As expected, April was the first “down” month that I’ve had in a long time. Not to say it was an extremely poor month, but I definitely took a bit hit (I’ll explain why below).
Fortunately, there are some new projects on the horizon for me, as I continue to try and diversify my online income portfolio. If there’s anything to learn from my April income drop, it’s that diversification is so important. This really can’t be understated.
Anyway, let’s move on to the good stuff…
A Brief Overview of April
Half of April wasn’t productive (the first half, leading up to the tax deadline on April 15th), but I made the most of my free time in the second half. April (and to be perfectly honest, probably most of May) has been time for me to regroup and reassess my plans.
I knew that my biggest income source, the page that was ranking on page one of Google for “make money online”, would eventually die down. People ask, “how do you know it won’t continue?” I knew it wouldn’t because I didn’t do anything intentional to get it there in the first place. Google saw, based on a number of factors, that the page was high quality and highly relevant to the search term.
However, because the keyword is perhaps one of the most competitive keywords on Google, it would only be a matter of time before other sites/pages rise to the top and push aside my page. It’s not that my page has declined in quality, but there are plenty of internet marketers out there who are doing everything they can to rank for this keyword, and eventually, some of them are bound to succeed.
Sure, I could have made an attempt to keep the page ranking on page 1 of Google, but I never intended that one page to be a significant part of my business. While there was a lot of earning potential there, I still prefer to find other ways to make money online that extend beyond telling people how to make money online. Even if that means I’m leaving a lot of money on the table, I’m fine with it.
So, as I mentioned, I’m somewhat heading back to the drawing board. I know that my income will be down significantly over the next 2-3 months most likely, but this is probably the motivation (or kick) I needed to get back to working on a diversified stream of online income.
April Income Report
I constantly find myself going back and forth on how much time and effort I want to devote to article writing. On one hand, it’s a fairly inexpensive way to get content online and increase your earnings (and I still think it’s the best way for someone completely new to start out making money online).
However, the longevity of this income source is questionable. Because you don’t control the medium (i.e. the site hosting the content), you have very little control over the long term success of that content. Yes, you can always take it down and move it elsewhere, but the very nature of Squidoo and how it’s very different from other writing platforms makes it somewhat difficult to pick up your content and leave.
Case in point: Yesterday, I was informed that nearly a dozen of my Squidoo lenses were locked and unpublished (without warning) because they didn’t meet Squidoo’s new quality filters. I’ll admit that the content wasn’t very long (usually around 300 words, mixed in with various “modules” such as videos and other media), but there was nothing about the lenses that made them any worse than the 30+ other lenses I have that weren’t locked.
Unfortunately, when a lens is “locked”, it’s very unlikely that you will ever be able to get it back. The process is manual (requesting the lens be re-evaluated after changes are made), and from what I’ve heard, most of these requests seems to fall on deaf ears.
Granted, some of the blame does fall on me because I obviously didn’t create lenses that were of high enough quality, but the guidelines are very unclear, and I do believe that many lenses (including some of my own) were wrongfully locked. Read any Squidoo forum (or even InfoBarrel’s) and you will find a lot of people very frustrated right now.
Do I continue putting time and effort into this medium? I’m not sure anymore… (but feel free to chime in your thoughts in the comments).
Here’s a summary of all my article-related income for April:
- Amazon: $12.80
- Revenue Sharing: $6.52
- Revenue Sharing: $9.55
Total Article Writing Income: $28.87
Lending Club, as I mention each month, is one of my favorite online passive income sources, because I believe it’s my only truly passive income source. What I mean by this is, once you select your investments (which doesn’t take more than a few minutes), you can simply sit back and collect the monthly payments which include a repayment of your initial investment + interest.
If you are unfamiliar with Lending Club, however, you should read my post that explains exactly how I make money with Lending Club (including my investment strategy) that I posted a couple months ago.
April finally showed some growth, after the past couple months which were flat. I’m now invested in 166 loans (+1 from March) and my net annualized return is 5.48% (+.08% from March).
I’ve started investing in some higher risk loans (still mixing in safer, lower rate loans) to hopefully increase my overall return on investment.
If you’re interested in trying Lending Club, you can sign up with this link and get a free account. I am an affiliate for Lending Club, so if you have any questions about it, I’d be more than happy to answer them in the comments (or feel free to contact me by e-mail).
If you’re unsure whether this type of investing is right for you, you can start with $25 and build from there. I mentioned this last month, but it’s worth repeating: In the past, I’ve focused on the $25 investment amount to get started, but I do want to emphasize that to really benefit from this form of passive income, you need to make several $25 investments (or larger if you’d prefer) not only to earn more interest, but to diversify as well.
If you simply make one or two $25 investments, you won’t really get anywhere. You really do need to invest a bit more so that you can earn more and minimize your risk through diversification.
In April, I also began investing with Prosper.com, which is another social lending platform similar to Lending Club. I initially deposited $100 into my account, to invest in four different loans ($25 per loan). Two were funded in April, and two should be funded in May.
It’s still too early to report my return on investment, but I’ll definitely include updated figures in my monthly income reports, similar to what I do with Lending Club.
I no longer do anything with these sites, so if they earn me anything, it’s a bonus. Most of my old niche site domains have expired, but I’ve been keeping alive the handful that still earn enough to make it worthwhile to renew the domain.
- Amazon: $49.17
- Media.net: $0.00
- Chitika: $0.00
- InfoLinks: $0.00
- Commission Junction: $0.00
- Total: $49.17
Authority Site #1 (Not Revealed)
This site is still sitting idle, but continues to earn a little bit of money.
- Media.net: $2.70
Authority Site #2 (Slow Carb Diet Experiments)
I’ve gotten back to work on this site, publishing two new posts in April. Although this site receives a lot more traffic than the 1st authority site mentioned above, it’s a lot more difficult to turn that traffic into earnings.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that the site currently has about 60 RSS subscribers and the e-mail list has 69 subscribers.
- Amazon: $0.00
- Media.net: $0.67
- Total: $0.67
Total Authority Site Earnings: $3.37
Here’s the breakdown for affiliate and other income earned during April. [Note: This income comes from other sites not discussed/listed above, including affiliate sales generated through this blog.]
- Amazon: $0.00
- CashCrate: $376.11 (read my review here)
- ClickBank: $22.88
- Commission Junction: $346.92
- PayDotCom: $3.00
- Ebates: $125.00
- SEOMoz: $0.00 (read my write-up here)
- Market Samurai: $0.00
- TweetAdder: $0.00
- Aweber: $11.70
- Other misc.: $0.00
Total Misc. Affiliate Earnings for April: $885.61
Here’s a summary of April’s earnings, organized by project/challenge:
- Article Writing: $28.87
- Amazon & “AdSense” Niche Sites: $49.17
- Authority Websites: $3.37
- Misc. Affiliate Income: $885.61
Grand Total for April: $967.02 (-$1,165.50 from March)
As expected, my April earnings dropped by over $1,000 from March, falling below the $1,000 earnings threshold for the first time in several months. While this is unfortunate, it’s helped me see the reality of my online business: I need to diversify more.
More importantly, I need to work harder. It’s been several months since I really put time into my online business. Over the past 4-6 months, I’ve sat back and enjoyed the passive income that came as a result of hard work a couple years ago. Now, it’s catching up with me, and until I put in that hard work, I suspect my income may fall even further.
Popular Blog Posts
These were my top 5 most popular blog posts in April based on number of views:
How did April turn out for you? Hopefully better than mine – please do share in the comments. And until next month, best of luck to you and your passive income projects!
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