Hey there! I hope you’ve had an amazing Easter period – if you celebrate it of course.
I can’t believe that we’re halfway through April already, this month is literally flying by so fast.
Anyway, just over a week ago I decided to take a break from blogging to spend some quality time with my family.
However, I’m happy to be back feeling totally refreshed of course, and this past week I’ve been catching up with some serious emails.
When I say serious emails I mean like 12,000 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.
The other awesome thing that happened was that this blog celebrated its 1st birthday, which was 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 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 you sit down and evaluate the things you’ve been able to achieve properly.
My very short story so far…
If you’re just discovering this post for the first time, I want to welcome you, here’s my short story so far.
I’m a proud work-from-home dad of two, and a loving husband.
I balance my work and life quite easily. When my kids are at school, it’s crunch time with my blog and my online businesses. When my kids are at home, it’s all about family time.
About this income and progress report
The purpose of this report is to share with you everything that I’ve been able to do to move my blogging business forward from the very start.
Magnet4Blogging from Magnet4Marketing
You know, after I somewhat failed with my first blog, I took a 3-month break from blogging.
If you’ve been following me you may already know this.
During that break, I thought long and hard about the 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!
I mean, I did give it the best shot I could for 3 whole years at this blogging thing.
It wasn’t until I reached out to a few blogging friends that I realized just how much I loved blogging, and being part of an online community.
So, instead of ending my blogging journey in 2013, I decided to give it another go.
How this blog got started
Way back in 2013 I purchased the domain name Magnet4Blogging.net (I wish I’d bought Magnet4Blogging.com instead).
So quitting my first blog and taking a long break at the end of 2013 and early 2014, I thought about all the great things I learned about running Magnet4Marketing.
I thought about the community I had built, the connections I had made with so many people.
I thought about the skills I developed as a writer and web developer, and how it all would have been a massive waste of time if I didn’t at least give blogging another go.
So, on March 24th, 2014, I made the whole-hearted decision to get back into blogging and start writing again.
The third post I wrote for this blog is titled Starting Over After Google Penguin Destroyed My First Blog. Feel free to read it when you get some time.
First year of blogging: Goals
The only two goals I had for this blog for the first 12 months were –
- Create amazing content.
- Promote each piece of content the best I could, for maximum effect.
I focused very hard on writing massive value posts. I’m talking about 2, 3, even 4,000-word blog posts like this one.
First year of blogging: Google and SEO
The mistake I made with my first blog was to focus too heavily on SEO, backlinks, keywords and all the rest of it. I paid far too much attention to Google and SEO, and not enough attention to content quality and building an audience.
My new focus was to simply write content that mattered. Content that people would love and find incredibly useful and valuable.
If the search engines happened to like my content, then great, but I wasn’t writing for the search engines anymore.
As for backlinks, I no longer gave a flying rat’s ass about them.
Magnet4Blogging stats and social
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.
Alexa Ranking: 157k, if anyone cares these days…
PR (I don’t care)
Facebook Fans: 10.1K (Now deleted Facebook page and started over)
Twitter Followers: 12.7K
Feedly: 0 still…
Email Subscribers: 302
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
Asides from creating content and promoting it, here are some of the other things I’ve been able to achieve with this blog.
- Set up email subscription funnel with Thrive Leads and MailChimp. Read this post.
- Launch new web design service on the blog. Read more here.
- Launched my “Blog Traffic Without Google” eBook. Get it here.
- Connect with so many new readers, bloggers, and top influencers.
Changes in the first year of blogging have been?
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 every single day. Sometimes 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.
Because once again, 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, blogging isn’t just about creating great content. It’s about doing marketing and content promotion too.
It’s about connecting with readers, responding to comments, engaging with your audience etc. I had to make more time to focus on those things too.
Redesign and rebranding transformations of the last 12 months
In the first 12 months of building this blogging business, I went on a mission, searching for the perfect custom design for my blog/website.
The screen shot above shows how Magnet4Blogging looked in the first few months of its life.
The theme I was using at the time was called the Outreach Pro theme by StudioPress, you may still be able to find that theme here, actually.
In June 2014, I decided to completely rebrand and redesign blog with a custom static front page as seen above.
I continued to use the same Outreach Pro theme as before for, just with a few modifications of my own.
In January 2015, I decided to redesign the front page completely for Magnet4Blogging again, as shown above, only this time using a WordPress plugin I had just discovered for the first time called Thrive Content Builder.
In late May of 2015, I made a few more tweaks to the homepage design, including creating a brand new logo for Magnet4Blogging.
At this stage, I was also discovering and learning about many new WordPress development and front-end design tools.
You might be thinking, goodness me, how many changes did you make to the design of your blog in the first year Fabrizio?
The truth is, I wasn’t really happy until I found what I was looking for.
If you look at the front-page of Magnet4Blogging today (Now being 2017, when this post was revised), you’ll see that I’ve tried to maintain the brand identity, even though the design and branding have changed further.
First year of blogging: Traffic report from 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.
From the start, traffic has been steadily increasing.
The traffic took a bit of a nose dive 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.
I did sweat a little bit when Google Penguin update 3.0 was rolled out 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 a few weeks after the update, I was happy about that.
OK, so 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)
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.
As you can see above, 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 blogging just after the festive 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, I don’t pay a great deal of attention to on-page or off-page SEO.
I rarely optimize my posts for search engines, and the outcome hasn’t been bad at all. It just goes to show you don’t really need to do much to get your content ranked. As long as it’s epic, it’s valuable, it’s shareable and all the rest of it.
In the above image, you will see that Facebook was the 3rd biggest traffic provider to my blog.
Income Report March 2014 to March 2015
OK so, finally, finally, finally… Below is a list of the income streams that I’ve been able to create through Magnet4Blogging.
Most of my income came from writing detailed online reviews.
Here’s my affiliate disclaimer very quickly:
Disclaimer: The following income report/list 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, but, 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 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 even 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)
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 I share my huge expense list, I just want to say a few words about the income report above.
This earnings report is far from being impressive I realize that. I also know that there are probably many other 1-year old blogs out there that are generating way more income. However, I’m happy with my progress so far.
My biggest affiliate income driver as of this moment is Thrive Themes.
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 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 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)
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, even though I’ve not really made much income from my new blogging business venture so far.
I will continue to invest money into my blogging business in the next 12 months. There are some website building and WordPress development tools I would like to invest in, in the near future.
Wrapping things up
So there you go, a 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.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading through this report. If you’re just starting out yourself, I hope you’ve found it inspiring.
I know it’s not easy building an online business through blogging, heck I failed the first time around remember?
Just keep going and don’t give up.
Special thanks to the following peeps
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.
Special thanks to:
Adrienne Smith, a great friend, passionate blogger, and queen of blogging engagement. Sadly, Adrienne no longer blogs.
Ryan Biddulph, a great friend, storyteller and living proof of how successful blogging can fund a life of traveling and good times.
Sylviane Nuccio, recently connected but already have gotten a lot of value from reading her blog.
Enstine Muki for featuring me 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 that life throws at you.
Sue Anne who writes at Successful Blogging and who also mentioned me in an experts roundup post, truly appreciated.
Until next time peeps, happy blogging, keep working hard and stay safe.
Speak soon, your blogging friend – Fabrizio Van Marciano