Case Study & Income Report #24 [December 2021 edition] | Skipblast

Case Study & Income Report #24 [December 2021 edition]

Another month, and another year done!

It’s kinda crazy that I’ve been chronicling these sites for two years now, eh?

Unlike last year, I’ll do a year-in-review for these sites in this update instead of making it a separate one.

So, there’s your warning that this update will be longer than usual.

Grab some coffee and let’s dig in!

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 link

What Happened In December

We had more Google updates, which wasn’t surprising, but what did surprise me was the RPMs for display ads in December.

I expected them to be higher than November, which is the norm, but this year November ad rates were higher.

wheres my money gif

Usually December is when I take most of the month off, because really there’s nothing you can do to get shit ranking in time to capitalize on the higher spending.

However, this year I didn’t take quite as much time off as usual due to one of my brothers coming to stay with me at the end of the month – I just waited and took my time off at the months’ end the first ten days of January.

The Sites – December Update

Site #1

It’s gone from my portfolio.

So, no more updates on this one.

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 prioritizing content over links + expanding beyond Amazon + beyond Google traffic

RPMs for this site were still pretty high in December, and honestly, I wish I hadn’t slept on this niche (and this site) for so long.

I’ve got hundreds of new keywords for this site, which I guess is my way of saying that I plan on holding it for a while longer (as I mentioned last update).

I spent some time doing a lot of keyword/topic cluster research and I have a big plan for pumping this site full of content in 2022.

site 2 analytics Dec 21

As you can see in the analytics screenshot above, traffic for this site increased in December.

Overall, the increase is around 3,500 sessions.

I really like that kind of growth and hope that it continues.

That being said, I only managed to get two new posts up on the site – but they are hella long, so I’m okay with that.

The articles are part of a new topic cluster that I’ve planned out for the site.

This is going to be a smallish cluster with only around 20 articles because it is super niched down – but if I can get the rankings, then the traffic will be amazing.

In regards to income, I was really expecting this site to hit $1,000 with the expected December RPMs for display ads – but those RPMs were not as high as expected.

::sad trombone::

So close to $1,000, yet so far…and the expected drop in January’s RPM means that it will likely be several months before $1,000 is in the books.

That being said, I can really only be disappointed in myself with the lack of content production because more content = more rankings = more traffic = more revenue.

New posts for this site: 2 (not outsourced)

New links for this site: zero

Total income for this site last month: $887.86

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

Summary for site #2: A slight drop income and in traffic, but not worried about either yet.

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 $4,500
  • 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 and then AdThrive. 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

I am embarrassed to report that I only got one new post up on this site in December.

What a huge fucking fail on my part.

I mentioned in the last update that I was experiencing fatigue with this site – and now you see the results of that.

Despite my lack of work on the site, traffic actually increased by around 5,000 sessions.

site 3 analytics Dec 21

That increase is the result of the previous fresh content pumped into the site, which makes it even worse that I did so little in December.

Anyways, the traffic increase is exciting and that also resulted in a revenue increase.

And that revenue increase is what I’m really exited about since this is a site that I intend to flip sometime in the nearish future.

New posts for this site: 1 (not outsourced)

New links for this site: none

Total income for this site last month: $2,817.86

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

Summary for site #3: Traffic increased as expected and income went up as well. Overall a great month for the 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

This site has been doing surprising well for as little work as I’ve put into it.

It got a couple of new posts added in December, and they are epic posts in terms of length.

Huge keywords that need a huge piece of content each.

Remember that I’m not doing any link building for this site, so it will be interesting to see how rankings go for these new posts.

If these posts can rank, then I expect the site’s traffic could easily double.

I’ve actually been toying with the idea of buying an Odys domain to boost this site, but at the same time I like this slow build experiment.

site 4 analytics Dec 21

Traffic for this site went up by around 500 sessions, so that’s good.

Revenue is also up for the month.

This entire site is actually a bit of an experiment because I’m building it out unlike other sites in the niche (or any site I’ve ever had) – and I honestly don’t know how it will work out.

My focus is on making it look like a brand, so I’m skipping a lot of high value keywords because they wouldn’t make sense for a quality brand.

I really want to build something in this niche that people come back to on their own, without really having to rely on Google traffic.

Basically, this is a long term play and a bit of a passion project…it may be a total failure…or it may be a spectacular success.

New posts for this site: two

New links for this site: zero

Total income for this site last month: $36.60

Only has one post live with an affiliate link, and AdSense is bringing in the monies.

Summary for site #4: Two new posts, traffic is up and income is up.

New Expenses for December 2021

If you want to know about any recurring expenses or previous expenses, then refer to February 2020’s report in this section.

Here’s new expenses for the sites for December 2021:

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

  • $22.45 hosting with BigScoots (this account is split with another site)

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

Year In Review (2021)

Overall, I have to say that I’m happy with how things are trending for these sites when you compare 2020 to 2021.

  • Site #2 saw a 202% increase in traffic and a 364% increase in revenue
  • Site #3 saw a 75% increase in traffic and a 27% increase in revenue
  • Site #4 saw a 1,102% increase in traffic and it went from earning nothing in 2020 to $118 in 2021.

One thing to note with the numbers above is with site #3 the revenue didn’t increase as much as the traffic. That is the result of one of my affiliate programs both lowering the commission rate and the cookie duration.

This is also the program that I believe is not crediting me properly for sales, but there’s really nothing I can do about it since this is a top brand in the niche and I need to use them.

But it does suck to know that the revenue growth could have been MUCH better for site #3 if that affiliate program wasn’t such an asshole.

With just these three sites, revenue went up a little over $13,000 for the year.

Here’s how the expenses and revenue look for the entire year for these three sites –

all sites 2021 balance sheet

Looking at how these sites performed YoY, I have to say that my action plan for 2022 remains the same – content, content, content.

And remember, these 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 monthly update thing.

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

2 thoughts on “Case Study & Income Report #24 [December 2021 edition]”

  1. Hi Shawn’s. In a recent video, you mention your using duplicate content but changing the title & first sentence.
    Is this still working for you?

    Reply
    • Yup, still ranking well with it. Though it’s more than just the first sentence that’s unique – it’s the whole intro.

      Reply

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