Case Study & Income Report #10 [October 2020 edition]

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Can you believe that I’ve been sharing these updates for almost a whole year now?

I can’t. It’s mental.

Mental because I’ve been slacking so fucking much on two of these sites and no one has called me out on it.

But hey, as they say, I’ve got a bunch of irons in the fire.

I don’t know why you’d have one iron, let alone many of them, in a fire…but I digress.

And, here we go…

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 October

Y’know, it was kind of a weird fucking month for me. I was hustling like mad to get content up on the new case study site.

My parents lost their home in a hurricane in September, so that occupied a lot of my brain. Then I found out someone basically tried to carjack my mom one night recently.

And it sounds like a drunk pimp protected her while she waited for the calvary. This was in Montgomery, Alabama of all places.

I did a surprising amount of work (to me) on some of the sites in this report. All thanks to a brief break in the construction noise in my building.

I was dealing with the image copyright backlink scammers.

I got some candy corn in the mail from one of my brothers, which was exciting for me. Cause I was supposed to be in the US… fucking COVID!

I filled all the open spots on my HARO links service until the middle of this month. Though truthfully, I never take on more than 5 clients at a time, so it’s not like I’m rolling in client work.

But I had to find someone part-time to help me out with parts of that service…and I’m such a control freak, so that’s a challenge for me.

And I plotted out some outlines for some new courses on advanced topics.

Then, a few days ago I found out I might have to move in early January. Fuck.

But, I’m assuming you’re not reading this for my updates on personal life, eh?

The Sites – October 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

So, last update I’d made the decision to expand my keyword strategy and include some more clickbaity type of articles. Well….

That excited momentum sorta fizzled out on me and I did nowhere near what I had intended to do on this site for the month.

The worst part? I have a spreadsheet full of fucking keywords to target.

New posts for this site: 3

Can you believe this bullshit? At the rate I’m currently going, this site will be ready for monetization in three years.

Fucking hell.

I’ve seen some of my competitors using HARO as journalists, so their sites are overflowing with fresh content.

This is not how you grow a site. (this tough love is for me AND you).

New links for this site: zero

So, I did no new link building and barely any new posts. Oh yeah, and traffic is down a bit.

traffic down

Will I right this ship this month? Don’t count on it!

Summary for site #1: Had a solid plan from the previous month and did fuck all with it.

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, I had two new links from NO-BS go live pointing at this site.

Those were both guest posts and cost me almost $400 all in. And honestly, I’m starting to rethink this links over content strategy.

I could get over 11,000 words of content for the same price as those two guest post links, so that’s maybe 7 articles.

Here’s what I’m thinking – at the end of the year, I’m going to flip this and focus on content. Then we’ll see which results in the biggest gains.

It won’t be a clean test since those links will be aging and benefiting the site, but it should still be enough data to come to a decent conclusion.

Plus, the site’s traffic puts it in the running for Ezoic soon, and I’ll be adding those ads to the site. So, new info content will be good for that.

New posts for this site: zero

New links for this site: three (two paid GPs and one natural)

October traffic site 2

Traffic is almost the same as last month. And no, I still didn’t finish filling up the Pinterest profile for this site.

Total income for this site last month: $119.02

It’s a small gain, but I’ll take it.

Late in the month I realized that most of my AAWP tables were not showing up, so I redid every single one of them. Hopefully that means a good income boost in November.

The income for this site is a mixture of AdSense and Amazon affiliate. I use AAWP for the Amazon links on this site.

Summary for site #2: Income is slightly up and traffic is basically stagnant. Three new links pointed at site.

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

The frustrations with this site continue, but I can’t be too upset because this site just had its best October ever.

I’ve never really understood why October is traditionally its worst month, except maybe that people are thinking about Halloween candy don’t wanna workout or get fit. But if that was the case, then I’d expect November and December to trend the same way.

But they don’t. I’ve basically given up on figuring it out and just accept that October is always a shit month for this site.

Expecting a terrible October, I found motivation lacking for this site. I know, but hey, I’m only human.

New posts for this site: 5

I outsourced four of these at $0.06/word and wrote the other one myself.

site 3 oct traffic

So, traffic fell as I knew it would, though not by as much as I expected. This shows around a 12% drop in sessions compared to the previous month.

What’s interesting to see when you dig into the traffic data is that its organic traffic that this site is losing, and social traffic (from Pinterest) is cushioning that blow a bit.

In fact, Pinterest traffic seems to be increasing a wee bit. This is a popular niche on Pinterest though, so that’s no surprise.

And remember, all I’m doing with Pinterest is using Tailwind with the Tribes Power-Up that gives me access to 10 tribes. I only login to Tailwind when I publish a new post, meaning that it’s super low effort.

New links for this site: four

I didn’t build any links for this site, but I did manage to score some natural links – including two over DR30!

Total income for this site last month: $1,681.05

A drop in income, as expected, but definitely more than my goal of $1,000. You might be thinking I was crazy not even expecting to make $1,000 from this site in October.

That’s because its never made more than $600 in the month of October. Crazy, but true.

So, while I’m never happy about an income decline, I’m fucking stoked that this decline was so small.

Now I have some motivation to get back to creating content for this site in November!

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 drop in traffic and income, but overall better than expected!

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

I love this site, which I know, it’s hard to tell based on how little I’ve worked on it in 2020. But that all changed in October.

Check this shit out –

site 4 oct traffic

So, first lemme explain that weird one day spike – it was an accidental Facebook post boost. I was playing around with some shit and didn’t realize I’d created a live ad.

This is why you shouldn’t work on sites at wine o’clock.

Oh yeah, I filled up a Facebook page for this site and set up a bunch of scheduled posts for the page.

Anyways, that one-day spike is 67 visitors compared to 12 each on the days before and after – just so you have a frame of reference.

But hey, this fuck-up was actually pretty awesome since it shows me that Facebook is an awesome place to find the audience for this niche.

New posts for this site: ten

Wrote all those on my own because I’m actually super interested in the topic.

All articles were informational-focused. Still weighing the pros and cons of doing money posts now.

And, this gets me over the 30 live posts hump.

In Ahrefs, the number of keywords was just shy of doubling the count for the previous month.

New links for this site: one

I just linked out to this site from one of my other sites because it happened to be super relevant. I rarely do this because I don’t want anyone to be able to find all of my sites.

But this time it just made good sense to do it.

Total income for this site last month: $0.00

Still not monetized.

Summary for site #4: Nice traffic increase, rankings on the rise, fresh content added.

New Expenses for October 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 September:

Site #1

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

Oct expenses site 1

Site #2

  • $6.50 Vultr server at Cloudways (two sites on this server, so I split out the cost for just this site)
  • $376.35 for two guest posts via NO-BS

Oct site 2 expenses

Site #3

  • $22.45 hosting with BigScoots (this account is split with another site)
  • $357.76 for articles via Writer Access

oct site 3 expenses

Site #4

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

Oct site 4 exp

Final Thoughts & Summary

At just over $1,800 in revenue for the month for these sites, it’s not crazy impressive but it’s also nothing to be ashamed of. If these were the only sites that I owned, my profit would still be over $1,000 for the month.

And for a lot of people, that pays the rent.

Not me, cause fuck you Netherlands and your crazy high housing costs.

anyways…

Here’s a quick glance at revenue and expenses for these sites.

Month’s summary:

oct balance sheet all sites

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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