Table of Contents
January was both good and bad. Traffic for almost all sites increased considerably. Aggregate traffic across all 7 sites was 33% higher than December and 20% higher than November.
Yet, as you’ll see below revenue dropped compared to both months.
I shouldn’t be surprised. Ad spending in November and December is high. With the new year comes new advertising budgets that take time to get established. Hence, January RPMs were in the gutter.
On balance, I prefer traffic growth with lower RPMs because that means my sites are growing. RPMs will rise in the coming months. Higher traffic will result in more revenue for the year.
I also published much more content in January with my new content service. The service does everything including adding content to existing articles, getting images and all formatting so my involvement is minimal. I suspect my content output will continue being high for the next several months.
The flip side of publishing more content is my content investment rose as well. I don’t mind all that much, but paying for content is like buying inventory. It ties up cash and you don’t know when it’ll start paying for itself and how much profit it will deliver.
I’ve developed systems for pretty much everything and they’re working more or less. I’m staying the course and trust what I’m doing will continue growing my sites. I don’t expect all 7 niche sites to be successful, but if a few are, that’ll more than pay for the losers.
Here are the numbers.
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.
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.
- 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 marketing tips for realtors blog.
- Hybrid B2C and B2B = the website offers content for both end users (consumers) and related business crowd.
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): $23,817 (this is my #1 ad network and you can learn more about the high-performing video ad unit I use here).
- Affiliate revenue: $2,835
Total revenue: $26,652
Site 2 is a 6-year-old B2B (Trade Rag) niche blog that I’ve expanded into also publishing content for end-consumers. The traffic growth so far has been very good.
- Display Ad revenue (all ad networks): $65
- Affiliate revenue: $5,387
Total revenue: $5,452
Site 3 is a very broad-niched B2C site. I bought this site several years ago and started building it up in mid-2018.
- Display Ad revenue (all ad networks): $1,164
- Affiliate revenue: $207
Total revenue: $1,371
It’s been a bit more than 1 year since I started building this B2C site in earnest. I’ve been lukewarm about this site, but traffic is growing which is a good sign. I’d love for this site to take off because it’s in a niche where the traffic potential is millions per month. Of course, there’s stiff competition to contend with as well.
- Display Ad revenue (all ad networks): $342
- Affiliate revenue: $22
Total revenue: $364
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.
- Display Ad revenue (all ad networks): $35
- Affiliate revenue: $0
Total revenue: $35
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.
- Display Ad revenue (all ad networks): $21
- Affiliate revenue: $0
Total revenue: $21
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): $.01 (not exactly much to write home about)
- Affiliate revenue: $0
Total revenue: $.01
Total Revenue all 7 sites: $33,896
Expenses for all sites (except Fatstacksblog.com)
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. I did deduct a small portion of expenses that are absorbed by Fatstacksblog.com such as hosting, AWeber and Ahrefs.
I removed all email subscribers for two reasons. First, it wasn’t earning much. Second, I’m testing to see if affiliate revenue increases by removing the optin requirement for one of my incentives. I kept the list so I can fire it up again in the future. However, for the time being, this eliminates a $300 AWeber cost from my expenses.
- Kinsta hosting: $1,150
- Amazon AWS (still host some images on this): $209
- AWeber: $0 (approximate pro-rated amount since Fat Stacks uses AWeber extensively).
- VA (hired from OnlineJobs.ph): $640
- Cloudflare: $23
- Cookiebot (GDPR software): $42
- Techsmith (Jing storage): $8
- Ahrefs: $89
- Shutterstock photos: $750
- istockphoto: $299
- Quickbooks: $10
- A/B Rankings: $179
- Jotform: $20
- Tailwind: $60 (I pay annually for Tailwind and failed to include it on past income reports).
Total expenses for 7 niche sites: $3,539
Net Income: $30,357 USD
Content investment in January 2019
I was able to ramp up content output pretty well in January with my content providers. The cost per article rose a bit due to also paying for full formatting and image acquisition.
Not all articles are priced the same. I pay a lot for some (lengthy, higher quality) and less for others. I also wrote some of the articles myself.
Here’s my content investment and number of articles published for January 2019.
- Site 1 content investment: $3,225 / 43 articles
- Site 2 content investment: $430 / 10 articles
- Site 3 content investment: $1,419 / 38 articles
- Site 4 content investment: $430 / 6 articles
- Site 5 content investment: $400 / 4 articles
- Site 6 content investment: $129 / 8 articles
- Site 7 content investment: $155 / 6 articles
Total content investment and output: $6,188 / 147 articles (4.7 per day).
Net income after content investment: $24,169 USD
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
Improve older content
Now that I don’t have to spend nearly as much time getting content published, I’m investing more time in improving older articles. I’m focusing on making the articles as good as possible and working on improving affiliate promotions on high-traffic pages with some buyer intent.
My approach to improving old content is to focus on articles that are ranking well (bottom of page 1 and on page 2) but could move up higher in the search listings with improvement. I’m also cherry picking content that has low traffic but good potential if improved.
Since November, my Pinterest traffic has grown very nicely. It dropped and then plateaued in late Summer and through the Fall. Now it’s on the rise again with minimal effort. That means I’m investing a tad more time into Pinterest. Actually, managing Pinterest and Instagram is pretty easy with Tailwind, which pretty much automates everything.
Test new article concepts
I do keyword research weekly, always looking for new opportunities. As I find new keywords, I test new article concepts. I’ll continue doing this as much as possible over the next few months.
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.