Case Study & Income Report #14 [January 2021 edition] | Skipblast

Case Study & Income Report #14 [January 2021 edition]

An unexpected international move back to the US in the middle of a pandemic means that I didn’t make a ton of progress on these sites….again.

But the good news is that the house I’m now renting has enough space for me to make a ‘niche site lab’ of sorts where I can take product photos and do some recording.

So, consider this your warning – this update will not have as much going on as I’d like, but it’s interesting to see how things are progressing with minimal work.

Ready?

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 January

For me, January was mostly full of moving drama and trying to setup a life in the US after leaving it without ever really expecting to return.

So, my month was spent doing things like finding a place to live, buying a car, finding furniture for my new place, etc.

It was exhausting, but things are mostly all setup and taken care of for now, and I’m ready to be super productive.

I also launched a course on advanced niche selection and have heard from a few students who found awesome niches already. And, I’ve already started working on the new course that I’m releasing in February.

The Sites – January 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

I didn’t have time to even think about outsourcing any content for this site due to all of my moving drama, but I did manage to crank out some articles myself last week.

I got two articles up that are around 1,000 words average, but the keywords should be easy to rank for.

site1jan21traffic
(click image to enlarge)

Traffic for this site actually fell by almost 50% in January. I think this is because I had several of those links that I bought around a year ago just up and disappear.

And, that’s the problem with buying links sometimes.

New posts for this site: 2 (written by me)

New links for this site: zero

Summary for site #1: Added 2 new posts, no new links but several lost links = traffic down.

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

I did not manage to get any new content up on this site, but I did place an order for several articles from Word Agents. I just haven’t gotten those back yet.

And remember, 2021 for this site is all about content and I won’t be actively building links.

As you can see below, my traffic data for the month is fucked due to referral spam.

site2jan21traffic
(click image to enlarge)

When I manually count only the legit traffic on the 31st, then overall I’m looking at around 100 more sessions for the month compared to December.

Not much of an improvement, but still an improvement, so I’ll take it.

New posts for this site: zero

New links for this site: two, both from low DR sites that naturally linked out to me

Total income for this site last month: $93.98

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.

Summary for site #2: A surprising slight drop in income with a slight rise in traffic + two natural links from low DR sites.

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

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

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

Though it really sucks that some fitness equipment is still hard to find in stock due to COVID.

site3jan21traffic
(click image to enlarge)

I was expecting to see a traffic and income increase since January is the biggest month for fitness.

While I’m happy that there was an increase, I have to admit that I’m a bit disappointed that it wasn’t more.

New posts for this site: 4 (1 outsourced at $0.06/word at Writer Access, and I wrote the rest)

The articles were split between informational and affiliate.

New links for this site: 3 natural links and I didn’t build any links for this site.

Total income for this site last month: $1,882.75

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: Traffic increased, but income fell slightly. Overall a good month 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, still seriously neglected in January. Cause it’s easy to neglect sites that aren’t bringing in money.

So, no new posts and no link building – nothing at all.

As you can see in the analytics screenshot below, this site was also a victim of referral spam fucking up my data.

site4jan21traffic
(click image to enlarge)

So, I manually dug through the data for the 31st to identify the real traffic.

Overall, this site saw a good increase in traffic of around 400 more sessions for the month compared to December.

That means this site broke past the 1,000 monthly sessions point for the first time ever.

New posts for this site: zero

New links for this site: zero

Total income for this site last month: $0.00

Still not monetized.

Summary for site #4: Didn’t touch the site all month, but traffic increased and broke past 1,000 monthly sessions.

New Expenses for January 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 January:

Site #1

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

site1balancesheet

Site #2

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

site2balancesheet

Site #3

  • $22.45 hosting with BigScoots (this account is split with another site)
  • $90.46 for articles via Writer Access

site3balancesheet

Site #4

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

site4balancesheet

Final Thoughts & Summary

Yeah, things could have gone better if this had been a normal month for me, but it wasn’t a normal month.

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

And I’m really, really excited about having a new place to live and really digging in and working on these sites hardcore.

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

Month summary:

janbalancesheet

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.

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4 thoughts on “Case Study & Income Report #14 [January 2021 edition]”

  1. You are always so informative.:) I really think I should just take your new course (traditional niche selection) and get this niche business thing started instead of second-guessing myself whether a niche will work or not – I love your honesty

    Reply
    • Thanks, I try to be as transparent as possible, y’know without giving away the URLs for all my sites 😉 And yeah, if worrying about the viability of a niche is what’s holding you back, then that course will help. While I’m, of course, biased about that, it also happens to be true 🙂

      Reply
  2. Carolina,
    The best thing you or anyone interested in creating a niche website or business should do is to buy one of Shawna’s courses (or take up a one on one session with Shawna when available).
    There is so much good information in Shawna’s posts/website that you could set up a website using that (which would take a bit of time), however with Shawna’s courses (and putting in the work) you will learn to create a website that makes money and has substantial value.
    Shawna’s product is top quality and is also someone who gives up a lot of her time to help others (plus offers a great forum with some quality contributors).
    Awesome courses, better person.

    Reply
    • Thank you Justin for taking the time to respond to me, truly appreciate it. And yes, you are right, I need to take her course, I’ve been spinning my wheels for over a year, it’s time to change that 🙂 – and I need to do this right, and why not from someone who can guide me and show me the way. Thank you

      Reply

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