Hey peeps I hope you’ve all had a great Easter break, I can’t believe that we’re halfway through April already, this month is flying by so fast.
Just over a week ago I decided to take a break from blogging to spend some quality time with my family, anyway I’m happy to be back feeling totally refreshed of course, and this past week I’ve been catching up with some serious emails.
OK, so two awesome things happened during the month of March, my little girl celebrated her 2nd birthday and I couldn’t be more proud of the little lady. My heart melts every single time I see her big fuzzy head bobbing around the corner calling for her daddy.
The other awesome thing that happened was that this blog celebrated it’s 1st birthday, which as on the 23rd of March.
The last 12 months has been a real blast, sure there have been ups and downs, but I couldn’t be more happier with the progress I’ve made with this blog in that time.
It’s so easy to be critical about your own progress I think, until we sit down and evaluate things properly. Here’s my deal peeps:
I’m a full-time dad of two amazing little peeps, so I spend most of my time with them gladly, during the day it’s all about having a ton of fun, going to the park, going to the beach, playgroups, doing “the baking thing”, making a mess with painting and watching Disney movies.
I know how important it is for me to spend this time with them now, because I won’t get another chance later.
So as you’ve probably guessed, right now I don’t have a great deal of time to spend working on my blog, especially during the day, I do check up on emails now and again, but that’s about it.
The evenings is when I really come alive, that’s when I have the time to focus on working on my blog, writing blog posts and networking etc, yep… when I’m completely worn out from spending the day with my kids 🙂
If you’re wondering how much time do I actually spend blogging: 5 hours each evening, 5 days per week.
I really don’t need any more than that to be honest. My three year old son is starting nursery school in September so I’ll probably shift some of my work to take place during the day.
Anyway, needless to say I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made so far considering how busy I am as a dad.
OK enough ranting and chanting, let’s get to this post already.
I thought I’d put together an in-depth review post of the last 12 months. I really want to share with you some of the best moments and not so best moments of my blogging career with Magnet4Blogging in the last 365 days.
I also want to share with you some of the milestones I’ve been able to reach, the mistakes I’ve made, statistics including traffic, and of course my first year’s income report – that’s money I’ve made just with this blog alone in the last 12 months.
OK so let’s begin…
Magnet4Blogging was a fresh start…
You know, after I somewhat failed with my first blog, I took a 3-month break from blogging as some of you may already know.
During that break I thought long and hard about what path to take next, and I actually thought that perhaps blogging wasn’t really for me. Yep, I considered packing it all in and giving up!
It wasn’t until I reached out to a few blogging colleagues that I became well acquainted with at the time, left a few comments on some blogs, just networked with some good people, that I soon realised just how much I loved blogging and being part of an online community.
How this blog really got started
Way back in 2013 I purchased the domain name Magnet4Blogging.net (I wish I’d bought Magnet4Blogging.com instead), I had no intention of using it, I only purchased it to create a web hosting installation tutorial video at the time. You can check it out here.
So after giving up on my first blog and taking a 3-month break in early 2014, I thought about all the experiences and the knowledge that I gained with running Magnet4Marketing for almost 4 years.
I thought about all the awesome people I had made a connection with, the skills I had developed, and how it would all be a complete and shameless waste if I didn’t give ‘the blogging thing’ another try at least.
So on March 24th 2014, I made the whole-hearted decision to get back into blogging and start writing again.
The first post I wrote was published on my new blog on the 24th March, which actually happened to be a detailed written account of how Google Penguin destroyed my first blog, and how I was starting over. Here’s the link to that post if you’re interested in reading it later.
Blogging goals for the first year?
As this blog was a fresh start for me, I didn’t really have that many goals set at the time, I think I had a couple at most.
The first was to just focus on creating some great all-round content for the blog.
The second, was to promote each post the best I could.
Note how I didn’t think about networking or building a community at the time, that came later on, almost 7 months after starting the blog.
Starting over and my thoughts on SEO and Google?
One thing I did tell myself when I started over with this blog was that I wasn’t going to pay too much attention to SEO, or use up my valuable time chasing after backlinks, they were then and still are the least most important process of building and marketing my blog.
I know what you’re thinking: “What? Backlinks and SEO is IMPORTANT, what are you talking about Fabrizio”.
Sure they are, I know how important they are, but I wasn’t going to spend my time chasing or building backlinks, or writing content to please Google for that matter.
These days I let ‘the backlinking thing’ happen naturally, when people decide that my posts are worthy of a mention on their blogs. So all my focus was honed in on creating useful, valuable, actionable, problem solving content for my blog, and I did just that.
Interesting blog and social stats
Before I dive into my blog’s first annual traffic and income report in greater detail, let’s first look at some interesting stats both for the blog and social media. I also want to share with you some of the things that has changed in the last 12 months.
Number of posts published: 131 (including this one)
Number of comments received: 600+
Average comments per post: 5
Blogging achievements in my first year of blogging
Over the last 12 months I was able to achieve some amazing things with my blog, here are just some of those things I’m proud about the most.
- Created the near perfect strategy for building my email list like never before. Read more here.
- Launched my web and graphics design services. Read more here.
- Launched my “Blog Traffic Without Google” eBook. Get it here.
- Connected with so many new influencers in my niche through blog commenting.
What has changed in the last 12 months?
A lot has changed in such a short time, my style of writing for one thing, to the types of posts I create, from the number of comments I now leave on other blogs to the design and layout of my blog, and to my posting frequency.
I won’d dive into all of these elements, just the ones that has been really noticeable.
Posting Frequency – In the last 12 months I was able to write and publish 131 blog posts, that’s quite a few in my mind and I’m happy with that number.
I started off this blog with posting 3 times per week, however, at the turn of 2015 I made the decision to reduce my posting frequency to just 1, and very occasionally 2 posts per week.
Because I really wanted to focus on providing better quality and value, and the only way I could do that was if I had more time to spend crafting each post properly.
Also there’s the marketing and promotion factor to bare in mind.
Posting too frequently meant that I would have less time to focus on promoting each blog post properly. I needed to give my readers more time to read, digest, share and engage with my content, before providing them with new stuff.
Blog Development / Design – Since the start of this blog, the site has undergone several facelifts, let’s take a look at these below, it’s always fun to isn’t it?
Above: This was indeed the very first look for the blog. The branding style was taken from my old blog Magnet4Marketing. At the time, I loved the red and green contrasts, and with Magnet4Marketing I carried that design and style for almost a year.
The theme I was using at the time is called the Outreach Pro theme by StudioPress, you can find that theme here (aff).
Above: In June 2014 I decided to completely rebrand and redesign the blog. I stuck with the same Outreach Pro theme as before for this. This was what I came up with.
Although the homepage is not a custom design, I was able to place a call-to-action at the top of the page using a large clickable PNG image. This took visitors to my email opt-in page. It was then that I started to notice a slight increase in opt-ins.
I did away with the categories menu and decided to just use a main menu, and I also introduced HelloBar into the site for the first time.
Above: In January 2015 I once again went back to the drawing board to come up with a new and fully customised blog homepage design, based on the previous default concept, and this is what I came up with.
To achieve this look I used the awesome Thrive Content Builder plugin to help me build the page.
Colour wise, I stayed with the sea-green for the new logo and parts of the background, however and I decided to use a more vibrant orange than the previous flat orange I was using.
Despite the site looking much cleaner and a lot more professional. Despite the homepage converting much better than it ever was before, and despite getting a lot of positive feedback from YOU my readers, I still wasn’t quite happy with it.
Above: In late February and into early March I made a few more design tweaks to the homepage, including creating a new logo entirely.
I also changed some of the graphic elements on the page. I replaced the Featured Services icons with custom content boxes. I moved the logo to the centre beneath the menu, and just like that, I sat back in my chair and thought, that’s it! That’s the look.
I’d hit a Grand slam!
I should also mention that I also switched themes there and then, from previously using Genesis with the Outreach Pro theme I mentioned earlier, to now using Thrive themes with a customised Focus Blog Theme, you can find that theme here (aff).
Switching themes wasn’t an easy decision to make. I’ve been using Genesis for over 4 years. Genesis is still probably the most powerful and most advanced premium quality theme framework available for WordPress without a doubt.
However the problem I had was this…
It just seemed that everyone was now using the same theme, and standing out with a theme that’s being used by a million other bloggers… well, I had to change things up.
So folks, yes! What you see now is the final homepage design, I’m very pleased to say that I won’t be changing it for a long while yet, or the rest of the blog for that matter… (I hope). I’m truly happy with it. I guess these things take time to get right huh?
By the way, since I got a lot of positive feedback with my blog homepage design, I decided to start providing this as a service. I really enjoyed building my homepage and a few for one or two of my friends as well. If you’re at all interested in getting your blog’s homepage professionally revamped, check out this page to see how I can help you.
Hairstyles – I must have gone through a dozen different hair styles in the last 12 months, from having straight relaxed hair, to a shaven head, to a funky cool mini afro… But still no grey hairs yet!
Most Popular Posts Of The Last 12 Months
OK so now I want to share with you the 10 most popular blog posts of the last 12 months (these are popular by number of comments).
I will say that some of these posts are currently in the process of being updated.
- One Blind Blogger, One Book, One Huge Inspiration: Meet Maxwell Ivey
- How I Quadrupled My Email Subscribers With These 5 Powerful Tactics
- Pick Of The Month: November 2014
- 19 Must-Use Tools For Running Your WordPress Blog Like A Pro
- Bloggers: Stop Taking On More Than You Can Chew, Really Stop It!
- Let The Engagement Superstar Teach You How To Build A Blog Community
- 9 Reasons Why Starting A Blog In 2015 Might Not Be Such A Good Idea!
- 3 Challenges That Comes With Writing eBook Sized Blog Posts
- Blogging Frequency: 3 Reasons Why Blogging Less Makes Perfect Sense
- How To Create Eye-Catching Featured Images For Your Blog Posts
Traffic Report March 2014 to March 2015
OK so we finally get to the traffic stats for the year. Once again I’ll remind you that I’m sharing with you just the traffic for this blog.
Traffic has been steadily increasing over the last 12 months. It took a bit of a nose dive over the Christmas holidays as expected, but it slowly climbed up again over the last three months.
I kind of clenched my teeth when Google rolled out Penguin update 3.0 late last year I must admit, I didn’t really know what to expect, especially having experienced first hand how an algorithm update can quickly change everything overnight. But as it turned out, traffic increased ever so slightly, I was happy about that.
OK so here’s a quick overview of the traffic stats for the last 12 months for this blog. In brackets I’ve included the traffic for the last 3 months.
Total sessions: 23,676 (9,118 in last 3 months)
Total users: 18,038 (7,075 in last 3 months)
Toal page views: 41,267 (16,435 in last 3 months)
Average time on site: 2:27 (2:34 in last 3 months)
Bounce rate for year: 72.44% (71.07% in last 3 months)
Now let me share with you some of these numbers in greater detail. Check out the screen grab below.
Above: As you can see overall traffic has been increasing steadily. You can see the dip in late December and early January I was talking about earlier. I also took a little while to get back into the swing of things just after the festive period, which meant that I wasn’t really writing very many posts.
Above: Here again you can see that organic traffic dominates my top sources. Remember, I don’t pay a great deal of attention to SEO or optimise my posts at all in most cases, so I think that’s not too bad going considering these factors.
If you want to know what SEO plugins I use for my blog, check out this video below.
[responsive_video type=’youtube’ hide_related=’1′ hide_logo=’1′ hide_controls=’1′ hide_title=’1′ hide_fullscreen=’1′ autoplay=’0′]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ap8Nd4NBXys[/responsive_video]
Above: Here you will see that Facebook was the 3rd biggest traffic provider for the year, not too shabby considering all I do is post links to my latest blog posts and do very little engaging on the site. For a while I did invest quite a bit of time and money in building my fan base, but that’s on hold at the moment.
Twitter and Google+ has been far more effective for me, as the number of new users to my site outnumber new users from Facebook.
Income Report March 2014 to March 2015
OK so finally, finally, finally… Below is a list of the income streams that I’ve created using the blog. Most of these are through promoting various affiliate products and services that I’ve used.
Before we start to take a look at each one of them, here’s my little disclaimer:
Disclaimer: The following income report below may contain affiliate links, where upon if you click on them and make a purchase, I will be paid a small commission, at no additional charge to you. It literally doesn’t cost you anymore to use my links, however you’re not obliged to use them. If you do happen to use them and make a purchase of any product or service I’m recommending below, I’d like to thank you for your support, I appreciate you.
In brackets is the income generated in the last 3 months or Quarter 1 of 2015.
Dreamhost Web Hosting – $5.97
Genesis Framework – $244.86 (Review of Genesis)
Genesis Design Palette Pro – $39.20 ($39.20) (Review of GDP)
Genesis Dynamix Website Builder – $95.60
Elegant Themes – $44.40 (Black Friday promotion)
Thrive Content Builder – $299.00 ($110.80) (Review of TCB)
Thrive Landing Pages – $75.00 (Rapid Landing Page Building Course)
Thrive Leads – $382.50.00 ($382.50) (Thrive Leads walkthrough video)
SEOPressor5 – $78.64 ($45.86) (SEOPressor VS Yoast SEO post)
Bluehost – $0.00 (No sales or review yet)
Moonfruit Website Builder $121.45 ($23.56) (Moonfruit review post)
PremiumPress Themes $52.50 ($23.77) (PremiumPress review post)
Amazon Associates Program $7.12 ($5.97) (Top Blogging books post)
Better Links Pro – $16.20 ($16.20) (Better Links review post)
Build A Blog Community – $0.00 (No sales yet)
Google AdSense – $35.48 ($10.39)
Graphic Design Services $70 ($70)
WordPress Consultation And Website Design Services $440 ($70)
Gross Total Income: $2,007.92 ($798.25 in last 3 months)
Before we get to the huge expense list, I just want to say a few things about this income report.
This earnings report is far from being impressive I realise that. There are 1 year old blogs out there that are probably earning that kind of money on a monthly basis already, but I’m happy with this report for now.
The biggest income generator, and most very recently too, is from Thrive. I’ve put a lot of work in promoting Thrive products in the last 12 months.
I have detailed review posts for Thrive Themes, Leads, Content Builder and Landing Pages on this blog, including a good few tutorial posts, a promo page for the Rapid Landing Pages Builder Course, several tutorial and walkthrough videos, an infographic and affiliate links included in my free traffic eBook.
I also have some very unique and legitimate ideas for increasing passive income from this stream in the next few months, so it will be interesting to see what happens.
Here’s a screen shot of my total earnings for promoting Thrive products in the last 12 months. As I said, most of that income has been created just recently.
Bluehost, although I’ve been using for such a long time, and have been an affiliate for almost 5 years now, to date I’ve still only managed to earn a total of $195 using their affiliate program. I’m still yet to make any income from promoting Bluehost on this blog.
Why could this be?
Several reasons, for starters it could be because I rarely display any Bluehost affiliate banners on my blog, now and again maybe when I’m feeling in the mood, but 75% of the time I don’t use them.
Second reason; the more popular a product or service is (like Bluehost), the more people there will be trying to promote the heck out of it, which means the harder it will be to make money from that source. There are literally hundreds of Bluehost review articles on the web, it would be pointless for me to just add to the noise of that.
Once again, I do have some unique ideas for boosting Bluehost affiliate income for the future so we’ll just have to wait and see again.
OK so let’s get to the expense report… Gulp!
Once again expenses for the last 3 months or Quarter 1 are placed in brackets.
Web hosting and domain renewals with
Bluehost $548.79 ($105.00)
BlogVault WordPress Backup $119.40 ($27.00)
Akismet $60 ($15.00)
WebMeUp (April to May 2014) $57
Positionly (October to December 2014) $57
Thrive CTB / Agency Licence (Annual Fee) $216.00 ($216.00)
EasyAzon 4 Developer License $37 (Purchased during launch week) ($37)
Build A Blog Community Course $47
Net Expense: $1,085.19 ($400.00 in the last 3 months)
In addition to those expenses above, I’ve also invested some of my own money into the blog. I spent a great deal of money on hardware and software upgrades, and various other useful tools. Here’s the list below.
MacBook Air $1,269 (Amazon Link)
iMac 21″ $1,343 (Amazon Link)
Samsung M3 Portable Hard Drive 1TB $100 (Amazon Link)
Affinity Designer for Mac $58 ($58)
Skype Subscription $100 per year ($16.00)
Screencast-O-Matic (Annual Fee) $15 per year ($15)
Net Investment: $2,885.00 ($89.00 in the last 3 months)
Net Total: -$1,962.27 (+$309.25 in the last 3 months)
OK, I know the objective with any online business is to make money not lose it, but I’m actually smiling right now because I’m happy!
I’m very happy with the progress I’ve made so far with this blog, and the investments that I made in the last 12 months was much needed.
So in the last 3 months I have made a small profit of $309.25, it’s a small but positive step in the right direction. I’m happy 🙂
I will continue to invest money into the blog in the future too, not so much on hardware, but certainly on software and other various tools when needed. I’m a great believer in investing for increasing returns, and I know the income from this blog will steadily grow in time.
Blogging Goals For 2nd Quarter Of 2015
I’m kind of on track with the primary goals that I set myself at the beginning of this year, but here are my goals for the second quarter of 2015.
1. Write and publish a total of 12 blog posts, that’s 4 per month continuing on 1 post per week. In between writing new posts, I have two other duties to complete within the next 2.5 months.
- I have a lot of content on this blog that needs updating, posts and pages too.
- I have to finish writing and editing my new eBook for launch on the 4th of May.
2. Launch my new podcast, with the first episode going live on the 4th of May.
3. Record and publish a total of 6 YouTube videos
4. Create and publish 2 infographic.
5. Continue strengthening relationships with my audience, growing my list and connecting with new people both in my niche and outside.
6. Promote my WordPress and graphic design services.
So there you go troops, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading through my first year of blogging income, traffic and progress report, I just hope that it has inspired you in some small way to keep striving with your own blog, especially if you’re just starting out yourself.
I’ve tried to be as transparent and honest as possible about my blog stats and earnings here, if you have a question you’d like to ask me please leave me a comment below or email me.
It’s not at all easy building an online business through blogging, regardless of what you’ve read or what you’ve heard anyone say otherwise, it’s darn well hard, and if you have a limited amount of time on your hands, it’s even harder.
If you haven’t started your blog and really want to make a go of it, I created this special page just for you, so check it out.
Special Thanks To…
Before I sign off for good, I want to mention a few names of some of the bloggers that have both influenced and inspired me in the last 12 months. These peeps have also been kind enough to mention me several times on their blogs throughout the year. If you don’t already follow any of them, now’s the time.
Special thanks to all my 300 email subscribers, you know who you are, each and every one of you, I appreciate you!
Special thanks to:
Adrienne Smith, a great friend, passionate lady blogger and creator of an amazing community building course which I found very useful, practical and beneficial.
Ryan Biddulph, a face I’ve seen around the blogosphere for a good few years now, who is currently crushing it and inspiring us all blogging from paradise and living the dream, living proof of what can be achieved with smart blogging.
Sylviane Nuccio, recently connected but already have gotten a lot of value from reading her blog.
Enstine Muki for featuring me on his blog, and sharing valuable and super resourceful content on his blog.
Maxwell Ivey, aka the blind blogger, for showing the blogging and entrepreneurial world what can be achieved with passion and determination, regardless of the obstacles life throws at us.
Sue Anne who writes at Successful Blogging and who also mentioned me in an experts roundup post, truly appreciated.
Share Your Report
I’d love to hear some of your thoughts and read some of your comments below, I’d also love to hear how you’re doing with your own blogging business too. If you’ve recently published a report yourself, please feel free to leave a link to it in the comment section below so that I can check it out.
Until next time peeps, happy blogging, keep working hard and stay safe.
Speak soon, your blogging friend – Fabrizio