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January 2015 Income Report


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If I thought December was exciting, January was even more so! We not only spent the month travelling and then settling down in Penang, but I had my biggest income earning month yet. and made my first goal – earning enough money for my half of what we need to sustain our current lifestyle.

We spent the first three weeks of this month travelling in Bali and Malaysia before we settled down in Penang. We are here for at least three months while we work hard on increasing our online income. I’m loving it!

I did not have a complete break from work while travelling. It was just about all sponsored travel so it was hard work between that and the kids. I did have a break from everything except my travel blog though. It was great to take a few weeks to help re-focus and re-prioritise. I am now taking things in a different direction to a month ago. I also have a solid plan for the first quarter of this year which I am working through. Fingers crossed it leads to more money!

Where’s Sharon

My traffic has gone absolutely crazy since Christmas. This has lead me to re-evaluate whether I should be working harder on growing an income from my travel blog or not. I would be crazy to not try to make some more money from this site, so the majority of my energy has gone back into making this site more profitable.

Traffic

Page Views: 54,101 (up from 35,402)

My traffic growth has been crazy – I was only just above 20,000 page views a few months ago! Some of the rise is from Google search, the majority is from Pinterest – despite the fact I have barely gone in there. You can learn from my Pinterest strategy here.

Sponsored Travel

We spent about 3 weeks of this month travelling – and had about $4000 worth of sponsored travel. It is nowhere near as good as earning $4000 cash, but it is still very welcome!

Income

Advertising – $950

Direct advertising – $780

Google AdSense – $170

I experimented some more with adSense, but ended up coming back to the way that I had the ads a month ago. I consistently make about AUD$7 a day so I am happy enough with this.

Affiliates – $62

I made $1 from Amazon and $61 from hotel commissions.

I was very surprised to accidentally realise that I had made $32 in hotel commissions from October-November last year without realising! For some reason, they hadn’t shown up when I checked last year and I actually removed all my hotel affiliate links in December thinking they were useless (and to be fair, $32 in 3 months is quite useless).

I put them back with 5 days to go of January and actually made another $29 over that time which surprised me in a very lovely way! I only have them on my best performing posts and the money is only coming from about 6 different posts at most.

What has changed between now and when I tried this last year? My traffic is higher obviously, but the biggest thing is that I have tried using a different hotel affiliate program. I was with Agoda/Expedia and now I am trying HotelsCombined/Priceline. The first program mentioned in each case is for Asian hotels, the second for North American ones.

I never made a cent from Agoda, but now that I have switched to HotelsCombined, I have made $29 in 5 days. The difference is that HotelsCombined pays you if someone clicks on your HotelsCombined link, then clicks on a link on their site which goes to another hotel site – the person does not actually have to book anything.

I switched from Expedia to Priceline as I was frustrated by the fact that I had only made $32 in 3 months from many clicks and thousands of dollars of purchases – just one purchase was for thousands of dollars and I made $0 from it – it is ridiculous! Priceline seemed like a better deal so I thought I would try it.

I am now wondering if I should switch those links to HotelsCombined as well although I have heard HotelsCombined is not well known in the USA (where most my readers originate) – but then, it can’t earn less money than $0. What do you think?

This does all show the importance of monitoring and trying different affiliate programs. I am going to keep experimenting and I need to add the links to more articles.

Total Income – $1012 + $4000 of travel

Digital Nomad Wannabe

Page Views:  2,165 ( down from 2,459)

I am not surprised to see this go down since I only posted our niche site case study update. I would love to have more time to grow this site and better document everything I have learned to help others, but it is not going to happen quite yet!

I do have big plans for this site once I am earning more consistent money elsewhere – I want to prove that I do know what I am talking about before I start writing about it!

Income – $5 (affiliates)

Work / Home / Life

Page Views: 1,032 (down from 1,203)

This is my 3 month old site all about working from home. I have not been able to do much work on this site at all this month and it will continue to not be my top priority for awhile yet – although I will have my brother writing for this site again in February.

I did finish my opt in offer – a 7 day free course to get you started freelancing online. Go to the site and sign up if you are interested!

Some of the guest posts I wrote in December were published so this brought some traffic as well as some nice link juice. Barely any traffic is coming from Google Search (40 visits last month!), hopefully this will start to increase since this site was built around extensive keyword research.

Niche sites

They continue to grow. Much slower than what I would like, but at least I am earning money. You can read a full update here. I was very disappointed to not quite hit the $300 mark!

Income – $291 (up from $177 )

Gambling Product

This product is not going well for J at the moment and he is not concentrating on it.

Income – $0

Earnings Total: $1,308 + $4000 of Travel

Up from $1,041 in December.

Hitting my Goal!

My first goal is to earn half of what we need to sustain our current lifestyle which is about $1167 (the strange amount is because it’s AUD$1500). This means that I made this goal! It is my best month by far and I am very happy especially because about half of my goal is coming in from relatively passive income – affiliates and Google AdSense.

Plans for the Next Month

I have a lot of plans!

I want to earn more affiliate income from Where’s Sharon. I plan for this to come from two different directions:

1. From keyword research and writing quality posts that attract Google search rankings for buying keywords on family travel topics.

2. Growing my email subscribers and putting them through an auto responder series that helps drive traffic to key posts that will hopefully also increase my affiliate earnings.

This means that my biggest task at the moment is to grow subscribers, set up my autoresponder series and write content that helps all of this happen.

I also want to add some more articles to my niche sites and further improve my keyword usage. I plan to add a couple of more links to my main niche site. I also want to write income and content plans for Work / Home / Life.

J is also getting serious about earning money online and hopes to find a product this month to try selling on Amazon. He will also start doing freelance programming work. I wonder how much we will earn in February? Hopefully, it is another record breaking month!

You can now read our income report from February! Find more posts on blogging and income reports here.

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

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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