Now that I've sold my Amazon FBA business and focused all of my attention and effort on my authority websites, I'm going to try to go a little more in depth on each web property and also do a better job of tracking my expenses.
It's too easy and common to see people boasting about how much money they're making with their businesses but so much of that gets eaten up by expenses that the amount left in your bank account is significantly less.
So in an effort to have more transparency and to force myself to do a better job of tracking everything, I'm going to post revenue, expenses and pre-tax profits for all of my side hustles.
Overall December Revenue
November and December are always the best months for websites that make money through affiliates/ads. More people are shopping which means you get a bigger cut of the spending. Amazon's affiliate program gives you about 5% of the purchase price of ANYTHING someone buys on Amazon after clicking a link on your site, even if it's something totally different.
For example, on one of my sites I had someone click a link then buy a $2,000 computer which earned me over $100 in commissions from just that one purchase.
So here's what everything looked like for December:
- Amazon Affiliate - $863
- Ezoic (advertising) - $521
- Adsense (advertising) - $48
- Total - $1,432
And here's what the expenses looked like:
- Hosting - $40
- Domain names - $10
- Ongoing link building - $368
- Ahrefs - $100
- Email - $10
- Articles - $330
- One time link building - $1,030
- Ezoic Pro Advertising - $110
- Total - $1,998
Net Profit(Loss) - ($566)
The Pretty Screenshots
Why I Lost Money Last Month
I mentioned in my last income report that I was starting a new site in the videogame niche. Unfortunately to get a new site going quickly requires lots of content + backlinks. I'm using an outreach agency to do the link building for me and I got 4 really high quality, authoritative backlinks built to my website which is why it cost me over $1,000 last month. This won't be an ongoing expense and it should pay for itself once I start ranking for some keywords.
Traffic to the videogame site is low but gaining ground very quickly. Here's what the last 90 days looks like:
The numbers are small but the growth is insane. When I started this site I bought an expired domain that had a lot of authority and with these new links I've built I'm expecting my rankings to explode.
More importantly, I've added over 40,000 words of content to the website in 90 days. Most of this (about 30k) was outsourced through a REALLY good writer on Textbroker. He charges $25 per 1k words so I'm going to keep sending him more work and building up the content.
My software website I purchased for $10k was making about $500 per month. Some of the rankings dipped a little bit and my earnings were hovering around $300-$400 per month. I put some ads on the site and my affiliate earnings stayed the same while my ad income grew to about $300 per month.
So I decided to do this on my outdoor site as well that I created in March of 2018.
In December my outdoor site made about $150 on Amazon and $150 from ads. As someone that uses adblock I had no idea how profitable ads were. My revenue from ads is about $10 per 1,000 visitors so the ad income isn't really worth it until you cross that 10k threshold.
I've continued to add more content to my outdoor site. I'm writing most of the review content and the informational content that relies on my knowledge of the niche. For some of the more general topics I've outsourced the writing to Textun.
I've never used Textun before but they charge $25 per 1k words and do a fairly good job. It's not the best writing in the world but for low competition topics where I just need 1k words to cover it, they're really reliable and I'm pretty confident I'll have a positive ROI on the investment.
Here's what traffic looked like to my outdoor site for the last 30 days:
In the last month I've written some really high quality articles that are about 5,000 words long. It usually takes 6-8 months before you see your "final" rankings in Google and get the full traffic from them so they haven't contributed much to the overall traffic numbers there. Still super promising and amazing progress after just 9 months.
This site is also now profitable on it's own, even with the ongoing link building I'm doing on the site 🙂
Oh Yah, I Just Bought A New Site
This happened in 2019 but I'll include it here. I bought a new website!
This site was listed on Flippa but I found out about it through the same person who sold me my previous 2 sites. The site is super niched down and makes $100 per month. I bought it for $2.5k which is a reasonable 25x multiple.
Since I don't even have enough time to run my current sites and I don't know much about this niche (or the desire to write about it), I'm going to be outsourcing all of the content creation and link building.
This niche gets a lot of traffic and has tons of opportunities for informational content. I think I could reasonably get this site to making $1k-$5k per month by the end of 2019. Stay tuned 🙂
If you've read this far and want to get more information you should sign up for my newsletter. In my last email I revealed the URL of one of my new niche sites I started last month so if you want to get ALL the details, sign up there. No spam or BS, just fun side hustle stuff. Happy 2019!
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Do you have any concern about the paid links leading to a penalty from Google? Do they appear natural to you? I’ve never paid for links because I don’t want the risk, but in a lot of cases it seems like they are pretty easy to spot.
Long term, yes, there’s definitely a risk I could get a penalty. What I’ve noticed over the last 6 months of building my site up and researching my competitors is that some of them are using REALLY obvious PBNs that anybody could detect and their sites are thriving with 5x-10x my traffic.
The links I’ve built to my sites do look natural. They’re on sites that get tons of traffic and are mixed in with normal articles. The only difference is instead of spending the time to find these sites and arrange a guest post, I’m paying probably 3x the price to have it all done for me.
That link building took a heavy tool on the expenses I guess, but the ad revenue ($800+ from AA is terrific) is still going strong, Jim. Excited to see what new theme you are working on on the new website. Good luck!
I see you are still using Ahrefs. Are you still doing keyword research based on your post from last year using free tools, or are you using Ahrefs for your keywords.
I mostly use Ahrefs. My favorite methods right now are by plugging in my competitors domains and finding low competition keywords they rank for. The other way is to find forums in my niche that are ranking in the top 3 spots. Usually forums are a pain for people to read through so I find the answers to people’s questions and make it in an easy to read format. These posts have ranked well for me and brought in a lot of traffic.
I like it. I’m sure this method is worthy of a new blog post as well, combining Ahrefs with forums.
Is the $1,432 income from all of your sites including this one? Couldn’t really tell what you get from the niche sites and what you get from here. 🙂
This site was making exactly $0 per month 🙂
Last month I had my first commission from someone signing up for a hosting account. I’ll have that included in the next income report.