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.
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!)
- 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:
- 99 Side Hustle Business Ideas You Can Start Today
- How Much Does it Cost to Start a Podcast?
- How I Got on the Homepage of Fiverr and Earned $920 in 10 Days
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.)
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!)
Month 1 Downloads: 604
Month 12 Downloads: 7361
Number of Episodes: 49
Total Minutes of Audio: 1861 minutes (roughly 31 hours!)
- 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:
- How One Fiverr Seller Earned Enough Cash to Buy a House
- How to Earn $3000 per Month Blogging in Your Spare Time
- Building a 6-Figure Blog From Scratch
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!