Slacking on these income reports, both intentionally and unintentionally. I realized after publishing the first income report from my first month blogging, that focusing on the income right now was a distraction from cranking out my plan. The traction I want is going to take a couple more months since I didn’t have my platform finished when I launched the blog. I also let it sit when I was on a snowmobiling trip earlier in the year without new/scheduled content being published, and knew I needed to make up for it.
Income dropped as expected the last two months, since most of my initial success (financially speaking) wasn’t from blog traffic itself (I didn’t have enough posts up, and they hadn’t had enough time to marinate a bit either), but from supplemental traffic on third party platforms like YouTube. I was practicing for months making videos to myself in order to get comfortable on camera, and decided to upload a bunch of them to get over my desire to make everything perfect. (this has stopped me in the past as well… I want everything to be a certain way before I “ship it” per-say, which hampers rapid progress)
I also decided that during the second month when I wrote content for blog posts, I’d also create a video to embed in some of the posts. This helped drive traffic and affiliate sales (most didn’t even hit the blog) while my domain has a chance to get situated. This would be expedited A LOT if I were doing some offsite marketing and link building, but I’ve chosen to try things the natural way for once. (so far it sucks! lol)
Clever Blog Income Report #3 – My 3rd Month Blogging
There are probably a few accounts with commish unaccounted for, but I’m not gonna waste time pulling a bunch of reports from different affiliate programs right now. For instance, last month I didn’t even see the Namesilo emails (they were in my spam folder)… It’s only a few bucks here and there, but to give you an idea of what’s going on here’s a couple monthly reports. Once the monthly income is over $500/mo consistently, I’ll get a lot more methodical about it.
Affiliate Income Streams
Passive Income Streams
Youtube Ad Revenue: around $9 (Adsense)
Total Income For March 2016: $77.88
Overall my blog income dropped for the month as expected. Once I saw that my actual blog wasn’t driving the majority of the action yet in month one, I knew I had to get busy on a content production plan that would drive more traction to the blog, by creating much more value. The trouble is, it’s going to take a couple of months to implement and roll this out, and this is something I should’ve had prepared before I started, and stuck to religiously from day one.
It was easy to come up with these ideas, simply by asking and answering better questions: What do I know well that can help people? What is the most valuable thing I can offer other related to the topic at hand, that I can create right now? When I look around at other blogs, and ignore the content but watch the comments, what’s the one thing people keep asking for help with/want to know more in depth info about/are still searching for even after gaining insights elsewhere (i.e.- their need is not fully solved – even if only information based!)… that I can help with? Which one’s either save people time, frustration, agony, or provide something of value?
For me, this is likely website and blogging tutorials, and helpful content as blog posts based on my life experience/solving my own problems in the past (I’m still hesitant to do this, a lot is health oriented, and I should really start a health site like Clever Health to house all of these, but I don’t want to spread myself too thin on multiple properties before gaining traction to make one self sustainable whilst building another top tier asset… niche sites don’t apply here). I’m going to test the waters a bit with some unrelated content which I’ll mention below, my only concern is topical relevance throughout the site… But in the long run, it should be perfect for my grand vision, so I’ll prob just let it ride. (I never have done things in the traditional way, so fuck it lol)
So Where Did These Earnings Come From & Takeaways You Can Use For Yourself
Affiliate income came primarily from YouTube video traffic, and trickles of long tails to a few blog posts. I haven’t made a video about this yet since I’ve been slaving away behind the scenes, but here’s a video that whcih covers the same thing:
Not much to tell here since there wasn’t much to report. I can tell from a quick glance at my Google Search Console that my domain hasn’t had enough marination time to get situated yet, since my blog posts aren’t getting trickles of ultra long tail traffic like they should. I’m trying my damnedest not to manipulate this (I started this blog with the intentions of doing zero SEO, aside from social profiles and testing over-optimizing the shit out of my on-page here and there 😉 ) in any way, so it’s gonna need one of two things: time or links.
Takeaways from the first couple of months blogging you can use: stop focusing in income, analytics, and bullshit time wasters. Instead focus on production. There’s really no reason to look at analytics in the first 6 months unless you launched with a list or industry contacts that are either going to mail for you, blog about you, etc… or if you have existing traffic on another web property that would even create a situation you need to analyze in order to improve or scale up. Otherwise than that, it should be head down focusing on rolling out your content plan/calendar.
Change Of Focus This Month
Instead of grabbing some more low hanging fruit to add minuscule bits of income, I saw really quickly that I needed to shift gears and start focusing on my major value adds. Moreover, instead of chasing long tail traffic with high buyer intent while my domain has a chance to gain some trust, in the long run it’ll be more fruitful and have more impact on a larger group of people if I go ahead and create my highest value free offering. For me, right now, this is my tutorial section, where I show aspiring website owners how to setup different types of websites to suit their ambitions. Over the last 6 years of my online journey, both affiliate and local services, I’ve had tons of experience with products and services that include website builders, software, marketing tools (SAAS), hosting companies, etc… It will be very easy for me to put together tutorials that will help people save tons of time and frustration in these areas.
That isn’t the overall goal of clever leverage, just one small piece of the value bank. The idea is to create a massive resource bank of 50 – 100 tutorials that will help a wide variety of people with a very specific task or result. The motivation to create this comes from two things: 1) when I first thought of entering the blogging space but sat on my ass 2 years ago, the amount of bullshit screenshot tutorials web hosting affiliates have just to drop a cookie is ridiculous. Why do I care? Because I was that guy once (about 8 years ago or so when I was doing construction and had no computer experience whatsoever!), that got suckered in to signing up for good services, but poorly advised after the fact. I quickly became frustrated and “stuck” without in depth guidance. Sure, there are a ton of drag and drop website builders out there these days, but I believe it’s still valuable for people who want to learn how to do things themselves. It also seems like everyone and their mother wants to use WordPress these days (prob because it’s free for one, and has tons of plugins for two), which is something I know really well from having automated affiliate sites deployed on the wordpress platform many years ago. And 2) when I tried to build my first website, I got suckered in to a program called Site Build It. It was $300 for one year of a domain name and a “website builder” (really just an html editor LOL), and I STILL couldn’t get it to work right for me! If the blog or website I was reading that caused me to signup for that service in the first place, had put out some in depth tutorials, I would have had a much better experience and cut down on my time to plane time immensely. I also wouldn’t have picked a god awful domain name if I’d had some guidance either! (I think stress-anxiety-killer.com was my first website. Oh yes, ALL of those dashes! lol 🙂 )
So, I’d like to create that for other people. Most people these days are all about WordPress, and I like WordPress for most things (although a bit limited for ecommerce and other types of database sites), so I’ve chosen to roll everything out using that platform. (also because it’s a free open source CMS that’s well supported… even if it has some bloatware, it’s good for people getting their feet wet)
Personal Growth This Month
I did my first breathe-work session last weekend, and the experience was pretty intense. I’ve been pondering many directions I could take this blog, my message, and what I stand for, and got some interesting insights in that regard. Call it airy fairy or whatever you’d like (hey I’m with you to a point!) but there’s something to be said about altered states of consciousness and the intuition you can tap into when in them.
I realized I don’t have a core message defined, and had been avoiding finalizing it because I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted something all encompassing for my grand vision of topics covered here on Clever Leverage. (income, investing, maintaining health, lifestyle, product reviews, etc..) Now I’m going to pick what came to me and get behind it, knowing I can change the core message and direction at any time later on. This is still a fear point for me, not sure why. Stagnation is the death of momentum.
What I stand for is that people do not have to settle for mediocre lives working away as slaves, as a cog on a wheel. Running home to escape to the couch to get lost in your favorite show is only prolonging the inevitable. Everyone has the opportunity with something they connect with in life, and to incorporate passion back into their daily lifestyle. I myself have struggled at times figuring out how to incorporate my job/business/whatever into the lifestyle I want to lead.
So, sticking with the value bank of tutorials I’m working on creating now, I chose:
“I help people get going online, so they can share their gift with the world”
The internet is one of the most leverage-able assets we all have at our disposal, that provides us with the opportunity to connect with millions of people. This is only going to increase, and if I can expedite that process for many so they don’t have to struggle like I did, mission accomplished.
I have chosen to monetize right now via affiliates, but only for products and services they were going to buy anyway. There won’t be any upsell bullshit, or recommending paid services when free will do just fine. Later I’ll create paid courses and books covering my specialties in local marketing, affiliate marketing, and blogging, but I want to prove the model my new way first, and also build a value bank before selling my own products here.
My Biggest Struggles In My Third Month Blogging
- Consistency – Publishing as often as I should, and chipping away at my grand vision has been a bitch. I need to practice changing my story in this regard, and make it easier on me.
- No Results – I hate not seeing results. I like and often need to see just a little bit of success for a boost in motivation and creativity for my grand vision.
- Idea Machine – my brain is an idea machine… I constantly have great ideas, but I need to execute more and say no to more ideas. With 542 draft posts sitting in my dashboard, the message is clear.
- Content Production Schedule – I had an idea long ago for a content plan/schedule, whereby I figured out a way to make producing content with a weekly theme more fun. I came up with something like Horse Tip Tuesdays, where I’d where a horse mask and do Q&A, Tutorial Tuesdays, etc… I should’ve incorporated this into by publishing schedule from day 1 in order to accomplish two things: 1) stop the overwhelm, as I have a tendency to go balls to the wall for a short while and get burnt out, and 2) establish a consistent theme, so daily discipline is that much easier and clearly defined ahead of time.
Popular Posts Of The Month:
- I Found The Best Mountain Bike Under $200! (And what I miss going from a Cannondale full suspension to a hardtail)
- GoPro Hero 4 Session Review: Do Not Buy If You Want To Use It In Cold Weather!
- My Final Review Of The Merax Finiss Mountain Bike (after 5 months of riding)
- Natural Calm Magnesium Review: Benefits & Side Effects
- BlueHost VS The Top Hosting Companies (my take from reviewing over 30 web hosting companies)
- The 5 Best 800 Number Phone Services For Small Businesses (especially for advertising!)
- The Top 7 Best Inexpensive Vlogging Cameras For YouTubers
- Clever Blog Income Report #1 – March 2016 Income From My First Month Blogging
- I Tried The Joe Rogan Kale Shake With A Clever Twist (Smoothie Recipe)
- Which Juicer Is The Best: The Top 3 Juicers On The Market In 2016
Top Questions Of The Month:
- What is the best blogging platform for beginners?
- What web host should I use for my first blog website?
- What are the must have wordpress plugins for beginner bloggers?
- Should I start a niche site, or a lifestyle blog?
- How can I get over my tendency for perfection, and be more disciplined with my blog?
Well I think I’d like to do a little bit of a test between establishing topical relevancy with a given topic on an unrelated site (this one), and starting a niche site from scratch. I haven’t had what I’d consider a “niche site” (an organic CPS affiliate site basically) since around 2013’ish, and I’d like to see what’s changed in today’s game. The main theme I’m seeing in a lot of my competitive research, is that silos don’t matter as much as everyone and their mother says they do… And topical relevancy is huge, and an often ignored part of the equation for the amount of gravity associated with it. Sure you can find cases where domain authority/trust trumps all, and disprove this altogether, but for a brand new branded domain, with zero history, I want to see what happens when you start a niche site from scratch, compared to a new content “silo” on en existing, unrelated site. (my personal opinion is that silos don’t matter that much, unless you’re talking about a static resource that’s setup in a tiered manner… making it easier for users to navigate, and also gaining a breadcrumb linking benefit from deep linking. If most people put as much effort into site content as they did site architecture for “quick wins” they’d get much better results. I.E. – it matters, but only when you have good shit to begin with. If you start with nothing, good shit before good architecture!)
Toward the end of this month and next month, I’ll likely get this going and see what happens. I’m going to have to do a couple funky things around Clever Leverage in order to do this (have a few weird unrelated topics, a couple of times… One set without any supported relevant content, and one set or two with 4-5 related off topic articles), which will throw a few things off, but overall I like the variety of testing. I’ll probably back date these, so they won’t cause increased confusion in the recently published navigation. I already started planting the seeds for this, albeit untargeted/slightly unintentional in nature, with a few things I’m knowledgeable about like atv riding and mountain biking: Ala what’s the best slip on exhaust for a Suzuki LTZ 400, and the best mountain bikes under $200 – $300. It would be fun to see how these do compared to niche sites, so I may use these as a catalyst for choosing topics instead of picking something out of the blue.
There’s also the aspect of passive income… The majority of blogging has nothing to do with passive income, despite what the latest and greatest blogging course tell you. LOL If anything, it’s the exact opposite! There are however, a couple avenues I’d like to explore more, including Youtube ad revenue (albeit minuscule), since it requires no additional effort on my part once uploaded, and online courses on platforms such as Udemy and Skillshare. I’ll have to research this a bit more to see what the TOS is regarding related courses being free, as my intention is to make most of my tutorials free in the how to section on this blog, and is more important than a few hundred bucks a month I might make on those platforms.
Comment below and let me know what you’d like to see next, and how I can make these reports more useful! I want to do a better job at including helpful tips and tricks that I might forget about unless you asked me about them! I’m also starting a weekly Q&A, so if there’s something you’d like me to cover, ask your question on the QOTW page.