A young college co-ed came running in tears to her father.
“Dad, you gave me some terrible financial advice!”
“I did? What did I tell you?” said the dad.
“You told me to put my money in that big bank, and now that big bank is in trouble.”
“What are you talking about? That’s one of the largest banks in the state,” he said. “there must be some mistake.”
“I don’t think so,” she sniffed.
“They just returned one of my checks with a note saying, ‘Insufficient Funds‘.”
My Quest for Sufficient Funds
September was a busy month.
The most noteworthy and noticeable fruit of my labor was the brand-new Traffic Generation Café design.
I know many bloggers think that their blog design is secondary to their content.
And I agree.
That’s the way it should be.
However, many visitors will never get to read your great content, if your blog design doesn’t draw them in first.
If you don’t take your design seriously, your potential readers won’t take YOU seriously.
Your design doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does need to be unique.
For instance, Thesis (the theme I use at Traffic Generation Café) is rolling out their newest version – Thesis 2.0.
If I weren’t lucky enough to have Ian Belanger design my blog, I’d definitely upgrade to Thesis 2.0 in a jiffy and take advantage of the cool new interface it has to offer.
It’s one of the easiest ways to make your blog design unique and distinctive, even if you are far from adding web designer skills to your resume.
Why New Design?
There were three objectives I was after with my new design:
- Make TGC more reader-friendly by including my readers into the design itself.
- Increase my email subscriptions.
- Make more money.
My Main Conversion Goal
When designing your site, you should have one and only one conversion goal in mind.
What might that conversion goal be?
Whatever it is that you want your readers to do first and foremost.
- Do you need more product/service sales?
- Do you simply want your visitors to click on the paid banner ads?
Whatever your primary conversion goal is, you should bring your readers’ attention to it again and again.
My primary conversion goal at TGC is to establish a closer relationship with my readers via email subscriptions.
That’s exactly what my current blog design is focused on.
There are ample opportunities for my new readers to subscribe to my list without being too annoying (I hope).
And the results speak for themselves.
According to my Aweber stats, my daily average BEFORE re-design was about 20 subscribers per day.
My daily average AFTER re-design soared to almost double that: 40 subscribers per day.
One more example:
Another example of a great list building funnel can be found in my latest (otherwise negative) review of Empower Network.
The other side of the coin:
I hope Linda doesn’t mind me using her blog as an example here, but that’s the price of being my reader.
Take a look at her blog:
What do you think it is about?
What is her primary conversion goal (i.e. what does she want her visitors to actually do?)
I had to actually ask her what it was since I couldn’t quite figure it out.
Turned out Linda is an owner of a chalet in the area and her primary conversion goal is to fill it with guests.
You see that tag in her navigation menu that says “Australian Holiday Chalet”?
That’s the only mention of it from what I can see.
TRAFFIC ≠ INCOME. CONVERSIONS = INCOME.
How’s your conversion funnel?
Got some work to do?
Add it to your “must do” list today.
And here’s a little help along the way: my traffic conversion 101 tutorial.
September Traffic at a Glance
Let’s see what my traffic looked like in September compared to August:
Looks like I got a nice 20% cut in traffic.
Quantity has definitely gone down.
However, quality has come up – more page visit, lower bounce rate, etc.
That paired with higher subscription rates is a good sign of a healthy business.
As I analyzed which specific traffic source was the main reason for the overall drop, I couldn’t find one.
Most of my traffic sources (direct, search, and referral) went down about 20%.
I don’t really have an explanation for that.
My best guess is that blog re-design kept me away from writing as much content and engaging on social networks and with other blogs as much as I normally would.
Thumbs Up to These Blogs
I really appreciate everyone who mentioned me in any shape or form last month.
These five blogs were my top blogging referral traffic sources.
1. Nick’s Traffic Tricks
Thanks for the traffic, Nick!
2. Buzz Blogger
Post highlight: How to Create a Wildly Popular Blog
Thanks for the traffic, Kim!
3. Steve Scott Site
Thanks for the traffic, Steve!
4. Basic Blog Tips
Post highlight: Blogger Interview: Srinivas Rao of Blogcast FM
Thanks for the traffic, Ileane!
Post highlight: 50 Great Tools for Bloggers and Freelance Writers
Thanks for the traffic, Kristi!
Want to see your blog listed here?
What do you know, so do I!
Here are some ideas: 5 Ways to Get Feng Shui Links from Traffic Generation Cafe
Last Month Bottom Line
Let’s get on with the best part.
By the way, as I write this post I have no idea how much I made, so I am in anticipation as much as you are.
Note: these are all paid earnings, meaning I might’ve actually made those sales in the previous month(s), but got paid for them just before publishing this income report.
My September Income
Here are my income sources for the past month:
- Ryan Deiss’s Digital Marketer’s Lab – $415
- CommentLuv – $262
- TweetAdder – $220
- WPSubscribers Plugin – $59
- Thesis Theme – $58
- Aweber – $51
- Internet Business Mastery – $33
- Kristi Johnson: Blog Post Promotion – $10
Difference from August: -$843
My September Expenses
Posting gross income doesn’t really do us any good – what if my expenses put me in the red no matter how much money I made in the previous month?
With that in mind, let’s see how much running Traffic Generation Cafe cost me:
Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links to the products I love and use for my own business.
I appreciate your patronage, should you choose to purchase any of them through me.
NET INCOME: $979
And so the saga for better blogging income continues…
There’s no such thing as free bacon.
Making money blogging is entirely possible, as I was surprised to learn from my own experience.
Just takes time, determination, and a lot of work.
PS Just did a complete overhaul of my Internet Marketing Toolbox page.
Would love to know what you think – especially the images.
PPS If you haven’t started building your list yet, let me tell you – you are missing out big time.
Start Your Own Email Marketing List for Only $1.00
My list is the number one reason I make the money I make with this blog and have such an engaged readership.
Aweber is the best email autoresponder I have even used, and I am not the only one. Many A-list bloggers I know also use it for their businesses.
All the features I just mentioned are just one tiny example of what you can do to improve your email marketing with Aweber.
Aweber offers a $1 trial month for all new customers. You’ll have access to all features a paid account is entitled to: unlimited lists, email campaigns, automatic follow-ups, broadcasts, and many, many more.
If after 30 days you don’t like them, just let them know and Aweber will give you your $1 back. Guaranteed.
Image credit: Photo by Aleksey & Marina