Wow, the year is going fast. It doesn’t feel like 3 months since I reported I was winding down for the summer months. The summer is now over, and I have been back working online for over a month. Creating new content, both premium, and lead. I have also been updating my blog and all that goes with running an online business.
I set into the summer break with content in hand. I had many articles written and I just needed to publish them on my blog. I also had courses produced, again I just needed to publish these online and start selling them. With plenty of content in hand, the plan was to distribute the content across different platforms and continue with my drive for traffic growth.
Working online means?
Working online involves, would you believe, work! Many people think they can come online and make a passive income doing nothing. Well, I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news; passive income does not really exist. Reoccurring income does, and you can set your self up to a stage where your reoccurring income from existing products/content is enough to sustain you for a period of time without the need to work. The bad news is, this does not last for very long and if you don’t do some sort of work, your content, your products will become stale and someone else will be doing it better.
If you think you can build a website, write a couple of posts and the public will flock to your site then you have a lot to learn about making money from content online. Creating content is one thing. Marketing and sales are another. You need many skills to work online, so if you are new to the game, you better start learning.
How much time do I give my online business?
I took over a year off, Summer 2017 to late 2018. After which I had a lot of stale stuff. For the last year, I have been working like crazy producing and publishing new premium content. I have been homing my SEO skills and producing content for inbound marketing. Like I said, working online means work.
Although I have been working like crazy, over the last year I have taken plenty of time off. 2 weeks for Christmas, A week in February, 2 weeks for Easter and then 8 weeks for the summer. I will also be taking a week at the end of the month. Added to that I only do about a 6-hour day.
Taking an average of my working hours spread out over a year, I work about 23 hours a week.
Working online for me is a lifestyle choice. I could choose to work a lot more and I would probably have a lot more money. But I like the flexibility. As a parent of young kids, it suites me perfect.
So let's take a look at the quarter and the year to date and see how I am performing. Let you see the truth about working online and what is involved. I have shared online business reports before, but never to this detail. And I have never shared income reports online before, or any sort of financials on how much money I make from content online.
Publishing Premium Content
In terms of paid content, online courses. I got a lot published over the summer and with only 1 course to write I can achieve my Q4 targets with ease. I do have another course in mind, but as of now, I am not committing to do it.
If you are interested you can read more about my course distribution here https://steemit.com/business/@paulag/making-money-from-premium-content-my-formula-for-success-or-should-i-say-hard-work.
I make my money online from selling courses that I write and produce. However, not all courses are revenue-generating. Some are set up as lead magnets. Don’t be fooled by the numbers below, not all students are paying students.
Student Numbers are up. I increased Udemy students from 55K in June to 62K. Skillshare students have increased by 220.
As mentioned in a previous post, reporting from the publishing partner is annual, so I have no update on that element. And with The Excel Club, the focus was to grow traffic, capture emails and introduce the learn and earn activities. The focus was not on student numbers or revenue.
Alison is also new for me to publish on and reporting is based on quarters. The one published course only had a month live in the quarter and 2741 students enrolled in the course. I have to say, I’m rather happy with that. I don’t get paid per student but on advertising revenue. More students = more traffic = more advertising revenue.
All in all, around 10K students signed up for a course with me during Q3.
Of these 10K students, I don’t have email access to the students on Alison or my UK publishing partner. But I have increased my contactable students by +7K for the 3 months.
Excel Club Blog Traffic
The Excel Club was more or less a dormant website last September. Previously used for B2B sales, the aim was to rebrand, start blogging for inbound marketing and publish premium content. Grow the site, grow my email list and then start focusing on sales.
I think the chart says it all. I have already reached my year-end target and I am revising my month on month growth from 10% to 5%. If I can sustain this, I can spend more time on my sales funnels and start converting some of that list to customers.
It looks like all the SEO work and inbound content marketing is really working as my traffic is growing for sure. And faster than I had expected.
Calls to Action and Click-through rates
The call to action on The Excel Club blog has been
1. To sign up for my newsletter
2. To find out more about the learn and earn activates
2.1 To sign up for a steem wallet
There has been no focus on course sign-ups and sales so far this year as the effort was towards traffic growth. You might also remember me tell you when I moved systems, I messed up my email capture and this problem was missed for some time. Therefore, I don’t have CTR on newsletter signups pre-July. Learn from my mistake.
This is where things get ugly. My email signup CTR is way to low, and the learn and earn landing page is also lower than I would like.
Email signup is less than 1%. Target now set of 1.5% by year-end. I have a much better CTR when it comes to sending people to a landing page explaining what the steem Learn and Earn activities are. From this landing page, visitors are directed to signup.steemit.com and I am more than happy with this CTR.
Online Income Report
In previous posts, I discussed my course distribution and revenue streams. Some payments are annual, some monthly some paid each quartile. In this reporting quarter, I received an annual payment from my UK publishing Partner.
Therefore, looking at € per visitor on a monthly basis is not the best. However, to get an indication of where I am at, year to date I am looking at around 69 cents per visitor to my blog. Q3 is up on other qtrs. Due to the annual payment. I am anticipating the year-end value to be approx. 49 cents per visitor.
The table below shows the source of income from courses distribution to Consultancy.
Growing my online content business Q4
Working online means work. Those that tell you they work 4 hours a week and make $10K a month are either full of shit, just about maintaining, or are one of the very very lucky few.
For the last quarter of the year, the plan is to work smarter rather than harder. I am going to start promoting paid content on The Excel Club and I have started working on the funnels and sequences.
Working Smarter not Harder
I want to focus more on content syndication. That means making my content work harder for me, rather than me working harder producing more content. For blogs, posting to Medium and Linkedin. With video posting more on Youtube, and even Facebook video. I have done very little when it comes to publishing video this year and I know it can be a great funnel. I have bags of videos I can recycle from courses. Hopefully with solid link backs to my site, the traffic content syndication generates will be quality traffic, those that really want to learn more. I look at these sites as filters, removing those just browsing, the shit traffic. Leaving me with quality traffic. I hope this will have an impact on CTR.
As I will be focusing on syndication, there will be less fresh content published on the Excel Club Blog and so I have reduced my month on month traffic growth targets from 10% to 5%.
I also need to increase the quality backlinks to my blog. I was doing a little work on this over the summer and it proved harder than I thought. Content syndication does not tend to provide this, instead, guest posts and follow ‘mentions’ seems to be the way to go. Its something I really need to put some effort into.
Call to actions and Click-through rates
With the low CTR’s I have also redesigned my posts so the calls to actions are a lot clearer. The last few posts have used this format. I am going to keep an eye on this, tweak it a bit and then spend some time reformatting older posts if I am getting a better result. I have also expanded my CTA to include a sales funnel. The new format clearly shows free and premium courses users can explore, along with the existing newsletter and steem related CTAs.
You can see an example of the old format here
and you can see an example of the new format here
I would love to hear your comments and feedback on the changes.
I have also tightened up my funnels. Once I get an email address, the email sequence reiterates the CTA for a steem account, and they are also given a special offer with a CTA to buy now. Again, this needs a little more work and tweaking.
Working online means work. But if you are prepared to put the effort in, then you can make a good, if not fantastic living. If you think it's going to be a walk in the park, I wish you good luck!
For the last quarter of the year, I am expecting an increase in CTR and get more brand awareness across different platforms. However, I am expecting a slow down in my traffic growth. Finally, I am expecting to start generating more revenue from The Excel Club. The hope is to get the largest % of my income coming from Excel Club sales