The 2022 Traffic & Revenue Reports

Four new sites get their first report for 2022

Hey, it’s 2022! And as promised, I’m launching a new series of monthly reports for the year.

This time around, I won’t cover my entire business operation. Instead, I will focus on a small number of new sites that we’ve been growing over the past few months.

Why Do I Publish these reports

When I first published my reports here on Yeys.com, my goal was to reach out to like-minded people and find my voice in the industry.

It worked pretty well. Not only has this blog helped me network, but many readers told me how much it’s helped them along the way too.

These reports went from hardly any revenue to over $100K a month by the end of 2021. Quite the journey!

This year, my reports will focus on a select number of new sites. I think that documenting the growth of these new sites – from their very inception – would be more helpful to readers of this blog.

On my end, growing a site from zero is much more fun and so it’s more interesting to write about.

Also, I may want to sell these sites sometime in the future. Showcasing them – without revealing the domain names – could help attract potential buyers.

What To Expect from these Reports

For each site, I’ll cover site growth, including –

  • Content (number of posts)
  • Traffic
  • Revenue

I’ll then talk about how much revenue I expect each site to generate and attempt to predict its future price tag.

The plan is to publish monthly reports throughout the year. I’m not sure these are going to be standalone reports, though. Since there won’t be too much to discuss with each update, I’ll probably append them to posts on other topics.

This post will be the exception, being the main post about this little project. Today, I’ll try to include as much info as I can about these sites.

who Am I, Anyway

If you’re new to this blog, here’s a quick recap of who I am and what I do.

I have been making a living online for the last 20+ years. I have a portfolio of 20+ websites, of various sizes.

Put together, these sites generate a nice chunk of revenue. Numbers vary from month to month – usually going up – but they’ve been in the six-figures range since September 2021. Yes, that’s per month.

My system in a nutshell

It’s not very complicated.

  1. Find suitable topics.
  2. Create good content.
  3. Scale by outsourcing, using a good workflow.
  4. Rinse, repeat.

I blogged here about my workflow.

If you want to learn how to find the right topics and produce the right kind of topics, check out the courses on my resources page.

And if you have more questions, there’s an FAQ section at the end of this post, so check that out as well.

And now, moving on to the first site report for 2022!

Site #1

  • Niche: General (the site does have a unifying theme)
  • First post published on April 2, 2021
  • Current number of published posts: 210
  • Projected number of published posts: 210 (for now – this might change in the future)
  • Monetization: Display ads + Amazon

This is the oldest of the sites I’ll cover in my report, and therefore the most interesting one.

We launched this site back in April 2021 with a content plan that contained 210 topics. The bulk of the content was published between April and September, with a drip of posts continuing all the way to late December 2021.

As with all of our sites, there was zero link building involved. Of course, links are coming in all the same because good content that ranks attracts links.

According to Ahrefs, the site currently has incoming links from 223 locations. 70% of those are dofollow links. And they are as whitehat as you can get them to be, just like I like them.

Traffic

Site #1 2021 traffic

December 2021 Traffic: 49,788 pageviews

I like how balanced the traffic is with this site. I’m not too fond of one-page-wonders. Like with our other sites, the traffic is nicely spread across dozens of pages –

Revenue

December 2021 Revenue: $1639.30

  • $39.30 in Amazon commissions
  • $1600 from Display ads

Projected Worth

The site currently makes $1640. If we were to go by a standard X45 multiple with this number, it should come to $73,800.

However, there are two factors to consider –

  1. When estimating a site’s worth, you typically look at an average of six months to a year.
  2. This site is on a growth trajectory with plenty of content that hasn’t fully ranked yet.

Based on my experience, I think we’ll be seeing significant traffic growth in the next six months. Possibly longer. We then anticipate the site to stabilize and keep that level of traffic and revenue for at least one year, even with no additional content.

Should we (or the future owner) keep adding content – it can grow even more. The niche is good, too – there’s plenty of additional content to add, with juicy long-tail queries.

We expect the site to hit around close to $3,000 a month by Q3 of 2022. At that point, the six-months average will likely be $2,500 or so.

Therefore, the expected sale price in September 2022: $112,500

The number is based on an average of $2,500 a month during the six months preceding the anticipated sale date, at an X45 multiple. It could be higher, if we hang on to the site for a few more months, to establish a higher monthly average.

I’m using an X45 multiple because I think that’s a pretty conservative estimate for a 100% whitehat SEO-based site with high-quality content, great images (with no copyright issues*), and additional growth potential.

* Editing to add, following a comment by Hugo: We purchase all of our photos from reputable stock photo sites such as Shutterstock and iStock. It’s expensive, but it dramatically reduces the risk of being chased down by a copyright troll and asked to fork a bunch of money. Whoever buys any of our sites, will be getting approximately 3 paid high-quality images per post. As an added bonus, there’s a pretty pin image that we prepare for each post as well.

I’ll be using that multiple throughout this report. Leave me a comment if you think differently – I’m curious to hear what others think.

Site #2

  • Niche: Home & DIY
  • First post published on June 11, 2021
  • Current number of published posts: 227
  • Projected number of published posts: 228 (just one more post in the content plan…)
  • Monetization: Amazon

Traffic

Site #2 2021 traffic

Traffic in December 2021: 12,548

Revenue

Amazon commissions in December: $77.48

Projected Worth

My estimate is very similar to that of Site #1. We expect this site to hit around $3,000 a month by Q4 of 2022. At that point, the six-months average will likely be $2,500 or so. Similar numbers – delayed by a few months.

Expected sale price in January 2023: $112,500

Again, the number is based on an average of $2,500 a month during the six months preceding the anticipated sale date, at a X45 multiple.

Site #3

  • Niche: Pets
  • First post published on May 18, 2021
  • Current number of published posts: 119
  • Projected number of published posts: 119
  • Monetization: Amazon

Moving on to a slightly different site. Site #3 is smaller and in a more competitive niche. Still, here too, we went after the same low-hanging fruit of long-tail queries.

This site actually began as an experiment, testing the effect of expired domains.

I’ve owned this domain for almost 20 years and used to have a successful site on it many moons ago. According to Ahrefs, it has a DR of 29. Not super high, but not too bad either.

Because I owned the domain, I knew it was “clean.” No link building. No Google penalties. Pure as snow. There’s nothing to write home about as far as the experiment results go. The site got indexed and ranked fast enough, just like any other one of our sites.

Still, it’s a good solid domain. Brandable too. Hopefully, prospective buyers will see the additional value and bid accordingly.

Traffic

Site #3 2021 traffic

Traffic in December 2021: 6,208 pageviews

Revenue

Amazon commissions in December: $11.66.

Projected Worth

This site is smaller, and it’s in the pets niche. In my experience, the RPM is generally lower in the pet niche, and it’s also more competitive. Also, with only 119 posts, this site is significantly smaller.

Keeping all that in mind, we expect the site to hit around close to $1,000 a month by Q3 of 2023. We will probably hold off selling until 2024, just to let its revenue peak and stabilize before the sale.

Expected sale price in July 2023: $46,000

That number is based on an average of $1000 per month on the last six months before the sale date. I used the same X45 multiple and threw in another $1000 for the established domain.

Site #4

  • Niche: Home & DIY
  • First post published on August 23, 2021
  • Current number of published posts: 147
  • Projected number of published posts: 216
  • Monetization: Amazon

Lastly, site #4 is the newest of our hatchlings for this report. We’re still hard at work adding more content to this site.

Traffic

2021 traffic for site #3 – August 23-December 21

Traffic in December 2021: 2,044 pageviews

Revenue

No revenue yet.

Projected Worth

We expect to wrap up this site by the end of January, though it could take a bit longer.

Considering the niche and expected size of the site, we’re confident that this site will eventually reach the same numbers as sites #1 and #2. In other words, we expect the site to hit around close to $3,000 a month by Q2 of 2023. At that point, the six-months average will likely be $2,500 or so.

Expected sale price in April 2023: $112,500

Again, the number is based on an average of $2,500 a month during the six months preceding the anticipated sale date, at an X45 multiple.

FAQ

Whenever I publish a report, people respond with questions. I decided to save you the time, and create this FAQ section here.

How do you find topics for your sites?

I am the one creating most of our content plans. I don’t use any fancy tools to find my keywords, but instead, use common sense and some Google Autocomplete techniques.

If you’re looking for guidance, check out these courses – they pretty much cover these methods (and then some) –

Jon Dykstra’s Fat Stacks courses

The Passive Income Geek course

(Yes, these are my affiliate codes – thanks in advance should you use them to sign up!)

Where is traffic coming from?

Almost all of the traffic to our sites comes from Google search.

None.

Really. No HARO, no skyscrapers, no outreach of any kind. I hate it when people reach out to me with their spammy link requests and I see no reason to put others through that.

What’s more, link building is always risky, and at this point, I prefer to avoid that risk.

That isn’t to say I think links aren’t necessary. They’re super important. I just let them come to my sites naturally, following good content that ranks.

Where do you find your writers?

Wherever I can. Problogger is one good option, but we also use other resources.

I won’t reveal all of the locations we use. There’s no need to add more competition. After all, good writers are a scarce resource!

Where do you find your editors?

When we need a new editor, we approach writers we feel would be a good match for our team and ask them to join as editors.

Do you write outlines for your posts?

No, I don’t.

We train our writers (we pay them for the training time). Then they’re on their own. Our editors know to check for our requirements and ensure the final result is good enough for our needs.

That’s it!

I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on these sites, these reports, and anything else you’d like to share (especially if it somehow relates to web publishing *wink* ), so don’t be shy and leave me a comment below!

27 Comments

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  1. YES! Happy to see your updates are back.

    You say the value of your site is 45x also because of “great images” with no copyright issues. What do you mean by that? I can only assume you take pictures from Unsplash (or similar) and touch them up with some type of branding? Or do you actually have a person in your team that designs images for posts?

    I’ve recently begun to post articles without images. All I did was take semi-relevant pictures from Unsplash, and added 1 or 2 throughout a 1,5k word article. Even though Mediavine supports the use of many images, I just can’t see the added value to a reader. I also see big informational sites go the same route (image-less). But my main motivation behind this decision was to just save myself the 5 minutes of dull work it takes to choose, upload and format images in WP.

    What’s your take on this?

    • Hi Hugo,
      Thanks for bringing this up – I see now that I should have been more specific. Actually, my point is that we never use free images. No Unsplash or similar. We pay a lot of money to purchase our images from reputable stock photo companies, such as DepositPhotos, iStock, and Shutterstock. While the buyer won’t be able to re-use the images anywhere else, to the best of my understanding, the license does cover keeping them on the site (as the finished product).
      Our VA’s typically add 2-4 such paid images in each article, plus create one pin image for Pinterest.
      For me, the number one reason keeping me away from buying sites is the “free photos” issue. One copyright troll is all it takes to add a few thousand of dollars to the cost of the purchase… With my sites, buyers can sleep easy, knowing that the images were legally purchased and paid for. I’ll add the explanation in the body of the post – thanks for bringing this up!

    • Hugo – With Mediavine and other networks, you want to add images to make your articles “taller”. The more real estate the user has to scroll through, the more ad spots there are, and the higher your earnings. It’s the same reason you want good sized body text and line spacing. Obviously, all within reason. That 5 min of work will pay off indefinitely.

      • Yeah, I know it’s against common advice from mediavine. But a part of me wonders how much it really changes things. Have you tested this?

        I guess I just want to see for myself. Luckily, MV’s reporting is sturdy enough to allow me to A/B test this, so I’ll find out soon enough how badly I’m burning myself. πŸ˜…

        • It really does improve RPM. In addition, make sure your font size is at least 18pt and you have short paragraphs (I do 2-3 sentences max). Also, make sure their Universal Player is used for video ads. Test this on your highest trafficked page and I guarantee you’ll see a nice bump in RPM.

  2. Always enjoy your posts Anne. I miss the old reports but understand why you’re making the change. But I know they’ll be good no matter what.

    Anyway, I think 45x multiples are bit ambitious, especially for newer (1-2 year old) sites. Yes, site brokers have plenty of listings at 40-50x but after going through the process with multiple sites/brokers in the past couple years, I learned through reps and my personal experience that sites almost never sell for the asking price, especially over a certain price point.

    Since there’s more competition now with places to sell, brokers give a higher valuation on purpose (to make sellers excited to list through them). I’m in no way saying you don’t have high quality sites but a 35-40x expectation would likely be more accurate (unless a site was heavily under-monetized). However, you do have the advantage that any of your readers who were looking to buy would probably be willing to pay a premium for a site of yours.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Ivo! I had a concrete 60x offer on a similar site a year and a half ago, so I’m hoping 45X will be doable, but I guess we’ll find out. And yes, I’m also hoping that sharing what I do on this blog will also help push up the multiple.

  3. Love to see this! Really looking forward to following along, such an inspiration.

    Is there any reason that you haven’t added display ads to sites 2-4?

    • Hi Alice,
      I plan on applying for Mediavine/Adthrive when the sites hit the 15K monthly pageviews mark. They like our sites and have agreed to make an exception and take a look at them at around that point. I don’t want to deal with Adsense or Ezoic for the lower traffic levels. Not worth my time at this point.

  4. I love the new update layout. I started a pets site a few months ago so will be interesting to compare πŸ™‚ Are you puting ads on all sites? When do you do this?
    As for site sales, in my exprience x45 is very high – I have sold my sites for x30-37 which I think is more realistic. Site age plays a big part and, even for x30-35 you need the site to be 3+ years old.
    Agree your style of site is all the rage right now which may help a little but x45 for an 18 month old site would be amazing.

    • Hi Sharon,
      Yeah, that’s a valid point. I guess we’ll see when it’s time to sell them. I’ll give it some more thought, and may lower the multiples in future reports to reflect the feedback here. Thanks!

      • Lol, don’t listen to these people. If you are building high-quality sites with well-written, optimized content that earns organic traffic and consistent income over the long-term in a valuable niche, then 45x to 55x is extremely reasonable. Like you, I run 4 sites that earn about 75K/mo and about 5M visitors/mo. Only one is relatively small, but the other 3 are all equally large and I’ve consistently gotten offers in this range. There are also size and longevity premiums. I also worked in finance (investment banking and private equity) and buyers often look for private deal flow to avoid a bidding process that will increase the valuation.

        If anyone has a good site and they are selling for 35x, they are just giving away a valuable asset. Think of it this way: in this low interest rate environment, how much capital would it take to replicate a similar income stream? With investors flush with cash, don’t give away your assets because, once you have the cash in the bank, you won’t be able to generate the same income with a CD, dividends from an S&P index fund or the stock market, even if it has a 20% return again this year.

        • Thanks, FinanceGeek. And yes, my initial hunch is also based on offers that I’ve had over the years. Including a very concrete offer where the buyer was offering X65, and we said no (because of the site’s growth trajectory – we knew it was going places, and it did).
          That’s an interesting comparison to other revenue streams. I don’t think any of them are as risky as websites though? Hard to tell. I guess that estimate of the risk is reflected in the site price. Experienced web publishers who are confident in their ability to keep managing the site probably have less of a risk, compared to newbies who are looking for a passive stream of revenue.

          And I do value the input from the other commenters here, though. Some of them are hugely experienced, and I’m pretty sure that in each case, these ladies concluded a successful deal for those particular setups.

  5. I feel like 35x is a good multiple to use for most site sales, in my experience. What pushes that number up? Age, amazing growth trajectory, owning the trademark, and multiple traffic/revenue sources. That being said, since you are well known in this space, I think you could realistically expect 40x-45x with your sites, kind of like how Jon from Fat Stacks got a high multiple when he sold his sites and how Income School sells young sites at high multiples.

    • Thanks for adding your input, Shawna! I’m hoping to show a solid growth trajectory around the sale, and I hope my reputation will count for something. For myself, I don’t buy sites mostly because of concerns about things like the use of “free” images, gray/blackhat link building, domain issues etc. I’m hoping that by removing these concerns for buyers, our “squeaky clean” sites will be more attractive than average. I guess we’ll see!

  6. Thanks Anne for the update. Great to see the growth!

    It’s very interesting to see that the writers don’t require a brief. You just give them the KW and they go to work.
    I always write a brief (from a template), and it is a bit of a time-suck, but I know they write what I want and it is quality.
    How did you go about training them? Do you literally record how you outline a brief in a video and get them to do it themselves? I assume you do the initial KW research part yourself though?

    I’d be really interested to see how you do this. Any resources you could share would be so much appreciated πŸ™‚

    • Hi Whit,
      I come up with the topics based on the keyword research that I do. We then have templates for various types of posts. The templates outline the structure and main principles. For example, if I’m looking for an “x tips for” kind of post, then I’ll ask for an introduction of 2-3 paragraphs, followed by the tips, with each tip having its own numbered H2 heading. I prefer not to share my other templates at this point, but I think you get the idea.
      If writing the outlines works for you, that’s great! It’s probably the better option unless you always work with the same writers. I think the important thing is to find a system that works for you.

  7. Anne, I’ve been following you for sometime, I’m also in p24(I was there when you were still a member) and fat stacks… anyways, I’ll be using an anonymous user as I don’t want to get associated to one user. πŸ™‚

    Anyways, financegeek is right there’s no asset as good as websites… provided you know how to manage them. I have over a million $ invested in stocks/index funds and more than a couple million $ invested in real estate… and no where can I find investing $45,000 to generate a $1000 income monthly or $12,000 income yearly(26% yearl return) if I buy an asset at 45x multiple.

    Although, like you, I also build my own portfolio of sites that generate about $50k per month now and my total content investment for those sites since I started is less than $90k so far… less than my cheapest real estate investment but generates easily a 100 folds income.

    So if you sell a site at 45x I might just be happy to buy it from you.