Hello all my KMers and welcome to my Bi-Monthly Report for January and February 2015! I’m really excited to write this report to show you all of the progress I have made so far this year. (I decided I’m going to call all of my followers “KMers” from now on.)
If you’re new, I started this website with the idea that it would be a completely open book! I have documented my progress from the very beginning with the idea of showing what it actually takes to become successful online! It’s not a quick thing like so many people claim. With these reports, I hope to show you that with work and dedication, along with great training, you can find success…just like I have.
Now, let’s dive right in. I’ll first talk about everything I have done in the last two months. Then I’ll take an in-depth look at my traffic statistics, how much time I’ve spent working on my website/s, how much money I have made, my goals for the next two months, and I’ll wrap up with some personal notes.
What I Have Done
Bi-Monthly Reports And Name Change
To start, you may have noticed I didn’t publish an income report for January. This is because these updates are incredibly time intensive. With the amount of time I have available to work on my website, it would usually take me an entire week to get my update finished. That’s 25% of my time spent telling you about my last month. To me, that wasn’t the best use of time in terms of building out my website.
From now on, I will be publishing an update every two months. I think this will free up more time for me to write more beneficial content for my website and to begin working on a second niche site (see below).
I also decided to change the name of these updates. Previously I called them “KM Monthly Reports”, but I don’t think that title really draws clicks. I started asking myself: “What are people really looking for when they come to my website?”
Usually, they’re looking to see if they can make money online and to learn if the product they are researching will help them in that endeavor. If that person sees “Monthly Reports” that probably won’t be too appealing. So, I have officially changed the name of these to: “KM Income And Progress Report”.
I think having “Income” in the title itself will draw in more traffic. I guess time will tell, but to me, this seems like a better title. What do you think?
I was able to publish 6 new posts (all product reviews) and two new pages in the last two months. The first half of January was filled with a lot of time spent in the hospital with my mom, so I struggled to get much work done until the third week of January.
For once, most of the reviews I wrote were actually for products I don’t have a problem recommending to people. Obviously, some are better than others, but none of them was dishonest:
- Paid Viewpoint Review
- Pretty Link Pro Review
- AWeber Simplified Review
- Ranking Miracle Review
- Corporate Theme Review
Only one review was of a pretty bad, dishonest product:
In addition to product reviews, I also wrote two new pages. I made a completely new Wealthy Affiliate sales page designed specifically to drive people to Wealthy Affiliate. It isn’t a product review, but rather an exhibition of all that WA offers. The intent is to show my readers that it really is a great product.
Right now I have a split test set up that sends half of the people clicking on links to “Wealthy Affiliate” or some variation to my WA Review and a half to my new WA sales page. Why don’t you have a look at both and let me know which one you like better in the comments:
I also wrote the first lesson on my new series called “How To Create A Profitable Niche Site”. this series will only be available to my email subscribers, but I will talk about this more below.
I have been really excited about the growing visibility this website is having. I’ve actually had people start approaching me regarding various topics. Some of them are more legit than others, but I have followed through with a few.
I had the creator or AWeber Simplified reach out asking if I would review her new product, which I did. I am always very open to them about how I will review any products people ask me to write about. Basically, if I don’t think their product is good, I will be honest in the review and not recommend it to my readers. However, I’m more than happy to say good things about a good product.
I’ve also had an advertiser contact me asking if they could advertise on my website. I didn’t follow through with this because they wanted to have me publish guest posts with links to other sites. It may have been naive of me, but I am not yet willing to forfeit any sort of control over my content.
Killed Bot Traffic
I started noticing I was getting A LOT of traffic from sites that I didn’t think were legit…we’re talking like 20+ visits a day. Here are the sites and the traffic I was getting from them in December:
After doing some research and tapping into the expertise among the WA community, I determined this was all spam traffic and wasn’t giving me any benefit other than distorting my traffic statistics.
Luckily, Google Analytics allows you to filter traffic coming from particular cities, so I was able to eliminate this traffic without having to just completely block ALL Russian traffic.
I have been using Pretty Link Lite since I first started this website. I decided I wanted to review the plugin, but also decided I wanted to be able to review the Pro version of it. This will allow me to get much bigger affiliate commissions from any sales I generate as well as give me a better plugin to use on every site I own from now on.
Needless to say, the additional features of the Pro version have been very useful and I am completely happy with my investment in this plugin. It has allowed me to start split testing pages on my site. This will greatly improve my conversion rates down the road.
Set up split testing
As I just mentioned, Pretty Link Pro allows me to set up split testing. This was the feature I was most excited about implementing on my site as I have been wanting to do this for quite some time, but just didn’t know how.
Also, I now have enough traffic that I am able to really start to look at conversion rates and accurately calculate the conversion rates and profitability of my posts. I’m still figuring all of this out so I don’t really have too many results to report yet.
Learned A Lesson About Abandoned Sites
I learned a valuable lesson about abandoning sites and not updating/maintaining them. There were a couple domain names I started building websites on but never really developed. Instead of deleting them I just left them there and forgot about them. I never updated WordPress or any plugins or themes.
It turns out one of the themes on one of my abandoned sites got hacked. The hackers were using my domain name to send out thousands of emails per day. Needless to say, Namecheap, my hosting provider noticed the amount of resources this was using on their servers and suspended my account. This blocked every domain on my account, including this one.
Unfortunately, it took over 36 hours to rectify this problem. I wasn’t too happy with the customer service and how long it took them, as my site was down for 24 hours before I even got an explanation. If possible, I plan on transferring my hosting to Wealthy Affiliate hosting when my current subscription with Namecheap runs out later this year. WA actually has a really high-quality, stable, and secure hosting platform…probably one of its best kept secrets.
I definitely learned my lesson regarding sites I’m no longer using!
Restarted My PPC Campaigns
I felt the urge to start getting my PPC campaigns up and running again now that I’m making money and am getting some conversion statistics for my posts and pages. I got my BingAds campaigns running successfully, but have run into problems with my Google AdWords account. For some reason they have issues with my site and am in the middle of correspondence with a representative discussing what it will take for them to re-approve my website.
Purchased WP Profit Builder
Another product I bought was a plugin/theme called WP Profit Builder. I was originally planning on just writing a product review. However, after researching the product I discovered it was really legit and something I would like to use on my next niche site.
I figured this would be a great way to kill two birds with one stone. I can get to know the product while I build out my first niche site. This will allow me to write a great, in-depth review later on!
Began Niche Site #1
I’ve mentioned this a couple times so far, but I have officially started my second niche website. I plan on spending about a third of my time developing this new site (Kirby’s Marketing is still my primary focus).
Basically, I want to branch out and do some more interesting things and prove to all of you KMers that you can make money in multiple niches at the same time. I don’t foresee this new site making me $1000s/month as it is a very tight niche, but I’m definitely hoping to get it well into the triple digits per month. It will be fun and I look forward to sharing my progress with you all!
Started Creating A “Niche Site” Course
Along with this new niche site, I have started creating my first “course”. In it, I will be outlining all of the steps it takes to create a profitable niche website. These lessons are only going to be available to my email subscribers. This way I can have something to offer to people when they sign up. This is a great way to entice people to sign up. Who doesn’t love free information?
If you want to receive this course, you can sign up for my email list here:
Now let’s take a look at my traffic for the last two months! As I mentioned, I had to purge my analytics of all the spam/bot traffic. Unfortunately, these filters don’t work retroactively, so it became quite difficult to get accurate traffic data for January. I put the filters in place on Jan. 16, so I don’t have any accurate statistics for the first half of the month. My site was also completely down for a day and a half due to hosting issues.
Given all of this, I will do my best to calculate accurate traffic estimates by figuring out how much traffic I averaged for the 16 days of January, plus the 28 days of February, then multiply that number by 59 (total number of days in January and February). This should give me a fairly good estimate…as close as I'm going to get anyways.
Total Visitors: 6,760
Unique Visitors: 5,763
% New Visitors: 84.96%
Average Session Duration: 2:07
My traffic continues to come mostly from organic sources, which is great because it’s free. I’ve also started seeing increases in traffic coming in from other places as well, so that’s exciting. You can also see that 110 of my visitors came from clicking on my ads with BingAds.
PPC Adwords: 0
PPC BingAds: 110
In December, I set up my first “goal” within Analytics to look at the amount of traffic that clicked through to my Wealthy Affiliate Review. In January, I set up a goal for those clicking through to my new Wealthy Affiliate Promotional Page. In total, about 14.8% of my traffic ends up on one of these two posts.
I am using Pretty Link Pro to split test these two pages, so half of everyone who clicks a link to “WA Review”, or something similar, goes to the old page and half to the new page.
Goal: Click through to WA Review Post
Goal Completions: 504
Goal Conversion Rate: 7.45%
Goal: Click through to WA Promotional Page
Goal Completions: 496
Goal Conversion Rate: 7.34%
Total Traffic Over Time
I always like to show this graph in every income report I publish. Just sit back and look at how my organic traffic has grown since the inception of this website! It’s begun to level off a bit now, but that is to be expected. Mainly, look at how long it took for me to get any traffic whatsoever! Now, I’m getting hundreds of visitors A DAY…more than I got in my first few months combined.
Top Performing Landing Pages
I am continuing to track the top three landing pages bringing people to my site. I think this information is really interesting to follow and really shows the power of SEO! The same three posts have been in the top three for the last couple months, but I have others catching up!
This post has been my number one traffic generator for many months now; however, the traffic has decreased slightly from previous months.
% Total Traffic: 30.23%
% New Sessions: 89.70%
Average Session Duration: 2:10
This review hasn’t been able to get past the second spot; however, it is gaining traffic compared to the post in the first position, so it may just be a matter of time until this post jumps up to number one…it still has a way to go though.
% Total Traffic: 18.77%
% New Sessions: 83.19%
Average Session Duration: 1:41
This is the second month the post has been in the top three. It’s traffic continues to make big leaps up. There have been quite a few top three rankings in Google for major keywords related to this post.
% Total Traffic: 15.08%
% New Sessions: 93.03%
Average Session Duration: 2:21
Social Media Profiles
Keeping engaged with my social media profiles continues to be my biggest struggle. I know a social media presence is valuable, but I just struggle with appropriating enough time to manage them. Sometimes I just feel like abandoning them until I have more time, but I don’t think that is a good idea either.
I guess I’ll just try to do what I can, but won’t beat myself up if I don’t manage to get to them as much as I should.
That being said, they are continuing to grow and get more followers despite my neglect….so that’s good right?
Time Spent – 77 Hours 38 Minutes
Despite a rough start to the year, I managed to spend almost two full 40-hour work weeks worth of time working on my site since January 1. I’m finding that tracking my time with Toggl really helps me to stay on task when I am working. As you can tell, I want to make sure my numbers are accurately reported.
I am finding that the time it takes me to write content really varies based on the topic. When it comes to reviews, if it is a product I recommend, I typically spend much more time than on products I don’t recommend.
Here’s how my hours break down:
Wealthy Affiliate Community: 8 hrs 12 min
Niche Site #1: 7 hrs 23 min
Page – WA Primary Sales Page: 6 hrs 30 min
Post – Monthly Update – Dec. 2014: 5 hrs 42 min
Post – Ranking Miracle Review: 5 hrs 40 min
Post – Pretty Link Pro Review: 4 hrs 57 min
Post – Paid Viewpoints Review: 4 hrs 51 min
Social Media: 4 hrs 43 min
Troubleshooting: 3 hrs 40 min
Miscellaneous: 3 hrs 50 min
Post – AWeber Simplified Review: 2 hrs 56 min
Post – Auto Money App Review: 2 hrs 47 min
Income Report/Update – Jan./Feb. 2015: 2 hrs 25 min
Corporate Theme Review: 2 hrs 18 min
PPC: 2 hrs 12 min
How To Create A Profitable Niche Site – Lesson 1: 2 hrs 9 min
Respond To Comments: 2 hrs 8 min
Education: 1 hr 41 min
Setting Up Split Testing: 25 min
WA Work: 23 min
Bi-Monthly Revenue = $79.38
Expenses = -$323.43
I think this number is a bit misleading at first. Even when I look at it, I think to myself “How did I spend that much money?!?” If you look at what I spent it on though, over $180 of it was spent on products I technically didn’t need to buy, and $27 on PPC. Take that away and my expenses are much, much less! Also, remember this is over a two month period.
Wealthy Affiliate Membership: $49.84
AWeber Membership: $38
NameCheap (Hosting): $7.96
Pretty Link Pro: $97.00
Ranking Miracle 2.0: $17.00
WP Profit Builder: $67.67
PPC BingAds: $27.96
PPC AdWords: $0.00
Facebook Ads: $0.00
Income (New Conversions/Revenue) = 301/$402.81
(New Conversions/Conversions Over Time/New Revenue/Revenue Over Time)
These two months have officially been my most profitable months yet, even if you divide the total above in half! I’m starting to get multiple recurring commissions from my Wealthy Affiliate referrals and have gotten multiple sales of various Clickbank products I have reviewed (only products I recommend).
Wealthy Affiliate: 50/109/$156.50/$401.50
Elegant Themes: 0/0/$0.00/$0.00
Paid Viewpoint: 193/379/$24.40/$37.18
Pretty Link Pro: 0/0/$0.00/$0.00
Totals Over Time = -$466.98
Total Profit: $466.98
Hourly Rate: $5.19/hr
Goals For March/April 2015
My goals for the next two months are as follows:
- Post 8 new pages or posts on Kirby’s Marketing, not including this update
- Work for 60+ hours
- Spend 15+ Hours working on Niche Site #1
- Get 10 new sales
- Have over $300 PROFIT for the period
- Over 7,625 (125 per day) organic visitors to the site
- Social Media Goals:
- Facebook: 55 Likes
- Twitter: 325 Followers
- Google Plus Business Page: 60 Followers
- Pinterest: 120 Followers
- EMail List: 50 Subscribers
If you’ve been following these updates you are well aware that my mom has been fighting Stage IV breast cancer for almost four years now. She’s been doing amazing until recently when it got into her brain. This development has really been hard on her and has begun to affect her ability to control the entire left side of her body. They've done additional radiation and it seems to have helped, but now it’s a balance of controlling the swelling, but trying to get her off steroids.
It’s a tough balance to find. In the process she has lost a lot of her balance and is now a huge fall risk. Because of this, she’s been in a rehab facility for the last few weeks while we try to figure out what the next step will be.
So, please be praying for her comfort and safety, as well as for me as I continue to deal with all of this. Luckily, we have an awesome family who is very involved in everything and super supportive to both of us as we go through this. She also has a lot of really good friends who are a huge support as well.
If you don’t already know, I am engaged to a beautiful South African woman! We are currently approaching the end of the visa process to get her here to the United States on a K-1 Fiance Visa. Actually, our process has been greatly expedited! I submitted a request for special consideration on behalf of my mom’s health.
With brain cancer you never know how much time you have left. I was worried there was a good chance my mom would never get to meet the woman who was going to be my bride, and vice versa. In addition to my request, I contacted all of my Congressmen to try to get them to work on my behalf.
All of them responded and one in particular has been a huge help! Senator Rounds’ office has been in contact with officials every step of the way, including the top officials at the US Embassy in South Africa negotiating on our behalf. He even sent a signed letter to them! It looks like Senator Rounds has secured my vote for life!
You can look forward to seeing pictures of us together again in the next report in two months!
That’s all I have to say! Please let me know what you think in the comments below! Do you have any questions about what I’ve done? Why I’ve done it? Or do you have any ideas on what I should be doing going forward?
Also, please sign up to my email list so you can follow my future progress! I’ll also be sending out each lesson my new course “How To Create A Profitable Niche Site” as I write it FOR FREE. You can sign up here: