Monthly Blog Growth and Income Recap – February 2018

Alright, so why am I doing a blog recap?

Well, a lot of bloggers like to share their monthly income reports or growth numbers with their viewers.

Blog recaps and updates can be a great way to remain transparent with readers, inspire fellow bloggers or content creators, and to track the growth of a community.

The only thing is, they usually start doing these recaps once they have been blogging for several months (or years) and have established fairly steady streams of income and page views.

While this makes sense, I also think of it as somewhat of a cop-out. From the blogs I’ve come across, many bloggers who have already “made it” have a tendency to exaggerate just how easy it is to blog and become successful.

I wouldn’t have a problem with this, except for the fact that many of these bloggers then try to convince their audience that they can achieve success if they merely:

  • Download their super secret e-book.
  • Take their fantastic affiliate marketing course.
  • Sign-up through 17 of their referral links.
  • Renounce the Lord and take up their blog as the new almighty.

Maybe I’m cynical, but maybe not. I think sharing, transparency, and providing value to readers is ultimately a key to success for running a great blog.

However, when blogging reports only show the good, and not the bad or ugly, I start to take issue. There’s nothing wrong with recommending products, courses, or trying to inspire your audience.

But when bloggers exaggerate, mislead, or flat out lie, that’s just wrong.

And so, I have decided that I will also create monthly blogging reports, but I’m doing it from month 1.

No bullshit. No false promises. Just some stats, advice, and what I’ve learned so far during this blogging experience.

Let’s get to it!

February 2018 Blog Stats:

Blog Posts:

  • I only published 4 posts in February (January had 8 posts)
  • However, the word count for these posts totaled 9,073, so they were hefty.

Traffic Stats:

Overall, February showed a great month of initial blogging growth with almost 1,000 page views:

Blog pageview stats

Looking at referral traffic also provides room for some interesting insights:

Referral traffic stats

Key Points:

  • Search Engines: Search engine traffic (mostly Google) accounts for almost 50% of my total blog traffic.
  • Referrals: StumbleUpon has a bounce rate of almost 100% (stats not pictured here). Pinterest also has a fairly high bounce rate. Overall referral traffic has been weak so far due to my limited efforts in content promotion.
  • Session Duration: Not a bad time as far as I’m concerned! Readers who stick around tend to stay quite a while, with poor bounce rates from referral sources driving down the average session duration metric.
  • Ranking on Google: It is possible to rank well on Google within a month, depending on your niche.

February 2018 Income Stats:

We’ve started the first month of blogging off with not being negative in income, which is a plus!

Granted, setting up this blog, buying a theme, and paying for hosting has put me $100 in the hole, but let’s pretend that doesn’t exist.

Amazon Affiliate Income: 

  • $0.72 – Whoever made a purchase through one of my Amazon Affiliate links, bless your soul. I’m starting to see more and more clicks to Amazon every day however, so I’m expecting some growth in this department for March!

Side Hustle and Passive Income:

  • Phone Farming – $35. I was away from my modest farming for a while this month due to having reading week, so this has been one of the worse months for phone farming. In any case, I’ll take the free money!

If you are new to phone farming or want to learn more about making passive income with smartphones, be sure to check out my post How to Start a Phone Farm.

  • Drop – $15. Drop is a cashback app that pays users for shopping at their favorite stores. I earned $10 in cashback this month, as well as $5 for referring my girlfriend to the program.

If you want to learn more about Drop, you can check out my post on The Best Rebate and Cashback Apps.

You can also sign up for Drop with my referral link and make an extra $1. Wohoo!

  • Ebates – $7.14. I’ve been doing a lot of Amazon shopping in preparation for moving houses, and Ebates actually provided some easy cashback. If you shop online I’d say this one is a no-brainer.

I also talk about Ebates in my post on rebate and cashback apps, and I highly recommend using both Drop and Ebates.

You can signup for Ebates with my referral link and receive $5 as a signup bonus if you purchase a product over $25 from an eligible retailer within 90 days. It’ll also make me $5, so it’s a win-win!

Total: $57.86. Most of this was passive, but a little extra beer or grocery money never hurts!

Lessons Learned: 

I learned 2 main things from blogging in the month of February.

  • Firstly, I really need to step up my referral traffic game.
  • Secondly, it is possible to rank well on Google within a month. 

Phone farming related search queries have definitely provided the bulk of my traffic. I’ve only been blogging for a month, but I still am able to rank on the first page of Google with 2 different articles:

first page ranking on Google for phone farming

Another first page ranking on Google for phone farming

So, what does this mean for other new bloggers?

SEO is not dead.

Ranking highly on Google is hard, especially depending on how saturated your niche or industry is, but it is possible within a short time frame.

You can see by my search queries as well that I didn’t search for anything too obscure or biased to make sure I showed up on the first page. I just typed in what someone looking to get into phone farming would inevitably end up doing.

If you are relatively new to blogging and want to rank higher on Google, I would highly recommend learning and utilizing the skyscraper technique. 

You can read a well-written and comprehensive guide by monitorbacklinks.com on how to implement the skyscraper technique in your content writing here.

If you just want the gist of how to use skyscraping, here goes:

  • Find the best articles in your niche or industry.
  • Write a better version of these articles.

It sound simple, and it kind of is in theory. Practice can be harder, but the idea is hardly revolutionary.

When you find an article to improve upon, ask yourself what did the author in this article leave out? 

People can only write so much, and often times, 2,000-3,000 words isn’t enough to cover everything of importance in a topic. Write articles that expand upon successful topics in your niche, fill missing gaps, and provide additional value to your readers.

In my case, using the skyscraper technique for phone farming or passive income articles was incredibly easy.

Authors in the passive income domain tend to conveniently exaggerate how much income they make, and they also publish a lot garbage.

Phone farming is also a decently saturated niche but is filled with many terrible writers, who also lie.

Considering these facts, there isn’t much stiff competition for some of these more niche passive income topics.

So, how can you use the skyscraper technique?

  • Read successful, well-written content from your competition.
  • See what content from your niche is frequently shared online (an indicator that readers like something).
  • Combine your understanding of good content and what people are looking for to write the best articles in your niche.

That’s essentially using the skyscraper technique!

Goals and Plans for Next Month:

I’m currently in the process of finishing a marketing case competition and exams, so I’m hesitant to set incredibly high blogging goals. In any case, here are some goals and information about what is in the works for next month!

Goals:

  • Publish 5 posts.
  • Generate 1,500 page views.
  • Begin developing a referral traffic source that doesn’t have 100% bounce rate.

Plans:

  • Another “Side Hustles that Pay” post.
  • Complete a fun Etsy case study that I have in the works (I think you guys will like this one, whatever happens).
  • Work on some design improvement and aesthetics for This Online World.
  • Look into building an email list of some sort. The one I have now is primitive.

That’s all for this month!

I hope you have enjoyed reading the monthly blog recap, and have found some information useful!

If you have any questions be sure to reach out. I am always happy to share advice or learn something from other bloggers or people who are looking to start a website of their own.

Thanks for reading.

 

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