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).
May was pretty good. It warmed up a lot which always cools my productivity. But I got the things done that needed to get got.
The big story in SEO-land was a stupid bug in a plugin update that crushed a bunch of Wordpress sites including my biggest earner.
Now that's quite unhelpful because I have several huge bills coming up. First we want to get sound-proofed windows facing my neighbours and the slightly noisy road. That's 10,000 dollars.
Then we have to fill the roof with cellulose because Pine Martens live in there and have eaten half the insulation. Not only that, but the guy from the insurance company said there are whole sections of roof that never had ANY insulation which explains why it's unbearably hot up there. It's a 20,000 dollar job. The insurance will cover part, but still.
Oh and we need fly shutters, and of course we have to pay extra for the nice ones.
When it's all done we'll have a much quieter and much more energy efficient house with fewer flies. (Our heating bill will be cut from 2,000 to 800.) So these are no-brainer investments that will greatly increase our quality of life but OUCH. My wallet hurts.
Oh and more costs: we adopted a 15-year old cat from a shelter. He wakes up at 4am every night and WAILS. The little brat. But he's cute.
Right, let's take a look at my websites and see how they 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 (C-)
It made about 200 dollars but we paid the deposit to the developer who's going to bring it into the 21st century so technically it 'lost' a bunch of money. Based on the way I do my spreadsheet anyway.
Bought: Lead Generation Site (F)
Bought: Garden Site (C)
After making a tasty 600 bucks in April it was back to doing 100 in May. Which is fine. I'm thinking about letting it break even then selling it.
Bought: Home Site (C)
Another forgettable month. It's probably my fault for adding too many new silos too quickly after I first got it. I feel like I've typed that several times in past reports. Anyway, I might lop off some of the new branches I planted and let the trunk get stronger.
That's how trees work, right?
Actually when I think about it, it only makes about 100 dollars a month less than we expected, but somehow it feels like a failure.
Built: Review Site 1 (A)
So this has been making good, steady money for 12 months and it's time to seriously explore selling it. It'd pay for the roof and windows, but would hurt my personal income.
On the other hand, fewer sites means more focus means more money.
Built: Review Site 2 (C)
This made a decent profit but it seems a bit low. Possibly it was a victim of this plugin bug (the plugin is Yoast if you're interested). We'll know more next month.
Built: Review Site 3 (A)
Another 800 dollar month. Thanks, universe!
Built: Education Sites (B)
Adsense income was quite a lot higher than normal and I'm not sure why. Shrug.
Since we got the keys to the little flat that adjoins our house we've been talking about converting it into a little AirBnB thing. But in theory I could offer intensive English holidays, where students would pay to come and stay there for a week and have lessons with me and help in the garden and whatever.
Add that to the list of ideas that will probably never happen.
Built: Others (F)
This is my basket of deplorables - sites too new, small, or shit to warrant their own section.
Including my attempt to build a huge authority site all in one go. Biggest waste of time and money in my life! BUT. Maybe it's a good lesson. I've started removing some of the older, shitter articles that were just there as filler. And I'll keep removing pages and silos until Google says 'oh all the articles on this site are good'.
Joint Venture: Authority Site (C)
Exactly 3 months after the Google penalty we saw massive ranking drops again, costing us thousands of dollars. The timing suggested it was because all the links we'd disavowed had finally kicked in and we were now seeing the 'real' ranking of the site.
So we went into link acquisition mode, trying to get guest posts and whatever. But guess what - it was just Yoast's update dicking us around. When we implemented the fix our rankings started to recover, so it seems like number 1 is our natural position.
So a bad month overall, but we learned that there's nothing at all wrong with this site. Nevertheless, I started looking for ways to improve the content we've got (e.g. reducing the number of affiliate links) and hustling for links.
Belgian: Nothing major to report. The site continues to grow steadily.
Swiss: Also nothing to mention. Every time I write these reports I think 'NEXT month I'll really try and help these guys out!' but there's always more urgent things to do.
Last Month's Goals
- Although we hustled for links, I don't think we actually got any.
- Uploaded the 15,000 word new silo to my failing authority site. At least we can be an authority on that one topic. There's another 6,000 words coming soon.
- I did write and publish one review for one of the toys I bought. But now I'm tempted to remove that silo because it isn't really core to the site's mission.
This Month's Goals
- Start to offload Review Site 1.
- Ruthlessly cut shit content from under-performing sites.
- Don't spend any money.
We've been in this house for 3 months and we've done a lot. By the end of the summer we should have the roof insulated and new windows installed. Plus nice new floors in 2 large rooms, the stairs, landing, and my girlfriend's dressing room.
Owning a house this big is an enormous undertaking that probably needs more cash than we have. Although I do enjoy strolling around the garden and rubbing my elderly cat's belly, I do feel a kind of constant, low-level anxiety about money.
This website thing is a house of cards that could collapse at any minute. Or it could continue to pour out money for the next 3 years. I suppose the smart thing is to build up a website then sell it while the going is good. But now the time to sell is here, I find I don't want to. I built that site with my bare hands. I pushed it up that hill all on my own...