- So what is this report?
- Traffic and Revenue for April 2020
- So, what happened here?
- Expenses and Investment in April
- The fiscal bottom line
If you’re already familiar with my business model, just use the table of contents above to skip to the juicy parts or go straight for the bottom line.
So what is this report?
Here’s a quick recap. I have a portfolio of content/niche sites. This blog – Yeys.com – is where I document my progress in detailed traffic and revenue reports. I started doing this in 2019. You can find the previous reports here.
Note: I have another large site that isn’t covered in these reports because it’s a community (forum) site. I try to keep Yeys.com dedicated to my content sites venture. Keep in mind that I am an experienced web publisher and have a constant stream of revenue, which allows me to invest in new websites. This kind of investment is not something I recommend doing if you have no reliable source of income.
My Web Publishing Strategy And Our Team
My strategy is simple –
- Find underserved queries on the Internet.
- Publish the best possible answer to the query.
Multiply this by dozens of posts a month, across several niches, scaling up by outsourcing.
I currently employ four VA’s and two editors (not all of them full-time). In addition to that, I work with 20-30 freelancers that write a total of 150+ posts per month. (If you’re curious about how I manage to produce so many posts, you can read here about my workflow).
My husband also helps, especially with strategy and analysis (that’s on top of his day job). That’s why you’ll see me using “I” and “we” interchangeably.
Introducing our portfolio
Our current portfolio strategy goes like this:
- Add one content site to the mix every quarter, launching it with 100 posts.
- Let it brew for an additional half a year, to see how the niche feels.
- If it’s going well, keep pushing content and making it into a significant authority site.
- If it doesn’t – no harm done, we have a smallish site in the portfolio that will pay for itself within a couple of years.
So, this is where we stand now –
(Potentially) Large niches sites
- Home Improvement
- Style and fashion
Small niche sites
These were “carried over” from previous years before we devised the current strategy.
- Pet Accessories blog (a specific type of accessories)
- Pets blog (specific small pet)
Traffic and Revenue for April 2020
Taking into account our entire portfolio, we had a total of 482,046 pageviews. Compared to 340,412 pageviews in March. That’s a significant increase in traffic of about 42%!
Unfortunately, the increase in revenue was more limited. With RPM/CPM rates crashing across the industry (thank you, corona!), revenue went up but not on the same scale. We had a total of $8,573 in revenue, compared to $6,891 in March. That’s an increase of about 24%. Sweet, considering how volatile April has been.
So, what happened here?
It looks like people spend more time at home these days, so they’re on the Internet a lot. They buy more as well, which is evident by the increase in Amazon sales. The first three weeks of April were magical in terms of Amazon revenue. With more traffic and more sales, we were above the $100 a day point almost every day. On some days, the revenue shot up to over $200, going up as high as $270. Compare that to an average of $80 a day in previous months. People were definitely shopping more online in April.
Unfortunately, the recent Amazon cut in commission rates meant that we were back to $80-$100 in the last week of the month. Oh well. It was nice while it lasted.
RPM rates are still low, though. About 30-40% lower across the board. Combine that with the increase in traffic, and the two effects cancel out one another, pretty much. However, the increase in Amazon fees throughout the first three weeks compensated – to some extent – for the lower RPM for display ads. So, overall, lots of strange things happening due to Covid-19, but we finished the month with a nice increase.
Ok, enough analysis. Let’s take a look at the numbers for April per blog.
The Travel Blog
Site history: This site was established in June 2016. I try to keep a personal tone in this blog, so while outsourcing the bulk of the writing, I’m the one writing the outlines, intros, and summaries for most of the posts.
Monetization: During normal times, about 75% of revenue comes from display ads, managed via Ezoic. The rest is a combination of Amazon and Booking.com affiliation fees.
The blog currently has a total of 244 posts.
This blog was doing so well up until February. March corona madness hit it hard. With people no longer flying and traveling, traffic sank, and revenue went down along with it. It fared no better in April. There does seem to be some increase in traffic
Travel is a seasonable niche, so we were expecting April to be very high in traffic and revenue. I would say the site took a hit of over 90% of potential traffic due to COVID-19.
Travel is one of the worst niches to be in right now. Fortunately, we’re evenly spread out across niches. It is sad, though, to lose one of your best sites like that.
The Automotive Blog
Site history: We started this blog in April 2018. The niche covers vehicles of various classes and types. The content is mostly informational with a few “best X of Y” product lists.
Monetization: The site makes about 75% of its revenue from display ads via Monumetric and 25% from Amazon affiliate links.
This blog currently has 671 posts, making it the largest in our portfolio.
In March, traffic began to bounce back from the March corona slump. We reached 144,455 pageviews, compared to 135,548 pageviews in March. However, revenue went down from $2,776 to $2,329.
The corona hit this niche. Fewer people going out means they use their vehicles less often. Also, they don’t go out to dealerships to buy a vehicle, so less research in that department as well. The site has a significant RV section, too closely related to travel not to be affected by the pandemic. Still, we’ve added so much content to the site over the last year that just enough of it kicked into action to push traffic up. I would have expected traffic to go over 200,000 monthly pageviews by now. Looks like it’s stalling due to the effects of COVID-19.
The slight 6% increase in traffic wasn’t enough to push revenue up. With the lower RPM rates, the site made only 83% of what it did in March.
The Home Improvement Blog
Site history: This site was launched in early 2019. The posts are a mix of informational and “how-to” posts, with inspirational picture posts and a few “X of Y” shopping guides.
Monetization: Approximately 60% display ads (Ezoic) and 40% Amazon.
The blog currently has a total of 546 posts.
A fantastic increase in both traffic and revenue this month! Traffic nearly doubled, going up from 54,831 pageviews in March to 108,321 in April. The revenue went up by half as much (around 50% increase) from $2,098 to $3,069.
This change is possibly seasonal in part, but it also probably reflects the fact that people are staying at home. Looking at your home 24/7 does make you want to fix and improve on things, now that you have the time. And as long as Amazon delivers, why not?
The Gardening Site
Site history: This site was technically launched in September 2018 as a micro-niche site but was moved to a new domain in April 2019 when we decided to cast a wider net and turn it into an authority site. The content so far has been a mix of response posts, gardening guides, inspirational photo posts, and some “Best X for Y” product posts.
Monetization: During March and most of April, the site was monetized with Google Adsense and Amazon. In the middle of April, the site was finally accepted into Mediavine. We now monetize with both Mediavine and Amazon.
The blog currently has 396 posts.
This site exploded in April! We went from 45,516 to a whopping 135,198! Revenue followed suit with $2,120 (up from $574 the previous month).
The combination of staying at home and springtime was like a magic elixir for this site. It’s taken a year and a half to get to this point, but I think we can finally say we’re out of the sandbox!
The monetization part is a bit trickier. You may recall how Ezoic kicked off the site from their system in early March? Well, we were left with nothing but Adsense and Amazon, but I wasn’t too concerned because the site didn’t have a lot of traffic. I applied to Mediavine and waited patiently. During the waiting period, I could see traffic going up and up. I just couldn’t wait to have ads on that site now that it was bringing in 4,000-5,000 pageviews a day.
Meanwhile, the Amazon revenue from the site skyrocketed. Up to April 21st, the niche had an 8% commission rate.
So, three things happened –
- Traffic went up.
- Amazon fees went down on the 21st
- Mediavine revenue kicked into action in the middle of the month.
May should be an interesting month for this site. We’ll see how revenue is doing once the dust settles, and also how much traffic will increase.
The Finance Blog
Site history: Launched in August 2019, this is an experiment in the YMYL field.
Monetization: None. The site is too small, and the traffic is too low. It does have some Amazon links in posts but not enough traffic for generating commissions.
The total number of posts at this point is 91.
Clearly, this site is having a lot of trouble, but we’re not losing hope just yet. This site is an experiment, and we won’t know how it goes until at least a year from now. The small numbers, combined with the effects of COVID-19, make it difficult to assess what’s going on at this point. I’m pretty sure there’s a YMYL block in place too. Just look at the next site (launched at around the same time).
The Style and Fashion Blog
Site history: This site was launched in September 2019 (a few weeks after the finance site). The content is a mix of response posts, guides, and lists of inspirational images.
Monetization: No display ads. Amazon links on some pages.
The number of posts now is 100.
The site had 2,865 pageviews in April. That’s an increase from 2,037 in March, but not only are these still sandbox numbers, but the growth curve has also somewhat flattened. I can only assume this is the corona at play. People who are staying at home in their slippers and trainers don’t tend to browse fashion sites.
The Pet Accessories Blog
Site history: This site was launched in March 2018. It includes high-quality guides relating to aspects of the topic (how to choose, how often to clean, etc.). We also have some “X for Y” lists.
Monetization: Display ads by Ezoic account for about half of the revenue, with Amazon bringing in the other half.
The site currently has 96 posts, but 18 of those are fairly new.
This particular site was doing very well over the summer, reaching over 40,000 pageviews a month and generating more than $2700 in revenue during August 2019. For some reason, it was hit during the October algorithm update and then again in November. December was pretty bad.
In January 2020, we saw the first signs of the site rebounding. It was holding its own in February but not much more, then went down again in early March and bounced back a little bit later in the month. April was pretty eventful, with a slight increase in traffic and revenue. Nothing to write home about.
The small pets blog
Site history: This site was launched in October 2018, and we built it up to precisely 100 posts (with the last posts added in April 2019). As for the type of content, it’s mostly response posts, but there are some tip lists and “best X of Y” posts.
Monetization: The site is monetized with a combination of display ads via Mediavine and Amazon links. About 50% of the revenue comes from each of these channels.
Traffic went up again this month, from 51,555 to 59,426 pageviews. That’s a nice 15% increase. Revenue went up by 23% from $596 to $484.
This is the site’s second month with Mediavine. We’ve added some video content to the monetization, so display RPM’s went up in the second half of the month. Unfortunately, Amazon slashing commissions in the pet niche means affiliate revenue is lower now. Overall, it’s good to see the site doing so well because it’s entirely passive at this point. We haven’t added any new content in the past 11 months.
The Kitchen Blog
Site history: This site was launched in March 2020. The plan is to build it up to precisely 100 posts. We’re going after long-tail response posts, with some tip lists and “best X of Y” posts mixed in.
Monetization: There are Amazon links in some posts but nothing else (it’s brand new).
The site surprised me by generating a total of 350 pageviews, including 91 from Google! I don’t recall ever getting Google traffic this fast with any site.
According to other web publishers, cooking is a very good niche to be in during the corona, so maybe that made Google take a closer look at the site? Either way, the unexpected wave of Google traffic is now gone. I hope there will be a second wave soon!
Expenses and Investment in April
Unlike with revenue, I can only provide estimates here. It’s just too time-consuming to try and collect every little payment out there.
The exception is the cost of written content (how much we pay writers). I calculate the cost of content by taking the overall number of words that we published and multiplying that by 3 cents (which is how much we pay writers per word). I was somewhat hesitant about content investment, especially early in April, so we ended up publishing a lower number of words.
So here’s a breakdown of our expenses in April:
$100 – hosting expenses
$400 – Software (plugins, templates, task management, SEO tools, etc.)
$300 – Stock photos
$2,000 VA fees (four VA’s)
$700 Editor fees
$288 Ezoic premium fees
That comes to a total of $9,294 (compared to $10,205 in March).
We had a total of $8,573 in revenue and $9,294 in expenses. That means we “made” -$721 in April. Still in the red, but wow, that’s about $3000 better than what we had last month! We’re doing better than what we had predicted in our timeline (based on conservative estimates). So, yeah, I’m happy! It looks like this business model was robust enough to withstand the corona and Jeff Bezos combined!
So, there you have it. That’s our report for April. What a crazy roller coaster this month has been!
Please leave me a comment and let me know what April has been like for you! And stay safe, always!