Happy 2nd Birthday Think Traffic! (Annual Revenue / Growth Details Inside)

Think Traffic turned 2 years old in mid-March!

Today we’re going to take a look at what happened here over the last year in this special annual report.

If you have a minute today to help us out, we have a couple of questions at the end of this post for you. We would love to get your feedback.

First, I want to start by saying thank you. Thanks for being here. Thanks for supporting us. Thanks for reading our posts, watching our videos, linking to us, writing us and commenting here.

I have to pinch myself sometimes to see if this all is real.

Not to be too cheesy here, but I can’t believe this is what I get to do for work.

It’s all because of you that I get to wake up every morning to do something incredible: I connect with amazing people all around the world through the content we publish, through social media, and through the products we create.

We get to help so many great people create and grow meaningful websites and blogs. It’s a dream come true. Thank you again for helping make it possible.

Here are some quick stats for the year starting March 16, 2011 and ending March 15, 2012. Over 376,000 people stopped by this site. 5,173 new comments were left on 102 new blog posts. If you include our other sites (like Traffic School, How to Start a Blog that Matters and Expert Enough), well over 600,000 people visited us during the year.

We grew by 419% versus the year before in terms of audience size.

That translated to strong revenue growth for the overall business as well, which I’ll get into below.

Here’s what the growth of Think Traffic has looked like over the past two years (monthly visits):

We’re not the biggest online-marketing-focused blog in the world, but I like to think we have the smartest, most talented readers. Our growth has been steady, sustainable, predictable, profitable, and I’m VERY encouraged by the trend in the graph above.

I can’t wait to see what happens here over the next year, and I think you’ll want to stick around to see yourself 😉

Enough About Us. What Can You Learn from Our Last Year?

There are four things I attribute to our growth over the past year. Some of these might be helpful in your own business:

  • Putting Content First

    We started 2011 by committing to writing epic shit. We didn’t always succeed, but when we did it translated to major audience growth and mindshare in our industry.

    Producing great content continues to be one of the best things you can do to market your business online. Sloppy or mediocre content just doesn’t cut it. Invest in learning how to produce great content and watch your audience grow.

    I’m talking about insanely useful/entertaining, mind blowing, life changing content here. Make sure you can recognize the difference.

  • Sticking to Our Values and Articulating our Raison d’être

    We continue to harp on the importance of a unique selling proposition because most websites still don’t get it right.

    Your unique selling proposition isn’t what you do, it’s why you’re different from everyone else.

    Until you articulate exactly why your site or business is different, you’ll have an impossible time attracting a big audience.

    Read about what happened when we really articulated how Think Traffic is different back in January of 2011.

  • Taking on Ambitious and Uncomfortable Projects

    Every time we commit to doing something that stretches our comfort level, we seem to be rewarded with more readers, more revenue, and more recognition.

    From Traffic School to The Hustle Project to How to Start a Blog that Matters to The Million Dollar Blog Project and launching Expert Enough, we definitely pushed the limits in terms of how many ambitious and challenging projects we could take on in one year.

    We’re going to continue the theme this year with some even more challenging projects we have planned.

    As we’ve mentioned before, launching a product will help grow your audience. Starting a big project will as well.

    How are you stretching your limits and challenging yourself and your audience right now?

  • Being as Generous as Possible with Time and Knowledge

    They say you can have anything you want if you help enough people achieve what they want.

    We’ve put this to the test by responding to every email and comment possible, by mentoring up-and-comers and by giving away just about everything we know.

    It seems to be working.

    If you haven’t tried it yet, consider working tirelessly to help your readers/customers and potential readers/customers achieve what they desire and see where it takes you.

Other Things that Happened Last Year

On a personal level, I spent three months living in Mexico last year and two months traveling Europe. I attended the World Domination Summit in Portland, and BlogWorld in Los Angeles (I’ll be speaking at BlogWorld in NYC this June – if you’ll be there, please write me and we’ll connect).

The beauty of this kind of business is that you can run it from anywhere in the world where there’s an Internet connection and some inspiration.

You can generally set your own hours as well, but honestly it’s hard to take a solid week off when you’re running a business all by yourself. It can also get a little lonely working on your own for month after month.

That’s why I decided to add to the team last August by bringing on Caleb Wojcik as the Assistant Editor of Think Traffic. Caleb has been a huge help around here, and I was able to let him take the reigns while I completely disconnected from the Internet for a week for the first time in a decade or so.

How Did Think Traffic Earn Revenue Last Year?

If you read last year’s annual report, you saw that this site earned over $103,500 in revenue from three sources (with percentages of total revenue): products (55%), consulting (35%) and affiliate marketing (10%).

This year, things were a bit different. I’m not going to share our exact revenue numbers this year for several reasons (ask me in the comments and I’ll explain), but I can tell you revenue was much higher last year.

Our audience grew by 419%, but revenue didn’t grow quite as fast. That tells me we can spend less time on reaching new people and more time working with the readers we already have.

We made a conscious effort to transition away from consulting to more product and affiliate revenue. This helped boost sales overall, and has set us up for big growth over the next 12 months.

Consulting/coaching/freelancing is a fantastic way to get started earning revenue from a website/blog, but it can be exhausting and difficult to grow over a certain level without adding lots of staff.

I want to keep this business lean and flexible, and developing courses and information-based products is a better overall option for us.

Here’s how the revenue split changed over the past year: products (from Traffic School, The Hustle Project, Affiliate Marketing for Beginners and How to Start a Blog that Matters) – 67% (up from 55%), affiliate marketing – 20% (up from 10%) and consulting – 13% (down from 35%).

We have some BIG product plans over the next year, and I expect that 75% of our revenue will come from our various courses, 20% will come from affiliate offers and that we’ll do very little consulting.

March Growth Stats for Think Traffic

We won’t be publishing a separate monthly report for March 2012, so here are some stats for comparison to prior months:

Think Traffic - Analytics March 2012

We saw 43,836 visits this month (versus 37,010 last month), making March the highest traffic in a single month during the two year history of Think Traffic. Thanks everyone for your continued support and sharing of our content.

If you include traffic from our case study blog of Expert Enough (but not visits to the Start a Blog that Matters site) we had nearly 59,000 visits to our two sites in March.

Also, 484 new comments were left on the site last month, our new posts were retweeted 630 times (another new record) and we gained 880 subscribers (our biggest subscriber growth in a single month).

9 total posts were published last month (vs. 8 in the prior month), including 2 guest posts:

Thank you Jaime and Peter for the guest posts this month!

Top Traffic Sources

Think Traffic - Sources March 2012

Top Content

Think Traffic - Content March 2012

Top 10 Search Terms:

  • blog topics: 707
  • think traffic: 691
  • unique selling proposition examples: 412
  • unique selling proposition: 408
  • personal introduction: 333
  • sales pitch: 326
  • unique selling point examples: 226
  • blog post ideas: 227
  • blog topic ideas: 178
  • thinktraffic: 156

For a Limited Time: Traffic School is Opening Again

We haven’t opened enrollment to our flagship course Traffic School since last July. Over 225 students joined the program last year, and we’ll be finally opening the doors again in less than two weeks.

If you’re not familiar with the program, Traffic School is the most effective system available for growing a thriving audience and business online.

How do I know? The course framework was distilled from thousands of hours of experience in building successful websites. Not just my experience, but the experience of dozens of wildly successful online entrepreneurs, 14 of whom contributed in-depth lessons to the course that will teach you exactly how to duplicate or exceed their success.

We’re so sure that Traffic School will build a thriving audience for you that I will guarantee your success in the course. I’ll share full details on that guarantee on launch day. I think you’ll be impressed.

Because the spots filled up so quickly last time, enrollment was only open for 36 hours. This time around if you’re thinking about joining, sign up for the priority notification list and we’ll give you first notice when the doors open (maybe even a little early).

A Couple of Questions for You

Whether you’re a regular reader of Think Traffic or if you’re relatively new here, we’d like to ask you a couple of questions that will help us make the next year more useful to you.

First, what was the most helpful piece of content or project we released last year? We’d love to know exactly how we’ve helped you, or why you continue to read Think Traffic.

Next, what would you like to see more of at Think Traffic? What would you like to see less of?

As always, we appreciate you being here and value your opinion. Thanks for sharing your thoughts in the comments below.



Published by

Corbett Barr

Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.

42 thoughts on “Happy 2nd Birthday Think Traffic! (Annual Revenue / Growth Details Inside)”

  1. Congratulation Corbett and big round of applause to your team. This is one of my proven resources to build my online projects. Good luck and more traffic.

    1. That’s a great place to start. There are a whole lot of other details of course, but a strong USP will be a big help.

    1. It really depends on which product, and which client :) Seriously, there are some clients who are an absolute blast to work with. These are usually very self-motivated people who I might naturally be friends with otherwise.

      On the product front, some are more fun than others. Generally, if I really believe strongly in the topic and I’m teaching something I love to talk about anyway, that’s a good sign. If I’m building a product mostly because I think there’s a great “market” for it, that’s not such a good sign. Also, how you structure the course and what your ongoing responsibilities will be are a factor as well.

  2. I would have to say Start A Blog That Matters is the most helpful content that I have seen this year on Think Traffic. Write Epic Shit is the other topic that stands out for me. I also enjoyed reading Corbett’s motivation post and I think I’m going to try out the bullet proof coffee even though it sounds pretty strange. http://thinktraffic.net/motivation
    Keep it Epic!

    1. Perfect Andrew, thanks for the specific feedback. It’s interesting because those three creations you mention were also some of the most fun for me to produce. Coincidence?

  3. Hey Corbett — You said to ask in the comments why you aren’t publicly sharing revenue numbers this year. Since that’s one of the main things I track at my site, of course I have to ask — why? :-) Thanks, buddy!

    1. Also, to answer your question… over the past year, I really liked the “how these folks did xxxx” posts. Like the All of Us Rev Kickstarter ladies and Derek Halpern’s email list growth. I think those were your most EPIC posts, and reading unique, actionable posts like that is what gets me coming back here.

      As far as what I’d like to see less of, I know I mentioned this in a comment elsewhere, but I’m not a big fan of the guest posts here. I know it’s the “in vogue” strategy for a lot of new blogs to get new traffic, and the quality of your guest posts here are definitely better than at many other sites… but there simply can’t compare with the value of your best posts.

      Hope that helps! :-)

    2. Thanks Adam, the feedback is very helpful. I’ve really enjoyed the interview / success story posts as well. It’s great to hear behind the scenes how someone has pulled off something big.

    3. I was wondering if anyone would ask about the revenue details thing :)

      As you might know, I have revealed specific numbers a couple of times in the past (in both the linked report above, as well as my “18 Months, 2 Blogs, Six Figures” report from 2010. I also reserve the right to change my mind at some point in the future.

      There are a few reasons why we’re not sharing specific numbers here at this point.

      1) Talking frequently about making money tends to attract people who are primarily interested in making money. While money is a fine goal, I prefer to attract people who are also interested in substance and meaning and making a difference.

      2) My business is actually bigger than just Think Traffic. The Insanely Useful Media umbrella also includes my personal site, Expert Enough and some other projects. It’s difficult to figure out exactly which revenue comes from where, and that makes reporting exact figures for just Think Traffic somewhat difficult.

      3) Once you get over a certain income threshold (six figures or so), revealing specific income figures can make things awkward among family, friends and acquaintances.

      4) The “information gap” of what we’re earning here should lead to some fun speculation. If we decide to reveal some details in the future, it will be a bigger deal because it will be rare. We could, for example, decide to reveal all of that for subscribers only, or for members of a certain product.

      Anyway, there is no right or wrong answer. This is just how I’m feeling about it at the moment. Transparency is usually a good thing, and that’s why we’ve shared quite a bit along the way. Since we haven’t been ritualistic about it (reporting regularly), it gave us room to change our minds without messing with anyone’s expectations.

      I’d love to hear your thoughts on the issue as well (Adam or anyone else reading this).

    4. Thanks for the reply, Corbett.

      It’s funny, I think your answers are very common among people with a successful online empire (with the exception of Justin & Joe, the AdSense Flippers and Pat of Smart Passive Income)…

      I’ll address each of your comments:

      1) I get what you mean here, and I think this makes the most sense for your site. Your site is mostly about building an audience and the best practices for doing so, so I can see how posting your numbers might dilute (or change) the expectation your audience has.

      2) Yea, I was always curious if past numbers were Think Traffic-specific or your overarching web empire. Would love to see all of ’em of course, and to learn more about how you monetize each individually — maybe we can chat about it via email or through an interview for my site. Obviously your project here is insanely successful, but the reality is that we still have to make money from our sites, yet I think you do so in a tasteful, no scammy or spammy way. Let me know if you’d be open to chatting about this some more (even if it doesn’t include specific numbers).

      3) Yea, this seems to be the most common thing I hear. I’m sure cousins you never knew you had start showing up asking for a loan on nice terms if you were to be completely open about your income.

      4) This is an interesting point. I think it was Dan of the Tropical MBA who told me it could be an interesting idea for my site to “guess” the income of a lot of top blogs. Still working on how I might be able to do that with a pretty reasonable level of confidence in my estimates. If you have any further thoughts on this, I’d also love to hear ’em.

      Really appreciate your response. :-) And I totally understand all your reasonings behind it — I don’t think it means you’re not transparent — I think you stated it brilliantly: Think Traffic’s focus isn’t how to make money online, so your audience is necessarily slightly different than those bloggers’ who focus on that.


    5. You got it Adam. Thanks for sharing your take on it. And yes, I’d be happy to chat sometime. Just email us and we’ll set it up.

  4. Im with you Corbett. I’m also trying to do less consulting and more products; its hard to say no to some emails, but it’s important to stay focus on building the business that you want – even if that means turning money away.

    About the projects.. You are one hundred percent correct. Anyone reading this comment, try starting a project with your Audience (long term like Corbett or short term like my 7 week ebook project) and your readership will stick with you and share what you’re doing with the world.

    Last thing.. Thanks for your 42 timeless ideas post. It inspired my 44 rock solid ideas post that went live today. The key is modeling what works, right? :0)

    Have a great weekend..

    1. Hey Hector, thanks for stopping by. Congrats on your recent successes as well, it seems like I hear your name or mention of your sites more and more lately.

      For me, consulting is still worthwhile when I work with kick-ass clients on fun projects. It’s also a great way to deep-dive into a topic and learn what people are struggling with (which can become a great foundation for future products).

      Glad you liked that “44 ideas” post. Those are usually pretty sharable. Good luck with yours. Cheers!

  5. Hey Corbett and Crew,
    If you’re going to limit me just to the last 12 calendar months then the most important piece of content on Think Traffic was “Why You Need a Month-By-Month Blog Growth Action Plan” by Danny Iny. That’s not to say the stuff you, Caleb and others put out weren’t dynamite but Danny’s piece really helped me. In general, the contributors on this site have a way of distilling complex and uncomfortable topics into actionable and (no-so) easy steps. I love the not so easy part because I’m not a shortcut or “hack” kind of guy.
    If it makes ya feel better my all-time favorite piece here is “The First Rule of Building a Thriving Online Audience”. :)
    Although you’ve established yourself as a USP guru I think you have that well covered here. I’d like to see more about the technical side of generating traffic and growing communities.
    Just know that whether you write about bunnies, rainbows or kicking ass, I’ll be reading.

    1. Danny will be very happy to hear that :) I agree, Danny has consistently written some great guest posts here. Thanks Joel!

  6. The most helpful insight that I learned is to write epic shit. I used to hire someone from the Philippines to write my content for me. She was good but by no means drawing on knowledge and experience that could only come from me. I learned that this was definitely not the right approach.

    I am a few weeks away from completing the How To Start A Blog That Matters program and have never been more excited to grow my business. The reason is because you have shown me the way. I see the light. Now I must walk toward it. 😉

    Keep writing epic shit Corbett! Particularly on topics such as revenue creation.

    Thanks for your dedication!


    1. I’m SO glad you’ve decided to start writing your own stuff (or at least to really pay attention to quality). I have no doubt you’ll do much much better than you did with the outsourced writing Todd. Thanks for following along with the course, I’m excited to see where it takes you!

  7. Hi Corbett,

    Congrats with growing your blog(s), and to be honest with you I can’t still wrap my head around that fact that you’ve achieved so much in such a relatively short time.

    Speaking of the most useful blog posts here on ThinkTraffic, the one about writing “epic shit” definitely struck a chord with me because every time I plan a new blog post for my English Harmony blog I think of the advice given in that blog post.

    Another one I’d like to mention is called “How To Spice Up Your Blog With Interviews” – I believe it’s an incredibly effective way of getting noticed within your niche, earning your fellow bloggers’ respect and trust and build relationships. I’ve always been struggling with that aspect and now I’ve made a plan to publish one interview a month. The first is already in the pipeline and the person who I asked to do the written interview with me was excited because I suspect no-one has approached him with a similar offer in the past!

    Thanks for the great content, looking forward to another year (and beyond) of cool gems of advice! 😉



    1. That’s great Robert, best of luck with the interview. It can take a while to figure out how to do really great interviews, but it’s definitely a skill worth learning as a content producer.

  8. Congrats, you’ve had an amazing 2 years…….and loads more to come. I agree that your “Write Epic Shit” statement is your most memorable, and (even, dare I say it) iconic phrases. It summarises the key to successful blogging in 3 words. Clever!

    Thanks for all the continuing excellent epic shit and “real” nature of your site. Love Think Traffic, looking forward to the next 2 years.

  9. Those are some exceptional numbers Corbett and congratulations. I also experienced a phenomenol growth with my own blog just last month using some of the strategies discussed here. I thought it would be worth Sharing some real numbers to compliment your blog.

    At the moment I’m close to averaging about 3k uniques/month which I achieved just in the month of March, my Alexa ranking dropped over 600k places in just one month and now very close to getting to less than 100k globally which I will hit this month, my social traffic quadrupled in March, in particular Twitter where I gained over 2k new followers. I was recently featured on the entrepreneurs-journey blog and also secured guest posting gigs on some quality blogs like Problogger which will go live this month.

    So all in all I have implemented many or most of the strategies from thinktraffic to achieve great results:)

    I do have a question which I asked previouly in another monthly report. Are you at all concerned about the 70% bounce rate and an average page/visit of just1.82? Those numbers feel just feel a little adverse for a blog of this nature.

    1. That’s fantastic Anshul, congrats on your progress in such a short time. I appreciate you sharing the details.

      Regarding the bounce rate and pages/visit, partly it depends on how you measure these things. For example, Clicky reports a bounce rate of 25% instead of 70%. In either case, I don’t worry about these figures much because those two numbers are highly dependent on the sources of traffic coming to your site. If you only have loyal repeat visitors, you’d have a much lower bounce rate and higher pages/visit. If you’re constantly attracting new visitors via social media, search, etc., you can expect numbers like you saw in our report. It’s also very topic/situation dependent as well.

      Are these numbers you track and worry about? Cheers.

  10. Even though i’d agree its not very uch right to reveal your earning here but you might give us an idea – i just love to read internet incomes as it helps me to get more serious and believe in this thing.


  11. Hey Corbett,

    We definitely understand your reasoning for not sharing revenue numbers on a regular basis any more. Spencer from NichePursuits.com has come up with similar reasoning (awkward with family/friends) and we’ve had a few of these issues come up as well. We’re continuing, for now, but definitely understand where you’re coming from.

    It’s great for us to be able to review your traffic numbers…thank you so much for that. We’re about a year behind you and although our niche and unique selling proposition is a bit different, some of the things you lay out here have already been helpful for us and will continue to be so as we continue to grow through 2012.

    You’d asked what content you’ve written has been the most helpful. For me, “Write Epic Shit” took things to an entirely different level and pushed me to work even harder on the content we put out. I’m not a natural writer/blogger/podcaster…I’m a business guy primarily…but I’ve been doing everything I can to learn/grow in this area and know that the learning will pay off eventually. I found a post that was similar for me to “Write Epic Shit” I thought I’d share…definitely worth a read:

    Thank you for sharing so much information…I definitely appreciate it.

    1. Hey Justin, thanks for commenting and congrats on your early success. I’m really glad the “write epic shit” mantra has helped push you further. And yeah, I read that post from Jon Morrow. He’s such a great writer. Definitely worth a read.

  12. Congratulation Corbett. You know ThinkTraffic is one of my top Blogging Site. Salute your Work what you have done till now. Hope we will get more and more Superb article from You.
    Are you working with team or you handling your all work single?
    Thanks for sharing your Report.

    1. Hey Amit, the “team” is just me and one other person (Caleb, who I mentioned above).

  13. HI,
    First, I’ll say I’m sorta new here. I’m not exactly sure when I found this blog, sometime last year, but I know I haven’t followed from the beginning if it helps at all to know that.

    As far as what’s been really helpful, just recently I clicked to a couple of other posts, I think from links in a current post, and found the how to figure out your USP. That’s tough as you point out, but the way you go about it was helpful. Still working on it, getting closer though :-).

    I do have a quick question too. As you plan to do more products/courses vs. consulting, yet you try hard to respond and give as much as you can to people who reach out to you, how do you personally draw then line between being helpful and the point where the conversation really should be in a paid scenario whether it be in a course or consult? When your income is based on selling information/your brain (vs a product/software), and you are naturally helpful and generous, I find it’s hard to determine those cut offs and then enforce them consistently.

    Congrats on the 2 yrs and best wishes for many more!

    1. Hey Cheryl, great question! If you figure out the right answer, please let me know…

      Honestly, it’s partly dependent on what I have going on during a particular day. If you catch me on a light day in the right mood, I might spend some extra time helping someone out. If I’m slammed and grumpy, you might only get a sentence or two.

      I always try to give someone the “time of day” at least. Beyond that depends on a lot of factors. I’m less and less able to spend extra time giving free advice as the business grows. Spending time with readers has always been a worthwhile investment of time though.

  14. Hey Corbett –
    I’m a fairly new reader, and it’s really hard to say what my favorite piece of content was this past year. Like others, I loved the Write Epic Shit post – and it has definitely been a guiding post for all of my own blogging, and also the interview with Sean H. But to be honest, I am giddy with excitement each time my feeder shows an update from your site. I learn something from EVERY SINGLE post.

    For next year – I’d like to see more tangible examples, if that makes sense. You’ve given us so many great nuggets and tips, but I’d love to see them taken a step further (for those of us who are not great at traffic yet). Perhaps that content is covered in the How to Start a Blog that Matters course, which I have continued to check out – but maybe an “already blogging” version of that course or tips/tricks.

    Please keep up the great content – amazing as always!

    1. Aww, thanks so much Melissa, you just made my day :) Seriously, I appreciate the feedback. We’re always working towards creating more useful/tangible stuff. I’ll see what we can deliver over the next few months. Thanks so much for reading!

  15. Hi Corbett,

    Thanks for sharing this information, it is a very useful motivational tool; to see just what can be achieved.

    I came across your site from a referral from Pat Flynn’s – $mart Passive income site.

    Keep up the good work & good luck for the future.


  16. #1 Start a Blog that matters has been really helpful even though I’m still not past lesson 2, LOL.

    Also how to write a good about page, I knew mine needed an overhaul and I still have a few things to tweak but I’m pretty happy with it now thanks to your article.

    #2 – whatever you got, I find it all good! I read what I can, when I can – case in point is now, 12:18am!

    1. Oh and I’m pretty sure this quote: They say you can have anything you want if you help enough people achieve what they want. was from salesman extraordinaire Zig Ziglar.

  17. All the stats look very impressive and it is always interesting to see in such a great detail how other people are doing with their web businesses. I think that is why lot of bloggers are posting similar posts about their traffic and income stats, although I have not yet seen many who are doing as well as this blog.

    Do you have any posts that would show in such a detail about running costs and expenses of running this blog, I think that would make very interesting reading as well.

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