Ahhh… Progress. Every bloggers’ hope and dream is for the progress of their blog. 2011 has been an eventful year for this blog.
Google shifted their algorithm to focus more on original content and less on link farms. Traffic rose and fell on their changes. We went months withot any pagerank updates. Social media marketing grew as a rival to search engine marketing. Through it all, we as bloggers worked and adapted our blogs to the changes.
Here are some of my highlights of this last year:
Google panda shows that content is still king!
Google put out an update to their algorithm that had the internet buzzing for weeks on end. Article directories that were the traditional backlinking tools of days past found themselves downgraded by the algorithm. Duplicate content hits became more common. While the link farms and search engine optimizers had to adjust and adapt, bloggers who continued producing original content benefited overall.
Riches Corner found itself on the receiving end of a page rank jump when it was all said and done. After going months without any updates, we found ourself suddenly at PR 3. I never had time for many of the aggressive seo tactics that boosts traffic quickly. Between work and blogging, I mainly had to focus on writing new posts as often as I could and blog commenting in my spare time. That pretty much stretched my schedule to the limit. The end result is that the growth of this blog has been mainly organic growth. The search engines would index this blog gradually and over time I got more traffic. While this formula didn’t result in skyrocketing growth, I believe that it did protect the blog and benefit the blog when Google Panda was released.
You can see how we grew over the course of the year:
Of course the growth of Riches Corner had some beneficial effects as well.
Guest Posts and Sponsored Posts Abound!
I started getting many more reqests through my contact page to guest post for the blog as well as some proposals for sponsorship.
These contacts have generated addtional revenues for Riches Corner. However, I also began receiving many more advertising style post submissions under the guise of guest posts. While I had a guest posting policy, I did have to refer many more of my guest post submissions back to my policy and reject a number of guest postings.
This is actually a good thing, as one would rather be in the position of receiving too many requests rather than too little. There’s also an important lesson that I learned here as well.
I found that a polite response and explanation also resulted in several of these people to offer to pay for a sponsored post. Being polite about the rejection as well as refering the people back to my guest posting policy as well as the sponsorship section of the blog actually generated some additional business. I was always polite about the rejection and offered the choice to edit the post to fit the normal guest posting policy.
Affiliate Marketing Growth
The steady growth of traffic brought this site to a good tipping point where affiliate revenues started picking up the pace.
For the initial part of the year, I would say that we were earning 100-200 a month. As you can see from the growth chart, in the early part of the year I had less traffic. I was seeing roughly 4000 pageviews a month, in November I was at twice that number. It was at that point, I started seeing real growth from my revenues as well. November I generated about $500, but in December I’m closer to $700. At this pace, I’m hopeful for a $1000 month very shortly.
The majority of this growth was due to affiliate lead and sales payouts. Commission Junction in particular has really done well. The key is that commission junction has much higher quality partners and products. While many bloggers may recommend clickbank due to the higher percentage payouts, I’ve found that the higher quality from commission junction makes the biggest difference. The best thing any affiliate marketer can do is recommend good, reliable products to their visitors.
I’d rather recommend an awesome free service that pays me $1.00 than peddle junk that puts $100 in my pocket. That $1.00 product is much more helpful and valuable to my readers and gives me back much more in credibility. This philosophy resulted in an increase in my overall affiliate earnings.
This jump in earnings allowed me to achieve one of my other goals this years, which was to make enough extra money to pay for a new ipad. While I did earn enough in aggregate over the course of the year, much of that money had been reinvested into the blog and other online investments. My goal was to have profit left over for other exenses.
In November, I hit that goal and bought myself an ipad 2 thanks to the growth in affiliate sales.
Ipad blogging and Productivity
So I rewarded myself this year with an ipad 2, but it’s not just for fun and games. I quickly found that an ipad is a great productivity tool. Of course, I had done the research into that before the purchase since my plan was to use it for work and blogging. But nothing makes up for practical use. Having the ipad in hand just confirmed my research that this is an awesome tool.
Apps such as pages, goodreader, and blogsy made my ipad a blogging machine. Now I could blog from the comfort of my local coffee shop, on the livingroom couch, or generally whenever I have some spare time. It’s an easy thing to just whip out the ipad and put together a quick post.
Anything that makes it easier to blog contributes to the overall growth and quality of this blog. I would say that having these tools quickly available to me made my blogging life much more convenient and comfortable. The result was an increase in my productivity.