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February 4, 2013, 5:00 am

January Blog Evo Report

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Blog Evolution Report

 

 

Its rare, but sometimes Im not proud of myself

 

When you see January’s results, you will probably see that I have done quite well. In fact, I killed my previous Adsense earnings record ;-). But I’m not super proud of myself. I feel like I didn’t accomplish much during this month. Could it be because I took 2 weeks off and only had 2 days to work on my business? That has definitely something to do with it. Still, I really feel like I didn’t do enough this month. I will have to work harder in February to reach my objectives!

 

Traffic Improvement – 407,510 visitors

 

My traffic shows a great improvement in January with 407,510 visits, not unique visitors. I’m tracking the number of visits instead of unique visitors since I think it’s important to look at the global number of individual coming to our sites and not only ones that come once and leave. People who come back are my most important visitors after all!

 

My 2013 goal is to reach 491,000 visitors per month. I started the year with a big boom since December was showing 367,017. I’m now at 83% of my objective but that’s only the beginning. The next 90,000 monthly visitors will be hard to gain!

 

I’ve already started to do some guest posting and commenting for specific sites. I sent 2 newsletters this month to boost my traffic and it worked well. I’m just hoping for some love from Google to boost my search engine visitors and I’ll be on track .

 

Affiliate Program Strategies – Newsletter Projects

 

I just mentioned that I used my newsletter to generate additional traffic. What I did was send an email with a question to my subscribers. I detailed my answer to this question on a post (which I linked to) and ask readers what they thought. It generated over 500 visitors to my site and a few hundred replies back.

 

The good news was I generated more traffic, the bad news is that it takes forever to answer everybody back! Hahaha! Since the response was so good from my subscribers, I intend to use that strategy at least once a month. This could eventually lead to an affiliate marketing strategy at the same time if I direct my readers to one of my posts that includes affiliate links. We’ll see how it goes!

 

Niche Site Central $549.12 (+80%)

 

I decided to publish my Niche Sites income now to provide a little bit more transparency. It will also help me know how much these sites are generating for my company. The $563.64 is broken down into 3 sources of revenues:

 

$306.71 from eBooks (Excluding Dividend Growth)

$256.93 from Adsense

$0.00 from affiliate sales

 

I’m happy to present stronger results for this month after a disappointing December! $304 was definitely too low for my niche sites and I’m happy to crack the $500 level! My eBook machines are selling more than I expected. I must admit that I got some help from a small eBook that I put together about the Best 2013 Dividend Stocks. I offered it for free to my newsletter subscribers for 5 days and then charged $2.99. It was more like a symbolic contribution than anything else. I was surprised to see that I could sell 29 copies this month without pushing the product through any channels. Making a small profit of $80 for the book pays for the work involved and I still benefit from the marketing strategy for free!

 

I think I’ll sell the book right away next year… still not sure about this strategy, what do you think? I guess that I could probably sell 1,000 copies at $2.99 so I would be making a net profit of $2,500. That would be a good start of the year, don’t you think?

 

eBook Development

 

My Evil Plan didn’t work out as planned and I’m pretty upset about it. In my original plan, I was going to direct my newsletter subscribers towards Amazon to download a free copy of my Best 2013 Dividend Stock eBook. Then, I was counting on the momentum to gain credibility as an author and boost my ranking for my other book in the Amazon system. I also counted on some indirect sales coming from people that had downloaded the free eBook (or pay $2.99 for it after the free period of 5 days).

 

I encountered two major problems:

 

#1 I wasn’t able to format my document to Kindle on time. I’m very bad with technology and even thought it was almost text only, the Kindle file looks like crap. Therefore, I had to abandon the project of going through Amazon and sell it through my own network.

 

#2 I was disappointed by the Kindle issues and I still have my goal of having 8,000 downloads for that free book over the year. Well, I’m going to be disappointed there too! For some weird reasons, my download link works very well but doesn’t track the number of downloads on my end! Therefore, I have no clue how many people have downloaded the free book over the first 5 days! Even worse; we have no clue why this link didn’t work as all the other links we used prior to this one with the same plugin have always given us accurate information!

 

So long story short, I’ve put a lot of effort in place to market my book but I have no clue how many books have been downloaded and the indirect effect on my sales… that’s very frustrating!

 

On the other hand, my other eBook goal was to hit 500 copies sold of Dividend Growth which I easily attained! As at January 31st, I’m sitting on 527 copies sold. I haven’t requested help from other bloggers to review my sales page and process and I’ll be working on this in February to make sure I continue to sell at least 1 book per day. Generating a passive income of about $250 net per month would be awesome!

 

Current Project I’m Working On

 

At the beginning of the year, I joined a Mastermind group. I’ll share a little bit more about this project in another post  but for now, let me just say that we meet virtually each Monday. The cool thing about that is definitely the increase in the accountability level. Since we set goals weekly, it kind of looks funny if you don’t do anything during that week to achieve them. So my weekly goals are smaller parts of my bigger plan. We just had our fourth meeting and I find it truly awesome!

 

The other major project I’m currently working on is my Aweber series. I’ve taken a short break from it and came back with another article this Monday. I’m far from being done with it as I also want to package it into an eBook. The book will obviously be an enhanced version of the series with even more details and more ways to make money with your newsletter. I believe this book will be a great promotion tool to boost my TFB mailing list as well. And hopefully, I’ll make a few bucks with my Aweber affiliate links!

 

Adsense Income $4,257.34 (+71%)

 

My adsense earnings definitely look like a roller coaster! After dropping under the bar of $2,500 in my December report, Im back with a record month of $4,257.34! There are two things explaining this awesome month:

 

#1: I was mentioned by some big sites and got a huge traffic spike (I made $657 on one day!)

#2: It’s January, and people are always looking for investing tips at the beginning of the year

 

My Adsense income can be compared to how well I do with my investing websites. While my other blogs are pretty stable, my investing sites are the fuel of this source of income. It’s not the best scenario I could imagine since it puts my business at risk, once again! However, the fact that I’m pretty good at writing about investing topics I am comforted a little bit.

 

Can I make another $4,000 next month? Definitely not! Unless I get another big mention ;-). What I’m the most proud about is that after this huge traffic peak, I was still able to generate an average of $100/day for the rest of the month. This leads me to think that I’ll be making around $3,000 for February and can forget about my “low months” at $2,500. This could be very interesting as my other sites are picking up. It’s more like a mass effect and the overall result pushes me past the $100/day level.

 

The key now is just to work on the traffic!

 

Now its your turn, tell me, what have you done recently on your sites to make them better?

 

 

 

 

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January 7, 2013, 5:00 am

December Blog Evo Report

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Blog Evolution Report

 

 

When Making Money is Truly Passive

 

December is one of my favorite months along with August when I think of my online company revenues. These are the two months when I work less than 20 hours in the month and I still make the same amount of money. While December traffic is the slowest month, I always get the “Christmas present” on a good deal with a private advertiser, broker or affiliate program. I don’t know why but it always happens during this month! I guess I’m living a good life 😉 lol!

 

Traffic Improvement

 

Traffic is terrible in December for my online companies. I have absolutely no Christmas gifts or shopping tip related articles and most of my traffic comes from either investors or people at work. Both categories are not going to my sites during the Holidays. The good news is that I always get a traffic spike in January ;-). This is why I spent my 20 hours in December to prepare for the New Year!

 

I wanted to make sure to not miss anything and still take some time off with my family. So, I have pre-posted everything and even scheduled newsletters at the same time. When I come back to my regular schedule in January, I’ll focus on traffic (more on that later in this post).

 

Affiliate Program Strategies – Newsletter Projects

 

Nothing much has been done in this category for December… it shows that I didn’t work much! Lol!

 

Niche Site Central $304.42 (-31%)

 

I decided to publish my Niche Sites’ income now to give a little bit more transparency. It will also help me to know how much these sites generate for my company. The $304.42 is broken down into 3 sources of revenues:

 

$111.72 from eBooks (Excluding Dividend Growth)

$171.72 from Adsense

$20.98 from affiliate sales

 

This is another slump in my results for December with regards to my niche site income. I’m not too surprised as I didn’t work on them and December is always a very bad month for traffic. Starting this month, I have established a strong and concise traffic improvement strategy and hope to gather some results by February. I’m pretty confident that I’ll go higher than $400 in January and be back to $500 in February.

 

For the first time in almost two years, I’ll work on my niche sites to make them bigger. What I like is that after I have put effort into them for three months or so, I should be earning more money for the next two years. This is what I call surfing a good wave!

 

eBook Development

 

As planned, I launched the paper copy of Dividend Growth early in December. It was great timing for Christmas and thought that a lot of readers would like to have a good old book to put on their shelf. I was right with my intuition as we sold 52 paper copies of the book on top of selling 35 electronic copies. The 52 paper copies will generate a net income of $325.89 and £3.48. Considering I spent about 7 hours to put the two versions of the book in a paper format (I fired my designer for that part of the project!), I think I made a good tradeoff.

 

I also spent half of that time learning how to format any book into the right size for a paper version so I won’t have to figure that out next time. This will be a great advantage for my next book!

 

The first goal when we started working on Dividend Growth was to sell 300 copies by December 31st. This is a goal I achieved near the end of November. Then, with the paper version, I wanted to sell up to 400 copies total. This is also a goal that I have achieved! As at December 31st, we are at 418 copies! My next goal is to reach 500 by January 31st. I hope that my Evil Plan to launch my free eBook will work and that I’ll get an additional 82 copies for the month.

 

Current Project I’m Working On

 

In 2012, my partner and I divided our year into four quarters (yeah… how creative! Hahaha!). The goal is to establish simple and measurable objectives for each quarter. Instead of having bigger projects (such as writing a book or launching an authority website) or more general objectives such as “increasing traffic”, we focused on smaller goals. For examples, here’s what my quarterly objectives look like for January – February and March:

quarterly objectives

 

You can tell that I’m putting a lot of emphasis on traffic improvement. This is where I was hurt in 2012 and this is where I wanted to focus early this year. I also know that most of my income should be generated from my “in-house” products. This is why I’ll work on building a membership site, writing another book and creating a small eBook. The eBook will be a creation for TFB readers ;-).

 

Adsense Income $2,485.28 (-25%)

 

I’m down by more than $800 compared to November. At first glance, it seems like a terrible month. But December is never good for traffic as most of my visitors are coming from investing websites. Who’s looking to invest money when they have gifts to buy, right? The other reason why Adsense is down was that I haven’t been mentioned by any big sites this month. I estimate that my mention on the Daily Crux got me near $500 in additional revenues in November. It’s needless to say that I’d be willing to buy them a weekly link for $1,000 per month 😉 hahaha!

 

My “new” Adsense income in the upcoming month should be around $2,500 – $3,000 until I recover from the Google Zoological update that happened back at the end of September. It’s still pretty good but I think I can get back to $3,500 by the end of 2013. The difference is that I’ll focus on more “natural” traffic than search engine traffic.

 

Now its your turn, tell me, what have you done recently on your sites to make them better?

 

 

 

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January 1, 2013, 5:00 am

Online Company Goals: Let’s Kill It

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Blog Evolution Report

 

Yesterday, I followed-up on my personal financial goals of 2012 and set the year with new goals. Today, I’m back with my online company’s goals.

 

Focus on Traffic + 33%

 

My goal is to go from 367,017 visitors to 491,000 per month. I didn’t pull this number out of nowhere and it’s a total coincidence that it makes exactly 33%! In fact, I looked at 10 important sites in our network and checked our last 30 days stats. I put the number of visitors (not unique, just visitors) besides each of them and they totalled 367,017. These are good numbers but not enough to make real good money. Then, I wrote down a round number of how many visitors this site could get if I put serious effort into promoting it. The increase wasn’t the same for all sites. Some sites will have to show a progression of 500% while others will have to grow by 5%. I used a few metrics to determine where I want to see them in a year:

 

Nature of traffic (direct, reference or search engine)

Potential growth through each source of traffic

Types of strategies that we can put in place

Traffic history

 

This is how I came up with 491,000 visitors per month. I would have preferred 500,000 because it’s a round number and that’s a huge psychological level… but growing by 33% is big enough to be a challenge instead of a regular goal.

 

I truly believe that traffic is the key to make more money. We have several affiliate funnels in place and our conversion rate is pretty good for some offers. The problem is often the number of visitors we get.

 

I will be focusing on one site per month in order to increase its traffic. I noticed that we had left comments and social media on the bench during 2012 and it has certainly hurt us now that Google has abandoned some of our sites. Depending on the type and size of a site, we will use several strategies such as:

 

Link building

Comments

Links exchange

Guest post

Social media

Better use of our newsletter

 

 

Publish Another Book

 

With the recent success of Dividend Growth, I just can’t ignore the potential that exists with selling our own products. I’ve built a strong network of sites in dividend investing and can use their potential to launch another book.

 

I’m limited to the number of books I can launch about dividend investing because it would dilute the benefit and identity of each book. This is why it will be my 2nd paid book (3rd overall) and probably the last one. I don’t want to spam my readers with cheap products; I want to offer them super high quality.

 

We already have the idea and have started to work on our next book. I know that the process is quite long (read how writing the book is only the beginning of your journey!) and I don’t want to rush a product. I also want to use this book to use an “upsell marketing strategy” where the book will be the first step to a bigger strategy that will include a membership website (more on that later on this post). I’ll be using my book revenues to cover my fees to build a larger platform where I’ll be making the real money.

 

In the meantime, I’m launching today my 2013 Best Dividend Stocks eBook on The Dividend Guy Blog. I got over 4,000 downloads for the 2012 edition and expect to double the number of downloads this year! This is a great way for me to promote my investing websites, other investing books and to make a few bucks here and there with affiliate marketing! I cracked the 400 copies sold of my book in December and am aiming at 500 for January 31st with the promotion of my best stock picks eBook.

 

Launch a Membership Site

 

I have no goals of traffic, subscriptions or revenue for my membership site for this year as I know that it will take a good part of the year to create. The idea has been put on the shelf for 2012 as we wanted to grow our readership base. Since we went from 2,000 to roughly 8,000 newsletter subscribers to our investing mailing list in the past 12 months, I think it’s now the time to launch it! By the time the membership site will be ready, we will probably reach 10,000 subscribers!

 

The membership site is quite a journey as we have never done this in the past and will require a lot of testing and tweaking before we can launch the beta version. We have a good idea of what we want to offer but I will certainly request feedback from my readers to make sure I offer something that people want. I certainly don’t want people to get frustrated or disappointed by our site since they will be paying for access.

 

In 2012, we sold 110 paid newsletter subscriptions for 1 year at $39. It was an affiliate program and we made a good cut out of it because it was a special price. I’m thinking that if I can run a similar campaign for my own membership site and make between $4,000 and $5,000 with a special offer, this would already cover our operating costs. Then, the idea is to get people to renew their membership the following year with at a higher price. Imagine if 50% of the 110 subscribers renew their membership at $89 for example, this would generate $4,895 (on top of the $4,290 made a year ago with the same “group” of customers). The magic behind this whole strategy is even more powerful. Here’s an example:

 

membership calculation

So with a conservative rate of 110 member acquisitions per year and a 50% renewal rate at a higher price, it takes 2 years before cracking $10,000 in revenues. I don’t about the industry too much, but if you are able to crack the 60% renewal rate instead of 50%, here’s what you get:

 

membership calculation #2

 

In five years, I would be making $1425 per month from my membership site while offering more or less the same thing as I would be offering in 2013. I think these are very conservative numbers and if I can bump my sales up through affiliates, it will be even better. Imagine if I could sell 110 newsletter subscriptions, there are tons of sites able to do the same thing for my membership site. What if I offer you a 75% commission on a $39 product? I’m sure you would be in to selling my product and make $29.25 per sales, right? If you follow my Aweber series, this is twice the commission target you need to get your Aweber subscription for free! This means that running this campaign only could make you enough to you double the investment you put into the Aweber email services…. not bad huh?

 

Forget About Revenues?

 

Surprising enough, in 2013, I want to forget about revenue goals. The reason is simple, if I don’t concentrate on building a sustainable business, focusing on profitability will serve nothing. I’m under the impression that we have focused too much on the dollar sign in 2012 and it has hurt us on the traffic side. We made money, are diversified and have learned a lot. However, I think we are better off focusing on working on our existing sites for now and use the monetization techniques we have learned previously.

 

This is why I won’t focus on revenues this year. We make enough to pay our corporate debts and treat ourselves from time to time. This is enough for me to be happy!

 

What are your blogging goals? Have you thought of to create challenges for 2013?

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December 5, 2012, 5:00 am

November Blog Evo Report

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Blog Evolution Report

 

 

I never thought I could make money from writing

 

November went by faster than a comet on speed and I’m frustrated about that. I feel that I’m really late on everything I do! Actually, it’s not a feeling, it’s a fact; I’m late! I’m used to be pretty much on top of everything but this didn’t happen in November. My whole schedule has been slipping through my fingers since September but it’s only the last month that I have been hit right in the face. I feel like not much has been done with my online company and I even had to skip a few posts in order to catch up on other things.

 

I usually write when I wake up in the morning. The problem is that I don’t wake up as early as before. Back in September, I wrote about the fact that I was ready to embrace a new schedule… well it never really happened. I’m still suffering from a lack of sleep due to our latest baby and my day job is requesting my presence early in the morning at work for meetings and conference calls. At least I’m working one day a week on my blogs so I could get some projects advanced nonetheless!

 

Traffic Improvement

 

I should change this sub-title to “traffic decrease”. After Google hit a few of my sites Hard, I’ve seen my niche sites slowing down. It wasn’t a drastic change as I suffered back in early October but I can see that the overall traffic is becoming less and less. This has also an impact on my Adsense revenues (see below).

 

The reason is quite simple; my niche sites are 100% passive. And I really mean it. I have some sites that I haven’t touched for more than 18 months. Still, they are earning roughly $50/month without me even knowing what is going on with the site. But you clearly can’t leave a site slowly dying if it makes money. This is why I’ll have to revive them soon.

 

That being said, I’ll be concentrating my efforts on other projects in December such as my evil plan explained yesterday (continue reading and you’ll see what I’m talking about), but link building and content creation will be back on the map for those niche sites in January.

 

Affiliate Program Strategies – Newsletter Projects

 

In November, I tried to send a quick email mentioning 2 interesting articles I had produced recently. I’ve outlined this strategy in yesterday’s post and it had generated a few additional sales of my book + better Adsense days over that weekend. Roughly 57% of my subscribers opened the email and generated 1,312 clicks (i.e. visits) with the 2 links. The thing I realized after doing such a test is that I need to repeat this experience more often.

 

My newsletters are one of my biggest engines for traffic and I don’t use them enough. There is always a thin line between spamming your readers and sending them useful content. Even the most useful content could be spammy if sent on a weekly basis! What I will try to do is to send 1 email per month referring to good content on my websites.

 

Beyond simply plugging a good article, I will also make sure that this article is referring to an affiliate program or, even better, one of my own products. The last email I sent generated roughly $100 coming from both Adsense and book sales. An extra email per month which takes me less than 30 minutes to write could bring an additional $100 in revenues on a steady basis. Even better; if I do it correctly, my readers will thank me for sending them those links and it will create a stronger bond for any other product launches in the future.

 

Niche Site Central $441.42 (-21.18%)

 

I’ve decided to publish my Niche Sites income now to give a little bit more transparency. It will also help me to know how much these sites are generating in my company. The $420.44 is broken down into 3 sources of revenues:

 

$205.32 from eBooks (Excluding Dividend Growth)

$215.12 from Adsense

$20.98 from affiliate sales

 

As you can see, my traffic slump affected both my eBooks and Adsense revenues from my niche sites. It’s still pretty good considering the fact that I don’t spend a single minute on these sites right now. However, I’m under the impression that I could make a lot more if I could drive more traffic. Conversions rates and payouts are quite interesting with a low traffic level. This will definitely become my #1 priority in January!

 

eBook Development

 

I spent the last 2 weeks working on my Best 2013 Dividend Stocks eBook (more detail in yesterday’s post). I am also happy to announce that I’m only a few days away from launching my paper copy of Dividend Growth.

 

Through a site called Create Space, Amazon is offering you the possibility to publish a real book from your own PDF or DOC file. But wait, it’s not as easy as it seems. I started by asking a designer to work out my PDF copy to make it “printable” but it was a mess. I literally lost a month going back in forth for nothing with the designer. I ended-up spending a whole weekend working on formatting my existing book into a printable format. The biggest challenge was to format all pictures with 300 DPI characteristics. Since I didn’t know what it was when I first wrote the book, all my pictures had to be edited and redone again. It was quite a pain to do exactly what I had done over the past 12 months simply to put pictures in 300 DPI format! But if you don’t do this, the pictures don’t print correctly and you can’t see anything on a paper copy.

 

I received the first draft about 2 weeks ago and spent more time to improve the “final version”. I ordered it a week ago and am expecting to receive it any day now.

 

I can tell you that it felt good when I received the first draft copy. Even thought it wasn’t perfect, the feeling of holding my own book in my hands was awesome. When I was a kid, I wanted to become a writer. This dream was quickly put on the shelf since there was no way for me to make money as a writer (especially considering that I’m French!). I’m still not living off of my writing skills but I’m definitely making money out of it and this is awesome!

 

It will be right in time to send an email and launch the paper version before Xmas. I expect to be able to do it by the end of the weekend and start selling the paper version over the weekend. It takes up to 48 hours before the paper version is linked to the Kindle one on Amazon. Therefore, I must put it for sale on Friday to make sure to sell some copies over the weekend!

 

For my next book (yes I have other projects for 2013!) you can be sure that I’ll pay only for editing and the cover page. I’ll definitely do the formatting on my own and save a lot of money!

 

Current Project I’m Working On

 

The most important project I’m working on right now is my evil plan to start the year with a boom. After suffering from a few busts, I need a big hit to put me back into the game. I’m driven by nature but results are driving my motivation. Each time I fail at something, my motivation automatically drops over the following weeks. I’m about to get out of that rut and it will be done in January.

 

Once I’m done with that, I’ll be focusing on two things in January: my niche websites and my authority site. Those will be the key to crush 2013!

 

Adsense Income $3,325.57 (+17.16%)

 

I’m talking about a traffic drop but I made a 17% increase in my Adsense earnings, how is this possible? I have two words for it: Daily Crux. Here’s a funny story; about a month and a half ago, I’ve received an email from an Editor of a big personal finance Canadian website that is linked with a media company (including some important newspaper). He heard about my book and wanted me to write a guest post on his site that would allow me to do some promotion while providing him with good content about dividend investing.

 

I wrote a first piece that was declined by the editor. He gave me his comments and thoughts and I went back on the drawing board to write something else. It turned out that my two articles were turned down and I lost the opportunity to talk about my book on this big website. Since both articles were good quality, I’ve decided to publish them on my own network. It turned out that the article that wasn’t written “with a clear direction and was just a bundle of information taken here and there” was good enough to be featured on the Daily Crux and drove over 5,000 visitors in a single day on my site. This is how I’ve made my biggest Adsense day ever with $532.26! So if you take off that day from my month, I’m back to the same level of earnings. My new “normal month” should be around $2,700 to $2,800 but I will still cash the check at the end of December ;-).

 

Now its your turn, tell me, what have you done recently on your sites to make them better?

 

 

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October 3, 2012, 5:00 am

September Blog Evo Report

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Blog Evolution Report

 

 

It is with a huge smile in my face that I am writing these sentences as the month of September was an awesome month for our business. It’s not really on the income side (mind you, we are still $4,000 ahead when compared to last year to date). But it’s more in terms of diversification and how our other projects are doing so far this year. I must admit, it’s also because we just came back from FinCon12 (both the conference and the Broncos’ game were awesome!). Now let’s see in details of what happened in September…

 

Traffic Improvement

 

This may be the only place where I can feel some frustration. While the month of September went incredibly well in terms of traffic (all my sites are growing!), the last 2 days were quite frustrating. What happened on the 29th and 30th of September? Another Google update!

 

I’m rarely affected by these updates but this time one of my sites was hit. This update was made to diminish the impact of exact domain match (EMD) on search results. In other words, if you have a EMD on some keywords, your domain importance has been diminished and therefore, your ranking for that keyword in Google should drop accordingly. The goal behind this update was to “derank” bogus sites that have a nice domain name but low quality content.

 

Unfortunately, one of my sites (with very high quality content on it!) has been hit by this update. The impact was quite impressive as I usually get traffic from 400 to 440 keywords on a weekend day and I got traffic from only 118 keywords instead on last Saturday. The traffic is currently down by 40-50% after this update. Needless to say that is it incredibly frustrating!

 

What’s even more frustrating is that it’s the third time that we will have work on the traffic for this site. We first worked on the content and SEO in order to double its original traffic. Then, we got hit by the first round of the Panda update a while ago. Then, we worked on other aspect and survived a Google update and brought back the traffic to what it used to be prior to the Panda update. Now that we are surfing on this nice wave, we get hit again and will have to start from square one… again! Here’s the quote I took over a comment on Search Engine Land that translates my feelings right now:

 

quotes EMD

 

Well… maybe I should bring my kids to work as well… hahaha! If your traffic has taken a good hit, I suggest you read Adsense Flipper’s theory on the topic. What I don’t understand for my site is that I wasn’t hit on any of my niche sites, I was hit on one of my blogs which provides high quality content on a weekly basis… it’s very annoying!

 

Evan from My Journey to Millions recently commented here that investing in websites is risky as Google decides everything. This is a great example of where he is wrong.

 

Wait… Mike… you just lost 50% of your traffic on one single update and you are telling us that it’s not a risk???

 

Well, it’s not a risk if you diversify and own several web properties. Out of my 10 major sites, only one has been hit. This means that overall; I’ll be losing roughly 6% of my total traffic compared to last month. 6% is a bitch but it’s not the end of the world. I will lose a few hundred bucks (up to a $1,000… more on this later on this post) but it won’t shut down my goal to do this full time one day. This situation is another great example showing how diversification is the key for success. If this was my only site, I would be ballistic right now. Instead, I’m just a little bit frustrated.

 

I’ve currently no intention of asking for reconsideration as of right now. Since most Google updates comes with a corrected update a few weeks later to make sure they did the right thing, I’ll just wait for a month or so and see how it goes. I’m convinced that Google will see that I have high quality content since my number of pages viewed on this site along with the time spent on the site is superior to the average (to my sites average anyways!). In the meantime, I have nothing else to do but to continue focusing on my newsletter in order to build more internal traffic and ignore Google!

 

Affiliate Program Strategies – Newsletter Projects

 

Once again, I’ve used my newsletter power to make money in September. We recently launched our new Dividend Growth eBook via our investing newsletter. I’ll have to do an extended post on that but I just wanted to share with you that I have 141 sales in the first week and sales are still coming in at a good pace. I’ve had a well defined strategy and the newsletter was at the center of my game plan.

 

What I like so much about my newsletter is that I can easily know how many people opened the email, if they clicked on a link or not and if they converted into a sale. This is huge marketing data that your site cannot really give you. It also enables direct feedback from readers/potential customers.

 

The book is exclusively available on Kindle for the moment and I know it’s hurting my sales. However we wanted to benefit from a good ranking in Amazon in order to have this “machine” selling our book to non-readers. My guess is there are a lot more people on Amazon looking for dividend investing content that there is among my newsletter subscribers J.

 

On another note, just to prove the power of the newsletter managed through Aweber, I’ve included a simple affiliate link in one of my newsletter follow-ups that is being sent 30 days after you subscribe to my investing newsletter. In September, I made 6 conversions at $30 each. Therefore, with a simple link only sent to new subscribers, I’m able to generate an additional $180 per month. Technically, if the law of averages applies (and it always applies, trust me), I should make a recurring $150 – $210 per month from this private affiliate. This will happen until A) my site shuts down or B) the affiliate decides to stop his program. But the deal we designed together is perfect:

 

a)      The reader gets a special rebate because he is a subscriber to my newsletter

b)      The company is making a profit because it gains a new client

c)       I make money because I generate additional sales for the company

circle of money

How would this three way win circle ends? Chances are that it won’t as long as the three parties are making money 😉 I would call it the circle of money! Hahaha!

 

Niche Site Central $539.23

 

I’ve decided to publish my Niche Sites income now to give a little bit more transparency. It will also help me to know how much these sites are contributing to in my company. The $539.23 is broken down into two sources of revenues:

 

$71.64 from eBooks (not the dividend investing one)

$467.59 from Adsense (yeah baby!)

 

While they are generating some decent income at this time, I severely lack in something… and it’s called traffic! My conversion rates are pretty good overall, but I just don’t have enough visits to make them fly. This is why I’ve been doing some heavy research lately on how to create a sustainable link building strategy. There are some great things on the web but now that there is a Penguin, a Panda and an EMD (this sounds like a sickness if you ask me!) patrolling the web, nothing is harder than doing good old SEO. Still, I’m taking a look at SPI link building strategy and will probably give it a shot. I have the resources to try it and will only do it with 2 specific sites ;-).

 

eBook Development

 

I’m done! Well… for now! Since this new eBook adventure seems to be a success, I might rethink The Rat Race or work on other projects. One thing is for sure; there is nothing better than having your own products for sale!

 

I really like where this is going. This year, I’ve set a goal of selling 300 copies by December 31st and since we are already working on a relaunch in early December (with a PDF and paperback copy), I’m pretty sure we will hit the 300 for Xmas. Anyway, I’m almost halfway after the first week!

 

Current Project I’m Working On

 

I’m back to do something very simple; optimizing my top 10 pages for each site. This means that I go into my Analytics and look at the top ten most viewed pages for the past six months.

 

#1 I look at why they rank so well in Google and try to improve SEO (either keywords within the page or link building around them).

 

#2 I also look at potential affiliate products I can add to the page.

 

#3 I also try to figure where I can send these readers so they can generate more revenue (either to my newsletter, to a niche site or to another high converting page on my site).

 

This is a simple method but it has always allowed me to make more money with what I already have. Since Google seems to want to play with the rules all the times, this exercise is a good way to keep everything up to date.

 

The other thing I’m currently working on for October is to optimize my book marketing strategy. This implies mentioning my books in several places:

 

–          In my free Dividend Investing eBook

–          In my newsletter follow-up messages

–          Across my entire network

–          On my mini-sites

–          In the navigation bar of my main investing sites

–          Provide other free eBooks with mentions

The last thing I’ll do in October is to start Pat’s link building strategy. Everything is setup on my side so I can truly apply what he is teaching us on his site. Now it’s only a matter of seeing if this will work!

 

Adsense Income $4,151.99 (+20.34%!!!)

 

OMG! It’s been 4 months in a row that I beat my all-time record! But this one, is far from all the others! Over four grand in Adsense income!?! Soooo cooooool!

 

But this will also be the last record month in a row as their stupid EMD update will cost me roughly $1,000 in Adsense income (that’s what my little fingers tells me anyway!). I’ll be back to a “poo” $100/day for a while after touching a $140/day+ average! The problem with the visitors I’ll be losing due to this update is that they were clicking on my Adsense blocks. Go figure why but the CTR on this site is at least 2 times better than on any of my sites… this is maybe why I got hit so much as well! Arg!

 

Anyways, I’ll have to revisit my Adsense strategy once again to generate more diversification in order to make sure that my highest source of income keeps racking up more records! This should be done via more traffic towards my niche sites and the extension of my new authority site.

Finally, I can tell that I like my new writing style on TFB (over 1,000 words per article) but it’s very time consuming. On the other hand, it truly gives me the desire to write even more and go more in-depth for each topic. I really feel that I’m delivering premium content right now and this is what I like the most about blogging. After all, this whole business is about having fun, isn’t it?

 

Tell me, what have you done recently on your sites to make them better?

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