Income Report for December 2018 (7 Niche Sites)

Grouse Mountain Ski Resort at Night jan7

Grouse Mountain Ski Resort in North Vancouver.

Every year without fail, I force myself to not look at Google Analytics during the last two weeks of December.  Traffic drops so badly that I irrationally start freaking out that there’s a huge problem. Logically, I know it’s a normal traffic pattern.  Most sites suffer a traffic downturn.

My solution to avoid stress is to simply not look at GA for two weeks.  It’s the “ignorance is bliss” approach.  It works for me.

Today was the first day I looked at GA again.  Traffic is back up to pre-December levels so all is good.

I also took quite a bit time off in December which curtailed how much content I published.  This doesn’t really impact traffic or revenue too much since new content doesn’t perform well, but I did send far fewer email newsletters and basically did nothing over the last two weeks.

Here are the numbers for my 7 niche sites and blogs.

DISCLAIMER:  This income report does NOT include revenue or expenses from Fatstacksblog.com.  I only include revenue and expenses from my other sites.  I don’t really see the point of disclosing revenue on the very blog that discusses how I run niche blogs and websites.  Also, there may be some small upward adjustments coming due to soon-to-be-arriving affiliate commission reports from a couple of merchants.  

Below I enumerate each niche site and will use the same numbers (i.e. Site 1, Site 2, etc.) in each income report so you can see progress or lack of progress.  Some will do well and I expect some to not do well.

All figures are in USD.

Glossary

  • B2c = a site for non-business audience.  An example is a recipe site.
  • B2B (aka Trade Rag) = a site for a business audience such as a marketing tips for realtors blog.

Overview chart

Here’s a chart setting out revenue figures for all 7 niche sites for November and December 2018.

Fat Stacks Income Chart December 2018-min

Site 1

Site 1 is a nearly 5 year-old broad niche B2C website.  It’s my biggest and highest earning website by far.

  • Display Ad revenue (all ad networks):  $24,281
  • Affiliate revenue:  $2,969

Total revenue:  $27,250.00


Site 2

Site 2 is a 6-year-old B2B (Trade Rag) niche blog.

As part of my expansion recently, I’m adding B2C content to this site. It’s plateaued for years as a B2B.  It’s time to go after the much larger B2C audience and monetize it with display ads.  This blog has decent authority metrics so I’m optimistic it should grow at a good clip.

  • Display Ad revenue (all ad networks):  $23
  • Affiliate revenue: $5,329

Total revenue: $5,352.00


Site 3:

Site 3 is a very broad-niched B2C site.

This is the site I bought 3 years ago.  I didn’t know what to do with it when I bought, so I let it sit.  It had good age, authority and content so I knew it could come in handy one day.  9 months ago I slapped up 15 articles (they were quite good) to see how they would do.  They did well.  6 months ago I started publishing on it daily.  Growth has been excellent.  This site has huge potential.

  • Display Ad revenue (all ad networks):  $1,636
  • Affiliate revenue: $195

Total revenue: $1,831.00


Site 4

It’s been about 1 year since I started building this B2C site in earnest.  The domain is approx. 1.5 years old.

I’m on the fence with this site.  I’m not sure it’ll work out, but I’m giving it a shot.  This is both a B2C and trade rag site.

  • Display Ad revenue (all ad networks):  $400
  • Affiliate revenue:  $81

Total revenue:  $481.00


Site 5

Site 5 is a 5-year-old site I used for lead generation in the legal niche for local law firms until recently when the government decimated the personal injury industry with new legislation.

Instead of dumping the established legal lead gen site, I decided to transition it to a general legal info niche site.  It’s turned out to be more fun than I expected.  I have a law degree and practiced law for 6 years so it’s a good niche for me.

This site will be both a B2C and trade rag niche site where I publish general law stuff as well as business/marketing content for lawyers.

I have high hopes for this site, but it does have limited growth potential.  The reason I’m putting a solid effort into it is the current display ad RPM is the highest of all my sites, which one would expect for a law/lawyer marketing site.

  • Display Ad revenue (all ad networks):  $43
  • Affiliate revenue: $0

Total revenue: $43.00


Site 6

This is a 1.5-year-old domain which I started building but stopped because I was too busy and didn’t care for the original niche.

I’m expanding the niche topically into topics that interest me.  I’ve started to slowly but surely plan out some content for this site.  This will be strictly B2C.  It has reasonably good potential.

  • Display Ad revenue (all ad networks): $16
  • Affiliate revenue: $0

Total revenue: $16.00


Site 7

This site is still in its infancy stage.  AdSense just approved ads for this site in early January so it just might earn a few nickels in January 2019.

  • Display Ad revenue (all ad networks):  $0
  • Affiliate revenue: $0

Total revenue: $0


Total Revenue all 7 sites: $34,973


Expenses for all sites (except Fatstacksblog.com)

I lump all expenses for all 7 niche sites because it’s difficult, impractical and unhelpful to spend the time  to allocate each expense to each site.  I did deduct a small portion of expenses that are absorbed by Fatstacksblog.com such as hosting, AWeber and Ahrefs.

Expenses remained roughly the same in December except I ran out of Shutterstock photos which required a second subscription.  Also, because I was not working at the end of the month, I didn’t have AWeber delete all unsubscribes from my accounts which resulted in a slightly higher AWeber cost.  TIP: If you use AWeber, ask them to delete all unsubscribes just before your invoice date so that you don’t pay for those unsubscribes.

Total expenses for 7 niche sites: $3,703

Net Income: $31,270 USD


Content investment in December

I took 2 weeks off in December, which severely reduced the amount of content I published this month compared to November 2018.

All content investment amounts below are for December 2018.  Not all articles are priced the same.  I pay a lot for some (lengthy, higher quality) and less for others.

  • Site 1 content investment: $1,548 / 43 articles
  • Site 2 content investment: $430 / 10 articles
  • Site 3 content investment: $1,368 / 38 articles
  • Site 4 content investment: $258 / 6 articles
  • Site 5 content investment: $172 / 4 articles
  • Site 6 content investment: $150 / 8 articles
  • Site 7 content investment: $258 / 6 articles

Total content investment and output:  $4,184 / 115 articles (3.7 per day).  In November 2018, I invested $6,082 in content, which amounted to 164 articles.

Net income after content investment: $27,086 USD

As you can see, expanding into building out more sites gets exponentially more expensive since the biggest investment is content.


Why don’t I include page views and/or RPM?

I wish I could set out monthly page views and/or RPM but AdSense forbids sharing RPM data.  I realize that it would be mixed in with all revenue, however, I don’t want to risk it if AdSense forbids any mention RPM at all.  I’m not prepared to put my AdSense account at risk for the sake of income reports.

Plans going forward

I may launch one more new niche site in the next month or so.  It’s one other domain with content I’ve had sitting around for some time so it’s ripe for growth (or so I hope).  Otherwise, it’s content as usual.

New content service

I’m in the midst of testing a new content service which is looking promising.  They’re working on a large first order currently.  If it’s good, I’ll reveal more about what I like and don’t like.

 

Fat Stacks quote from Breaking Bad by Jesse Pinkman


What do you think? Leave a comment!

  • Dexter says:

    Jon – Quick technical question. Why so much on hosting? I still use the basic plans with BlueHost or GoDaddy, which cots $5-10 a month. At what traffic point should I plan on spending the amount you do?

    • Jon says:

      Hey Dexter,

      My sites get well over 2 million monthly page views and I have 80K images across my sites. That requires some serious hosting resources. I wish $5/mo. would do it, but not a chance. I’ve used WPEngine and Siteground but Kinsta is the best by far.

  • RK says:

    Nice earnings… Just curious… How many posts did you put up on site 7 before AdSense approval?

    • Jon says:

      Hey RK,
      good question. I have about 10 articles. But keep in mind I have an existing AdSense account as well as an AdSense rep who actually got it approved. Without the rep, that site would not have been approved. I got lucky with that one. I applied on a whim and it worked. If I weren’t in my situation, I’d wait until I had 100 visitors per day and at least 30 solid articles.

  • Quinton says:

    love the write up! I would be worried about your content investment being too low to get good quality content. .

    Just that Google Panda has gotten so stiff these days.

    do you have a write up on your editorial process.

    • Jon says:

      Hey Quinton,

      I vary quality depending on the article. I publish a lot of simple, fun content that doesn’t require too much effort. I’ve also negotiated some good rates due to high volume orders.

  • Luke says:

    How did you spent only $89 with ahref? The minimum package is $99

    • Jon says:

      hahaha good question.

      I prorated that expense because I use Ahrefs extensively for Fatstacksblog.com and reduced a small portion of Ahrefs expense because I don’t include Fatstacksblog’s income or expenses in these reports. I did the same with hosting and AWeber.

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