It’s time for a quick recap of December!
The last month of 2016 has been underwhelming.
I saw signs as soon as November that something bad was shaping up for my main affiliate site: ranking for some of my target keywords started slipping down.
It wasn’t the sharp fall that many people are talking about. The decrease didn’t happen overnight. It was a slow but consistent movement downward.
As a result, I had a feeling December was going to be a disappointing month, but I would never have imagined the sheer scale on which it was going to happen.
Here’s what happened in December
At the beginning of December, I left Philippines to attend the Affiliate World Asia conference in Bangkok.
Overall, the conference was really interesting and I learned a thing or two during the sessions.
As always, the real value of these conferences is not in the talks, it’s in the networking that happens in the market and during events in the evening.
I met some really inspiring people, and it’s getting me highly motivated to crush it in 2017.
After the conference, I decided to move to Chiang Mai, Thailand, for a couple of months. So I’ll be staying there until the end of January. Then I’ll reassess the situation to see what’s my next step.
For a city guy like me, Chiang Mai is way too quiet, but it’s alright for a few months as it allows me to focus on work 100% away from any distraction.
And focus is exactly what I need to start 2017 with a bang.
What I’ve been focusing on
In December, I did mostly 2 things.
First, I spent most of my time working on the new piece of software that I built for super affiliates.
Then, on the little time that I had left, I tied up loose ends for my main affiliate site so I can focus on the right things starting January.
Software as a Service
As I was saying, my main project for December was the automation software for affiliates.
The software is basically a smart offer manager in which you input all the offers you’re working with, and it learns by itself how to optimize your campaigns.
Think of it as a personal assistant that is constantly refreshing your campaign stats and readjusting the offers that are receiving your traffic.
Let’s be clear: this is NOT for bloggers and content affiliates. This tool is for CPA affiliates who are pushing paid traffic to nutra, insurance, skin, or any other kind of CPA offers.
I’ll give more details in a dedicated post that I will publish at some point in January.
What happened with my affiliate site
Now time to address the elephant in the room: my main affiliate site.
In December, I saw my traffic going down every single day. It’s kind of distressing when every day your traffic is worse than the previous day. Especially when it happens during the hottest month of the year for Ecommerce.
As you can see in the following graph, traffic seriously dropped between November and December.
My biggest issue with this traffic drop is that it didn’t happen overnight.
If it was a sudden drop, I could try to identify if it’s due to some kind of penalty or maybe a technical issue that’s preventing my pages to get indexed properly.
But it happened gradually, every day being worse than the previous one.
The only thing that happened in November and December (that wasn’t happening in previous months) is that I started receiving a ton of spammy links from image scrapping sites. They pull images from my site, put them on pages that are build with an automatic system, and create a link back to the original image.
Honestly, that’s the only possible reason that I could identify at this point. Since there was no official announcement by Google about a particular update, my plan is to do absolutely nothing, and see how things evolve in January.
This has made for a frustrating situation because I’ve been doing everything by the book with this website, and my traffic gets taken away by Google for no apparent reason anyway. It’s really making you reconsider doing some things that are in the grey area when you see a ton of websites that are breaking every possible Google rule and getting rewarded with high rankings and a ton of traffic.
Now, for the silver lining, my EPC has never been higher for that website. It somewhat compensated the drop in traffic and the site ended up having it’s second biggest month ever in terms of revenue.
It came only about 10% short of the best month ever.
Of course, the EPC is going to get back to a somewhat “normal” value in January, so unless I manage to get my traffic on the up again, I expect to see a huge drop in revenue next month.
What about the money?
Here is a breakdown of the money flow for my various projects.
To make this report easier to understand, I’m using a simple color code: green numbers are positive, red numbers are negative.
Please keep in mind that these figures may not be 100% accurate due to various factors such as refund requests and network adjustments. The terms for each payment may also vary. As a result these numbers may differ from the actual payments issued and received.
|Niche Sites||$3,659.04||▲ $763.29|
|Viral Sites||$56.10||▼ $17.55|
|Product 1: PTE||$17.00|
As you can see, I managed to keep my “content” spending in check for my affiliate site. I didn’t see the point in spending too much on new content because it wasn’t going to rank in time for Christmas anyway.
This might have been a mistake and it could possibly explain, at least partially, the drop in traffic since there was not much fresh content on the site in December.
Apart from that, my viral sites are still making a little money with zero work on my side, and Dukeo is barely making any money. Both of these points are totally fine for me since I am focusing my attention and effort on other aspects of my online businesses at this point.
I was hoping to see a spike in revenue with the holiday season. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.
At least, I’m happy that my bottom line didn’t fall into Oblivion. I still made enough to cover all my costs, and then some.
What’s happening next?
2017 is going to be a game changer.
The first order of business is to get the word out about my SaaS project and get a few people to use it. I know there’s a ton of value in using it (from the feedback I received during the Beta test). If you’re pushing CPA offers, hit me up and I’ll get you setup with a free 14 days trial so you can see what it’s all about.
I’m also in contact with a few affiliate marketers and bloggers to work something out and tell the affiliate world about what this tool can do for them.
Next, I’m reorganizing my project structure for the affiliate site. I’m in the process of hiring a new assistant to manage most of the tasks that I was still doing myself for that project.
It will bring my team up to 4 people: 2 writers, 1 editor, and 1 assistant. The current editor is reviewing the work of the writers, correcting grammar, and handling communication with them. My assistant will format all the HTML code for the articles, as well as take care of the pictures.
The only part left for me will be the keyword research and setting the course for the project.
It should free up enough of my time so I can get my new project out of the gates: e-commerce.
I’m currently looking into Shopify and Amazon FBA business models and deciding which one I’m going to pursue in 2017.
I’ll tell you more about this whole ecommerce thing in the months to come.
That being said, I wish you the best for 2017, and plenty of success with your online ventures.
Signup below and I’ll keep you posted on my progress in 2017.