Income Report for July 2021 (Niche Site Portfolio)

What happened in July?

A few things, mostly bad but nothing horrendous.

Traffic and revenue dropped

My largest site suffered a sizeable traffic and revenue decrease. When the smoke cleared, it’s down 20%.  Revenue is down more because RPMs in July dropped from June’s epic RPM numbers (end of Q2).

Why did traffic drop? It was a casualty of the June and July Google updates coming out on the losing side. These things happen.

On the plus side, site 9 is performing great but not so great to offset site 1’s losses.

Am I doing anything about the losses?

Yes and no. I’m not doing anything specific to the update because I don’t think there is anything to do.  However, in July I did start planning how to update a lot of my older content on sites I’ve had a few years.  This is proving to be a big project that will take a long time.  It’s definitely overdue. I have to put my patience hat on which I don’t tend to wear very often.  I don’t like things taking a long time but this project is so large it will take forever.

Below are the numbers. As usual, this report only includes some of my sites and does not include any revenue or expenses from Fat Stacks.

Revenue

Missing sites below were sold.  All figures are in USD.

  • Niche Site 1: $79,484
  • Niche Site 3: $609
  • Niche Site 6: $65
  • Niche Site 8 (Cyclebaron.com): $124
  • Niche Site 9 : $3,638
  • Niche Site 10: $814
  • Niche Site 11: $127

Total Revenue from 7 featured sites: $84,864

You can read about all niche sites here.

The lion’s share of revenue is from display ads.

Expenses

Total expenses for niche sites: $11,620

Net Income: $73,244

Content Investment: $31,386

Content sources broken down as follows:

  • Passion Posts: $13,800 (Save 10% with coupon BWMZ0ZXDWK at checkout)
  • WriterAccess: $7,500
  • In-House Writers: $4,039
  • Fiverr: $1,800
  • Portfolio Manager (In-House):  $4,247

Content is distributed across several niche sites.

Net income after content investment:   $41,858

What’s up with kicking along small sites?

Yes, many of my sites are small but they’ve proven to generate good returns on investment.  With today’s website valuations as high as they are, sites earning $200 to $1,000 sell for a lot of money relative to up front investment amount and time.  A site earning $500 per month can sell for as much as $25K.

I own a good number more sites than the ones featured in this income report.  They’re small and most will never get huge, but it’s fun throwing a bunch of stuff against the digital wall to see what sticks.  If a site or two sticks and works well, I’ll run with it. The rest I’ll scrape and claw to a few hundred per month and flip them for a few extra bucks.

Content is one of my main investments

As reported in the above content investment section, I invest a lot of money into content.  Content has proven to be a good investment for me.  I’m now feeding quite a few sites new content monthly or every other month.

Why is content a good investment?

It’s a good investment because it’s my primary business.  I know it well.  I’ve honed content investing into a good economic model over the years.  I know keyword research, I have good content sources, I have an excellent team, I have all the necessary software infrastructure in place and I enjoy the work.  This makes it almost a sure thing.  As an investment with all these advantages, there’s almost no downside but plenty of upside.

Now before you jump to the comments and tell me I’m an idiot because websites are risky due to Google updates, etc. let me explain where I’m coming from.  I agree, hanging onto large sites poses risk.  They can suffer big traffic drops out of the blue.  My largest site lost more than 20% revenue and traffic in one month.

That’s not what I’m talking about.  What I mean is investing in smaller sites built for a flip.  As long as you can put $10K to $30K+ into them (or the equivalent in sweat equity) and can wait long enough for them to grow, they are more likely than not going to grow into a nice little earner that can be sold for a profit.  Consider the following:

  • $30,000 invested gets you 400 articles.
  • 400 articles at 350 monthly visitors per article is 140,000 visitors per month.
  • 140,000 visitors earning $15 per 1,000 visitors is $2,100 per month.
  • $2,100 per month values a site at $95K.

It won’t happen overnight.  It requires at least 2 years and probably 3.  It also requires good keyword research and good content. But tripling your money in three years isn’t bad (plus raking in all the revenue earned during that three years).

Launch enough sites and some might be a hit to hang on to and grow into a mega earner.  Stranger things have happened.  I have a lot of sites and I can tell fairly quickly whether a site is gelling with me or not.  Most don’t but when they do, the potential is good.

That’s the model.

Maybe not the best business model in the world but it works and it’s fun.

5 thoughts on “Income Report for July 2021 (Niche Site Portfolio)”

  1. Jon, reading through your blog I was wondering when you do your keyword research for low competition easy to rank keywords, do you check the keywords CPC?

    I’m guessing going after the keywords you do the CPC is very low.

    Also I have a small budget to out source content every month.
    Would you order 2x 1000 word article or 1 x 2000 word article?

    Cheers.

  2. > ShortlyAI: $39.99
    How has your experience with these GPT-3 automatic writers been so far? Game-changer or meh?

    > Now before you jump to the comments and tell me
    > I’m an idiot because websites are risky due to Google updates
    I certainly wouldn’t say call it idiotic. But what do you make of MrMedia’s recent comment that “I don’t mean to be a prophet of doom on seo content sites with display ads since it has made me a lot of money but to expect it to last forever is naïve.” Are we living through the end of days here?

    1. Hey Eddy, Shortlyai is the best I’ve used. It has limited use right now and I’m constantly tinkering with it. As to whether content sites are end-of-days right now, I don’t know. I doubt it. Things are changing and will change but people will consume content. Some thought video would dominate and while video does great and is huge people still read written content. I think there will always be a place for human input into content.

  3. Hi Jon, I noticed you use rocket.net. This is the first time I’ve heard of them, but interested in checking them out after finding out you use them.

    I’ve been looking for a new hosting plan that doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars per month based on pageviews. My site gets close to 200k visitors per month so it’s tough since that puts me on the top tiers for most hosting plans. Rocket.net seems to have a much fairer pricing plan for high traffic sites.

    I’m wondering how you found out about them and why you use them. Maybe a review post is already in the works? Specifically interested why you chose them over other bigger name players. I was looking at Kinsta but it’s the pageview pricing that’s holding me back.

    Thank you Jon, really loving your content these days!

    1. Hey Katie, I’m very happy with Rocket.net. I learned about it from WPJohnny.com in his really good post https://wpjohnny.com/best-wordpress-hosting-reviews/.

      I checked out a bunch he praised and I thought Rocket.net made some bold claims so I gave them a shot and got lucky. The reason I started my search for another host (I was with Kinsta) was Kinsta wanted me to do a pile of work for their migration Cloudflare Enterprise. Rocket.net was already on Cloudflare Enterprise so it was less work to move all my sites to them. Moreover, I’m saving a bundle every month.

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