What a year it has been!
I started this blog a year ago and started out pretty strong. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, a lot of small successes and many failures that have helped me learn and will assist in moving forward.
In this post you will see the following:
- Income Breakdown
- Traffic and Metric breakdowns
- Analysis of what went right and what went wrong
- How I did on my goals and resolutions
- Plans for 2016, goals and resolutions
- Most popular content
- And whatever else I think is important enough to be included
This is different than my typical income reports, as this sums up the entire year and lays out the plans going forward.
2015 The Great Start and Awful Finish
I had a lot of hopes for this blog and things were progressing quite well until I got caught up in every day life and different events happened that consumed more of my time than expected.
My approach wasn’t consistent. When I look back at 2015, I approached the blog as I would have if I were running a sprint. However, after a period of time, sprinting, the race changed from a simple sprint to a marathon and I didn’t have enough energy to finish the race.
It was a great start, but awful finish.
It’s kind of funny looking back, because this is the problem so many people have not just with projects, or internet marketing, but with business and life itself.
There’s one word that matters. Consistency. If I had to give 2 words, then it would be consistent action. I was lacking in consistency as well as consistent action.
It started with the webinar series on friday nights, which was probably too often so I went to every other friday to one friday a month to just not doing it anymore! I’m not sure how much of an effect the webinars had but there was a correlation of traffic increase during the period of the webinars but when it comes down to $$$$ I’m not sure there was much effect.
The Webinar series did help with building a base of supporters and a sense of community. I’m considering whether this is something I should bring back for 2016.
More consistency across the board, webinars, emails, and blog posts could have made a big difference in the year end results.
How Did I Do On Goals and Resolutions?
I had many goals for 2015 and many resolutions. I actually wrote about 3 specific resolutions last year when I launched this blog. They were more goals, than resolutions I suppose.
Those goals were:
1.) Make 5 figures/mo with Internet Marketing, Passive and Semi Passive income.
This didn’t happen. When I say passive or semi passive, I am not talking about traditional investment income from a brokerage account or other offline income. I’m referring to only blog income and internet projects like affiliate sites and affiliate income or product income.
I think I did pretty well but maybe 5 figures was a little too ambitious for me. Perhaps this will change in 2016?
2.) Dedicate half of my time in pursuit of a more passive income.
This also was a bit too ambitious. I didn’t dedicate half of my time to the blog or passive income, I dedicated maybe 10% of my time on a good month, and probably 5% on average. That’s not going to cut it.
Going forward, I have adjusted and made content plans and schedules to ensure I dedicate a specific amount of time to this blog and other projects. 2016 will certainly be different.
3.) 1,000 Email Subscribers.
I didn’t know what to expect. I figured 1,000 email subscribers would be a good goal for the first year, and I guess it was. People always say the money is in the list, the money is in the list, yada yada.
My experience comes more from scraping and harvesting emails with Mobile Renegade, and sending cold emails to generate leads. I did have some experience building an opt in list, but my specialization was definitely on the cold email front, which lead to the creation of my Ice Cold Email Gold course.
I met this goal, and exceeded it by a few hundred.
I had many other goals, monthly goals etc. that were accomplished and also not met throughout the year. There’s been a lot of things on my to-do list that haven’t been crossed off but should have long ago. If I dedicated more time, like one of my main goals last year suggested, many more things would have been complete and I think the blog would be more popular than its’ current state.
Later on in this post, I will outline my goals for 2016.
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An In Depth Look At Income in 2015
You guys can get an idea of what I made from the blog and product income since launching by looking at the income reports. However, here I’m going to make it easier, breaking down income from each specific affiliate offer as well as my own products I’ve created.
Self Created Product Income
That brings the self created product income total to: $27,795
Mobile Renagade – $1,966
Arvixe Web Hosting – $1,350
Mythemeshop – $144
Bluehost – $195
Clicks Magazine – $196
Power Press Pro – $49
Infographic Megapack PLR – $50
Amazon Affiliate Income – $347
Unclassified Affiliate Income – $46.48
Total Affiliate Income – $9,742
One off sales (Niche site sale and other unclassified one off sales) – $5,400
GRAND TOTAL 2015 – $37,537
Thoughts on 2015 Income
Overall I feel good about the income numbers. Creating products isn’t my expertise, neither is affiliate marketing, or even blogging for that matter.
I think the numbers could have been much better with consistency and more consistent action but overall I think there’s a lot of people that would like to do almost 40k with a blog.
You would think year 2 would be much easier but I’m not quite sure that will be the case. I witnessed a steady decline in self created product income. My Ultimate Blueprint to Start Your Own Web Agency has been selling strong for over a year now, but eventually it’s going to flat line. I’ve witnessed sales slowing down steadily over the last few months. Perhaps it is due to lower activity on this blog, or maybe it’s because people want something shiny and new.
Plans For Increasing 2016 Income
I think the most obvious thing I need to do in order to increase my 2016 income is to work harder at promoting products. My blueprint course which was definitely the more successful of the two, could definitely be promoted using other methods than just relying on warrior forum traffic where the WSO is posted.
Ice Cold Email Gold, in my opinion is a very specific, thorough, in depth and specialized course. When you compare the two, it makes sense why the agency blueprint was better, it is more general but more importantly it appeals to those that have their own business and ALSO those that want to get started. Ice Cold Email Gold appeals to only those who have already started and want to implement cold emailing to their lead generation efforts.
My thoughts are that if I list both products in JVzoo, or start to get some affiliates for it, I could easily boost sales once again. I could also use Facebook ads and develop a funnel to sell the products, which would probably be lower margins but at least it would boost sales as well as my list.
One thing I’ve been struggling with the most is finding quality affiliate products to promote. More than half of the products/companies I have promoted, didn’t generate a single commission for me, and while my goal here is to help all of you that read this, it won’t make sense to continue unless the numbers add up financially to justify the time.
That being said, it is obvious I need to rethink the type of products I want to promote, as well as force myself to try things I may be skeptical about. Having only a few affiliate products bringing in revenue isn’t going to cut it.
With these few adjustments and an increase in consistent action, that alone should help me see an annual increase in revenue.
I also have plans to launch niche affiliate sites, and maybe adsense based websites. Some may work, some may not. I’m looking to launch different sites that require upfront work but limited amount of upkeep. Basically just more passive income without long term work.
There’s a few other plans I have but this isn’t the time to discuss them.
2015 Traffic Stats and Metrics
Total Unique Visitors – 46,028
Bounce Rate – 72.21%
Pages Per Visit – 1.74
Time on Site – 1:42
I’ve noticed my bounce rate was much lower during months that had a lot of posts on the blog, but months that did not have many posts, resulted in a much higher bounce rate. Moving forward, this is something I’m going to work to improve, along with time on site and pages per visit.
Obviously traffic is something I want to improve on as well. I intend to double my traffic this year.
Breaking down the traffic:
Organic Search – 42% / 19,335
Direct Traffic – 35.2% / 16,223
Referral Traffic – 16.5% / 7,584
Social Traffic – 6.3% / 2,879
There’s also like 7 or so uniques that fall into an “other” category, whatever that means.
Looking at the traffic breakdown, I definitely want to increase each source across the board. My organic traffic is at the right proportion compared to the rest, anywhere between 35-45% seems to be ideal, but I think my direct traffic is too high, and my social and referral traffic could use some improvement, specifically social.
Referral traffic converts nearly 250% better than organic, and social traffic has been converting slightly over 300% better than organic. Organic traffic is definitely the lowest converting out of all the different sources.
Looking at the social traffic breakdown, in terms of traffic these were the top:
In terms of conversions:
An interesting note is that Google+ by far has the better on page metrics like bounce rate, time on site, pages per visit, etc. If that trend continues, it should mean that Google+ could easily be ramped up into a higher traffic property which will result in higher traffic, conversions and income.
Top Content In 2015
Notable Mentions For the Blog
In 2015, I didn’t know what to expect or how popular the blog would be. I tend to publish things that are a bit polarizing in a way to what conventional bloggers or people in the industry teach. I anticipated that others would be a bit reluctant to link out or mention the blog or me, which has been the case in some instances but overall it hasn’t.
Here’s some notable mentions of the blog and me.
AHREFs mentioned a few posts, one was the 7 local seo link building tips that I linked to in the previous section and another was the guide on building citations.
Another roundup was published on build fire, on best ways to promote a local business online.
My favorite is the mashup that Authority Hacker did and included me in a list of top bloggers.
Later on in the year, Alexander (if I remember the name right) started to include me in the income report list over on cashflowdiaries. Pretty cool to see all the people over there, some I’ve connected with.
Goals for 2016 and Income Bully
I had 3 goals set last year, and only was able to meet 1 of them. This year, I’m setting another 3… and I’m going to meet all three of them.
1.) Double My Traffic.
This is a pretty bold goal, because I let things slip away in the second half of 2015. It’s going to be very tough, but I intend to accomplish this goal through regular posting and promotion. 46K was my traffic last year, this year it needs to be 92K, but preferably higher!
2.) Triple My Email List
I was going to put increase my email list to 10k… but that would be a very bold goal and one that would be incredibly difficult to accomplish. I will do my best to go for the 10k amount but I think tripling my email list would be a tough but achievable goal that I will meet.
3.) Start a Podcast
Ever since Tyson Downs published his guest post over here on how to start a podcast, I have been wanting to get into it. 2016 is going to be the time I do it… as long as it isn’t too late!
Bonus Goal / Challenge – Every single day, I will do SOMETHING to help the blog be in better shape. Before I go to bed at night, if I can’t answer the question, “What did I do that will help the blog grow or be better than it was yesterday?” then I’m not calling it a night. Whether that means building a link, sending an email to connect to somebody or grinding out a new post, the goal needs to be achieved.
I also have many other goals, plans and resolutions for 2016, some of which you’ll find out about in future posts.
Moving Forward in 2016, What YOU Can Expect
If you’ve been a long time reader or you’ve just found out about this blog, you may be wondering what is coming next?
In 2016, I have a lot of plans for new content and new mediums.
This is what you can expect:
- Consistent Blog Posts
- A Broadening of Content
- Webinar Series Will Start Back Up
- The Launch of a Podcast
- A handful of case studies, and tests
- Tutorials and How-To’s
- New Lead Magnets/giveaways
- Live case studies with projects
- Possibly New Self Created Products
- New Guest Posters
I expect big things for the blog, myself and for all of you!
What would you like to see from me in 2016? Let me know in the comments below.