• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Anne Miller
  • Mike Jay
  • Jocelyn Campbell
stewards:
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Burra Maluca
  • Joseph Lofthouse
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Mike Barkley
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
  • Pearl Sutton

Looking under the hood of a homestead blog

 
gardener
Posts: 1596
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
588
bike books forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur kids trees
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator



Inside Look at Wild Homesteading as a Business

This thread is a bit of a look under the hood at my business - Wild Homesteading. If you have not visited my site yet please do.

One thing I really believe is that even as a business it is important to be transparent. Especially, when I'm relying so heavily on the awesome community here on permies to help promote my site. I also know that a number of you have expressed interest in blogging, making a passive income, starting your own business, etc.

I'm hoping that by sharing with you all what works and what does not for my business that it can help some of you develop your own business. I believe that there is more to gain by working together than being in competition with each other.

Wild Homesteading is an online business that is focused around a blog. Eventually I will have my own products (books, and online courses) to offer but at the moment I don't. My first book will hopefully come out in 2019 - more on that later!

The core goal of Wild Homesteading is to help people work with nature to grow their own food and build/start their homestead. I'm focusing on people who are fairly new to homesteading and/or gardening but who are interested in working with nature rather than against it. If you are an expert or very experienced in homesteading/permaculture the site will have some useful information for you but you are not the target audience

I plan to share with you all how my business has been going at the end of each month. I also plan to do a year in review post starting next year. Since I just launched at the end of November 2018 this first post will serve as both my first month in review post and my first year in review post. Future month and year in review posts will all be in this thread so watch this thread if you are interested in what I'm sharing.

I'm also happy to answer questions and give advice so please feel free to ask any questions you many have! Comments are of course welcomed too!

Month and Year in Review - 2018 (Nov 26th through Dec 31st)

Wild Homesteading launched on November 26th 2018. I made the "mistake" of launching during the slowest time of the year for most blogs - the holiday season! Some sites even recommend taking a break from posting at all during this time period!

But I had already delayed launching my business for months and I was tired of waiting. So I just launched anyways!

I launched with 5 initial posts and a 6th post waiting for the next week. This way I had some good initial content but I had already decided to stick with 1 post a week with the occasional bonus 2nd post.

It is very hard to get a site much traffic at the start - google just does not give much traffic to new sites at the start. This takes time to develop and based on my readings it generally takes around 18 months for a new site to start getting decent traffic from google. That is assuming the site puts out regular and good content!

That is a long time to post content and just hear crickets... I really did not want that to happen.

Luckily, I had already been very active here on permies and I enjoyed talking with you all on here. So I decided to embrace my connection with permies and work with permies to build my site. But this does not mean permies would just promote my site with nothing in return.

Each of my blog posts link back to permies through a "social media" button and sometimes in the text. I make a companion thread here on permies for each blog post that the post links to. I try to make sure these threads provide some real value to the permies community and are not just about promoting my blog. I hope you all feel that is working.

This is great for a couple reasons - it has given my site some good traffic and I love talking with you all here on permies. Each companion thread on permies has had a great conversation that is really helping me keep going with this new business.

It is stressful running a brand new business but I really enjoy talking with you all in the threads. Just make sure to stop at my site and leave a comment there too!

I have also been using social media and a couple "blog hops" where other homestead bloggers share their posts with each other. But permies has been the biggest source of traffic so far.

As far as income goes at this point I have just been linking to books and other products on Amazon that relate to the given blog post. These links are what are known as affiliate links which mean I get a small kickback if someone purchases the item or another item after following my link to Amazon. I try to be careful to only link to products that I think are related, that provide a real value, and that I trust. It does not cost the person making the purchase any more to buy through my affiliate link.

This is a small income but it is a good place to start and overtime should grow though it will never be my main income source.

I do have a couple affiliate links to products on permies digital market place but I have not done a lot to promote that yet.

What I'm Focusing On

Right now I'm focusing on building my email list (the most important part of an online business), and creating good high value content that is free for anyone to access (my blog posts). I'm also trying to build an engaged community. It really is awesome when someone leaves a comment on one of my blog posts. I have also gotten some emails from people reading my site.

All of this is the foundation to a healthy and sustainable online business.

I send out a weekly email to each person that signs up to my email list. I also send 2 intro emails at the start to introduce people to my site. But otherwise it is just a weekly email which seems to be working great.

I'm also using social media a bit with Facebook and Twitter being the 2 I'm currently using.

Moving Forward

I'm about ready to launch my first product which will be available starting on January 7th 2019. This product is a companion guide to Paul's Rocket Oven DVD. It will be given for free to anyone who buys the DVD through my site (I'm an affiliate for it) and also available for $5 through permies digital market place. This will hopefully be my first real income source though likely still small. I should add that any permies user can signup to be an affiliate for products sold on the permies digital market place.

I will of course keep putting out weekly blog posts and work on building my email list. Each blog post has an opt-in and content upgrade (mostly unique) associated with it that serve as my main way to build my email list. I will continue this moving forward.

I'm also wanting to get my posts up on Pinterest but I'm not very familiar with the site so I'm not sure if I will start this in January 2019 or wait till February. It seems like Pinterest is used a lot by other homesteading blogs which makes me think it would be a good source of traffic.

Getting more traffic to my site and more people on my email list are my top goals at this point. Just having more posts up will help but I'm also wanting to start promoting Wild Homesteading on new sites like Pinterest but also Steemit (if they ever approve my account...).

By the Numbers

So how what did this all look like in terms of numbers? Well here are a few (data from Google Analytics, Amazon Affiliate Program, Permies Affiliate Program, and ConvertKit):

Site/Traffic
- Number of Blog Posts: 11
- Number of Users: 1,008
- Number of Page Views: 5,318
- % of Users From Permies: 54.6%

Traffic Sources by Percent - Broad Categories
- % Referral (includes permies traffic): 61.3%
- % Direct: 21%
- % Social Media: 12.3%
- % Organic Search (google, etc.): 5.3%

Email List
- Number of People on the Email List: 88
- Average Weekly Email Open Rate: 57.3%
- Average Weekly Email Click Rate: 19.4%

Income
- Number of Income Sources: 2
- Amazon Affiliate Income: $12.79
- Permies Affiliate Income: $10
- Total Income During This Period: $22.79

Employees
- Just my wife and I and we are co-owners not employees.

In Conclusion

So all in all I think the first month and 5 days of having the business live has been going great! But the business is not paying for itself at this point. My hope is that by the time the business has been up and running for 6 months it will break even and that by the end of the first year I will actually make enough to start helping to supplement my family's income.

It takes a lot of time to put out good weekly content and manage all the various components of a business so ultimately it does need to bring in more than it costs to run it. But for now I'm just building the foundation for the business and time will tell if it turns out to be strong enough to keep going in the long run.

My ultimate goal is to be able to leave my current job and just make a living through Wild Homesteading but that is a ways off.

Hope you all found this interesting and please feel free to ask any questions!
 
Posts: 13
1
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you Daron for posting this and being so open about traffic and earnings. It definitely gives one new ideas on the establishment of a blog. Thank you. And yes, I've read your blog through links from the related permies posts.
 
gardener
Posts: 690
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, NC, US
178
bee fish food preservation forest garden homestead hugelkultur cooking trees
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I second what Maureen said!

I know it was probably very time consuming to publish all this information, and I found it very interesting and informative!

Looking forward to seeing the future results, and thanks again for posting this information!
 
Daron Williams
gardener
Posts: 1596
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
588
bike books forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur kids trees
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you both!
 
Daron Williams
gardener
Posts: 1596
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
588
bike books forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur kids trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wild Homesteading Monthly Review- January 2019

This is the monthly review for my business - Wild Homesteading. If you have not visited my site yet please do. Each month I post a review of how my business is doing. January represents the 2nd full calendar month the business has been active. It is also apparently a slow month for most blogs based on what I have been reading.

What I Was Focusing On

At this point I'm still focusing on putting out good content on a regular schedule (Blog post every Monday) and trying to increase the traffic to my blog.

The content side of things is working out okay but I need to start batching my content. That would mean I would write say 3 blog posts in 1 or 2 days but still just release them once a week on Monday's. This would result in 1 busy week but then 2 easier weeks. The more I can batch at once the better. Though I'm struggling to find time to batch.

I did make an editorial calendar from now until the end of August 2019. That should help and I have several blog post series planned to make things a little easier.

My overall traffic did go down in January but apparently this is a slow month for bloggers - Pro-Blogger Article

One reason for the drop was I stopped being consistent on social media. This resulted a decent drop in traffic from social media in January. But I now have a calendar for social media and I'm doing my best to stick to it.

January was also the month I launched my first product - a companion product to Paul's Rocket Oven DVD. But at this point it has not helped me get any affiliate sales of the DVD. Which given the amount of work my wife and I put into that product this is disappointing.

I did finally get on Steemit after over a month of waiting to get my account confirmed. This was very annoying but Steemit is proving to be a fantastic site for my business. My intro post won several contests for best weekly intro post and was featured by a number of influential users. I have found several permies users over there and there seems to be a great homesteading community on Steemit. Traffic from Steemit is not bad and for my site is greater than my other social media sites.

But I just got on Steemit towards the end of the month so time will tell if it remains a good place for me to put time and energy.

I also started growing my Pinterest account but only towards the end of the month so I have not seen much gain from my efforts. This will be an ongoing effort but I hope to have more traffic from Pinterest in February.

Finally, an ongoing focus of my site is to build my email list. This in addition to regular content is working really well. My email list grew from 88 at the end of December to 128 at the end of January. Averaging over 1 signup each day! So I'm very happy about that since having a good email list is important for the long term success of any online business.

Moving Forward

Moving forward in February I'm going to continue my focus on putting out good content, building my email list and building traffic to my site. I need to get a system setup for batching my posts - that will make my life a lot easier...

On the content side of things I will focus on the weekly blog posts on Mondays and the companion threads here on permies. I'm also doing the same thing on Steemit (companion post). Currently, Steemit appears to be my 2nd largest traffic source behind permies.

I also hope to build traffic from Pinterest. Currently, I'm trying to get on some homesteading related group boards which should help a lot.

I will also continue to follow my social media calendar for Facebook and Twitter to keep traffic coming from those sites. I will be adding a 3rd email in my email welcome sequence for new subscribers that will ask people to like/follow my site on social media. Hopefully this will help my social media pages grow.

At the end of January through today I'm starting to notice an uptick in my organic search traffic (google traffic). Hopefully this will continue which would really help my site grow.

When I write the next review I hope to be able to report an increase in traffic, an increase in my email list, and an increase in revenue.

There are also a few cosmetic changes I'm making to my site. While this is fairly minor it will make my site a bit more Pinterest friendly.

One last thing to note - I did decide to delay my first book until next year. With a new baby on the way this year is just not a good year to take on a big project like writing a book. But I'm going to be starting a patreon account in the next couple months which will hopefully let me better connect with my core readers and also bring in some extra revenue to help my business break even by the end of the year which is one of my goals for 2019. More on that later.

By the Numbers

So how what did this all look like in terms of numbers? Well here are a few (data from Google Analytics, Amazon Affiliate Program, Permies Affiliate Program, and ConvertKit):

Site/Traffic
- Number of Blog Posts: 15
- Number of Users: 728
- Number of Page Views: 4,091
- % of Users From Permies: 60.6%

Traffic Sources by Percent - Broad Categories
- % Referral (includes permies traffic): 474 users - 65.1%
- % Direct: 147 users - 20.2%
- % Social Media: 61 users - 8.3%
- % Organic Search (google, etc.): 53 users - 7.3%

Email List
- Number of People on the Email List: 128
- Average Weekly Email Open Rate: 60.0% (Just for January)
- Average Weekly Email Click Rate: 20.3% (Just for January)

Income
- Number of Income Sources: 2
- Amazon Affiliate Income: $6.70
- Permies Affiliate Income: $8.00
- Total Income During This Period: $14.70

Employees
- Just my wife and I and we are co-owners not employees.

In Conclusion

Well that is it for my January Review post. Overall I'm happy with where my business is at. Things can be slow going but I'm seeing good traffic and I hope to see an uptick with the warming weather. So far February is off to a good overall start with decent traffic for a weekend (normally my slowest days). I have some fun posts planned that I think people will like.

Hope you all found this interesting and please feel free to ask any questions!
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 690
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, NC, US
178
bee fish food preservation forest garden homestead hugelkultur cooking trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Awesome to see this information, and congratulations on your increasing numbers too!

Do you use a certain website company for your website? Is it free?

 
Posts: 114
Location: Prairie Canada zone 2/3
30
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm interested to hear your February stats :)
 
It means our mission is in jeapordy! Quick, read this tiny ad!
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
https://permies.com/wiki/bootcamp
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!