Welcome to another edition of the My Money Design monthly niche website update.
For the last 2 years now I’ve been working very hard to develop a collection of sites that will serve as a stream of sustainable income. I’m doing so by treating this blogging effort like a business rather than a hobby; meaning every month I come up with goals and new strategies to try that I anticipate will make next month better than the last.
I feel so fortunate to have discovered the concept of passive income and invested energy into it. All the money I’m making is money that I make OUTSIDE my job. That’s income that I control, not my employer.
2014 capped off as the biggest year for me yet! Together we made more money on the side than I ever have before. Looking back through my updates quite a few of them were over $1,000. That’s pretty incredible!
My biggest hope for 2015 is that I can continue to build on this awesome upward path of prosperity and see revenues of $2,000 or even $3,000 per month.
So before we move on to 2015, let’s take a look back at the last month of 2014.
Niche Website Income Report – December 2014:
Here is my income and expense report for the month:
Notice something? ALL 4 of my niche websites are now in the green – meaning I made back all my expenses and then some profit on top of it!
If you had any doubts or worries about starting your own site and whether you’d just be throwing your money away, let this be an example that within a year you CAN come out ahead (sometimes by a lot!)
Here’s a closer look at my income sources for the month:
- Amazon = $493.85
- Clickbank = $330.94
- Google Adsense = $352.05
- iPage = $0.00
- Personal Capital = $400.00. (If you’d like to make money yourself by being an affiliate, you can sign up here).
- Private Advertising = $0.00
One thing I’d like to point out: This was another month without any income from private advertising.
While I certainly welcome this form of income, I recognized last year that far too much of my income was dependent on it. Therefore, as part of my business strategy, I decided to do something about it and diversify by getting revenue from a number of other places. Now I’m very happy to see a couple hundred dollars coming from 3-4 different places, and this only encourages me to see where I can go with things next.
The takeaway: If you’re disappointed every time you check your email because you were waiting for some faceless advertiser to contact you with a $100 post deal, don’t be. Take control and diversify your blogging income in other ways that fit your site. Though it may take some more effort or even trying things differently, you may find the payout in the end was well worth it!
Amazon is Up, Adsense is Down:
Isn’t it funny how one month things work out one way and then the next month they work out the other?
That’s exactly what we experienced between November and December.
Amazon Earnings Skyrocket!
Back in November I was hoping that later in the month Christmas shopping would take off and I would see the Amazon earnings from my niche site 4 (NS4) pump up significantly. Honestly for me that was what I wanted for Christmas – to finally see some HUGE returns from my Amazon Associates account.
Well … unfortunately I must have been on the naughty list because I was met with some big disappointment. My Amazon earnings were only about $25 for November.
When that happened I decided towards the end of Update 24 that I was ready to focus all my attention on NS1 in an effort to build up my Google Adsense revenue as well as a few other income sources.
As irony would have it, things worked out much differently in December.
Thankfully my Amazon earnings DID in fact finally take off! Like I originally thought, the Christmas present season was huge and people bought a ton of things on Amazon after they visited NS4.
(A funny side story: Amazon’s commission payout is based on a tiered system, meaning if you sell 7 items you get 4%, if you sell 30 items you get 6%, and so on. As luck would have it, I ended December only being 2 items away from making it to the 7% commission tier. Darn!)
Though I realize a lot of other bloggers regularly pull in 4 and 5 figure months with their Amazon accounts (check out these awesome results), I’m pretty proud to have made the couple hundred dollars I made.
Now the ironic part … My Google Adsense earnings tanked!
Why? Well … I’m not quite sure it was anything I did.
Notice below that between November and December I made quite a bit less RPM on my Adsense clicks (especially with NS1).
Perhaps beyond my knowing Google decided to discount advertising during the holiday season, and that resulted in less commissions for me. It’s hard to say because Google works in secret and the affiliates really don’t have any knowledge of what’s going on. Let’s just hope that things go back to normal and we start seeing some +$500 months from this source.
The takeaway: This just goes to show the beauty in relying on several different income sources as opposed to one. Had I only been dependent on just Google Adsense I’d be having a terrible month. But because I’ve got a number of different methods I’m using to make money, things worked out okay and my overall income remained consistent.
Next Steps for NS4:
Before I celebrate too loudly about the progress of NS4 and go pouring more resources into the niche site, I’ve got to remember that the spike in revenue was mostly attributed to seasonal demand and will probably go down next month.
However, that’s not to say that things aren’t going well for NS4. Take a look at how many keywords we’re ranking for now using SEMRush:
So on one hand we know our progress was seasonal, but on the other hand we know the site is improving in all the ways you’d want a website to improve.
So what do we do next? Nothing. For at least the next 2 months I don’t have any plans to do anything new with the site and just see how it handles. If it continues to earn well, then perhaps more energy will be validated. If it goes back on only making a few bucks, then putting our effort in other places will be the smarter move.
Other Next Steps – NS1:
Like last month, I still want to continue to push forward on developing NS1 into a full-fledge authority site.
Why NS1? Notice that despite the decrease in Adsense earnings we also happened to pull in an additional $400 from Personal Capital (and all from one post I might add). If I can continue to build up traffic and boost not only my Adsense but also my Personal Capital earnings as well, then I believe we’ll have a hit!
Things I’m Going to Work On:
Improving old posts. Last month one thing I got an idea to do was to go back to older posts that weren’t getting any traffic (less than 5 views per month) and seeing if I could make them better by updating and improving the quality of the content.
I tried it out on at least 3 posts. Did the technique work?
The results are mixed. From a Google search results standpoint, my updates didn’t seem to have any effect on making them increase in the Google ranks.
But from a readability perspective I feel like the posts are FAR better and contain more valuable information than they used to. Honestly – reading back through some of those old posts, it was easy to see why no one ever read them and why Google ignored them.
I’m not going to say that the writing was bad, but it wasn’t particularly good either. There wasn’t a lot of stand-out quality to the content. I’ve been on a kick lately where I want EVERYTHING I post to be epic. No fluff. I truly feel like the new changes I made and research I put into revising and improving these posts has made them 10x better to read than they were before. So for me, this technique is a win.
Write awesome new posts. Along the same lines of keeping the level of quality up, I’m going to continue to research new low competition keywords using Long Tail Pro and write completely unique material.
I’m not opposed to using hired writers. But for now I’d like to make certain that the new process and structure I’m using for producing content is having the positive results that I’m after.
I Haven’t Forgotten About You – NS2:
With all this attention for the last few months on NS4 and NS1, you probably thought I had completely forgotten about NS2.
To some degree I have shelved any new developments with this niche site. I only added one new post and I’ve got some plans to make minor changes to the website theme. But other than that there really hasn’t been a lot of new things happening.
Expect that to change. Once I get a rhythm down with the content creation for NS1 that I’m certain is working, I plan to simulate a lot of those techniques on NS2. Similar to NS1, I’ve got a few affiliate products I’d like to spend more time on promoting and building up. So things like improving the old content and writing new articles will certainly be things I’ll be trying. BUT I want to make sure that in the new environment of Google that my strategies are truly producing results.
So for now we’ll wait on this one.
Readers – How did your year end as far as blogging revenue and improvements? Does anyone have any new niche website ambitions they plan to act on in 2015?
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net