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March 2022 Monthly Traffic & Revenue Report
I meant to post this report sooner, but I wanted to look into some of the stats in more detail, which took longer than expected. Analyzing the traffic and revenue of these sites was not too complicated. It was just a matter of finding the time to do that.
But now that I have, let’s get the monthly report on the road!
A quick recap for those who are new to this blog: I own a portfolio of more than 20 content sites, monetized mostly using display ads. I began my journey about five years ago. Today, my business makes more than $140K in monthly revenue (yup! that was the number for March!).
I documented my progress in this blog, including detailed monthly reports covering all of my sites. In 2022, I switched to reporting traffic and revenue only for four new sites.
You can read the initial report here. That post also includes more information about my web publishing business and an FAQ. Please check it out first if you have any questions.
My system in a nutshell
The usual recap. My system is not very complicated.
- Find suitable topics.
- Create good content.
- Scale by outsourcing, using a good workflow.
- Rinse, repeat.
I blogged here about my workflow.
If you want to learn how to find suitable topics and produce the right content, check out the courses on my resources page.
I won’t repeat each site’s story – only the basic stats. Please refer to the initial report to learn more about a site.
What happened in March 2022
I had my numbers for this report earlier in March. The results were not what I had hoped they would be. Two of the four sites seemed to plateau whereas they should have been growing.
I wanted to take the time to dig into the stats and see what was going on. Basically, I followed the protocol that I described here:
First, I checked the domain on Google Search Console and made sure everything was ok (it was). Next, I sampled the low-performing posts to see what was going on. I tried to see whether they ranked high for queries with too-low a search volume, or if they failed to rank.
I’ll share my thoughts on each site in this report.
- Niche: General (the site does have a unifying theme)
- First post was published on April 2, 2021
- Number of published posts: 210
- Monetization: Display ads + Amazon
- December 2021 Traffic: 49,788 pageviews
- January 2022 Traffic: 68,936 pageviews
- February 2022 Traffic: 60,689 pageviews.
- March 2022 Traffic: 68,213 pageviews.
February was on the low side, after a good January. March seems to put us back in the same place we were two months prior.
It’s difficult for me to assess what’s going on with this site because there are several factors at play –
- Seasonality – The site is exactly one year old, which means I don’t have good data from the previous year. Some posts on this site are seasonal in nature – both in terms of weather and holidays.
- Global affairs – we saw a decline across our sites in February around the time Russia invaded Ukraine.
- Natural growth trajectory – it’s difficult to determine the effect of the previous factors with a site that’s on a strong growth curve.
Overall, the posts seem to be ranking quite nicely. Average traffic per post was just above 300 pageviews during March. That’s a good average for our sites.
Here’s a screenshot of the site’s overall traffic over the last year:
I included the first week and a half of April in the above chart. Is the site just stabilizing back, or is there some growth left to be had? We’ll know in a few weeks’ time. Either way, traffic is fine.
Traffic is important, but revenue is the bottom line for me.
- December 2021 Revenue: $1639.30
- January 2022 Revenue: $1,546.57
- February 2022 Revenue: $1,449
- March 2022 Revenue: $1,763
A record month for this site so far. If you look at the revenue per day, it’s pretty steady. With March being a long month, the bottom line was higher.
- Niche: Home & DIY
- First post was published on June 11, 2021
- Number of published posts: 228
- Monetization: Amazon & display ads
- Traffic in December 2021: 12,548 pageviews
- January 2022 Traffic: 24,789 pageviews
- February 2022 Traffic: 30,179 pageviews
- March 2022 Traffic: 39,956 pageviews
Traffic looks good on this site. Last month I was wondering if it was hitting a plateau but now it looks like that was the effect of global affairs. In March, growth continues as it should.
- Revenue in December 2021: $77.48
- Revenue in January 2022: $379.69
- Revenue in February 2022: $1,131
- Revenue in March 2022: $1,624
RPM is steady. The growth in revenue is due to the increase in traffic.
- Niche: Pets
- The first post was published on May 18, 2021
- Number of published posts: 119
- Monetization: Amazon
- Traffic in December 2021: 6,208 pageviews
- Traffic in January 2022: 11,997 pageviews
- Traffic in February 2022: 11,353 pageviews.
- Traffic in March 2022: 11,910 pageviews
This is one of the two sites where I’m not liking the numbers very much. The site generates an average of 108 monthly pageviews per post. That is on the low side.
I checked and there are no penalties or any issues showing up on Google Search Console. After running the analysis, I believe the problem is with the niche being too competitive.
That’s why I don’t like the pets niche.
Many web publishers create sites around things they love. Pets are lovable, there’s no denying that. And so we have this influx of sites about pets, specifically dogs and cats. It’s very difficult to find longtail queries that haven’t been covered already.
We may add more content to this site, but probably not right away. Considering the competitive niche, and just how busy I am, I prefer to work on topics for our more profitable sites at this point.
- Revenue in December 2021: $11.66
- Revenue in January 2022: $45.95
- Revenue in February 2022: $47
- Revenue in March 2022: $291.52
We added display ads to this site in late February. March was the first month where the site was fully monetized. RPM settled around the $25 point – typical for the niche. The combination of low traffic figures and less-than-stellar RPM means that each post makes under $3 per month.
During the AMA I held a couple of weeks ago, some people asked me if I had any sites that failed. Site #3 is a great example of a site that I don’t consider to be a success.
And yet, left untouched, the posts will still make $36 a year each. We would be in profit after 2.5 years. Two years later, we would have doubled our money. Still not a terrible investment, IMO.
Also, I hope I’ll have some time later in the year to inspect the posts more carefully and maybe come up with a batch of content that will help push the site forward.
- Niche: Home & DIY
- The first post was published on August 23, 2021
- Number of published posts: 216
- Monetization: Amazon
Traffic in December 2021: 2,044 pageviews
Traffic in January 2022: 2,736 pageviews
Traffic in February 2022: 1,985 pageviews
Traffic in March 2022: 2,612 pageviews
This site bothered me the most. Based on my experience, it should have at least 10-15K pageviews per month by now.
Instead, the site seems stuck.
I checked, and the domain looks ok. Pages are indexed and Google ranks most of them just fine.
As far as I can see, it’s a mix of pages that rank very high for low-volume queries and pages that rank low for medium-volume queries.
Also, with this being a home & DIY niche, seasonality could be playing a role here.
I’m going to cheat here and give you a sneak peek of April’s stats in the following chart –
I’m happy to say that the site seems to be doing better already. Slightly better. It’s still much lower than I would have liked it to be, but I’m hoping it may turn out to be a late bloomer.
Going back to the AMA, several people asked me what my secret sauce was.
I don’t have one. I just keep on publishing – and on average, it works out ok.
As this report shows, a portfolio of sites can be a mixed bag. Some sites do better than others. Some develop faster than others. There are runts in every litter.
If you’re in the early stages of your web publishing journey, I hope this report helps you see that it’s not always an easy path to follow.
As always, I’d love to hear from you! What was your March like? Did you see an increase in traffic and revenue? Or maybe not? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Thanks for the update Anne, it’s great that you are sharing these insights into the progress of your various sites.
In terms of scaling, let’s say you wanted to double revenue from $140K to $280K. Do you see this as being feasible, and if so, how long do you think it would take you?
What is your end goal here – e.g. do you have a target of $5M per year in revenue?
Further to my previous comment:
Based on what you have said:
– You have 20+ sites (let’s say 25)
– Each post gets around 350 page views a month
– RPM’s average at $20
– You are currently generating $140K per month in revenue
So – 140,000 / 20 * 1000 / 25 / 350 = 800 posts per site as an average approximate (I know this isn’t the case in reality).
You also mentioned you are producing 800 posts per month on average.
Does that mean you see yourself having doubled current revenue in around 2 years?
These are good questions. I’ll try and share my thoughts in a single response.
I don’t have an end goal in the form of X million per year. We have a business plan for the next 4-5 years and it gets all the way to 2.5 million dollars in revenue during the 5th year. Could it be faster? Possibly. Our aim is to build a sustainable company, with dozens of employees. It takes time and careful planning, and with no investors, just our own funds, we prefer to be conservative and slow.
Your calculation there isn’t bad. We work with spans rather than specific numbers, and try to make sure that we stay profitable even if the profit per post goes down by half (whether due to loss of traffic or a decline in RPM). There’s a very good chance that we’ll double our revenue within a year. It could be even higher than that. Or it could be lower.
Keep in mind that we also plan on selling some sites which would increase the revenue around the sale and then decrease our overall number of posts. We factor that into our spreadsheets as well.
Thanks for another great update, your idea of thinking about websites in terms of earnings per article has really helped me to compare across my sites and strategize for future content needed to achieve earnings targets.
I am curious whether you ever create and/or sell info products on your websites?
Hi Mark, I’m glad you found the concept helpful! No, we don’t sell any info products on our sites. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about but never got around to actually trying out. Might still happen someday!
Thanks Anne, coming back to your user experience vs. monetization article I’ve been thinking if I can make an info product work and conservatively can sell say a $29-47 info product to 1 in 1,000 customers then once the cost of creating the info product is recovered I (or anyone else) could remove ads improving UX while still making a decent RPM or keep the ads and try to increase RPM for the site.
Congratulations on your blog and all your hard work. I am a French blogger. I have several questions about your methodology. I hope to have precise answers from you :
1 – Do you insert external links in the posts for example to quotes information sources (like wikipedia) or authority sites ? If yes, how many, and are the external links in nofollow or dofollow ?
2 – In your publications, do you insert multimedia such as embedded Youtube content or visual content embed Instagram, Facebook or Twitter for example?
3 – Do you create for each niche site a Facebook page or another social network to associate it with your website?
I see no problem with answering these answers. There is some information that I prefer not to share publically (and have shared in the AMA on the forums). But these should be ok –
1. Yes, we ask our writers to use authoritative sources in their research (not necessarily Wikipedia) and link back to them. We don’t ask for a specific number – whatever works for the topic. These are regular dofollow links.
2. Yes, if it helps the reader. Usually YouTube videos, but can also be IG or Pinterest embeds occasionally.
3. No, we don’t. I’m currently trying out a Facebook strategy to see if we can create a separate stream of traffic from Facebook. It’s a strategy that was shared on the Fat Stacks forums by someone else, so I can’t reveal it here. It does not involve pages per site though.
I hope this helps! I should add that I don’t think any of the above matters to the point that anyone should try to imitate what I’m doing. You can do things differently and I don’t see how it would be an issue.
Thanks for the update! Why you have two different sites in same niche (Home & DIY)?
Oh, that’s the broad niche. The sites are in niches within Home & DIY. It would be like two sites in the pets niche, one about parrots and the other about goldfish.
what,s happen to your finance web pls share about that website too
It’s doing ok and keeps growing. I just checked and it had more than 7,000 pageviews per month. It’s not monetized yet and I should get some ads on the site soon. It won’t be a lot, but I might as well get that stream of revenue started. Just super busy with other projects right now.