Blog earning is currently the biggest part of our passive online income generation, and this is a look into how that works.
As a reminder, “Passive income is an income received on a regular basis, with little effort required to maintain it.” (wikipedia)
What we like to use for our personal definition is: Income generated with minimal ongoing time investment. Income sources with a high rate of return on time investment and flexibility.
Check out 2015’s passive income breakdown by quarter for some background info on how we got to this point.
Our goal here is to give a peek into the realities of starting small with growing various avenues of online income and the work that goes into that.
New for this year is that we don’t have the steady income from our design/web development business that was paying our basic expenses, so the goal to replace that with passive income is now more of a need.
We have our personal monthly budget set at $1,536.
Here are January’s numbers:
In January, over 165K people visited the site for approximately 250K pageviews.
New stuff we tried:
I saw that someone was making $100/month just with a simple job search type thingy like this below, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try. So far, it’s been absolutely lame.
Another thing I decided to check into was Linkis, which opens up links you share on Twitter with sort of an “about me” sidebar that you can use to encourage people to visit your other stuff online. For us currently it doesn’t really add anything because we don’t put any time into our Twitter profile, but if you do, I’d say it’s worth it.
This last one was definitely the most interesting thing I tried in January, though it was just for the last week, so I can’t report much.
Basically, PubExchange is kind of a more modern version of the old-school “let’s be sidebar button buddies” to share traffic, except it automatically adjusts so that you share equally. This levels the playing field so that high traffic sites can partner with low traffic sites, and everything is more based on what content you feel is a good fit for your audience.
I know there are other types of widgets like that that you can potentially earn decent money from, but I don’t necessarily want to send you guys off to a whole lot of randomness, so for now I’m just interested in seeing if this can positively affect our traffic.
(As might be expected in a post about passive income, some of these may be affiliate links, which means that at no cost to you, we earn a small percentage if you choose to purchase something. We don’t bother being affiliates of things we don’t like, that would just be lame.)
1. Sales – $0.00
We haven’t been promoting any products anywhere.
2. Affiliate – $242.83
Our main affiliate continues to be [easyazon_link keywords=”Amazon affiliate” locale=”US” tag=”tictin-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link], but we’re seeing decent results with MyGreenFills also.
Any affiliate commissions we’re currently getting are just from content we’ve created in the past – we haven’t put any new work into promoting anything.
3. YouTube – $141.35
Telling Kids They’re Getting Shots continues to be our main earner because it continues to be suggested by YouTube.
Something I find interesting is that while this site is heavy on female audience, YouTube is almost evenly split.
4. Sponsored Content – $3,850.00
While several of these income sources pay 30-90 days out, this one is the only one we’ve chosen to report on for the month we actually get paid because it just feels like bad business to report on what individual companies pay for work.
This month was very unusual and will be pretty hard to top for quite a while because we don’t really do a ton of sponsored content.
5. Blog Ads – $828.22
We used to just have straight Google Adsense randomly serving some ads here on the site, but last year our friend Natalia mentioned she had signed up with an ad management network and didn’t didn’t know how it was going to go but that it seemed worth checking out.
We’re so glad we did, because it’s been a night and day difference. Where we were happy to be making $100/month previously, $500 is now low.
The great thing about a good ad network is that you don’t have to try to reinvent the wheel – they know how to optimize everything to work the best for your specific situation and can even have companies bidding for your spots so that you get the highest return.
I don’t claim to understand how it all works, we’ve just seen plenty of proof that it does.
Expenses – $216.90
I’m not really sure how we ended up with what we decided to include in expenses from our summary report for last year, but for sure now that this is our main source of income, it only makes sense to include more of our expenses.
Realistically, we should also probably be adding in internet expenses and stuff like that, but we’re leaving it out for now because we do still need it for the random projects we do with our design/web business.
So here’s what we’re currently including.
- Hosting was a little higher this month, and we may need to bump up to a bigger plan to accommodate traffic.
- We purchased a guide to making more out of Google Analytics so we could get more serious about optimizing our site. We also joined the affiliate program for it, because while the formatting of the PDF is pretty bad, the information is very helpful and there are a bunch of great actionable steps. If you’re not sure how to make the most of your analytics, it’s definitely worth getting.
- The other thing we purchased in January was an app builder and some training about how to flip apps. When we buy things like that it’s always because they have a really good launch price or are on really good sale for a limited time and we already know it’s something we want to explore.
What we did well:
- I’m happy to have met my goal of posting once a week, and I’m pleased one of them was finally creating this fun date that I’ve been wanting to do for a year or two.
- We stayed consistent in putting out videos even though we were busy preparing and then traveling from Mexico to Costa Rica. Some of my favorites were Cleaning Out My Mom’s Closet and Shopping with My Mom.
- We repurposed some good content by expanding a video about packing smarter for organized travel into a more detailed blog post. It’s always the goal to do this, but there are quite a few videos it hasn’t happened with yet.
- David put in some good work on exploring app building, which could be a potential additional passive income source.
What we want to do better:
- We have a quite a lot of content here on the site, and it’s time to start really optimizing it and making a good user flow. <— This is what we’re going to mainly be focusing on for now.
- We also have a ton of videos on YouTube, many of which are nothing special. However, as our top earning video is proof of – that doesn’t necessarily matter. We have a lot of work to do to optimize video thumbnails, descriptions, etc.
- In addition, we have a bunch of products and systems that have been waiting for the right moment to explore, so it’s going to be a matter of figuring out when to do what…
- Because we’ve always just made content that we wanted to create for fun and gaining experience, we’ve never really done much to develop a community on any platform. It’s weird, because I really love interacting and getting to know people, but at the same time, I don’t like putting a lot of effort into it, because it feels forced to me. This something we’d like to develop more – do you have any thoughts about it? What is something you’d like to see or that would be helpful for you? We want to grow into making this all more about you.
- I’d like to get on a better schedule with posting these reports earlier in the month, but I’m not sure how to determine when that should be if we want to also include a video with them.
Good hosting is important to maintain site security and speed, and it can even affect your SEO. WP Engine is who we use for this site and highly recommend. Another host that we used exclusively for many years is WestHost. We still use them for a bunch of other sites – it’s a great cost effective solution if you don’t need to spend more to serve higher traffic.
Want to make money online, too?
If we can do it, so can you!
Stay tuned as we continue to share our experiments, the successes and failures, and let us know if you have any questions you’d like us to cover!