Since 2013 I’ve been trying to take my hobby of blogging and really turn it into something of a long-term, stable. My ultimate goal is for the niche sites I create to generate several streams of positive passive income that will continue to roll in no matter whether I’m working, sleeping, or whatever I’m up to.
I consider all the extra income I make to be a huge blessing because its money that I made outside my job and beyond the budget we’ve set for our family. Plus – it’s a lot of fun to see how far I can take this entrepreneurial effort and see where it goes.
Unfortunately January started off with some pretty big delays due to my BIG recent health news. But what’s awesome is that despite hardly having any time to put into my sites they still managed to break four-figures this month. Now that’s passive income!
With that said, here’s where things stand and what I plan to do next.
Niche Website Income Report – January 2015:
Here is my income and expense report for the month:
Here’s a closer look at my income sources for the month:
- Amazon = $255.18
- Clickbank = $233.79
- Google Adsense = $461.25
- iPage = $105.00
- Personal Capital = $100.00. (If you’d like to make money yourself by being an affiliate, you can sign up here).
- Private Advertising = $0.00
Notice this was another month where none of my income came from private advertising. While I would certainly welcome it, I point this out to help inspire other bloggers that you CAN make money beyond people emailing you with offers for sponsored posts or link sales.
Hardly anything to report here. My only expense was a domain renewal.
Earnings with Amazon Are Still Good!
One of the biggest things I was very interested in seeing this month was whether or not niche site 4 (NS4) (my music related site) was going to continue to make any money.
In our last update, I reported a phenomenal month of Amazon commissions (almost $500 for the month); that was the biggest haul for the site to date! This was not only due not only to the upswing in people buying things online due to the Christmas season, but it was also likely due to a lot of improvements I made to the website itself to improve such things as more content, better targeted keywords, higher rankings, etc.
So was December just a flash in the pan for NS4?
I’m happy to report a very fortunate no! Although we didn’t experience quite the same level of sales conversions, I was happy to see visitors in January still clicking and buying my recommendations, resulting in over half of my December commissions ($255).
And all this despite doing absolutely nothing with the site in January! What this tells me is that the site is doing an okay job standing on its own two legs and existing beyond being just sort of seasonal outlier.
What I’d like to do going forward is to monitor the site for at least another month and see how it continues to generate earnings for another month. If it does well again then that’s all the business case I need to re-invest some of those earnings towards producing more pages of content. In the blogging world, more valuable content = better chances for your website to be found in the search engines = higher earning potential!
To be honest I’m already pretty optimistic about the direction of NS4 and will likely spend some time with Long Tail Pro researching some good new low competition keywords that will serve as the basis for new articles.
Testing New Content Creation for NS1:
Another of the goals I set out to do last month was to build up my biggest niche site, NS1 (my retirement related site), to up and over +100 posts. I really would like to see if I can grow it into a true authority website.
Unfortunately like I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I didn’t get much opportunity this month to work on things quite as much as I wanted to due to my health problems. But even while I was in the hospital I did find the time to write at least one or two new posts.
First off I’d like to point out that I’m obstinately NOT using freelance writers for these new posts yet because I’m using this experience as an exercise. I’m trying to re-acquaint myself with works and what doesn’t when it comes to creating really great content, and I’m not afraid to take my time finding it out.
If you follow SEO news at all then you probably already know that Google has made a lot of changes to their algorithms in 2014. Articles that used to pass as “okay” and rank on the first page of the search results simply don’t anymore. It’s a lot harder.
A few months ago I started to become suspicious of my own content generating tactics when I kept noticing my rankings slip and my Google Adsense earnings going down. Going back and reading through some of my old articles I could see that perhaps they might have been a little too contrived and not really as exciting as they could be.
A number of really respected online marketers have seem to really taken a firm stance on the importance of really focusing on producing quality content.
- Spencer Haws from Niche Pursuits
- Neil Patel from Quick Sprout (check out his take on fewer posts with better content)
- And my personal favorite: This really incredible tutorial from Nate Tsang of Not Hat Digital. Seriously read through his article and really ask yourself if you’re doing what you need to be if you’re really serious about creating a business.
So far I can say that with the few new posts I’ve written I’m really trying to take in all this new advice and I’ve been very pleased with the outcome of the quality. My goal here is going to be to use this opportunity to make sure that the new content is top notch and worthy of front page results. In addition I’ll be doing a little more keyword research for new terms to write about on NS1.
If things go well and I can figure out a new formula that works, I’ll be glad to go back to hiring freelance writers that I can educate and help me to expedite the article writing process so we can take this thing as far as we can go.
Will Adsense Responsive Ads Make Any Difference?
If you’ve got a Google Adsense account then you’ve probably recently received an email suggesting that you change your ad formats so that they are responsive. That means that whether someone looks at your website from a large desktop computer or small phone screen the ads will automatically adjust to fit the contour of space allowed. According to the email I received, they seem to think changing to the new responsive ads will help increase CPM by 43%! If that’s true, that would be a serious uptick in revenue!
To be honest I’ve never given the “responsiveness” of my sites as much thought as I have until recently. Around Christmas time I noticed that some of my sites look kinda “weird” when you look at them on a phone or iPad, and so I’ve been making simple minor changes to the format to make them appear more naturally no matter what kind of media you’re using. Weird is not something you want people thinking when they first land on your website!
So I decided to give the new ad format a shot (just a few days ago). We’ll just have to see over the next month if the changes to our niche website aesthetics benefited my earnings in any way, shape, or form. If I can pull in close to 50% more revenue from such a simple move, that would be a pretty incredible gain! I’ll keep you posted in next month’s update.
Readers – How have your blog revenue generation efforts been going this first month of the new year? Is anyone else taking any drastic measures to really understand their content? Or are you working on any other big long-term improvement initiatives?
Image courtesy of penguincakes | Flickr