Like all online marketers, I post my monthly income so you can see my Methodâ„¢ is working.

October was a month of low energy, low productivity, and weirdly high stress. I suddenly got super paranoid about being compliant with Amazon's terms of service (after reading yet another horror story about someone being inexplicably banned).

Me every time I get an email from Amazon.

Me every time I get an email from Amazon.

I started going through all my old pages to check and fix them, but there are way too many and because there's too much to do, I don't do anything.

I'm also fat and not doing enough exercise.

On the bright side, we're near the end of the house-buying formalities and the current owners found a new place to live so we can move in to our dream home earlier than expected. Should be able to move at the start of March.

I'll be quitting 95% of my teaching at the end of this year, and will finish the other 5% at the end of Feb. Teaching English has been my job for most of the last 20 years, so it' a big change, as is living in the countryside and having unlimited free time.

Here's how my website porftolio got on.

If this is your first visit here, I split my income reports according to sites 1) I bought 2) I made 3) I made with a partner.

October 17 Income Hosting Expenses Profit
Bought
Tech site 288 7 0 281
Lead Gen 14 2 0 12
Garden 140 2 0 138
Home 528 12 124 392
Made
Review Site 1 1042 8 26 1008
Review Site 2 489 2 50 437
Education sites 265 16 0 249
Others 117 40 418 -341
JV
Authority Site 4538 20 512 4006
John Shea 90 0 90 0
Total 7511 109 1220 6182

When I started this income report series I didn't really expect to be dealing with such crazy numbers. If I had, maybe I would have set it up differently. As it is, the table just shows the total incomes from these websites.

But most are co-owned, so that 6K in profit is amazing but it doesn't all go to my pocket. My cut is closer to 2,000, and if you know Switzerland you know that's not enough to live on.

Another weird element to this whole success story is that I'm no closer to knowing what works in SEO than a year ago. I feel like the guy who said 'Half of my advertising works, but I don't know which half.'

Bought: Tech Site

Didn't touch it this month. I'd love to wave a magic wand and move it to Wordpress but it's so low on my to-do list I doubt it will happen.

Bought: Lead Generation Site

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I'm just going to re-use the gif from last month. Nothing works here! Big disaster.

Bought: Garden Site

Quite happy to make 140 dollars here. I logged in once to check it for Amazon compliance and made some tweaks. Other than that it's on autopilot now. 

Bought: Home Site

Still having some problems with the big keywords but near the end of the month I had an idea about what's going wrong and I'm cautiously optimistic about fixing it.

Half the problem - I think - was its cripplingly slow hosting. There were a few days where it was just agonisingly slow. So slow that Pingdom tools gave up after 60 seconds.

I upgraded it to more premium hosting and added some site-speed plugins like Comet Cache. Since then it's been loading much faster but the ranks aren't recovering as quickly as they dropped.

Buying sites was an important step in this journey - I learned a lot, especially from the Tech site. But I doubt I'll be buying any more. It's too stressful when things go wrong.

Built: Review Site 1

I'm pretty sure the tiny drop in rankings was because of the new section I added. Basically the site was about one very specific thing and it was ranking 1 on Google for many keywords related to that thing. Then I decided I wanted more and added another section, effectively doubling the size of the site. 

Obviously the site is a bit diluted now, so we've lost those number 1 slots. On the other hand, the other section is starting to rank nicely so maybe I'll achieve my goals here after all.

Fun fact - I spent about 1,500 USD building this site, and this month it hit 10K in profit. That's a hell of a return.

Built: Review Site 2

NEW! This has moved out of the 'other' section and been given its own paragraph. What a fantastic honour!

This guy's been making a couple of hundred bucks and month for a while, but I was still shocked to see it made over 400 in October. It's not a bad site but most of the good products in this niche aren't available on Amazon so I thought there'd be a low ceiling.

Seems I might be wrong. Note - it made 400 bucks with only a few keywords ranking in the top 10. When this niche site thing goes well, it goes very well!

Built: Education Sites

Meh. I did spend a bit of time messing about with ads and stuff, but to no great effect. These are in a comfortable limbo.

Built: Others

The newest site I made posted a loss of 4 dollars as people returned the things they bought in September. SIGH.

Not too much to say here. There's one site in the 'other' section that I've spent 3,500 dollars on that's making 40 dollars a month. It just DOESN'T WANT TO RANK for money keywords. Argh!

Fortunately my low energy meant my aggressive expansion slowed down a lot.

Joint Venture: Authority Site

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4.5K in sales. Holy smokes! And you should see our rankings. Lots of 1s on lots of keywords.

I've started sending my partner money for articles so she can do the keyword research and deal with the writers herself. Saves me a bit of time each month. 

All I have to do is find some time to review the published articles. Normally I re-write the introductions to my standards but there's no real time pressure to do that and the rest is normally really good. It's a smooth machine now. Nothing can go wrong!

[Narrator's voice: Everything went wrong.]

Joint Venture: John Shea

Visits to the site are up but it's painfully slow going. Income is stuck because most of the money made comes from one page on the site.

But I'm plugging away at it and reinvesting all the income (and more) into the site. Some nice ranking movements at the end of the month give me hope that an upturn is coming.

Mentoring

Belgian: We're making small but regular sales! Nothing spectacular but very positive, especially considering how old the site is.

Indian: The site is very slowly taking shape. The mentee wants to get to the end right away. The hard thing to explain to people is how slow this process is. It's all about evolution. You add 1% to the site every week and one day you hit a tipping point where it starts spitting out money. Until then you just do a little bit here, a little bit there.

Swiss:  Not much going on here. It's a problem of time and maybe me not communicating what to do very well. Next year I'll have more time to do things properly! 

Girlfriend: No progress here. She put some article requests on Textbroker and no writers picked them up so she got discouraged. (But mainly there was a death in the family and she's been quite down. The website can wait. Not important!)

Last Month's Goals

  • Added a few nice long tail articles to my overachieving other site (now called Review Site 2) and replaced some shitty images I'd made with more elegant ones that fit the niche better. Total cost 50 dollars and a few hours, but what a difference to the look and feel of the site! 
  • Made one infographic but not sure if it's really my thing. I should focus on what I'm good at, which is text.
  • I went through 2 of my sites and removed all the EasyAzon links and replaced with AAWP (part of trying to make sure they aren't breaking any Amazon rules while removing one plugin). Still lots to do but sadly it can't be outsourced so I'm just taking it step by step.
  • We're just waiting to hear from the government about the company we set up. It'll be nice to have a business bank account so I can separate my personal finances from the business income/expenses.

This Month's Goals

  • Have an epic Black Friday
  • Balance real life with digital a bit more (more exercise)
  • Clear backlog of articles waiting to be posted
  • Look into getting an editor so I can focus on more strategic topics

Last Words

The next two months have the potential to be absolutely stellar. My experience of Black Friday and Christmas is that sales go waaaay up. Part of me wonders if the sites might break 5 figures...

On the other hand, part of me worries that making so much money would trigger a manual review at Amazon HQ.

Gah! Roll on universal basic income so I can retire and write my book - that's what I say.