Blog Earnings: December 2008

January 1, 2009 Posted by Tyler Cruz

Last month my blog income set a new record of $6,663.94 which was $800 more than my previous record. While it’s an absolute treat getting to announce new income records, in most cases it’s nearly impossible to keep up such a pace. Standard deviation and variance dictates that there will be some dips. The important thing is what the long-term trend shows: are things moving up over time, or moving down?

That being said, it should be pretty obvious that December 2008 didn’t perform too well for my blog. There are three reasons for this:

First, the holidays really slowed things down. Companies and employees get a lot of time off in late December, and people go visit their families and friends, taking a break from the Internet. Secondly, my largest referral with MarketLeverage saw a big drop from the volume he was doing. Lastly, a new referral I had signed up was doing absolutely awesome but suddenly and mysteriously stopped completely about a week into the month.

It’s funny because I had predicted that the month would actually exceed $10,000 from the pace things were going the last few days of November. In the end, however, December 2008 finished with a very disappointing $3,329.24

While December was a disappointment, 2008 was great as a whole. I had entered the year with $955 in January and 10 months later brought in $6,663.94 in November. For the year of 2008, my blog brought in a total of $35,215.65. That’s an average full-time salary for a normal job I think, not bad for working about an hour or two a day on my blog!

In comparison, in 2007 my blog brought in a total of $5,830.26 and in 2006 $646.29. If you look at the progression from 2006 to 2008 then 2009 could be pretty astronomical!

Here is a chart depicting the growth trend of my blog during the past 12 months:

Yes, the big decline on the graph hurts to look at, but I’m not going to hide anything or go into denial about it. Besides, my blog is only one of my sites, so there’s no need to hang a rope quite yet :-)

Here are my affiliate sources. It’d hard to believe that MarketLeverage referrals brought in over $18,000 since the summer!

13
 

The pie chart below shows MarketLeverage continuing to dominate the rest of my affiliate sources. In fact, pretty soon I might have to stop displaying it since soon it will just be a giant pink dot…

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Looking at my blog’s earnings breakdown pie chart below, I’m still not sure what the best mix is, but I think the most I’d ever want one single source to take up would be around 70% at the most.

I’m happy with the distribution of the pie chart below, although you can expect the Affiliates piece of the pie to start overtaking the Private Ads piece soon.

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Affiliate Sources

  • MarketLeverage has continued been a fantastic revenue source for my blog. In the month of November alone, my referrals generated me over $5,500 in commissions. This is not counting the money I make with them through my PPC affiliate marketing efforts.
  • WordZe has continued to prove to be a consistent source of residual affiliate income. I only wish I catered more to affiliate marketers so I could promote it more. Their referral program is really lucrative, check it out if you have the chance, or read my extensive review of them.
  • My AdToll income stems from the Peel Away Ad located at the top right of my blog. I love Peel Away Ads because they are a new and unique form of advertisement. They are also very visible yet not over intrusive. If you want to buy a Peel Away Slot on my blog, the cost is $15 per week through AdToll.

  • BannersMall has an affiliate program and since their service is awesome their conversion rate is very high. I made $85 from them in March of 2008 which says a lot about their conversion rate considering I only get 10% and their banner prices are cheap…

    Private Ad Shoutouts

    I’d like to give some quick shoutouts to a few of my repeat sponsors and advertisers:

  • MotiveInteractive – They’ve been my 300×250 Embedded Ad Sponsor since March 2008 and have continued to renew every month. They’re now also my 728×90 Leaderboard sponsor which the recently renewed for another 3-months, as well as one of my 125×125 banner sponsors.

  • BooksWealth.com – This is their 10th month renewing their 125×125 Sitewide Banner with us. Scott Phelps runs the site and also writes great guest posts here, so if you haven’t checked BooksWealth.com out yet, maybe you should!

  • SharpWitDesigns.com – Another advertiser who has renewed many times. Need a custom WordPress skin? Check out their colourful designs.

  • SEOIntelligence – SEO Intelligence is a comprehensive set of SEO analysis and keyword building tools which can really help you to improve your rankings on search engines. View my in-depth 1-hour screencast review of them here.

  • SpeedPPC – Speed PPC is a software tool that helps you generate thousands or tens of thousands of keywords and ads for your PPC campaigns within seconds. It will create highly targeted longtail keywords and ads built upon a set of predefined lists that you create. I personally use SpeedPPC for my own PPC affiliate marketing.

    • InspiredMoneyMaker.com – This is Paul Piotrowski’s blog. You might find his name familiar from the superb guest posts he occasionally submits to my blog.

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      January Goals and Predictions

      January is very difficult to predict. My largest referral with MarketLeverage had a very disappointing December but I noticed his campaigns picking up the past 2 days so hopefully he can make a comeback.

      I’m also running my Affiliate Marketing Challenge 7 with a new affiliate network (XY7) so that might bring in new referrals income, but at the same time could alienate some MarketLeverage referrals.

      My goal for January, however, is to set a new record. This won’t be easy as it would mean having to generate over double what December did.

      As usual, stay tuned a month from now to see the results from this month, and wish me good luck! I’ll really need it this time…

      If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below, subscribing to my RSS feed, or following me on Twitter.
      Posted: January 1st, 2009 under Blog Related  

      50 Responses to “Blog Earnings: December 2008”

      1. Crazy earnings, $35,000 from any blog just boggles my mind.
        I can only say congrats, you are proof that if you work smart you can pull in huge bucks.

      2. mmm says:

        Well, if you increased your traffic by x10, your revenue would like johnchow.com

      3. I am very impressed by your earnings and your dedication to earn an income by blogging. I have a blog of my own and would aspire to have it become as successful as your has become.

      4. john says:

        So if ML dropped you you’d only have made $2000 off this site for the whole year eh hmmmm

        • Jacob says:

          This is something that you are going to want to keep in mind, Tyler. I remember when I used to read your blog more regularly, you used to talk about how much it worried you to have something holding so much strength in your earnings. You’re relying so heavily on Market Leverage staying as the top provider for you that if your two biggest earners suddenly stopped earning, you’d walk away with very little. That’s not a good way to make money.

          Now, I’m going to be honest when I say that I stopped coming to your blog, unsubscribed from the newsletter, and removed you from my feed because you stopped posting quality content. Your writing is good, but all you talk about now is the next contest that you’re running. “Here’s an update on how this month’s contest is…Here’s an update on why YOU should sign up.” I stopped coming because all you wrote about was the same thing and every once in a while, a guest blogger would post something useful. So, I went to their blogs where the content was educational often.

          Anyways…You’re making money so I doubt my comment will make much of a difference to you, but I doubt that I am the ONLY person who has thought this. Ah well…Happy New Year.

          • Seems like the drop in content posts coincides with Tyler’s new project that he’s been talking about.

            I follow several blogs and followed Tyler’s for the past few months. I have noticed a drop in quality posts too.

            I’d like to see some back-to-basics posts about establishing revenue in affiliate marketing. And maybe a little bit more about your latest project.

          • QuimBolas says:

            You’re not the only one.

            I removed the blog feed from my rss reader and unsubscribed from the newsletter.

            Nowadays, I only browse the blog once a week, just like Jonh Chow’s and Showmoney’s blogs.

            Everytime I read “affiliate”, “contest”, “paid review” or some sort of guest blogging, I immediately press the red X at the corner of my browser.

            You will never get a affiliate sign up from my part. Ever.

            On the other hand, I’ve clicked on other bloggers affiliate links as a means of thanking them for the great information they have provided through time and not filling their blogs with pointless ads nobody will click due the web-savvy nature of most visitors.

            Tyler, I enjoyed your blog more when it had that pink theme and helpful content.

            Stop seeing every potential new reader/susbscriber has a potential buck. That’s why your RSS numbers are growing very slowly.

            – Get a new (smart) blog design. Check DoshDosh’s design (especially the sidebar) the sidebar. The more helpful content you display, the more people will read your articles and click in your affiliate links. You need to show your biggest guns right from the start.

            – Go with one large sidebar instead of two tight ones. I don’t understand why the “Control Panel” and the “Search” are in one of the most profitable locations on your blog.

            – You want more newsletter subscribers? Place the said newsletter information on top instead of those boring affiliate statistics.

            – Remove some ads and increase their price. I don’t know about you, but I would rather have four 125×125 ads that costed $250/month, than ten ads priced at $100.

            About the newsletter: promise releasing exclusive content for your newsletter every now and then with juicy information. When you do that, lots of people will sign up, including me.

            If you do that, don’t forget to add a “Why Should I Subscribe?” link.

            Take care and good luck.

            P.S: Sorry for the poorly-written english but I’m in a hurry and I’m portuguese.

            • Tyler Cruz says:

              I agree that my blog has become a bit too “affiliate contest” heavy lately. That’s partly why I’ve been working on my “Big Project”… which will help alleviate this from my blog.

        • Not just that, 90% of his ML income came from 1 or 2 big affiliates. Just shows sometimes all we need is a little luck to make decent money! I wouldn’t count on it for income though…

        • Tyler Cruz says:

          Seems you skimmed my post. If ML dropped me completely (for some strange reason; you’d be better off saying if all my affiliates stopped generating revenue), then my blog would “only” have made $17,000 for the year.

          You were looking at the affiliate breakdown, not the blog’s overall breakdown – I sell a fair bit through private ads. I’d have only made $2,000 from other affiilate sources for the year, but $17,000 profit overall.

      5. Great income breakdown Tyler! I guess this goes to show the old saying is right, ‘Don’t put all your eggs into one basket!’

      6. Nice breakdown of everything. You pointed out something about the Peel Away and how it is over intrusive.

        What do you think the line is when it comes to what Ads will make you money without driving away traffic?

        I personally stay away from sites that have ads that cover up content or delay my seeing the page. I don’t have any problem with sites that use contextual ads though.

      7. December has been a SLOW month for everyone except affiliate marketers. It was the month to bank it!

        -Mike

      8. Work At Home says:

        Looks like affiliate really contributes a lot to your earnings. I wish I could earn something like that in 09.

      9. Greg Ellison says:

        It is still nice to say that you made over $3,000. You are going to have your highs and lowes. I also posted my December income. Greg Ellison

      10. Mike Collins says:

        Ouch. That’s a big revenue drop for December. But its a slow month for a lot of niches, people are bust with the holidays etc. I’ll be interested to see how big of a bounceback you have in January.

      11. Scott says:

        December is probably the worst month but 3grand for blogging an hour or two a day, even with a big drop I call that a victory.

      12. Sohail says:

        great income report but just wondering why you count affiliate earnings as blog earnings? i mean if you decide to stop blogging still you will receive those affiliate earnings from ML.

      13. Jeff Poole says:

        That is a huge income drop true but it’s better to have had and lost than not to have had at all isn’t it? If anything, it should be viewed as a lesson to Tyler (and all bloggers) that all it does take is indeed a little bit of luck and you can turn your blog from a personal project that makes a $100 a month to something that makes $10,000 – but you can lose it just as fast as you’ve gained it.

        There are three things overall that bother me about these contests, Tyler and this blog in general. I am having a bad day, so I’m going to have a rant.

        Firstly, the theme of the blog itself. When it suits Tyler, when he is been questioned on his motives etc – we see the response of, “This is just my personal blog…” etc – but when it comes down to making money, attracting advertisers / affiliate sign ups, it magically migrates into an affiliate marketing and make money online blog. If it’s a personal blog, don’t scrape every last dollar possible from your loyal readers. You’ve migrated this blog to a business, at least admit to it.

        Secondly, the overall “tone” of the contest introduction posts. You talk to your readers like they don’t know their ass from their elbow when it comes to affiliate marketing. You don’t need the fancy sales pitch. Anyone who is valuable to you as far as commissions go is going to sign up anyway, if it’s valuable to them. You don’t need to “wow” your visitors with an amazing iPod touch for earning $15 – Do you really want these affiliates anyway? Have a more professional and less condescending tone when offering a contest and you might get larger affiliate marketers taking you more seriously.

        Finally, each time one of these contests are launched, or a paid post is made, all I see are a load of comments asking Tyler to post something useful, educational etc to help others make money – fine, great, but what exactly?

        I think all these high numbers are clouding peoples judgement here. I mean seriously, what can Tyler REALLY offer to you guys? His biggest achievement is his Poker Forum which he got lucky with (good domain, early days, etc), Brokering a single domain, again which he got lucky with and 2 good ML affiliates – which he again got lucky with? I mean come on guys, what are you actually expected to learn? You take them handful of pieces of luck out of the equation over the past few years and what do you have? I mean seriously.

        I am not a Tyler hater, he seems like a nice chap but I think to make money from people in return for sharing your knowledge with them, you must have the knowledge to share. He’s not an affiliate marketer, he’s not a designer, coder, seo specialist or any real voice of authority on ANY subject yet you still want him to people able to pull golden nuggets out of his ass.

        Bottom line is, Tyler, make your money, if I could do the same I would, but decide what you want your blog to be and stick to it. For the other commenter’s, if you think you’re going to learn something valuable here, you’re wasting your time.

        • Tyler Cruz says:

          Jeff, you make a lot of true and insightful comments, especially your first one. I’ll be the first to admit that I have used the “personal blog” excuse to deter any responsibilites of being a “make money online” blog. I guess my retionale behind that is that I never proclaim myself as a “guru” and want to get that across; I never proclaim I’m an industry expert.

          Regarding the luck factor. I agree to a point. There’s no doubt that I got a bit lucky here and there, but then again, it’s funny just how “lucky” I keep getting. If you read your luck paragraph again it kind of illustrates my point.

          A lot of Tyler-haters (not calling you one) in the early beginnings of my blog had said I was lucky just because of my poker forum and that was the only thing I’d ever accomplish. Then came the big domain sale… and now my blog? Just how many things do I have to be “lucky” of before I start getting credit for them?

          I _made_ my poker forum. I negotiated the domain sale. And I built up my blog and have worked extremely hard on it. To simply dismiss them all as luck is a little bit hasty.

          In response to why people read me when I’m not an authority or real expert, I think it’s the simple fact that I’m doing it. I’m making money online and have been making a decent living at it for several years now. While I may not be a super affiliate or top blogger, I continue to work at bringing money in and make a living at doing so which is very appealing for many readers.

        • It takes a lot more than luck to make some of the things that Tyler has achieved happen.

          It’s kind of like saying that a boxing champion was lucky when he caught his opponent with a right hook. If it wasn’t for that one right hook, maybe the other guy would have won.

          I was watching one of the Rocky films today and Mickey said to Rocky “To train for a 45 minute fight you need to train for 1,000 minutes for every minute you fight. That’s 45,000 minutes before you’re ready.”

          Tyler has over 600 articles written on this Blog. Assuming he only spends 45mins per article, that’s still about 27,000 minutes invested into this Blog which is about 450 hours just to write the articles.

          When you invest those kinds of hours into a project, “luck” kind of just happens.

          I’m not saying Tyler hasn’t been lucky. What I’m saying is that you can study what he does and model it and create your own “luck” just like him.

          Just a thought.

          -Paul

      14. maclover says:

        Nice earning, i hope i can get these amount too

      15. @ Jeff – You just can’t call Tyler “lucky”.. Its called “Hard Work”.. If you haven’t done it.. DO IT! Maybe your as lucky as Tyler to make $35k everyday working just an hour or two a day on his blog. But overall his earnings have picked up since June.. so next year his earnings are going to be 2x! ;) You don’t need ‘luck’ to make money online except when your playing poker :P You need HARD WORK, GOOD CONTENT and GOOD BEHAVIOR, which I believe Tyler has :)

        But the main point is, even if Tyler doesn’t have his blog tomorrow he’s going to make $1500-$2000 on average just from his ML referrals ;) and you can’t call this “lucky”.

        @ Tyler – Good earnings and keep it up..! Cheers!

      16. Sales always drop in December! Good earnings throughout the year Tyler. You’re making your way up there man.

      17. While many of the “downer” comments may hold some truth I read Tyler’s blog for one reason: he seems like a down-to-earth guy who we can all relate to. This is in stark contrast to many bloggers who have a larger than life persona. Keep up the good work, Tyler!

        • Yup… I agree with you. Tyler’s not afraid to be himself and to be honest about his strengths and weaknesses.

          For example, he makes a 6 figure income, but his TV in his bedroom is OLD! How many Bloggers would show that in a video on their Blog?

          Tyler just honestly expresses himself, that’s why I keep coming back.

          Not only that, but how many people do you know his age that make a 6 figure income? There’s something that can be learned here.

          -Paul

      18. johnmeow says:

        I pretty much like the blog the way it is. Tyler is proof that hard work pays off… of course, some will call that “luck”, I suppose.

      19. Jeff Poole says:

        I appreciate what everyone has said and I agree pretty much with all of it. However, I think the luck thing and my perception of it being just that is maybe down to what you divulge?

        To use my previous examples. Your biggest earner (for the most part), your Poker Forum. I have never seen ANY information on how it was started, how you went about sourcing / finding the domain name, how you negotiated the deal, how you got the forum started, how you went about finding your first advertisers, what these advertisers made you, the positives, the negatives in setting up such a forum – the list goes on. Give people information that will be HELPFUL to them if they wanted to do similar as opposed to saying, “hey look, I make $XX,XXX from this – aren’t I good”. You get me?

        The same goes for the domain sale. All we got from your blog is that you picked up this domain – without revealing too much about it and sold it – again without revealing too much about the process? So, if it isn’t luck – you really need to explain WHY it isn’t luck. If it’s hard work – explain what this hard work is, explain what you’re doing and then maybe you’ll be credited putting the work in.

        For me, the ML affiliates were luck unless you somehow managed to cherry pick the large affiliate(s) for the contest, either of them. If you did, good on you – but tell us how otherwise we will think it’s luck?

        I guess all I am saying is, if you’re good at something and want people to think / know you’re good at it, then share your knowledge. I know from a lot of your posts that you hold a LOT of information back about your dealings be it down to contacts / methods or otherwise.

        As I said, I have no problem with you at all Tyler. I think it’s a good blog to just read for something to do as opposed to learning how to make money online and I really do wish you the best of *luck* with it all. I admit, hard work does pay off but give people an insight into what that hard work is and you might help a few people out whilst earning yourself some nice income on the side.

        Jeff.

      20. Jeff Poole says:

        @Monty
        If you think you’re going to get by in life by having “Good Behaviour” and “Good Content” then you seriously need a wake up call. Making money online is about seizing opportunities, finding a gap in the market and being able to exploit it. It’s not about creating blogs and regurgitating the same crap about “How To Make Money Online”.

        Content doesn’t win on the Internet. From the 20 or so top online earners I know personally, 19 of them don’t have “Good Content” and 20 of them don’t have what you would call “Good Behaviour”.

        Hard work only pays off if you’re doing said hard work in the right place. Sweeping the streets is hard work – but it’s not going to make you a millionaire.

        I think you, and anyone else for that matter who is under the illusion that you can get rich by being a nice guy and writing a nice blog needs a reality check.

      21. Paula says:

        Congrats, Tyler!

        I closed out 2008 at around $44,000 in gross income from blogging — a combination of selling Amazon products and Google Adsense.

        Now I’m all over this book called Mastering Search Advertising, combined with what I learned in an ebook by a guy who runs “Dominating Amazon” to hit six figures in 2009.

        Isn’t it amazing to see each other’s blogging income grow like this?

        Happy New Year.

      22. […] Tyler Cruz $6,663.94 from his one blog in December.  I don’t know if it’s true, but it is very inspiring. […]

      23. Beer Monies says:

        wow, good job. I hope to make this much $ on my blog some day.

      24. Chris M says:

        This is a really great breakdown, lovely to see how you’ve spread your income streams in such a way that we can also see what works and what doesn’t :)

      25. Well I cannot help but be impressed by your earnings. I am a relative newbie to blogging, but I certainly hope that I can aspire to earnings like that some time. I notice from your commenters that there are a lot of cons, but also a lot of pros about your content. I think though, that your income speaks for itself.
        http://paullhamilton.com

      26. AJ Kumar says:

        Wow. Impressive. it looks like I’ll need to figure out how the affiliate marketing system works to get big numbers.

      27. Congratulations on your earnings. I had bookmarked your December 2007 earnings page back in 2007 and I have to say, you are an inspiration to people in this business.

      28. Funny Quotes says:

        Wow, these are impressive earnings. Amazing to see you went from $900 to up to $6000. That’s very impressive. Thanks for the breakdown of the stats, nice to see which networks are working the best.

      29. […] gains new affiliates to promote their offers, bloggers make easy referral commissions (Tyler made $2,500 from ML referrals last month), and contest participants win prizes in addition to their affiliate revenue. It’s a […]

      30. […] Tylercruz.com hat es nun erwischt. Wie schon in den vorhergegangenen Monaten von mir angemerkt, war der Blog einfach zu stark von den Einnahmen eines Affiliate-Programms abhängig. Dieses ist nun eingebrochen und damit auch die Gesamteinnahmen, welche sich halbiert haben: […]

      31. […] month my blog income finished with a very disappointing $3,329.24. While making $3,000 a month from a blog is nothing to scoff at, it was still […]

      PeerFly

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