José and I have been working on Flamenco Bites together since July 2012. We’ll be coming up to our 3 year anniversary this year.
During that time we have experimented to find ways to grow our audience with a view to eventually making a living doing what we love to do which is dancing and teaching flamenco.
The purpose behind this report that we plan to continue on a monthly basis is to give a behind the scenes look at Flamenco Bites including the things we’re doing to create an income from the blog and build readership.
Before we get into the numbers there are a few things to remember.
TO CREATE AN INCOME FROM A WEBSITE OR BLOG IS A LOT OF WORK.
If you are planning on starting a website and working on it for a couple of hours a week it will never create substantial income, if it does it will take a really really long time to get there. Creating income from a blog or website takes an incredible amount of time and energy.
YOU CAN CREATE AN INCOME FROM A WEBSITE OR A BLOG.
It will happen slowly but over time with care, confidence and a lot of energy it is possible to make money from a website. We are still at the beginning of this journey and we hope to share our learning process with you along the way.
TWO PEOPLE HAVE BEEN WORKING ON THIS OVER A LONG PERIOD OF TIME.
José and I have been working on Flamenco Bites since 2012. Thats nearly 3 years and a lot of time and energy! Bear that in mind when you read the rest of this report.
Lets look at the numbers for February. All of these totals are in US dollars.
- 10 Days to Better Rhythm - $84
- Introduction to the Art of Flamenco - $10
- Live Online group class trial (Powhow) - $141.60
- Distance Coaching - $440.00
Total Income: $675.60
- Paddle.com (payment processor digital products) - $8.35
- Stripe.com (payment processor distance coaching) - $11.2
- PowHow (group class platform) - $5.88
- Squarespace website hosting - $20.00
- Vimeo pro video hosting annual fee - $199.00
- Facebook advertising - $20.00
Total Expenses: $264.43
Net Profit: $411.17
Thoughts on income...
A common way to make money on a website is to place advertisements everywhere in the hope that when you visit you might click on an ad and then the website would receive some kind of compensation in exchange.
We have never felt comfortable with this idea because rather than creating content for a terrific audience the audience instead becomes a product that is then sold to advertisers. We don't want our audience to be our product so instead we have decided to try and find a different way to monetise our website.
February is an expensive month with the Vimeo pro membership falling due at this time but our distance coaching clients helped to keep ahead of our expenses.
Distance coaching is very labour intensive as we do a lot of work outside the coaching sessions to prepare programs and film individual videos for our students. In the long term it isn’t sustainable but in the short term it is very helpful to bring in some income when your audience is small.
The Powhow online class experiment was interesting. The feedback we received was very positive despite the technological hiccups that we experienced. In the end we have decided not to continue using the Powhow website for a few reasons.
- The platform still feels unfinished. There were bugs here and there that didn’t give the confidence to promote it as a platform that people should pay money to use.
- They weren’t set up to deal with the new EU VAT ruling that came into place on the 1st of January this year. A big part of their sales pitch is the ability to sell on-demand access to the recordings of previous classes. Under the new ruling this would be classed as a digital product and the customer is liable to pay VAT based on their location. Don’t get me started on how badly this ruling has been implemented but it is important and needs to be thought about.
- The live classes can not be accessed from a tablet or phone.
Instead of using Powhow we are going to use google hangouts in a setup similar to how we do our webinars.
We’ll have 2 types of classes, one that is streaming with no feedback from me so you just login watch the class and follow along and one that is more like a semi-private class with a maximum number of 4 people. In this class we’ll be able to see you and give you feed back.
For both classes we’ll make a recording that can be accessed later if you can’t make it to the live class or if you want to go over what we talked about in the semi-private.
We’re working on a class timetable this weekend for classes to start next week.
Stay tuned for more information to be shared this weekend and if you’d like to try a class with a discount make sure you’re part of our community - you can sign up here!
Below are some screenshots from Google Analytics. You can click on these images to view a larger size.
TOP TEN TRAFFIC SOURCES
Ignore traffic source number ten - it is some sort of spam-bot!
MOBILE vs DESKTOP TRAFFIC
Interesting that mobile traffic is so much higher than tablets..
Thoughts on traffic...
Most of our traffic comes from social media namely facebook. The best thing we have done is start our facebook page which we have built up through organic shares as well as using advertising on facebook.
We’re still learning how to use facebook advertising effectively but it has really helped us to find our audience.
We don’t get a lot of search traffic which is unfortunate but our numbers have been slowly growing over the years. Ranking in google is something that I continue to study and work on but I prefer to focus time on creating good information so that the audience we do have will want to come back and see what we are up to.
About half of our visitors are returning so that is a good sign that some people like what we are trying to do.
We get some traffic from pinterest (you can find us here if you’d like to follow us) which is helpful. Pinterest for me is a little like a search engine and a good place to create links back to your website which is what google wants to see.
We also get the occasional click through from our youtube channel. We haven’t spent too much time on youtube for the last year, I’d like to change this but I’m still thinking of what we could do there that would be unique and interesting.
Our email list is something that helps bring people back to our website. We'll talk about this more in the future but if you have a website or start one - start collecting email addresses straight away! It is by far the best way to build a relationship with the people who a interested in what you are doing.
One extremely obvious thing to note here is that the more we add new content to the website the more our traffic increases. We aren’t at the stage where we can stop for a few months and still expect good traffic to keep rolling in.
What lies ahead for March?
March will be a busy month for us.
- This weekend we will be announcing live online group classes that you can do with us from your home.
- We will be continuing the #MyFlamencoStory project with a new dancer sharing their story this month.
- We have a big announcement coming in a weeks time which we can't say too much about now but if you have been wondering how to learn more about cante flamenco as a dancer then you'll be very happy.
- We'll have some more of our regular tutorials for you to practice at home.
This is one long blog post! We hope you've found it interesting to take a look behind the scenes with us. We plan to continue this report each month and share what we've learnt along the way.
We wouldn't be able to keep doing this if it wasn't for your support, thank you so much for spending some time with us here at Flamenco Bites. Feel free to ask us any questions in the comments!
Renae and José