September Plans for the Blog Revival Project

Wow, it’s been three months since I started the Blog Revival Project. Time sure flies when you’re having fun. It flies when you’re not having fun as well. Generally speaking, it just flies faster the older you get.

The older you get, you also tend to digress more. Sorry about that!September plans

What’s the Blog Revival Project?

In a nutshell, the project involves taking six nearly-dead blogs, with hardly any traffic or sales, and trying to get them back on track. My goal is to get a total of $200 a month from all six blogs put together by December 2016. That would be six months into the project.

I have nearly two decades of experience in web content publishing under my proverbial belt but in the past six years I focused on a single (albeit successful) project where I am in charge of content creation and editing. I discovered that there’s a learning curve attached to getting back to my old position as a jack-of-all-trades blogger.

I’m keeping track of project progress in this blog by posting monthly traffic and revenue reports and blogging about various aspects of the project.

Whew, I think that I’ve filled the nutshell to the brim! If you want to know more you can browse through posts relating to the Blog Revival Project.

Today I want to talk about my plans for September.

I had neglected to do that in time for August and I think that contributed to me feeling a bit overwhelmed during the past few weeks. Time to get the old train back on its track, shovel in some coal and get things chugging away nicely once again.

Time to give my travel blog some TLC!

If remembering other people’s posts happens to be your superpower – and if you’ve bothered reading that post – you probably know that September is going to be dedicated to developing and promoting this blog: TripMemos.com.

Which makes me very happy. This happens to be my favorite blog of the six!

You see, I LOVE traveling. We’ve traveled quite a bit in the past seven years. Our list includes 44 US states, three Canadian provinces, the UK, France, Switzerland and Italy. The list of places we want to visit in the coming decade is even longer!

Our family, exploring the Athabasca Glacier in Canada
Our family, exploring the Athabasca Glacier in Canada

I also dread traveling. My inner neurotic hobbit wants nothing to do with travel. It just wants to dig deeper into its safe burrow and never ever leave the shire.

This constant inner struggle means I tend to put a lot of time and effort into planning our family trips. Researching destinations is something I enjoy doing and have become fairly good at.

I think I have a fairly good grasp of the joys and challenges of traveling and that’s something I can share with people. I get so many people asking me about destinations that we visited. I also put a lot of work into planning our future trips. Why not just blog about that?

Using my own blog – can you beat that?

We’re planning a long road trip next summer. It’s going to take us from California to Alaska and back. While researching routes and options, I already created these three blog posts:

Alaska Bucket List: 13 destinations you must visit (Including a map)

What to see and do along the Alaska Highway

What to do and see along the Stewart-Cassiar Highway Route To Alaska

This week it suddenly dawned on me that it’s time to start booking motels for August 2017. Alaska is very expensive and by booking a year in advance you can get more affordable accommodation. Browsing through hotel booking sites I realized some places were filling up as soon as they opened for registration. Panic ensued!

How do I put together an itinerary fast enough to start booking? At the very least, I needed to create an itinerary for August which would cover the first leg of our road trip, up the Stewart-Cassiar Highway.

Fortunately, there’s this really awesome blog that covers just that. It’s called TripMemos.com and has this oh-so-practical post about What to do and see along the Stewart-Cassiar Highway Route To Alaska.

stewart-cassiar-highway

And since I happened to be the one who wrote that post – insert smug smile here – I knew I could trust the content! Whew! I went back to that post and used it to quickly create our itinerary for August. I then moved ahead to booking the hotels.

The TripMemos Travel blog: September Action Plan

So, what will I be doing to improve TripMemos in September?

As you may (or may not) recall, I have previously made a list of possible action items for blog promotion. When focusing on a specific blog for a month, I go over that list and decide which items to implement.

At least, that was the original plan.

Three months into this project, I have a better sense of what works and what not so much. More on that in future posts but for now, let’s just say that while I have moved forward with some item s across the blogs, I also know that I’m not going to rush into implementing others.

All in all, here’s my task list for Trip Memos this month –

1. Write at least 8 quality blog posts

I want to create a good balance of destination guides based on our own experience and posts exploring potential destinations that we want to travel to.

2. Focus on Pinterest as the main social media promotion channel

I have already set up a Pinterest channel for the blog. I need to figure out the best strategies to promote this channel, as well as ways to join travel group boards.

3. Look for niche-specific forums for travel bloggers (not travelers)

There are many great travel bloggers out there. I want to connect with them to learn more about what they do and how they promote and monetize their blogs.

4. Continue to comment on travel blogs (as I have been doing for the past 3 months)

This one is easy. I read a lot of travel blogs, sometimes as part of my research when writing a post. Leaving a comment is common courtesy.

5. Set up a magnet lead for the mailing list.

I have already bought the Thrive Leads plug-in. I’m going tolook into installing it on this blog too. My expectations aren’t very high though. In fact, I may even just forego installing the plug-in and just use Mailchimp’s solutions for setting up the magnet lead. Either way, I need to figure out what I’m going to put in the magnet lead first…

So much for the travel blog.

I also have five other blogs in the Blog Revival Project.

And remember, I have my flagship site to run as well (which in fact is where most of my work time gets sucked into).

It’s ok though. No panic. And no more animated GIF’s in this post either. I promise!

For the other five project blog, the plan consists of –

1. Posting 4-6 posts in September in each blog.

2. Promoting each post by commenting on blogs that offer commentluv links.

An aside: I’m going to blog about commentluv. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a WordPress plugin that allows blog commenters to get one extra link back to their latest blog post (in addition to the link to their blog). Give it a try by commenting on this post.

Voila, there you have it.

It’s going to be another intensive month with a total of 30-40 posts in the blog revival project. If that sounds like a lot, keep in mind that I wrote no fewer than 54 posts in July (we’ll see what the count for August ends up being like).

Time to flex and crack my fingers!

What are your plans for September? How are you coming along with your own projects? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Blogging towards your early retirement

I’m back! Last week I blogged about almost reaching burnout and how I am deliberately losing steam. Still decompressing here but I am still blogging and pushing forward on my online projects. Just at a slower pace.

I also mentioned how one of the things that kept me busy from blogging was investing. Or rather, learning about investing and more specifically real estate investing. I said I will be blogging about that as well, so here goes!

This post won’t be about real estate investing per se. I want to set out the general framework and explain why we even invest. I think younger bloggers can benefit from these guidelines.

Thinking Ahead – What’s Your Financial Plan?

If you’re a blogger who reads blogs about blogging (tongue twister!) I assume you’re in this to generate a solid stream of revenue. But what’s your long-term plan? Do you want to reach a certain level of revenue and then just stick to that for a couple of years? Five years? A decade? Forever?

Making money by publishing content online is fun. I’ve been running my own online business for almost 20 years now. Blogging, or web publishing as we used to call it back at the day, is a fun way to make a living. You’re your own boss, working from home in casual wear and on your own terms. It’s easy to forget that this is actually a kind of a job. Yes, it’s your own business and you’re self-employed but in the end you are trading in time for money. If you were to stop right now – by choice or not – your revenue stream will dwindle and eventually disappear.

It may feel like blogging can continue forever, but if you’re counting on anything that requires your time to pay your bills, you have to start thinking about your exit plan. In other words, about your retirement.

What’s a retired blogger?

Why should you ever quit blogging?

I’m not saying you should. I honestly don’t plan to do that myself either. I’ll be more than happy to keep blogging to the grave. And may that day be in many many happy and fulfilled decades of blogging to come!

Happily blogging to the grave!

 

 

 

I’ll be happy to keep blogging as a centenarian! Arthritis and cataract providing, of course.

I just prefer not to have to. I want to get to the point where I only work if I absolutely want to.

For this to happen, I need to get someone – or something – else to work for me. That something is going to be my money. I want my money to work hard enough for me so I can choose whether or not I work too.

Your money can work for you and eventually instead of you

Money begets more money. It used to be simple interest rates and these days it’s investments. You don’t have to be a financial wiz to reach a constant average annual growth of 5%. A simple long-term investment in US index funds should achieve that.

Annual returns that get re-invested mean you can achieve exponential growth. The money you invest today is going to be worth a whole lot more in a couple of decades. As you keep adding to your stash every year, your money can eventually make more money than you do by work!

Once saved and invested, your money begins to work. The earlier you start, the more years your money gets to work for you. It becomes exponential growth as you re-invest your money’s “salary” back into your savings so that the new money can start generating money too.

Many financial bloggers have written about this, so I won’t bore you with the numbers.  This post by Mr. Money Mustache provides you with a simple outline of what exponential money growth looks like.

Start early!

You know how they say it’s never too early to start planning for your retirement? I used to think that’s a very boring topic. When you’re in your twenties, the last thing you want to think about is yourself at the age of 65. The very concept simply does not compute.

Retirement traditionally looked like this –

Traditional retirement

Here’s the thing though. With the right kind of planning, your retirement does not have to be that late in life. Early retirement can look more like this –

Early retirement

If you’re a blogger, you’re perfectly positioned for early retirement. Why? Because you are a self-employed entrepreneur. You can work hard now, save and invest and if you do that the right way, there is no reason for you not to reach financial independence at the age of 40. At the very least, you’ll be able to go into semi-retirement. That means you’ll still generate some income but a “part time” gig should be enough.

Are we there yet?

For my own family, I’d say my partner and I are semi-retired. He is 46 years old and I’m 44. We both still work but we do that in a “Mr. Mustache” kind of way, having left the rat race many moons ago.

We are both self-employed and do what we want to do. We travel. A lot. And we raise our family and enjoy working just as many hours as we choose to. It can be 60 hours one week or it can be five months of zero work, on a long road trip.

In many ways, we have already retired. In other ways, we have not. Making this a semi-retirement phase.

Our egg nest is working and generating more money for us every year. That sum is still not large enough for us to quit working and still enjoy the lifestyle we want to have. We could stop working right now and manage on what we have but that would mean switching to a very frugal lifestyle, including very little traveling. Since we both enjoy what we do anyway and we live a semi-retired lifestyle, we see no reason to stop working at this point.

So, what’s this about the real estate investment? It’s something we’re looking into these days, as a way to diversify our investments. And that’s a topic for an entirely separate blog post, so stay tuned!

How about you?

Do you have a plan set for early retirement or have you not thought about this just yet? Or maybe you’re on your way there already?

I’d love to hear more in the comments!

Mid-August Report: Losing Steam To Avoid Burnout

If you’ve been following the Blog Revival Project you know that my strategy basically looks like this –

  1. Post on the six project blogs.
  2. Regularly promote via social media, blog comments etc.
  3. Focus on one blog each month and push that blog forward.

By “push forward”, I mean invest time (and funds, as may be necessary) to improve on infrastructure. This could mean setting up social media accounts, creating a lead magnet for the mailing list or improving the way the blog looks.

July was dedicated to working on blog #1 and things went according to plan. I worked hard on implementing all of the planned action items during July and the monthly report showed a nice increase in traffic and revenue.

By “working hard” I also mean posting a total of 54 blog posts in the six Blog Revival Project blogs. Keep in mind that this project is not my core business. I also manage a fairly large website in a different niche which gets well over a million unique monthly visitors. I kept churning out quality content for that site as well. If that’s not enough, I also have one more online project that’s not covered in this blog.

All in all, I wrote more than 80 pieces of content in July. Then I promoted them. I also did infrastructure work on blog #1, remember? And let’s not forget life itself. You know, living with a loving partner, two wonderful kids and now a cat too (yes, we adopted a cat!)

Losing steam… to avoid burnout

One of the challenges of the Blog Revival Project was burnout. When I started the project in June, I found myself working for 70+ hours a week. I knew this would be hard to keep up with for the long run but I was having too much fun to stop.

I am fully aware of the danger of burnout.

It has happened to me before. Almost twenty years ago while working on my very first web publishing project, I reached the burnout point. It was nasty. From working on my project around the clock I moved to the point of not being able to take another single look at it. It took me months to recover.

I don’t want this to happen again. Ever. So, this time I kept looking for the telltale signs of burnout approaching. I could see them early this month. Too many tasks, too little time, too much pressure. Working is no longer fun. Not good.

Burnout

Instead of reaching burnout I decided to lose steam. Deliberately.

Losing steam isn’t the same as burning out.

Losing steam means slowing down.

I believe the metaphor originally relates to locomotives – losing steam means the train slows down. However, in this case, I like to think of it more in terms of a pressure cooker.

Losing steam to avoid burnoutThe higher the temperature the more effective your cooking. The problem? If you cook for too long at too high a temperature, your pressure cooker could explode. You have to deliberately (and carefully!) use the safety valve to lost some of the steam and depressurize the cooker.

Losing steam and slowing down is crucial in the long run.

Which is what I’ve been doing in the past two weeks.

I’m still working. Have worked almost every day this month but for fewer hours. I prioritized my tasks and focused on my flagship site.

I also –

  • Traveled with my husband and kids to watch the meteor shower in the desert
  • Spent time with extended family
  • Worked on our investment portfolio (which I may blog about at some point)
  • Helped our new cat adjust to his new home
  • Prepared our travel plans for 2017

Time to regroup

This post is the fifth content item that I’m writing today. Playing catch up with all of the blogs isn’t easy! They now all have fresh content, I’m happy to say.

Whew!

Now it’s time to regroup and plan ahead. Time to gradually pick up steam again.

Back when I started the Blog Revival Project I had wondered if maybe I’m biting more than I can chew. The jury is still out on that question.

Maybe six blogs is too much for a “side gig”. Should I cut down to three blogs? Or perhaps slow down the pace but keep all six blogs going?

For now, I’m going with the second option, keeping all six blogs in the project but slowing down the pace of posting to once a week. If and when I find that I have the time and inclination to push the publication schedule back to two posts a week, I will.

My plan for picking up steam looks like this –

  1. Fill up on fresh posts on all blogs (done today).
  2. Re-adjust content plans on all blogs for one post per week.
  3. Schedule posts in advance for one week ahead – one per blog.
  4. Add a second blog post for the same week on some of the blogs.
  5. Still have time? Find a blog to focus on and give it the TLC treatment.

That’s it for now. No deadlines either. It’ll happen when it happens. It’s summertime and I’m trying to relax!

Summertime relaxation

As  always, I’d love to get your feedback! Have you ever reached burnout? How do you regulate your work flow to avoid that?

Should you schedule WordPress posts?

I recently read a post by a blogger who mentioned he had posts ready for publication and scheduled on his blog for several months ahead. The comments to this statement were mostly appreciative but is that really such a good idea? Should you really schedule WordPress posts?Should you schedule wordpress posts

I can see the appeal. After all, content plans are important. This blogger was so organized, he made the plan and followed through right away. Now he has all the time in the world to work on site promotion without worrying about content. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

There are pros and cons to writing your posts in advance and using WordPress to schedule publication. It’s a great feature to have but one that can be overused to the point of becoming counterproductive. Let me explain.

The benefits of writing posts in advance

Writing your posts in advance and setting them to publish on certain dates certainly has its advantages.

1. Generate content at regular intervals

Consistent posting in regular intervals is good for a blog. Your audience learns to expect a certain frequency of updates be it a daily, weekly or monthly installments. Providing that helps establish your blog as a dependable presence in their online lives.

Preparing your content in advance can help you provide that level of consistency. It won’t matter if you’re busy working on another project, have to travel or if you’re experiencing a temporary writers’ block. Your content is there and gets published on the day, according to your content plan.

2. Take a break from writing and focus on other projects

Some people like to work in “batches” that last several days or weeks. They dedicate one week for writing, filling up their post schedule for the coming weeks. Then they can take a break from writing and focus on design, promotion or writing their e-course. The blog still keeps on churning new content.

3. Go on vacation!

This is my favorite reason for using scheduled posts! If you’re away for several days or weeks that does not mean your blog should suffer. Schedule posts can keep your readers engaged while you’re away, sipping cocktails on the beach.

A couple of bloggers on a typical day
A couple of bloggers on a typical day

(Wait, isn’t that what all bloggers do all day anyway while their blogs keep making them money? No? Whew, so it’s not just me working here).

4. Just relax.

Writing can be stressful. If you blog, you probably enjoy writing but if you have to write on a deadline, the pressure can make it less fun. If you’re a prolific writer, you can prepare several posts in advance and always have something ready for the days the muse fail you.

The drawbacks of writing posts in advance

Writing posts in advance isn’t a bad thing in itself but it does have its drawbacks.

1. Content can get stale

This really depends on the topic of your post and on your niche. If you write about SEO, your content needs to be fresh and up-to-date. If you schedule a post for one month from today, you could have a Google update two weeks later which affect the accuracy of your post.

Sure, this can happen even if you post as soon as you write. Your post can become less relevant two weeks later. However, your readers assess your content based on its publication date. It’s not ok to post information that’s old and irrelevant to begin with.

In other niches, content may be more evergreen. You should still watch out for things like links which may change between the time you wrote the post and the date of publication.

2. You’re not around to promote each post

Once you post, you should promote that post. Sure, some of that can be automated but a hands-on approach is often more effective. Even if you auto-tweet, you should be around to reply and interact with your followers once the post is published.

When you schedule posts for future publication, it becomes much easier to forget about promoting each and every post.

3. Your content’s just lying there, doing nothing

I think this is the most important argument against scheduling posts for future publication.

You’ve already gathered your information and crafted your post. It’s there, all tingling and ready go get out into the world. Why let it wait?

It could be doing something today: Helping a reader, making a sale, getting linked to by other bloggers. If you wait, you’re missing out on something that could happen today, and possibly only today.

In a previous post I used the fishing lines analogy. It’s appropriate here too. You have your fishing rod ready and your bait is wriggling at the end of your hook (poor worm…) Why not throw it in the water? The longer you wait, the more fish pass you by and swim away never to return.

Finding your balance

I’m not saying you should not schedule WordPress posts. I think it’s a powerful tool that should be used in moderation. You shouldn’t let it take over your blog and you shouldn’t become a hoarder of unpublished posts.

I think it’s up to every blogger to find the right balance for his/her blog. It could mean scheduling posts for two months ahead, or it could mean never scheduling anything. It depends on your niche and your own work style.

As for myself, that point of balance keeps changing these days. I currently manage eight content websites, six of them are the blogs I report on in the Blog Revival Project. They have different publishing frequencies but in total I need to produce 12 new articles every week.

I used to have content lined up for up to a month in advance but now I try to avoid scheduling posts for more than one week ahead. For me, this is a good balance between not getting stuck with zero updates and hoarding unpublished posts.

To be honest, this past month just keeping all of the blogs in-line with their planned posting frequencies is proving to be a challenge. It’s the combination of summertime and needing to improve my time management.

I know I’m going to use scheduled posts a lot more next summer. We have a big road trip planned and when that happens, I won’t be around to blog. That’s when WordPress’ ability to schedule posts in advance will become most useful.

How about you?

Do you schedule WordPress posts at all? How far ahead do you usually schedule your posts? I’d love to hear from you in a comment!

July 2016 Traffic & Revenue Report

Oh, wow, it’s been a month since I published my last revenue report! Which was also the very first revenue & traffic report for the Blog Revival Project! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun and now it’s time for the July review!

July 2016 Revenue Report

So, what was July like?

Nothing to write home about but at least that’s something to write a blog post about (always look at the bright side of life, I say!). I really this hope this helps some of you to see what the early days of a blog look like.

I monitor six different blogs in this review and my goal is to get to $200 in profit by December 2016, so let’s see if we’re getting there.

Not familiar with my project? You can read more about the project and the reasons for it right here.

Let’s start with a quick(ish) review of what happened in July.

How I implemented my plans for Blog #1

Managing a total of six blogs can get overwhelming and confusing. So I decided to set a strategy where I would take one blog at a time and give that blog a lot of TLC for one month. July was dedicated to the CatsGoShopping blog.

You can read here about how I formulated the action plan for July for that blog. Here are the action items I had on the list and what I ended doing with them.

1. Post 3 times a week: Quality, engaging posts, SEO’ed and with catchy titles.
yesA total of 14 posts this month and I’m happy with all of them.

2. Pin 2 images, three times a week.

yes I pinned at least six images a week across my three Pinterest accounts.

3. Add three comments a day on related blogs.

yes I really enjoy seeing what others write about and I enjoy leaving comments so that was easy enough to achieve. I think I managed an average of three comments a day going back to this specific blog.

4. Decide on a color palette and a font for the blog.

yes I went with the Carme font and a blue and red palette with some gray thrown in.

palette577a525d1221f

It’s simple and it stands out in this niche. I don’t know any other cat blogs that use a similar color scheme.

It is similar to the colors of leading online pet stores. In fact, it’s amazing to see just how many of them use a blue & red palette. I think choosing a similar color scheme for my blog is good for creating a more harmonious experience for anyone clicking the affiliate links.

5. Get a logo.

yes This is what I got on Fiverr for $5 –
Cats Go Shopping Logo
Is it the best logo ever? Probably not but it’s better than just having the site name in text format. I confess I am not a designer nor can I tell what makes a good logo and what doesn’t. Ideally, some A/B testing of logos would be good and I plan on doing that at some point.

6. Create templates for images people can share on social media. 

yes Done but I’m not thrilled with the result. Here’s what they look like –

Example of sharable image for blog

I also hope people share the actual images in the articles themselves. Hopefully, this will be good enough.

7. Set up Twitter account and put that on auto-pilot. 

yes  The account only has 7 followers and it does nothing more than auto-tweet every post. It’s not much but it’s there and there’s a place for me to link the Twitter icon to. I won’t have time to do more than that. In my experience, social media accounts grow very slowly this way. Hardly surprising, I know. My point is that they still grow, so it’s better than nothing.

8. Apply colors, logo, picture and “about me” write-up to Twitter account, Facebook page and mailing list.

yes All done!

9. Experiment with other types of subscription forms for the mailing list and

with creating a lead magnet for the mailing list.

yes I did some reading and decided to go with a simple lead magnet. It’s a list of safety tips for cat owners. Helpful stuff which I think people would want to have.

I then shelled out $97 and bought ThriveLeads, a WordPress plugin (yup, another one!) that lets you run all kinds of mailing list subscription forms. It has tons of features, great templates and A/B testing. Check it out here (This is not an affiliate link. They don’t have an affiliate program. This is just me being the generous and transparent blogger that I am!)

I set up two registration boxes. One is a sidebar widget and the other is a pop-up that shows up when you’re trying to leave the page. Hey, I even created A/B testing for both!

I just checked and the entire operation generated only one sign-up. Ack. So, I checked the stats and Houston, we have a problem. Here goes:

I installed ThriveLeads on July 20th. Google Analytics says the blog has had 1219 pageviews since then. I double checked with Adsnese and they counted 1159 pageviews through their ads, so we have a ballpark figure of 1200 pageviews. The ThriveLeads dashboard is showing me this –

ThriveLeads dashboard

That’s about 10% of the pageviews reported by Google Analytics and Adsense. I opened a ticket with ThriveLeads’ about this and will update on the next revenue report.

10. Create giveaways and raffles with appropriate prizes.

I gave this one a lot of thought. I checked Rafflecopter, ViralSweep and Woobox and read up on raffles as a promotion technique. Interesting stuff. However, I feel that it’s way too soon to try and implement this in any of the six blogs. Simply put, there’s not enough traffic to justify a significant prize and a small prize won’t be attractive enough. So, I’m putting this on hold for now.

A Boost Of Redirected Traffic

There was one more thing which happened this month. It was entirely unplanned and it drove quite a bit of traffic to the blog.

For various unrelated reasons, I had to kill a website this month. It was a merciful euthanasia for a dying old directory.

Long story short, I placed a 301 redirect on the domain and diverted the traffic to CatsGoShopping. Since the sites was on the same topic, I think Google would be ok with that. This is what the result looked like –

Stats

As expected, there was a spike of traffic for a couple of days and then things started gradually returning to normal. That’s just Google finding out that specific indexed pages no longer exist. Eventually, the site should disappear from the index and only referral (or type-in) traffic will remain.

I’m over 1500 words into this post and we need to get to the juicy stuff. Let’s move on to a detailed (yet short!) account of expenses and then to the traffic and revenue details for each of the six blogs.

Expenses in July 2016

Last month there were a couple of general “project expenses” such as setting up new yearly hosting accounts for two of the blogs, purchasing a package of templates and getting Longtail Pro to use for keyword research. The total of expenses in June was $571.96. Let’s see what July looked like.

Stock Photos

I buy stock photos from Fotolia.com. I decided to to upgrade Fotolia’s 100 pictures a month package. The price is $100 a month but I got the six-month plan, so overall I paid $540 (a 10% discount). That’s a lot of money upfront but it means I won’t have to pay for photos for the next six months.

I don’t use 100 pictures a month for six blogs. Most of the photos are used for my flagship site. I’m listing $180 (a third of the overall cost) here as expenses for the six project blogs.

Cost: $180

Logo Design

I jumped the gun with a logo for another one of the six blogs, so overall it was $10 for two designs.

Cost: $10

Web Hosting

Last month I mentioned that most of the blogs were hosted on a virtual server account which had been pre-paid. I then found out that a year goes by really fast. Who knew?

It was time to renew my plan with the host. I’m going with a monthly plan for now, costing me $45 a month. Again, not all of that is for the blogs in this project, so I’m going to put $20 for hosting.

Cost: $20

ThriveLeads Plugin

See above.

Cost: $97

Facebook Campaigns

I tried pushing two posts with Facebook campaigns.

Cost: $10

So, that’s a total of $310 in expenses. 

Let’s move on to the other side of the equation. Time to reveal this month’s traffic and revenue stats!

Traffic & Revenue Per Blog

Blog #1 – CatPicsBlog.com

Posts made during July: 13

July unique visitors: 184 pageviews: 262
June unique visitors: 52 pageviews: 106
May unique visitors: 126 May pageviews: 215

Revenue:
July Adsense revenue: $0.03
June Adsense revenue $0.30
May Adsense revenue $0.51

July Clickbank revenue: $0

Blog #2 – CatsGoShopping.com

Posts made during July: 14

Traffic: 

July unique visitors: 635  pageviews: 1,442
June unique visitors: 124  pageviews: 415
May unique visitors: 161 pageviews: 323

Revenue:
July Adsense revenue: $0.38
June Adsense revenue: $0.16
May Adsense revenue: $0 (blog had no ads)

July Amazon revenue: $0
June Amazon revenue: $0.47
May Amazon revenue: $0

 

Blog #3 – Gifts4Kids.net

Posts made during July: 7

Traffic:
July unique visitors: 68 June pageviews: 107
June unique visitors: 56 June pageviews: 120
May unique visitors: 36 May pageviews: 167

Revenue:
July Adsense revenue: $0.02 (woohoo!)
June Adsense revenue: $0.01
May Adsense revenue: $0.01

July Amazon revenue: $0
June Amazon revenue: $0
May Amazon revenue: $0

Blog #4 – Home-decor-hub.com

Posts made during July: 5

Traffic:
July unique visitors: 276 pageviews: 450
June unique visitors: 351 pageviews: 580
May unique visitors: 402 pageviews: 754

Revenue:
July Adsense revenue: $0.24
June Adsense revenue: $3.79
May Adsense revenue: $2.66

July Amazon revenue: $17.11
June Amazon revenue: $3.48
May Amazon revenue: $17.51

Blog #5 TripMemos.com

Posts made during July: 5

Traffic: 
July unique visitors: 152 pageviews: 318
June unique visitors: 72 pageviews: 339
May unique visitors: 151 pageviews: 151

Revenue:
July Adsense revenue: $0.04
June Adsense revenue: $0
May Adsense revenue: $0

Blog #6 Yeys.com (this one!)

Posts made during July: 10

Traffic: 
July unique visitors: 403  pageviews: 795
June unique visitors: 168  pageviews: 377
May unique visitors: 136 pageviews: 151

Revenue:
July Adsense revenue: $0.92
June Adsense revenue: $0.02
May Adsense revenue: $0

July Revenue Summary

Expenses: $310
Revenue: $18.74

Profit: -$291.26

By comparison, for June it was:

Expenses: $571.96
Revenue: $8.23

Profit: -$563.73

Final thoughts on this month’s report

1. I’m still in the red, which is just what I expected.

Here’s the full half of the glass though: Technically, you could say that revenue nearly doubled during July. Fingers crossed for continued exponential growth!

2. Some blogs had an increase in traffic, while others experienced a decrease.

The blog that showed the most growth was CatsGoShopping. I’m not entirely sure if that’s a result of –

  • The extra TLC (new logo and more blog comments than usual)
  • Having the most posts published.
  • The combination of the Facebook campaigns and the redirect traffic
  • None of the above, or all of the above or any other combination!

Overall, the “blog portfolio” showed an increase from 1,937 pageviews in June to 3,374 in July. 

Traffic Growth By Month

The numbers are still too small to make much of the correlation between traffic and revenue but the trend is positive on both fronts, so I’m happy with that.

My Plans for August

I’m going to change my strategy a bit. Rather than focus on one blog at the time, I’m going to push on all fronts.

The extra work associated with branding (adding a logo, creating a color scheme and templates for social media images) isn’t too much. I’d rather just go through all of the blogs and do that for all of them, so I can get the branding benefits rolling. This is what I’m going to focus on this month.

Once I’m done with that (probably only by the end of the month), I’m going to work on creating magnet leads to help build up each blog’s mailing list. That’s going to take a bit more work and probably won’t happen before September but it is the next item on the agenda.

Most importantly, I plan on doing more of the same: Create awesome blog posts on all blogs, and as many of them as I can!

I wrote two posts about this “strategy” this month. The first deals with what a quality post even means (hint, it’s not necessarily a 5,000 long tutorial for bloggers!) and the other one talks about the importance of having as many lines in the water as you can and other fishing advice.

If you made it this far, thanks for sticking around and reading through! I’d love to hear your insights on this, so do leave me a comment.

Have an awesomely productive month, everyone!