A few weeks ago I spoke about the rise in popularity of income reports amongst bloggers. The article focused on the topic of bloggers being more open about how much they are making money through the internet.
In the article, I noted that the the most interesting statistic for me just now is traffic. My portfolio currently contains a few discussion forums and several small content related websites though none are that profitable at the moment. With my South American adventure behind me, my new focus in 2013 is establishing this blog. I also have plans to release more books and over the next week I will be relaunching another website of mine; however, my main priority is developing this blog. It will be at the heart of everything I do online. As the popularity of this blog grows, my book sales will grow. I can also give readers an insight into what I am doing online and get important feedback from them.
Today I would like to speak to you about my goals for the remainder of this year. I will also be showing you the growth of my traffic over the last few months and highlighting the steps I will be taking to achieve my goals.
Why is Income Not a Priority Just Now?
It may surprise many of you that my priority for KevinMuldoon.com at this moment is not to make money. It is something I will striving towards in the long term, however currently my main goal is to acquire a larger readership. That is what I am thinking about every day I am working on this blog.
The way I see it, it is more difficult to generate traffic to a blog than it is to make a blog with traffic profitable. More and more doors will open for me as my traffic increases. Income from banner sales and affiliate commissions should increase at a similar rate to my traffic growth. I should also see more sales of my books on Amazon. Once I have a better readership here, I can start researching others ways to make money through this blog, such as developing informational products or launching related websites.
Informational products could sell well though I am keen to write more books over the next year. A few weeks ago I made a conscious decision to slow down my work on books until traffic here has grown to a better level. A bigger platform will help me generate more book sales, therefore it pays for me to be a little patient and focus more on building this blog just now. I am hoping, however, to make some time within the next few weeks to get started. I have several great ideas for books on standby at the moment so I want to start writing the books when the ideas are still fresh in my head.
My friend Kevin Mackay recently interviewed me for WP Squared. In the interview I spoke about me working hard to make this blog a success. I also touched upon my income goals for this blog over the next few months:
It is a big challenge but I wouldn’t say I am frustrated with it. I have developed and sold two blogs over the last few years, so I know what is required of me to make it a success. If I had not owned blogs before, I may be feeling frustrated just now, as I would not know if or when the blog would be a success.
As I have been in this position many times before, I do not worry about that. I know that my blog will be generating a few thousand dollars per month within the next four months. I say this from experience, not arrogance.
When I wrote the above comment, I did realise that many people will take what I said with a pinch of salt. I know of many bloggers who publicly declare goals, only for them to lose interest in the project later. My story is a little different. I have been in this position many times. This gives me confidence to achieve what I am setting out.
Whilst I do hope that this blog will be making $1,000+ within the next four months, it is not my priority. My priority is traffic. As I noted previously, my income will increase as my traffic grows. At this stage, if I had to choose between doubling my income or doubling my traffic, I would choose the latter.
I am setting myself new traffic goals every month and if this blog continues to grow the way it has over the last few months, the income target I noted in that interview will be achieved easily.
Publishing Income Reports
Those of you who read my article “The Rise of the Income Report” a few weeks ago, will know that I am still sitting on the fence on the issue of sharing income details online. I can see pros and cons to sharing income details with others.
Many bloggers are using income reports to raise their profile and established themselves as a top blogger. I sold my last big blog last year so I am still relatively unknown to most new bloggers, however people who have been working online for years will know me from one of my previous projects. I am not someone who has made millions from blogging (yet!), however I have made a healthy living from blogging over the last 6 years.
A part of me believes that I do not need to prove anything to anyone. I know what I have achieved online over the last 13 years and do not feel the need to emphasise it anyone.
I love writing about internet marketing, blogging and making money online. The problem is, for many people, it is not always about the quality of the article, it is about how successful the author is (or appears to be). Joe from JoeCanWrite left a comment on my income report article about this issue. He said:
Sometimes when I read a ‘how to’ blog and there is no income report I am wary as to whether to follow their advice or not as there is no evidence their approach is working.
Joe comes across as a great guy, though this particular view is something I disagree with greatly. There are many successful people out there giving bad advice to others. Conversely, there are people out there who are new to internet marketing who are writing fantastic tutorials. It is also worth remembering that most of the people who are making great money online are not writing books or tutorials about it. They are too busy making money to even think about sharing their secrets. It is therefore wrong to disregard advice from someone simply because they do not publish income reports.
I do realise that many people share Joe’s viewpoint and I can understand why they feel that way. When you first start getting involved in internet marketing, you do not who to trust. There are so many scammers out there trying to push crappy info products to people for $99+ a time (most of whom make all their money from selling crappy info products!). It makes sense to follow people who have proved to everyone they are making money as it demonstrates they are the real deal.
It does raise the issue: How do you even know someone is telling the truth? It is not like people are showing their bank accounts to the world. I suspect some people out there are stretching the truth in order to give the impression to others they are successful.
Should I Publish Income Reports on This Blog?
The question remains: Should I publish income reports on this blog? This is what I have been contemplating over the last few weeks. I know that many aspiring bloggers and internet marketers love reading income reports and I know that if I did start sharing income details every month, it would be hugely popular . So whilst I am still sitting on the fence on this issue, I am giving serious consideration to sharing income from next month. You can consider this article a test drive for me sharing income details. If I get a great response from readers, I will give income reports a try. :)
One big factor that puts me off from sharing income is the fact that I am not focusing on income just now. As I noted earlier in this article, my priority is driving traffic to this blog, not making money.
When I am writing articles for this blog every day, my focus is on building a readership. It is not focused on increasing income. Last week is a good example of that.
I currently have two or three irregular writing jobs for other blogs. Over the last month or so I have turned down many job offers because I do not have the time to complete them. There is only one of me. If I am writing articles for someone else, I am not writing articles for this blog (which is why I will soon be looking for authors to write articles here).
Last week I spent four days writing articles for others (for which I earned just under $1,200). If write articles for others full time, the development of this blog will slow down. I imagine I would be able to make $5,000+ every month from freelance blogging consistently if I devoted most of my time to it. Unfortunately, if I did that, I would have very little time to build this blog up.
My point is this: I would be sharing income details when I am not focused on making money. Next month I could show that I made $2,000-$3,000 from freelancing, book sales, Google Adsense etc. If I worked on articles for others for one week and worked on this blog for three weeks, my income may not be that high. However, if traffic to this blog doubled during that same month, I would consider that a great success. Others would not. The focus for many people is the bottom line and they do not look at the bigger picture.
On the other side of the coin, I believe beginners could learn a lot about making money online if they did not focus on income. Too many people forget that the first priority should be to develop a good website; whether that be an informative blog or a reliable service for customers. This is how large websites such as Google and Facebook established themselves. They were not looking at how to make money from day one. They were focused on growing traffic and building a better product.
It is now over to you: Should I publish an income report on KevinMuldoon.com next month? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the issue. If yes, please tell me why :)
Traffic Growth of KevinMuldoon.com
OK, enough talk about income reports. Let’s talk about traffic.
Many of you know that I launched KevinMuldoon.com as a blog in 2007. I had initially registered the domain in 2002 and redirected it to my old company website System0 (which now redirects here). I then launched it as a blog 5 years later, however it was never a priority for me. I was always focused on developing other websites. This was just a place for me to share some ideas occasionally.
As I rarely updated the blog, I replaced it with a business card template. This highlighted the websites I owned and allows website owners to contact me. Whilst travelling in South America, I made the decision to relaunch this blog properly. After suffering through terrible internet connections in Peru and Bolivia, I eventually relaunched this blog on 30 November 2012 whilst I was travelling in Argentina.
During December I wrote and released The Traits & Habits of Successful Bloggers. I also wrote a few chapters of The Art of Freelance Blogging during this time. We were in Colombia during December to celebrate Christmas though I still managed to publish 32 articles during that time.
Due to the time I was working on books, most of the articles I published were between 500 and 1,000 words. Bizarrely, the longest article I wrote, The Dangers of Forum Owners Not Protecting Their Members, was written and published on Christmas day.
Except from the day I relaunched the blog, unique visits never exceeded 100 during December. This is understandable. All my time was spent working on my books. Rather than work on longer feature length articles, I published shorter articles frequently. Perhaps this was a mistake, though at the time I was keen on getting more content on here.
On 1 January 2013 we arrived in Rio De Janeiro. We there for 15 or 16 days before moving onto Paraguay. We stayed in a few hotels though we mostly stayed in hostels. This was not always an ideal environment to work in due to people drinking and playing music all the time. In spite of these distractions, I managed to work through part of The Art of Freelance Blogging and I published 29 articles. Once again, due to travelling and working on my book, the articles I published were not as in-depth as I wanted them to be. I somehow managed to write several articles which were over 1,000 words in length, with my article Single Opt-In vs Double Opt-in being over 5,000 words long. January was also the month I attempted video blogging.
At the start of January I promoted my free eBook offer through an email blast on John Chow’s newsletter. I paid for a few ads on Safe Swaps too. This did increase the number of subscribers to my newsletter, however traffic did not increase significantly. By the end of the month, it had returned to a similar level as it had been in December.
We stayed in Asuncion in Paraguay for a month (mid January to mid February). During that time, I worked on The Art of Freelance Blogging every day. By and large February was a very productive month. I wrote a few thousand words every day to try and get the book finished and I managed to record a few podcasts too. This blog was put on the backburner during this time so that I could get the book finished. Therefore, only 14 short posts were published.
We left Paraguay and headed up to Ecuador around the 15th of February. I still managed to be productive whilst on the road. For example, on bus journeys I would write down lots of ideas on my iPad (which is one reason why I currently have 116 ideas in draft status for this blog).
Traffic levels were similar to January, however at the end of the month traffic from search engines increased slightly from around 40 per day to 50 or 60 per day. It was not much, but it was encouraging.
In the first month of March we were staying in Cuenca, a beautiful city in the South of Ecuador. We then travelled up through Ecuador and then into Colombia. It was a good month for me as The Art of Freelance Blogging was released at the start of the month. I had been working on the book for months. I really enjoyed writing it, but it was mentally such a big relief to finally get the book out there.
I thought I would have finished the books within a few weeks. In hindsight, that was wishful thinking. Travelling around South America was not the ideal place to write a book. Parts of the book had been written in 9 different countries. I did what I could when I could, however staying on one location helped me immensely. The bulk of the book was written during the month we spent in Asuncion and the month we spent in Cuenca.
Finishing the book also meant that I now had time to work on other things. I wrote 18 articles during the month. The additional time allowed me to put more energy into my articles. For example, my review of FeedBlitz was over 14,000 words long and included a long hour video tutorial.
By the end of the month, my traffic had more than doubled to around 200 unique visitors per day. This was due to the rise in my search engine traffic from around 50 per day to 150 per day.
KevinMuldoon.com was relaunched five and a half months ago. If I had been living somewhere and had a regular work routine, I would consider the traffic growth of this blog since relaunching terrible. Between the time the blog launched and the end of March we had travelled through Colombia, Brazil, Paraguay, Ecuador, and then back to Colombia. We spent a lot of time on the road so it was very difficult to work normal hours and develop the blog like I wanted to. I found this frustrating at times and I couldn’t enjoy travelling as much as the previous three months, when we had travelled through Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile.
My girlfriend realised this and explained in a simple way: “You are no longer in Travel Mode. You are now in Work Mode“. She was right. During the three months before I relaunched this blog, I had taken many notes and made a start on my books. Generally, this was just a way to pass time on the long bus journeys I had to endure (there were many 20+ hour bus journeys!). Apart from checking that my discussion forums were ticking over ok, I had no websites that needed my attention. I pretty much had no responsibility. This allowed me to enjoy myself on our trip.
It was the right thing to do. I would not have enjoyed myself during that time if I was always worrying about what work I had to do. My only regret is that I launched the website when I did. It would have been better if we had left Chile and travelled through Paraguay, Ecuador and Brazil, as we had planned. I could then have focused on this blog 100% since day one. Unfortunately, I couldn’t focus on the blog. The vast majority of articles I wrote between December 2012 and March 2013 were written in under 30 minutes.
After relaunching the blog, I did not want to forget about it for a few months. If I had, subscribers would have forgotten about it too. Therefore, most of the articles were written with the mindset of “I need to get an article published”, rather than “I need to write a really good article”. I knew this was not the best thing to do, though under the circumstances, it is all I really could do.
Our travels ended at the end of March 2013. We had been on the road for seven months and for four of those months I maintained this blog. So…..whilst this blog was launched on 30 November 2012, I consider the start of April to be the real “Relaunch” of this blog. That is when I was able to give it 100% of my attention. I no longer wrote short 500 filler articles. In every article I published I tried to make sure I was publishing something good. I still wrote short articles from time to time, giving my opinion on something when I wanted to. However, by and large, my focus had switched to writing high quality articles at every opportunity. So far, it has paid dividends.
Between the start of December 2012 and the end of February 2013, traffic rarely went over 100 unique visitors per day. By the end of March, the articles I had published whilst on the road had helped grow traffic to around 200 unique visitors per day. This was not a lot of growth, however traffic was going in the right direction.
By the end of April 2013, daily traffic had grown from around 200 unique visitors per day to around 480. From 1 May until 15 May (yesterday), unique visitors had grown to around 800 to 900 per day.
All this traffic growth has come from increased traffic from the search engines and an increase in subscribers. My referral traffic continues to be terrible, only contributing around 30 to 50 daily uniques per day. It is not something that worries me too much as the number of people subscribing here is increasing every day. Long term, I know that acquiring more referrals will help me improve my rankings in search engines.
Since working on this blog full time, I have increased traffic from 200 daily visitors to nearly 900 daily visitors within six weeks. I am really pleased with that return, however I cannot rest on my laurels. My work is just beginning.
My Traffic Goals for KevinMuldoon.com in 2013
At the start of April I gave myself the modest goal of doubling traffic to 400 daily visitors. I was pleased to see me exceed this and reach nearly 500 visitors by the end of the month. My goal for May 2013 is exactly the same: Double my traffic. On Tuesday I reached 894 daily visits and yesterday I had 819. Within two weeks I have jumped from around 500 daily visits to around 850, so I am on target to not only reach my target, but smash it.
I find it easier to simplify my traffic goals. I could have set myself other goals for the month such as “Reach this level of income”, “Publish this many articles”, or “Increase newsletter subscribers by X or Y”. I believe the more goals I set myself, the more likely it is that I fail to reach those goals. At the end of the day, I do not want to get too hung up on numbers. The whole point of setting myself these goals is to give me something to aim for, something to keep driving me forward. If I do not break 1,000 daily visitors by the end of the month, I am not going to be too disheartened, as I have still increased my traffic greatly.
I do understand that I will not be able to keep doubling my traffic, though when a blog is just starting out, I find doubling traffic for the first few months is a realistic target that can be achieved. At the end of the month, I will probably review my goal for June 2013. At this point of time, I think doubling my current target of 1,000 daily visitors can be done. If this blog is getting 2,000 daily visitors by 30 June 2013, I will be happy with my progress.
It is important to not be too specific with long term goals. I have an idea of what I want to achieve with this blog long term, however it is important for me not to get ahead of myself, therefore I am taking everything one step at a time. You may have heard of this popular idiom:
Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves
I believe the same can be said about goals. Many of my long term goals may come across as “pie in the sky” daydreaming from a crazy person. For example, I want this blog to reach 10,000 daily visitors by the end of the year, however it is not something I am thinking about.
At the moment, I am focusing on breaking the 1,000 daily visitor mark. If I reach this by the end of May, I will probably set myself the target of reaching 2,000 daily visitors by the end of June. Should my average daily visitors reach 1,300 per day by the end of May, the goal of 2,000 visitors per day would not be high enough. Therefore, I may increase my target for the end of June 2013 to 2,500 visitors.
By setting myself new goals every month, my long term goals will take care of themselves. These goals may change over time as well. At the moment, my focus is on increasing traffic here. Once I have established a bigger readership, my focus may change from increasing traffic every month to generating more income every month (e.g. spend more time working on products rather than content). I may also pay attention to other websites I own. That bridge will be crossed when I come to it. For now, I want to keep the blinkers on and stay focused on driving more traffic to this blog.
My Traffic Building Strategy
Finally, I want to touch upon my traffic building strategy for this blog.
Since I got back from travelling and started giving this blog my full attention, my strategy has been very simple: Deliver good content to readers. That is all I am focusing on. I have not worried about things such as social media rankings or focused on search engine optimisation tricks and techniques. I truly believe that the most important factor in any blog’s success is their ability to deliver good content to readers. People will naturally share good content and they will share it with others too.
I have published a wide variety of subjects over the last month or so, including films, tattoos, animals and WordPress. I enjoy writing about a wide variety of subjects, though internet marketing topics will probably be covered most.
Whilst I am continuing to focus on good content here, it is important for me to spread the word about this blog to a new audience. I can do this in a number of ways including networking with other bloggers, being interviewed on important blogs, and writing articles for other websites.
A few months ago I explained my position about guest posting. In my article “Why We Should Not Write Guest Posts for Free“, I pointed out that it is better to take on paid writing positions where you can. Not only will you get a link back to your website (which is the whole point of guest blogging), you will also get paid for your hard work.
Acquiring links from high ranked websites will help my own search engine rankings. In addition to writing for popular blogs, I should also write on a variety of blogs. My plan is to take on a few paid writing jobs for blogs to increase awareness of this blog, improve my search engine traffic and increase my referral traffic. I also hope to write a few guest posts for bloggers I network with regularly, though paid articles and articles for KevinMuldoon.com will take priority.
Within the next 6 weeks I will hopefully return to the UK from South America. Fast internet connections will make my life a helluva lot easier. I’ll be able to restart my podcast and record videos more often. I have been hindered by poor connections for too long!
There really is no mystery surrounding the way I am trying to develop this blog. You will find lots of internet marketers out there who will teach you the “Secrets” of making money online, though none exist. Once you know how to build a basic blog, all that is left for you to do is work hard and write good content that will encourage people to return to your blog.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about my traffic growth and goals for this blog. I’d love to hear what your goals are for this year: Is there something specific you are trying to achieve?
Also, if you would like me to do a income report every month, please let me know in the comment area and share your view on why income reports are beneficial to you.
Thanks for reading,