Bad SEO
If you're curious to know why on Earth I'm sharing my online income reports, read here. This report is about the money I make from my websites. It doesn't take in consideration other sources of income, such as my WordPress consultancies.

Welcome 2015, and greetings from Buenos Aires! I arrived last week and I plan to experience living here for two months.

Business goes on as usual, and January was an important month as in December I made my biggest website acquisition ever and, like with a newborn baby, I had to take good care and understand how it works.

Enters the January 2015 reports.

 

What’s going on

The new website

In December I met Joe from EmpireFlippers, a controlled marketplace with pre-verified websites on sale, while in Saigon and I ended up buying a blog specialized in drones and monetized via Amazon affiliates. This means that if someone visiting the blog clicks on a link and eventually buys an Amazon product, I get a commission (affiliate model).

The first changes I made are what I call quick wins, things that the previous owner didn’t do such as creating a mailing list (got almost 200 subscribers), and improve social media presence.

For the rest I focused my efforts on two things: content & SEO.

Content

It’s becoming more and more obvious to me that quality is the way to go to build an online business.
The affiliate websites with a bounce of poorly written articles stuffed with specific keywords are something from the past, and the ones still around are supported by some shady backlink building technique (such as PBN) that can be cracked down by a Google update anytime.

Plus, those shady backlinking techniques require anyway time, money and efforts so I rather invest that in creating good quality content.

To create such a content I needed an English native speaker with writing experience that can carry on researches on drone-related subjects and create personal, compelling and engaging articles for an American audience (as the traffic is mainly US).
I don’t need a drone expert, but rather someone that can create interesting content.

Did you ever read an article about someone passionate about high-tech gadgets? Many times those people know every little detail about the thing, but are so boring to read or worse they find all sort of negative things. I know because I was one of them few years ago 🙂

I had mixed experience hiring writers from oDesk, so I followed the advise in this NichePursuits podcast by Spencer and Perrin and checked on my network first… I ended up hiring an acquaintance just turned mom, and she provided great material so far!

SEO

Search Engine Optimization means everything and nothing nowadays.
I got burned very early on my online career buying 500 backlinks for $20 on the WarriorForum four years ago. Soon after my website got de-indexed by Google and traffic dropped to null.

Bad SEO

So for long time I stayed away from off-page SEO (backlinks) and focused on on-page SEO (basically what’s explained in this article).
But for this website I’ll focus more on white-hat SEO techniques.

This mean that I’ll dedicate time to follow a strategy of outreach and promotion of the website content.
What’s that? Here a couple of examples.

I contacted websites owner having pages with links to other websites about drones.
Out of 10 email sent I got two replies: one person added the link to my website, and another asked 150$ per year to place the link (which I didn’t pay).

Another example, using SEMrush I checked my competitors backlinks and found a magazine article linking to one of them. I dropped an email to the author of the article and he immediately added my website too as a reference.

Those are perfectly white-hat (aka legal) way to get quality backlinks!
Again quality, of course they take time and effort, but this is how I want to proceed with this website.

Still early to say something definitive about my SEO efforts, but this is the ranking graph for the main target keyword:

Main target keyword

After I bought the website the ranking went down a little and I got very nervous about it, but things now are looking good.

Having said all this… how did the website go in January? Not so well, but drones were a hot Christmas gift and now it’s winter in US so the market should go up again in spring.

I still don’t know if this was a good acquisition, I’ll stay cool and keep working on this one.

 

Update on ComeCostruire.info

December the 12th I soft-launched the new website: ComeCostruire.info, the Italian version of ComoHacer, my Spanish blog about manual works and DIY.

January traffic was up to 641 visitors with 1,424 page views!

What’s best is that traffic looks very healthy:

  • 2 pages per visit
  • 2 minutes average visit duration
  • 64% bounce rate
  • well spread across the 40 articles (8% to the top article)

Adsense generated €4.13 earnings in January with 0 work done.
This website was launched only in December so it will take few months to rank well and I’m curious to see how far can go.

I’m very interested in finding a “earning per article” and based on that decide if makes sense to translate more articles.

 

WP Tube version 5.2 released

January 20th I released an updated version of my WordPress theme, adding some features that were on high demand.

The most interesting one from a business point of view is that customers can now translate the theme in their own language, opening the theme sales to the non-English markets!

Releasing this update took me a full day of work (8 hours) but the resulting digital product can sell for months to come.

In January I had 16 sales for a total of $633, with 0 refund.

wptube_earnings_jan

The reason why the image shows 143 sales, is that I changed the workflow for the free version of the theme and now it also goes through the checkout process, even if price is 0.

In this way I can promote the paid version as an upsell, and also build a mailing list that I can use as a marketing tool in the future. And talking about upsell, I got my first customer buying the $49 installation service that is promoted as cross-sell on the checkout page.

WP Tube has still lots of potential to explore.
My next step is to change the sale website itself, that now sucks, with a more modern sale page… really curious to see how this will affect the conversion!

Current conversion rate is around 0.28%, meaning that out of 300 visitors one will buy. How about grow that to just 1%?

 

Update on this very blog, danielebesana.com

Back in June I got my article ‘how to buy a house in the Netherlands‘ translated to Spanish. Seven months later, the article is getting an average of 80 views a month and in January I got the first contact interested in buying an house 🙂

Another thing I want to mention is that I dedicated a whole day to write a comprehensive article in Italian about how is to live in Amsterdam (Vivere ad Amsterdam). The article got more than 500 views in a week and I got lots of positive feedback about it. This is not generating any income, but it’s a nice confirmation that if you create high quality content that people like to read, traffic will come.

Last thing I’ve to brag about, is that my article about Some reasons to visit Pristina and Kosovo got picked up by KosovaPress, a national newspaper! They deliberately translated my article in Albanian, without informing me but giving credit. The best part is the copyright information at the end, where they say that redistribution is strictly prohibited without prior written authorization 🙂

Income Breakdown

Let’s get down to the numbers!

  • Advertising
    • Adsense: €696.89 (last month €664.44)
    • Feedblitz: €85.73 (last month €70.9)
    • Direct Ads: €32.63 (last month €110)
    • BuySellAds: €19.77 (was €21.77)
  • Job Board Services
    • Premium Job posting: €197.27 (was €232.35)
    • Resume Access: €17.25 (was €43.25)
  • Affiliate Programs
    • Lead generation: 0
    • Product affiliation: €234.98 (was €97.94)
    • Hosting affiliation: €44
    • Amazon program: €191.01 (was €688.47) – yep big downwards this month!
  • Sales:
    • ComoHacer ebook: €29,09 (was €53.42)
    • WP Tube theme: €558.29 (€214.54) – best month ever!

Total Gross: € 2,106.91 (last month 2,239.08)

 

Expenses Breakdown

Note: some links to products and services may have affiliation. This means that if you’ll buy I’ll get a commission. Never the less, I’m only mentioning here services that I use myself to operate my websites.

  • Hosting
    • Site5: €19
      • This is the hosting I’m using since a few months and totally happy with. They have servers in Amsterdam too, so I use it for my European websites.
    • HostGator: €18
      • This is a popular cheap hosting provider with servers in US. I still use it for some websites with majority of traffic from Americas, but their support is getting worse and worse!
  • Mailing List services
    • Aweber: €60.85
    • Mailchimp: €41.06 – Monthly charge for list size 2,801 to 5,000
  • FlipFilter: €10 – very useful service for website buyers, crunching big data from multiple marketplaces for you
  • Outsourcing
    • Translation: 0 (was €169.32)
    • Articles: €40
  • Memberships
    • The Dynamite Circle: €129.70 – great community of online entrepreneurs, already paid three months subscription
    • SEMrush: €59 – PRO membership of this excellent tool to analyze search engine results and competition
  • Website acquisition:0

Total Expenses: € 377.61 (was 397.01)

 

Net Total January 2015: € 1,729.3 (last month € 1,842.07)

 

Conclusion

Just an additional note, the EUR crashed to the lowest value of the last 11 years and most of my transactions are in USD.
This means that my expenses in USD are more expensive, and my earnings in USD are more profitable.
Anyway, this report is not an exact financial account and I do convert the totals using today’s exchange rate, that won’t be the same when I’ll transfer the money out of Paypal, for example.

 

Any remark about this report?
Are you making money online?

Thanks for reading!

Online Income Report – January 2015
5 (100%) 2 votes

Written by Daniele
Hi, I’m Daniele! In April 2012 I quit my full-time IT job to pursue entrepreneurship and a location independent lifestyle.