October 2019 was surprisingly good for me despite putting on 5 pounds. When it’s cold I don’t move around outside as much opting instead to sit many hours in the sauna.
Both website traffic and ad revenue RPMs were up which is unusual for Fall. Come to think of it, seldom do both traffic and RPMs go up at the same time.
I made some big changes in October as well. I’ll kick off the income report with the changes, followed by revenue, expenses and finally the proof-is-in-the-pudding screenshots.
Listen to the Podcast Version
Here’s the podcast version where I also answer questions from email readers about this income report.
Watch the Income Report Video
Switched to Ezoic
In September I moved two of my mid-sized sites to Ezoic (see my recently updated Ezoic case study and review here). The results were good so in October I moved all my sites to Ezoic including my biggest site. Results so far are excellent despite losing a full day of revenue due to the delay in moving all the ads etc.
I was also invited into the Ezoic premium program, which I accepted. In a nutshell the Ezoic premium program charges fees for higher earning ads. So far revenue from higher-earning ads exceeds the cost of the program, which means I profited nicely from a click of the button.
Moreover, the cost for the Premium program is Ezoic’s only cost. There is no other revenue share or any other cost to me. At first the concept of paying a fee for better ads didn’t sit well with me but now I like it because now I know what percentage of my total revenue Ezoic is receiving as its fee.
It’s been a long time since I made a major ad provider change. However, I do this every year or two so it’s not an unusual move. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Tag, you’re it
October 2019 is the month I’ll forever remember as the month I madly tagged 3,500 posts. I never tagged posts before but decided it was high-time to implement a planned tagging scheme. I can’t say it was fun. The worst part is there’s a chance I’ll do more harm than good.
You don’t really care about all the stuff I did in October, right? I’ll spare you another diatribe – I wrote about my tagging project here where you can get all the details.
You want the numbers. Maybe you’re rooting for my numbers to go up or you have a case of schadenfreude and hope numbers go down. Most likely you don’t care either way and merely want to learn something to help your biz.
If you’ve read my income reports before, you know I have a disclaimer which explains that my income reports do NOT include income from Fatstacks. I have never revealed, nor do I plan to reveal income from Fatstacks. In fact, I make a point of avoiding using Fatstacks as an example in most content.
Why is that Jon?
The reason Fatstacks is not part of the income report equation and seldom used as a case study site is I think it’s odd when bloggers publish income reports based on income from the very site that they write about how to make money online.
The message becomes “if you want to make money online, start a blog on how to make money online.” In fact, many people do kick off their first niche as a “how to make money online” blog without ever making a nickel online.
Same with SEO blogs. I’m not talking about SEO agency owners who blog about their “in-the-trenches” experience with client sites or prolific niche site publishers who write about ranking their niche sites.
I’m talking about SEO blogs where all the proof and case studies stem from the same blog. The message similarly becomes “the secret to ranking and banking is to rank an SEO blog.” All the info is geared toward ranking an SEO blog – not other sites.
Accordingly, my practice is to keep Fat Stacks out of the equation entirely.
Here are the numbers for October 2019.
Revenue for 7 niche sites I own (October)
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: $37,241 (mostly display ad revenue, some affiliate revenue)
- Niche Site 2 Revenue: $5,562 (mostly affiliate commission revenue)
- Niche Site 3 Revenue: $2,718 (mostly display ad revenue, some affiliate revenue)
- Niche Site 4 Revenue: $1,226 (mostly display ad revenue, some affiliate revenue)
- Niche Site 5 Revenue: $32 (display ad revenue only)
- Niche Site 6 Revenue: $19 (display ad revenue only)
- Niche Site 7 Revenue: $23 (display ad revenue only)
Total Revenue all 7 sites: $46,821 (September revenue was: $42,584)
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: $1,200: 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): $95
- VAs: $2,788
- 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: $388 Remember I freaked out when AWeber sent me a warning about too many complaints for one of my niche sites? I deleted that list from AWeber and put email marketing on hold for that site. After a month or two, I decided I’d put that list on another email provider (Mailchimp) so that the Fat Stacks list isn’t put at risk. I’m not sure how long I’ll run the Mailchimp list but will do so for now.
- Onlinejobs.ph: $69 (hired another full time VA).
- Amazon products for product reviews: $420 (I’ve been buying quite a few products for testing and reviews for niche sites lately).
- Ezoic Premium Fees: $1,438
Total expenses for 7 niche sites: $8,663
Net Income: $38,158 (September was $37,063)
Content investment in September 2019
After a couple of months of not investing much into new content, it was time to ramp it up again.
Total content investment for August 2019: $8,050
Net income after content investment: $30,109 USD
I explain here why I extract content cost from expenses.
Here are a few screenshots that formed a significant part of my ad revenue in October 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.