Looking Backwards: What I Made Publishing in 2012

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January 2, 2013 by Brian Rock

2012 is over, I suppose. That makes this a great time to look back over the year and consider everything I’ve accomplished in online publishing.

The Year In Review – Ups and Downs

The year started off great. My digital photography blog was picking up steam, and I had a couple posts that were ranking well and pulling in tons of traffic. On all fronts – traffic, AdSense revenue, and Amazon revenue – it was a hit.

I started out the year getting about 3,000 page views a week, and this peaked at 5,500 in April. AdSense earnings were exceeding $100 a month, and Amazon earnings were approaching $500 a month. Yippee! Success!

And then, in May, one of the many Google Panda algorithm updates caught up with me. Something gave my site a Panda slap, and the traffic (and earnings) took a nose dive. I made a few feeble attempts to revive the site, but I was really disheartened. Instead of building on my success, I was left with a pathetic excuse for a site that pulled in a few hundred views per week and was lucky to earn $25 in a month.

I took a stab at a niche site over the summer, publishing a niche website about elliptical machines and treadmills. Although I got some content up, I never really got off the ground with SEO and link building. And it just kind of stagnated there waiting for me to do something with it.

In the last couple months, I got the itch. Maybe I’ve gotten over the lull that followed the death of my digital photo blog, but I decided it was time to publish something. I put together Tech and Teaching, an authority site about educational technology. I’ve got a long term vision for it, but in the short term I’m having trouble getting it started traffic wise. We’ll see what happens in the next few months.

And just this week, I put together a niche-authority site about webquests. Unlike Tech and Teaching, I’ve got a clear view of how I’ll generate some search engine traffic for this website. I’ve got some keywords I like, I worked hard to optimize the site on page, and I’ve got a short term plan for doing some link building and SEO work. If all goes well, this will pick up a significant amount of traffic in the next few months – and I can convert those visitors into subscribers for Tech and Teaching.

Oh, and I’m getting the hang of other forms of content marketing and social networking. I’ve had some good success at Slideshare. I’m experimenting with Twitter and Tumblr. And I’m investing some time in Squidoo and HubPages. Individually, none of these will make me a lot of money, but collectively they’ll all help strengthen my main projects and indirectly make me some money.

In terms of publishing, I’m not in quite as good a place at the start of 2013 as I was in 2012. But I’ve got some prospects, and I think by April I’ll be pulling in a few thousand visitors a month and I can start thinking about some (semi) serious income again.

So How Much Did I Make in 2012?

If you asked me last week, I would have said not much. I kind of forgot how excited I was in February and March to be pulling in hundreds of bucks a month from publishing. Cause recently, it’s been more like $25 or $30.

But, I decided to look back over the numbers and I’d say I’m a little impressed. It’s  no story of overwhelming success, but it is a moderate success. And it gives me (and hopefully you) hope that I can reproduce this success on a bigger scale in the future.

My income came from four sources last year – Amazon affiliates, Google AdSense, Yahoo! Voices, and what we’ll call miscellaneous advertising.

  • Amazon Affiliate Income: $1,481.40
  • Google AdSense Income: $762.15
  • Yahoo! Voices: $216.25
  • Miscellaneous: $117.59
  • Total: $2,577.39

Considering the fact that I was on pace to make $6,000 to $8,000 before Google knocked me on my ass, that’s a little disappointing. Considering the fact that I probably only made a $200 to $300 in 2011, that’s really impressive.

Looking Forward to 2013, 2014, and 2015

Thankfully, I have a full time job. I love teaching, and I don’t see myself leaving it anytime soon. I make a lot of money doing it, so I don’t need to rely on publishing for a full time income.

However, I would love to match and increase this a little bit. In the short term (2 to 3 years), my goal is to make about $8,000 to $10,000 per year in supplemental income from publishing.

In the long term, who knows. By 2015, I’ll be done with my EdD at Rutgers. And at some point, I may want to make the transition from teacher to professor and/or educational consultant. And then I’ll be hoping to leverage my content marketing and online publishing pursuits into a full time career.

But all in do time.


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