Ah I love this time of year.

(Usually.)

Entering Q4, the ad rates start to get insane and blogging becomes quite lucrative, even though traffic in most niches starts to die down a bit for the holidays.

Last year the Google November core update pulled the rug out from under me right around this point and cut my business in half. Holding my breath this year.

But for now things are great.

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.

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 October 2020:

  • Site 1 - $7,164.37
  • Site 2 - $4,106.50
  • Site 3 - $86.19
  • Amazon Int'l (all sites combined) - $440.02
  • Total - $11,800.08 (September 10,951.99)

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) $2100
  • Total - $2600

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

Site 1 - Fitness & Health

Live articles - 303 (+9)

Total pageviews- 162,386 (+.66%)

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

YouTube Views - 417 (September 389), +4 subscribers

What happened & what I'm working on:

I can't get content up on this site fast enough.

I feel great about this site and am bursting with ideas. Tons of keywords I want to go after, even more topics I think would make great YouTube videos.

I have the budget to invest heavily in it (and am), but I'm only slowed down by the time it takes to find and train good writers.

It's exciting to have cracked 300 posts on the site (a note: I don't include posts that went up in October in this count – they're too new to really rank or earn revenue).

Growth on YouTube is slow but I'm continuing to crank out content at about 2 videos per month. I think it's going to take 6 months or more of consistent effort to be able to see any meaningful results.

That's an expensive and risky investment (and a big time commitment), but I'm having fun.

(These videos also made over $200 on MediaVine in October, so that's not a bad ROI even if YouTube never takes off.)

I'm also doing some YouTube shorts with stock footage and Canva templates at the advice of the Income School folks who say YouTube is really pushing those right now.

We'll see!

Site 2 - Parenting & Family

Live articles - 178 (+6)

Total pageviews - 130,034 (+3.42%)

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

What happened & what I'm working on:

Holding steady.

I mentioned I've been a little bored of this site so I'm trying to experiment with branching out into other topic areas.

I'm also toying with the idea of publishing less here and focusing on quality — maybe 2-3 epic posts per month tackling big topics with expert interviews, custom graphics, and more.

(I've started playing around with adding simple graphics to some of my bigger posts as linkable or shareable assets, and to make them look more professional.)

It's a niche that would lend itself nicely to that, I think.

I'm not complaining though – it's making great money, still getting good links via HARO, and chugging along.

As long as I can keep adding a handful of posts per month I'm happy, if a little bored with it.

(I have a lot more posts in the queue for both Sites 1 & 2, but sometimes the timing of drafts coming in means I don't get as much published in a given month as I want.)

Site 3 - Obscure Hobby

Live articles - 28 (+3)

Total pageviews - 5,310 (+7.7%)

Total revenue - $86.19 (September $90.36)

What happened & what I'm working on:

This site FINALLY saw a small uptick in traffic after being down last month – which I took as a concerning sign for a site this small and young.

So maybe it's not a total dud after all.

I got 3 posts up this month (and even wrote one myself!) which isn't bad.

I still am planning to pause written content for this site and focus exclusively on video content & YouTube for a few months.

(Hoping to write a few posts here and there to keep things fresh.)

I got my first video produced and have created a couple of shorts to publish on the brand new channel.

No views or subscribers yet but I think this one is going to grow quickly once I get going.

Odds & Ends

Got the worst, most despicable broken link building outreach email I've ever seen. Someone notified me of a broken link and said "We actually moved that article off that domain and onto a different one, it's here now [website]" – it's hilarious they thought anyone would fall for that, and quite shady.

I've been playing with ConvertBox to insert affiliate offer pop-ups into different parts of my site. No huge wins here – a couple small ones, but haven't found any good site-wide slam dunks. The key here is offers tailored to individual pages or categories.

Amazon Associate commissions are down almost completely across the board. Not sure if it has to do with tiered commission rate shenanigans, pre-holiday lull, or what. Thank goodness my RPMs on Mediavine were up $2 over last month (that adds up fast).

It's been a good year and I might have some money to spend by the end of the year. Maybe a new laptop to treat myself for a job well done? Something that can handle video work, ideally – and maybe a new office desk since I'm stuck here for a while!

Wrapping Up

A good month!

And a new high in single month revenue for me and my business, which is truly amazing.

Hit me up in the comments, email me, or find me on Twitter if you want to chat blogging and publishing.

And check out my blogging tools page for everything I use to run my sites!

See ya