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It’s Time for the IncomeBully Annual Report: 2017 in Review

This is usually my favorite time of the year. I’m a big fan of Christmas, and the holiday season in general. New years day is a great time to reflect on the previous year, make goals and resolutions for the upcoming year.

I guess it’s sort of a silly tradition.

I mean, what is so different about the new year than the day before? Not much really.

Yet, we continue on setting new goals and resolutions that we’ll probably break.

Looking back at the past few years, I’m pretty sure I broke every resolution I wanted to make.

I always tell myself, “This year is going to be different”.

I’m pretty sure I never actually stuck it out, and kept a year long resolution. Will 2018 be the year?

2017 Blog Analysis

The good thing about these annual reports, and monthly reports for that matter, is that it’s great to reflect. It’s also very humbling to see that I basically didn’t achieve any of the goals I set for 2017.

It was a terrible year in terms of achieving goals.

You guys have seen it.

A lack of content, no new courses, no new lead magnets, growth was limited. I decided to kill off the monthly income reports. Didn’t do any webinars, no landing pages for existing products.

As a whole, I did an awful job with the blog, and an even worse job catering to subscribers of the blog.

Sure, I had a lot of other things going on, other businesses to run, other activities that took priority. But you know what? Those are just excuses.

It only takes about 10 minutes to type out 300 words on a blog post, sometimes a lot faster.

Getting into the habit of creating content on a daily basis, even if it is only 300 words, would get me to the point where I have a 2k+ word blog post every single week.

Heck, I could split that between the blog and guest posts to bring in more traffic. That’s not a hard thing to do, but for some reason I just continued to come up with excuses for why I couldn’t put in the time.

I think we all do that. Justified procrastination.

But this year will be different! (right?)

2017 IncomeBully Blog Highlights

All the negativity aside, there were a few highlights of 2017.

1.) Started to Offer Coaching

It seems like such a no brainer now, but it took me forever to sell myself on the idea. At first, I launched hourly coaching, to help people grow their business, help with SEO, give tips on different things and aspects of their business.

It was pretty cool, and I still offer it. However, I felt like there were a lot of people that could benefit from an ongoing program instead of just 1 hour at a time.

That led me to create the Agency Domination Coaching Program, a 6-12 month program to really help people grow their business.

This has been one of the most fulfilling things I’ve done since creating this blog. Seeing people actually transforming their lives. It’s amazing to be a part of that transformation, and seeing the excitement they have each month when they’re making changes to better themselves and their business.

2.) Hired a Coach Myself

Not only was I offering coaching, I decided to find someone that would coach me for the blog. This was towards the end of 2017, and even though you can’t see anything different with content (yet), I feel like it has paid off already.

The coach is a well known blogger, very successful, and doesn’t offer coaching to the public. Basically, I had to harass them and throw money at them to get them to do it.

So far, it has given me some goals to work towards, some changes I need to make, and giving me more of a structure to follow.

I’m a relatively smart guy, but sometimes you need an extra push from someone else, extra accountability, and an extra set of eyes to point out things that are actually pretty obvious but you just don’t see it.

3.) The Local SEO Course is Almost Finished

This thing has been in the works forever. It should be finished already but like I mentioned in the beginning of this blog post, I just continued to come up with excuses for why I couldn’t complete it.

It wasn’t just about excuses though, I have had some issues with it in regards to direction.

At first, I wanted it to be a full course, start to finish, everything about SEO included. I later realized that would be a terrible idea.

SEO is full of contradictions.

I do plan on having a comprehensive course on SEO, but my focus with this blog is to help people. If people have an issue with fulfillment or taking too long to rank a local client, a comprehensive course isn’t going to help them, it’ll probably hurt overall.

I think the reason my previous courses have been successful is because of all the actionable content inside. Instead of a 300 page PDF that would explain every aspect of SEO, I think it’s more beneficial for you guys to have something that shows case studies, that gives you a plan to follow, explaining certain tactics, why it works, and how to get the most out of your time and effort.

Different ways to SELL SEO, where you can go to outsource tasks you don’t want to do, etc.

Something actionable.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I see the benefit of a comprehensive, encyclopedia type course. In fact, I’ll be creating one as part of a certification program on a great domain I have, but it’s a different target market. It’s not for you guys. For you guys, I don’t want to sell something that isn’t actionable. There’s too many products out there for educational purposes, that don’t deliver results.

Anyway, enough about that. The change in direction of the course is one of the set backs, but the important thing and the thing you guys care about, is that in the next couple weeks I will have a pre launch / preorder page. It’s almost 100% complete, and I think you guys will love it.

2017 Blog Statistics

Now here’s the depressing part…

Total Unique Visitors – 39,402

Bounce Rate – 79%

Time on site – 1:33

Pages per session – 1.5

Referral traffic converted at 2.33%, ahead of social traffic at 1.97%.

Organic traffic boomed this year, taking up a 59% share of traffic, while the year before it was at 44% of total traffic. Unfortunately, conversion rates from organic traffic are abysmal, at a .75% conversion rate.

Traffic analysis – Uniques were down in comparison to the year before so that’s obviously very bad. Bounce rate is up, time on site down, pages per session are down. Obviously with less content being published, there’s going to be less traffic. Subscribers come back, look to see that there’s no new content, and boom, that’s another bounce.

So while the core statistics are bad, there’s a reason behind it, and that can be changed in 2018 by a consistent content production plan.

While I didn’t share all the different stats between referrals and social, there is a positive sign for me. I was considering to completely ignore Twitter, since its’ conversion rates and on page metrics have always been bad. However, looking into analytics as I’m typing this up, Twitter converted at 2.29% compared to Facebook at 1.88%. Also, it turns out that a few answers I made on Quora with links back to the blog have converted 2.44% of traffic.

Perhaps I should use Quora and Twitter more often in 2018.

Income Analysis

Product sales (Agency blueprint + Ice Cold Email Gold) – $5,082

Affiliate sales – $12,158

Coaching sales – $28,275

Total Income from the blog – $45,515

Thoughts on income – Obviously considering the fact that I had less traffic, and the same amount of income as last year is pretty impressive. Coaching sales have obviously been the factor that has saved me here, or else I’d be looking at around 17k total from the blog.

I think going forward this is encouraging. Unfortunately, product sales will continue to take a hit until the Local SEO course is published. The 5k is a little deceiving. About 75% of that came from the 1st 3 months of 2017. I’ll address this later on, but as of right now I’m lucky to get $100/mo from product sales.

The fact that I average more than $1 per unique visitor is absolutely insane, and likely won’t continue in the new year.

My best performing affiliate products are:

NameHero

Mobile Renegade

Long Tail Pro (Long Tail Pro vs. Market Samurai)

IncomeBully in 2018

Finally to the stuff that I’m really excited about.

Usually in a new year, I’m sick on New Year’s Eve, and new year’s day, and have plenty of time to think about goals and resolutions for the next year. This year, I avoided getting sick for now, though everyone in my family came down with the flu. And instead of waiting until new year’s day to start the new year off right, I decided to get a head start a little bit before.

I have a lot of goals, and resolutions for 2018. I’m not going to write long paragraphs about all of them. Sure you can probably guess what a few personal resolutions are, “lose weight, eat healthier, be more active, etc. etc.”.

Here are some of my plans and resolutions for 2018:

Place More Importance on List Building

Overall, this is something I suck at. I miss the days where I can use mobile renegade or other scrapers to scrape every business email available, and market to them relentlessly.

I’ve already had a great start to this in the past week or so.

I came up with a new lead magnet, “The 7 day Agency Boot Camp” which is an email course. You’ll be able to see the opt in either as a lightbox pop up or at the bottom of the post. OR, if I feel extra ambitious, I’ll come back in here and edit this section with an inline form. (Don’t count on it, Turns out I ended up doing it, so now I have in content opt ins, at the end of the post, and a lightbox that will pop up once every 5 days)

7 Day Agency Boot Camp

Make 2018 different for you and your business. Transform your business and your life with this 7 day FREE course.

Another thing I’ve done is purchased “Thrive Leads”. Basically, it just allows me to have more options for converting visitors into subscribers. I’m still a newb with it, but hopefully after some playing around I’ll be able to get better at creating the forms, and can split test some of the copy.

I could probably call it quits there and feel good about it, but this year I really want to grow the list. I think it’s important for the future growth of the blog, and also to help with existing product sales.

I want to come up with 2-3 additional lead magnets, and also test FB ads to the offers to see how it performs. Right now 20% of blog subscribers have converted into a customer for the Agency Blueprint. I’d like to improve these numbers, and obviously convert more subscribers!

Bring Back Monthly Income Reports

I feel silly talking about it, especially after making a post explaining that I won’t be doing income reports anymore.

But you know what, the reasons I gave were perfectly legitimate. It was logical to stop investing the time into them when they didn’t yield great results.

However, what I noticed is that a lack of direct results, doesn’t equate to bad results. What I mean is, maybe these income reports don’t directly lead to new income or many subscribers. What it did do, was force myself to be accountable.

Conversions from income reports are awful. But, getting me to do a monthly analysis, continuing to create content, it benefits the blog in other ways that may not be a key performance indicator. It allows me to reflect on what I’ve been doing, feel bad about myself for missing a goal, and doing better next month.

I need the extra accountability. And for those of you reading this, please let me know your thoughts on this. You guys are the ones that will be getting extra emails about Income Reports, so let me know.

Write 300 Words Each Day

This is something I didn’t actually intend to do. Writing this annual report, earlier I mentioned if I just wrote 300 words a day, I could do a lot with that. That could be 1 2k+ word blog post on a weekly basis. It could be an extra guest post I put on another blog, or maybe medium, or maybe work on my email sequences.

300 words a day could be a pretty good lead magnet in a week or a little over a week.

There’s a lot of options there.

Previously, my goal was going to be 1 new blog post each week. Now, I’m thinking the better resolution / goal is 300 words a day minimum.

If I want to do more than that, then kudos to me, but I must meet the 300 word minimum each day. Basically 10 minutes a day.

Redesign / Cosmetic Changes to the Blog

I really like the layout of the blog, but there’s improvements I could make.

It’s a bit difficult since I don’t think there’s really any template that has what I want. I’m pretty attached to this theme.

Unfortunately, I think it’s a bit limiting.

I don’t like the menu. I’d like to be able to add more to it, maybe a menu below the menu or something to make it easier to search be category.

And while this may not be a cosmetic change, I need to do better about tagging posts. I think there’s a lot of opportunities I’m missing out on when it comes to infrastructure, targeted lead magnets based on category, etc.

My main issues right now, are:

  1. No way to easily search blog posts in the past
  2. Menu is very limiting
  3. My tagging and categories are pretty much trash.

These are things I need to address in 2018.

Return to the Core Purpose

When I launched this blog, I wanted it to serve as a testing ground to see what works and what doesn’t, with blogs, traffic, and even other “make money online” style projects.

I’ve strayed away from that.

In fact, I don’t think I’ve even remembered the core purpose until going back to original posts.

I think I’ve done a lot of things right with the content I’ve published. I think I’ve helped a lot of people. Sharing my knowledge of SEO, local SEO, business, sales, etc. has all been a great thing to do and it feels fulfilling.

But, I’m missing out on other things that I wanted to do.

I want to test out dropship models with shopify / aliexpress. I want to test out Amazon affiliate sites. I want to test out a proxy service that sells unlimited proxies. I want to test out a lot of different ideas.

Maybe they all fail. But that’s something I want to do, and share the details and the adventure with all of you.

I have failed at that. I haven’t even attempted to really do any of that stuff. So this is something I want to change in 2018, being willing to experiment with different things, and share with you all of the successes and failures.

Pay Closer Attention to Product Sales

I mentioned it earlier that I would talk more about this later in the post. This is the time to talk about it.

I started off 2017 pretty strong with product sales. Part of that is due to increased content on the blog. The more I post, the more visitors I have, more subscribers, and more sales.

You would think I would post a lot more knowing that, but I didn’t, and that’s part of the reason why 75% of my product sales came in the first 3 months of 2017.

Another reason is that my sales page for the Ultimate Agency Blueprint is hosted on WarriorForum. The forum has been declining in traffic for a long time, and the design changes have been pretty bad. Another thing is that the default view setting doesn’t include signature links, and I got a fair amount of traffic and sales from a simple signature link.

That aside, I just haven’t really developed a strong funnel for selling products. Even though, 20% of my subscribers will buy the Ultimate Blueprint, there’s no real funnel.

Another thing, I’ve discussed many times before, is that taking people away from this blog, to a sales page on WarriorForum, is hurting my conversions. I need to fix this, and it’s one of the things I’ll be working on right away.

Ice Cold Email Cold is hosted on IncomeBully. There’s not a sales page for the product on WarriorForum, in fact, there’s not even a sales page on the blog. It’s just a simple blog post with a buy now link. That’s it. And you know what? It has better conversions than the WarriorForum sales page.

If I send traffic to WarriorForum, I convert at 5.6%. If I send traffic to the blog post on IncomeBully, I convert the traffic at 21.6%. Crazy right?

So this is something I need to change in 2018. Set up actual product pages on the blog instead of a WSO page.

While there are many other goals and resolutions, not all can be shared in this blog post or else you’d be here forever. I’ll save some of the goals to share in the new monthly income reports which will start February 1st. 

Final Thoughts

I’ve had a lot of failures with this blog in 2017, and to be fair, even before then. As long as I learn from those failures and make adjustments to fix them, then 2018 will be much more successful.

There’s been a lot of successes too, a lot of information I’ve consumed and knowledge gained from both successes and failures.

I’m excited to make a lot of changes this next year, and want to thank all of you for sticking with me for all this time!

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