This is the first month I’ve ever pushed off a blogging income and traffic report for the sake of publishing another post first, so I apologize if you were eagerly awaiting this post!
However, the previous post on 21 passive income streams that actually work is one of my more favorite posts as of late, so I think it was worth it!
In November, I wrote 2 posts as well:
- 6 Awesome Chrome Extensions to Save Money when Shopping.
- The Best Remote Job Ideas + my Thoughts on Digital Nomadism.
I also spent some time with mild redesigns of this blog, editing a few old posts, and adding a new section on money saving tools for some quick saving resources.
All in all, I think November was a pretty strong month for content creation, and I even obtained 2 backlinks from some pretty highly ranked websites by guest posting and using HARO.
Anyway, this income report is still a bit of an interesting one because I think it’s time I change a few things and get back to the fundamentals.
The month of November saw my first significant drop in traffic since August, marking 3 months of somewhat stagnant growth (and now a decline).
Declining traffic also means declining revenue, but this is a symptom of a problem and not a cause. Traffic growth is my primary goal in nurturing This Online World, so the true question for this blogging income report is how can I keep growing blog traffic?
I’ll get to the traffic stats and some growth ideas in a moment, but first, onto the monthly blog revenue!
Google AdSense Revenue from Blogging – $93.09
I was always under the impression that webmasters were prohibited from sharing any Google AdSense screenshots or information, but apparently I am allowed to at least show my monthly earnings.
AdSense earnings are up compared to the month of October, which is awesome! Perhaps the Christmas shopping season has blessed me with some increased RPMs!
I am excited to see AdSense creep back up. Plus, after reading a few other income reports from bloggers using AdSense, I think my blog is actually earning less advertisement revenue than other blogs in similar niches with the same amount of traffic.
I’ve gone ahead and added new ad units to This Online World and modified my side bar and footer using some AdSense optimization tips from WPBeginner.
I’ve only added my new ad units as of December 8th, but we’ll see how revenue is impacted for the rest of the month.
Making Money on Medium – $25.80
As per usual, it seems my Medium revenue fluctuates quite a bit each month, but I don’t mind that too much. Medium is just a way for me to syndicate content from This Online World, and I’m happy with the income it brings in!
Plus, in more exciting news, my Medium efforts have finally crossed the $500 lifetime earnings mark!
I have certainly been tempted in the past to switch more of my attention to writing on Medium since the platform is so lucrative, but I will continue to refrain from doing so for the foreseeable future.
I really like writing on Medium, and it is an interesting platform, but I want to build my own corner of the internet and I prefer the control I have on my own blog as supposed to being part of a larger network.
Plus, in my eyes, the platform is gradually morphing into a very politically charged (and fairly one-sided) arena where civil discussion is becoming replaced by clickbait headlines and broad-stroke accusations.
I subscribed to Medium and began writing on the platform to learn and share more about my experiences with side hustling, technology, and marketing.
Lately, all I see in the featured stories feed or my suggested reading material is content that is angry, pessimistic, and black or white.
Anyway, I might write a post that goes deeper into my thoughts on Medium and why I think many authors on the platform should hold themselves to a higher standard than they currently are, but that might be a can of worms for another day…
For now and the future, my focus is This Online World.
Call it pride, or diversification of risk…But…
Blog on, bloggers! Blog on.
Blogging Affiliate Income – $112
I’m going to start categorizing my affiliate income under a single category rather than by unique affiliate source because I have now implemented a third affiliate stream on my blog and splitting them would be far too granular.
Here is how my affiliate income turned out for the month of November:
- Shopify referral income from my dropshipping guide: $116.
- Amazon affiliate income: -$7.20 (lol).
- FlexOffers affiliate income: $3.20!
Shopify referral income is certainly carrying the team for this month’s income report, and I’m excited to see a few more people are giving dropshipping a test run!
A few items were returned on Amazon resulting in the loss of $7.20, but that is absolutely alright with me. I’d rather have people shop through my Amazon affiliate links and actually enjoy whatever they end up buying than to regret it!
And, finally, I earned $3.20 from a new affiliate network I have joined: FlexOffers.
FlexOffers is an affiliate network that connects publishers to over 11,000 advertisers that offer products/services in a wide range of niches like finance, travel, shopping, and more.
FlexOffers was particularly interesting to me because, as it turns out, they have a lot of affiliate partnerships with companies I have already written about in posts like my gig economy job list.
Integrating affiliate offers into some of my existing content seemed like an obvious low-hanging fruit, so that was a nice find.
Plus, FlexOffers also taught me about a few new money saving services and apps which I have started to use, like Paribus, and other apps I don’t personally use but have since mentioned because I think they are neat.
Anyway, 2 users signed up for Paribus through my affiliate link, which resulted in the $3.20 in income:
A 1-2% conversion rate is pretty normal for a lot of affiliate programs, and I like the level of reporting FlexOffers provides their publishers (you can get pretty granular).
I never want This Online World to turn into an affiliate shill, but affiliate income is part of my blog’s income so I feel the need to report it. I’m going to continue to use FlexOffers to see where things go, but I will only recommend products/service I use or ones that heavily relate to my content and might be useful for others!
If you are a blogger and would like to signup for FlexOffers, I’d appreciate if you consider using my link so I can earn some additional revenue on sales you make (taken from FlexOffer’s portion of revenue, not yours!)
All in all, November wrapped up nicely with $231 in blog related income.
Thank you all for making it possible 🙂
Blogging Traffic Report – November 2018
Alright, time to dive into the root of my traffic growth problems. Hopefully, by showing my line of thinking, other bloggers out there who are struggling to generate organic traffic might learn how to best diagnose their own problems!
Here is my traffic breakdown for November:
Total page views were 18,221, marking the second month in a row of decreased traffic.
And, judging by the first week of December, this month will also be a lower traffic month. Take a look at my traffic snapshot over the past 30 days compared to the 30 days prior to that:
Sessions are down 16.3%, which is a very considerable drop!
So, what made August and September such strong months, and what has contributed to my declining traffic?
Here is my two-pronged hypothesis:
- I was favored by the Google Medic Update in August, and then hurt by Google algorithm changes in October and November.
- I have strayed from my strengths in marketing.
Let’s break down point 1.
The Google Medic Update and Blog Traffic
In August, Google unrolled an algorithm now called the Medic Update, and this update really hurt the rankings of many medical websites or websites involved in YMYL topics (Your Money, Your Life).
Thankfully, my website spiked in traffic throughout August because the Medic Update clearly put me on the winning side. Just check out how my search engine visibility spiked for August (courtesy of Serpstat.com data):
Now, when I check my search engine visibility with Sistrix.com, another useful SEO tool, I have confirmed that I have had a massive drop in keyword visibility:
Using the Google Update Tool Checker from Sistrix also shows that I benefited from the previous Google updates in August, but have lost out on ‘Medic Update 2:’
Now, after doing some reading, it is pretty clear that Google has pushed additional updates to their algorithm that are more than just a Medic rollback.
It really seems like Google is heavily considering EAT factors (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness) in their recent algorithm updates for YMYL sites.
And, let’s face it: I’m a bit of a YMYL website because I have published guides on investing or lists of personal finance apps. I’m just a 22 year old college student, and my website doesn’t have an extensive backlink profile from personal finance websites or accredited financial planners, so I am not incredibly trustworthy in the eyes of Google.
And you know what: this is a fair assertion to make.
I write about topics that can have an immense impact on people’s lives, and while I think I do an alright job at expressing my novice understanding of certain topics and I encourage people to do their own research, this is the nature of the beast. If you are a blogger writing about YMYL topics, you have to expert a very healthy amount of skepticism surrounding your trustworthiness.
Moving forwards, I am truly faced with one option: I need to become more authoritative and trustworthy.
I plan to do this by:
- Increasing my content quality and transparency as much as possible.
- Ramping up my effort to gain backlinks from websites within the personal finance niche.
Hopefully, these 3 strategies will help me increase my trustworthiness over time in the eyes of Google. Fingers crossed!
Anyway, this whole decline in traffic has also made me open my eyes a bit, and that brings me back to my 2nd point: I have strayed from what I know best.
I am not a pure personal finance blogger. This Online World is all about using technology to make and save money, and while this does overlap with personal finance topics, it isn’t the core of what I write about because I am not a financial adviser.
Additionally, I have also strayed from marketing on the channels that I understand. I mean, just take a look at my Quora referral traffic over the past few months:
I’ve always advocated that bloggers should take a value-add approach when marketing, and that Quora is a great way to drive traffic to your blog.
For some reason, I seem to have been spending more time as of late in a futile Pinterest marketing effort, and I have forgotten the importance of adding value to an audience when trying to market to them.
It’s time to get everything back on track.
I admit, I was a bit bummed out when I realized a Google update had hit me, but this is a necessary wake up call and an exciting new puzzle to crack on the road to 25,000 monthly sessions
Time to up content quality, EAT factors, and the value all of you lovely readers can gain from This Online World.
For other bloggers out there who are struggling with traffic growth like me after several months, I would take some time to use the tools I have mentioned to see if you have been impacted by either Medic update.
Google is clearly sending out signals that quality and trustworthiness are more important than ever before, and you should diagnose the cause of traffic drops before jumping to any conclusions about your marketing efforts, the future of your blog, etc.
Thank you to everyone who continues to read This Online World!
I have some exciting posts planned for the month of December and for the new year, and I look forward to a new chapter for this blog as I push to improve quality across the board.
Catch you all in the next post!
Tom is a full-time blogger and freelance writer with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and the gig economy. His work has appeared on dozens of personal finance websites like Money Crashers, The College Investor, Investor Junkie, and more. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
If you’re interested in freelance writing services or want to partner with This Online World, please use our contact page to get in touch!
Your posts are a breath of fresh air, Tom; it is rare to see this degree of transparency and cool analysis. No doubt that your traffic will recover as you keep these awesome post coming and you re-focus on your stengths. Despite the temporary drop in some metrics in November, you have built a super cool corner of your own on the internet in less than a year, a loyal readership, and some consistent income. Not many bloggers can say the same after 11 months. Yours is the first post I click on when I get notified and I am sure all your readers do the same.
Looking forward to seeing your next posts, your great contributions on Quora, reddit, and the other platforms where I follow you.
Btw, I for one would love to know how your phone farm is doing, as that was one super cool experiment of yours. You also mentioned some guest posts you wrote; would love to see those posts on your blog as well…
Here is to a super string year-end!
Tom Blake says
Wow, thank you for the immensely kind and encouraging comment; your words truly mean a lot to me! I am so happy to hear you look forward to my blog updates, and I hope to bring even better content out moving forwards. Thank you, truly!
As for my phone farm, it is still chugging away at around $30/month right now, although this number is slowly settling to a baseline of $25 since I have less time to maintain the farm these days. Passive data collection apps are definitely the backbone of the operation now rather than the video apps. As for the guest posts, I will definitely share them in the future! These past 2 were written on behalf of another author (I just got to insert a link of mine) so I guess it wasn’t a traditional guest post so to speak. If I ever publish some guest posts where I am the author and not just the ghost writer I will certainly share them 😉
Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year! Thank you again for your readership!
Tom Blake says
Thanks so much for the encouragement 🙂 hopefully my site can get to the level of some of your affiliate websites or other websites one day!
Hey Tom, I really enjoyed reading your income report, and I can especially relate to your efforts to guide readers on a journey through your content. I’m trying to do the same thing with my blog so I definitely agree that this is the way to go.
Tom Blake says
Hi Meredith, thanks so much! 🙂 It’s nice to hear that someone else is trying to take the same approach, best of luck with your blogging journey!