I’d like 2014 to be the year where I share more real life case studies of what’s working for me now than I ever have before. I’m off to a bit of a slow start for the year because of the birth of our twin girls five months ago (boo yah I know), but that doesn’t mean I can’t make up for it.
I already touched on my 1KBlog case study when I first published – How to make money with survey companies, but for those that missed it I’m building a blog that generates at least $1,000 per month or more and I’ll be documenting the process here on my blog. Later this month I’ll explain why I picked this niche but for now let’s get to my results.
SurveyChris.com Month 1 Report
First I want to cover what I did in the month, then how much I earned, then how many subscribers I added and traffic I received and then plans for next month. Let’s proceed…
My Niche And Monetization Strategy:
The website I’m building is SurveyChris.com and the primary means of monetization is referring visitors to the best survey companies that I find. I earn a small commission for each referral. Another smaller portion of the income will come from actually taking surveys to determine which companies are worth recommending. I’ll also be testing other monetization methods but for now that’s it.
Month 1 Execution
The focus for the first month was focused on getting the logo done, the site design up and then shifting attention to content creation.
How I Saved Money In Month 1:
Reusing Old Assets:
This only cost me $5 because I already had the character done.
Years ago I commissioned a graphic designer to do a character of me. I used the character for an old project but set it aside because I stopped using it. I wanted to go with a brand approach for this website as opposed to a keyword domain name so that’s why I went with “Survey Chris” and why you see this logo.
Reusing My Blog Design:
If you visit SurveyChris.com you’ll notice the design looks very similar to what you see here on this blog. That’s because I used the same exact theme. I only changed the colors a bit.
They key is to not get caught up in every little detail before you launch.
Just get something out there and improve as you go along.
The revenue generating real work hasn’t started until you’re creating content and trying to grow your blog.
Month 1 Income Results
Here is the income split by survey company. To keep it simple and be able to better line up my results with what I did for the month I’m tracking what I earned in the specific month and not what checks I’ve cashed or Paypal deposits I’ve received within that month:
Month 1 income results are $192.19. Not too bad for a brand new website.
I probably won’t go through the hassle of sorting out income results from taking surveys vs income from survey referrals. You should just assume that as the site grows referral income will be a larger slice of the pie every single month.
Note: This income also includes referrals for visitors outside the US to other survey companies. I’m using the Better Links Pro geographic redirection tool to redirect international traffic that would have otherwise been wasted to international offers so I can get credit for those sales. Better Links Pro is my own plugin so perhaps I’m bias but it’s nice to see extra earnings in only 15 days – boo yah! You should pick it up.
Month 1 Email List Growth
Month 1 email subscribers: 162
The results are slightly off as I can only pull a report from the previous 30 days
Building an email list is the best way to own a traffic source you control. If you were a sucker person busy building likes to your Facebook page you know by know that Facebook tweaked their algorithm to show your posts to only 1% of your fans. Now you’ve gotta pay for exposure.
Build something you can control. If you aren’t building an email list you’re dumb misinformed. Simple as that.
I use Aweber right now and have 50,000+ email subscribers in my largest account (most of my subscribers are ‘buyers’ which is a whole other conversation for another day). I also have an Infusionsoft account for another business and will be opening another account with GetResponse later this month.
The traffic results (along with the income) are actually only for ~15 days because the website didn’t go live until May 15th.
Ideally organic search will grow in the future as that’s the long term goal
As you can see from the above screenshot the bulk of the traffic comes from referrals and in this case that is referral traffic from this blog.
The question that then may pop into your head is…
Chris, aren’t you cheating to reach your $1k goal if you can leverage traffic from your blog?
Yes and no. Clearly the traffic and income will be somewhat influenced by my sharing the website on this blog, but any website case study you read online from anyone has this very same problem.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Let me explain why…
When the income from Survey Chris grows beyond $1,000 per month the influence of sharing the case study here will become less and less pronounced.
Referral traffic from UpFuel alone won’t be enough to hit $1,000 per month for SurveyChris let alone my long term goal which is to reach $50,000 per year in earnings from this single website (roughly the household median income in the US).
Besides, I’ve already proven I can build a blog from scratch up to $1,000 per month multiple times and beyond the only difference this time is that I’m bringing you along for the ride.
Plans For Month 2
Long term I need to implement an SEO strategy for the site, but for now I’m focused on content creation as opposed to rushing into trying out various link building methods.
I’d like to rank for various “survey company name review” keywords but quite frankly those results are pretty high competition so it may take some time.
Instead I may need to start with some long tail survey related keyword rankings first and I’ll be using Long Tail Pro (30% off link) to help identify those opportunities.
Blog Content Strategy:
I’m going to get out several more survey company reviews along with some other general survey taking tips articles that I’ve learned from taking surveys.
That way it gives me an opportunity to show my income proof in the form of a check or a Paypal deposit. I’ll also be tracking the links I use on YouTube using BetterLinksPro so that I can determine what ROI my videos generate over time.
Overall Month 1 Assessment
I’m pleased with the progress so far. Sure the money is nice but as I explained before, I want to see organic search traffic and my email list grow. That’s what will take me to $1,000 per month and beyond.
Full Disclosure: I have hired someone to help me out with some SurveyChris.com blog articles and reviews. Sure I could do absolutely everything myself, but I have other businesses I need to be focused on as well.