2012 Year in Review

Has it really been a year?  I hesitated writing this article because almost every blogger puts together a "year in review" post.  After some severe waffling, I decided to write one.  Why?   Given my niche is teaching others how to blog and how to earn an income online, I thought it would be beneficial for you to see the progress and growth here on Side Income Blogging this past year.  Interested in how much traffic growth I had?  Interested in how much money I earned blogging?  Read on...

2012 Consistency

Taking a peek at my posting archive, you'll note that I wasn't real consistant until June of this year.  I didn't post anything in January, February, April, or May.  That's four entire months of the year without a single article written.  Frankly, considering how much I tell you guys to be consistent and to write in advance, me not being consistant is a bit embarrassing.  Looking at each month when I did post, you can again see where I wasn't consistant publishing each week until later in the year.

My goal when I started this blog was to publish  2 articles a week.  I'm not there yet, and being up front, not even close.  A few months I only had 1 or 2 posts total.

This is definitely something I plan to resolve this year.

The primary reason for the inconsistency was my design and development business.  I had a large amount of business during the first half of the year.  The work thinned out during the second half of the year giving me more time to focus on the blog.  Going forward, I plan to manage this a little better so I have time to both be more consistant with my writing yet still maintain a steady stream of design and development work.

2012 Traffic

2012 Side Income Blogging Traffic
Click to enlarge

Traffic growth during 2012 wasn't what I hoped it would be, but the results aren't unexpected given my neglect of the blog during the first half of the year.  Overall though I really can't complain as the results are still very positive.  My visit count in January 2012 was 1,355 and 2,892 in December 2012 which results in a 113% traffic growth for the year.  While I'd certainly love to see that percentage around 500% or more, I really can't complain about 113% growth since 1/1/2012.

Comparing 2012 total visits (27,333) to  2011 (6,689), I saw a 308% increase in traffic.  Now that's huge.

Looking at my other overall stats, my average bounce rate was 76%.  Average bounce rates in my niche are around 60 - 70%, but given 84% of my traffic is from search engines, my number being a little above average isn't unexpected but I would like to see it even lower.  I've added this as a goal for 2013.  Average visit duration was around 2 minutes and average pages per visit was 2.    Both of these metrics are in line with sites that receive a high amount of search engine traffic.

Top sources for traffic for 2012:

  • Google - 82%
  • Direct - 11%

The remaining 7% was from: Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Bing, Yahoo, and other misc sites.  Social Media traffic during the first half of the year was less than 2%.  I focused more on Social Media during the second half of the year, and currently Social Media makes up about 5% of my overall traffic.

2012 Income

Income generation wasn't a big focus for me in 2012 and the year-end numbers show it.  My primary focus was on building traffic and readership.  I began focusing on income generation over the past few months.  Regardless, here are my income numbers for the year:

  • eBay Partner Network - $826.24
  • Adsense - $228.57
  • Commission Junction - $234.25
  • Share a Sale - $344.34

Total: $1633.40 for all of my sites.  Side Income Blogging alone was: $807.16.  This boils down to around $67/month from Side Income Blogging.  Considering my monthly income goal for the site is in excess of $1000.00/month, I have a lot of work to do.

ePartner Network income was all from two eBay niche sites I run.  A few months back, I declared the eBay niche store dead due Google search engine algorithm changes.  While the income number might not reflect that, the majority of eBay income was from the first part of the year.  Some months in the second half of year yield zero income as my traffic substantially dropped (thank you Google).  I had a few months in 2011, prior to Google's changes where I was earning $1500-$2000 a month from the eBay Partner network!  Regardless, I expect my eBay earnings to be even smaller in 2013, but who knows - I can hope right?

Commission Junction was from affiliate sales for various blog hosting companies I recommend.  Share a Sale was affiliate sales Thesis and other blog themes like Thesis.

My blog income made up 27% of my overall side business income for 2013.  The remaining 73% came from my Empty Cabin Media blog design and development work.

Plans for 2013

I'll be honest, I'm not much of  a planner.  I prefer to take each day as it comes.  Part of this is just my nature but part of this is also just hard knock experience that comes with working an internet based business model.  The internet changes everyday, and I've found that laying out detailed plans can be a complete waste of time.  This is especially true when Google, Facebook or Twitter change direction on you.  Ever heard of Google Penguin?

I do know enough to recognize the importance of setting some overall goals.  After all, I do need to have a direction to head in.  Here are my primary goals for Side Income Blogging in 2013:

  • Write for my readers - I sincerely want to write content that helps you.  Content that you need.
  • Increase income  - I'm not one to normally set specific numbers, but this time I will.  I want to see this blog earning at least $500.00/month by year end.
  • Increase traffic - Traffic = income, and thus in order to increase my income, I'll need to increase my traffic.  I plan to do this through more active social media participation, guest posting, and by focusing on the first goal - providing content that people need.
  • Write two eBooks - The first is a free eBook to give away to visitors that subscribe.  The second would be a more comprehensive eBook that I would offer for sale.  I have a few ideas for both, and I'll be writing more about this goal soon.
  • Decrease average bounce rate  - Making a list of things to do to reach this goal is tough, as determining the reasons why your bounce rate is high is often hard to do.  Instead, I'll try making lots of little changes and track them.

Thank you so much for being a reader of Side Income Blogging.

I sincerely appreciate all of the emails and comments I received in 2012 saying how much you enjoy the site and the content I provide.  Writing for you is truly an honor and it gives me great joy to be able to help you out.  I can't wait to see what this year holds for Side Income Blogging!  I'm also very open to your suggestions, so if you have a topic you would like to write on, a complaint about the site or just any type of feedback, drop me a line.  I'd love to hear from you.