Now that the Black Friday smoke has cleared, it’s time to tally up the windfall.
I trust you all enjoyed some above-average ad revenue and/or affiliate commish in November.
I say we implement a Black Friday every month. Wouldn’t that be great?
While November was good, it wasn’t perfect.
Table of Contents
- Podcast Version
- Video Version
- I Suffered a 15% traffic drop from the November 2019 Update (OUCH!)
- Paid traffic experiment a total bust
- Nevertheless, overall ad revenue was way up (thanks to November being November and Ezoic)
- Expenses were also waaaay up
- It’s time to diversify… again
- Game Plan = Invest in Products for Buyer Intent Content
- My usual disclaimer
- Revenue for 7 niche sites I own (November)
- Expenses for all niche sites
- Content investment in September 2019
- Proof-is-in-the-pudding screenshot
Let’s start with the bad news.
I Suffered a 15% traffic drop from the November 2019 Update (OUCH!)
That dang Google. The Big G giveth plenty with the one hand and taketh with the other.
All I know is I’m down 15%.
December traffic will be worse. It’s always bad for me. I’m bracing.
What am I doing about the traffic drop?
There’s not much I can do other than lift my head high, put my chin up and carry on. I’m ordering higher quality content from WriterAccess. I’m also re-inspired to diversify my web holdings. It’s time to invest time and money in my other sites. Being so dependent on one site isn’t a great position to be in. More on this below.
The plus side is it’s only a 15% drop. It could be worse.
Paid traffic experiment a total bust
With ad revenue way up I did my annual paid traffic testing to see if I could at least break even and perhaps make a few bucks buying quality traffic.
Sadly, nothing worked. I broke even on a few campaigns and even eked out small profits on some campaigns but I couldn’t scale it up. Given it’s a ton of horrendously boring work to launch endless ad campaigns I shut it down after dropping a few thou.
Nevertheless, overall ad revenue was way up (thanks to November being November and Ezoic)
Despite a traffic drop, overall ad revenue was waaaaay up in November thanks to it being November and Ezoic.
November is probably the highest ad CPM month of the year for many sites thanks to Black Friday and the lead up to Christmas. Advertisers spend like crazy so we publishers earn handsomely. I had some epic days. I’m gonna miss them as I always do once they pass.
November was also the first full month all my ad-supported sites were on Ezoic.
Ezoic did not disappoint.
EPMVs and overall ad revenue hit the highest amounts for many of my sites. Some of my babies are doing better than other. That said, Site #3 dipped downward.
Expenses were also waaaay up
Below it’ll appear my ad revenue exploded, and while it increased nicely, there is a significant ($9,140) expense attached to it. This expense is the fee I paid to Ezoic for Premium Ads.
Fortunately, I earned more from premium ads than it cost me, but it’s not quite the windfall that it seems.
I wrote all about Ezoic’s Premium Ad program here.
It’s time to diversify… again
The 15% traffic haircut spurred me to reconsider diversifying by growing my other websites.
I go back and forth on this.
Should I focus on one or two sites and max them out OR should I spread resources around to diversify?
For the last several months, I’ve focused on two sites (Fatstacks being one of them).
While I would prefer to focus on one or two sites, it may not be the smartest move. It’s time to grow my other sites.
However, I’m going about my other sites differently.
Instead of publishing reams of content, I’m being more methodical focusing on content that stands a better chance of earning more. Much of it involves affiliate marketing.
I have a game plan.
Game Plan = Invest in Products for Buyer Intent Content
Because I want to focus on high-earning content with affiliate links, I need to publish some fantastic product-centric content. This means buying products, which I did to the tune of over $4,000 on Good Friday. Talk about timely. I developed this plan just as Black Friday rolled around so I bought a pile of stuff for a couple niche sites at huge discounts. I dropped another $1,000 on Cyber Monday (will be a December expense).
As an aside, I only title content a “review” if I’ve used a product. This means if I’m going down the affiliate review road and want to cover a product line extensively, I need to buy a collection of the products, which is what I did. Fortunately, I tend to only do these series on products I like and use.
My game plan:
Here it is site by site:
Site 1: Carry on as-is (focus on ad monetization instead of affiliate revenue), but invest in better quality content, primarily written by WriterAccess.
Site 2: Expand the B2B promotions. I’ve let this sucker site for a long time. It’s time to inject some more content and promotions into this one. I was reluctant to pump more into this site because my main affiliate merchant cut my commission from 35% to 20%. I was severely ticked off by this. More to the point I thought maybe they’d continue chipping away at the commission until it was history. However, the commission holds steady at 20%, which is an industry norm. This means I can somewhat safely ramp up promotion with more content.
Site 3: Leave as-is. I still don’t know what the best approach with this site is. It’s a testing site that earns okay but I still don’t have a definitive plan.
Site 4: I’m going big on this site. It’s growing nicely. Earns decent EPMVs and has big potential for both B2B and B2C audiences. Some of the products I bought will be featured and reviewed on this site.
Site 5: I’m going to publish about 10 affiliate promotion articles and see how that does. It won’t be a huge earner, but hopefully I can get a little lift-off with this and then leave it more or less alone.
Site 6: I have big plans for this site. It’s in a niche that I’m interested in so it’s time to roll up my sleeves and get to work. I have a unique angle for the product-centric content that I hope will work. The best part is due to my interest in the niche combined with my actual extensive use of almost all the products, I should be able to publish some of the best content online in this niche. It will take time to grow any kind of authority, but I intend to be in it for the long haul. It’s a fast trending niche so growth potential is good.
Site 7: Leaving alone for now.
I’m not a big fan of going toe-to-toe with other established sites. I have and do on occasion, but if I can find a way to parry the competition and make money, I do that.
My usual disclaimer
In addition to the “this income report is littered with affiliate links” disclaimer I also want to disclaim and disclose that this income report does NOT include any revenue or expenses pertaining to Fatstacksblog.com. In other words, none of the Niche Sites set out below is Fatstacksblog.com. They are all other sites I own.
As I state each month, it would be awfully odd for me to report income from the very site that reports income. The only take-away there is that you should start a “how to blog and make money” site, which is not my intention. My intention with income reports is to show you that all kinds of sites in all kinds of niches can be a good business.
I also don’t discuss SEO as I do it on Fatstacksblog.com unless I do on Fatstacks what I do on my other niche sites which then serves as a visual example. Too many SEO bloggers tout their SEO prowess solely by showcasing SEO results from the very blog that talks about SEO. On the surface this might seem fine, but the fact is SEO blogs and “how to blog” sites are very different beasts from most other niche sites which renders much of the info not very relevant and in some cases downright dangerous. That’s my 2 cents’.
Onto the numbers…
Revenue for 7 niche sites I own (November)
Click here to learn more about each niche site featured in my income reports.
All figures are in USD (which is very good for Canucks like yours truly except with the US Fed dropping interest rates, the CAD is getting stronger against the USD which is no good).
- Niche Site 1 Revenue: $54,713 (mostly display ad revenue, some affiliate revenue)
- Niche Site 2 Revenue: $5,591 (mostly affiliate commission revenue)
- Niche Site 3 Revenue: $2,679 (mostly display ad revenue, some affiliate revenue)
- Niche Site 4 Revenue: $1,082 (mostly display ad revenue, some affiliate revenue)
- Niche Site 5 Revenue: $46 (display ad revenue only)
- Niche Site 6 Revenue: $41 (display ad revenue only)
- Niche Site 7 Revenue: $59 (display ad revenue only)
Total Revenue all 7 sites: $64,211 (October revenue was: $46,821)
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.
- Ezoic Premium Ad Program Fees: $9,140
- Kinsta hosting: $1,200: Ever since I ran most of the images on my site through Shortpixel, I’ve cut my monthly hosting by over $500. Talk about huge savings.
- Amazon AWS (still host some images on this): $58
- VAs: $3,250
- Cloudflare: $23
- Techsmith (Jing storage): $8
- Ahrefs: $179
- Shutterstock photos: $433
- Quickbooks: $10
- Jotform: $40
- Tailwind: $84
- MeetEdgar: $50
- Elink.io: $15
- Grammarly: $45
- LeadPages: $79
- OptinMonster: $99
- Mailchimp: $99 (I severely scrubbed my Niche Site 1 email list so now the Mailchimp cost is nice and low).
- Paid ads: 2,809
Total expenses for 7 niche sites: $17,621
Net Income: $46,590 (October was $38,158)
Content investment in September 2019
I continue to pour money into content, including products for product reviews:
- WriterAccess: $6,000
- In-House writers: $2,500
- Product purchases for product reviews: $4,300
Total content investment for November 2019: $12,800
Net income after content investment: $33,790 USD
I explain here why I extract content costs from expenses.
Since most revenue was from Ezoic and Video ad provider, here they are:
Affiliate check (Site #2 – Quarterly Payment)
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.