I've never seen the point of publishing an income report, for me at least.
I have nothing to sell. No courses. I'm an affiliate for a few marketing tools and services, but I'm busy running my actual niche sites so promoting those tools is the last thing on my mind.
(I'll prove it. I won't even include the obligatory Bluehost link in this post!)
But lately I realized how much I love reading income reports from other people who are doing well and running a similar strategy to me. It's not that I care about the numbers, but it helps me step back and see the big picture of what running a portfolio really looks like.
- I like teaching, sharing & connecting with other bloggers/marketers/content creators
- I rarely get a chance to sit down and look at my business from 1000 feet
- It seems fun
- I just crossed $10k in total revenue for the first time ever, and I'm proud and excited***
Here are the metrics for each of my 3 niche/authority sites in July.
Total pageviews - Not uniques or sessions, just total PVs
Live articles - I use this to refer to the number of posts on the site minus anything that was published that month. If I published a new post on July 1, I'm not counting it toward this number.
Total revenue - Revenue accrued or earned that month, most of which will actually hit the bank account 1-3 months later.
I'll give a little backstory on each site, the current numbers, and an overview of what I'm working on for each.
*** - If you add up the numbers, you'll see it's just shy of $10,000. That's because there's a couple hundred dollars worth of International Amazon Associates money that I'm not 100% sure how to attribute to a given site. I'm sure I can figure it out but that's a project for another day.
Site 1 - Fitness & health
Live articles - 279
Total pageviews - 157,958
Total revenue - $6632.35
This site is about 3 years old — I started it on a whim in April 2017. I was getting really into fitness and working out at the time (it's still a passion of mine) and I thought it would be a fun hobby or side project.
It grew better than expected and eventually inspired me to quit my job to run it full time.
It's been through some shit. The niche is extraordinarily saturated and competitive, plus it's been smashed by an algorithm update or two over the years. It also got off to a really fast start when I started promoting a certain line of products that had almost no competition, which eventually evened out and slowed down quite a bit.
I'm still fairly happy with where it's at. Fitness and health is brutal so it's pretty cool that I'm competing with Healthline and Very Well and making decent money every month.
What I'm working on:
I'm adding as much content as I can.
As is the case with all of my sites, I don't have time to write for them anymore. COVID has been a gamechanger. I'm home with my 5-year-old and my wife all day, passing off childcare duties, managing virtual school, etc. We're also having a new baby literally any minute now.
I just can't find multiple quiet, focused hours to sit down and write anymore.
So I've found a couple of really good writers on Reddit and ProBlogger that help me out.
My strategy is similar to what you'll hear from Jon Dykstra or Income School. I'm mostly interested in publishing really good content for long tail or non-competitive keywords and monetizing with ads. I promote certain products where it makes sense.
The revenue split on this site is about 50/50 between Mediavine ads and Amazon & other affiliates.
Right at this moment I'm adding somewhere around 6-8 posts per month but hoping to do more if revenue continues to look good.
This site is also my first foray into YouTube.
It's not monetized yet, but I'm publishing a new video on YT every 2 weeks. I'm not on camera — the videos are a combination of voiceover/stock footage or edited expert interviews.
The YouTube channel currently gets 300-400 views per month, mostly from some old (truly crappy) videos I added a while ago. The newer ones are slowly gaining steam.
I'm obviously hoping to monetize these eventually, but it's also a diversification play in case Google crushes me in search again.
The videos also help me earn more with Mediavine when uploaded directly to my site, so they do pay for themselves in a sense.
Site 2 - Family & parenting
Live articles - 159
Total pageviews - 126,982
Total revenue - $3143.32
I launched this site in June 2018.
At that point, I was making some money with Site 1 and had an idea of what to do, things I'd do differently from the start, and what I thought would eventually be possible with the site.
Again, it's an area I have passion/knowledge and for a long time I wrote most of the content myself.
This site got absolutely decimated by the November 8, 2019 algorithm update but bounced back in May 2020.
What I'm working on:
The same story here.
I'm trying to add about 6-8 articles per month using writers from ProBlogger, Reddit and Upwork.
The strategy is the same as Site 1 – focus on low competition keywords and write really good content to monetize with ads.
Revenue split is similar here, about 50/50 Mediavine ads vs affiliate (mostly Amazon).
The one difference is that I've been able to secure some amazing links for this site using HARO. It's hard to build media links to my fitness site because I don't have industry credentials, but as a parent I have plenty of experience, stories, and credibility that I've been able to leverage into mentions and links from absolutely huge sites.
I'm not pursuing YouTube video for Site 2 at this time, though I may down the road.
If revenue continues to climb and perform well, I will probably invest in Pinterest management because parenting is an absolute perfect fit for Pinterest — I just don't have the time to do it myself.
Site 3 - Obscure hobby
Live articles: 21
Total pageviews: 5,632
Total revenue: $50.90
This site is less than a year old. I launched it very late October or early November of 2019.
Clearly, I've been putting way more effort into my main bread and butter sites.
I've written almost everything myself to date because, again, I have an interest in this VERY niche/obscure hobby. It's hard to find writers who have enough of a grasp on the topic to help me out here, but I've recently found some because I want to accelerate growth on this site.
What I'm working on:
My plan for the time being is to "bootstrap" this site as much as possible, meaning I want to put 100% of what it makes back into it (more or less) and see if it can sort of self-accelerate.
There's no real reason for that approach, I just think it's an interesting experiment.
So for now, I can afford to finance about 2 articles per month on this site.
It just got early approved for Ezoic ads (my first time with them) so hopefully that will bring it up to about $100-150 per month in short order — which is just enough for 2 articles, roughly.
This site needs to be on YouTube ASAP.
Many of the SERPs are dominated by YouTube videos. Even for not having many articles, search traffic is lower on this site than I would expect. It's a highly visual niche that really needs and deserves video content.
As soon as I'm able to finance some regular video for this site, I'm getting it going on YouTube and I think that will end up being the bigger revenue channel eventually.
Big picture next steps
I have been slowly ramping up my outsourcing for the last several months out of necessity.
I have less time than ever before, but I really need to continue growing the business, so here we are.
Finding and working with writers is going great, and I've enjoyed working with a video editor on YouTube content.
The next step is finding a junior level editor who can help with nuts and bolts of publishing articles like:
- Importing Google docs to Wordpress (I have a tool that helps, but it still takes a little clean up)
- Spelling & grammar edits
- Checking links, URL slug, categories, formatting, etc.
- Finding and uploading imagery
- Minor content editing
If revenue continues at this level (I keep saying "If" because I expect eventually Google will kick me in the nuts again) and/or grows, that will probably be my next step.
I'd like to go into a new piece of content and see that it's 95% ready to publish, I just have to make sure I'm happy with the content.
Talking about money and revenue is kind of tacky.
But I love it when others are willing to share their journeys and talk about their business openly.
So hopefully this report and ones to come in the future will inspire some of you or spark some new ideas.
Let me know if you have any questions about how I run my business below, and if there's any way I can help you out.