Income Report for March 2021

March was a busy month. I spent most of it going down the site speed rabbit hole.

I read endless blog posts (in some cases entire blogs).  Hired a few folks/service.  Bought this course which taught me a decent amount (his blog is really good as well).  Read this entire site multiple times and bought all the ebooks (actually I had bought them a while ago, but I reread every single one).  Read more blog posts. Tested, tested, tested.  Slashed plugins left and right.

You get the point.  Chances are you’re doing the same given Google’s User Experience update is rolling out in May.

No more Elementor

I hired a person to convert all Elementor landing pages to Gutenberg.  That took most of the month. I’ve since removed Elementor from every site.  A side benefit of hiring this person is he taught me the Gutenberg basics which really helped me get a good grasp of how to use it.

Image Optimization

Another big change for the better was switching to Optimole for image compression.  Not only does Optimole compress, but it serves the correct sizes per device.  This helps mobile site load time.  It also serves up images in WebP format.  My niche blogs use a ridiculous amount of images so image compression and optimization are very important.

Before Optimole I used ShortPixel.  SP is good but it took forever to bulk compress and as far as I could tell, doesn’t change image sizes for different devices.  I could be wrong.  Anyway, Optimole is amazing. It compresses thousands of images blazing fast. No grinding. It works amazingly well.

The downside of Optimole? It costs more than ShortPixel.  The cost is based on page views.  Shortpixel prices per number of images.  I suppose if you don’t have much traffic but lots of images, Optimole could cost less than Shortpixel. As I said, image optimization is important so I don’t mind spending more on it.

And yes, Optimole is used on this site as well.

Frustrating process

The most frustrating part of working on site speed and site speed scores is there is no real consensus as to what you should do.  Every “expert” have their own theory.  Some say the scores are meaningless and to focus on a fast-loading site.  Others suggest you should get good scores because they may be taken into account by Google.

There are also preferences and opinions.  In other words, site speed is one big murky area where you need to figure out what works for you.  I tend to agree that fast load times and user experience is most important but I do care about the scores as well.  You can optimize your site to the point where it’s actually a bad UX.  Stuff doesn’t load when it should.  Content adjusts as it loads (FOUC).  I don’t like any of that even if it scores better.

I continue to do more configuring and testing.  Once I’m where I need to be, I’ll write more about what I’ve done in detail.

Did I get good site speed results?

Overall, I’m happy.  The improvement is remarkable.  AdThrive is still working on optimizing the ad tech but aside from the ads, my sites perform very well.  I don’t have control over the ads.  I hope AdThrive comes up with a good solution.

What about revenue results in March?

They were good. Best ever actually.  Site 1 topped $100K in revenue (all revenue sources). That’s a first.  Site 9 breached $3K per month.  Traffic was good.  Ad revenue per 1,000 visitors spiked in March which helped big time.

Switched from EX.co to AdThrive Video Ad

Until mid-March, I used the EX.co video ad on niche blogs which has been a great performing ad for years.  Last year AdThrive launched a video ad. I tried it in early 2020 but it didn’t earn as well as EX.co.  I stuck with EX.co.

Somewhere between last year and now, AdThrive really poured on the performance gas with its video ad player.  I suspect they managed to get more advertisers on board.  Long story short, AdThrive’s video now out-earns EX.co two to three times for me.  Switching to AdThrive video ad boosted revenue a ton.  I’ve had some days so far where the AdThrive video ad alone earned north of $1,000.  A good day with EX.co was $400.

Onto the numbers…

Fat Stacks earnings NOT included in income reports

This income report ONLY includes revenue/expenses from my various niche blogs. It does NOT include revenue or expenses from Fat Stacks (course sales, affiliate promos, ad sales, etc.).  Fat Stacks is a different type of site altogether. These reports are merely to demonstrate that various niche blogs can be a good business.  It would be ludicrous to include revenue from Fat Stacks since it’s the very site that publishes income reports.  It would state “here’s my income report based on income earned by publishing income reports.”  Doesn’t make sense to me.

Revenue

There are missing sites below because I sold a bunch in December and January.

All figures are in USD.

  • Niche Site 1: $100,499
  • Niche Site 3: $448
  • Niche Site 8 (Cyclebaron.com): $44
  • Niche Site 9 : $3,319
  • Niche Site 10: $186
  • Niche Site 11: $0 (just launched – aged domain experiment – obtained from Odys Global)

Total Revenue from 5 sites: $104,496

You can read about all niche sites here.

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

Expenses for all niche sites

Total expenses for 8 niche sites: $15,724

Net Income: $88,772

Content investment: $20,230

Content sources include WriterAccess and in-house writers.

Included in the content investment is $400 for Fiverr videos.

Content distributed across 5 niche blogs.

Net income after content investment:   $68,542

I explain here why I extract content costs from expenses.

Learn more

If you’re interested in learning what I do in detail, grab my entire bundle of courses here.

Screenshot

Since the lion’s share of revenue is from AdThrive, I’ll just include an AdThrive screenshot.

22 thoughts on “Income Report for March 2021”

  1. I visit your website daily for your income reports. I almost scrolled all your blogs of many years to learn more. Congratulation for your site 1 crossing $100k mark.
    You have sold sites but you have not included that income to these reports. Many blogger do include?

    1. Total net proceeds to me after commissions etc. of the 7 sites I sold was $200K USD. I was going to include the sale in the reports but the didn’t bother.

  2. Jon, about moving over to Optimole from ShortPixel, just a heads up they do shortpixel does adaptive images and they seem to do it pretty well. (it is a seprate plugin, you can learn more about is by checking out shortpixel adaptive images)

    Also, there is a lifetime deal for WP Compress, somthing you might want to look at – https://appsumo.com/wp-compress/

    🙂

    1. Thanks David. I’m delighted right now with Optimole. Expensive? Yes, but it does every nuanced thing I want an image compression plugin to do.

      1. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it 🙂
        Personally I have ShortPixel (got the lifetime offer a while back that has there CDN and all)
        Also, I am probably going to join WP Compress and use it on some of my sites.

        Still, I think the point you make is key, go with the best solution and focus on other things that bring in more cash rather than trying to save another buck that may hurt the site in the long run.

        All that being said, WP Compress might be worth getting in on the lifetime offer since if things do catch up in the next year then it might save you a pretty penny 🙂

  3. Jon,
    Thanks for sharing, quite an inspiration for many like me.
    I saw that you used to use Nitropack in past for speed and it works with AdThrive. Any reason you are not using it ? What do you recommend for speed plugins or solution wise at the moment ?

    1. Hey Vellore, I was running Nitropack happily until after a couple months I noticed everything was red. I was choked. I asked for them to fix it but they couldn’t. So I rolled up my sleeves and radically improved my sites on my own and it worked.

      1. Thanks for the reply John and insights !
        Would you mind sharing your experience on how you improved your speed ? We are struggling to find a plugin that works and what to avoid. Any insights would help many like me.

  4. hi Jon,
    please i have a question about Adthrive, is it allow Facebook traffic and can i made some arbitrage between facebook & Adthrive with paid ads for very targeting audience for some niches.

    1. Hey James, that’s a question for AdThrive. I suspect some is fine. I’ve paid for some FB traffic to my sites with AdThrive. Whether you can actually make arb work is another matter. AdThrive’s revenue tracking reports are not good at all. That’s my only beef with them. If they could create rev. tracking like Ezoic, that would be amazing.

      1. thank you for your response, please i was spying on some arbitrage websites, i found this website called definition.org, they achieve 175M visits every months on average, some months they achieve 300M visits and thats only with Display Ads not organic or search traffic and they use also header bidding for monetizing, please any help how they work with advertising company work with this kind of sites, there a lot of them.

  5. Regarding site speed – I have spent countless hours and whole days optimizing, evaluating, etc. And as plugins and themes update, or I switch to new plugins and solutions like you, the process needs repeating. I run a WordPress web dev agency as well as blog, which allows me the expertise and patience to fine tune quite a bit, and even at that level, there is so much where I have to decide if the time is worth the difference. If I had to pay myself, there would certainly be a lot more that gets ignored.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that for anyone running a site and needs to keep it fast, you absolutely must establish a solid relationship with a WordPress ( or whatever tech ) expert who can maintain the speed on a regular basis. You need to be able to trust this expert to make judgement calls on how much is actually worth it for the cost and can prioritize.

    Your frustration is valid. The ideal process is to use several tools to evaluate each of your site’s performance and go after the middle ground between all of them.

    I’ll be interested in reading what has worked for you in your next writeup.

  6. Hey Jon,

    Great reading your income report. One question. Do you do any affiliate marketing at all from your sites or all incomes are strictly ad revenues. Thanks!

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