Can you believe we're already three months into 2016?!? Me neither. On the bright side, that means it's time for my quarterly update and income report!
Doing these reports really is one of my favorite pieces of content to write. It allows me to recap everything I've been up to, aggregate all of my financial numbers and website statistics into one place, and get an overview of how I've been progressing since the last report!
I'll start by going over all of the financial aspects of Kirby's Marketing then I'll update my website traffic, social media following, YouTube statistics, email marketing, time spent, and I'll finish up reviewing everything I actually did in the last three months (content creation, website changes, etc.) and going over my previous goals for this quarter and my goals for the next quarter! So, let's get started.
I always start with the money talk, because I know that's what you're most interested in! Am I right? Yeah…I thought so…
Also, remember that all of the numbers from here on out are for the three-month period of January, February, and March 2016.
Expenses = $212.71
My expenses have remained basically the same, other than the two programs I purchased to review. I have four monthly expenses that have remained the same since I started this website; Wealthy Affiliate (training), AWeber (email marketing), MyThemeShop (theme provider), and Namecheap (hosting service).
Wealthy Affiliate Membership: $74.76
AWeber Membership: $57.00
Namecheap (Aff): $27.00
PPC BingAds: $0.00
PPC AdWords: $0.00
Facebook Ads: $0.00
Purchased Super Fast Affiliate Sites: $17.00
Purchased Commission Black Ops: $9.95
Income (New Conversions/Revenue) = 40/$205.26
Unfortunately, my income actually ended up being a bit lower than it has been in the past. I'm still trying to figure out why this is exactly. I think a big part of it is because a product that I was getting almost weekly sales in is in the process of switching their affiliate platform…so I've lost all of those sales. I'm looking forward to the day when they finally get their new system up and running!
I also got my first commissions from Digit Savings App, which is a product I've been using for quite some time now, and a product on the JVZoo affiliate platform. It's always nice to have more sources of income coming in, no matter how small.
(New Conversions/New Revenue)
Wealthy Affiliate: 21/$71.00
Elegant Themes (Aff): 0/$0.00
Dreamstime (Aff): 0/$1.32
Fotolia (Aff): 8/$0.00
Paid Viewpoint: 7/$18.32
Pretty Link Pro: 0/$0.00
Digit Savings App: 2/$10.00
Totals Over Time
This is the first time in quite a while that I have actually made a loss…it kind of sucks, but it just shows me that I still have a lot of work to do, especially if I ever plan on making this a consistent enough source of revenue to do this full time.
However, since the beginning of Kirby's Marketing, I am still profitable!
Total Profit: -$7.45
Total Profit: $788.44
Hourly Rate: $4.43/HR
As you can imagine, with the drop in revenue this quarter, my hourly rate took a plunge. I spent over 46 hours working on my business and brought in $191.76. It's not great, but it's still better than nothing, especially with the knowledge that all of this time I'm investing in my site will pay off one day in the future (hopefully sooner rather than later).
The traffic coming to my site has actually been on the uptick in the first parts of 2016 (even more in the beginning of quarter 2, but I can't talk about that yet since this is only about quarter 1).
My traffic has remained fairly steady for the last six months or so but has recently started to increase in more noticeable increments. Ever since I made some design changes to my reviews, specifically the “above-the-fold” portions, my actions and time per visits have dramatically increased, and my bounce rate has dramatically decreased!
Before my changes, my actions were about 1-1.2 per visit (now 2.0), time per visit was between 1:00-1:30 (now well over 4 minutes), bounce rate up near 80% (now right at 15%). Talk about dramatic improvements! It's amazing what a few simple aesthetic changes can do for your site! Now…I just need to figure out how to convert all of these people that are spending good amounts of time reading my content into buyers of the products I'm recommending. Unfortunately, that is no easy tasks and something I've yet to master.
Total Visitors: 6,475
Page Views: 12,853
Outbound Links: 153
Average Actions: 2.0
Total Time: 20 Days 15 Hours
Average per Visit: 4 Min 35 Sec
Bounce Rate: 15%
A large majority of my traffic comes from organic searches, but I have noticed an increase in traffic from other sources as well. This is great because it shows I'm starting to diversify the places from which I'm drawing traffic. People are now coming to my site directly, through various links out there on the web, and through my social media channels.
Social Media: 19
Media Searches: 16
Social Media Profiles
I've been trying to get better about posting all of my new content onto my various social media communities. I can't say I've been good at it, but I have been better than the last few months of 2015 where I did absolutely no social media whatsoever.
My YouTube channel continues to generate a fair amount of views. Heck, people have watched almost 1,400 minutes of my videos so far in 2016. I know that's nothing to brag about, but it's over 23 hours of people watching my content. Just like my website content, though, I've yet to unlock the trick of converting my viewers into buyers.
New Subscribers: 7
New Comments: 4
New Videos Posted: 0
Total Views: 471
Total Watch Time (Minutes): 1,391
Average View Duration: 2:57
With my increase in traffic, I have more than doubled my email subscribers to my KM Mindset Course! I've gotten more subscribers in the first quarter of 2016 than I did in all of 2015. One of the biggest reasons for this (other than an increase in traffic) is most likely because I changed my popup to be much more aesthetically pleasing and rewrote the content on it to better represent the material in the course.
Once again, I bet you're noticing a common theme by now, I still am not converting my subscribers very well. I'm struggling to get them to participate in the discussions and complete the tasks laid out throughout the course.
Primary Email List: 79 (+6)
KM Mindset Course: 123 (+62)
Time Spent 46 Hrs 18 Min
I spent just over 46 hours working on Kirby's Marketing in the first quarter of 2016. Unfortunately, there were some rather serious family emergencies that took place, as well as other random events that I had no control over that took about most of January and a good portion of March.
That being said, I still did get quite a lot done with the time I had. I completely re-did my Wealthy Affiliate Review in my new style of “super in-depth reviews”. It is officially the longest post I've ever written, which is why it took a whopping 14 hours to complete.
I also spent a good amount of time writing four other in-depth reviews, taking care of miscellaneous issues and tasks, optimizing old posts, and responding to comments and emails.
Wealthy Affiliate Review: 14 Hrs 15 Min
Domainer Elite Review: 6 Hrs 30 Min
Commission Black Ops Review: 5 Hrs 45 Min
KM Bi-Monthly Update November/December: 4 Hrs 29 Min
Miscellaneous: 3 Hrs 31 Min
Make Money With Google Review: 3 Hrs 21 Min
Super Fast Affiliate Sites Review: 3 Hrs 13 Min
Email Marketing: 1 Hr 13 Mins
WA Community: 1 Hr 12 Mins
Optimizing Old Posts: 1 Hr 6 Min
Respond to Comments: 1 Hr 1 Min
Web Design: 20 Mins
Video Transcriptions: 11 Min
Respond to Emails: 7 Min
What I Did
Changing Product Review Methods
I made a decision that every product review I write is going to be the most in-depth, well-informed review on the web. This means my reviews are going to be quite long, with lots of sections, details, and images. I know this might turn some people off because they are lazy and don't like to actually read anything, but I'm hoping that, over time, Google will begin to give me more and more authority as they realize I'm writing excellent, in-depth content that is giving the right people the exact information they're looking for…which I believe I am.
I've already begun to see some of the fruit of these labors. I completely re-did my Wealthy Affiliate review to the tune of over 10,000 words (it used to be just over 1,000 words). Before this, it consistently ranked in the mid-30s for the keyword “Wealthy Affiliate Review”. Since updating, it has been jumping around the mid-teens. This is a super competitive keyword, so, to me, this proves my strategy is working and will pay off in the end.
My Wealthy Affiliate Review is just one example of these in-depth reviews I've begun to write, but I'm looking forward to where this review style will take me in the future!
“Above the Fold” Changes
On top of implementing massive changes to how I write my reviews, I've also changed what appears in the “above-the-fold” portions of my reviews. Before, a review showed only a bar graph with ratings and a header picture. You didn't even get any text until you scrolled down.
I realized this was a horrible design since it didn't really give anyone any relevant information when they first came to the review. To rectify this, I began with a short introduction right away, followed by a “Quick Review” section for all of my impatient readers (especially necessary since I've started writing super in-depth reviews). At the bottom of this “Quick Review” section is the bar graph as well as a video walk-through of the product. The in-depth portion of the review follows.
The effects of these changes have been dramatic! My “time on page” has almost quadrupled, “actions per visit” doubled, and bounce rate decreased from around 80% down to 10-15%. This all just goes to show how important the “above-the-fold” portion of your content is!
Moral of the story: People are lazy and impatient and they don't want to use their finger muscles to scroll down to get the content they're looking for.
Began Updating Old Reviews
Given the above sections, it logically follows that I would want to go back and make some changes to my older product reviews. Many of these changes have more to do with the “above-the-fold” ideas, but I'm also going back and adding more detail where I can.
However, this process will take a while since I have over 100 posts to get through!
I finally got to the $100 ad-revenue mark, which is how much I need before Google will pay me! Once I got there, I immediately removed AdSense from my site. This is something I've been wanting to do for many months, but couldn't rationalize it when I was so close to getting that $100 deposit from Google into my account!
I chose to do this for a couple of reasons. Primarily, I didn't like how they looked on my website. They didn't fit the style of my site and they also made it look like a typical website designed to make money by showing advertisements everywhere. I don't want my site to be like every other site out there.
Secondly, I hate the idea of sending my traffic to my competitors. Google displays ads that are similar to the content on the page, so this undoubtedly means I'm letting my competitors steal my traffic and get the potential sale.
In terms of actual new content creation (I also spent time updating old posts…but won't include those here), I wrote and published 5 product reviews. The first two, Super Fast Affiliate Sites and Domainer Elite, were both decent products (not great, but definitely not scams) which I could actually recommend to my audience.
Two of the others, Make Money with Google and Commission Black Ops, were not products I could recommend to my readers. It sort of stinks to spend so much time on reviews only to tell people not to buy it, but I'm hoping this will drive, at least some, of the traffic to my site instead of other sites. Once they are here, it's my mission to prevent them from getting duped and pointing them toward legitimate resources that actually can help them build a successful online business.
The final product review I created was my super in-depth, 10,000+ word review of Wealthy Affiliate University. I hadn't updated this review in well over a year…it's amazing how many changes can be made in that amount of time.
Quarter 1 Goals
I managed to meet two of my goals (4 in-depth product reviews and 100 subscribers) and come annoyingly close to another (7,000 unique visitors). The other 4 goals weren't really even close to being completed. What can I say? It's hard to find enough hours to meet the goals I've set for the quarter.
- Post 12 new pages or posts NO (6 only)
- Write 4 in-depth product reviews YES (5)
- Have over 7,000 unique visitors to my site NOT QUITE (Only a few hundred short!)
- Work for 75+ hours NO (only worked for 46 hours)
- Optimize 10+ older product reviews NO
- Send out blog broadcast once per week NO
- Have 100 subscribers to KM Mindset Shift Course YES (with lots of room to spare!)
Goals for Quarter 2
I'm keeping my goals for quarter 2 rather similar to my previous goals. My hope is that I will have a relatively distraction-free second quarter and able to dedicate a good amount of time to building my online business and writing new content for this website.
- Post 12 new pages or posts
- Write 4 in-depth product reviews
- Have over 10,000 unique visitors to my site
- Work for 75+ hours
- Optimize 5+ older product reviews
- Send out blog broadcast once per week
- Have 300 subscribers to KM Mindset Shift Course
Well, that's about it for the first quarter of 2016. I look forward to writing the next income report and update in three months' time! I hope you'll check in then to see how things are going here at Kirby's Marketing and to see what I've done and how you can learn from it…that is my ultimate goal with these updates: that you will learn how to take what I've tried and apply it (or don't apply it) to your own online businesses!
Be sure to join my email list below this post to ensure you're notified of my next update in July!
Also, if you have any questions regarding anything I've discussed in this report, please drop me a comment below! I look forward to hearing from all of my readers!
Dustin “Kirby” Garness