Whenever I think about that question, one person who rises to the top is my good friend Pat Flynn – one of the most genuine bloggers I've gotten to know since starting what I do online.
One of the things I really love that he does is his Monthly Income Reports. In those reports, he shares in a very TRANSPARENT way, how much he makes online, but not just how much. He also shows you EXACTLY what he did in order to accomplish what he accomplished.
Those reports have been very inspirational to me, because they give me a good idea of what is possible and encourage me to keep going. I've learnt a lot from reading his reports.
So, I decided that I want to do something VERY similar, and I'm calling it my transparency reports, because I will be pretty transparent with what I do. I will be posting these at the beginning of each month, and I hope that they will inspire you to take action.
If you're new to my blog, you may not know that on of my Main blogs is my Interactive Biology Blog. This is a blog that I built around my passion – Biology. Do I sound like a nerd? Yes? Why thank you 🙂
Well, that blog has really helped to establish me as an expert, and has even landed me a job as a full time Assistant Professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Andrews University, and it has been a tremendous blessing.
Yes, I'm teaching people in a doctoral program and it would not have happened without my blog (and some serious blessings from God of course).
I really started working on this blog in January of 2011, and when I started it, I was confident in the fact that I could build it into a massive online empire where I teach Biology to THE WORLD. It's part of my whole – “Changing The World One Blog At A Time” mission.
You see, I've been blogging about Internet Marketing actively since September of 2008 and had been learning so many principles about internet marketing that helped me to build a relatively successful blog teaching people to make money online.
I knew that if I were to take the same principles that I applied to build a successful blog in such a competitive niche to a niche like Biology, where there weren't as many savvy internet marketers, the barrier to entry would be MUCH lower and I'd be able to EASILY stand out from the crowd.
So that's exactly what I did and I will be sharing more details about my progress as we go along.
A few months back, I found out that a friend of mine was VERY passionate about helping women take care of their afro-textured hair. Now, this is a pretty narrow niche, and I saw lots of potential in what she was doing. Why?
So, I decided to take it on as a second project, because I knew that if she were to change a few things, build a blog in the way I teach in Become A Blogger Premium, she could build something massive online. We partnered up, and started working away at it, with the goal of getting 1,000 daily views in 3 months. Well, 3 months have just passed and I gotta give you an update on how things are going 🙂
The last month and a half has been quite interesting indeed. I've recorded and posted 25 VIDEOS after only publishing a handful since January. There were 2 reasons for this:
It's killing two bird with one stone (side note: I love using what I'm already doing to build my business. It's a beautiful thing).
Not to mention – I knew that since the school year was just starting, a lot of students (and teachers) would be going to the internet looking for help and resources for their Anatomy Classes.
In addition to my 25 video, I also have guest writers who contribute to my site and they've contributed a total of 10 written posts. Needless to say, my blog was definitely NOT struggling when it comes to content 🙂
I know this sounds like a whole lot, BUT I was actually able to record ALL 25 VIDEOS over the span of 3 days. Yep, 3 days of work allowed me to record ALL 25 VIDEOS which was my content for a month and a half. It's the power of batch Processing.
This was my MAIN focus – Content. The concept is simple – if each post brought 10 visitors to your site Daily, having ten posts would bring 100 daily visitors, but having 100 posts would bring 1,000 daily visitors? Which sounds more attractive to you? I know which one I prefer 😉
Lesson – If you want MORE TRAFFIC to your blog, add more HIGH VALUE content! Content is King, so Build Your Kingdom! (Click Here To Tweet That).
So all in all, I must say that this was a month that was full of massive action when it comes to content generation, which is the main drive behind my entire business.
This last month and a half at Cassandre's blog has been also interesting. You see, Cassandre used to live in the same area that I live right now. However, she graduated this summer and just moved to the West Cost.
When I found out she was moving, I was a bit nervous, because she would no longer be coming to my place to shoot her videos, and her content generation would be totally up to her. Not only that, I knew that things can get REALLY hectic while moving, so I didn't know what to expect.
However, she still managed to make 7 posts, which includes 4 video posts, which to me is awesome considering the fact that she was in the middle of a move.
There was one thing we knew – that fastest way to build your blog traffic is to get traffic from others who already had lots of traffic. Because of that, it's essential to connect with other bloggers who are out there doing GREAT things. Well, that's exactly what she decided to do with her blog.
Well, she has managed to connect with other bloggers in her niche in a way that has driven a significant amount of traffic over the last few days, and will probably continue to drive a significant amount of traffic in the years to come.
There's one thing to remember here, and it's a significant lesson that can help you propel your blog to the next level.
Connecting with other bloggers is primarily about providing value to their audiences, NOT YOURS! (Click Here to Tweet That).
I don't know how many bloggers have contacted me asking me to link to them and send them traffic. That's not the way to do it.
Focus on providing value FIRST to others, and value will come back to you!
Cassandre was able to do that beautifully. Here are links to what she
She was also very active with sharing photos. As you can imagine, with a blog about hair, pictures are essential. What surprised me is how well those pictures did for her blog. By posting pics to Facebook, they were liked and shared, which also resulted in traffic back to her blog. Here's an example of one of the pics she posted.
I must say that this was a beautiful month for traffic. In fact, I had the highest number of unique visitors this month – 35,389, and it looks as if that number will continue to climb. It's a beautiful thing!
In fact, here's a screenshot of my Google Analytics report:
Now, although my unique visitors has gone up significantly, I've also noticed that my page views have gone down slightly to 2.69 pages/visit and 122,189 total page views. This means that more people are visiting the site, but they aren't browsing quite as many pages as before.
In my last update, I had only 29,306 unique visitors, but with an average of 3.15 pages/visit, the blog did 125,365 page views. Slightly better than this month. My goal is to bring it up to 5 pages/visit, which would increase my page views SIGNIFICANTLY.
Now, if you remember from my New Case Study Announcement post, our goal was to make 1,000 daily views in 3 months. The day after I post this will make it exactly 3 months since I made such a bold claim. How did we do? I'm glad you asked.
First off, let me show you a screenshot of this month's traffic:
As you can see, we did 4,516 Unique visitors with 22,938 Page views. I know what you're thinking – 22,938 Page views isn't exactly 1,000 per day Leslie. It isn't, BUT you might want to take a look at the following graph:
Yep, the last 5 days were the days that contributed the most to those 22,938 Pageviews, with a peak of 4,672 Page views on ONE SINGLE DAY.
So all in all, traffic is starting to go in the direction we want it to go.
We all know how important building a list is to growing your online business. In fact, I would venture to say that it is one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of your online business. It's how you nurture relationships with your subscribers and provide them with even more value. Doing that allows you to make more money online over the long term. It's so important that I created a complete course about list building called List Building Simplified.
So, how did our lists do?
I don't remember the last time I gave an update about my list size for my Biology Blog. So I'm just going to give you the numbers. At the time I'm writing this, I have a total of 10,406 people on my list. That's over 10 THOUSAND PEOPLE who have opted in and said that they would like me to be in touch with them – a powerful thing.
Now, having a list of over 10,000 people doesn't mean that ALL of them will open EVERY email you send out. My last email broadcast resulted in 3,059 opens and 1,156 clicks. To me, that's powerful – to be able to send out ONE email and have OVER 3,000 people take some kind of action is an awesome blessing.
Now, as important as list building is, I still haven't gone through and optimized my follow up sequence, but that will come. I'm in the process of doing that right now for Become A Blogger, but I will eventually get to doing that for my Biology Blog.
When Cassandre first started doing her online stuff, she decided to get a mailing list with Mailchimp. It was a good step at the time because it was FREE and she could at least get going. However, I knew that we would eventually have to switch her over to Aweber.
I'm REALLY not a fan of Mailchimp because they have some things in their Terms Of Service that I DON'T like. For example, they don't allow affiliate marketers to use their service. Well, we plan on promoting affiliate products and I don't EVER want to take the risk of loosing a list after building it up to a significant size. They also clearly say in their terms that they don't allow work from home, or make money online opportunities to use their service. Now, Cassandre is not into that, but it still makes me uncomfortable.
So to be safe, we decided to switch over to Aweber a few weeks ago.
Up to that point, Cassandre had built a list of 253 Subscribers. We switched it to Aweber 2 weeks ago and since then the Aweber list has grown to 272 Subscribers. We haven't migrated the list of 253 over to Aweber as yet, but that's something we plan on doing soon. The complication (which I HATE) is that when you switch, you have to get EVERYONE to reconfirm and then go through your follow up sequence again, which sucks. So we've delayed a bit to figure out exactly how we want to do this.
I will update you about that in the next update post in a month.
Now, what was interesting is that when we started the blog, we were using an opt in form generator called Optin Skin. It's a clever little plugin that allow you to add opt in forms all throughout your site.
A few days after we noticed we were getting a ton of traffic to the blog from one of the guest posts, we decided to add Popup Domination, which allows you to put up attractive popups to your site to collect email addresses. Well, the number of signups increased significantly, from 10-15/day to about 60 on the day we made the switch. Needless to say, we were VERY pleased. Check out my Short writeup of what Popup Domination did for my Biology Blog.
When it comes to monetizing my blogs, my strategy is a more long term one. I like to work on content generation and relationships FIRST, get traffic to my blog, and THEN start monetizing. There are many who argue that you should start monetizing immediately because it allows you to see if your niche is viable. However, I was confident enough that they were viable to put that off till later.
There are currently two ways I make money with my Biology Blog – Adsense and selling a Study Guide that I created (pdf eBook). Here's how they did in September.
What I REALLY like about the numbers is that if you look at my adsense account at how much was made in the first 15 days of September as opposed to the last 15 days, you will see that in the last 15 days, I made $1,097.24 and in the first I made $625.97. Even better, the last week was more than double that of the first.
What this tells me is that if it continues in the direction it's going, October will be MUCH BETTER than September.
Also, I just realized yesterday that the system I used for showing the banner that advertises my Study Guide was down for the last 11 days. Which means that I missed out on 11 days of promoting my product, which definitely had an impact on my earnings. I was able to get it back up and running today, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it does in October.
Since this is a brand new blog, we haven't started monetizing as yet. I anticipate that we will start monetizing after approximately six months. Stay tuned 🙂
My goal for October is to work on my plan for the next year when it comes to Interactive Biology. I got a video review done for my Biology Blog by Dan Morris from Letters From Dan, and learned how much I could do to improve my site, drive a TON more traffic, HELP MORE PEOPLE and make significantly more money.
This involves really fleshing out what my site is about, what I want to rank for (in tremendous detail), and how to go about doing it. My next little goal is to reach 100,000 people per month and I now believe I know exactly how to do that, and I'll be sharing those steps with you as I do exactly that. Btw, my ultimate goal is to reach 1 MILLION people per month, so stay tuned 😉
I will also be testing out adsense in more detail, by trying different add position and sizes to see how that increases earnings, so if you're interested in that topic, stay tuned.
Lastly, as far as income is concerned, I would like October to be a $3,000 month.
I will be working more closely with Cassandre in October to build on what she has accomplished in September. The goal is to double the number of visitors we had in September by focusing even more on providing value to others in her niche. Stay tuned for how this goes.
Ok, so this was my FIRST Transparency Report and I would LOVE to have your feedback. As you can see, I shared A LOT of detail. Do you want me to continue doing this? If so, did I include too many details? Do you want more details on certain aspects of what I'm doing? Was it too long? Not long enough?
Whatever your thoughts are, let me know in the comments below.
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