June 2018 Fat Stacks Blog Income Report

Fat Stacks is back!

Many of you told me you missed the Fat Stacks name.  I did too.  It’s unique.  It gets attention.  It’s a tribute to Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad (he has a line in there about making fat stacks of cash which I love and thus the inspiration for this blog’s name).

Your feedback was great.  I appreciated it.  The straw that broke the camel’s back though, is me being a total dolt when choosing a new domain name.  The thing is, search traffic to this blog plummeted since the change.  I waited and waited, yet traffic got worse and worse.

The problem was I never did my due diligence before settling on a new domain name.  MyPerfectBlog.com turned out to be a previously registered domain and live blog that had a ton of content which shut down at the end of 2014.  It became another website in 2017.  I suspect the domain was penalized.  Alternatively, because it was in a totally different niche, that resulted in ongoing search traffic issues.  I’m not much of an expired domain expert though… but given the consequences, something was causing problems.

Given search traffic is kinda important, it’s back to Fat Stacks.

Time will tell whether reverting to Fatstacksblog.com will resuscitate the traffic.  I hope so, but I’m not out of the woods yet.  It’s back to waiting.

My disaster is a good lesson for all of us.  If you’re registering a new domain for a website, let this be a lesson to you.  Do your due diligence first.  Check it in wayback machine to see whether it was once a different site.  I didn’t buy this from some expired domains provider.  It was available in GoDaddy.  I never thought to check whether it was once upon a time another site.  Amateur hour on my part.

June Income Report

June worked out well.  Traffic and ad revenue grew.  Affiliate commissions were down which is a continuing result of a merchant I promoted extensively going bankrupt.

I found a replacement, but the commission percentage is much smaller so I’m not sure I’ll regain those lost commissions.  I’ll have to see how it goes.

My focus right now is traffic, traffic, and more traffic.  My main approach is going after low competition keywords relevant to my niches and publishing as much content as humanly possible.  Rinse and repeat daily.

A word about how I allocate content expense in the income report below:

I allocate content cost based on content published, not ordered.  Some months I order nothing, other months I spend $4,000 to build up inventory.  I expense it in these reports more consistently because I publish roughly the same amount of content daily.

Traffic

  • Search traffic growing really well.
  • Pinterest traffic stuck in a plateau no matter what I do.
  • Other traffic sources: nothing worth talking about.

What am I doing next?

I’m going to test Instagram for one site to see what happens there.  Now that you can post automatically to Instagram with Tailwind without having to manually post on a mobile device, it won’t take so long.  Plus I can do it in bulk.  I doubt I’ll get much traffic, but who knows, right?

Surprise recent success

I stumbled upon a slew of keyword gems that rank almost immediately.  Actually, I’m being modest.  They rank within hours.  I’m pretty happy about that.  I’m starting five to ten of these types of articles and see how they perform in the long run.  It’s another avenue of easy, lucrative traffic.

Disappointment

Losing a key merchant to bankruptcy hit my bottom line hard (to the tune of $3K per month).  The commission was 25%.  The replacement merchant commission is 5%.  You do the math.  I’m not recovering that lost income.  I had a ton of content promoting the bankrupt merchant so it’s a big hit.

AWeber Annoyance

With a good newsletter, I can generate $30 from ad revenue.  Not life changing revenue, but times that by 30 days and it’s almost $1K.  Do it twice per day, it’s pretty good.  The problem is it takes a while to create nice looking newsletters in AWeber.  I’m particular about which posts to promote and formatting.

My annoyance is that AWeber doesn’t make it possible to paste a URL in the text field and it auto-populates the post title, featured image and text snippet like you can do with Facebook or in the WP editor.  It would be so great if I could copy and paste 2 to 5 URLs and have a newsletter ready to go.  I could create 2 per day in minutes, which would totally worth it.

The AWeber RSS feed isn’t up to my standards because the templates are circa 2006.  Plus, it lacks control.  Some posts I don’t want to include.

So, either I spend 30 minutes per day making nice newsletters or forego $30 to $50 per day.  Tough call right now.

New software I’m liking

When I first heard of Grammarly, I never thought I’d use it.  It turns out with VAs posting content, Grammarly is super useful. It makes it easy for VAs to perform final edits to content very quickly.  I’m a convert.  Maybe, just maybe the drivel around here will improve.

The income report numbers (USD)

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER ABOUT THIS INCOME REPORT:

My income reports pertain to two niche sites I publish.  One is a broad-niche, wide appeal type of site monetized with display ads and affiliate offers.  The other site is a very focused niche site serving a particular business community.  It’s monetized solely with affiliate offers via an extensive email newsletter.  

This income report does NOT include any revenue or expenses pertaining to MyPerfectBlog.com or a few other niche sites I own (one of which is growing fast which I’m excited about).  

The point of these income reports is to demonstrate that niche sites can be profitable and a good business.  They’re also popular articles which helps get more traffic to this site.

Revenue

Niche Site #1: Broad-Appeal Niche Site (B2C):

  • Display ad revenue:  $22,778
  • Affiliate commission revenue:  $3,550
  • Total revenue niche site #1:  $26,328

Niche Site #2: Narrow Niche Site (B2B):

  • Affiliate Revenue:  $4,820

Total revenue for both sites:  $30,897 (May 2018 = $30,525)

Expenses

I do my best to attribute a portion of my overall expenses applicable to the 2 sites reported on in this income report.

  • Content: $1,700 (approximately)
  • Hosting: $750
  • VA’s: $1,700
  • Software (AWeber etc.): $700 (my overall software expense is a bit higher than this, so I approximate the cost applicable to the two sites in this income report).

Total expenses:  $4,850 (May = $4,850)

Net Income

Net Income for the 2 niche sites:  $26,047 USD (May = $25,675)



What do you think? Leave a comment!

  • Glad to see you stuck with your brand – Fat Stacks always resonated with me. Nice to see an income report update too. You still paying for traffic, or are you purely focused on organic content now that Facebook Ads are so expensive?

    Cheers,

    Jason WIlson

    • Hey Jason,

      thanks for FatStacks feedback. It’s all organic traffic these days except for the odd boost. FB ads too expensive right now although I have some ideas for resuming. I prefer to focus on organic. I love the residual earnings effect from it and therefore my current MO is lots of content targeting low comp keywords.

    • Thanks Presley. I’m glad to have it back. Looks like SEO traffic returning too, so it goes to show how using a penalized domain can wreak havoc. My mistake for sure and something I’ll be diligent about in the future. The weird thing was when I registered it there was no indication it was a site in a previous life. It seemed like a new registration, but then I didn’t read any fine print.

  • Fat Stacks is great! I thought the other name was way too generic. Fat Stacks is memorable and fun. Love your content Jon!

  • I really enjoy the FatStackBlog brand. The only change that makes sense would be FatStacks.com or something like that. Similar to what Facebook did when they removed “the” from their domain years ago.

    Your content is honest and extremely useful. Plus, there is no such thing as a perfect blog. Perfect is boring. Unique and interesting is way better than striving for perfection because everything has flaws.

    • Thanks Tarik,

      I’d love to get rid of “blog” from the domain but it’s not available. I’d probably have to spend a fortune for fatstacks.com and that’s assuming it’s for sale. I suppose for the right price it’s available, but I’m not interested in spending a fortune for a domain.

  • Its good to see you changed the name back.

    Its definitely more “manly” than the other one and gives a better description of what the blog is about in my opinion.

  • Well, just like you, I’ve seen a decline in my website traffic lately.
    BTW this is the first time I’m seeing a blogger earning more from the display ads as compared to the affiliate commissions.
    I thought that the EPC of affiliate offers is much higher than the display ads. Isn’t it?

    • RPM is typically higher with affiliate promotions for the right keywords. I love monetizing with AdSense because I can monetize non-commercial intent content that can get a lot of traffic.

  • Hi Jon,
    I have just found your blog, can I suggest that you update the links in your resources page as most come back with errors “cannot find page”. Also the landing page after signing up sends a 404 error as well. Thanks.

    • Sorry about all the problems Greg. I changed domains and am still working on fixing that fiasco. This blog is a side project for me and so I don’t get as much time for it as I’d like.

  • I follow your blog for 2-3 years. I love that you decided to stick with FatStacks name!
    It would also be interesting to know how much $$ FatStackblog is making with all the courses, books and coaching. Just for the sake of some inspiration for those who are planning to share their knowledge in online business and create something similar to FatStacks.