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October 2015 Income Report


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October was a month of contrasts.

I had what felt like one of my biggest personal successes ever – a hugely successful presentation at TBEX Asia. Our income also went up in basically every area except Amazon, especially on this site. We received more cash in the last few weeks than I have before. I also had a nice increase in the list of the top 50 travel blogs based on traffic.

But I also had a disappointing month in many ways. Amazon dropped back. I expected it to happen, but it still is not a happy fact. My attempt to build up my audience to this site through my success at TBEX was a fail. My first product has so far flopped and I spent most of the month sick in bed. The last few weeks, I have been lucky if I can work an hour a day.

You can read last month’s income report here.

TBEX Asia!

Hanging out with the awesome Yeison and Sam from Mytanfeet

Hanging out with the awesome Yeison and Sam from Mytanfeet

TBEX Asia was an interesting experience.

I found the lead up quite stressful as everything was organised very last minute – not good for someone like me that likes to be super organised. Thankfully things improved once I arrived in Bangkok.

My goal was to have the most useful presentation at the conference and I believe that I succeeded. I discussed my process for using SEO combined with affiliate marketing to make money and it was a hit.

I was happy to have a full room and they actually stopped letting people come inside. I had many, many people come up to me afterwards both that day and throughout the conference, as well as online, to ask questions and tell me how useful it was. I collected 150 email addresses from people who wanted more information. It could not have gone better and felt like a massive personal achievement.

I did not experience as much of the rest of the conference as I would have liked thanks to being sick and staying a bit of a distance from the venue. I went to a few other presentations, some good, some incredibly poor.

I was not interested in talking to brands – there were none there that would fit my business model, so I can’t say that other than getting to speak that I achieved much from the conference. It is definitely aimed more at beginners. I did really love getting to meet everyone though. I wish I could have just felt better so I could have been more sociable.

Amazon earnings

I am giving this its own section as it will be a theme across this report. My Amazon earnings are down across the board. I did a fair bit of analysis and the fact of the matter is that searches across my main keywords on all my sites are at their lowest point October – December. So thankfully my rankings are fine and my earnings should bounce up again next year. Unfortunately, I can expect my earnings to be bad from this source in November and December too, although I’m hoping December’s loss may be cancelled out a bit by the fact that more people will be buying.

On the upside, I finally got EasyAzon localisation working again on Where’s Sharon. I ended up paying someone on Upwork to fix it. In just the couple of weeks since it’s been fixed, I already made back the US$75 this cost by extra sales on Amazon UK and CA so this was well and truly worth the investment – I just wish I did it earlier.

The other upside is that I still reported a great earnings total this month despite the loss of Amazon income. It is good to see that I am becoming less reliant on it.

Travel/Life Update

S on stage for her preschool concert

We tried something different in October and didn’t travel much – it was great! Other than my trip to TBEX, we stayed put in Penang, although we would have had a small weekend trip if the haze hadn’t forced us to cancel it.

We eased back into life in Penang very easily and it feels like we have never left. Europe is a dream already! I have spent most of the time sick so all the work I imagined doing never happened. Pretty much all I did this month was work on the TBEX presentation and selling it afterwards.

The month finished particularly well with the kids’ preschool production. It was fantastic! And a very interesting combination of cultural influences. S was over the moon to be able to perform in it (Z opted out).

Where’s Sharon

I didn’t really do much at all on this site. Thanks to working so hard in Europe, I had already published plenty of content on that topic.

Up to #33

The third quarter results in the top 50 travel blogs were released and I was happy to find I have moved up 16 spots to #33! I love to see how I compare to others.

What is even more interesting is going to the other sites, clicking on their “work with me” or equivalent page and reading how much traffic they say they have now that I have a rough idea of the truth. It is interesting how some bloggers present the information – and how many are not updated. If you are interested in doing the same, my unique visitors for that 3 month period was about 200,000.

Traffic

Page Views: 120,754 (up from 112,468)

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 – $62
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 – $11
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

MassPlanner – $14
Absolutely awesome tool for automating social media and growing accounts.

EasyAzon fix – $105

Total Costs: $362 

Income

Advertising – $430 (down from $440)

Direct advertising – $28 (constant)

The Blogger Network – $402 (up from $385)

Affiliates – $3,248 (up from $2,791)

I made $1,350 across Amazon (down from $1,439). I also made $138 (up from $93) from an Australian affiliate and $99 from Klook (tickets for attractions – up from $98).

I made $1633 from hotel commissions across HotelsCombined, Booking.com and Agoda (up from $1240). I also made $28 from Airbnb. This month saw a bigger slice to Booking.com and Agoda as I try to diversify this income source. HotelsCombined is getting closer to being worth half the amount.

Income from Where's Sharon: $3,678 - $362= $3,316 (up from $3,176)

RPM:  $27 (stayed constant again - yay!)

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

Digital Nomad Wannabe

Page Views: 7,767 (up from 6,504 )

I was quite disappointed by this figure – especially as I only had 20 more page views the week following my presentation as an average week. I was even more disappointed by the fact that I only gained a few more subscribers in October than I did in September.

So of the 150 people who were interested enough in my presentation to give me their email address and ask for more information, barely any actually visited my site or subscribed to my list. However, a few did purchase Long Tail Pro which helped give me a nice income from this site this month.

If you are interested in Long Tail Pro for your keyword research, I also published a quick video to show you how I used it for keyword research.

I had my first guest post on the site in October. You can read how to get started in freelancing right now with some great tips from successful digital nomad and freelancer, Ben Wroe.

First product

I also released my first product after TBEX. It is basically my presentation: How to Gain Readers and Make Money: The Power of SEO, as well as some supplementary information to help you implement my money making process yourself.

This details exactly how I make my the vast majority of my income – I pick great buying keywords, do great keyword research and then use keywords effectively in quality articles.

My process does work and you can learn how to do it on your own website – whatever it is about. Learn more about it here.

Costs

Frantech – $24
6 months of hosting with our own vps

Fiverr – $7
Designer job for a checklist in my new product

Total Costs: $31

Income

How to Gain Readers and Make Money: The Power of SEO Presentation – $423
Learn how to make money using SEO and affiliate marketing.

MassPlanner – $55
This tool is fabulous for many social media actions across social media networks including follow/unfollow and scheduling.

GetResponse – $359
Our favourite email marketing service.

Long Tail Pro – $857
Essential keyword research tool that I use just about every day. 

EasyAzon – $59
Essential plugin for working with Amazon affiliate program

Cloud 1K – $89
eBook about how to build niche sites and start making $1000 per month online

Tailwind – $10
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 – $35
US mastercard which allows non Americans to access Amazon affiliate income. Use this link and we both gain US$25.

Income for Digital Nomad Wannabe: $1888 (up from $542)
RPM: $245 (up from $83)

Niche sites

Site 1 Page Views: 9,359 (down from 10,474)
Site 2 Page Views: 13,283 (down from 18,880)

It was another disappointing month for these sites. As I wrote above, I expected it, but it still sucked. On the upside, the keywords are ranking as good as ever and I expect a great income rise in the new year.

I also made less money as people were just buying cheaper items. I had less people buying the items I recommend (which tend to be $100+) and just buying random items. My item count in October was actually only slightly less than September. And annoyingly just 10 less than what I needed to go up to my usual commission level of 8%.

I also made money from both my new sites built using my current niche site building strategy combined with information in the book Cloud 1K, particularly the link building strategy in here.

I had two niche sites which I had already built when I started this link building strategy. It worked well on one site, not as well on the other – the rankings dropped a lot but I am still hanging out at about position 30 which is just too high.

I have stopped paying for the links for the site that didn’t go as well as a I would have liked, but I’m hoping the other site will keep making money – only a month and a half in it is already making enough money to have paid back my costs for both the websites and more so I am happy. Here’s to some nice profit next month!

Costs

Writing – $50

Hosting – $4
PBN hosting costs

Payoneer – $25

Links for new niche sites – $110

Total Costs: $189

Income

Site 1: $654 (down from $1,094)

Site 2: $1,789 (down from $2,522)

Site 3: $169

Site 4: $49

I made $2,661 (down from $3,616) across my niche sites.

Income from niche sites: $2,661 - $189 = $2,472 (down from $3,463)
RPM: $108 (down from $119)

Work / Home / Life

Page Views: 13,257 (up from 11,407)

All income is derived from AdSense.

Income from Work / Home / Life: $317 (up from $204)
RPM: $24 (up from $18)

Earnings Total: AUD$7,993 (USD$5,708)

Up from USD$5,130 in September.

Average passive income per day for October = $257 (up from $239)

I am ecstatic about this total – I had my best month yet while seeing a big drop from Amazon. I, unfortunately, do not expect it to continue next month since I had a boost in affiliate commissions because of speaking at TBEX.  I just wish it was $7 more and I hit the $8000!

The best part is that I have been able to pay the first installment of my daughters school fees (over $3500!) straight from my month’s earnings without touching savings. This feels amazing while we are able to live such a nice lifestyle.

Plans for the Next Month

I am too scared to make many plans for November as I suspect I will continue to spend most of my time in bed not well. We want to update all the main affiliate content across all sites to ensure we keep ranking well in to 2016 and this is the main task for us for the rest of this year.

We have family visiting in the first part of November and then we leave Penang on November 19 to travel for our last couple of months before heading back to Australia, so it is going to be a busy time.

You can now read our income report for November 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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