Oops – a little late it seems. Been a while since my last update for blogging income huh?

I decided to change the focus of my blog in terms of being a driver for side income. As you can see, the frequency of my blog posts has drastically scaled down last year. Busy investing my human capital into earning more income. Coupled with the fact that referral schemes do tend to wane in effectiveness as market share increases, it makes sense to think about making the best out of what I enjoy doing.

I love the freedom to write about anything I want. With this in mind, I’m extremely selective and have chosen to ignore/decline almost all requests that I’m receiving in my inbox for guest contributions/postings with back-links. In fact, I did not accept a single sponsored post for the year 2017. Advertisers balk at the fact that I charge upwards of $350 for just a blog post on TurtleInvestor with fairly low traffic. Well, if my it isn’t worth that much to you, I’ll just have to use my time and effort for other purposes.

Likewise, for referral schemes, I continue to be picky in terms of what I’m promoting. In particular, I only write/share about products and services that I have used, or am currently using.

What this means is that I’m (luckily not) relying 100% on ad revenue to keep this blog running, and every single pageview has to work harder for me.

The Big Qn – How Much Did I Make In 2017?

That would be USD$$610.27 + SGD$84.40 before expenses.

  • Q1 /
    Google AdSense : S$20.70
    Monumetric : USD$118.03
    RedMart [credits] : S$50.00
  • Q2 /
    Google AdSense : S$13.70
    Monumetric : USD$164.65
  • Q3 /
    Jul 2017 – USD$65.89
    Aug 2017 – USD$59.99
    Sep 2017 – USD$56.55
  • Q4 /
    Oct 2017 – USD$48.48
    Nov 2017 – USD$52.72
    Dec 2017 – USD$43.96

That is a good number, given that I have upgraded and pre-paid for SiteGround’s web-hosting all the way until November 2021. Go big or go home, right? Seems kinda stupid for a hobby, but hey – YOLO!

This year, I’m up to about USD$815 just on ad revenue across all my blogs, and there are still two more months to go. It’s gonna be an interesting year.

Technical About

Want to know what’s behind the number? This is the basic approach that I have adopted for my blogs. I have never spent a single cent of my own money on buying tools or paying for services, except for what I have earned from blogging.

What do I mean? I simply grew my blogs organically. Eventually (and luckily), as my blogs started to make some ad revenue, I re-invested ALL of them in getting tools and service to make my blogs better.

It’s just like how humans invest time and effort into making ourselves more capable of earning a higher income? Investments in my blogs make them capable of earning higher revenue too.

Curious as to the tools and services that I’m using? Here goes.

1) PLATFORM : WordPress

Simply the best for my needs. Powerful and flexible, there simply isn’t any reason not to use this.

The ecosystem is too strong with endless plugins, both free and premium ones, for every single need.

2) WEB HOST : SiteGround

In the month of June 2018 alone, some 15,000+ page views were registered and on peak (new-blog-post) days, a thousand or two is common. Which also means that a cheap web host may start throwing tantrums and stop serving pages. No page views means no revenue, and this is bad.

I host all of my blogs on SiteGround’s GoGeek plan. Is it good? Oh yes, SiteGround has been very good for me. Is it overkill? Not at all, in my opinion. I believe that I get what I paid for – will talk more about it in future if I ever branch out to sharing this.

Having income-producing blogs meant that I have to keep them in tip-top condition. Updates. Security. Reliability/Uptime. Speed.

Just the other day, I updated my blog to make sure that you see the sexy little lock next to my blog URL address on your browser. Updated all themes and plugins, and removed unused all ones. I find myself having to spend more and more time on maintenance, and having a good web host (adhoc backups, staging enviroments etc) really makes life a lot easier and safer.

A quick note on web hosting companies. Be very careful of Endurance International Group (EIG). I’m not saying that they’re bad, but if you’re going to grow and demand top-notch quality one day, EIG may not be the best option based on reviews. The name may sound foreign, but you may have heard of Bluehost or Hostgator. EIG basically acquires smaller web hosts and continues to operate under the original brand names. More often than not, the decline begins immediately. Brand names like Bluehost and Hostgator have tonnes of good reviews because they have a kick-ass referral (affiliate) system. If you’re ever deciding on a web host, check to see if they’re owned by EIG.

3) WORDPRESS THEME: Elegant Themes  

A long time ago, I was running a few blogs and had purchased lifetime access using blog revenue when a huge sale was running. Nope, it definitely isn’t cheap but it is worth every single dime I’ve spent on it.

Year after year, I get free updates now. Yippee yay.

4) DOMAIN REGISTRAR: Namecheap

With a name like that – what gives?

No frills, but cheap (as the name implies) and good enough for me. Most of my domain names are purchased and parked with NameCheap. I might work on some of them in future, but now? I’m just happy to hoard my own piece of digital real estate.

5) BLOG TRAFFIC MONETIZATION: Monumetric

Earning blog revenue from ads is an area that is extremely unfriendly for newbies and most  would stumble and fail at this point.

For the greenhorns, they would know about Google Adsense, which isn’t that bad. Plus it integrates perfectly with Blogger. Just a tad too focused on clicks which caused insane fluctuations. Word Ads is pretty much a tragedy and should be avoided, despite its association with WordPress. Did someone say, Nuffnang?

Even at the height when TurtleInvestor is leaning on Google Adsense, I was averaging maybe $30 or $40 on best months. Feel free to check my 2015 income reports.

The whales, as expected, don’t play in ponds and lakes. They belong to the ocean. It was in 2018 that for the first time, I really understood the enormous gaps that exist between hobbyist bloggers and the big fishes.

Just for perspectives, my RPM for Sep 2018 is an incredible USD$12.89 without really doing anything. Pay-per-view is the future, and definitely not pay-per-click.

Sumimasen! Double Giveaway This Year

I missed the one last year because of .. life, but that’s no excuse. I apologize. To make it up, I’ll double the giveaway this time round.

Wanna get Retire Smart by Lorna Tan? Simply subscribe. That’s it! And you are eligible for all future giveaways.

The clock is ticking.

P/S: There won’t be any affiliate links in this post because I didn’t feel like having them 🙂