October 2017 Atypical Life Blogging Update

After 10 months of life for the Atypical Life blog, I feel it is time to separate the income report (home budget report) and the blogging update for the month. Blogging has started to morph more from a hobby and pastime to attempting to make money from it, so let’s detail the progress I have made with it. When you add side income to your “retirement” portfolio, then you can retire even earlier and that is the goal. Retire at age 30 when my expat contract in China is up.

Making money from a blog is not nearly as easy as all the high dollar blogging income reports you see out there. I have been blogging for 10 months and trying to implement all of the tips and tricks out there and have made a grand total of $50 so far. Don’t get fooled by the “How I made $10,000+ last month” blog posts, that making money blogging is easy and passive income.

Easy, no. Passive, definitely not while starting out!

Blogging Update

October saw a few more changes to this blog and its secret sister travel blog that we also run. You may have noticed the opt-in for Financial Independence 101… You should check it out. It’s been updated!

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Rapidology

I also was able to migrate the opt-in on the homepage to Rapidology. Rapidology by Leadpages has been an amazing plugin for lead generation. It makes it extremely easy to add opt-ins wherever you like and it is completely free. If you are comfortable with CSS you can even style them to match your personal theme like I have and they come out looking quite nice if I don’t say so myself. If not, then they have lots of customization still available without messing with CSS.

Rapidology gave us a scare this past month when a friend contacted us and said they were not able to submit the opt-in form. That led us on a wild goose chase trying to find the reason for it not working. I came to find that Rapidology is at the end of its service life and will no longer be developed by Leadpages. Not that that is a big deal… It hasn’t been updated in over a year according to Github. In pursuit of finding an opt-in solution, I tried Captain Forms, Mailmunch, and several others, but still loved the functionality that Rapidology brought natively to WordPress.

I also switched the mailing list provider from Mailchimp (2000 free subscribers) to Drip (100 free subscribers), thinking that maybe Rapidology wasn’t pushing the opt-ins because of an API change. It didn’t turn out to be a correct guess, however, I will be staying with Drip because I love the better organization and emails that it allows.

In the end, patience is what solved the problem. I walked away from the problem for a couple of days and the solution came to me overnight. It was being affected by the Javascript minimization being performed by Autoptomize, so all I had to do was disable minimization and Rapidology was working again. Hopefully, it will continue to work for several more years before no updates break it.

Other Blogging News

My wife and I were out of China on vacation and attending a funeral for the first half of October so was not able to publish near as much content as I was hoping to. I still ended up getting 5 posts published in October, but 2 were the income report and blogging updates, which hardly count as original and engaging content. Those 2 are published monthly to keep track of progress and to help others learn from my mistakes.

Other tasks that were completed were:

  • reapplied to Amazon Affiliates after not making the 180-day cutoff
  • Updated all Amazon Affiliate links on Atypical Life along with adding new ones to existing posts
  • added Amazon ads to the bottom of posts (maybe switching to Google Adsense in November)

Blogging Income

October was back down to $0 income from blogging 🙁

Hopefully, I can continue to receive sponsored posts requests as I increase traffic and get more exposure.

On a sad note for blogging income, our Amazon Affiliate program reached its 180-day maximum with no sales in September, so ended up getting rejected. I reapplied in October after getting home from all the traveling. The truly sad part is 3 days after it expired, I actually got my first affiliate income from being an Amazon affiliate. Since the account was suspended, though, I did not get any money from it. I guess I need to continue to look at optimizing affiliate marketing. One note about Amazon: in September they changed their rules to 3 affiliate sales to qualify within the 180 day probation period up from one qualifying affiliate sale.

Traffic Growth

October saw no traffic growth from September, actually receiving a 20% decline in pageviews. Finally, I am getting people to consistently come and read my content. After 7 months of writing and more or less nobody reading it, it is relieving, to say the least, to finally have some traffic to the site. Writing with no one ever coming by and reading your writing gets demoralizing.

Hopefully, my writing has been helping out those of you that come by. Please let me know in the comments or shoot me an email from the contact page if you have suggestions to make this site more helpful to everyone.

Here are the traffic numbers so far:

  • April:  188 pageviews
  • May:   199 pageviews
  • June:  283 pageviews
  • July:   1280 pageviews
  • August: 3055 pageviews
  • September: 4937 pageviews  61% growth
  • October: 3909 pageviews  -20% growth  🙁
October compared with September 2017. Gotta get another spike like Labor Day…

As can be seen from the daily view from Google Analytics, my traffic started off September with a bang on Labor Day weekend. The Labor Day weekend spike accounted for almost all of the 20% difference between September and October, with the rest of the time averaging about 1,000 pageviews per week. I guess I should be happy with at least sustaining the pageview level from September, but it seems like a letdown for the pageview growth to stop… I will be following these recommendations to increase pageviews in November:

  • Pinterest optimization from the Billionaire Pinterest Course by Paul Scrivens
  • Scheduled Pinterest pinning using Tailwind. If you want to see growth on Pinterest you need to be scheduling pins. It makes it so much easier!
  • Midway through September, I migrated Pinterest scheduling to Tailwind for testing and it has been going well so far.

The main takeaway from Paul’s Billionaire Pinterest Course is not all group boards are treated the same. Only pin to group boards that are relevant to your niche. Broad/general group boards are worthless and can actually hurt your chances of making it to the home feed.

Check out and follow the Atypical Life Pinterest account here.

One thing you learn as a new blogger is continual improvement. Always work on something new, improve something else. As my dad always quotes:

Improvise, adapt, and overcome.  ~Clint Eastwood

Weekly pageviews really show how steady they were for September and October. It is nice to see the upwards trend to that time.

Pinterest Scheduling

I have been scheduling all my Pinterest pins with BoardBooster, but midway through September, I migrated to Tailwind for testing. The 2 Pinterest schedulers have different methodologies to schedule, but in the end, achieve the same end result.

The main reason I wanted to switch was that Tailwind is cheaper, and we all know that if something is cheaper, I am going to go for that one. Tailwind has an annual unlimited plan for $120 while BoardBooster ends up at $0.01 per pin. When you pin 2,000 pins per month, that comes out to $240/year and 3,000 pins per month come out to $360/year. Tailwind remains at $120, which is a winner in my book.

Now, all I have to do is learn how to use Tailwind…

Tailwind used a new methodology of individually scheduling each pin to separate days and separate boards. However, once I got into the nitty gritty, I was able to set up board lists and then schedule a pin to all 30 group boards at once and space them out at whatever interval I want, whether it be 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, or anything in between.

Tailwind has become my go-to tool for Pinterest scheduling over the past 2 months, but it is yet to be seen whether the traffic continues to increase under the new scheduling methodology. If so, then Tailwind is a definite winner. Despite no traffic growth in October, I do not attribute that to Tailwind. I attribute it to a lack of new content for my readers. I will be correcting that in November and also hope to reach out for guest posts.

Sign up for Tailwind with this link, and you get a free month to test out Tailwind!

So How did I do on my goals?

Goal Traffic for October: 10,000 pageviews, actual pageviews: 3,909 🙁 FAIL

Goal Traffic for November: 10,000 pageviews Stretch Goal: 12,000! (same as October, let’s see if I can make it!)

Guest Post Goal October: 1 guest posts, Actual Guest Posts: 0 🙁

Guest Post Goal November: 1 guest post

The path to get there: Continue with the new Pinterest methodology on Tailwind, apply to more group boards, target SEO and keywords while writing posts, and promote, promote, promote. It is time to start reaching out to other bloggers for help. I plan to comment more on others blogs and hope to guest post a time or 2 this month.

TL;DR

Traffic growth is real, but it is time to get this snowball rolling and make an avalanche of traffic! Keep coming back to Atypical Life for more help on your finances and to find out how this whole blogging thing works. Is it real? Can you actually make money blogging? Stick around and find out.

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Comments

  1. Don’t feel bad; I was bounced from the Amazon affiliate program also. I think with the development of sites like ebates and Mr. Rebates people are getting the commission/savings themselves. I don’t know why Amazon puts a limit on it, it’s not like it costs them anything. There’s that whole theory about just being visible and having your name out there (for Amazon I mean). Or maybe they don’t need the name recognition.
    K. McGarrett recently posted…DON’T SAVE (too much) FOR RETIREMENTMy Profile

    1. They probably don’t need the name recognition anymore. Even in China where Taobao and Alibaba reign king, Amazon is still well known. Good point about eBates and the like. That probably contributes to some decline.

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