June will be the best month probably for a little while. Historically, my overall traffic and revenue per 1,000 visitors drops a bit in Summer and Fall. It’s been a great run up since January and now I brace for a slight slide each month.
I’ve been busy making some changes. Here they are:
Better image optimization (WebP format)
In early July I started running ShortPixel on all my niche sites to further optimize every image and more importantly, convert them to WebP format (something I’ve been meaning to do for a couple of months). While there are many little things I can do to speed up my sites, optimizing images as much as possible is probably the number one thing I can do. I’m using ShortPixel to optimize all existing images as well as newly uploaded images.
Launched a controversial opinion column on one niche site
Another considerable development is I started an opinion column on my biggest niche site. The articles are controversial within the niche. While not entirely offensive, they are snarky, biting, fun and entertaining. For these articles, I hired a very, very good writer. I’m currently publishing two per week. They’re expensive so I’m limited to that. I don’t target keywords. Instead, the aim is to elevate the site with interesting, controversial content. I also publish these articles entirely in the site’s newsletter.
I found this exceptional writer on Writer Access. Again, she’s not cheap. Each article cost hundreds of dollars. Both the writer and I come up with topics. I consider myself fortunate for finding this writer. I “auditioned” 7 writers paying top dollar. The writer I hired was by far the best. It wasn’t close. While she’s expensive, she’s worth it with respect to quality. She’s a far better writer than me; IMO she’s one of the best writers I’ve read online (especially in the niche).
I’m not suggesting you go this high-brow unless you write it yourself or you are very well funded. This particular site earns very well so I can afford to invest in such expensive content.
Am I still using my lower-cost writing agency?
Yes, I’m still using this writing service for the dry, informative content I routinely publish. It’s the bread and butter stuff I’ve been publishing for years.
Switched to OptinMonster and Leadpages (huge improvement)
For the sites where I have email newsletters, I switched from Thrive Leads for optin forms to OptinMonster forms. OM costs a lot more, but they aren’t buggy, I can do as many split tests at one time as I like and so far it seems to work better (opt in rates improved quite a bit). I also switched from Thrive Architect landing pages to Leadpages for the same reasons (less buggy).
Incorporated Clearscope into content workflow
One final big development in June was incorporating Clearscope content analysis into my content production workflow. The best part is CDP writing service agreed to have their writers use Clearscope on their end so I don’t have to do it. They told me they like it because it helps them structure content and write more thorough content.
Time for June’s numbers…
The usual monthly DISCLAIMER: This income report does NOT include revenue or expenses from. I only include revenue and expenses from my other sites. It’s not helpful for you for me to tell you how much I make telling you how much I make.
All figures are in USD.
- Niche Site 1 Revenue: $42,725
- Niche Site 2 Revenue: $5,814
- Niche Site 3 Revenue: $2,456
- Niche Site 4 Revenue: $625
- Niche Site 5 Revenue: $41
- Niche Site 6 Revenue: $29
- Niche Site 7 Revenue: $17
While my content orders are growing, I’m allocating the lion’s share of that content to my top 4 niche sites. The bottom 3 don’t get much content at all – kind of kicking them along for now.
Total Revenue all 7 sites: $51,706 (May 2019 revenue was: $50,869)
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.
- Kinsta hosting: $1,706
- Amazon AWS (still host some images on this): $166
- AWeber: $536
- VAs: $3,130
- Onlinejobs.ph: $69 (hired more VAs)
- Cloudflare: $23
- Techsmith (Jing storage): $8
- Ahrefs: $179
- Shutterstock photos: $800
- istockphoto: $299
- Quickbooks: $10
- Jotform: $40
- Tailwind: $84
- MeetEdgar: $50
- Elink.io: $15
- Grammarly: $45
- OptinMonster: $99
- LeadPages: $79
- Clearscope: $480
Total expenses for 7 niche sites: $7,818
Net Income: $43,888 USD
Content investment in June 2019
I got a little carried away with content orders in June. Hiring a new columnist plus placing a huge CDP order ended up costing probably more than I’ve ever invested in content. Here’s the breakdown:
- Content Development Pros: $11,784
- Writer Access: $7,849
- Textbroker: $300 (I use Textbroker when I need something specific in a day or two).
Total content investment for June 2019: $19,933
The plus side is my content cost will be minimal in August (I’ve spent quite a bit in July so far).
Net income after content investment: $23,955 USD
I explain here why I extract content cost from expenses.
Here’s are a few screenshots that formed a significant part of my ad revenue in June 2019:
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.