I mentioned not long ago that I wanted to start sharing traffic and income reports for the site. As readers and contributors, I think it’s fair to want some insight into the “inner workings” of the blog. Many of you visit regularly, click on ads, buy things on Amazon, contribute via Paypal, etc. Hopefully this can become a regular report.
The following data comes from February of 2017:
Page views: 229,640.
This was a down month for traffic, despite the expected uptick in traffic from National Signing Day. Why was it so low? Well, my previous hosting service couldn’t handle the traffic – despite promises that it could – so there was a lot of down time. There were a couple days, as well as intermittent other spots, where nobody could view the site at all, including me.
Google AdSense revenue: $281.40
Amazon Affiliates revenue: $53.95
Paypal donations: $1,109.40.
I don’t get Paypal donations during most months, but this was the month when I requested (and received) funding for a new server. (See above: Page views.) Over a span of twelve days, readers ponied up over $1,100 to help for the new server, which has been working well.
I’ve fielded a question several times over the past couple years, because I occasionally mention that you can support the site by making purchases on Amazon. But I probably haven’t done a great job of explaining exactly how that works. A lot of websites use the Amazon Associates program, but here’s how it helps:
Step #1: I create ads on my end. Sometimes those ads are related to book reviews, and sometimes they’re recommendation ads based on categories that I pick. Most of you are interested in sports, and not many of you use makeup, so I choose appropriate channels. Then I post those ads permanently at the bottom of the page, or they appear temporarily in posts that eventually get bumped down into the nether regions.
Step #2: You click. Whether you like what you see advertised or you just want to buy something random on Amazon, you click on the ads. It doesn’t matter what you buy. Once you arrive at Amazon and make a purchase (generally within 24 hours after clicking on the ad), you’ve contributed to the site. If you leave your Amazon tab open for too long, then the cookies disappear and it’s no longer connected to Touch the Banner. So if you want to contribute, make sure to complete the transaction.
Step #3: Commissions. Amazon has various programs that can be used for commissions, including referrals to particular products or services. Chances are slim that I’m going to convert you to Amazon Prime or one of their streaming services, so I generally avoid those types of conversion ads. Once your purchased items are shipped, I receive a 4% to 12% commission based on what you bought. This is Amazon’s way of paying for ad space without giving out the money up front. They only pay when something is actually purchased. So if you buy a $100 item, anywhere from $4 to $12 goes into my account.
Step #4: The site benefits. I have no delusions of getting rich, but it’s nice to be compensated a little for the time spent on the website. On average, I probably spend a minimum of two hours per day writing, updating offer boards, culling information from Twitter, watching film, etc. But in addition to compensation, roughly 20% of site income goes into keeping the site running (servers, tech support, domain names, premium widgets, site upgrades, etc.), and another chunk goes into business taxes. I also have intentions of tweaking a few things to improve the reader experience, so hopefully it will circle back to you in some way, too.
The best thing about Amazon Associates is that you don’t pay anything extra. You get what you want from Amazon, and you don’t have to worry about setting up a Paypal account, giving me your credit card information, feeling guilty for not contributing, etc. Everyone wins.
If you want a little more insight into how the program works, here’s a short video:
New face #1: In the next couple days, you’ll see a new contributor here named Tim. I’ll let Tim tell you about himself when the time comes, but he’s a guy who’s immersed in the sports world and will be involved in the social media sphere. Give him a Twitter follow @TTB_Michigan if you’re interested. You can also follow me on Twitter @TouchTheBanner.
New face #∞: I’ve encouraged users over the last year or two to get a Gravatar, but not many people have followed through. So I’m adding another option: you can upload an avatar directly to TTB by going to your profile page. I understand why people weren’t a fan of Gravatar. It requires you to create a separate account, even though a Gravatar then can travel with you to various WordPress sites. If you’re still wanting a Gravatar, here are some directions (LINK) and they can still be used. Otherwise, adding a pic to your profile can help readers identify you and make it easier to follow discussions.
As always, thanks for reading and participating! I look forward to the continued growth of the site and the community.
Since it’s the off-season and changes are coming (quickly or slowly), it’s time for a meta update.
You will be seeing a new face around here. That face belongs to Mike Knapp, who will be endeavoring to bring you interviews, news bits, and other content. Mike grew up in the New England area and now lives on the West Coast, where he has spent time working in the education world. I’m happy to bring him on board. UPDATE: In fact, he has his first interview lined up with James Ross III, so let him know if you have any questions to ask (LINK).
You might also be seeing one other new addition, but I’ll save that for later.
I started this blog in 2008, and for the vast majority of that time, I have been the sole contributor. I had help from a friendly chap named Andrew for a while, and he did a great job, but life caught up to him. I must admit that while I’m extremely passionate about the game of football – and Michigan in particular – it’s a struggle at times to write content for 14+ posts per week.
So I’m once again opening things up to passionate fans or young up-and-comers who want to add to their writing portfolios. Touch the Banner gets over 300,000 page views per month and has been mentioned on USAToday.com and Washingtonpost.com, not to mention contracted by Lindy’s national college football preview magazine. I don’t run a media giant, but it holds its own in the Michigan blogosphere.
Here’s a sample of the types of pieces I would like a new writer to work on:
Where are they now? interviews
Summaries of the careers of former Wolverines (NFL, college transfers)
Other relevant ideas you might have
So if you’re a young guy wanting to start a writing or journalism career, or if you’re just a passionate fan looking for a hobby, consider sending me an e-mail at [email protected] I’m looking for 1-2 posts per week (to start) from someone with the professional sense to use grammar and spelling properly. A good sense of humor is a plus, but being humorless is okay, too.