This income report marks the final chapter for 2019. I’m working on a year-in-review post so I’ll leave the 2019 big-picture comments for that post.
As expected, revenue dropped in December primarily due to lower website traffic.
The last two weeks of December were not good for traffic at all … at least for my niche sites.
Because I took the last week off in December, the month seems eons ago.
Podcast for niche site 1
One thing worth noting is I started a podcast for Niche Site 1 in December. My in-house writer is basically turning her content into short 15-minute podcast episodes. This is costing me $50 per episode. I don’t expect to recoup this investment for quite some time, if at all.
Podcasts are a proven medium in the business world, but it’ll be interesting if one can grow a podcast in a totally different niche.
I give it a 50/50 chance to be a success.
What’s a successful podcast? If it makes more than it costs me in the long run, it’ll be a success. I’m entirely out of the picture for this project other than financing it. That means if it makes $500 per month, it’s a success.
That said, there’s the intangible benefit of brand exposure as well. It’s very difficult to measure this, but generally, any listen is a good listen.
Hired a local writer from Craigslist
For niche site 6 I hired a local writer from a Craiglist ad I posted. Craigslist is a great place to hire writers. I should do it more since I pay in Canuck dollars. My main reason for hiring locally is so I can get products that I’ll be covering on niche site 6 into the writer’s hands without messing around with shipping.
I’ve already published his first review with two more coming in this week. He does a great job so he pretty much has the job. I’ll be handing him a box full of product next week and let him take the reigns of the site.
This is a very expensive investment because I have to invest in costly products plus pay $.08 CAD per word. However, I’m going to leverage these product purchases into a lot of content. I’m hopeful that eventually the site will be successful enough where brands will send me products for free. That will cut costs dramatically.
I’ve been kicking this concept around for a couple of years. Hopefully 2020 is the year where I take this to the next level.
New direction for niche site 3?
Niche site 3 is a site I bought that was in a lousy niche. I didn’t realize it was a lousy niche until I bought it. Expensive lesson, although it’s turned out to be a good investment.
After sitting on it for a couple of years, I turned it into a guinea pig site where I test all kinds of things and topics. It’s grown and is profitable despite having no direction whatsoever.
However, in December I decided to narrow the site within a fairly broad niche. It’s a visual niche. It’s unlike any I’ve done before. I’ve already published a series of articles and have many more in the pipeline for 2020. I like the niche and I’ve been able to find some very capable writers to cover this topic. I’ll keep you posted on this development. The content is costly so I’m limited in how much I can push out each month. I’d love to crank out 500 articles in 2 months, but that’s not going to happen.
The thing is I’ve done keyword research for literally thousands of articles. Now I just have to slowly but surely get them published. I’m not very good at being patient. On the flip side, I’d be prudent to proceed slowly to see if I can actually rank for this niche direction. It would be a shame to dump $30K into articles only for them to enter the Google black hole an earn nothing.
Otherwise I coasted
December floated along uneventfully. I was busy toward the end before taking time off. It’s always like that. I cram a week of work into a couple of days to keep the ship somewhat on course.
Content investment fell within the usual range. I suffered no extraordinary expenses except for a payment to a troll.
The usual disclaimer
This income report only reports revenue and expenses for my niche sites. It does not include any financial information from fatstacksblog.com.
Let’s dive in.
Revenue for 7 niche sites I own (December)
Click here to learn more about each niche site featured in my income reports.
All figures are in USD (which is very good for Canucks like yours truly).
- Niche Site 1 Revenue: $45,598 (mostly display ad revenue, some affiliate revenue)
- Niche Site 2 Revenue: $5,690 (mostly affiliate commission revenue)
- Niche Site 3 Revenue: $2,596 (mostly display ad revenue, some affiliate revenue)
- Niche Site 4 Revenue: $1,432 (mostly display ad revenue, some affiliate revenue)
- Niche Site 5 Revenue: $44 (display ad revenue only)
- Niche Site 6 Revenue: $58 (display ad revenue only)
- Niche Site 7 Revenue: $75 (display ad revenue only)
Total Revenue all 7 sites: $55,493 (November revenue was: $64,211)
=> Most of the ad revenue was earned with Ezoic.
Expenses for all niche sites
I lump together all expenses for all 7 niche sites because it’s difficult, impractical and unhelpful to spend the time allocating each expense to each site.
- Ezoic Premium Ad Program Fees: $11,193
- Kinsta hosting: $1,200: Ever since I ran most of the images on my site through Shortpixel, I’ve cut my monthly hosting by over $500. Talk about huge savings.
- Amazon AWS (still host some images on this): $28
- VAs: $3,235
- Cloudflare: $23
- Techsmith (Jing storage): $8
- Ahrefs: $179
- Shutterstock photos: $800
- Quickbooks: $10
- Jotform: $40
- Tailwind: $84
- MeetEdgar: $50
- Elink.io: $15
- Grammarly: $45
- LeadPages: $79
- OptinMonster: $99
- Mailchimp: $99
- Buzzsprout: $12 (this is the podcast hosting platform I use for niche site 1 podcast).
- Copyright Fee: $629 (read about my ugly encounter with a copyright troll here).
Total expenses for 7 niche sites: $17,828
Net Income: $37,665 (November was $46,590)
Content investment in December 2019
I continue to pour money into content, including products for product reviews as well as podcast content for niche site 1:
- WriterAccess: $4,000
- In-House writers: $2,500
- Podcast content: $1,500
- Product purchases for product reviews: $1,000
Total content investment for December 2019: $9,000
Net income after content investment: $28,665 USD
I explain here why I extract content costs from expenses.
I’ll leave it that since that’s the lion’s share of ad revenue for December.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes that’s “the best blogging email newsletter around.”
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.