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August 2015 Income Report


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August was a much better month for us work wise thanks to slowing down and spending the first few weeks in August in the one spot – in beautiful Paris!

I was able to catch up a lot on the things I had been letting slide since hitting Europe. In fact, I was amazed by how much I was able to achieve simply because I barely wrote any content when I was in Paris – except for for this site. I really need to follow my own advice and post less in general on my travel blog.

I expected Amazon to slow down in August thanks to the holidays and it did. For the first month, I went backwards with Amazon, although only just and the backward movement was just from one site.

The best part about our earnings from August is that there was absolutely no freelancing, sponsored posts, reviews, anything. All our earnings were from affiliate commissions and Google AdSense. I also opened up a new income stream by monetising a site I already own.

I also didn’t do any sponsored travel (yippee!) and only worked with one company – Flytographer – which is a travel photography company. This worked out very well actually as I contacted them planning to buy a package so I had some good photos for my sites and they offered us a package. Got to love that.

Travel/Life Update

Us on our Flytographer photo shoot with Goncalu

As I said, we spent the first few weeks in Paris. We then hit Italy which was just awesome for the rest of the month. You can read how we are finding our digital nomad adventure and travelling in Europe with kids now its been 8 months since we left Australia here.

Where’s Sharon

I continue to focus on my family travel blog to grow its income. My primary aim continues to be to increase affiliate income on this site.

My commissions did not increase as much as I would like yet again. I am trying to be patient!

EasyAzon problems

My one gripe for the month is that I realised that the fabulous EasyAzon plugin that I use for my Amazon links was not localising links on this site – that is changing Amazon links to point at the local Amazon site for wherever the reader is coming from.

I get a lot of UK traffic in particular to some posts that are big earners for me on Amazon US so this is disappointing. I am currently working with them to fix it but it is proving quite time consuming.

I feel stupid for not realising this months ago. I wondered why there were basically no sales but I could see clicks so I thought all was ok. Then I checked for each individual Amazon ID (instead of seeing all clicks across all my sites at once) and I realised I wasn’t getting any from Where’s Sharon. D’oh!

Saying no to sponsorship requests - yipee!

For the first time ever, I have said no to every request sent to me from advertisers and people who want me to write reviews, mention them, whatever. It feels good! It has also saved me a lot of time and I am glad I no longer have to do these short term money earners.

When they don’t accept no, I send back a fee of US$450 for any type of mention (with a nofollow link of course) and that quickly gets rid of them.

Interesting ranking results

On the keyword research side, I track my main keyword rankings and I have been finding some interesting trends. I rank quite fast in Australia now, when it used to take months (it still does take months elsewhere). I also rank much better and more easily for destination pieces about South East Asia than elsewhere. I wonder if that’s a coincidence or google has just decided I am an authority on that region?

Traffic

Page Views: 107,126 (up from 104,559)

I did not go up as much as normal this month, but I am still very happy especially as I had a good Facebook share last month that brought me in over 2,000 page views so I feel like I gained 5,000 this month.

You can read my secret to hitting 100,000 page views here.

Costs

HootSuite – $12
I use this for twitter scheduling

Writing – $100
Articles written by my brother.

GetResponse email service for managing my subscribers and autoresponders – $34
You can read more about the different email subscription services here.

Kraken Image Optimizer – $6
This tool optimises all the images I upload to my sites. You can read more about it here.

Tailwind – $20
Pinterest scheduling

Payoneer – $15
This is a debit MasterCard that I use to access Amazon money immediately. There is a 1% charge on Amazon deposits.

Instagram Scheduling – $20

RamNode Hosting – $12
Our new hosting service

EasyAzon – $27
I paid to update this essential plugin for working with Amazon affiliates.

Total Costs: $246 (down from $302)

Income

Advertising – $327 (down from $633)

Direct advertising – $28 (down from from $327)

Google AdSense – $299 (down from $307)
Yet again, I don’t understand this income.

Affiliates – $2,791(up from $2,550)

I made $1,569 from Amazon (up from $1,531) and $6 (up from $3) from eBay. I also made $27 from an Australian affiliate.

I made $915 from hotel commissions (up from $896) from Commission Junction, $30 from HotelsCombined directly and $180 from Bookings.com. I am especially happy about the latter as I want to diversify who I earn my hotel commission money from and all of this came from just the one article which I just tried out for 2 weeks. I also made $64 from Airbnb.

Income from Where's Sharon: $3,118 - $246= $2,872 (down from $2,881)

RPM:  $27 (stayed constant - yay!)

RPM is an indication of how much money each 1,000 page views is worth to my site.

Digital Nomad Wannabe

Page Views: 7,773  (up from 6,065 )

I am glad to see that my page views went up in the last month since I published a record breaking 4 articles including how to increase your domain authority and my tips to reach 100,000 page views.

 

The best news for me on this site, however, is that I finally made a decent amount this month. I am very happy to see this as I would love for this site to become my prime focus next year. I am ready for a new challenge!

Costs

None

Income

These are all affiliate commissions.

SiteGround – $50
Great hosting

MassPlanner – $20
This tool is fabulous for many social media actions across social media networks including follow/unfollow and scheduling.

GetResponse – $68
Our favourite email marketing service.

Long Tail Pro – $55
Essential keyword research tool that I use just about every day

My Theme Shop– $45
Fabulous review theme (splash) that I use for my niche sites.

Tailwind – $84
Awesome Pinterest scheduling tool. Read my Pinterest strategy here.

NameSilo – $1
Cheapest domain costs and renewals that I am aware of. Use code: DNW1OFF to get $1 off your own domains.

Payoneer – $36
The easiest and quickest way to get Amazon US earnings if you don’t have a traditional US bank account.

HostNine – $65
The best hosting option if you are hosting a PBN or a lot of websites.

Income for Digital Nomad Wannabe: $424 (up from $280)
RPM: $55 (up from $47)

Niche sites

Site 1 Page Views: 15,962 (down from 18,968)
Site 2 Page Views: 23,513 (down from 24,430)

I am disappointed and concerned by the decline in my first niche site this month. The page views are trending down and the income is far less than last month. I have just not had the time to analyse this further – for example, am I ranking less or are there simply less people searching for information on these products and buying at the moment?

I did look at google trends and it is normal for less people to search for my main keywords at the moment – in fact it tends to tail off from now until the start of next year! Unfortunately, this is the case for my main buying keywords across both these sites and on my travel blog! Hopefully what’s happening to site 1 won’t be replicated elsewhere.

Read my full niche site update here which summarises my progress over the last 12 months with these sites.

Costs

Writing – $100

Hosting – $42
PBN hosting renewal

NameSilo – $22
Domain name renewals for PBN

Payoneer – $36

Total Costs: $200 (down from $286)

Income

Site 1: $831 (up from $1,425)

Site 2: $2,810 (up from $2,074)

Additional niche site: $23 (actually this is the site that was de-indexed. I moved it to a different domain. Read my plans for this site in the section below about my plans for next month)

I made $3,664 (up from $3,542) across my niche sites.

Income from niche sites: $3,664 - $200 = $3,464 (up from $3,296)
RPM: $76 (up from $70)

Work / Home / Life

Page Views: 9,278

You may remember me mentioning this site a loooong time ago (well end of last year!). It is the site I built from the disappointing No Hat Digital course. I have not been working on it this year but it has been slowly aging and now has a decent number of pages views. In fact, it is kind of depressing seeing how these page views are higher than for this site. Another illustration of the power of keyword research!

AdSense earnings

I thought I would try adding some advertisements on August 8 using Google AdSense and was surprised by the results! It has helped illustrate to me how important audience and intent are for making money through advertisements. My RPM for ads on this site are soooooo much higher than for my travel blog, it’s not even comparable. Yet another reason to seek out keywords that have high advertiser competitor in the AdWords keyword planner and high prices to advertise.

It also shows the importance of audience – I tried putting ads on this site for a week after the success on Work / Home / Life and made only 70 cents for the week!

It also gave me another reason to love the PerformMag theme which is on this site and Work / Home / Life. It’s set up to make adding ads so easy. It only took minutes.

I would love to think of some more clever ways to monetise this especially as about half the hits are to the one post. However, I can only think of things like lead generation and I just don’t have the time (or inclination) to work on this. I do need to at least try to optimise these ad earnings though.

Income from Work / Home / Life: $95 (up from $0)
RPM: $10

Earnings Total: AUD$6,855 (USD$4,772)

Up from USD$4,730 in July.

I am ecstatic about this total as there was no freelancing and no sponsorship. It’s all from affiliates and AdSense.

I am also ecstatic as this is also basically after tax income as I am able to deduct many travel costs as a business expense. I worked out how much I would be earning to clear this much in Australia and it is well into the 6 figures and more than I earned in IT. Take that old colleagues that literally laughed at me when I said I was becoming a travel blogger and travelling the world 🙂

It does help that the currency I think in (Australian dollars) is falling in value so I get like a fake pay rise all the time 🙂 Once we are back living in Australia next year, however, this will be like an actual pay rise!

Passive Income

Average passive income per day for August = $221 (up from $215)

I am happy to see this increase as the value last month did not take into account costs. This month it does.

Plans for the Next Month

Last month, I talked about trying to work less and putting more balance into work/life balance. I haven’t succeeded in this – yet! I can’t help but have more plans and more things I want to try as I genuinely love doing all of this. After I speak at TBEX (in October), I swear I will!

In the meantime, I have two new projects I am working on – new niche sites (more below) and the SEO course for this site. I feel like I need to do something to capitalise on talking at TBEX. I also need to work more on my talk. As soon as we get back to Penang at the end of this month, all things TBEX will be my prime focus.

I am also experimenting with the advertisements on Where’s Sharon and have just switched over to the Blogger Network to try that out after other bloggers telling me RPM’s from this network which are over double what I get from AdSense. They also have ads at the top of the page and more than I would want to put on my blog, so time will tell if I see an increase or not.

New Niche Sites

I am excited to announce an experiment I am doing this month.

Last month, Julien from Cloud 1K contacted me and asked me to read his eBook and promote it if I liked it.

I get A LOT of requests like this from across my sites and mostly, I send back a “thanks, but no thanks” email. However, this book was about a topic close to my heart – niche sites! It sounded interesting and is about building up a $1,000+ per month income from niche sites easily. It intrigued me and I liked that it sounded down to earth rather than some of the quick rich schemes that float around out there.

I read the book and I found it very interesting. It definitely had me thinking. His process for building niche sites is basically the same as mine. What intrigued me most was how he link builds. I have two niche sites sitting there aging that I have not done anything with (one of which is my niche site that was de-indexed and I moved to a new domain), so I thought I would try his method of link building and see what happens.

Stay tuned for next month when I will tell you if it has started working or not. If you are interested in building niche sites, then I highly recommend you give it a read. It’s only $47 and if nothing happens after 30 days, he gives you your money back 🙂

You can now read my next income report and more posts on blogging and income reports here.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, tips or advice.

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you! I appreciate it 😀

About the Author

Sharon Gourlay is passionate about working online and helping others to follow in her footsteps. She left Australia with her young family at the end of 2014 determined to grow an online business. She succeeded and now supports her family of 5 to live their dream lifestyle.

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