Overall, this is one of our best months in digital marketing income yet not only in terms of amount of dollars earned, but the dollars earned were through passive streams of income. A win-win.
Take a look below to see what February looked like for us in more detail!
Traffic / Improvements
Total traffic to sites: 75,687
Affiliate site #1: 5,737 (previous month 4,502, 27.88% increase)
In January, we invested $600 of content into this site (ordered endless articles through iWriter, Hirewriters and iNeedarticles) and overhauled the design. We also dripped A LOT of Snappylinks to the site. In February, we sat back, took a break, enjoyed the sunshine, and watched the Amazon dollars roll in. A nice change of pace and a nice reward for our efforts.Our hope is to sell this site later this year (early summer?) for 25-30x multiples of profits. We’re going to hold off on investing money into this site to see what it does over the next few months, but we’ll be working on minor optimizations to be sure that we are capitalizing on as much traffic as possible.For this site, we are ranked 5 and 7 for the two keywords we’re targeting which is great, so in addition to dripping quality links for those keywords, we’re also dripping a few links to a new piece of content that is currently ranked 29 with no link building. We have high hopes for this page.
Affiliate site #2: 277 (668 previous month, 58.53% decrease)
Last month we did a bit of a site overhaul as well as some heavy linking from Snappylinks. We also invested in a large, quality piece of content that we feel will take the site in a new direction as well as will uncover additional opportunities.It’s hard to say why traffic is down 50%… I think that’s because the holiday “rush” truly is over. That said, rankings are all up by a lot and they’re only climbing with each passing week, so I think we’ll see some great things out of the site this year. We aren’t worried that traffic is low this month. SEO is a long-term investment, not a get-rich-quick scheme!
Affiliate site #3: 2,668 (2,876 last month, 6.54% decrease)
We haven’t touched this site in months, but it produces a consistent $200/month without fail. We built a couple links to it for fun back in the day, but it’s really ranking all on its own. It’s our “accidental success” site, but we aren’t complaining! We are going to look into selling this site this month.
Affiliate site #4: 2,047 (2.772 last month, 26.15% decrease)
As you will see in last month’s report, we think this site has been facing a huge penalty for two months now. This month, we finally had the chance to roll up our sleeves to take a closer peak under the hood, and what we found was interesting.While we think that we were initially penalized due to thin content (it was a fair penalty to be honest), we cleaned up the site, added quality content, and resubmitted to Google. We then discovered that our security plugin was blocking the Google bots (terrible, right?), AND we discovered that the home page hasn’t been indexed for who knows how long! We haven’t gotten to the bottom of that one yet, but we don’t plan to do any linking to the site to recover rankings until we figure out why the home page isn’t indexed.For this niche, March – August are the slowest months as this is a very seasonal product. So we’re okay that the site is having issues right now as we have plenty of time to get ‘er ready for next holiday season!As you will see in this image, traffic is down a bit from last year within the same three month time frame.
Affiliate site #5: 345 (406 last month, 15.02% decrease)
This site we have some pretty high hopes for but haven’t worked on it since we built the thing almost a year ago. It’s ranking really well for some pretty competitive terms despite the site only having about three pages of content. In March, we plan to bulk up this site a bit with quality content as well as drop about 15 high DA links to the site. We think it will respond well. We already see a large jump in traffic in March as we write this report so that combined with higher rankings could result in seeing some sales this summer.
Authority blog #1: 63,684 (90,862 last month, 143.03% increase)
This blog has taken a hit traffic-wise in February compared to the previous month because January’s traffic volume was inflated due to a couple viral pieces of content. One piece of content made our blog traffic and YouTube earnings skyrocket which was great to see the potential, but it’s also not something we want to get addicted to.
In February, we took a bit of time off due to burnout so we didn’t work on this blog much… we instead tried to focus on a minimal, sustainable schedule of publishing content and dripping it to our list. A few things we tried out this month included:
Adding an autoresponder
We sent out an email after not sending one for a month and in that time we had a lot of new subscribers, and a lot of those folks marked our email as spam… the number was so high that we got a warning from MailChimp! We decided that we should implement an autoresponder to keep our list warm… especially for new people that might forget about our blog within a few days or weeks. We have very low unsubscribe rates from our autoresponder (even though we want disinterested folks to unsubscribe so that our list remains clean reducing overhead). We have to pay for our list at this point so an autoresponder is really just a perk for the price we are already paying.
We set ourselves up on a schedule of publishing two high-quality blog posts a month, 2-4 YouTube videos a month, one email newsletter a week, multiple social media posts through HootSuite, and then we also signed up for Buffergram which allows you to truly schedule Instagram posts unlike Hootsuite. Scheduling Instagram posts with HootSuite is completely unreliable, and Buffergram seems to do what it says so we’ll stick with that for a while. We like that this labor-intensive blog is becoming a little more scheduled and predictable which fits better with our lifestyle and long-term goals.
YouTube earnings are dropping
Our YouTube earnings are dropping quite a bit which is disappointing but it is helping us to decide where YouTube plays into our life. We don’t make YouTube videos for the Adsense money on YouTube, but we feel that they help us to accomplish a larger marketing goal. We will continue to place a high emphasis on our YouTube channel for the time being as we don’t think the opportunity there is gone.
First sponsored YouTube video lined up
While we have received free products to review on our YouTube channel, we’ve signed up with an influencer platform that helps influencers and brands find one another. On this platform, brands can pay anywhere from $100 to $5,000+ for influencers to mention or feature their products. We seem to have found a product that is a great match for our channel so in addition to showing the product in a YouTube video, we’ll also get $500. We aren’t sure that these type of ventures will be worth our time, but we’re willing to try it out to see if it can help us to get in contact with the right type of brands (with the right mindset).
Authority blog #2: 931 (1,867 last month, 50.13% decrease)
We haven’t given much attention to this site in the month of February because honestly, we aren’t sure that it’s worth it to grow it. We continue to mostly maintain this blog for the documentation of our own case studies and income reports, but we continue to hope that others can learn through our experiences. It also puts us in touch with people who are new to SEO and digital marketing and seeking an authentic, honest and credible voice for SEO consulting and coaching.
Overall, we’ve decided to cut back on trying to grow our list for most of our affilaite sites. Our aggressive list-building strategy had a significant increase on our bounce rate on our affilaite sites which could have a negative impact on rankings, so we’re choosing to pick our battles wisely and not worry about a list.
That said, we are continuing to aggressively build our list on our authority blog.
- Affiliate site #1: 0 (total 168 subscribers)
- Affiliate site #2: 0 (total of 3 subscribers)
- Affiliate site #5: 6 (total of 137 subscribers)
- Affiliate site #6: 1 (total of 136 subscribers)
- Affiliate site #7: 3 (total of 14 subscribers)
- Authority blog #1: 1,610 (total of 7283 subscribers)
Read more about how we increased our subscriber conversion rates.
- Authority blog #2: 9 (total of 207 subscribers)
- Amazon US: $2004.28
- Amazon (Other Countries): $440.24
* 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: $72.00
- Envato Marketplace: $3.24
- Shareasale: $6.60
- Donations: $70.00
Our YouTube channel took a hit income-wise this month but as mentioned prior, this is because the previous months’ income was inflated due to a viral video. $900 is still not bad for YouTube income, although we are monitoring our YouTube time and energy wisely to ensure that we’re not slaving away for pennies.
- On-page ads: $6.76
- YouTube: $897.96
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: $249.00
Since we’ve completely revamped our PBN and added a large number of high quality domains, we decided to give a push to SnappyLinks and share some of our link opportunities. In addition to using our PBN for our own money sites, we’re also able to recover some of the investment by providing high-quality links. We’re offering both permanent links and monthly links and both have done well this month. To top it off, many of our customers have seen steep ranking increases and we’re also had numerous customers return for additional links which isn’t bad for a new business.
We also made a few tweaks to a client’s website although this is not a service we focus on as service-based business doesn’t fit our long-term goals of creating passive income.
- Snappylinks: $1,675.00
- Web design services: $330
Blog Posts Written
In February, we only wrote one blog post and that was our January 2016 Profit Report! It IS a doozy, however, so be sure to check it out. Jesse spilled the beans on everything we’ve been up to in the past couple of months and it contains a heap of quality information.
Summary + Looking forward
February hands-down has been the best month in our digital marketing efforts to date. Not only did we produce a decent income, but we also took two weeks off in the month to develop our off grid property. We cut down a tree or two, made our own lumber and even built a hot tub deck that will soon host our wood fired hot tub. We were also able to run our business like a business, utilized Asana efficiently for task management, and didn’t feel like we were chickens running around with our head cut off. Overall, things were stable and predictable which is a nice change of pace.
We think that we’re going to have a great rest of the year and are excited to see what is in store for us. We really feel that we fully understand what it takes to rank a website, are dripping high-quality links to every property monthly, have some great content lined up, understand which additional keywords to target, and are even planning on cashing out on our current web properties so that we can reinvest into something bigger, better and even more competitive.
Stay tuned for our progress and subscribe to our email newsletter (blue bar at the top) to be kept in the loop on future profit reports as well as our tips, tricks and potential e-book launches!