This year has been a challenging one. At times, no matter how hard I work, it still feels like it's not enough. I've been grinding on the Platform Discovery project, and it's been going well, but I'm further behind than I'd like to be.
So many plans, so little time.
Anyway, welcome to another income report! Here, I'll break down Swift Salary's Q3 performance including revenue, expenses, highlights, stats, and more.
If you have any questions about anything, leave me a comment.
Previous reports from 2022:
- Q1 2022 Income Report: How Swift Salary Made $12,182.12
- Q2 2022 Income Report: How Swift Salary Made $5,630.83
To see all of my past income reports (going all the way back to my first year of blogging), go here.
Highlights from Q3 2022
- No new blog posts, focused on platforms only
- 18 new platforms published. That's 10 more than last quarter.
- Learned a lot more about WordPress development
- Implemented WP Facet (a filtering plugin)
- Updated all in-content email opt-ins
New Blog Posts
None! Just like in Q2, I focused completely on the platform project this quarter. See details on that below.
Learning more about WordPress development
In a mission to lower my reliance on plugins (and make my site more flexible and customizable), I've been learning a lot more about WordPress development this year and getting my hands dirty with PHP.
This quarter, I custom-coded how platforms and posts are output during WP Query loops. You can see an example of this on my search page.
Custom coding the output allows me to more easily customize what info is shown on post and platform cards and means I don't have to use a plugin to output posts anymore.
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 format. 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:
- 18 new platforms published. That's 10 more than last quarter.
- First Earning Guide page published
- Reached 84 types of opportunities added
- Reached 4 types of platforms added
- Introduced the Platform Discovery Tool
- Fully templatized platform pages to make them easier to create and update
- Started using Airtable to store platform page data
- Put sticky header navigation on platform pages
- Added programmatic comparison text to alternatives pages
- Published reviewer guidelines
- Updated the way users can leave reviews
More details on each of these below!
Introduced the Platform Discovery Tool
The Platform Discovery Tool is the top destination for finding online platforms that help you:
- Make money
- Save money
- and more
As you can see from the image above, there are a number of filters (created with Facet WP) you can use to further narrow down the choices of platforms. You can easily find ones that work in your country, support your device(s), and more.
Over time I hope to have hundreds (or even thousands) of discoverable platforms on this page.
Fully Templatized Platform Pages
Now, instead of having to input all the text for a platform page manually, I can do it automatically with WP All Import. This is way quicker and makes updating pages in the future a lot easier.
The way my pages are set up now also makes updating the look of every platform page across my site much easier. Previously, if I had to make an update to the layout of the platform pages, I'd have to go and update each page individually. Now I can do it across all pages at the same time.
This took some time to set up, but it was 1000% worth it. It's pretty simple too.
I basically just use WordPress custom fields to store all the written content for the platform (e.g what it is, how it works, etc.). Then, I have a reusable WordPress block for the actual page template:
Above is how the top section of platform pages look in the WordPress block editor. This section outputs all the primary details about a platform: what it is, how it works, the opportunities it offers, and more.
You can also see the shortcode for the sidebar, which changes depending on the type of page it is (page types include: profile, alternatives, earning guide, user reviews, etc.).
Next is an email opt-in:
This email opt-in is for the Swift Saturday Financial newsletter. More info on the newsletter below.
The last section outputs the media section, reviews, and more:
I have similar templates for other types of platform pages (e.g. alternatives pages).
All in all, this system probably isn't the cleanest or most efficient, but for right now, it works. And it works way better than what I was doing before.
And it's led to…
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Faster Publishing and Easier Outsourcing
As mentioned above, with the templatized system, I can now import all the details for a platform page with WP All Import. So, I use Airtable to store the content for each page, and when one is ready for an update or publishing, I export it to a CSV and import everything in a few minutes.
Working with freelancers in an Airtable has also been pretty efficient, but it's still not at full speed. Need more writers/researchers.
Sticky header navigation with page tracking
I wanted to make a nice clean navigation bar for the top of each platform page. Here's what I came up with (most of my inspiration came from the navigation bar Google uses on some of their pages and apps):
One of the cool things about this is that when you scroll to different sections of the page, the border around the navigation button for that section lights up.
Here's an example showing how the “Overview” section button is highlighted:
Oh, and for those wondering, here's a picture of what the platform page header used to look like:
As you can see, I only had buttons for visiting the platform or writing a review. There was no navigation at all.
Now, everything is much cleaner, and there's more functionality. There's also a “Report Problem” button on the new sticky navigation to make it easy for users to point out glitches, content errors, and more. I haven't had anyone actually contact me through it yet though.
Added programmatic comparison text to alternatives pages
This is a cool little feature that makes alternatives pages a little bit more valuable to readers.
For each alternative generated, some comparison text is also shown:
This is done by simply comparing the user ratings (and editorial ratings if the exist) for the platform that is having alternatives generated for it and the alternative platform being shown.
Update the way users can leave reviews
As I add more platforms to the site, the types of users that can leave reviews will change. At the moment, I only have a review form set up for those who earn money on platforms.
In the future, I plan on having not only review forms for earners, but also for people who use platforms to buy things, invest money, and more.
To get this started, when users go to leave a review of a platform, they'll now see this page:
I haven't created review forms for the additional user types yet, but that should be set up once I start seeing demand for it.
Updated all in-content email opt-ins
I've officially changed all my in-content email opt-ins to Swift Saturday sign-up forms.
Here's how the one on “Manage Money” articles looks:
This is nice and simple and is specific to the type of article being viewed. On “Make Money” articles, the opt-in title reads “New money-making ideas every week”.
For a long time, I was promoting email courses instead, but with how much work I put into the Swift Saturday newsletter, it just made more sense to promote it more heavily.
Blog Income and Expenses for Q3 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: $7,883.92 Gross Revenue
Had a slight increase in revenue this quarter from last quarter. Still much lower than what I'd like to see and much lower from the high I saw in Q3 of 2021.
Monthly Revenue Breakdown
- July: $1,486.60
- August: $2,334.61
- September: $4,062.71
September really pulled through to lift up the monthly average this quarter.
Revenue Sources Summary
- Affiliate Income ($1,860.38):
- GG2U – $30.55
- Impact Radius – $171.60
- Panthera – $235.69
- ZipRecruiter – $28.43
- Advertising ($4,081.84):
- Mediavine – $4,081.84
- Sales ($3):
- Printable Sales – $3
Expense Breakdown: $2,490.16 Spent
Notable expenses include:
- Bank Fees and Charges – $204.87
- Freelance writers – $794.52
- Review gathering – $45.66
- Evernote – $89.99
- FacetWP plugin – $130.09
- GSuite – $46.79
- Gumroad fees – $0.21
- Domain name – $18.69
- Siteground hosting upgrade to GoGeek – $150.15
- Slack – $32.19
- Starter Story – $352.64
- WP All Import plugin – $393.84
- Zoho Books – $99.44
* Total Net Profit: $5,393.76 *
Traffic Breakdown: 210,008 Pageviews
Pageviews increased slightly (+4.94%) this quarter. However, early indicators show I was hit negatively by September's Google update, and you can see the dip that caused at the end of the chart above.
This is why I'm working on diversifying my traffic from a few posts bring in most of the pageviews –> hundreds of posts each bringing 100-1000 pageviews/month.
Quarterly Traffic Chart (Since Inception)
Platform Page Traffic
Similar to last quarter's report, 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 project.
Here's what we had for Q3:
Last quarter, we had only 36 clicks to platform pages, so this is almost a 10x increase. Really happy about that. Need to continue scaling up though so we can start seeing 10k+ clicks per month.
Email List: 5,096 Active Subscribers
Started Q3 with 6,271 subscribers and ended with 5,096. That's a 18.74% decrease.
The reason for the decrease? I ran another re-engagement/inactive subscriber campaign at the end of the quarter which ended up removing over 1,000 inactive subscribers.
It hurts in the short term, but it's better for my open rates/deliverability in the long run. No point in having uninterested people on my list.
I am wondering how accurate the inactivity tracker is for my mailing provider. I've noticed that, since purging these inactive subscribers, there are fewer people opening my newsletter. Now I'm wondering if I accidentally removed active 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 19.50%. That's a nice improvement over last quarters 17.54% average.
My goal was to hit a 20% open rate average by the end of the year, so we're on track for that!
Note: I use MailerLite as my email service provider.
Follow Up On Goals for Q3 of 2022
- Launch 50 new platform pages – We only ended up launching 18 — just 36% of the goal. This was due to me only having 1 writer/researcher at the moment (other than myself) and also other updates needing to get done before I could upload some platforms.
- Complete the platform discovery page – Got this done! Check it out.
- Completely replace ContentViewsPro – I essentially have everything needed to get this done, but still need to update some older articles before I make the full transition. That said, I have fully removed reliance on this plugin on many pages on my site (including platform pages).
- Start experimenting with platform-related content – We launched an earning guide this quarter. Once I've published enough platform pages related to paid surveys, I'm going to test country-specific pages (e.g. Best Survey Sites in Canada).
Goals for Q4 of 2022
- 20% open rate on Swift Saturday newsletters
- Launch 50 new platform pages – Same goal as last quarter. Lets see if we can actually do it this time. I'm going to need more writers/researchers.
- Launch a “Best paid surveys [insert country]” page – These just require me to have a certain # of platforms ready to be featured on each page. From there, the actual page creation should be easy.
I was feeling pretty gloomy before writing this income report, and I'm still a bit down on some of the numbers above, but progress is definitely being made, and I'm happy about that. Focusing almost all of my effort on this platforms project is definitely a risk, but I think it's going to pay off.
I hope you enjoyed this income report and got something useful out of it.
- Have any questions about this quarter's blog income report? Leave a comment below!