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!
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.
A total of 14 posts this month and I’m happy with all of them.
2. Pin 2 images, three times a week.
I pinned at least six images a week across my three Pinterest accounts.
3. Add three comments a day on related blogs.
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.
I went with the Carme font and a blue and red palette with some gray thrown in.
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.
This is what I got on Fiverr for $5 –
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.
Done but I’m not thrilled with the result. Here’s what they look like –
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.
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.
9. Experiment with other types of subscription forms for the mailing list and
with creating a lead magnet for the mailing list.
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 –
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 –
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.
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.
I jumped the gun with a logo for another one of the six blogs, so overall it was $10 for two designs.
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.
I tried pushing two posts with Facebook campaigns.
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
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
July unique visitors: 635 pageviews: 1,442
June unique visitors: 124 pageviews: 415
May unique visitors: 161 pageviews: 323
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
July unique visitors: 68 June pageviews: 107
June unique visitors: 56 June pageviews: 120
May unique visitors: 36 May pageviews: 167
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
July unique visitors: 276 pageviews: 450
June unique visitors: 351 pageviews: 580
May unique visitors: 402 pageviews: 754
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
July unique visitors: 152 pageviews: 318
June unique visitors: 72 pageviews: 339
May unique visitors: 151 pageviews: 151
July Adsense revenue: $0.04
June Adsense revenue: $0
May Adsense revenue: $0
Blog #6 Yeys.com (this one!)
Posts made during July: 10
July unique visitors: 403 pageviews: 795
June unique visitors: 168 pageviews: 377
May unique visitors: 136 pageviews: 151
July Adsense revenue: $0.92
June Adsense revenue: $0.02
May Adsense revenue: $0
July Revenue Summary
By comparison, for June it was:
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.
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.