November was a great month here at WBEP.

So great, in fact, that I am busier than ever and my head is spinning with all the things I want to get done!

Not only that, but as I'm writing this, Google has announced a major core update for December 2020. So far everything looks about normal for my sites, but I've been hurt before (sad face) so I'm watching closely.

Let's get into the good stuff so I can get back to work!

(Here's what I'm working on going into 2021)

If you don't know about me and my publishing my business, here's the scoop:

I run a couple of niche blogs or websites where I publish (what I think is) really good content. Most of it is discovered by people searching on Google. I monetize that traffic primarily with ads, so the more traffic I get, the more money I make – although I also recommend products here and there and earn affiliate commissions for those sales.

(The split on most of my sites is somewhere around 60% ads and 40% affiliate, with the ad share growing over time.)

I started my first site in April of 2017 and went full-time running it in February of 2018 – way too soon! It was making a little money but not much. I hustled my ass off and picked up freelance work for a while until I could scale the business up.

Here's where it all stands in monthly revenue as of November 2020:

  • Site 1 - $7,632.08
  • Site 2 - $4,212.66
  • Site 3 - $111.53
  • Amazon Int'l (all sites combined) - $524.53
  • Total - $12,480.80 (October $11,800.08)

That's a new record high and a new milestone – cracking $12k in revenue.

It's not all profit though.

How much does it cost to run my blogging business every month? I won't bore you with a ton of line items, but basically (outside of what I pay myself):

  • Recurring expenses (tools, hosting, etc) $500
  • Content (articles & video) $2300
  • Total - Around $2800

I should be spending more on the business, mostly in terms of content investment, but I'll get into that toward the end.

Here's a recap of what I'm working on, plus some wins and losses from this month.

Site 1 - Fitness & Health

Live articles - 314 (+11)

Total pageviews- 155,787 (-4.06%)

Total revenue - $7,632.08 (October $7,164.37 , September $6,845.34)

YouTube Views - 329 (September 417), +3 subscribers

What happened & what I'm working on:

I'm trying to increase the number of articles I publish each month on this site.

For November and December, it will be a lot more – I'm trying to make a big push for the January fitness explosion.

In fact, as a teaser for next month's report, I published closer to 20 articles on this site in November – not reflected in the number above. I like to consider "live articles" as anything that's been on the site for a full month already. I don't want to count something I published on 11/27 toward the November numbers.

I have tons of content ideas for this site — it's very broad — and it has picked up some decent links over time so I've really been able to carve out space in a hyper competitive niche.

I have yet to really crack the YouTube nut, however.

New videos seem to get almost no traction. I think one mistake I've been making is publishing informational videos where people really want to see products or workouts in this space on YouTube.

I have a product centric video coming up (5 best X) that I'm really interested to see how it will do.

It's not the kind of thing I really WANT to be creating, but I gotta do something to kickstart this channel.

However, video isn't a total bust! Pre-roll video ads earned close to $500 on this site in November – and that's just on the "YouTube" style video teasers and not including some of the simpler, slideshow-style videos I also run on the site – run through MediaVine.

I'm still pretty excited about where this site could go and am hoping for a big January.

Site 2 - Parenting & Family

Live articles - 188 (+10)

Total pageviews - 121,336 (-6.69%)

Total revenue - $4,212.66 (October $4,106.50, September $3601.59)

What happened & what I'm working on:

I'm still not really doing anything special with this blog.

I'm working my way through keywords and doing my best with the content. It's working well right now, even though traffic has dipped due to the holidays and general seasonality – I can't complain about a $4k per month blog.

I managed to get more really good HARO links this month – in fact, one of them wasn't even a HARO, but a journalist reached out to me directly for a piece and I got a solid (if nofollow) link out of it.

The other HARO link was from a DA37-ish site, which I'll gladly take.

I feel like I'm scraping the bottom of my keyword barrel a bit here. That I've run out of ideas.

But I think I just need to think creatively and find some new areas to explore.

Site 3 - Obscure Hobby

Live articles - 30 (+2)

Total pageviews - 5,431 (+2.28%)

Total revenue - $111.53 (October $86.19, September $90.36)

YouTube views - 2.2k, +26 subscribers

What happened & what I'm working on:

YouTube!

I have more or less paused written content on this site, or at least paying for it. I'm hoping to write (myself) and publish 1-2 posts per month going forward until I can figure out if this blog will even work out.

But in the meantime I finally got a YouTube channel set up for this site and:

  • Published a handful of shorts (<1 minute videos) made with stock footage, product promo footage, stock music & put together in Canva
  • Published 1 proper produced video

The results were really great. I knew this was a good video niche and early signs are that I was right.

Most of the views came through those shorts. Each one was good for a couple hundred views and a few new subscribers.

I've got more "real" content in the pipeline here and hoping to see some really good growth.

I also did something I've never done before with this site – I linked to myself (from one of my bigger sites).

I never do that because it feels a little perilous. But I just happened to have a really good overlapping article between the two site topics and went ahead and did it.

Traffic creeped up and has leveled off higher than before so it may have had an effect.

Odds & Ends

I just signed on with an accountant to serve as de-facto CFO.

It's about $400 per month for regular check-ins, helping with paperwork for all the freelancers/contractors, compliance stuff, and of course tax filings.

I mostly just needed a once-a-year thing when the business was smaller and simpler, but it was time to get some more help and get the books in better order.

I never really know where I stand from a tax liability standpoint throughout the year. I'm terrified of getting a huge surprise at tax time and owing a ton of money that I haven't set aside, so I tend to be very conservative in what I pay myself and what I invest in the business.

That means there's a good deal of money just sitting in my business accounts. I want to have a strong buffer but I also want to invest aggressively in the business (and pay myself well!) – so an accountant will help me strike that balance.

Wrapping Up

I'm really proud of my November blogging results and excited about what I have coming down the line.

Again, as I'm writing this, it does look like I might take a small to medium-sized hit from this December 2020 algo update – so stay tuned on that.

But otherwise, I should be positioned really well to invest heavily in this business and take it to new heights in 2021.

Before you go, check out my blogging tools page for everything I use to run my sites or my how to start a blog guide for my basic strategy.

See ya