Hello and welcome to my monthly update for November 2014! This is my most exciting month yet because I TURNED A PROFIT for the first time ever!
In October I had my first sale and the next month I actually made money. This is pretty incredible and my determination is finally beginning to pay off, literally. The biggest reason I write these updates is to demonstrate first-hand, to you, the process of creating a successful online business.
I want to show you that it takes a long time before you will make money, in my case, 8 months. Eight months of hard work, countless hours, learning, and most importantly, a lot of patience and dedication. There is nothing harder than putting in all of this work and not seeing any results.
I went for the first few months with literally no quality traffic, just friends, and family. Then I went a few months with some traffic, but no sales. Then finally I got my first sale and a month later I turned a profit.
Looking back, it has been a long process, but I trusted the methods and I trusted those who were training me and telling me to stick with it. I was told by multiple mentors over at Wealthy Affiliate that I was about to my “breakthrough point”, I trusted them and kept plugging along. Finally, I believe I have reached this point. The point where the hard work begins to pay off!
Anyways, enough of the motivational speak, let’s look at what I accomplished in November.
What I Did In November
The biggest thing I did in November was make money! I know I keep saying the same thing, but it feels good to finally feel vindicated for my 8 months of dedication to the process. I will include more detailed numbers regarding my expenses and revenue below, but for now, I will just say that I generated an affiliate income from five different sources (can you say diversified?). I also got paid $5 for a training session over at Wealthy Affiliate regarding AdBlocking extensions that I created a few months ago.
Throughout the month, I was able to push out 5 new blog posts, including October’s update. I would like to be able to produce more new content than this, but it’s just really hard when I’m working a full-time job.
I wrote two review posts:
- Clickbank University Review – One Of The Better Training Resources Out There
- Megan’s 90 Day Income Challenge Review – Is This A Challenge To Fail?
One, what I like to call, “insight post”:
And one post hoping to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals
Go ahead and check them out if you’re interested. Unfortunately, all of the deals mentioned in the Black Friday/Cyber Monday posts are no longer available.
Pay Per lick (PPC) With BingAds & Google AdWords
I really started my first PPC campaigns towards the end of October and let them continue into the beginning days of November. However, I let them fizzle out once the money in my accounts was used up.
I just wasn’t seeing the results I had hoped for and didn’t have enough time nor energy to be able to monitor my campaigns closely enough and make the changes necessary to improve their effectiveness. Because of this, I felt like I was taking a shot in the dark, except that shot was money going straight to Google for nothing in return.
I hope to be able to pick up PPC again in the future, but right now it just puts too much on my plate and I am unable to give it the time and energy it deserves. I have no doubt I will be able to greatly benefit from PPC campaigns in the future, but now I am going to continue to focus on content creation.
Now that I am beginning to get sales I will be able to better determine how my posts are converting. This will allow me to calculate exactly how much I should be spending on advertising. This is a valuable tidbit of knowledge that I do not currently have.
I, somewhat stupidly, made a brash decision and decided to promote my Black Friday/Cyber Monday post on Facebook over the Thanksgiving weekend. I say this was a stupid decision because I don’t know a thing about advertising on Facebook.
I basically stumbled around their advertising platform until I got something that seemed decent. Unfortunately, I basically wasted my $20 budget. I got a few clicks from it, but no page likes and, as far as I know, no referrals nor sales of any sort.
Lesson to all: don’t get into any sort of paid advertising unless you have been trained on it and have the time to monitor it!
Started Tracking Time
As I mentioned as a goal last month, I started tracking the time spent working on my website. I am using a great program/app called Toggl. I have begun tracking my hours for a couple of reasons:
It helps keep me motivated while I am working. I tend to get distracted very easily and can waste a lot of time surfing the web or playing games on my smartphone. Once I have pushed “start” on the timer, however, I want to get done as soon as possible so my hourly rate will be higher in the end!
Speaking of hourly rate, I am also very interested in knowing the value of my time working on my website. Up until last month, it has been $0/hour! However, that has changed this month and will continue to go up. I can’t wait until my hourly rate is the same as, and more tahan, my full-time job! That will be a great feeling.
During the month of November I spent over 35 hours working on my website. From now on I will include my time stats as a regular component of each monthly update. Now, you will also be able to see a detailed, realistic report of the time investment required in starting your own online business as well as everything else.
My traffic numbers were great again this month. I blew away last month’s overall traffic by over 1000 new visitors. This is great and a trend I expect to continue! The only point of concern I have is my average session duration decreased by 14 seconds compared to October. I’m not entirely sure whether this is a good thing or not, but I’m leaning towards not. I’m not sure what has changed since last month, but I will continue to monitor this statistic over the next few months.
Another statistic I’m not entirely sure about is the percentage of new visitors. It decreased this month, which means I have more return visitors. I guess this is probably a good thing as it shows people value my site enough to return.
Total Visitors: 3,714 (+1,274)
Unique Visitors: 3,290 (+1,100)
Pageviews: 10,765 (+3,672)
Pages/Session: 2.90 (-0.01)
% New Visitors: 87.80% (-1.01)
Average Session Duration: 1:38 (-0:14)
My traffic sources have all increased again. The large increase in social traffic is a result of those 50+ clicks coming from my Facebook post promotion I mentioned above. Also, all of the PPC traffic came in the first week of the month.
Organic: 2,642 (+784)
Direct: 395 (+133)
Referral: 111 (+4)
Social: 53 (+38)
PPC Adwords: 506 (+308)
PPC BingAds: 34 (-72)
Traffic Over Time
This is the point in my report where I like to remind you, and myself, of the big picture and to really put progress online into perspective. Here are two charts showing my traffic since I first put my site live in April 2014. The first chart is my total traffic and the second is only organic traffic.
If you have recently started your own website or are seriously considering it, keep these two charts in mind. It takes a while before you will get traffic, but if you stick with it and are consistent it will come. When it comes it will grow, and grow, and grow, almost exponentially at times!
Top Performing Pages & Posts
A few months ago I started looking at my three most popular landing pages for the month. I think it is interesting to look at them and try to figure out why they are more successful than the others.
For the last few months my top three pages haven’t really changed. All three of them continue to get the most traffic and increase the amount of traffic they pull into my website.
Since my primary “money page” is my Wealthy Affiliate Review, my ultimate goal (usually) is to get readers to click through to that page. Because of this, the final statistic for each page is “Exited Through WA Review”. While this doesn’t tell me exactly what my readers are doing, it does tell me how many have clicked through my sales funnel, which is a good start.
This is the fourth month of this review being in the number one spot. I don’t know why this particular review ended up doing so well in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), but I’m not complaining. It has the #1 spot in multiple keywords and consistently draws in hundreds, and now thousands, of new visitors a month.
In a perfect world, I would like to have different reviews in the number one spot, just because people interested in Click4Surveys aren’t necessarily looking to make full-time income online. Because of this, it is more of a stretch for me to take them from “surveys” to “starting and online business”.
On this note, to ensure I take full advantage of this traffic, I do refer readers to a legitimate survey site called Paid Viewpoint. If they do register with this survey site I will get affiliate commissions based on their activity. I’ve only referred this site for less than a month and have gotten over 100 referral sign-ups and made over $1! I don’t foresee making loads of money from each referral, but the cumulative effect is powerful. In a year I could be making significant income from this source!
% of Total Traffic: 33.20% (+0.58%)
Sessions: 1,233 (+437)
% New Sessions: 95.05% (-1.81%)
Pages/Session: 2.75 (-0.14)
Average Session Duration: 1:26 (-0:25)
Exited Through WA Review: 118 (+7) or 9.66% (-4.39%)
This is the fourth month in the top 3 and the third month at the number 2 spot. Much like my Click4Surveys review, I refer my readers to my Wealthy Affiliate review as well as a legitimate site, Dreamstime, where they can upload their photos for money to try to leverage this traffic as much as possible. I have gotten a good amount of affiliate sign-ups through these affiliate partners as well!
The cumulative effect over time will work wonders with these affiliate referrals as well. I get a small percentage for each image that my referrals upload that is purchased. The photos never go away and I will always get credit. As I continue to add referrals, and they continue to add more photos, and those photos continue to get purchased, the income will only increase!
% of Total Traffic: 19.98% (-6.13%)
Sessions: 742 (+105)
% New Sessions: 90.30% (-0.75%)
Pages/Session: 2.81 (-0.01)
Average Session Duration: 1:54 (+0:07)
Exited Through WA Review: 46 (-2) or 6.28% (-1.38%)
I don’t have anything too profound to say about this post. This is the second month in the number 3 position. I think this is mostly due to the fact that a majority of the traffic came from my PPC campaigns.
% of Total Traffic: 9.60% (+2.22%)
Sessions: 358 (+178)
% New Sessions: 86.03% (-3.31%)
Pages/Session: 3.09 (+0.51)
Average Session Duration: 1:29 (-0:16)
Exited Through WA Review: 11 (+11) or 3.40% (+3.40%)
Social Media Profiles
As has been the case for the last couple months, my social media profiles have really had to take a backseat to other, more important tasks, such as adding new content to my website. I just don’t have enough time to go around. However, the time I did spend on social media was solely dedicated to my Twitter account. I was trying to get my followers up to 300 so I could meet the goal I set
Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite get it there. However, all of my profiles did gain followers, some more than others. I think this is just a factor of increased traffic to my website. I’m somewhat disappointed I only got 2 new subscribers to my email list though, but it is what it is.
PPC/Facebook Ads Update
As I stated in the beginning of this post, I didn’t feel comfortable letting my campaigns run because I just wasn’t able to monitor them properly. AdWords can really be a money suck! I ended up spending over $70 in a little over a week and didn’t have anything to show for it.
I did get two conversions from my AdWords campaigns, however, they are only valued at $0.30 a piece. There is a chance they may upgrade to a premium membership, in that case, they would be worth $70 a piece, on average, which would make my campaign profitable. As time passes, the likelihood of that happening becomes less and less.
I think this will probably be the last time I include PPC updates in my reports for a while. Now that I am actually getting sales, I want to wait a few months to see which posts are converting and at what percentages. Once I have these numbers, and the monetary value of each conversion and click, I will be able to develop PPC campaigns much more effectively.
Overall Quality Score: 8/10 (No change)
Ad Groups: 41 (No change)
Keywords: 467 (No change)
Clicks: 34 (-71)
Impressions: 956 (-3,045)
Click Through Rate (CTR): 3.56% (+0.91)
Average Position: 4 (-0.05)
Cost Per Click: $0.19 (+$0.01)
Total Spend: $6.59 (-$12.31)
Conversions: 0 (-1)
Conversion Value: $0.00 (-$0.30)
Ad Groups: 12 (No change)
Keywords: 282 (No change)
Clicks: 506 (+305)
Impressions: 23,930 (+18,358)
Click Through Rate (CTR): 2.11% (-1.50)
Average Position: 3.5 (+0.5)
Cost Per Click: $0.14 (-$0.01)
Total Spend: $72.11 (+$41.49)
Conversions: 2 (+1)
Conversion Value: $0.60 (+$0.30)
Posts Promoted: 1
Click Through Rate (CTR): 1.06%
Amount Spent: $20.00
Cost Per Click: $0.32
Time Spent – 35 Hours 15 Minutes
November was the first month in which I started tracking my time spent working using a website called Toggl. I spent a total of 35 hours 15 minutes working, a majority of time writing new content for my website. I also spent a good amount of time responding to comments left on my website, immersing myself in the Wealthy Affiliate community, educating myself, and maintaining/improving my website.
It seems I can usually knock out a normal post/review in 2-4 hours. However, my more in-depth reviews can take between 7-8 hours total. This seems like a really long time to me, but when I have a 4000 word post I guess it is understandable, especially when I have to do lots of formatting, image editing, link-inserting, and more. But, to be honest, I think there is plenty of distraction going on during that time as well….
cough….Clash of Clans….cough….cough.
Total: 35 hrs 15 min
Post – CB University Review: 7 hrs 20 min
KM Monthly Update – October 2014: 7 hrs 46 min
WA Community: 5 hrs 49 min
Post – Megan’s 90 Day Income Challenge: 3 hrs 25 min
Respond To Comments: 2 hrs 21 min
Post – Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals: 2 hrs 8 min
Post – How I Use Clickbank: 2 hrs 30 min
Education/WA Training: 1 hr 26 min
Miscellaneous: 1 hr 26 min
Monthly Revenue = $59.57
This is the exciting part! For once I can put green numbers in this heading! That’s right, I MADE $59.57 in November! That’s not just revenue, that is pure profit! Obviously, this has been my best month in terms of income generation! (Ok, no more exclamation marks for a while!)
As an important note, I ended up taking advantage of Wealthy Affiliate’s Black Friday special $299 yearly membership. Instead of including this as a one-time fee, I am simply going to break it down into a monthly rate and include that price as a monthly expense from now on. Because I took advantage of this deal, my membership cost basically dropped in half, from $47 to $24.92 a month. This will make an enormous difference in the long run and is a huge money saver.
On that note, if you are a member of Wealthy Affiliate already, or are seriously considering it, the yearly membership, even without the Black Friday deal, is a big money saver and something you should seriously consider.
Expenses = -$155.60
Income (New Conversions/Revenue) = 83/$215.17
I’m going to try something a little different here. I want to be able to show this month’s referrals and income as well as the totals over time. If this gets too confusing, please let me know in the comments below. Anyways, here’s your guide to what each number means:
(New Conversions/Conversions Over Time/New Revenue/Revenue Over Time)
Wealthy Affiliate: 20/47/$145.00/$183.50
Elegant Themes: 0/0/$0.00/$0.00
Paid Viewpoint: 83/83/$0.89/$0.89
Totals Over Time = -$539.26
Total Profit: $539.26
This is the first time my total over time has not gone further in the red! Woohoo! (Oops…the exclamation remarks have returned)
Last Month’s Goals
I was able to achieve most of my non-social media related goals last month. Pinterest was the only social media goal that was met. This is kind of funny because I didn’t spend a single minute on Pinterest the entire month.
- Post 5 new pages or posts YES
- Get 5 new sales of any sort YES
- Have a net profit for the month YES
- Over 2,550 non-paid visitors to the site YES
- Over 2,250 organic visitors to the site YES
- Have 10 conversions from PPC campaigns NO
- Complete WA Affiliate Bootcamp Phase 7: How To Scale Successful PPC Campaigns through lesson 8 NO
- Begin tracking my time spent working on this website YES
- Social media goals
Goals For December 2014
I am going to write one more post than I did in November and expect small increase in my traffic. It seems that my traffic has begun to slow down from its rapid increase and begum to level off a bit. I want to set high goals, but I also want them to be realistic and achievable. I want to increase my time spent working on my site by 25 hours compared to November. If I can do this I will surely meet, if not exceed, most of the goals I am setting.
Another bit task I am going to take on is setting up goal tracking and affiliate link tracking in Google Analytics. I just watched an amazing live video training class called Tracking Affiliate Goals in Analytics and was enlightened on the process and importance of creating and using these tracking tools.
- Post 5 new pages or posts not including this update
- Get 10 new sales
- Have a net profit for the month
- Over 3,750 organic visitors to the site
- Complete WA Affiliate Bootcamp Phase 7 through lesson 5
- Work for a total of 60 hours or more
- Set up goal tracking in Analytics
- Set up affiliate link tracking in Analytics
- Social media goals:
There’s not a whole lot of new things going on in my life. Everything has been fairly routine. I just try to spend as much time with my fiance, via Skype, as possible among working my job and working on my website.
We should be sending in the initial application for the K-1 Fiance Visa in the next week or so. That has taken a lot of time as well. The amount of evidence the government requires is ridiculous and very time-intensive. Not to mention, the whole process is very confusing and nerve-wracking. A small mistake in the application could hold up the entire process for a month…
Until Next Month!
This concludes my November report. I hope you found it informative, helpful, encouraging, and maybe even inspiring! If you get one this from reading this (if you've even made it this far), I hope it is the realization that if you trust the process and continue to work, even through those first dismal months of no results, it will eventually pay off!
Check out all of my Income Reports!
If you have any questions or comments regarding this report, my entire process, or anything else, please leave me a comment below. Also, if you are interested, please sign up for my weekly update emails here: