I could title this post “How Business Went in February, April, and May” since I haven’t done an update on that since January. I could also perhaps call it a 6 month check in on my business goals for the year. Yet the most significant part of this post ended up being the complete 180 I have done when it comes to my tactics and strategies to make money online.
For the past five years or so I have made good money mostly as an affiliate. Sure I sold ads and did a couple sponsored posts here and there, but for the most part all my income came from affiliate sales. Amazon was my major earner and I got a hefty 1099 from them each year that made up the bulk of my income. And then late last year that all started to go downhill. This year it has just about bottomed out.
Why? Well, the short of it is that I am not getting a lot of search engine traffic from Google anymore, especially to old posts that used to rank really well. I figure I must have been penalized in some way. The page rank for my root domain hasn’t dropped but certain individual pages that used to rank, no longer are. Affiliate sales come from people who are motivated to buy and who are searching for specific terms. You may get some sales the day of a really epic blog post with some affiliate links in it but by and large affiliate sales stem from older posts with a high rank on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). It all comes down to catching the customer right before they are about to click on the “buy button” and they are about do that if they are looking for reviews and opinions about the product they have in mind. If you rank well for the terms they are searching for then you will get that business. If you are nowhere in the results then whoever is will get that business.
So I guess I got Google slapped. It could also partly be because my market and niche has gotten uber competitive in the last 1-2 years. When I started my main blog 7ish years ago I was one of the few blogging in that niche. Now there are thousands and they are damn good bloggers too. My post from fours years ago about safe, non-toxic pots and pans without chemical non-stick coatings was probably one of a couple dozen ranking on the net back then. Now bloggers are writing about this very topic daily. With so much fresh content available perhaps Google thinks my old content is no longer relevant. I am not sure exactly what has happened or why Google is working the way it is. The only thing I can do is adapt or die.
For a couple months I was blogging without a clear plan, hoping upon hope that my Google traffic would go back to what it once was. Then very recently I decided that instead of bemoaning how hard it was going to be to recoup my lost income I had to get to work and replace that income with other methods. It is entirely possible that my affiliate income may go back up to what it once was as Google does its dance and releases more updates. I cannot wait around though until it does. I had to take action. I have gone in many different directions and tried many different things (like the picture above). I am still kinda going around like that but there is a method to the madness. I have a clear plan.
It has come to me none to soon either. This month (May) I have earned only around $300 with Amazon sales. Typically anything under $1000 is bad news. Ouch! I have had zero problems replacing that income via other methods (all part of my new plan) thus far but I will have to keep that momentum going because Amazon pays on a two month delay. So the pittance I earned this month won’t technically rip a whole in my budget until July.
Success from the past month or so:
- Emailed my lists more frequently
- Took on several sponsored posts
- Took on a couple sponsored video posts
- Made some pitches to various brands and got favorable answers
- Sold several ads
- Discovered a new-to-me social media platform that has done wonders for my traffic, Twitter following, and Klout score.
- Made a nice chunk of change promoting ebook bundles and a board game
- Got an affiliate bonus for sales made in May (Shareasale)
- Took a sponsored trip to NYC with my daughter (booyah!)
At the halfway point for the year I think I am rocking my annual goals. I need to work harder on some specific goals though, like creating new niche sites and updating existing ones. Hopefully I can start out June by doing just that.
How was your month?