This is a detailed breakdown report of the traffic and income I was able to generate from Magnet4Blogging in 2015—the first year of successfully monetizing my blog.
Hey everyone, Fabrizio here, and I hope you've all had an amazing Easter break - If you celebrate it, of course.
I honestly can't believe that we're halfway through April already. It feels as if Christmas was just around the corner.
Of course, if you're reading this post way into the future, maybe like in 2020 or 2021, then it doesn't matter what time of the year it is that you're reading this.
I decided to create this post for several reasons -
OK, let's begin -
Just over a month ago (March 2015), I decided to take a break from blogging to spend some much-needed time with my family.
In all honesty, I just needed a break from the 'same-old' routine.
Anyhow, I'm happy to be back feeling somewhat refreshed and motivated to continue on my blogging venture.
This past week, I've been going all-out sorting my email inbox, which had piled up something crazy, like 14,000 emails.
I have several email accounts, by the way, one for each business that I have.
Two wonderful things happened during March; My little girl, Lily Van Marciano, celebrated her 2nd birthday, and I couldn't be more proud of the little lady.
The other awesome thing that happened was this blog celebrated its 1st birthday, which I believe was on the 23rd of March!
I say the first birthday but I actually purchased this domain in 2013, but I didn't really do anything with it until March of 2014.
The last 12 months have been a real blast, I can tell you. Of course, there have been ups and downs, as was expected. But I couldn't be happier with the progress I've been able to make in such a short time, especially after failing miserably with my first blog.
Of course, I have YOU to thank for much of my progress. Without you being my reader, subscriber, and friend, none of what I have achieved so far would have been possible - so again, thank you!
It's so easy to be over-critical about your progress, I think, and until you actually sit down and evaluate the things you've been able to achieve, then you should never beat yourself up or feel as if you're not doing enough. Unless, of course, you really are not doing enough.
You know, after I failed with my first blog (Magnet4Marketing), I took a 3-month break from blogging entirely (Around January 2014).
If you've been following my online journey from the very beginning (2010), you may already know this.
During my break, I thought long and hard about what path I would take next, and I actually considered the idea that blogging or online business just wasn't for me.
Yep, I considered that it was time to give up. I mean, I gave it the best shot and dedicated three whole years of my life to blogging, right?
So, why didn't I just quit?
Well, it wasn't until I reached out to a few of my blogging friends that I realized just how much I loved blogging and that I wasn't alone.
I spoke to my wife Samantha (Girlfriend at the time), and she reminded me that now was the perfect time to start over. I was a lot more experienced, knowledgable, and I knew what I had to do and what I had to avoid doing.
So, instead of ending my blogging journey there, and then in 2013, I decided to give it another go and launched Magnet4Blogging properly in 2014 with my first post.
Like I said, back in 2013, I purchased the domain name Magnet4Blogging.net. But I had no intention of using it. I only purchased the domain to create a WordPress and web hosting installation video tutorial at the time.
But, on March 24th, 2014, I made the whole-hearted decision to get back into blogging and start writing again.
I can't begin to tell you how motivated and excited I was about it. In fact, I was more excited than when I first started blogging.
I decided to use the Magnet4Blogging domain, and the first post I wrote for this blog was titled Starting Over After Google Penguin Destroyed My First Blog. You can read it here when you get some time if you like.
So, let me start by explaining what my blogging goals were for the first year.
The two main areas that I wanted to focus on were -
The content creation part was my main focus, I really wanted to put out some BIG, powerful, and useful pillar articles on my blog.
I made some silly mistakes with my SEO and backlink building strategy in the past, I wasn't going to do the same this time around.
I decided to leave building backlinks well alone, and at the time of updating this post in September 2020, I can tell you that I've not once purposely gone out of my way to building any sort of backlinks to my blog.
Six years on almost, and my link building strategy is as simple as building zero backlinks. That's not to say I've not gained any backlinks over the years, because I have. You can read this post to learn how.
OK, so before I dive into this blog's first annual traffic and income report, let me first share with you some statistics for the blog and social media channels.
Keep in mind that most of the Twitter followers and Facebook fans I took with me from my previous blog at Magnet4Marketing.
Alexa Ranking: 957k.
Facebook Fans: 1K (The page has since been deleted and I started over with a new one here.)
Twitter Followers: 12K
Google+: 3.1K (Google+ is now dead in the water).
Feedly: 0 still...
Email Subscribers: 302
Number of posts published: 131 (including this one)
Number of comments received: 600+
Average comments per post: 5
Asides from creating better quality content and promoting it as much as I could, here are some of the other things I've been able to achieve with Magnet4Blogging, so far.
Running a blog is like running any other kind of web-based business venture, some things need to be adjusted.
I think the most notable change I've made as a blogger has to be my posting frequency.
When I was running Magnet4Marketing, I was writing and publishing content every single day, or every other day on occasions. Sometimes, though, I would write two posts per day.
Over the last 12 months, I've only been writing a few posts per week, sometimes three posts but no more than that.
Why this change in frequency?
Once again, I really wanted to focus on producing higher quality content, and the only way I could do that was if I spent more time crafting each post carefully.
Also, I learned that blogging isn't just about creating great content. It is also about getting that content seen and heard by doing marketing and promotion. Actually, creating content was just the first small piece of a larger blogging picture.
In the first 12 months of building Magnet4Blogging, I went through a short Crisis of continually changing the appearance of my blog.
The screenshot above shows what the front page looked like in the first few months. Big contrast in comparison to what it looks like today in 2020, though it took me quite some time to find something that I was finally happy with.
I should also mention that I was also very unsure about the direction I wanted to take this blog in the future. At the time, I knew I wanted to provide a range of services, but I didn't realize what any of those services would be until much later on.
The generalized WordPress theme I was using in early 2014 was called Outreach Pro theme by StudioPress. I believe the theme is still available from the StudioPress website here (Affiliate link).
In late 2014, I decided to go back to the drawing board and completely redesign and rebrand my blog from scratch. It was also the time I decided to start using a dedicated static front-page instead of just displaying blog posts on the homepage.
I figured from a conversion standpoint, this would be a better strategy to help me drive visitors to my conversion goal.
The theme I was using for the rest of the site was still the same old Outreach Pro theme.
In January of 2015, I decided to, once again, head back to the drawing board to redesign the front page completely. Providing sound and practical blogging and digital marketing advice was still a passion of mine, but I was still unsure about the services I wanted to provide and the direction I wanted to take my blogging business into.
To create a dedicated homepage for my blog, I used a plugin called Thrive Content Builder, now superseded by the excellent Thrive Architect (Affiliate link).
In June of 2015, I made a few more tweaks to the homepage design, including creating a brand new logo for Magnet4Blogging.
At this stage of my blogging business venture, I was also discovering and learning about many new WordPress website design and dev tools.
I know exactly what you're thinking - "Goodness me, how many changes did you make to the design of your blog in the first year, Fabrizio?"
It's ridiculous, I know, right? But the truth is, I was never really happy with any of the branding, style, or design I came up with and felt that I needed to chop and change things so frequently. I was actually getting tired of doing it too.
I guess this will be an ongoing process until I find a style that I actually like.
OK, so we finally, finally, get to the traffic stats for the first year of my blogging business.
Again, I'll remind you that I'm sharing with you just the traffic, income, and stats for this blog only. Let's do this -
From the very start (first post published), traffic has been increasing steadily.
The growth of the traffic took a bit of a nosedive over the Christmas holidays, as expected, but it slowly climbed back up again over the last three months as you will see in the screenshot below.
Let me be honest with you:
I did sweat a little bit when the Google Penguin update 3.0 was rolled out late last year (November 2014).
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 a few weeks after the update, and so I was happy about that.
Here's a quick overview of the traffic stats for the first 12 months. 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)
Total 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 the year: 72.44% (71.07% in last 3 months)
Now, let me talk to you about some of these numbers in more detail. Check out the screenshot below.
As you can see from the above image, overall traffic has been increasing very steadily.
You can see the dip I was talking about in late December and early January.
I also took a little while to get back into the swing of things just after the Christmas period. My motivation for writing was a bit low.
If you look at the screenshot above, you can see that organic traffic dominated my top sources. Remember what I said earlier, I don't pay a great deal of attention to SEO as much as I used to anymore.
I rarely optimize my posts for search engines, and the outcome hasn't been too bad at all.
It just goes to show that you don't really need to do much to get your content ranked. As long as your blog posts are well written, useful, compelling, informative, and all the rest of it, then that's all that really matters.
In the above image, you will see that Facebook was the 3rd largest traffic source for my blog.
OK, so, finally, finally, finally... Below is a list of the income streams that I've been able to create through Magnet4Blogging in the first year.
Most of the income come from my online product reviews.
Let's start with my affiliate disclaimer:
Earnings Disclaimer: This income report may contain affiliate links. If you click on any of these links and make a purchase of a product or service, I will be paid a small commission, at no additional charge to you. It literally doesn't cost you any more to use my links. However, you're not obliged to use them. If you do use them, I'd like to thank you for your support. I appreciate you. I also want you to know that I would never use or recommend products or services that I don't 100% trust.
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)
CobaltApps Dynamic Website Builder - $95.60
Elegant Themes - $44.40 (Black Friday promotion)
Thrive Architect - $299.00 ($110.80) (Review of TA)
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) 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) 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 I share my huge list of expenses, I just want to say a few words about the income report above.
This earnings report is far from impressive, I realize that. I also know that there are probably many 1-year old blogs out there doing a lot better than this. However, I'm happy with my progress so far. I'm in absolutely no rush to get to the level I would like to be because I'm enjoying the process so much.
My biggest driver for affiliate revenue as of this moment is Thrive Themes (Affiliate link). I do hope this trend will continue to grow with more Thrive promotions, tutorials, and reviews coming in the future. including some video tutorials.
OK, so let's now 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 Agency Licence (Annual Membership 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 the above expenses, I've also invested some of my own money into this blogging business. I spent a great deal of money on hardware and software upgrades, and various other productivity 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)
Right then, as I said, I'm thrilled 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.
I will continue to invest more money into building my blogging business in the next 12 months, of course.
In addition, there are some website building and WordPress development tools I would like to invest in, in the near future.
So, there you have it, a quick detailed breakdown of both income and traffic, as well as the progress I've been able to make with my blog in the first 12 months of its life. What do you think?
I hope you've enjoyed reading through. If you're just starting out yourself, I hope you've found my report somewhat inspiring and motivating.
I know it's not easy building an online business through blogging, heck I failed the first time around, so I know how hard it can be. All I can say to you is, just keep going and don't give up.
Before I sign off on this post, I want to mention a few names of some of the bloggers that have both influenced and inspired me in the last 12 months.
Special thanks to:
Adrienne Smith, a true friend, passionate blogger, and the queen of 'blogging engagement'. Sadly, Adrienne no longer blogs.
Ryan Biddulph, someone who I've been connected online with for some time, a great storyteller, and living proof of what can be achieved through blogging.
Sylviane Nuccio, recently connected but already have gotten a lot of value from reading her awesome blog.
Enstine Muki for featuring me on his blog. So grateful.
Maxwell Ivey, aka 'the blind blogger', for showing the blogging and entrepreneurial world what can be achieved with incredible passion and determination, regardless of the obstacles that life throws at you.
Sue Anne who writes at Successful Blogging and who also mentioned me in an expert roundup post recently, truly appreciated.
Until next time peeps, happy blogging, keep working hard and stay safe.
Speak soon, your blogging friend - Fabrizio Van Marciano