Blogging vs. Podcasting: A 1-Year Case Study

Heyo! Side Hustle Nation is a year old, and you know what that means?

Time to share the results of my first “serious” attempt at building something more than just a personal blog.

And, for the sake of comparison, I’ll share the results alongside those of The Side Hustle Show podcast to see which has been the more effective way of reaching new people and spreading the side hustle goodness.

One Year of Blogging

Now I’d been blogging for a few years on nickloper.com before switching everything over to the sidehustlenation.com domain. That means I kept most of the old content and what little search rankings I had, so I wasn’t starting completely from scratch, which is why you’ll see 100-150 visits per day right out of the gate.

Side note: Even if you don’t know what kind of “business” you’d eventually like to run, I recommend starting a blog today. It’s super cheap, you’ll practice the art of writing, you’ll learn WordPress and some valuable online skills, and it’s a great creative outlet. Don’t worry if anyone reads it.

one year of blog traffic small

The above picture shows my Google Analytics traffic chart for the year.

The overall trend is up, but it’s not startup-style “hockey-stick” growth. In fact, for 8 months there in the middle, the trend line is totally flat.

That’s in spite of continually posting every week, connecting on social media, and commenting and sharing other people’s stuff. Kind of disheartening because any business owner likes to see the chart moving up and to the right!

And it’s hard to say if the recent spike in traffic will result in a new “normal” plateau, if things will continue to climb, or if it will fall back off to the previous level.

But like I’ve mentioned before, a blog in itself is a poor business strategy. Sure, it’s a tool in your arsenal and can very effectively feed real revenue streams, but by no means is it a get-rich-quick-scheme.

Month 1 Stats:

  • Sessions: 3420
  • Pageviews: 4854
  • Time on Site: 1 minute 14 seconds
  • Bounce Rate: 83.95%
  • % New Visitors: 87.78%

Month 12 Stats:

  • Sessions: 9711 (up 184%)
  • Pageviews: 17,250 (up 255%)
  • Time on Site: 2 minutes 10 seconds (up 76%)
  • Bounce Rate: 73.09% (down 13%)
  • % New Visitors: 73.78% (down  16%)

These numbers paint a much rosier picture than the Analytics chart that looks almost flat over the course of 12 months!

Blog posts: 109

(Non-Podcast) blog posts: 60

Words written: 97,444 (dang — I should write a book!)

Costs: $514.20

  • Hosting: $75.40 ($6.28/mo … though I’m not in love with the speed performance so thinking of making an upgrade here. Any recommendations? Have heard good things about WP Engine but seems a little spendy!)
  • Aweber: $313.80 ($26.15/mo). Mailchimp’s free for up to 2000 subscribers and much prettier. Probably should have used them instead, but my account got in trouble thanks to my own stupid mismanagement.
  • Domain: $100. SideHustleNation.com was already registered so I had to buy it second-hand last spring. Here’s a guest post I did on how to get the domain you really want.
  • Website tweaks and customizations: $25. (Fiverr gigs) I tend to spend WAY too long trying to play with the code myself. It’s rewarding when it works, but probably NOT the best use of my time.

And I’m happy to report that if I value my time at approximately $0/hour, I’ve officially broken even as a professional blogger! (To be fair, you won’t find any mention of blogging in my 5 Fastest Ways to Make More Money guide.)

Most popular posts:

Email Subscribers Month 1: 11

Email Subscribers Month 12: 723

Most bloggers will tell you, email subscribers are probably the most important metric you can track, so I’m grateful that 700 people have opened their inboxes to me!

I’ll admit I’m not the savviest email marketer in the world — there’s no autoresponder sequence (yet?) and I generally just send once a week. I try and keep it light, informative, and relatively pitch-free.

Are you on the list?

If not -> go for it! <-

And if you are, what could I be doing better with my emails? Hit reply every now and then and let me know! (I read every response.)

The blog’s not going anywhere. I love having it as my home base online and a place to share all the side hustle experiment wins and losses along the way.

One Year of Podcasting

Now how about the podcast? The Side Hustle Show is my baby. I really didn’t know what I was getting into when I started, but 12 months in I’m hooked!

I was nervous about committing to a weekly show and finding interesting guests. The truth is I have yet to “cold pitch” a single guest and have a healthy queue of episodes pre-recorded and ready to go. (Some really good ones coming up, you’re gonna love ’em!)

one year of podcasting small

Month 1 Downloads: 604

Month 12 Downloads: 7361

Number of Episodes: 49

Total Minutes of Audio: 1861 minutes (roughly 31 hours!)

Costs: $273.46

  • Hosting: $180 ($15 a month for Libsyn)
  • Equipment: $48.46 (microphone, mic stand, and pop filter)
  • Voiceover: $15 (Fiverr)
  • Transcriptions: $30 (Still testing out impact / cost-effectiveness of the transcriptions…)

Cover art, recording software, and editing software were all free.

The show just passed 40,000 lifetime downloads. It’s an incredibly cheap medium to reach that kind of audience.

If you’re on the fence about starting a podcast, I urge you to get off the fence and start!

Most Popular Episodes:

The Best Thing About Podcasting: An excuse to talk to awesome people every week!

I think the blog and podcast feed each other and both have become an important part of the side hustle “brand.”

While the blog traffic nearly tripled, the podcast listenership was up more than 10x. It’s an avenue that can’t be ignored, plus is a higher level of engagement than merely writing. People can hear your voice and get an better idea of your personality.

I feel like this journey is only getting started and share this post to encourage you to start today. Even though my numbers aren’t anything incredible compared to some of the others out there, it just shows what can happen a year of hustling.

If you wish you started a year ago, or 3 years ago, there’s nothing you can do about that. The only thing you can do is start today.

And this time next year, you’ll be looking back at how far you’ve come and you can send me your results!

Hustle on,
-Nick

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32 thoughts on “Blogging vs. Podcasting: A 1-Year Case Study

  1. Hey Nick – thanks for sharing these interesting results. I love when people open up the hard date and put it all out there. What is the deal with the recent spike at the end?

    Did you read Spencer’s post on podcasting? It’s some good food for thought. Personally I am thinking of starting a podcast in a month or two (would love to have you on BTW) but first I want to grow the blog a bit more.

    Lastly, I feel you are leaving subscribers on the table based on your traffic and total subscribers – if you have any questions let me know and I can provide a more detailed response.

    Cheers!

  2. Hey Dave, thanks for stopping by — I didn’t see Spencer’s post on podcasting, would you mind sharing it here?

    The recent spike can be attributed to a couple posts that did really well. The first was the podcast w/ Nicklas Kingo on outsourcing Kindle books:
    http://www.sidehustlenation.com/building-4260-per-month-kindle-publishing-business/

    And the second was my case study on Fiverr:
    http://www.sidehustlenation.com/fiverr-homepage-earned-920-in-10-days/

    During that time I also had a guest post go live on Rich20Something.com which generated some referral traffic as well.

  3. Haha funny thing I was just coming over to state basically the same thing as Dave said.

    The post he is referring to is http://www.nichepursuits.com/why-you-should-not-start-a-podcast/
    At time of posting this comment. There is close to 120 comments. Great conversations going on in those posts.

    Then came Cliff Ravenscraft’s Podcast (Podcast Answer Man) that was 2 HOURS LONG! Replying to every line of Spencer’s Blog Post. He even did things much differently then his normal podcast (in order to help his students). If you don’t subscribe to his post, which it seems as if you do not I suggest listening to this as well. But like I said it is 2 hours long, haha. http://http://podcastanswerman.com/355

    I am about to start the pre-launch of a website/podcast and I can’t wait.

    As always keep up the great work on both the blog and podcast! I know you get a double download from me each new podcast.

    • Ahh haha good timing. I think if Spencer continued to podcast regularly he’d see continued growth in that channel but it seems his release schedule is a little more sporadic (and no new episodes in the last 2 months). But then he’s already got a huge audience so it’s not necessary as high impact as I believe it is for “newbies” like me :)

      Keep me posted on your launch!

  4. Been thinking about doing this for a while but it’s hard to commit extra time when me days are already too busy. How much time would you estimate it takes to create each podcast (from finding the guest to publishing the post)?

    • From start to finish, I’m probably around 2-3 hours a week on it. It was definitely higher at the beginning because I was more anal about editing and was still learning the audacity software. That includes scheduling, recording, editing, and creating the show notes page.

  5. Some interesting stats here Nick.. I remember when it was in its infancy and now look where you are only one year later!

    Agree with dave on the sign ups.. You could be more aggressive?! 90% of the time I land here is via Google+ notification in my gmail..

  6. Cool stats Nick! That is great proof. I wasn’t sure if people are patient enough to listen to a podcast, but I guess they are. It seems as easy as a webinar, but I wouldn’t know from lack of experience. Any thoughts on getting started?

    • I relied heavily on Pat Flynn’s podcastingtutorial.com for the technical side of things. From there it was just a matter of getting over the inertia of doing nothing and setting up those first few calls. Funny when you commit to a weekly show, there’s a lot of fire to produce it each week!

      Plus, the feedback from the listeners has been really encouraging and that keeps me motivated.

      Here are a couple posts I did on my equipment/set-up costs and my launch recap:
      http://www.sidehustlenation.com/how-much-does-it-cost-to-start-a-podcast/
      http://www.sidehustlenation.com/how-to-get-a-podcast-to-the-top-of-itunes-in-8-weeks-with-no-audience-or-celebrity-guests-case-study/

      • There’s Pats… Cliff Ravenscraft has one, plus a paid course… so does John Lee Dumas. All are great! I won’t post those links in here.

          • I am in the process of starting a whole new niche authority website. It will include a podcast (there is only one that I could find), I will interview people that have authority in this niche two days a week (Allow me to leverage their readership) and then also interview people that can help these authority people get to the next level (Allows me to network with the people I really want to).

            I am stuck between if I should have two different podcasts or one. I believe when I interview the niche people, their readership really my core target readership. But thinking long term these are great customers.

            The other interview is with people in other niches that can help these people take their branding to a whole new level.

            So that is one of the steps I am stuck at the moment.

    • Scott… Podcasting is in its infancy, we will soon see the BOOM of them all. Look out when stitcher radio goes in all the cars next year

  7. Hey man, I stumbled upon shn this morning, and have been getting inspired by your posts and thoughtful interviews. I was wondering what you thought about blogging vs podcasting when it comes to monetization. Has all that podcasting been worth the work?

    • It’s tough to say. I experimented a little bit with sponsorship but don’t really have the volume of listeners needed to make it worthwhile.

      However, when it comes to building trust and engagement that leads to other revenue opportunities (masterminds / coaching / consulting), there’s no doubt the podcast plays a big role and is probably much more effective than just the blog in that case.

  8. Thanks for the info Nick! This may be an obvious question after reading the post and seeing the difference in stats but if you were to start over today and could only choose one, which would you do, the blog or the podcast? Also, which do you just plain enjoy more?

    • That’s a tough one because I do love writing and sharing the case studies and results of various experiments, but the podcast is the highlight of my week. An awesome excuse to talk with inspiring people week in and week out. Far less crowded medium too. If I had to pick just one, I might do the podcast with detailed show notes either on my site or use them as guest posts to build traffic for the show. Ultimately though you’d need some sort of home base online because it’s really tough to monetize the audio content alone.

  9. Thanks for sharing that, Nick!

    I’ve been blogging for a long time now, and just started a podcast. I love it so far. And even if I don’t gain a big listenership, it’s a great learning experience, I’m having fun, developing new digital skills, getting out there in front of new people, still doing what I love and sharing content but in a different way, and extending my personal brand.

    So I’ll repeat your message: if anyone out there is in doubt whether to start a podcast, I say do it today.

    I’m a regular listener to your show, by the way. Just haven’t been part of the discussion yet.

    Keep up the good work!

    Best,
    Lidiya

  10. Hi Nick,

    I just found your site from some googling research as I am in the middle of starting both a side hustle and a side hustle to my side hustle (does that even make sense? I’m still working on my messaging).

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to diving more into what you are doing here and will definitely check out your podcast!

    Thanks for putting all this great information out there!

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