I created an Authority Site
My site is a tutorial site where I teach people how to use a 3D modeling program. I create all the tutorials myself by taking screen shots of the software as I'm creating something, and writing the instructions as I go along. A major part of what I do is YouTube videos. I'll create a screencast of me creating something while narrating it to teach people how to do something.
I spent about 2 months building the site and creating some content before officially launching the site in March, 2012. It's been a lot of work. I spend 2-3 days a week after work creating new content for the site. Most other days I'm doing research or networking with people on social platforms. Each post takes about 3-4 hours to write, since I have to plan the tutorial and create many images. If it's a video, it takes 5-6 hours to complete.
I used some of Pat Flynn's backlinking strategy for some minor SEO back linking, but sort of quit doing that once all the panda, penguin and EMD updates began to change things. I really don't do any backlinking anymore. After each post, I'll post it on all my social profiles (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn), and sometimes Reddit. I have social profiles set up specifically for the website brand.
Currently, I am only monetizing the site using Adsense. I also sell direct advertisements to different vendors directly using a OIO Publisher (Wordpress Plugin). Each month, my Adsense earnings increase. Right now, I'm at $180 for this month. I'll usually sell one banner ad per month directly for $80/30 days. So that puts me at about $260 per month of income right now.
It took a long time to get there though. I didn't even reach my first $100 threshold until October. But then in November I made $125, and this month I'm at $180. So once things started to move, it kept growing.
Some stats as of December:
3:00 minute average visit duration
70% new visitors
37% Search Traffic
40% Referral Traffic
23% Direct Traffic
In my experience, YouTube videos with Adsense enabled have a much higher CTR than Adsense on a website. The all-time report for my adsense says 90% of the clicks I get come from YouTube, with only 10% coming from my site. The CTR shares a similar percentage.
My YouTube channel has 1,261 subscribers, and 58,780 views.
I also have a mailing list with about 230 subscribers on it. I don't have an autoresponder set up yet, and I'm surely not taking advantage of that list at all. I'll send a random email like once a month. It's something I plan to work on.
Plans for 2013
Anyways, just wanted to share this snapshot for everyone. No, I'm not making thousands of dollars a day or whatever, but I'm doing something I enjoy, and I'm really helping people. I get emails all the time from people thanking me for everything I've done. It means the world to me to get emails like that.
Now that I've built a brand around the site, I am going to be taking things to the next level in 2013. There is a lot more potential for me to make money beyond just selling advertisements. Like creating my own training products, affiliate sales for software plugins, books, etc.
I also plan on creating a few more sites in different niches that don't require so much time from myself to maintain. If I didn't enjoy 3D modeling so much, that would probably be a big complaint of mine. Definitely consider this when deciding to start a personally branded authority site. It will always require your time to keep it up. That's why you hear all these people saying "follow your passion." lol.
Any other new internet marketers want to share some of their stats from 2012?
Happy New Year, and good luck to all new internet marketers!