It’s time for a quick recap of September!
Last month, I was happy because my online business didn’t see the summer slump everyone was talking about. It looks like I talked too fast as September has been a really tough month.
Once again, I spent most of the month working as hard as I could, and barely taking any time off.
Working hard and seeing your business shrink is never a good thing. It can take a huge toll on your motivation.
I’m not going to dwell on the struggle it’s been to stay motivated day in and day out throughout September, but you get the idea.
The only thing pushing me to move forward for the entire month is how close we’re getting to the holiday season.
I know for a fact that all this hard work is going to pay off when the shopping frenzy gets started in November.
Onward and upward!
Here’s what happened in September
The hardest thing to hit me this month was a massive drop in Amazon commissions from my main affiliate site.
But before I write about this in more details, let me tell you what I’ve been working on in September.
What I’ve been focusing on
A few days into the month, I was chatting with a friend who’s a super affiliate about the tools I built for my joint venture at the beginning of the year, and the tools he needs to get built to take his campaigns to the next level.
Basically, geek chat about software…
There was one particular piece of software he needed and he was struggling to find someone to build it for him.
It struck me that this kind of tool is needed by EVERY affiliate, and there is not a single solution to this exact problem on the market today.
I simply asked him if he would pay a monthly fee for a SaaS (software as a service) that would solve his problem, and he said yes.
After doing some research for a few days to see if anyone already had a similar product, and realizing that there is no competition, I agreed to build this piece of software.
I can’t give you too much details about the tool at this point, apart from telling you that after working on it for several weeks, it is now in beta test with a small group of super affiliates, and so far everyone is really pleased with the way it works.
I’ll announce the public release date very soon.
That being said, I spent most of my working hours developing and tweaking this piece of software, so I got backlogged with my Amazon affiliate site.
What happened with my affiliate site
My writers kept working hard to produce high-quality content, but I was too busy to review the articles and approve them, so I am sitting on a stack of 80+ new articles that just need to be reviewed before going live.
In terms on numbers, September has been a terrible month for this site.
There is no nice way to put it when your earnings drop by over 30% month over month.
I’ve identified several potential reasons to explain why this happened:
Most people who rely on SEO for their income have noticed some massive swings in Google ranking from the beginning of September.
Moreover, later in the month, Google announced that Penguin was now part of the main algorithm and was updated in real time.
While I saw a slight change in my traffic from Google, I think it has nothing to do with these updates. I have never done anything shady to rank this site, so there is no reason why it would get penalized.
I think the small drop in traffic is mostly due to the following point.
It’s no secret that some products go in and out of season along the year. Several of the best-selling products I am promoting through this site simply went out of season, and this probably explains the drop in traffic and revenue.
Yet, one thing doesn’t make sense to me: the traffic slightly dropped, but the revenue massively dropped.
If it was all about seasonality, there should be some kind of correlation between the drop in traffic and revenue.
Which leads me to the third point.
Amazon tracking issues
People who promote Amazon as affiliates know that a new tracking interface was rolled out several months ago, and while the new look and reports are nice, there has been quite a number of issues with the update.
At the beginning of September, the reports were off, and I suspect that some of the tracking was off as well.
This is the most likely explanation for the massive drop in EPC between August and September.
The bottom line is that I will never know the exact impact these factors had on my revenue in September.
The only thing I know for sure is what the numbers are telling me: revenue dropped. Period.
As you can see in the graph, traffic dropped by almost 7000 views, revenue dropped by $1,600, and worst of all, EPC dropped from $67.58 to $49.11. That’s the lowest EPC I’ve had since January! And that one was completely normal after Christmas.
These numbers are getting me a little worried, but I will have to see if it was a freak event and things get better in October.
A few words about Dukeo
I haven’t published any new article on this blog last month besides my income report. My time is simply better spent on other projects at the moment.
It’s still nice to report that one of my readers took advantage on my guide about how to start a money-making blog in less than 5 minutes, and purchased their hosting through the company I recommend: Bluehost.
This detailed step-by-step guide can help anyone getting started online and get their first website up and running in less than 5 minutes.
Don’t just take my word for it. Check the guide, and you will see what I’m talking about.
Another one of my readers decide to take the right step to grow their blog traffic, and purchased my Pinterest traffic explosion guide. This guide includes everything you need to turbo-charge your blog traffic with Pinterest.
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||$1,506.57||▼ $2,465.60|
|Product 1: PTE||$17.00|
|Viral Sites||$86.85||▲ $40.61|
This is definitely not the kind of numbers people like to report: drop in gross revenue, increase in expenses, massive drop in net profit.
I already explained the drop in gross revenue before in this report, so I won’t go over this subject again.
Regarding the increase in expenses, there are 2 reasons.
First of all, seeing the constant growth of my affiliate site in the past months (apart from September), I have decided to ramp up my content production, and spent an extra $741.60 on content. This money is an investment in the future of the site, as it should help fuel the growth for months to come.
The second factor that increased my expenses is the software I built for super affiliates. Since it is in beta test, I gave free access to some friends to get feedback and see how to tool reacts with real traffic. But until I start billing for it, I still need to pay the hosting bill, and it’s taking away a decent chunk of my earnings.
All in all, these numbers are the result of 2 planned events (the increase of spending on content, and the hosting bill for the new software), and a major unplanned event (the drop in Amazon revenue).
What’s happening next?
October is going to be as busy as ever.
I need to catch up with my writers and finally publish all the articles they wrote in September. This content is useless for me until it starts generating visits.
I’m probably going to slow down the content production a bit until I see the trend with Amazon for October.
A lot of my time is allotted to giving customer support for the beta version of my software and make some tweaks.
Since I’m receiving a lot of positive feedback so far, I’m going ahead and building the billing part of the tool, the admin interface, as well as an affiliate program to help with the promotion once it goes public.
October is going to be an expensive month again since I won’t be billing anyone for the tool until November. The hosting bill keeps increasing, but the revenue doesn’t.
Hopefully, my Amazon site will regain some traction and help cover some of my development costs.
Subscribe to my newsletter below and I’ll keep you posted about my progress with both projects.