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July 2018 Income Report:Elephant 🐘 Website Traffic Drop, Using Failure As Fuel, No AMP For Me, AdSense Auto Ads

In this blog, I write about what I am doing to create various income streams that come from online endeavors. The monthly income reports detail my results. Why am I sharing my income publicly 📢 ❓ I hope to gain trustworthiness with you and to keep some degree of accountability for myself.

The reports also motivate me.

I tend to forget my small achievements… and posts like this one won’t let me do it 🙂 Apart from that, they help me to remember how much I have already invested. It’s a motivation to push even harder 💦💦💦

Read my income report #35 to find out what happened in July 2018.

What happened in July 👍

July was an interesting month that really tested my ability to coop with the unpredictability of an entrepreneurial life 😆😆😆

Investigating Elephant 🐘 Website traffic drop

Yep, July again was not very good for my bread-winner, Elephant 🐘 Website. I am talking about the Mother Elephant 🐘 (the one I bought).

No, let me be brutally honest with you: It was pretty sh*tty 💩💩💩

After two very strong months, April and May, July was on par with June for the decline in both traffic and earnings 😱😱😱  The high season of the website niche has clearly ended but I still did not expect the end to happen that soon and such dramatically 😩

I am not exactly sure why that happened.

But I have a guess.

Before going to my guess, let’s look at the traffic.

Here’s the page view chart during the period from May 13 to July 21 for the mother Elephant 🐘 Website:

july 2018 income report - elephant traffic

And here’s the mapping of Google updates from Panguin Tool:

july 2018 income report - elephant traffic panguin

On the chart, four orange lines represent above normal flux in SERP; it could be an update that is not confirmed by Google.

The blue line is an introduction of video carousels that replaced the old-style video thumbnail results in the SERPs. The green line is the release of “Speed Update” that brings website speed as a ranking factor to mobile search.

As you can see, the traffic drop does not really seem to be related to any of the updates, named or unnamed.

Moreover, the rankings stayed pretty much the same. Some positions even improved but the overall traffic still went down 🤷

So my guess is that the high season for Elephant 🐘 Website has ended prematurely in the middle of June. Everybody who needed the product the website is promoting, they all got it in April-May.  Then, the traffic just naturally went down.

The hypothesis is confirmed by the fact that the baby Elephant 🐘 Website (the one I built based on the Mother Elephant 🐘) saw a similar pattern. Since its traffic is lower, the drop was milder and less pronounced.

Such a bummer 💥

What do we do with bummers? 😉

Using fear as fuel 🚀

When you fail or something goes sideways, what’s the best thing to do with it?

Right, learn from it!

Only, in my case, it’s a bit different!

I use my failure and fear that came out of it to fuel myself and use to act and to lean or do stuff!

Experiencing #failure and being horrified by it? 😱😱😱 Use your #fear to fuel yourself and act on it! 🚀 Do new stuff, learn new stuff and feel productive! 💪💪💪 Click To Tweet

This is what I did after realizing that Elephant 🐘 Website traffic was not going to improve in July:

🎀 Investigated the speed of the website and found some issues with one of the plugins
🎀 Investigated AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) and decided against using them
🎀 Updated the hosting to PHP7 (finally!)
🎀 Chose and installed a good WP theme on Elephant 🐘 Website  (have been wanting to do it since forever)
🎀 Enabled AdSense AutoAds on all websites (the feature has been available for my account for at least 2 months already)
🎀 Improved the existing content on Elephant 🐘 Website (was due for an update for at least a year 🙈🙈🙈  )
🎀 read tons of SEO blog posts that have been collecting dust in my Pocket app for a while

I was sooooo productive in July!

I almost want to thank the traffic for going down since it gave me a motivation to push. But better if the traffic stays up, still 🤣🤣🤣

So, let’s see in details what I did during July.

Why no AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

In July, I tried to setup AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) on Elephant 🐘 Website and decided against it.

Why?

The reason is very simple: It seems that the AMP conversion is horrible.
(Disclaimer: I am talking about the AMP implementation that is currently available for WordPress)

What is AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages? Let’s see what Google says:

The AMP Project is an open-source initiative aiming to make the web better for all. The project enables the creation of websites and ads that are consistently fast, beautiful and high-performing across devices and distribution platforms.

The speed is acquired because the formatting AMP supports is very basic.

Here’s a good video from an article by Moz.com that explains well the AMP in details:

 

For my website, I tried to use AMP for WordPress and AAWP (Amazon Affiliate WordPress) plugin.

AAWP does mostly support AMD; however:

👎 tables are not yet supported; instead; it’s just an empty spot on the page;
👎 nicely formatted AAWP widgets turned into an image with a chaotic bunch of links under it.

AMP for WP was not bad except for the fact it got some bugs and the default choice of AMP themes was poor.

I looked at all this mess…

…and looked again…

…imagined myself landing on such a website and trying to find what I need…

…then read the AuthorityHacker FB group…

and followed the crowd!

The crow is clearly not choosing AMD. Everybody in the affiliate marketing who tried it so far, all are complaining that the conversion at least stayed the same. After switching to AMP, the ranking of websites on mobile did grow but the money did not follow 🤨🤨🤨

After seeing how non-optimized for conversion AMD pages look, I am so not surprised.

So I ditched AMD for now for good!

AdSense Auto Ads

In July, after 2 months of procrastination, I finally updated my AdSense ads to the Auto Ads.

If you do not know what it is or how to set it up, here’s a helpful video to watch:

 

According to Google AdSense, here’s why you may want to switch to it:

Optimization: Using machine learning, Auto ads show ads only when they are likely to perform well and provide a good user experience.

Revenue opportunities: Auto ads will identify any available ad space and place new ads there, potentially increasing your revenue.

Easy to use: With Auto ads, you only need to place the ad code on your pages once. When you’re ready to use new features and ad formats, simply turn them on and off with the flick of a switch — there’s no need to change the code again.

All three points above are super true:

👍 the ads are placed in different places on each page being clearly optimized per page
👍 the revenue went up; some people on the AuthorityHacker FB group claim their revenue got doubled
👍 super easy to use since there is no need to place ad blocks into various slots manually; the auto ads place themselves!

The side effect of it: My pages now have any more ads than before!

Like 3 times more! 😱😱😱

I still vividly remember how I was scared to accidentally put more than 3 AdSense ads on a page.

And now…

The ads are everywhere! 😆

Overall, I think it’s worth it.

This ad format makes our lives much easier since there is no need to manually place ad blocks. Also, depending on your settings, the auto ads suggest or promote the content of the blog, which is good for lowering the bounce rate.

Good job, Google AdSense! 👍

Updating Elephant 🐘 Website theme

In July, I finally, finally settled on and bought a new WP theme for Elephant 🐘 Website.

The goal was to get something looking good, fast on mobile, being tried and approved by the crowd out there (aren’t humans herd animals after all 🐄), and with rich config to get rid of some plugins.

Pretty fast, I narrowed the choice down between Astra WP theme and GeneralPress WP theme.

Between those two, I decided to go with GeneralPress.

The reason was very simple: GeneralPress is $20 cheaper 🙈🙈🙈

Both themes seem to be very similar with, maybe a minor difference that Astra WP theme was built keeping speed in mind. It does not mean GeneralPress is a slow theme, no; it’s just it took them extra efforts to optimize for speed and I think they are still lagging a bit behind Astra.

Skyscraping outreach

Woo-hoo, I finally started doing skyscraping 🏙 outreach for Elephant 🐘 Website!

My first attempt was moderately successful bring in 2% conversion (from all emails I sent out.)

It’s my first time ever and I did not expect much from it. But that’s Ok… First times are given to us to fail and learn!

I am kinda regretting now I did not start it earlier and wasted so much time.

Still…

Better late than never!

Piggybacking the skyscraping outreach, I have also started doing the shotgun 🔫 broken link outreach… Will write more about it in the next income report!

How to restore Elephant 🐘 Website traffic?

But I have not yet mentioned the most important thing!  How do I plan to restore Elephant 🐘 Website traffic?

Well, the only way I see is diversifying its content.  I should stir away from this particular niche, which is seasonal and, apparently, can have its high season end so abruptly, and expand into some others.

This is, actually, what I have been doing already.

What do you think my freelance writers are writing month after month? 😂😂😂

Pivoting takes time and experience…

Horse 🐎 Website revival

Horse 🐎 Website revival was again supposed to be my focus #2 in July. Well… Elephant 🐘 Website consumed all my attention last month.

Got lost in my elephants, horses, and other creatures? Read here to find out what the website nicknames mean 🐀🐘🐎 🐝

What I have done in July:

👎👎👎  nothing

As for the traffic and income, July was average and I was simply happy to see that no drop occurred.

Personal life 👩

In July, I finally bought a new phone! It is a black and white Pixel 2 XL. I got it second hand from an online store gorecell.ca that buys and sells smartphones. it is so pretty and glossy, like a candy and I want to lick it all the time!

july 2018 income report - new phone

July was great in terms of weather! I spent a lot of time outside doing various fun activities…

july 2018 income report - outside

…including eating!

july 2018 income report - eating outside

…and sitting under a mist that is installed in different parts of Montreal!

july 2018 income report - mist outside

 

Ok, now let’s go back to the business! 👩‍💼

Expenses➖

In July, the expenses were a bit too high – but it could have been higher!

I projected the Elephant 🐘 Website traffic into earnings and cut expenses early 😆😆😆 I was really afraid I would get into a negative red zone that month…

But I did not!

Got lost in my elephants, horses, and other creatures? Read here to find out what the website nicknames mean 🐀🐘🐎 🐝

Let’s look at the expense numbers in the details.

Expense Amount Notes
Outsourced writing $245.59 Ordered new articles
Outsourced work $213.74 Paid a VA for doing some stuff
Outsourced images $0.00 Ordered zero image designs on Fiverr
E-marketing tools $46.90 Paid for SERP tracking, MailShake, a cheap access to AhRef tool, MailShake, etc
PBN domain registration $0.00 Did not renew or buy any PBN domains
PBN hosting $42.90 Paid for Easy Blog Networks, an awesome solution for PBNs (read my review), Bulk Buy Hosting (here's my review), and more
Hosting $0.00 Paid NOTHING for regular hosting
Domain registration $15.16 Paid for regular domain renewals
GeneralPress WP theme $39.95 Bough a WP theme
Guest posting $25.00 Paid for a guest post
KickFurther $0.00 No activity on the platform
Total $629.24

Income➕

The income in July dropped a lot compared to June because Elephant 🐘 Website traffic crashed under the table 📉 and stayed there.

Looks like its high season has ended.

Oh well.

In July, I activated AdSense AutoAds on all my websites. It did bring me more money and this income sweetened up the Elephant 🐘 Website crash.

The baby Elephant 🐘 Website (the one I built based on the mother Elephant 🐘 Website) did, actually, well and July was its highest income month since ever. Too bad it does not bring as much as the Mother 😐 Even its best revenue is maybe a half of the Mother Elephant 🐘 in its worst month 🙄

Got lost in my elephants, horses, and other creatures? Read here to find out what the website nicknames mean 🐀🐘🐎 🐝

Let’s look at the income numbers in the details.

Income Amount Notes
AdSense by Elephant Websites $226.81 Revenue from the 1st websites I bought + 2 others in the same niche
Amazon by Elephant Website $288.66 Revenue from the 1st website I bought + 2 others in the same niche)
AdSense by Horse Websites $144.85 Revenue from the 2nd websites I bought
Amazon by Horse Websites $0.00 Revenue from the 2nd websites I bought
Amazon by Rat Website $41.39 Revenue from the website built by Human Proof Designs; check their website to see if you can get a ready-made niche website for yourself
Ads by Rat Website $0.53 I monetize Rat Website through media.net
Amazon by Honeybee Website $0.00 Revenue from the website I am building myself with a PBN
Easy Blog Networks $32.59 Recurring and new affiliate sales for Easy Blog Networks, a solution for PBN hosting
Bulk BuyHosting $31.30 Recurring and new affiliate sales for Buy Bulk Hosting, another solution for PBN hosting
Kickfurther $1.56 Online investments paid back; read more in my post about Kickfurther
Interest $2.77 Interest earned on a saving account
Total $770.46

Totals📊

Here are my totals for July 2018.

Total income $770.46 minus total expenses $629.24 makes a net profit of $141.22.

Here is the chart with my revenue vs expenses history for the last 13 months. I use 13-month timeline instead of the 12-month one in order to show you how the current month performed compared to the last year.

july 2018 income report

August 2018 Plans📅

In August 2018, my focus should stay the same as for July. I plan to do the stuff I did not do during the previous month:

👉 Elephant 🐘 Website will still and again be my focus #1

👉 👉 Backlink building campaigns will continue. This includes guest posting ✍, skyscraping 🏙, and broken links outreach 🔗

👉 👉 Infographics to be made in August. I kinda paused it but want to resume working on it

👉 Rescuing Horse 🐎 Website will be again the focus #2.

👉 👉 I will prepare a few infographics based on the existing posts

👉 👉 I will try to do guestographics (when a site is offered to publish an infographic instead of a guest post)

👉 I will review my expenses. This month, the expenses were way too high and I need to do an optimization ✂

As of my LOC blog, I also plan to continue writing about my experience.  Since I am not sure about my posting schedule… you should stay tuned by subscribing to my emails!

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Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. I will receive a small fee if you choose to buy after clicking on any of these links. Thank you if you do! 🤗

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