Like all online marketers, I post my monthly income so you can see my Method™ is working. These report cards tell the story of how my niche websites are performing (in a way that doesn't get me in hot water with the taxman).
August was a pretty good month. My websites made the most money ever, apart from at Christmas. But I reinvested a bunch of cash, so the bottom line isn't that good. And it's becoming more and more clear that I can't afford the house I bought...
If I keep going on about this house instead of websites it's because it's by a factor of ten thousand the most expensive thing I'll ever buy, and because I'm inside its walls more than the Birdman of Alcatraz.
In July the big factor was the incredible heatwave, and in August it was the energy efficiency expert who gave the building a G rating. Guess what? That's the lowest possible grade. To take it to E, which is still shit, will cost something in the region of 180,000 dollars. Holy fucking cow. (The alternative is to literally burn money and never get warmer.)
So with me getting my great new glasses (see last month), the weather cooling down, and this immense financial cliff I'm plunging towards, I did get off my ass and start putting time and money into my sites.
Side note - so far the AirBnB project has gone great. We've only had great guests and the money has been helpful. We've probably broken even on all the furniture, second hand art, and IKEA poufs we've bought. And a dude is due to move in for a couple of months.
My girlfriend is already looking to the future, though, and wants to turn the space into a cat hotel. I'm not opposed to it, but that's a whole 'nother bag of worms right there. Just don't be surprised if a year from now this website is just about what it's like to take care of dozens of angry, scared, homesick kittens.
Now let's get on with it and see how my website portfolio got on last month.
I split these report cards according to sites 1) I bought 2) I made 3) I made with a partner.
Bought: Tech Site (D)
Still waiting for the dude to help me convert it to Wordpress. Seems like a low priority for said dude TO SAY THE LEAST.
Bought: Garden Site (E)
It made like 85 bucks.
Bought: Home Site (D)
It made exactly the same amount as last month, which is statistically improbable. It was really suffering from keyword cannibalisation and halfway through the month I took drastic steps to fix it, merging a bunch of pages. That's still got to work itself out, but the end of the month was stronger than the middle. Fingers crossed.
Built: Review Site 1
(The last time I'll mention this site, probably, but this Transferwise thing is awesome and I'm saving so much money in fees. Thanks, Review Site 1's new owner who told me about it.)
Built: Review Site 2 (B+)
This is back to making 500+ USD, which is nice, but I have bigger ambitions. I'm getting something between 25 and 50,000 words of content written. I want to squeeze every last cent out of it.
I did a test order with a writing company and it was pretty good. So I committed to a bulk order (to get a discount) and as the weeks went by I started to stress that they were going to send all the articles in one go and I'd be swamped.
A few confused emails were sent back and forth. Finally I realised that they'd been dropping the finished articles into the same Google Drive folder as the test order, while I'd been waiting for an email with some attachments.
Anyway, all's well that ends well. I've started uploading this new stuff and it's great. Such a difference reading this well-written stuff compared to the garbage from Review Site 3. Speaking of which...
Built: Review Site 3 (A++)
So my plan to get 50,000 words of new content here was scuppered when the writing agency told me they didn't have any subject matter experts. Ah.
So I turned to a premium writing service recommended by Authority Hackers. The owner said their rates started at 0.065 cents/word. Expensive but I'd heard good things, so I placed an order for a 3,000 word article, planning to give them the rest of the 50k.
I paid the $240 invoice and got my article a few days later.
Holy jesus christ. There's no way the guy was a native speaker (they claim all their writers are Americans - as an English teacher I call MEGA BULLSHIT) and I had to do SOOOOOOOOOOOO much editing just to get it readable. They even included some amazon.co.uk products when I told them specifically only to include .com ones. How do you end up on a different website?
Now if you have a bit more brainpower than me you'll have noticed that 3000 times 0.065 isn't 240. But I just paid the invoice without question. They were RECOMMENDED. The dude charged me 0.080 for some total shit!
I don't have time to rant and rave so I just shrugged it off and turned to Textbroker. I got a similar 3,000 word article for 70 dollars. Yes, I had to do a lot of editing but basically the writer did all the research and gave me an outline for 1/3 the price of a so-called premium writer.
I also tried another writer I found, but who wasn't much better than the agency and was difficult about the invoice. Honestly I admire these guys who hustle for writing jobs and do their best in a foreign language but all I want is to get an article and post it to my site with no revisions, and not be blasted in the ass.
All that said, I really hope me putting my time and energy into this site will pay off, either through ongoing income or selling the site. It made a really decent chunk of change this month. Comfortably its best ever.
So not only did I start spending freely on epic new content, I also tried a link outreach service. They provide a new article that's so good that other websites will fall over themselves to link to it. That's the sales pitch anyway! It's very expensive - this package is half the price of the first site I bought, and that had over 200 articles included in the sale.
But if the return on investment is similar, then they'll be getting a lot more work from me!
Built: Education Sites (F)
Traffic is down. I don't think I've lost rankings - it's just not exam season. These sites are mostly monetised by Adsense, so I enabled some of their new options, like auto ads. So far the results are positive, but it was still a fairly shit month.
Built: Others (D)
This is my basket of deplorables - 7 sites too new, small, or shit to warrant their own section.
3 of the 7 sites made more than 100 USD; the others made zero or close to it. I just want to get them to a point where I can start selling them, but don't have the time to really make a difference.
Joint Venture: Authority Site (A++)
A super month. We sold tons and tons of small stuff, with some premium items peppered in.
And it all started with 5 days of total stress. Amazon wrote to say 'hey you're breaking the rules!' and I was like 'what no way!' and it was like totally unfair because I spend SO MUCH TIME trying to comply with their rules that change every time Jeff Bezos eats some cheese at night.
The issue got resolved without me ever knowing what was wrong or what I did to fix it.
Note: I find it ludicrous that I spend so much time on shitty little sites when I have this gorgeous llama spitting money at me every month. I should comb this llama. Build it a nice llama nest. Find it a llama bride. Spend less time building alpacasarethebest.info. This llama accounts for 75% of my income and I should spend 3 weeks a month just working on this llama. Right?
I'm probably going to close this section because my mentees read it so assiduously. I advise my mentees to do things on their own without waiting for me to drop hints here. Read all the information that's freely available on the net, ask me for tips, then take action!
Last Month's Goals
I was mentally ready to upload all the new content on Review Site 2 but didn't realise it was available. I'm on the case now, though! It's happening.
All my main Amazon payouts are now routed via Transferwise. It's so much better and cheaper!
I've been jogging 3 of the last 4 days. I still hate it and don't understand the point of it, but it's better than being a total couch potato. Love the pain in my ankle that follows a 20-minute trot. Whoo. Yay.
Not a 'huge' expansion of content on Review Site 3, but a significant one, with 3 new articles of 3,000 words each.
This Month's Goals
Review Site 2 and 3 - continue to add tons of great new content. No shortcuts!
Maybe don't drink a bottle of wine every night. (I write this after downing another bottle of red on my own. I won't sleep tonight and won't be productive tomorrow. Why do I keep doing this?)
Don't take BLOODY FIERY REVENGE on noisy neighbours until we get planning permission for our building project.
Keep jogging even though it's the most pointless activity ever devised and is basically a form of auto-torture.
On August 1st there was an update to Google's algorithm that has become known as the 'Medic Update'. I wasn't affected so I didn't pay much attention to it at first.
As time passed, a few smart people came up with theories about why sites A, B, and C lost 60% of their traffic after the update and why sites X, Y, and Z gained 30%. Their articles were absolutely fascinating and made me wonder exactly what Google's robots can really do.
If you're interested in making money from websites then you HAVE to get up to speed on Google's new directions and new capabilities. If you just instinctively say 'change is bad; Google is bad' then this isn't for you. Some element of analytical skill is needed - these changes have happened for a reason.
I believe I wasn't affected because my goal is the same as Google's - to answer questions that people have and help them make decisions. And when you do that in a somewhat ethical way, Google allows you to ease yourself into the buying process and take a tiny slice of the pie.
But I'll say it again, all my income is totally dependent on Amazon and Google, and that's not a position I want to be in 2 years from now.