January 2018 Atypical Life Blogging Update

***This post may contain affiliate links. I do not recommend products that I have not personally vetted and love myself.***

After 13 months online for the Atypical Life blog, 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. I want to retire at age 30 when my expat contract in China is up 360 days from now.

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 13 months and trying to implement all of the tips and tricks out there and have made less than $500. 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!

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Blogging Update

January saw few changes to this blog and its secret sister travel blog that we also run, just consistent posting and updating.

Email Signup and Subscribers

After migrating to Drip from Mailchimp and getting Rapidology working again, I was able to gain 13 new subscribers in November and 13 more new subscribers in December for a grand total of 60. Not quite the 100 total I am looking for, but at least the trend is going up and is certainly going up much faster than it has in the past.

I love Rapidology and was sorely disappointed last month to learn that they are retiring the plugin and not releasing any more updates for it. 🙁  This just means that it is time to learn how to code my own signup forms from basic template HTML for the inputs.

Until recently, I thought the long logical choice to make after the retirement of Rapidology and use of free-Drip was to move to ConvertKit. However, after revisiting a free and open-source program Mautic this past month, I have decided to move in that direction. Mautic is a free, self-hosted piece of software, like WordPress that can be installed on your own servers. It manages all of your contacts and allows you to design marketing campaigns visually and effectively. My favorite part is that it is free.

I can use Mautic in conjunction with Gmail to send 2000 emails per day. Once I move past that, I will need to figure out a larger mail sending service, but that expansion is in the future.

Keep in mind, if you look up Mautic, there are 2 websites, analogous to WordPress, Mautic.org and mautic.com. Mautic.org is the site that hosts the software for download and the documentation for installation and use. Mautic.com is the site that has Mautic pre-installed and ready for use for a modest fee.

Email Sequence

I have completed 2 new email sequences recently and am continuing to work on optimizing them to help everyone as best as I can. I believe that investing advice makes for a great email sequence, but as I get into cryptocurrencies, I am also developing an email sequence for them.

If you have a preference, please leave a comment or email me at [email protected]

The first short email sequence on Cryptocurrencies is here:

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Blogging Income

Affiliate Income

November saw our first affiliate income! We made a whopping $31.80 all from Amazon.

We followed that up in December with -$6 of affiliate income. That’s right, negative income 🙁

Did we make progress in January on the affiliate income front?

Not really. We made a measly $1.68 from Amazon and that is it. For now, the focus is on building traffic and then I will move towards optimizing for affiliate income.

Using Ads

Media.net came through with acceptance and they even display correctly, but the ads just don’t look very good. The default setup looks like it is text only ads. However, when I contacted my personal account manager, he let me know that is not true. The ads display intelligently based on your location and other information the Javascript can gleen from your browser. For me it only displays text ads.

I have a few more ideas for ads coming in the future, but it is certainly not the quick way to big profit because of the reliance on big traffic, though if I can build the traffic here at Atypical Life, it should generate a nice passive profit.

January saw me make a whopping $0.34 from ads…

I don’t want to think about the amount of work that went into those 34 cents.

Traffic Growth

January saw basically no growth after compared to December or any of the previous months. Going back all the way to September I have had no growth for 5 months.

This is a problem!!!!!

I am reaching out to Paul Scrivens of the Billionaire Blog Club to take a look through my Pinterest to help me breach this plateau I have been sitting on.

Here are the traffic numbers so far:

  • August: 3055 pageviews
  • September: 4937 pageviews  61% growth
  • October: 3909 pageviews  -20% growth  🙁
  • November: 4101 pageviews   5% growth  🙁
  • December: 4654 pageviews   13% growth 🙂
  • January: 4733 pageviews    1.7% growth (mehhh…)

The upside of this static pageview is it reinforces the fact that more is not necessarily better. In November and December, I was cranking out 8+ posts per month plus guest posts and email sequences. January saw me cut that by 50% down to only 5 posts with no traffic slip.

Once per week is an easier schedule to maintain and will allow me to produce better content.

Going forward I am going to be focusing on increasing traffic. In order to reach the 25,000 session goal to apply to Mediavine, I need to be averaging 833 sessions per day or ~30,000 pageviews.
Can I make it?

It is possible, but let’s see. I will be following these recommendations to increase pageviews going forward:

  • Pinterest optimization from the Billionaire Pinterest Course and Billionaire Pinterest Book by Paul Scrivens
  • Scheduled Pinterest pinning using BoardBooster and/or Tailwind. If you want to see growth on Pinterest you need to be scheduling pins. It makes it so much easier!
  • I purchased ‘The Perfect Pin’ course by Ben at Breaking the One Percent and it certainly helped my pin design. Growth should be only a matter of time now.

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

Pinterest Scheduling

My personal followers have continued to go up and I am now up to 241 followers! Hopefully, I can sustain my Pinterest followers growth and continue up to 1000 by the end of 2018.

So How did I do on my goals?

GoalsJanuary TargetJanuary ActualCommentNext Month
Pageviews5,0004,733FAIL 🙁6,000
Guest Posts00Success!0
Subscribers10070Progress100
Affiliate Income$100$2Epic FailPositive $
Sponsored Post Income$0$130Success!!!1
Pinterest Followers250241Moving up!2

The path to get there: Continue with the renewed Pinterest methodology on BoardBooster, get accepted to a couple of BoardBooster Tribes, 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.

Conclusion

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. Thanks for the Mediavine shoutout! We’d love to have you join us this year.
    As you mentioned, the threshold to apply is 25k sessions within a 30 day period, so once your Google Analytics reflects this traffic, APPLY!
    As publishers with our own websites, we believe that successful monetization is all about finding the balance between ad revenue and user experience and we would never sacrifice one for the other. This is why we set our threshold at 25k sessions in a 30 day period. Below this number, the ad revenue you’d be able to earn isn’t worth the sacrifice in user experience that happens when ads are put on a site.
    Just keep creating great content and you’ll reach the threshold soon enough, and we’ll be waiting when you’re there.
    Questions? We’re here at [email protected]!
    ~Jenny, Mediavine Marketing Associate

    1. Me too man. Me too. I switched gears recently to try and build traffic with more traffic driven posts and it seems to be working so far.

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How I made $132 blogging in January. Blogging is so much harder than the huge income reports make it look. You work for months on end and can see little to no growth. But stick it out and blogging and Pinterest can pay you back in full.