Since I’ve been reporting my online earnings monthly for some time now (see my Blogging Section for more tidbits and history), the trend had historically been up, but the month of September saw my lowest earnings for both this site and total online income for 2011. There are a few reasons for that, but I’m encouraged by the fact that it isn’t because of anything alarming, but rather, I put a lot of effort into other income streams that won’t pay off for some time. In the long-run, will be excellent substantial and diverse income streams. First, let’s talk about what happened at Darwin’s Money for the month:
Best Economics Blog
I was taken aback this weekend when a saw a tweet from the 2011 Financial Blogger Conference that I’d won the award for Best Economics Blog from the Plutus Awards (winners for all categories here). Not only were the blogs I was up against GREAT (Pop Economics, Studenomics, Weakonomics (last year’s winner), Zero Hedge), but I don’t consider myself to be an economist by any means. Seriously, all of those blogs are better economics blogs than mine, so please check them out. It was truly flattering and evidently, enough of my readers appreciate my content enough to have voted for me – so THANKS!!!!
And screw you to whoever didn’t vote for me for “most controversial blog” category – Just Kidding. I’m flattered to have been nominated for two categories and blown away that I actually won one.
Traffic came back down to normal levels in September. I had cited in August how I had “planted some seeds” to drive thousands of extra visitors to the blog with particular events and keywords, it had worked. But that was a one-time thing. And I haven’t planted any new seeds recently. So, while I dropped from last month’s record high of 30K page views, the trend excluding August is still up at 24K for the month, which is good. If I could pick up an extra 1-2K page views per month for the indefinite future, I’d be satisfied.
- Adsense – $460 (slight drop from last month)
- Affiliate Income – $120 (BIG drop from last month)
- Direct Ad Placements – $761 (BIG drop from last month)
- Freelance – $404 (slight drop from last month)
So what happened to my earnings? Well, as you’ll see below, I shifted a lot of time and energy to my other projects last month. Adsense was a slight drop tied to traffic drop – no surprise there. Affiliate income dropped bigtime. Over the past few months, I’ve had REALLY great success using Flexoffers but for whatever reason in Sept, conversions were way down. I’ll try again next month! Direct Ad placements are tough to predict. Aside from some recurring ad spots which I can count on, the one-offs for a full year placement which may pay several hundred per pop don’t come around every month. Finally, I’ve continued to cut down on Freelance. While I’m approached occasionally, I just don’t have the time to take on new clients, so I just have 2 small gigs and some residuals from stuff I write from my ETF persona at Seekingalpha.
Multiple Streams of Income!
As I mentioned, this month, I shifted gears and put quite a bit of effort into two other endeavors – we closed on a college real estate deal in September which took a lot of time, effort and coordination to pull off, and next, we’re really doing some incredible things with the CAD Outsourcing business. I have two incredibly motivated and effective partners that are coming up with new ideas practically daily and while they execute some on their own, some entail coordination with things in my space like SEO, content generation, affiliate ad networks and such. So, because the anticipated ROI on our efforts is so high, I did divert a lot of time and attention to the business this month and I could see this pace accelerating in the coming months as we blow out the ad budget, bring on a new account manager and continue to hire more drafters.
What does this mean for Darwin’s Money? No bad news there – since this site is my primary blog, I fully intend on continuing to deliver at least 1-2 quality, unique articles per week, aside from my occasional rants and link roundups. However, previously, I had multiple other site launches in mind that will just have to wait. I’ve cut back on freelancing and trying to delve into other genres. I have to prioritize what’s most important and missing opportunities on the growing business or screwing up the real estate books isn’t acceptable, whereas some of my other ideas can wait. Rather than taking on too much and accomplishing nothing, I’d much rather take on a few key initiatives and execute like a champ. So, in the interim, I can probably anticipate steady traffic/earnings, you can expect good quality articles, but not a lot of side projects sprouting up. There’s just not enough time in the day. But I’ve reached a level of comfort with that. While I used to view any month that saw a drop in earnings as a failure, I’ve reset my expectations given the opportunities in the other income streams. I hope to report back in a year that I’m making more online than in my day job – now that would be something to celebrate!
How Was Your September?