July was definitely one of the calmer months I’ve had all year.
Didn’t really have any big projects, or big tasks on my list of to-do’s.
I spent a lot of time just reflecting on everything that’s been going on in my business, analyzing where I should be spending my time, and just organizing my blogs to try and improve my productivity.
Especially now that my blogs have reached a certain point, it’s time to start thinking about the next stages.
The majority of my years spent in internet marketing have been spent learning and focusing on growth in the early stages – how to build new sites, find and rank for keywords, build authority, and grow traffic.
I know my site is still in its growing stages, and is nowhere near the kind of “stage” that I’m thinking about, but I do need to plan for it… at least that’s the conclusion I came to during my peaceful reflection times.
Basically, doing a lot of research on how other blogs went from where I am now to the giants they’ve become today.
Obviously one of the main ways is hiring/attracting a ton of writers to write for them. But upon my research, that’s not really the direction I want to take with my blogs.
I’ll get to what I mean by that in a minute.
Research and education
With my main blog growing to nearly a million uniques, I’m feeling the urge to experiment with things that will propel it into a steeper upcurve than it’s on now.
I’ve been doing a lot of research on other content businesses lately, and just soaking in everything learning from their growth strategies.
For the most part, I’m not liking what I’m seeing.
It seems like at a certain point, they all make one of these mistakes:
1. Rapidly scale their content production and turn into content farms.
2. Reach absurd operating costs and struggle to make a profit.
My goal with my blogs is never to turn it into a media business like that, no matter how much it grows in the future.
By media business I mean hundreds of employees, funding, and relying on aggressive sales staff to find advertisers to eek out a profit. It’s a rough business, from what I’ve been reading about so far.
Probably one of the biggest shockers this year was Gigaom closing down, which is old news by now.
But what’s surprising is that they’ve never been profitable a single year in the eight years they’ve been in business!
I would much rather keep operating costs low, and grow at a steady pace while maintaining a high level of quality… no matter how much my blogs may grow.
The last thing I want to do is aggressively scale up content writers and turn into a content farm. So I’m trying to find the right balance of propelling growth, and keeping this level of high standard on the blog.
More long-tail traffic
One of the highlights of this month was my blog crossing 900,000 uniques for the first time ever, which is higher than I was expecting. It’s definitely the most amount of traffic I’ve ever gotten to a single blog in a single month.
With the recent release of Panda 4.2, I was kind of hoping it would give my blog a big boost to cross 1,000,000, but it doesn’t seem to have affected much of anything.
One of the strange things that I did notice was a few of my highest traffic pages (that were already ranking #1 for their main keywords) are getting a lot more traffic than before. Just means that they’re ranking for more long-tail searches that I haven’t been ranking well for in the past.
But I have been building a lot of links the past few weeks, which would obviously be responsible for that….. but still pretty coincidental timing with the Panda update.
Changing WP themes
Over the past few months, I think I’ve done just about everything to fully optimize my Adsense ads with my current site layout.
However, at this level of traffic, even a small percentage increase in my CTR can lead to a noticeable increase in monthly revenue.
So I’ve decided to experiment with changing my WordPress theme from my own custom theme to the Newspaper theme from MyThemeShop.
I’m usually very picky about changing themes, but I fell in love with this one since it’s got the design and layout of one of my favorite sites, LifeHack.org.
I’ve spoken a little about LifeHack.org in the past since they’re able to achieve amazing traffic numbers (15 million page views) with one of the best traffic source compositions I’ve ever seen.
Their site design and layout is one of my all-time favorites.
I’ve actually tried to copy their design into my own themes, but failed since there are some more advanced coding and CSS there that I can’t implement cleanly.
But so far, the Newspaper WP theme is pretty much the exact same everything as lifehack.org so we’ll see how that performs.
An update to the course
That’s right, another update is coming soon to Authority SEO.
Just a short announcement since it’s quite early, but I’ll be releasing a new module on the course that covers more advanced link building strategies.
It will be a while before it gets released, but just wanted to make a short note since all existing members will be getting them for free.
Even with the short amount of content I’ve created with it so far, some people have suggested I just turn it into its own product.
But my goal is to turn Authority SEO into the best SEO & blogging training online, and I believe this is definitely going to add a ton more value to it, especially for people who want more advanced training.
July’s Income Report
Okay, so now on to the income report.
Here’s the total income numbers for the month of July.
Blogging Income: $20,627.34
Last Month: $19,141.05
Not a huge boost in income, but still I crossed my next milestone of $20,000/month, which for some reason is less exciting than the $10,000 month milestone.
I want to start a new project.
Let me re-phrase that. I need to start a new project.
I know I said I want to put everything on hold and just focus on growing my main blog, but I also don’t want to feel burned out working on the same things everyday.
I want to something new to work on.
Whether it’s going to be a new blog but in a different niche, or maybe even another product for RankXL, I’m not entirely sure yet.
But I feel like I need to start something new and just keep things fresh. Hopefully I can decide on something and get started on it before I’m back writing the next report.