Case Study & Income Report #12 [December 2020 edition] | Skipblast

Case Study & Income Report #12 [December 2020 edition]

It’s ten days later than usual, but it’s time for another installment of ‘what happened with four sites from my portfolio?’

In addition to the holidays, I had a lot going on in December and only really got in about 10 solid days of work across my entire portfolio.

Remember, the sites in this report are only a portion of my portfolio and not the only sites that bring in revenue.

**And as always, I’m an affiliate marketer and this post contains affiliate links, meaning I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links

What Happened In December

If you’ve emailed me in recent weeks, then you already know that due to some things I had no control over, I ended up in the position of having to prepare to unexpectedly move out of my apartment. Between the stressing about that and the holidays, I didn’t have a normal month in terms of productivity.

Fortunately, I started the month out strong, so it’s not as bad as it could have been.

I also spent part of the month finishing up the recording and editing of the videos for my new course.

The Sites – December Update

In case you missed it in the announcement post, or just can’t remember, I’ll be recapping the basics of each site before I give you the details on what the month looked like for each site.

Site #1

Here’s what you should know about this site:
  • Niche: Professional services
  • Monetization: display ads + info products + sponsorships/direct ads
  • Income Goal: I’ll be happy with $2,000/mo but I think it has the potential for low to mid to high four figures monthly (if not more).
  • Growth Plan: HARO, joining niche relevant groups/forums for traffic leaking, ebooks/books, social media marketing. This will be a large site/brand.
  • The case study angle: building a successful non-affiliate site

True to my word in the previous update, I started December out by using up some of those credits I bought at Word Agents. I really love this content agency because I’ve never had to edit any of the articles that I get back from them.

I added a total of 11 new articles to this site from Word Agents, which was 18,500 words of fresh content.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that most of those posts didn’t go live until mid-month.

site 1 dec 2020 analytics

Traffic is up – by 220% on the number of monthly sessions. However, with such low traffic numbers that doesn’t mean much.

So, the new articles haven’t had a lot of time to do much in the SERPs. But still, I solider on knowing that this is very competitive niche when I started the site.

New posts for this site: 11

All written by Word Agents writers.

New links for this site: zero

I didn’t even respond to any HAROs for this site in December.

Summary for site #1: Added 11 new posts, no new links = traffic is up a bit.

Site #2

Here’s what you should know about this site:
  • Niche: Transportation
  • Monetization: affiliate (Amazon + others) + display ads
  • Income Goal: I’ll be happy with $1000/mo but I think it has the potential for mid four figures monthly based on a conversation I had with someone in this niche.
  • History: Site has been earning steadily and is profitable. It was sitting, neglected, when I decided to pick it back up this year.
  • Growth Plan: hit it with lots of informational articles to optimize content for ad money (first goal = Ezoic and eventually Mediavine). I also need to update old content & utilize more non-Amazon affiliates with longer cookies. I may end up testing Pinterest on this site to see how it performs.
  • The case study angle: prioritizing links over content + expanding beyond Amazon + beyond Google traffic

So, if you recall from the last update I’d just gotten the site into Ezoic and I’d decided to stop my link building and prepare to transition to building new content.

Well, I didn’t get any new content up yet because I’m starting that fresh in January 2021. But I also didn’t build any new links.

Traffic slipped a wee bit more in December – around a 9% drop in sessions compared to November.

site 2 dec analytics

Though I’ve not stopped to investigate why traffic dropped for this site in November, I did notice something interesting when I was checking for new links in Ahrefs.

I’ve got several old guest posts that I bought from Authority Builders a couple years back that were showing up as newly found links. When I checked those guest posts, I could see that links to other sites have been added (so, niche edits/link inserts).

I actually wrote about this problem a few months ago. Makes me think that the link juice being split now resulted in a partial devaluation of those links for my site.

Just an initial thought I had, but anyways…

I’ve talked to a couple of people in this niche who are going the informational content route (no link building) and they are crushing it. So, I’m excited to see what happens with this site in 2021.

New posts for this site: zero

New links for this site: zero

Total income for this site last month: $118.70

Last month’s income is a mix of AdSense, Ezoic, Amazon affiliate, and other affiliates. I use the AAWP plugin on this site as well.

Honestly, with this site getting into Ezoic during Q4, I really expected more of an income increase in December. Even with a 9% traffic drop, I was expecting more.

But hey, at least it was an increase, right?

Summary for site #2: Income is slightly up and traffic is slightly down. But zero work was done on this site in December.

Site #3

Here’s what you should know about this site:
  • Niche: Health/Fitness
  • Monetization: affiliate (Amazon + others) + display ads (and maybe products?)
  • Income Goal: Looking to sell once I’m stable at somewhere around $7500-$8000/monthly
  • History: Site has been earning steadily and is profitable. It is somewhat seasonal, though the niche is evergreen.
  • Growth Plan: Hit it with lots of informational articles to optimize content for ad money. This site has enough traffic for Ezoic, but I’m holding out to qualify for Mediavine. I also need to update old content & utilize more non-Amazon affiliates with longer cookies/higher paying offers. HARO is the only link building that I currently have planned for this site.
  • The case study angle: prioritizing content over links + building a mailing list + monetization diversification + alternative traffic growth

December was a really good month for this site. And just like last month, this was the best December that this site has ever had.

So, that’s really exciting for me. But we always want more don’t we?

I really was hoping for a bigger December…but I’m still happy to being doing better than last December.

Traffic was up by about 6% in December.

site 3 dec traffic

New posts for this site: 17 (3 outsourced at $0.06/word at Writer Access, 12 outsourced at WordAgents, and I wrote the rest)

The articles were a pretty even split between informational and affiliate.

New links for this site: 

I didn’t build any links for this site, but I did manage to score natural links – including one over DR50!

Total income for this site last month: $2,114.10

Last month’s income is a mix of AdSense, Amazon affiliate, and other affiliates. I use the AAWP plugin on this site as well.

Summary for site #3: Slight increase in traffic + increase in income. Highest December earnings ever for this site.

Site #4

Here’s what you should know about this site:
  • Niche: Lifestyle
  • Monetization: display ads + affiliates + products + info products (+ possibility for real world business offshoot)
  • Income Goal: I think I’ll be happy with $2500/mo but I know of a few people in this niche making $20K+/month.
  • Growth Plan: Right now I’m all about content creation. Next up is traffic diversification and this niche does well on Pinterest. For link building, I haven’t decided yet. There are a lot of guest posting opportunities in this niche though.
  • The case study angle: mega authority site from day one to mega status –> building a brand from the beginning with long term growth focus on diversifying traffic + monetization

Still really excited about this site, even though it was seriously neglected in December.

As a result of that neglect, my traffic growth has stalled a bit. In fact, it’s down around 13% (almost 100 sessions lower than previous month).

site 4 dec traffic

So, that sucks, but it is what it is.

But I still think that I’ll manage to crack 1,000 monthly sessions in January, which will be a nice milestone (especially for as little work as I’ve put into this site so far).

New posts for this site: one

Written by me cause I’m loving this niche.

New links for this site: one

Wasn’t really thinking about links, but saw an awesome HARO query, responded and score the link.

Total income for this site last month: $0.00

Still not monetized.

Summary for site #4: Slight traffic decrease, rankings on the rise, one new post added.

New Expenses for December 2020

If you want to know about any recurring expenses or previous expenses, then refer to February’s report in this section.

Here’s new expenses for the sites for December:

Site #1

  • $7.00 Digital Ocean droplet at Cloudways (two sites on this server, so I split out the cost for just this site)
  • $888 in content from WordAgents

site 1 balance sheet

Site #2

  • $6.50 Vultr server at Cloudways (two sites on this server, so I split out the cost for just this site)

site 2 balance sheet

Site #3

site 3 balance sheet

Site #4

  • $6.50 Vultr server at Cloudways (two sites on this server, so I split out the cost for just this site)

site 4 balance sheet

Final Thoughts & Summary

All things considered, December could have gone better but since I had personal drama to deal with I’m happy with how it turned out.

And I’m really excited about site #3 having it’s best December ever.

Anyways, here’s a quick glance at revenue and expenses for these sites.

Months summary:

all site balance sheet

And remember, these four sites are only a portion of my portfolio 🙂  I also want to remind you that sites #2 and #3 were existing sites that have been earning and ranking before starting this whole thing.

Got any questions? Requests for other data in future updates? Let me know.

Also, I’ll be doing a 2020 year-end update on all of these sites soon (if you want to see a snapshot of how the year looked for these 4 sites).

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1 thought on “Case Study & Income Report #12 [December 2020 edition]”

  1. Hi Shawna,
    Great update as per usual. For Site 1, you mentioned that you had several Word Agent articles completed that took a while before they were uploaded even though you didn’t have to edit the posts, what additions or formatting did you have to make before you posted these?

    Reply

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