Time for the traffic and revenue report! During 2019 I published these reports on a quarterly basis. This year, I’m going to increase the frequency to once every month. It just feels like things are getting more interesting (finally!) and there’s more to look at.
- If you’re new to my blog
- Traffic and Revenue for January 2020
- Expenses and Investment in January
- The fiscal bottom line
- Final Words
If you’re new to my blog
Here’s a quick recap about these reports. I have a portfolio of content/niche sites/blogs, some of which were launched in 2018 and some in 2019. 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 –
- Q1 2019 report (with some additional information about the project)
- Q2 2019 report.
- Q3 2019 report.
- Q4 2019 report
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 niche/content sites venture. If you’re a newbie reading this, please 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.
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 full-time VA’s, a part-time editor and an awesome server admin/Wordpress wizard on a monthly retainer (if you’re looking for one, let me know – he’s looking for more work). That’s the core of my team.
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.
In addition to that, I work with around 20-30 freelancers that write a total of 150+ posts per month. (If you’re curious about how I manage post creation, you can read here about my workflow).
Introducing our portfolio
Our current 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 large 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 January 2020
Taking into account our entire niche sites/blogs portfolio, January was great in terms of traffic. We crossed the 300K barrier for the first time, with a total of 311,132 pageviews across all sites.
Unfortunately, revenue was only marginally up, at a total of $5,765.
So, what happened here?
Our two main sites suffer from seasonality and that’s why traffic was going down during November and December. In January, particularly in the second half of the month, they began to recover. In addition to that, our other two large sites continued their crawl out of the sandbox, so there was some increase in traffic from that as well.
Revenue-wise, this is January. The entire advertising industry is going through its annual low. RPM rates are down, so despite having more traffic, we’re not seeing a corresponding increase in revenue.
Let’s take a look at the numbers per blog.
The Travel Blog
This site was established in June 2016. It started out as a personal travel blog but we have since pruned some of the earlier content. I still 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. This slows down production, as I don’t have the time to deal with too many posts to that extent.
As for monetization, 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 229 posts.
In January, we saw a huge increase in traffic with a total of 70,320 pageviews.
Unfortunately, the increase in revenue was not in the same proportion, reaching a total of $1,342.9
The Automotive Blog
We started this blog in April 2018. The niche is vehicles of various classes and types. The content is mostly informational with a few “best X of Y” product lists.
The site makes about 75% of its revenue from display ads and 25% from Amazon affiliate links.
This blog currently has 571 posts, making it the largest in our portfolio. However, many posts are fairly young.
In January, this blog bounced back in terms of traffic reaching 128,835 pageviews.
Revenue actually went down to $2,448.81
The Home Improvement Blog
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. The site is monetized with display ads (Ezoic) and Amazon.
The blog currently has a total of 415 posts but it’s still making its way out of the sandbox, so traffic isn’t as high as you’d expect, considering that number. It is on the increase though.
Traffic to this blog reached 32,542 pageviews.
The overall revenue for this blog was $906.61
The Gardening Blog
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, addressing specific gardening questions, gardening guides for specific plants, inspirational photo posts, and some (Best X for Y) product posts.
The site is monetized with display ads (Ezoic) and Amazon. The blog currently has 276 posts.
I’m not entirely sure whether it’s a matter of seasonality, the site coming out of the sandbox or both, but we’re finally seeing an increase in traffic here.
Traffic in January reached 16,632 pageviews. Revenue followed with a total of $272.75.
The Finance Blog
Moving on to the smaller sites. Launched in August 2019, this is an experiment in the YMYL field.
The site isn’t monetized (too small) and we’re working on getting it to the 100 posts point. It’s slow work as we don’t have many writers who feel comfortable writing about the niche, so the total number of posts at the end of January 2020 was 59.
Traffic is on the increase – very very slowly. We’re deep in the sandbox with a total of 167 pageviews.
The Style and Fashion Blog
This site was launched in September 2019. The content is a mix of response posts, guides, and lists of inspirational images. The site is still in the sandbox, but it was created with Amazon links, so you could say it’s monetized that way.
The number of posts by the end of January was 80.
The Pet Accessories Blog
This site was launched in March 2018. We started with 40-50 posts, each about a specific product. Later, we deleted most of them and focused instead on 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.
The site has 78 posts and hasn’t had new posts added in a while (working on changing that soon). 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’re seeing the first signs of the site rebounding. It’s still too early to say, but we’re hopeful that it will reach its former glory. We plan on adding 22 more articles to bring it up to a total of 100.
The small pets blog
This site focuses on a specific type of small pet. It was launched in October 2018 and we built it up to exactly 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.
The site is monetized with a combination of display ads and Amazon links.
Traffic stayed stable during January with a total of 46,180 pageviews. However, revenue was down. Still not entirely sure why. Some of that was probably due to the overall decrease in RPM’s this month.
Expenses and Investment in January
Ok, on to the painful part.
Unlike the revenue, this is where I can only provide estimates. It’s just too much time and work to try and collect every little payment out there. So, this is currently our breakdown for a single month and I’ll probably be repeating it in future reports so if you read this once, it should be enough.
The exception here would be the cost of posts (how much we pay writers). That one I calculate monthly 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).
$250 – hosting expenses
$400 – Software (plugins, templates, task management, SEO tools, etc.)
$300 – Stock photos
$2,500 VA fees (four VA’s)
$9,00 Editor fees
$288 Ezoic premium fees
That comes to a total of $10,370
We had a total of $5,765 in revenue and $10,370 in expenses. That means we “made” -$4605 in January. Still in the red, just as we expected.
The good news is that we averaged a loss of over $6,000 a month in Q4. So, we’re doing better in January in that respect.
The not-so-good-news is that this is mostly due to spending less on content. We spent an average of over $9,000 a month paying writers in Q4. This month we only paid out $5732. So, it’s a mixed bag of news, if you like. We didn’t make more. We just sort of “lost less”. We consider content to be an investment rather than an expense, so this isn’t something that we’re too thrilled about.
Why did we spend less on content?
That’s a good question, actually. I find it very challenging to maintain a steady rate of publication. In September 2019, we decided to produce 150 posts per month. We had a fresh batch of writers and I kept pushing topics into the Clickup system and bam, we ended October with a total of 259 new posts.
That was not sustainable, obviously, so I tried to lower the number of topics in the system. That worked very well in November and December (161 and 151 posts respectively). January was off to a very slow start though. Maybe people were just recovering from the holidays? I’m not sure. Either way, it has since picked up steam more, but we’re assessing the situation and may recruit 1-2 more writers this month.
So, there you have it. That’s our report for January.
And I’m sorry about not posting more on this blog. I have so many ideas for posts but unfortunately, I just can’t find the time for them right now. Things are just too hectic with managing the business and preparing for our up and coming trip in March (We’re going to Florida for three weeks! Yay!). Fingers crossed, I’ll be posting more in April and beyond.
In the meantime, thank you so much for those of you who take the time to leave me a comment. I love getting those. Don’t hesitate to ask me anything you like. I’m always looking to exchange views with other web publishers and help out those who are new to the business. So, yeah, keep the comments coming!