March was busy! Winter ended a bit early and things were getting into full stride with our businesses.
March was the first month where we felt in control of our business instead of the other way around. The level of discipline, organization and productivity we achieved through business systemization was awesome! Just one example is our time tracking was ON POINT! It becomes brutally obvious where your revenue is coming from AND where your time is being spent. Make the two align and BAM!
You’ll recall this was one of our 2016 goals. It’s also the first time the bulk of our workload was being carried by an outsourced team including PBN building, PBN and blog writing, video dictating and link outreach. We also broke into new avenues of building profitable relationships and generating revenue. Let’s dive in!
Traffic / Improvements
Total traffic to sites: 56,913
Affiliate site #1: 6,708 (previous month 5,757, 16.52% increase)
This site continues to be our main earner and the massive design overhaul from January, plus new money pages continue to increase both traffic, CTR and revenue.
We did some aggressive linking from our freshly revamped and highly powerful PBN moved up from 11 to 7 for our main keyword. We did some testing with PBN Butler socials when dripping PBN links with some interesting results. That’s for another post though. The long tail is where the traffic is really coming in with several of those keywords ranking 2-3.
We’ve also been working on diversifying the anchors on this site with a PBN Butler Citation package. Our goal is to prepare this site for sale this summer. Affiliate site #2: 519 (previous month 277, 87% increase)
We implemented the new design concept on this site this month. As such this site even with it’s low traffic numbers began having sales conversions. With fresh, high quality PBN links and some super duper on-site tidy up the rankings have jumped up with several keywords now generating traffic and revenue.
Some tasks completed include removing duplicate content, no-indexing thin pages and condensing thin content pages into larger, more comprehensive pages.We also added a new page via our team of writers to this site for a keyword we discovered via WMT and seems to have a better conversion potential/less competition. The formula we’ve developed is proving you don’t need thousands of visitors per month to generate decent profits. Focusing on conversions has yielded much faster ROI for us than trying to crank traffic. We expect to let this site sit for a month or two while we work on our off grid blog and property.
Affiliate site #3: 2,906 (previous month 2,688, 8.11% increase)
Nothing exciting to report here, this site just brings in money each month. We had discussed selling it, but got a bit too busy to start the process. We dropped a couple PBN links to the money page and snatched up a few more #1 rankings. Alyssa also implemented our newest design system. On-page time and conversions have since increased.
Affiliate site #4: 1.515 (2.047 last month, 26.15% decrease)
We finally were able to get to the bottom of the deindexed home page on this site. You can see how WordPress can cause your homepage to deindex in a recent blog post. Incorrect Wordfence settings can make a cluster mess of a perfectly good site!
We shared this find in several Facebook groups to help spread the word. Our homepage is now indexed, but that still doesn’t explain the consistently dropping rankings. We did massive overhaul last month on the site to clean it up, consolidate thin pages, stronger internal linking, removed some sketchy links from poor quality pbns and overall the site is slowly sinking. Grrr….
Affiliate site #5: 818 (previous month 345, 30.37% increase)
This site also received a design overhaul and a BUNCH of fresh content. Our writers added 8000 words each to 3 different money pages giving the site a huge bump in size. We also did some hefty PBN linking. Rankings AND conversions increased with this site having it’s first few sales. This site is targeting a summer niche product line so we expect to see more sales in the coming months.
Authority blog #1: 43,438 (previous month 63,684, 31.79% decrease)
March was a busy month on our white hat blog. With the snow melted and fair weather we dove into projects around our off-grid property. This usually means our blog also kicks into high gear as we strive to document our projects and progress. We completed our first gig on Famebit which was enlightening and interesting. We have a lot to say about this type of income stream and lessons learned from the experience. We’ll save that for another post though. Traffic on the site was down again as was Youtube views and revenue. Our channel is still resetting from the viral content we had back in Dec/Jan. Our efforts in February to implement an auto-responder have had great results with our unsubscribe rate dropping. This became a problem after after working hard to increase subscribers. We even get A LOT of people responding to the auto-responder emails!
This decision has really given a boost to engagement on our blog, social media and income. In April we aim to outsource much of the work that we’ve spent March perfecting by bringing on an intern to assist with re-writes, outreach and dictating our videos. This will be interesting and hopefully will reduce our work load slightly while helping us build more systems and scale our business. We have a few more Famebit gigs lined up for April which we feel is helping us make good connections with potential long term sponsors. For now we’re sticking with this income stream until we have reason to do otherwise.
Authority blog #2: 1,009(previous month 931, 8.38% increase)
We spent a decent amount of time writing guides for this blog and providing a TON of value among the SEO community through Facebook groups and our email list. We’ve been super busy so getting the income report out the door has been slow going. This is to be expected for the coming months as our primary focus is our off-grid property development.
- Authority blog #1: 845 (total of 8,046 subscribers)
Read more about how we increased our subscriber conversion rates.
- Authority blog #2: 8 (total of 204 subscribers)
- Affiliate sites: We have reduced list building efforts on all affiliate sites to the SumoMe smart bar. As mentioned the list building efforts in Dec/Jan had a dramatic negative impact on earnings.
- Amazon US: $2,511.24
- Amazon (Other Countries): $133.74
* 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: $117.20
- ElegantThemes: $124.50
- HostNine: $100
- Envato Marketplace: $14.68
- Shareasale: $174.98
- Donations: $96.62
- On-page ads: $2.64
- YouTube: $557.56
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: $299.00
- Link Rentals: $657.00
- Famebit Influencer Marketing Gigs: $450
We signed up for this platform a month ago and within a few days we were able to apply to our first gig. Famebit works like this: it attracts influencers with large followings on social media (usually 5,000 followers minimum per channel) and brands can request content for a fee range. This month, we were able to find a brand in our niche that saw the value in our channel and was willing to pay us $450 to make a video including their product to share on our channel. This helped us to turn the corner with not getting paid for our videos up front (only getting paid over time through Adsense) from getting paid to simply make the video. $450 still isn’t enough money for the work we do with these brands, but it’s a huge start and we’re hoping to get some $1,000+ gigs through this platform. We have experimented with other platforms such as ChannelPages, Grapevine and Reelio, but so far we’ve found ZERO opportunities through any of them, and we’ve applied to at least eight different opportunities on Famebit and have had about four accept our proposal.
Blog Posts Written
Wordfence causing pages to deindex – In February we were having a problem with an affiliate site whose home page was deindexed. After much digging and search we isolated the problem to Wordfence plugin settings. We outline how to set up Wordfence to keep this from happening to you!
Zero Risk On-Page SEO tips – One of the most overlooked SEO tactics is abusing on-page signals. I through together quick guide to help you optimize your site for SPEED! This one thing along will surely give you an edge over sluggish sites that have poor page load speeds and poor user experience.
Summary + Looking Forward
March was a month of big wins. Our income didn’t spike really, but our business took a huge leap foward in terms of organization. We focused on timing all minutes spent on each website. With this data we compared our revenue and potential which helps quantify where the opportunity is and where to spend our time. We also did VERY well on task management and staying focused. On problem we both struggle with is “clicking around”. It’s overwhelming to manage all these projects and even more so at the end of a hard day working outdoors. Our task management helped us be more in control of our “online time” and keep from wasting hours doing nothing, but feeling like we should be working on something. As mentioned in our 2016 goals this is a huge focus for us as we optimize our business to fit our life while also increasing revenue.
Going forward we aim to focus on influencer marketing partnerships as well as begin heavy outreach to sponsors for our blog with the goal of landing some long term relationships on things like off-grid solar and cedar hot tub! We’ll continue focusing on making money from Youtube and producing more videos in April so we are focusing on improving shooting techniques to minimize editing time. With affiliate sites we’ll be dripping links mostly to existing content and see how they are performing in a month. This will mean using our team of writers, but not much else from our side. Overall our business has come miles since our overhaul back in Dec/Jan and we’re happy to see the business taking shape.
How was March for you? What goals did you have and how did they work out for you? Any big wins or ah-ha moments during the month?