$406,087 Profit in 2015 (55% ROI) for 2 Niche Sites

2015 Fat Stacks Annual Income Report

2015 was filled with highs, lows, growth, setbacks, pleasant surprises and unexpected challenges.  Pretty much like any year in any job.

After crunching the numbers, overall, I have absolutely no complaints about how 2015 ended up for 2 of my niche sites.

If I had to choose 1 word to describe my online business in 2015, I’d say it was adaptation.  I had to adapt and deal with growth as well as some serious challenges that required adapting and adjusting strategies slightly.  It was both good and bad.  Overall, I’d say the adjustments were good.

My one-word goal for 2016 is growth.  We’ll see if that materializes.  I set out my 2016 plans in below the income report.

Disclaimer: As usual, this 2015 annual income report pertains to 2 niche sites I own and publish.  It does NOT include income from Fat Stacks or my local marketing business or new sites I purchased/launched in 2015.

I don’t include the numbers for all of my sites because that’s not the point of these income reports.  I publish income reports to illustrate that the 2 different niche models I pursue (i.e. B2C and B2B) can work.  

2015 Income Report (2 niche sites):

The following are figures for all of 2015.

Total 2015 Revenue

B2C Site

  • Display Ad Revenue:  $1,006,761.66 (Media.net = $106,521)
  • Affiliate Commission Revenue:  $32,120

Total B2C Revenue (2015):  1,038,882

B2B Site

Total 2015 Affiliate Commission Revenue:  $96,821

Total 2015 Revenue for both sites:  $1,135,703

Total 2015 Expenses (Both Sites):

Total 2015 Expenses:  $729,616

2015 Profit (2 Niche Sites):  $406,087

2015 Return on investment:  $406,087/$729,616 = 55%

Comments

There’s not much to add that I haven’t discussed in the monthly income reports.

Overall 2015 was excellent.  It could have been better but it could have been worse.

I learned a lot.

Most importantly, I still love being a website publisher.

2016 Plans

In a nutshell, 2016 is all about growth.

B2C Site Growth

I’ll invest heavily in more content and will be building out at least 2 more sites applying what’s been working well in the hopes to expand my B2C site business.

Traffic focus will be organic traffic (search and social), but I’ll continue buying traffic when margins are high and time required to manage campaigns is minimal.

B2B Site Growth

I’m actually going to invest more time into my B2B sites in 2016 by publishing more content targeting select B2B industries.  I started this in December 2015 and will continue.  The fact is the ROI by simply publishing content in the B2B sphere is extremely lucrative and more importantly, I enjoy doing it.

Local Marketing Lead Generation

In 2015 I invested nearly $10,000 in new sites for my local marketing lead generation business.  I also ramped up my PPC campaigns that appear to be paying off (I need to crunch the numbers for the last 6 months).

If the numbers for 2015 look good for local lead gen, I’ll be investing more into my local lead gen business and will add it as a topic to Fat Stacks.

Fat Stacks Plans

I’m actually going to expand Fat Stacks topically by publishing more general interest business and careers posts.  I know this is unconventional for a blog like this, but it occurred to me that my target audience could be broader.  And yes, I will be using display ads on some posts.

I love all things business including careers topics, stocks, etc.  I have an MBA so I have the knowledge and interest in these topics.

I understand this may fail terribly or be a big success.  Who knows, but I’ve learned that I enjoy publishing sites that are broad in topic.  That’s what’s worked well for me in the past and so it’s something I wish to test on Fat Stacks.

Get My Courses:

=> Niche Tycoon: My course on how I plan, launch and operate profitable B2C niche websites.

=> Niche Sniper: My guide on how I plan, launch and operate profitable B2B niche websites.



What do you think? Leave a comment!

  • Maz says:

    Hi, thanks for the update. You are really rich. The earnings is really inspirational. May I know how many minimum articles should a site have on a blog to get around $100 per month(please suggest)? Thank you.

    • Jon says:

      Hey Maz,
      It’s not the number of posts that matter. It’s traffic and monetization. You can make $100 per month with one post (although it’s a good idea to not put Adsense on a site until it has a good number of posts and clear navigation). In fact, you can make $100 per day from one post with enough traffic.

  • Alex says:

    Hello Jon,

    Congrats on your success. I find it absolutely amazing that someone can generate the kind of income you do from your sites. I’ve been attracted to the whole idea of building niche sites to create another income stream for myself. I guess as a newbie to niche sites it seems intimidating as it seems there is so much to learn and understand. I have no delusions of building a massive income stream from niche sites right away but I would like to create one or two that produce $1k-$3k a month. I know this will take time and not happen over night.

    I do have a couple questions for you. Since I am new to the whole niche site world. What would be realistic goals for someone just starting out and building there first site? Are your courses newbie friendly or should I start somewhere else to build a foundation before beginning in the niche site world?

    Thanks for the site and I appreciate you sharing your knowledge.

    Alex

    • Jon says:

      Hey Alex, while I do pretty well, there are publishers doing 10+ times my numbers with niche sites. Social media and native advertising is a game-changer for niche sites. My courses are reasonably newbie friendly. They assume you can put up a basic WordPress site. I can’t say how long it would take to get to $1K to $3K per month. Some people do it in a week while it takes years for other people.

  • Heidi says:

    Incredible results, Jon!
    Congratulations!
    And it’s so humbling you don’t even seem excited about making $400k in profits! 🙂 It’s amazing how 2 websites can bring in so much money especially being run by a one-man army (with a little bit of outsourcing).
    Been following you for a little over a year now and love your updates (took a little long for the oct to dec reports though). Thanks for being open and honest in the IM world.
    Questions:
    1. By B2C do you mean like Lawyer to Client (eg: How to get out of DUI articles) websites?
    2. By B2B do you mean like Lawyer to Accountant (How to protect your Business from being sued Articles) website?
    I’m trying to narrow down on a niche to execute your Niche Tycoon course (Excellent course BTW!)
    3. Do you think your organic drop in traffic was due to moving to WPEngine?
    4. Do you think FB and Native (Taboola) ads are the best traffic sources for Adsense in 2016?
    5. How many outsourcers do you have managing your websites?

    Thanks and here’s to a $1,000,000 profit 2016!
    H

    • Jon says:

      Thanks for your comment Heidi. I apologize for being so late with the last batch of income reports. I hope to be more timely with these in 2016.

      Answers to your questions:

      1. B2C: By B2C I’m referring to websites that serve the general public instead of business owners. It’s a key distinction within my portfolio of niche sites. Examples of B2C include celebrity, automobile, hacking, personal finance, style/fashion, beauty, weight loss, home improvement, health and fitness, etc.

      By B2B I’m referring to sites that cater to business owners – small business, online business, local business, large business. Fat Stacks Entrepreneur is a B2B site because its audience is entrepreneurs and online business owners (I don’t include Fat Stacks income in my income reports though). A lawyer marketing blog is another example of a B2B site.

      Another type of site that you point out is a business website serving customers such as a local law firm site. This is also a B2C site, but different than general content sites with a more global appeal.

      2. B2B: Yes, a lawyer site serving accountants would be a B2B site. However, a law site that publishes general legal info for the general public would be a B2C site. Sometimes the lines are blurred, but the distinction generally makes sense.

      3. Organic traffic drop: No, I don’t think it has anything to do with WPEngine. I didn’t move my larger B2C site to WPengine until November 2015. The traffic drop was in August to September. FYI, my traffic rebounded at the end of December 2015 and is now at peak levels again. I’m very happy about this. I have no idea what I did.

      4. I think FB and Outbrain are the best traffic sources. Taboola is very good for some niches too.

      5. Outsourcing: I currently have a project manager, social media person, 2 to 4 writers and a graphics person working on one of my sites. None of these people are full time. I use an agency that provides all of these people. I like using the agency because they manage all the people for me and I only pay for the hours I need for each type of work.

      For another site I purchased in December 2015, I have 4 editors and dozens of contributors. Interestingly, everyone contributes for free – it’s user generated content which is a new model for me. I’ll probably publish more on this down the road once I get a better understanding of it. User generated content has its pros and cons.

      Yes, $1,000,000 profit in 2016 would be fantastic. I don’t expect it. If I do as well in 2016 as I did in 2015, I’ll be happy… but of course growth would be excellent. Good luck to you too.

  • Michael says:

    Thanks for the income report. I’m not so much interested in your actual numbers as I am interested in your process. I appreciate that you have given detailed information about that process. I also appreciate that you listed many of your resources and you direction for 2016. That’s very helpful insight.

    Thanks again, Michael

  • Rob says:

    Jon, what do you think about starting a publication focused only on one channel?

    For example, instead of building a blog, I think about starting just a newsletter or just a podcast. I’d publish content only by this one particular medium and monetize it with ads/affiliate links.

    Examples of similar businesses:
    – newsletters: JavaScript Weekly, TheSkimm
    – podcasts: StartUp (one of Gimlet Media’s podcasts)

    What do you think about this approach? Does it make sense to build start something like that? All of the mentioned businesses seem to be doing pretty well. Thanks!

    • Jon says:

      Hey Rob,

      I’m sure it can work and does work, but in my view, why not leverage the content across multiple platforms such as a blog, email newsletter and podcast. I haven’t gotten into podcasts, but like you say, there are podcast-only media companies, much like radio shows so I’m sure it’s viable.

      One benefit of focusing on one platform is the fact you can focus. Each platform does take time and effort to optimize so I can definitely see the benefit of that.

      And yes, there are many marketers/publications that only offer email newsletters. Again, it could work.

      If you have a particular strength, focus on that. You can always add additional platforms down the road.

      In a nutshell, as with most things, there are pros and cons to both sides.

  • Rakesh says:

    Hi Jon,

    Congrats on your success, and wish a lot of success for you in this year ! Being into support (digital ad agency), I’m good at ad trafficking, and creating advertisements.

    I understand that it would not be the only criteria. I’ve purchased your book, and it is too awesome ! I’m excited to start this year with a small expectation to break out 2000$ per month. But, the following are a few questions I have got after reading Niche Tycoon:

    1. I’ve seen you mentioning outbrain and taboola. Have you ever tried revcontent and other native ad solutions. How has been the experience? Do you consider them safe ?

    2. This is paid traffic. I mean, we do get organic one with good seo. But, is this paid traffic safe for adsense. I have a niche in my mind, and i will go with division in a normal way (10 different prospects into 3 pages).

    Your guide has already helped me and made me so confident. Hope you get time to clear these two questions. Any help in this area is truly appreciated !!

    Looking forward to hear from you.

    Thanks,

    • Jon says:

      Hi Rakesh,

      Thanks for your detailed comment and kind words about Niche Tycoon. Here are answers to your questions:

      1. I’ve tried Content.ad but never Revcontent. I’m not terribly familiar with their traffic sources or quality so I don’t use either anymore. I used Content.ad for a day or two I believe.

      2. Paid quality traffic is fine for Adsense. See https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/1348722. Google doesn’t list out good and bad traffic sources so I suggest erring on the side of caution. I use Facebook ads and Outbrain (Taboola never performed all that well for my niche, but I know it’s a huge and excellent traffic source for many niche sites with display ads).

      I hope this helps.

  • Daniel says:

    Great job, Jon. Those are great figures. And best of luck for your lead generation endeavor. Anyway, I’m new to your blog. Could you tell me what is “B2C” and “B2B”?

    • Jon says:

      Hey Daniel,
      B2C is a site that serves the general public. It stands for Business to Customer. Example niches are autos, health and fitness, survival, home improvement.
      B2B stands for Business to Business. Fat Stacks is a B2B website because it caters to other business owners.

  • Kelly says:

    Hey Jon this is Kelly again, maybe you remember me, but my boyfriend and I got approved for adsense so excited.

    WOW you made so much money that is amazing and inspiring. Now I have a quick question. We are following everything you said in your niche typhoon. You mention making custom category pages.

    Now is there a plugin you use for that or do you just go in WordPress and create a page and add your content for that catergory and then you update it manually whenever you add new content?

    Also if you started your niche site today what would you do different and do you believe that you could still buy facebook traffic and get the revenue you did back in 2014?

    The reason for that question is I see alot of times people jump on to something to late and it is completely saturated.

    Well thanks again for all your help. You are so amazing!!!

    • Jon says:

      Hey Kelly,
      Thanks for commenting. I believe I said custom sidebars. For that I use the simple sidebars plugin for Genesis Framework. However, if you don’t use Genesis, there’s a custom sidebars plugin that free. It works well too.

      What would I do differently? Many things ha ha ha. Here are a few things (I think this makes for a great blog post – thanks for the question). I’ll list a few big items here and will get to work on a new post.

      1. Optimize my images better.
      2. Silo all content right off the bat. This would have involved better planning and keyword research.
      3. Better content right off the bat.

      Would I buy traffic today? You bet. I’m not sure ROI would be as good as it was… maybe it would be better or worse, but I’d do it or at least try it. Buying traffic (millions of visitors) put my site on the map. I got 20K subscribers, top tier advertisers, millions of social shares, I believe organic search worked so well in part due to the traffic and of course the profits were immediate and massive. Even if ROI is slim, it’s worth doing… just be smart about it.

      I just bought a new site and am a partner in another site. I plan to buy traffic to both sites in 2016 to grow them. I’m buying much less traffic to my initial B2C because it has legs and is doing really well. Buying traffic is very labor intensive and I choose to invest my time differently – organic search at this stage and I have 2 new sites to manage and grow.

      Thanks for the great questions. I’ll get to work on the new blog post idea based on your question.

  • Jon Haver says:

    Congrats on your success! Those are huge numbers in 2015 well done!

    Your ability to stick to your core authority site building strategy is impressive. Even when you are branching out buying sites etc you still stick around your core business. I, like most people, struggle with the focus on one thing plan. You clearly have it figured out…does that come naturally or do you have to fight the urge to go after different business models?

    • Jon says:

      Hey Jon, thanks a lot for stopping buy. I read your site (http://authoritywebsiteincome.com/) regularly.

      I still get sidetracked regularly, but I chalk much of it up to testing. Overall I stick to the plan, but I am diversified with a portfolio of larger and small sites. I even dabble in local marketing (I have 3 clients). I have to admit the FBA model appeals to me given your and others fast success with the model. It’s definitely a great way to diversify from display ad revenue.

      That all said, I do focus most of my time on my authority sites, which I learned in 2010 when I was starting new sites all the time going nowhere. I decided to focus on 2 sites eventually and within 6 months I hit $10K per month. That was a valuable lesson. Since then I’ve focused on a few projects at a time.

  • Mehmet SAGLAM says:

    I live in Turkey.
    Can you help me on the construction site?

  • Ivan says:

    Great info Jon. The way I came to your site was researching the lead generation business. I saw an old post of your at the WF. I’ve seen many WSO on lead generation but do you know of an ultimate guide to running a lead gen business? Your post on the WF regarding was also great!!

    • Jon says:

      Hey Ivan,

      Sorry, I don’t know of a current lead gen course that’s good. I dabble in local lead gen and while I do okay, it’s not my focus.

  • Javier says:

    Hey Jon. What agency are you using to manage your business?

  • Joe says:

    Congrats on your success, Jon.

    This inspires me a great deal.

    I personally read every word and comment on this page.

    One question I still have, however, is how much (percentage wise) would you say each of the three following traffic sources contributed to your overall revenue and, ultimately, profits (Organic SEO, Social Media, Paid Ads)?

    Congrats again, buddy!

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