It seems like the month was just beginning and suddenly I am writing my monthly report for August 2014. It has been an interesting month to say the least, both in my personal life (more on this at the end) and in terms of my website!
I am happy with the progress I have made on my website and continue to be encouraged by reports from my fellow “make money online” niche partners: Scott from AWorkAtHomeBusiness.com & Pat Flynn from SmartPassiveIncome.com.
Scott is a fellow member of Wealthy Affiliate and has been working on his website for about two years now and is making triple digits a month. You can read more about his story on his About Me page. Mr. Flynn is not a personal friend, however, he has always been an inspiration. If I even get to 1/8 of what he is making a month I will be more than happy. His monthly reports put mine to shame!
I recently read a post about viewing the other websites in your niche not as competitors, but rather as partners. This has really changed my perspective because, honestly, before I was sort of envious of what other people were doing and their success. Now, I am excited for their success because I know I can have it too, and if we work together we can all succeed in unison!
With this in mind, I want to show you what I have been up to this month: my content creation, traffic updates, social media updates, PPC reports, previous goals and future goals.
What did I do this month?
Let’s have a look at everything I have accomplished this month!
The training I have been going through this month had me venturing into PPC (Pay Per Click) for the first time. I will get to the specifics of this later, but along with this came so keyword specific pages and posts. This is because with PPC you are able to target super specific keywords. Doing this allows you to create a very specific line of relevance, from the keyword, to the ad, to the content, and finally to the product you are selling/suggesting.
Using this methodology I created three super targeted pieces of content: one hidden page and two blog posts. The reason for a hidden post is to prevent the search engines from finding it because it may have a negative effect on my Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and your Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
The hidden page was targeted for individuals who are searching for terms regarding applying for unemployment benefits. Because the post is a hidden post I am unable to link to it, otherwise Google could follow the link and find my page!
The other two PPC targeted keyword pages are targeting people searching for a job and people looking to sell their handmade jewelry online. They can be seen here:
- Looking For A Job – Why Not Start Your Own Online Business And Work For Yourself?!?
- How To Sell Your Jewelry Online – Beading Your Way To Success
I have also continued to do as many product reviews as possible. I have found that the product reviews draw more organic traffic than any other types of content…at least so far. I have gotten a couple of my review posts on the first page and it really is amazing how much traffic that can bring in (see traffic reports below). My review posts for the month are as follows:
- Power Of Pinning Review – Melanie Duncan’s Guide To Building Your Pinterest Presence
- Get Paid Taking Pictures Review – Why Would You Spend Money For Something You Can Do For Free
- Paid Surveys At Home Review – Just Another Paid Survey Site You Should Avoid
- Tube Launch Review – It Won’t Be Launching You Anywhere
- Info Cash 2 By Christ Carpenter Review – Actually Not Too Bad
- CB Passive Income License Program Review – This Is Definitely Not Passive Income
Finally, I created a “Review Library” page to organize all of my product reviews from highest rated to lowest rated. I have seen similar pages on some of my partner websites and I always find them to be incredibly useful. It is nice to be able to see a comprehensive list! You can see mine here:
Pay Per Click (PPC) with Bing & Yahoo
As I mentioned earlier, the training I have been going through at Wealthy Affiliate this month has been focused primarily on doing PPC advertising through the Bing and Yahoo search engines. This has been an extremely interesting training course as it has really helped me to understand all of the aspects of PPC advertising.
So far, by following the training, I have created a total of 28 very tight Ad Groups with a total of 306 keywords. Some are more successful than others, but I think I am off to a good start.
Unfortunately, I don’t feel like I have enough data yet to make any conclusive statements about the effectiveness of the campaigns I have created thus far. Hopefully next month I will be able to go into more detail.
Comparison Tables & Email Sign Ups
There were two new features I have been integrating into my blog posts and product reviews, both previous and new. They are Wealthy Affiliate comparison tables and email list sign-up forms.
If you haven’t already figured out, Wealthy Affiliate has one of the best affiliate programs around and they are constantly improving the tools we affiliates have to prove how effective Wealthy Affiliate compares to most competitors in the niche.
The most recent tool they released were comparison tables (like the one below) that allow you to easily compare any product to Wealthy Affiliate side-by-side. These tables have generated quite a few clicks to my Wealthy Affiliate review (my primary money page)!
In terms of the email capture forms on most of my posts, this was suggested to me by a fellow member within Wealthy Affiliate. It seems like a good idea to give readers the opportunity to stay in touch at the end of a post. If they made it to the end, they obviously think the content is worth reading, so why not try to get them to sign up to receive more?!? It makes sense in my head. Oh yeah…also, since we’re on the subject, please sign up to my weekly newsletter here:
Wealthy Affiliate Training
The 10 lesson training I have just completed this month, Affiliate Bootcamp Course 6: Bing, Yahoo & The Power Of PPC, has been one of the best courses yet. I have learned so much in regards to the potential of PPC campaigns.
Running a PPC campaign is a risky business, especially when I don’t yet know which of my posts really convert well. Despite this, I have enjoyed the process and look forward to many successful PPC campaigns to come!
August has by far been my best month yet in terms of the traffic coming to visit my website! Pretty much all of my numbers have moved in a positive direction; especially my organic traffic! This is really great as the organic traffic is really what I’m shooting for because I know it is relevant. As Kyle says, relevance is key and some of the most relevant traffic you can get is through search engine searches.
Total Visitors: 606 (+169)
Unique Visitors: 539 (+200)
Pageviews: 2,191 (first time including this number)
Pages/Session: 3.62 (+0.41)
% New Visitors: 86.63% (+13.17)
Average Session Duration: 2:45 (-1:27)
Again, my traffic from the two source types I am most interested in, “Referral” & “Organic) has increased. My “direct” traffic has decreased significantly and my “social” traffic has remained steady compared to July 2014.
I’m not too worried about direct traffic because, from what I can tell, a majority of this traffic is my fellow WA members coming by my site to leave me a comment or critique my writing. Obviously, these people are already a member at WA, so I’m probably not going to make any money off of them…unless they are looking for another product instead of Wealthy Affiliate.
In addition to all of my free sources of traffic, I have had 46 visitors who have come directly from my PPC campaigns with Bing & Yahoo. This is exciting because it shows me that my ads are working to obtain clicks! (Now I just need to get my landing pages to convert…)
Direct: 147 (-122)
Referral: 99 (+19)
Organic: 345 (+272)
Social: 15 (+0)
PPC: 46 (Included in the “Referral” number above)
Traffic Increase Over Time
It is always important to look back how far I have came since I first started. The first month I did this I was excited when I got 1 or 2 organic visitors a week. Now I'm only happy with 20 per day! Next month I will only be happy with 50 per day! Just look at the chart below to see how things have increased from day one:
Top Performing Pages
This month I wanted to start looking at my most popular and highest performing pages/posts. I feel like this might be able to give some insight into what is working and what isn’t, both for myself and for all of my readers. I hope you can take something from, not only this section, but the entire report, and use it to improve your website!
Anyways, here are my top three most popular pages for the month of August (in terms of landings) and some basic stats regarding their performance:
This post has achieved a first page ranking both in Google and Bing/Yahoo. I also have a few PPC AdGroups targeting this page. Both of the sources have generated A LOT (relatively speaking) of traffic coming through this page!
% New Sessions: 97.22%
Average Session Duration: 2:11
2. Home Page
% New Sessions: 83.69%
Average Session Duration: 3:01
% New Sessions: 69.77%
Average Session Duration: 3:23
I think it is really great that my review of Click 4 Surveys has made the first page on Google and Bing/Yahoo. The amount of traffic coming from this one review is really nice, especially since it really isn’t too popular of a product.
Now I just need to get some of my more “productive” pages to be on the first page! It would be nice if more of my “money pages” were getting page one rankings. They’re getting closer, but they’re still not quite there.
Social Media Profiles
All of my social media profiles have gained more followers; however, Twitter was the only one that really had a significant increase. This is because I was very consciously following other profiles that were related to my niche and a good number of them followed me back.
I have been very active in posting my content as well as third party content across all of my profiles; however, I definitely need to work on the user engagement aspects of my profiles. To be honest, I find it difficult to spend time on social media when I can be creating new content for my website and developing PPC campaigns.
If you’re interested in following my profiles, please click on the links above to be taken to each profile respectively. Also, please consider signing up for my email list here:
Looking at my social media profiles, I know I need to really increase my engagement and interaction with other profiles. Right now all I am doing is posting to my own profiles. I do not really interact with other people. I think it will really help increase the legitimacy of my profiles when people notice me participating in discussions and groups related to my niche.
I am adding this “PPC” section to my monthly updates to show you what I have been doing and how successful I have been in my PPC campaigns. I think this will be a very interesting section of my updates to follow in the future.
However, one thing that Kyle over at Wealthy Affiliate frequently says is to not analyze data when you don’t have enough data to draw conclusions from. At this point, I do not have enough data to really analyze my PPC campaigns, so an in-depth analysis will have to wait until next month.
Once again, I have had a sale-less month. However, as demotivating as it is, I am still confident all of my hard work will pay off. My traffic is increasing exactly as it should be according to the usual pattern as described in The Stages Of Organic Ranking.
As I have said in the past, I am sticking with this until it pays off! I know that by this time next year I will be living off of this website! It’s only a matter of time. Anyways, here is the breakdown of my monthly expenses and revenue for August 2014.
Expenses = -$88.48
Income (Conversions/Revenue) = $0.00
Totals Over Time = -$413.35
Total Profit: -$413.35
Last Month’s Goals
I was able to meet a few of the goals I set for August. However, there ended up being a few personal events and happenings that slowed me down a bit compared to July. I did make good progress though, and am confident and happy with what I accomplished.
- Post a total of 16 new posts/pages NO (posted 10)
- Get ten sales of any sort NO
- Have a net profit for the month NO
- Get over 750 non-paid visitors to the site NO
- Get over 300 organic visitors to the site (included in total above) YES
- Get over 300 paid visitors to my site (not included in total above) NO
- Complete Affiliate Bootcamp Course 6 at Wealthy Affiliate YES
Social Media Profile Goals
- Facebook: 30 page likes NO
- Twitter: 250 followers YES
- Google Business Page: 45 followers NO
- Pinterest: 75 followers NO
- Email List: 15 subscribers NO
Goals For September 2014
I have many of the same goals as last month. I am still shooting to get my first sale, and then some, and to ultimately have a net profit for the month (this will be my goal until it finally happens!). I am hoping to continue the traffic upswing that began in August.
I also need to figure out how I am going to manage my email list and what my strategy will be to most effectievely engage my subscribers. I will also start the Affiliate Bootcamp Phase 7 training that will be added in the early days of September.
- Post 10 new pages or posts
- Get 10 sales of any sort
- Have a net profit for the month
- Get over 900 non-paid visitors to the site
- Get over 550 organic visitors to the site (included in total above)
- Get over 120 paid visitors to the site (not included in total above)
- Get 2 conversions from my PPC campaigns
- Further develop my email marketing/auto-response
- Complete Wealthy Affiliate Bootcamp Course 7: How To Scale Successful PPC Campaigns
Social Media Profile Goals
- Facebook: 30 page likes
- Twitter: 400 followers
- Google Business Page: 50 followers
- Pinterest: 75 followers
- Email List: 15 subscribers
Overall, August was a very good month for me, especially in terms of my personal life. One of the things I want to do with these updates is not only to keep you updated on my website, but also keep all of my readers up to date with certain aspects of my personal life.
On August 9th I took the love of my life out on the rocks along the bay in Cape Town, the location where I first fell in love with her, and asked her to be my wife. She said yes! It was a great day followed by sushi and a beautiful drive along the coast to end the day with some amazing fish and chips!
The ring I got her is made of Black Hills Gold. The leaves on the ring are the trademark of a jewelry shop in South Dakota and can only be produced by them. For the wedding ring we will have a stone from South Africa embedded into the ring. This way the ring comes from both of our homes!
Unfortunately, due to changes in the South African immigration laws, my original plan to stay in South Africa for at least 6 months has been foiled. Because of this I will have to return to the United States in early September.
It will be good to be back home, but also difficult to be separated from my fiancé (feels nice to be able to call her that) again. The most difficult part is not knowing how or when we will be back together! But, we’re just trusting that God knows the bigger picture and will bring us back together according to His timing. For now, that means me going back to the US and sorting out all of the paperwork to get her there on a fiancé visa.
As you may or may not know, I really like taking pictures of flowers. I find them to be incredibly beautiful. Even the tiniest flowers are filled with intricate details when you look closely. Also, being that it is springtime here in South Africa, there are loads of new and beautiful flowers beginning to bloom. I wanted to share some of my favorites from the last month. I hope you enjoy. (All photographs were taken by me with my Samsung Galaxy S4 using the default camera app.)
This concludes my August 2014 update. I hope you enjoyed it and maybe even learned something. If you have any suggestions or ideas on what I can do in the future, please, please, PLEASE let me know in the comments below. I am always looking for ways to improve my product so I would love to hear what you think.
Check out all of my Income Reports to see just how far I've come!
Also, if you have any question about what I have done so far or plan to do in the future I would love to hear them too!
Until next time,