I‘ve heard a lot of pros and cons about publishing income reports for your online business.
The pros usually include the fact that these reports can be very helpful for online business owners in terms of inspiration (or gloating – depending on where you are at), identifying what works and what doesn’t, etc.
The cons would be displaying your financials for the whole world to see.
So far I see more pros than cons.
Since most of my readers are online to make money, it’s vitally important for us to learn from other marketers’ successes as well as mistakes, and I personally have learned a lot from Pat Flynn’s Monthly Income Reports.
I also recently read an excellent post on Lisa Irby’s blog titled How Does Your Blog Make Money?
That post was based on a question someone asked on Website Babble forum:
We’re all aware by now that WordPress is the easiest way to build a website, but I was wondering how many of you actually make good money? And when I say “good money” I mean enough to enhance your existing lifestyle. I’m not talking about a dollar or two from AdSense per day.
I was at a social media event in Atlanta today and I was talking to all these WordPress users. Some had impressive followings on Twitter, Facebook, even Google+.
For some reason I just assumed a lot of these people did this for a living. As the night went on, I began to learn that very few of them made a lot of money. I don’t think I met one person that was full-time online or even close. And they said it was their goal.
So I’d like to know from the bloggers here, how many of you actually make good money? Yes, WordPress is too cool for school (as the old saying goes), but if your goal is to make money from your site and you’re not making much, what do you attribute that to?
Very valid points, wouldn’t you say?
A while ago, I wrote a post The Truth About Making Money Blogging, in which I spilled the beans on where Traffic Generation Cafe stood in terms of generating income. It quickly became one of the most popular posts at TGC, which, once again, shows that this is something of interest to all of us.
So with all this in mind, I decided to go for it.
Traffic Generation Cafe Snapshot
1. As of January 2012, TGC existed for about 18 months.
2. Here’s a screenshot of my December traffic:
I’ve worked hard on keeping my visitors more engaged, increasing pageviews and decreasing bounce rate – all good indicators of a healthy blog.
Major Happenings in December
1. Change of priorities
Many of you know that our family is going through some adjustments due to the fact that my husband had to walk away from his job.
You can read more about it in this post: Baa, Baa, Black Sheep
The result of that major event was the fact that I never NEEDED to make money with my business, but now it’s the sole income source for our family – the for time being anyway.
That fact lead me to examining how my business is operating, what can be changed and improved upon, etc.
2. Banner Advertising
I started offering paid advertising options, like banners, sidebar links, and sponsored reviews.
I wrote more about my findings on the topic in my post dedicated to accepting banner advertising as a viable income stream.
3. More SEO Traffic
This might sound strange to many of you since you know how fond I am about driving a good chunk of my traffic from Google and other search engines.
However, running a busy blog like Traffic Generation Cafe left me with little time to take care of my own SEO, particularly link building, which is the major driving force behind improving Google rankings.
MORE SEARCH ENGINE TRAFFIC = MORE INCOME
It’s that simple.
So I made it my priority to work on improving rankings for my product reviews specifically, but also other posts that have great potential to capture a high number of Google users.
4. Blog Redesigned
What started with a simple “I want to make some space for paid advertising” turned into a major design overhaul.
It was a great blessing that Ian Belanger of IM Graphic Designs was more than happy to oblige and after much tweaking, the new Traffic Generation Cafe design was born.
Note from Ian:I am really hoping everyone likes the new design of TGC, from the looks of the comments, most are liking so far!
I want to offer something special to the readers here at TGC.
If anyone places an order at IM Graphic Designs and mentions that they found us here at TGC, I will give you a significant discount on your first order. I can’t tell you how much, because that would spoil the surprise
So stop by and check us out!
Of course, there was more than just wanting to update the look behind many of the changes you see. There were many usability issues that I was surprised to discover and will talk more about it in one of my future posts.
My Income Report for December 2011
Now onto the juicy stuff.
Here are my income sources for December:
1. Affiliate marketing
- CommentLuv – $1544.50
- Income Blogging Guide – $197.06
- TweetAdder – $182.80
- Thesis Theme - $112.50
- Thirsty Affiliates – $103.25
- Kristi Johnson: Blog Post Promotion – $100
- Market Samurai – $93.12
- TransformX Consortium (misc products) – $70.38
- WPSubscribers Plugin – $42.36
- Media Pass – $12.94
I used to be much more active with offering consulting through my blog, but have recently decided to cut down on it to focus on more passive income streams.
I still pick up an occasional client or two, but don’t actively seek them out.
3. Paid Advertisement
- Sponsored Review – $500
- Banner Ads – $275
As mentioned above, this is the new income stream I started working on in December.
I now added several new advertisement banners, including the ones at the top of the blog – we’ll see how I do in January with it.
Once again, not the type of income I seek out, but I do get occasionally asked to write a paid guest post or two.
Not too shabby, as far as I am concerned.
The only problem I see here is the fact that it’s not easily duplicatable. The biggest chunk came from CommentLuv Premium promotion, which is over at this point, so I’ll have to come up with other ways to replace that income.
Goals for 2012
This will be the year for me to turn Traffic Generation Cafe from a hobby into a business.
And here are some of the goals I’d like to work on to help me get there.
1. Create my own product
I can’t believe I haven’t done it yet, but now it’s my priority.
I am currently working on a link building guide that will break down link building into easy steps and provide an overall link building strategy that anyone can stick with regardless of time or budget constraints.
2. Explore new traffic generating venues
I’d like to learn more about podcasting and mobile marketing in particular – something I’ve been putting off for long enough.
So what do you think? Was it helpful to learn where such a high-trafficked blog stands in terms of making money?
Image Source: http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/cartoons/