Q2 is in the bag! We're halfway through the year now and it has definitely been another wild one so far. Stocks, bonds, and crypto are all tanking right now, Ukraine is still at war, inflation is out of control…the list goes on. Hope you're doing well!
This report will cover Swift Salary's Q2 performance including revenue, expenses, highlights, stats, and more. Enjoy.
If you have any questions about anything, leave me a comment.
Previous reports from 2022:
To see all of my past income reports (going all the way back to my first year blogging), go here.
Highlights from Q4 2021
New Blog Posts
None! We focused completely on the platform project this quarter. See details below.
Platform Project Updates
Check out my Q1 2022 income report for more details on the beginnings of this project!
A quick background:
I'm taking a risk and overhauling how I publish reviews of money-making and other finance platforms. Previously, I would post a long-form review in a traditional blog post form. However, this format just didn't scale or fit my long-term vision, so, I've been working on changing things up.
Instead of long-form blog-post style reviews, I'm creating Platform profiles/hubs, similar to what Capterra does with software. These hubs include an overview of what the platform is and how it works, similar platforms, user reviews and statistics, and more.
I made quite a lot of progress on this project this quarter. Here's an overview:
- 8 new platform pages published
- First “Alternatives” page published
- Created “Platform Type” pages
- Created “Opportunity” pages
- Editorial reviews
- Coding a lot of my own functionality
More details on each of these below!
8 New Platform Pages
One of our big goals for this quarter was to publish 100 platform pages, so we're way short. But, in hindsight, that was an extremely overly ambitious goal.
There were simply too many things I needed to do before being able to really crank out full platform pages. There are still more things that need to be done! Plus, gathering all of the info that goes into each page isn't simple or quick by any means.
With that, I'm happy with 8 new pages:
As you can see, I focused on Freelance Marketplace Platforms first. Focusing on similar platform clusters first allows me to have a good list of platform alternatives right off the bat, which helps me put together other pages which I'll talk about later!
Now, I'm focusing on paid survey/market research platforms. I'm going for these because they typically have good search interest/opportunities, decent affiliate payouts, and low competition in the SERPs. Thinking about it, I probably should've started with them first, but eh, what can you do.
First “Alternatives” Page Published
As I just mentioned, I'm trying to focus on publishing groups of similar platforms. So, after I published Fiverr, I continued publishing about other freelance marketplace platforms.
This lets me do two things:
- Display alternatives on each platform page
- Create dedicated alternatives pages
- Create platform type pages
I published my first dedicated alternatives page this quarter to test: PeoplePerHour Alternatives
So far, it's had 228 impressions in Google Search but no clicks yet. I might've chosen something too competitive for our first test, so I'll be testing some other ones later.
Platform Type Pages
Next, here's what a platform-type page looks like: Freelance Marketplace Platforms
With these, users can browse, sort, and filter through all platforms of a particular type. Useful if you're looking for a detailed list of alternatives that you can easily narrow down to fit your needs.
This page has had 581 impressions in Google Search so far but again, no clicks, unfortunately. Will need to test a few more similar pages for more data.
The cool part? These pages are auto-generated based on a template 🙂 so they take almost no work to make.
“Opportunities” in this case are ways to make money, save money, or get something else done.
Using WordPress custom taxonomies, I'm using an “Opportunity” taxonomy to categorize platforms (and soon blog posts/guides as well).
This quarter, after publishing many of the freelance marketplace platform pages shown above, I had to add a ton of opportunity terms to the site. Freelance marketplaces allow you to sell/buy almost any service imaginable, so it was a lot of work.
Also, categorizing and organizing a list of opportunities is a lot tougher than it seems. Many opportunities go by multiple names, fit under multiple categories, and overall, it just required a lot of thinking. That meant at times, there wasn't a lot of doing happening.
Still, I managed to get 48 opportunity terms added so far, and each has its own dedicated page.
As an example, check out the Writing opportunity page. As you'll see, each opportunity page features similar and sub-opportunities, a short description of the opportunity, articles related to the opportunity, platforms that offer the opportunity, and finally, jobs related to the opportunity.
My hope is that these opportunity pages will help readers learn more about whatever opportunity they're interested in.
Eventually, I want to have dedicated guides for each opportunity as well. For example, for the writing opportunity, I could publish articles on “How to Make Money Writing”, “How to Start Freelance Writing”, “How to Self-Publish a Book” and more.
This has essentially laid out a path for me to come up with and publish a ton of new content ideas in the future.
I finally got an editorial review added to a platform page. Previously I was just featuring user reviews, but I think editorial reviews will be important to separate my site from others and also provide an unbiased, research-based rating for each platform.
You can see how the editorial review looks on my Tellwut platform profile.
I was previously using a plugin to publish review data like this (along with schema output), but I custom-coded all of this so that I could easily adjust each review category's weight if needed. I can also now easily display parts of the review on other areas of my site if needed.
Oh, and you can also see I have my own custom review stars coded up using Swift Salary's logo. Just a nice little touch to show that it's an editorial rating.
I also focused on making this area (and all parts of platform pages) nice and compact for easy browsing. There's lots of info packed into each page, but it's easy to navigate and find exactly what you want quite quickly.
Speaking of coding…
Custom Coding Other Stuff
A lot of what you see on the platform pages I've had to code myself. WordPress development (i.e. actually going behind the scenes into the code) is pretty new to me, so this has been a huge learning experience.
I'm learning more about WordPress's built-in functions, PHP, and even CSS & HTML (although I already had some experience with those).
Some cool things I got coded this quarter:
(1) My own media lightbox modals
I was previously using a plugin to create these, but it had some limitations. The biggest one was that I couldn't include videos in the modal. Now, with my own custom-coded solution, I can include images and videos 🙂
I created this by following a W3 tutorial and reverse-engineering the lightbox modal that Capterra uses on their software pages. The end result? My own custom version.
(2) My own post query functions
Platform pages feature related content and similar platforms, each with their own unique layout. I was previously using a plugin to output these sections, but this quarter I replaced that with my own custom solution. This is faster and more customizable.
I still need to replace many other sections on my site with my own post querying/output solution, then I can get rid of the plugin I'm using completely and (hopefully) speed up my site a bit.
Platform pages are almost entirely generated based on custom fields. These custom fields exist in a custom metabox that I put together.
When I have the content ready for a platform page, I input the content into the custom fields, and the template automatically fills up and is ready to go. This makes putting together and updating platform pages quite efficient.
In the future, I'm planning to manage and maintain all content from an Airtable base, and then use WP All Import to update content in bulk. This should make it easy for me to hire out the management of the content as well.
Blog Income and Expenses for Q1 2022
All income and expenses are recorded in Canadian dollars. Income is based on money that has actually hit my bank account (i.e. cash basis accounting).
Income Breakdown: $5,630.83 Gross Revenue
As expected, income declined again this quarter. With traffic down and some of my affiliates performing worse, ad revenue and affiliate revenue are both not doing great right now.
Still, this was expected, and I'm not too worried.
Overall, I'm expecting 2022 to be one of my worst in terms of revenue. But, the things I'm working on this year should pay off massively in 2023 and beyond.
Monthly Revenue Breakdown
- April: $1,697.28
- May: $2,235.83
- June: $1,697.72
Revenue Sources Summary
- Affiliate Income ($1,860.38):
- Adbloom – $130.59
- GG2U – $46.25
- Transcribe Anywhere – $453.80
- ZipRecruiter – $19.80
- Advertising ($3,770.43):
- Mediavine – $3,770.43
Expense Breakdown: $1,095.84 Spent
Notable expenses include:
- Bank Fees and Charges – $111.95
- Freelance writers – $494.17
- Freelance developer – $12.64
- Content views pro – $27.63
- Copyscape – $6.42
- Freepik – $116.90
- GSuite – $31.20
- Slack – $20.56
- Tailwind – $138.72
- UpdraftPlus – $88.42
* Total Net Profit: 4,534.99 *
Traffic Breakdown: 200,116 Pageviews
Pageviews saw another decrease this quarter, although it was much smaller than the previous two declines. Versus Q1, we were down around 5% this quarter.
Fortunately, the Google Update on May 25 seems to have been in our favor so far. Traffic saw a noticeable increase after the update. Let's hope it stays that way.
Quarterly Traffic Chart (Since Inception)
Platform Page Traffic
Since this is our active project at the moment, I'm going to include some traffic stats for it. We're going to look at search-based traffic only as that's what we're aiming for with this.
Here's what we had for Q2:
Overall, even though these are small numbers, I'm really happy. This is proof to me that this project has potential. As I publish more pages, the numbers should only get bigger.
Email List: 6,069 Active Subscribers
Started Q2 with 6,443 subscribers and ended with 6,271. That's a 2.67% decrease.
The reason for the decrease? We ran a re-engagement/inactive subscriber campaign at the start of the quarter which ended up removing over 500 inactive subscribers.
Swift Saturday Newsletter
The Swift Saturday newsletter is a weekly newsletter sent out (you guessed it) every Saturday. It's full of interesting financial content from Swift Salary and the world wide web.
- Extra money ideas
- Job opportunities
- Business ideas and stories
- Money management tips
- Investment opportunities
- Market updates; and more.
If you're interested, you can sign up or learn more here. Unsubscribe at any time.
Open rates for the newsletter this quarter sat at an average of 17.54%. That's a small improvement over the last quarter's 16.22% average. Would love to be able to hit a 20% average by the end of the year.
Note: I use MailerLite as my email service provider.
Follow Up On Goals for Q2 of 2022
- Launch 100 new platform pages – We launched 8, so not even close! Explainer on that above.
- Complete the platform discovery page – Some setbacks and other things needing to be in place first made us miss this goal.
- Launch the opportunities archive – Got this one done! Showcase above.
Lesson: Everything always takes longer than you expect.
Goals for Q3 of 2022
- Launch 50 new platform pages – Going to be a bit more conservative with this goal. This is still a high number, but hopefully, we can hit it. Then, we'll aim for 100 platform pages by year-end.
- Complete the platform discovery page – To get this done, I'll need to custom code the output of the platform cards and then I'll have to implement FacetWP to allow users to filter the platforms (I was previously using ContentViewsPro for filtering)
- Completely replace ContentViewsPro – I've been using this plugin to output my posts in grid format since I started my site. Now that I know how to code the same functionality myself, I want to get rid of the plugin completely to speed up my site a bit and reduce clutter. Still, I'm sure this will take some time.
- Start experimenting with platform-related content – This includes guides (e.g. if we have a Fiverr platform page, related guides could be “How to earn money on Fiverr” and “Services to sell on Fiverr”). We can also do country-specific pages like Best Survey Sites in Canada
Going to leave it at that for now! If we can get all of these things done this quarter, I'll be extremely happy.
Hope you enjoyed this income report and got something useful out of it. I always find it helpful to reflect on the past in these reports and I highly recommend doing the same for your own business.
In both resources, I cover the technical stuff along with how to pick a topic/niche for your blog, how to come up with content ideas, how to get readers, and most importantly, how to make money blogging.
- Have any questions about this quarter's blog income report? Leave a comment below!