This is the second month of this blog’s existence and I am definitely learning a lot as I go.
Here are the results for October:
Expenses: $338 Income: $0
Net income for the year: $(627)
I piled more money into the website, mostly out of frustration. $200 went toward updating W2BZ to the WordPress “business” plan. I was trying to add code to the site to be approved for Flex Offer’s affiliate links and was frustrated with my progress; so frustrated that I threw $200 at the problem. The money helped, I got it set up, but I learned shortly that the business account is absolutely unnecessary for what I’m trying to do.
I also spent $47.88 on a PicMonkey membership. Same as the WordPress upgrade, this purchase was born of frustration. I wanted to be able to add text labels over pictures without the headache that free apps create. I don’t feel bad about this purchase, but I would feel better if I’d had the time and patience to research a bit more.
The rest of the spending ($90.19) was for Facebook ads. After adding affiliate links I launched another campaign of my most “successful” post Hey Where Did 25% of Our Paycheck Go? It went well in that my cost per click dropped to 11 cents for the month, but it failed to generate any affiliate income.
Here are my Facebook ad results for October (according to FB):
For October W2BZ had 842 visitors and 1,036 page views. The views are almost entirely attributable to Facebook ads.
My most popular post in October was Wait, where did 25% of our Paycheck Go?, which was the focus of the Facebook ad campaign. I also spent some advertising dollars on Our Financial Year in Review. I actually tested a small ad spend on all the posts on the list, but these 2 were far and away the ones people responded to the most.
Once again there is a discrepancy in how many referrals Facebook says they provided (756) vs. what WordPress reports (599). Only 1 person found W2BZ through a search engine…
Last but not least: I have 8 Twitter followers, 8 people following the Facebook page, and two people following the blog on WordPress. Thanks guys!
A Renewed Focus
I’ve plowed too much money into Facebook ads. I definitely got addicted to the gratification of people actually seeing my content. It is a bit disheartening to put time and effort into creating a post only to have it ignored by the world. Gah, why can’t everyone just read all the opinions I’m trying to force on them!
Instead of trying to target people I think might enjoy the site, I need to work on making it easier to find for people who would enjoy it. You’ll catch more flies with honey or whatever. This basically means I need to increase W2BZ’s traffic from search engines and external links. I don’t know much about SEO, but I do know that my brand new site with only 17 published posts is not optimized for it. Before I try to get too SEO smart for my own good I need to generate more content!
So that’s my renewed focus (yes I’m so over-thinking this that in 40 days my blog with no direction has lost and regained focus :)). I just think the tertiary things surrounding a website, like Facebook ads and google analytics, are sooo interesting it’s easy to get caught-up tinkering with that instead of creating interesting and relevant content.
The first hardline measurable goal is thus born for W2BZ: post twice a week. That’s it. Look for a new post every Tuesday and Friday.
I mentioned in the September Blog Update that in my wildest dreams I monetize W2BZ and make my living as a writer. My original inclination was to keep everything ad and affiliate-free for a while before deciding if I wanted to go for it, but it occurred to me that I was really selling my dreams short. I mean, this is an anonymous blog! If I can’t be honest about my aspirations here what hope do I have?
I set up W2BZ with Flex Offers so that I could post affiliate links. I decided that if I was going to make specific recommendations they had to pass a 2 part test: I have to use them and I have to be willing to recommend them to my mom. With that guideline I picked my first two affiliates to promote, Personal Capital and Credit Sesame. I like these to start with because I was already using them and they are free services.
I’ll get paid a small amount if anyone signs up for an account through the links and meets other requirements. A person does not have to spend any money for me to receive a paying referral, so I definitely like that.
I’ve had 55 link clicks and made zero commissions. I honestly think about 52 of those link clicks were from me when I was testing the site.
I also signed up for an Adsense account at the very end of October and placed ads on W2BZ. I was a little torn by this as I’m not too keen on our culture of ad bombardment. Buuuuut call me a sellout (probably accurate) ads are likely my best chance at monetizing.
I have ideas for some larger personal finance projects that I would turn into products, but they are pretty ambitious. I don’t foresee having the time or ability to focus on these in the near future. My ideal vision would be to use W2BZ to promote these grander ideas and thus keep the site clean of outside ads.
Before any of that great perfect world scenario can unfold though I need some small successes to feel emboldened. I can’t fairly dream of quitting my job to pursue passion projects until I’ve made at least 1 cent that didn’t come from a paycheck. So with that, enjoy the ads 🙂
The Most Important Metric
I’m having fun doing this. Yes there are some frustrating/worky type things associated with getting the site up, but they are dwarfed by the fun parts. Even though few people read the posts I get a lot of gratification from writing them. In some ways it even feels a little therapeutic. I was in a sour mood for sure when writing about routine, but I really think it helped adjust my attitude and led to a much more positive run of days.
I also enjoy reading other people’s websites and seeing what is going on in this personal finance world. Despite my cooling on Facebook ads I do find them incredibly interesting and will likely still dabble in creating a few low-cost campaigns a month. It’s just fun, I don’t know how else to say it. And this is good, because I don’t want another job, I want an outlet. I’m not sure I’m any closer to being zapped, but I’m also not further away, so that’s something.