December 2012 Earnings & Spending Report

I earned $5,030 in December which is just a bit higher than November’s total and around what I hope to be making each month. Nice and average… I’m happy with that although it is much nicer to see growth. I’m never sure where this internet business of mine is heading so being consistent is good!

Earnings Breakdown:

  • Adsense — $270 - Still floating around the $300 mark which is fine with me given that it takes no effort to stay there. I am a bit curious about how Facebook advertising might take a bit of a chunk out of Adwords advertising. Facebook seems more targeted and, to me, would make more sense for certain types of businesses.
  • Affiliate sales — $14 - Well my affiliate sales have finally completely crapped out. This is due to me paying zero attention to this part of the business because it sucks the life out of me. I’m sure that most of the affiliate programs I still have linked on my sites have expired or are inactive or something. At the bare minimum, I should spend a day or two going through and either updating all of my existing affiliate links or find new programs to slot it. Will this happen? Probably not.
  • Advertising — $4,697 - Around what I made last month in this area. I had about $1,200 in renewals and then a lot of $200-300 deals for guest posts. No huge deals to speak of although I had a bunch of inquiries which might turn into something in the new year, we’ll see!
  • Ebook Sales — $49 - Seven sales.

Spending Breakdown:

Another low spending month at $397. Just to clarify my spending reports, I don’t include things like the office space I’m renting or the money I spend on lunch when I review a new cafe in Kigali or the smartphone I just bought (going to be exploring the wonderful world of travel apps soon!) and stuff like that. The expenses listed below are the basics like marketing, hosting etc. There are other costs but I’m too lazy to keep track of them or don’t view them as super essential to the running of my sites.

  • Link Building Services — $147 - I’m still using Linkvana (14 day trial for $5 affiliate link/50 free outsourcing credits affiliate link) but I haven’t actually done any link building for the past coupe of months. So I guess I’m paying $147 for nothing, at this point. I see the value in Linkvana so should start up a couple of link building campaigns this coming month. I’ve got a new travelling to London site to promote so might start there.
  • Hosting – $80 - I paid for a bunch of months hosting with Dreamhost.
  • Articles – $120 (£75) - I had three articles written this month for a couple UK travel sites.
  • Facebook Ads – $45 (£28) - I’ve stuck with Facebook ads this month again and will continue with it into the future. It’s an amazing way to see the number of Facebook page likes grow quickly. I’m not sure having a huge number of ‘likes’ is good for all sorts of Facebook pages but, for a community site like Living in Kigali, I think it makes a lot of sense to be able to communicate with a lot of people through Facebook. It’s also a good selling point for when I start to approach potential advertisers. I see this as a great investment.
  • Ebook — $5 - Monthly cost to sell my ebook.

I was looking at my 2012 January ($9,700), February ($7,000) and March ($9,100) totals and they were all really big months so I feel like I have a lot to live up to in 2013. I’ve got a few new sites since last year and I’m off to a decent start this January but I still can’t help but feel that, except for the crazy $11,000+ month in November, the end of 2012 has been a bit flat. True, $5,000 a month is great and I’m happy with that, but seeing those totals from the beginning of 2012 makes me wonder if I can reach them again in 2013. I guess anything but year on year growth makes things feel a little stagnated and makes me wonder a bit which direction things are heading for me.

To combat my fears of the paid posts gravy train coming to an end, I intent on focusing this year on trying to crank some money out of my community-oriented moving to Kigali and moving to Kampala websites. I don’t think making a bit from these two sites will be too difficult, but it will be more hands on and time-consuming given the nature of the sites and where we are in the world. Advertising online is a lot newer here and, though I know there’s demand for it and plenty of businesses in both cities who want to reach out readers, making it work will involve a lot more work than just answering an email and adding a link or post. But I’m excited for the challenge and making this work is, I think, what will keep me being successful into the future.

Bring on 2013 and lets see what the internet world has in store for me. I hope 2013 is a great one for everyone!