Another decent month but not without problems.
Relative to the last couple of years, June was fantastic.
Compared to last month, revenue and traffic were down.
June Google update outcome
The Google update released in early June reduced traffic to my two highest traffic sites by around 15% to 18%. One site, with much less traffic, grew 50%. That increase didn’t come close to making up for the revenue from all the lost traffic.
Drops, plateaus and increases are par for the course in this business. I never like losing traffic but anything under 20% from an algo update isn’t terrible. It’s within a normal range of traffic adjustments from updates. All sites get knocked down a peg or two eventually. I’ve had a heckuva run-up for over a year so it’s not bad.
Speaking of increases, toward the end of June, search traffic surged upward almost to pre-update levels to the sites that lost traffic. Other sites also increased. It’s too early at this stage to know how whatever is going on will shake up.
New Keyword Research Tool
In June I stumbled on Keyword Chef. Immediately I learned it offers long tail keyword research capabilities other tools I use don’t so I’ve rolled into my keyword research set of software.
I like that I only pay for what I use instead of committed to a monthly subscription.
The most powerful feature is the ability to insert wildcards in the middle or at the beginning of a search phrases. This is a very powerful way to discover all kinds of tough-to-find long tails.
This really ticked me off
These types of losses drive me nuts because I don’t pay for premium plugins to cause these types of problems.
I’ve since deactivated WP Rocket since it’s conflicting with something else. My host offers good caching so I think I can do fine without WP Rocket.
Pinterest traffic is suffering
Pinterest traffic continues to drop bit by bit. It’s been doing this for a few months now. I’m still getting around 170K monthly visitors, but that’s down quite a bit from the 300K peak 6 to 12 months ago.
I’m staying the course with Pinterest because Pinterest is constantly making adjustments. This could just as quickly change to Pinterest traffic growth. I’ve read similar happenings from other Pinterest users.
Increased content investment
I spent a ton of time doing keyword research for several sites and invested more than usual in new content for all sites. I’ve figured out an approach for Site 3, which has been stagnant for years (it’s a site I bought years ago). It’s growing again. I’m adding content almost daily. I hope, after 6 years of kicking it along, I’m onto something.
I also finally figured out an approach for Site 6. I was going to write that one off ever since I moved most of the content to site 9. It has a DR 19 so it has value and potential. Accordingly, I’m pushing out content for that site as well.
Site 11, which is a fairly new site and built with an Odys aged domain, is doing very, very well. Site 11 content budget is the highest of all sites including site 1. I believe it has huge potential. AdThrive ads should be live within a week or two which will help assess what kind of earning potential it has.
Sites 1 and 9 (the two biggest earners) were business as usual. I’ve been pretty consistent with how much content is added to these two sites each month.
Site 10 received another influx of content as well. This is a side site I’m building with a buddy. He helps finance content. More importantly, now that it’s earning $500 to $650 per month, it can finance its own content. It’s had some good growth in recent months.
Now that I have a decent long-term game plan for sites 3 and 6, I’m pretty excited about the current portfolio. All sites are primed for growth all having a decent DR which are as follows:
- Site 1: 73
- Site 3: 54
- Site 6: 19
- Site 9: 36
- Site 10: 7
- Site 11: 42
- Cyclebaron: 5
Not that DR is the be-all and end-all, but it’s part of the growth equation. GENERALLY, the higher the DR, the easier it is to rank for keywords.
Otherwise, it was business as usual
I didn’t change anything as a result of losing some traffic from the Google update. I don’t believe there’s anything bad or wrong with my sites … I just ended up on the losing side. I’ve gone through enough updates to realize all that traffic may likely return plus some in future updates.
Business as usual includes doing plenty of keyword research for all sites, writing some articles for some sites, improving workflows and overall managing multiple sites.
One new addition was Keyword Chef which is now a mainstay in my keyword research. I love KC in that I can really drill down for those low competition keywords in ways that Ahrefs, Keywordshitter and AnswerSocrates can’t.
The Usual Disclaimer
This income report only includes revenue/expenses for some of my niche sites. It does NOT include Fat Stacks revenue/expenses. I also have other sites not included. The income reports are merely for illustrative purposes. Each niche site is associated with a number that’s consistently used in each income report in case you wish to track them. Missing sites, such as sites 2, 4, 5, 7, and 8 were sold.
Missing sites below were sold. All figures are in USD.
- Niche Site 1: $98,574
- Niche Site 3: $588
- Niche Site 6: $100
- Niche Site 8 (Cyclebaron.com): $105
- Niche Site 9 : $2,726
- Niche Site 10: $637
- Niche Site 11: $0 (launched in March 2021 – aged domain experiment – obtained from Odys Global)
Total Revenue from 6 sites: $102,730
You can read about all niche sites here.
The lion’s share of revenue is from display ads.
- Rocket.net hosting (not to be confused with WP Rocket caching plugin): $1,414
- Bluehost hosting (for cyclebaron.com): $5
- VAs: $5,800
- Loom: $10
- Zamzar: $9
- Ahrefs: $179
- Shutterstock photos: $600
- Quickbooks: $10
- Jotform: $40
- Tailwind: $120
- MarketMuse: $1,000
- MeetEdgar: $50
- Grammarly: $45
- Canva: $48
- Skyscraper link building service with Niche Website Builders for Site 9: $2,000
- Buzzsprout: $12 (this is the podcast hosting platform I use for niche site 1 podcast).
- Adobe Spark: $20
- ConvertKit: $219
- Screenmeter: $10
- Keyword Chef: $250
Total expenses for niche sites: $11,821
Net Income: $90,909
Content investment: $30,166
Content sources broken down as follows:
- WriterAccess: $13,100
- In-House Writers: $4,546
- Textbroker: $6,000
- Fiverr: $1,850
- Portfolio Manager (In-House): $4,170
- WriterAccess Content Manager: $500
Content is distributed across 5 niche blogs.
Net income after content investment: $60,743
A few months ago I hired someone to take over much of what I’ve been doing to manage my sites. It’s been working out very well. I can focus on new projects and Fat Stacks. As I get new projects off the ground and plugged into the workflow process, I hand them off to him.
Using Textbroker again
I started ordering from Textbroker again in volume because for a couple sites, the content concept and requirements is very, very simple. I’ve had to request revisions regularly but when the content is good, it’s quite good. It takes a little time to manage but it costs less.
I’m relying more and more on my Textbroker favorites list and continue blocking writers who do a poor job. Over time it should shape up to be a decent platform for simple content.
I explain here why I extract content costs from expenses.
If you’re interested in learning what I do in detail, grab my entire bundle of courses here.
Since the lion’s share of revenue is from AdThrive, I’ll just include two AdThrive screenshots.
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.
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.