This is my 1,000th blog post (proof).
I first started blogging over 7 years ago, having made my very first post on October 21st, 2005.
I was 22 years old when I started it, and in a few months I will be 30 (which depresses me greatly). That means that I’ve been blogging for a quarter of my lifetime! Insane.
How It All Began
In interviews, one of the questions I almost always get asked is why I started blogging. Here’s the answer:
I was 22, living in my room in my parent’s basement and my websites at the time were just starting to make enough to where I could move out on my own and make a living purely from my websites.
This was May 2005, and while it may not seem like very long ago, making a living online at that time was actually pretty rare. At least, it wasn’t anywhere close to how widespread and rampant it is today.
At that time, I was an active and frequent user of a webmaster forum called Sitepoint Forums (the same company which later made Flippa). I was mainly active in their "Revenue" sub-forums, preferring to talk about how to monetize websites and grow income.
As I was about to move out from my parent’s place, I created a thread on the forums which documented my adventure of moving out onto my own. The thread became extremely popular and eventually I had a lot of people suggesting and requesting that I make a blog dedicated to my adventures online instead of limiting myself to the thread, and that is when my blog was born.
For those interested, you can read that original Sitepoint thread from 8 years ago.
I also did a follow-up thread 5 months later, which was even more popular.
In The Beginning
Originally, my blog was actually hosted on Blogger for about half a year or so. I then "invested" into getting my own TylerCruz.com domain for it in late December 2005.
My blog was also completely pink for it’s first year. Here’s what it looked like, courtesy to web.archive.org.
People always made fun of the colour, but I still stand behind my conscious decision for it. It was different, a bit funny and odd, and it stood out.
When I moved to WordPress, I used a free template and just modified the main header image. Here’s what it looked like.
By 2007, I was still using the same layout, but my blog was looking a lot better overall, with less whitespace, a thinner header image, and more information.
In October 2008, I had a major blog design upgrade to the design that stands today. I actually got it for free. Here’s a very thorough post all about it.
This is one of the early draft ideas:
When I first started blogging, my posts were incredibly horrible.
I was brand new to blogging, and took an extremely casual approach to it. Basically, my posts were glorified tweets. I didn’t really know what I was doing.
A lot of them were also very immature and self-congratulatory. I was 22 though, so I guess that can be expected.
Here are a few examples of some of my very early, horrible, blog posts. Warning: you will cringe.
Basically, my first 3 months are full of incredibly horrible posts.
You can view all 1,000 of my past blog posts here.
After the first 3 months though, they quickly started to improve. My posts were more of a journal at that time though. Basically, the majority of them were giving updates on what I was working on at the time.
As time went on, my posts included a lot more share/teach/review type posts. For a while, I went too far in that direction, being a bit too didactic in my writing, and doing too many promotional type posts and far too many paid reviews.
Currently, my blog is focused primarily on affiliate marketing, and I try to spread the posts evenly between giving updates on my own affiliate marketing efforts, and teaching what little I do know about it that I can, as well as reviewing and sharing related tools and services.
Blog Income (Banners Only)
I cannot give any sort of close report on my blog’s income over the years, as it’s pretty much impossible to track all of the affiliate and referral earnings that came from and as a result of it.
So, I’ll just share with you guys my private ad sales (banners) instead.
- 2006: $600
- 2007: $3,380
- 2008: $17,877.32
- 2009: $16,795.61
- 2010: $16,119.08
- 2011: $14,421.45
- 2012: $18,292.98
Again, this is only my private ad sales income from my blog. It doesn’t include any referral or affiliate income from it.
At the time of this writing, here are some interesting blog stats for you:
- 1,000 posts
- 21,048 legitimate comments
- 1,918,762 spam comments protected by Akisment
- 1,902 images (in blog posts)
- 34,340 WordPress users (probably primarily spambots)
- 46 contributors (Past guest bloggers, etc.)
- 93 different affiliate links auto-linked
- 40 polls
- PageRank: 3 (Not that PR means anything!)
- Alexa: 49,053
- RSS Readership: 2,874
- Twitter Followers: 59,598
- Monthly Absolute Unique Visitors: 4,803 (Last 30 days)
- Monthly Unique Pageviews: 13,311 (Last 30 days)
My blog has never had very much traffic, but the traffic it does get is of extremely high quality.
It’s a bit overwhelming to know that I’ve been working on my blog for 7.5 years. That’s a long time. 25% of my life.
The scary thing is, I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. Perhaps never.
I could very well be linking back and referencing this very post and these very words when I’m 40… or 50. Hello future Tyler…
If I do continue to blog, it will be very interesting to see where I’m at in another 1,000 posts from now. I should be around 40 at that time. Ah… depressing! Life is too short!
Thanks for reading my 1,000th blog post – I’ll be back with another post soon!
Three months ago, I published a post called A Beginner’s Introduction to Affiliate Marketing in which I included a screencast where I explain what affiliate marketing is, how it works, and how to get started.
With the continued success I’ve been having with affiliate marketing so far, people have been continuing to send me quite a lot of comments, e-mails, IM’s, and tweets asking for more step-by-step instructions.
And since that seems to be the #1 request by far, here I have for you another affiliate marketing screencast "how-to" video.
This screencast is meant to act as a follow-up to my other post, so if you haven’t read and watched the first video already and are really new to affiliate marketing, please watch it first.
In this video, I show how I go about setting up a new campaign after I have an offer and traffic source (in this case Facebook), in mind. I also touch on optimizing your campaign after you have run traffic to it.
There is no secret or any special tricks in this video; it’s all basic, usual, typical stuff. Affiliate marketing is all about perseverance and testing. There’s also so much to talk and share that there’s no way I could include everything in one video.
Anyhow, here’s the screencast. It’s just a bit shy of 1-hour long, so there’s plenty of content there for you. I recommend watching it in 720 HD and full screen so you can read and see all the data I present later on:
(Note: You may need to visit the post directly at TylerCruz.com if you’re reading this via e-mail or RSS in order to see it.)
Links and References
Below are the links referenced in the video (yes, most of them are my referral links), as well as a few more:
Affiliate Marketing Chatroom
Now Get To Work!
Enough reading! Start cranking out some campaigns!
In the end, the best teacher is experience, so you’ll need to get your hands dirty and just jump right in.
I feel a bit guilty having only published 2 posts since my last monthly affiliate marketing income report, but blogging just isn’t my main focus at the moment. I definitely hope to post more frequently in May though.
This is now my fourth post in this new monthly post series, and I hope that I continue with them for a long time. At least, I hope that I can post profitable numbers for a long time.
If you recall in my previous report, March 2013 was my best affiliate marketing month by far, netting $33,883.66, which was the most I ever made from affiliate marketing in 1 month.
I ended that post with:
"As a result, I don’t expect April to be a new record month for me. In fact, I’ll be quite happy if it performs anywhere close to how March did."
Well, I didn’t end up breaking March’s numbers, but I did come close. Extremely close. I was just $249.47 away from setting a new record!
Here are the overall numbers for the month:
April 2013 Affiliate Campaign Income:
While not quite my highest grossing month, it’s definitely my second-highest.
But that’s just gross income and not net profit. Paid traffic is called "paid" for a reason…
Traffic Source Breakdown:
- Traffic Source #1: $729.51
- Traffic Source #2: $1,016.89
- Traffic Source #3: $222.76
- Traffic Source #4: $28,799.66
- Traffic Source #5: $33,868.09
- Traffic Source #6: $255.39
When I was first drafting this post, I thought I had actually set a new record because I forgot to include Traffic Source #6… oh well.
While not a new monthly record, I can’t complain about this number. I should also not expect to be able to set new records so frequently… it’s not realistic.
My ROI took quite a hit compared to March (69%), coming in at 52%. Although, 52% is a lot closer to my typical average. March was just unusually high.
Year-To-Date Affiliate Marketing Results
2013 has continued to be an absolute fantastic year for me so far.
Here’s a monthly breakdown:
$122K profit in the first 3rd of the year may sound like a lot, but really it’s just a bit over $1,000/day if you average it over the past 4 months.
When you look at it that way, it doesn’t sound like a lot at all. There are guys out there doing $10,000 – $50,000+ profit a day. What I make in a month, they make in a day or two.
It will never cease to amaze me just how much some guys out there are making with affiliate marketing. It’s inspiring as hell.
Nevertheless, I’m still doing pretty well. If we were to assume that I finish the year with no growth or decline, but continue with the average of the first 4 months, I should finish the year grossing 1.07 million dollars and netting $367,000 profit.
As I’ve said before, that’s assuming a lot though. Things can change in this industry at any second.
That’s actually another reason why I really want to up my numbers. You can’t really compare this money to the money you make at your 9-5 "real" job, because you can always depend on receiving a pay cheque every 2 weeks with your normal job. Even if you get fired or laid off, you’ll soon get another job that pays roughly the same.
With affiliate marketing, you can go from making $10,000 a day to $0 a day literally overnight. And who knows how long it takes before you get things going again…
If I can make a lot of money with affiliate marketing now, then I’ll have good seed money to invest and live off of. Hell, all you really need is one or two really good years of affiliate marketing and you’d be set for life.
In my post from a few days ago, I explain why I haven’t actually been doing all that much work on my affiliate marketing campaigns during April.
I actually expect for May to be about the same as April in terms of my work focus. I plan on continuing to take care of "side distractions" so that I will finally be able to focus a lot more on affiliate marketing – hopefully in June.
My goals in May are to finish my corporate taxes, get all caught up with my e-mails, and sell at least 1 more website. That should allow me enough focus to really crank things up on my campaigns in June.
I’m always working on my campaigns, but lately it has been about 85% optimization and maintenance of existing campaigns, and 15% launching and testing new stuff.
Hopefully I’m wrong, but I don’t think May will come anywhere close to how March or April performed. If I had to guess, I’d say around $25,000 sounds about right.
We’ll just have to wait and see what happens in another month from now when I write May’s report. Wish me luck!
I apologize for not posting in a while. I’ve been working during this whole time, just not on my blog.
A month ago, I published a post called Getting To The Next Level in Affiliate Marketing in which I outline and describe the various roadblocks that are stopping me from getting to the next level in affiliate marketing.
I really took that post to heart and have constantly been thinking about how I need to shift my focus and energy away from my various side projects, and more into affiliate marketing, as that is where I’ve seen the greatest success in terms of monthly income so far.
And so that is what I’ve been working on lately – reducing side distractions and projects so that I can get back to work on affiliate marketing and focus more on it.
The ironic thing is that in trying to reduce side distractions, I’ve actually done very little work on my campaigns over the past few weeks aside from general optimization and maintenance.
Once I finish reducing most of these side distractions and projects, I’ll be able to focus on affiliate marketing a lot better.
Here’s some of what I’ve done over the past few weeks:
Right before I got to my desk in the morning, about to sit down and work, I dropped my phone which broke the display.
I bought a new phone the same day, but had to spend time learning how to use it (still am) and customize it, as I’m a long-time Blackberry user. I also had to transfer old stuff over and all that jazz.
I took care of some offline errands such as renewing my passport, signing my corporation’s annual report and giving that to my lawyer’s office, finished preparing my personal taxes, etc.
One thing that I’m not looking forward to that I still need to do is preparing my corporate taxes. Personal taxes are pretty easy as it’s not that much stuff that I need to pass onto my accountant, but corporate taxes are a MASSIVE pain in the ass, as I basically have to go back through the entire year and grab and organize all of my stuff. Thank God I just have to pull all the paperwork and not do the actual taxes myself.
I managed to sell another website (GymnasticsForums.com)! That’s one more website off my hands.
Getting rid of my network of websites is the best thing I can do if I want to focus on affiliate marketing, so this was great.
Unfortunately, I didn’t make any money on the site. In fact, I lost money, but I just wanted to get rid of it. I am very determined to get rid of most of my websites, so I actually put it on auction with no reserve.
I hope to sell another site within the next 30 days. If you’re interested in grabbing one of the sites seen here, shoot me an offer via e-mail. Most get little-to-no traffic or income.
I’ve sold a number of websites over the past few years, but never got around to cleaning them up from my server and all that, so I removed all traces of them from my servers, e-mail redirects, files from my computer, backup CRON tasks, etc.
I also updated Merendi.com with a current list of most of my websites as well as some other updates.
Replaced Failed Hard Drive
One of the headaches I had a couple of weeks ago was my dying hard drive. It was failing bad and while I have a backup solution in place, it is not a live RAID system.
I installed a new HD and spent a long time trying to salvage the data on the old one. Fortunately, I was able to successfully transfer all of the data on it, transferring it to the new hard drive, but just barely. I was about to resort to the "freezer trick", which gives you an idea of how bad a shape the hard drive was in.
I should probably buy another hard drive now so that I can set up a RAID system, to use in conjunction with my external hard drive backup solution, since I don’t back up regularly enough.
In addition to my hard drive woes, I had a lot of issues with getting Microsoft Office to work. I ran into some "licensing" issues which caused a lot of frustration, but after a lot of attempts, I finally got Office working perfectly again.
I use Excel every single day multiple times, especially for affiliate marketing, so it was very important that I get it to work. Excel-like clones such as OpenOffice’s Calc and other freeware solutions just don’t cut it for me (they don’t support proper macro usage, for example).
One of my dedicated servers was migrated over to a newer and upgraded machine, which required a bit of adjusting of things here and there. A bit of a pain, but now I’m on a much more powerful machine.
6 weeks ago, my e-mail inbox sat at 1,825 unread e-mails – a massive pile of work that I desperately needed to tend to.
I’ve been working hard on trying to get caught up with them, and am currently down to 898 unread e-mails.
I’ve been tending to them all in descending order, leaving only the most complicated and time-consuming ones to handle when I have more time.
Hired a New Programmer
I hired a new programmer as the past company I used to use had many of their past employees leave the company, and now they aren’t as good as they used to be.
Outsourcing work on freelance sites can be very frustrating as shortlisting can take forever due to the millions (literally!) of providers trying to win your project, as well as the fact that everyone will promise the world, but quality is usually very poor.
I was lucky in that the first guy I hired this time around has so far been excellent! He never complains, he works hard and long hours – sometimes until 4am, and won’t nickle and dime me for unexpected surprises that pop up – he’ll just tackle them.
I’ve already paid him for 2 projects (he’s almost done the 2nd one now), and will definitely be hiring him for more. I have an extremely difficult project that I need doing that I might pass onto him… I’m still thinking about it… I might give him another easy/medium project first.
Patched, Upgraded, and Cleaned
One of my websites was neglected by me for a long time. So long, in fact, that a couple areas of the site were exploited by severe spambots and hackers.
I had the site upgraded and patched up (this was one of the projects for my new programmer), as well as some new features put in. I also had everything cleaned up, as well as a bunch of server settings optimized and fixed so that this site won’t cause any more issues. It was actually so bogged down with issues that it was taking down my server, and thus all my other sites were suffering as well.
I’m glad this is now all fixed, and actually being improved upon.
Back to Work!
So, that’s basically what I’ve been up to lately.
As I stated before, I’ve still been working on my affiliate marketing campaigns, but my focus lately has been to try to tackle and reduce my side distractions so that I can focus more on affiliate marketing.
I got a decent amount done, but have a lot more to go.
Again, sorry for the lack of posting, but I’ll have a new post for you guys in a few days when I publish my monthly affiliate marketing income report.