This is the month I have been waiting for a long time. The month I break through $1000 in income! It was less than a year ago that I started monetising my first niche site. In that time, I have taken Niche Site 1 from 0 to $1000, launched 3 more niche sites and this blog, all in my spare time. Boy, have I been busy!
I mentioned in my previous income reports that I will do a mini-report per niche site instead of them all clumped together. This should make it easy for me and for you to follow the different strategies and tactics I will employ for each one. Especially advertising, because an ad network that works for one niche site may not work for another.
So, here’s the overall summary for August 2016:
- Gross Income up 54% ($794 to $1225), and net income up 40% ($724 to $981), page views up 20% (13k to 16k).
- Total time spent: Around 30 hours
- Hourly rate of income: $33
- An expensive month as I re-invested a lot of my income into developing new niche sites and promoting Niche Site 1.
- Niche Site 2 made money for the first time, $2.4 through the Amazon Associates affiliate programme.
- Launched Niche Site 4. Purchased the Re:Hub hybrid magazine theme for Niche Site 4.
- Purchased the easyAzon Pro plugin for my use on all my Amazon niche sites.
- Plan for September is to focus on Niche Site 1 and 4.
Goal Achievement Check
My goals for August were:
- Write one long high-quality article each for Niche Site 1, 2 and 3 – DONE
- Reduce bounce rate and increase session duration on Niche Site 1 – Partly successful
- Break through $1000 revenue per month – DONE
- Profit growth over-proportional to traffic growth – DONE
It was tough but I managed to meet almost all my goals. I re-designed the home page of Niche Site 1 (NS1) and this brought down the bounce rate by 0.67%, but didn’t help session duration at all. I must admit though, I am beginning to doubt the session duration reported by Google Analytics. I am wondering whether I should look at page duration instead, especially for my money pages.
As a bonus, I started Niche Site 4! Its got a couple of articles up but as I explain later on, I am not going to spend any more time on this for now.
Niche Site 1: 5 hours
Niche Site 2: 15 hours
Niche Site 3: 4 hours
Niche Site 4: 4 hours
Passive Income Ideas Online blog: 2 hours
That’s an hourly rate of $33! Not bad methinks 🙂
Total Income from all Niche Sites
For the first time I can report income from a site other than NS1! Yes its only a couple of dollars but NS2 has started making money. Still, most of the income in August is again from NS1 which is monetised solely by the Amazon Associates affiliate programme.
I have added a cumulative net income bar to the graph above to show the net income so far in 2016.
Since I am now making a tidy sum each month, I have started splashing out on a few themes and plugins that I will talk more about below. This is why net income is only $981 even though gross income is $1225.
So what did I spend $244 on? I have a super-fast SSD VPS at Knownhost and most of my websites are hosted there. Some are still on my shared Hostgator account. All my domains (13 in total – most are projects that are yet to start) are registered at Namecheap and I have assigned a monthly cost under expenses. So all of this accounts for $55 per month.
I spent $77 in total on Reddit and Facebook ads. I spent another $39 on purchasing the excellent easyAzon plugin for use on all my niche sites. I used the free Amazon Link plugin for some time but its localisation feature stopped working sometime ago and I was losing international Amazon affiliate revenue. Guess what? I have recouped the cost of the plugin in the first month that I installed this plugin on Niche Site 1! I strongly recommend that you consider it if you have even a small amount of international traffic to your Amazon niche sites.
I also bought a magazine theme for Niche Site 4 that is optimised for converting visitors to Amazon very well. It’s called the ReHub hybrid theme and I have been researching it extensively. Check out the live demo here and did I mention it has an awesome comparison feature that I have found is very good at converting visitors to Amazon buyers? The key is helping your reader to make the buying decision on your website itself. It’s then a simple matter of getting them to click the affiliate link or button that takes them to Amazon.
Here’s a tabular summary of all income and expenses, along with all the monetisation methods I use!
|Amazon Affiliates (US, UK, DE, FR, CA)||+1225.04|
|KnownHost and HostGator||-$41.72|
|Advertising (Reddit, Facebook)||-$77.13|
|ReHub magazine theme||-$73.2|
Total Traffic, RPM & PPM
On to my favourite metrics now, RPM and PPM!
RPM as defined by Google is:
RPM = (Estimated earnings / Number of page views) * 1000
While RPM is a widely reported measure of blog income, it doesn’t tell the whole story. What is more interesting to me is how much profit a blog or niche site makes. It doesn’t matter if your RPM is a $100 and it costs you $80 per 1000 page views to get that income! So I invented the concept of Net Income or Profit Per Mile (PPM) – that’s simply the profit a website makes per 1000 page views.
Instead of just writing out the figures, I have taken on board reader feedback and added a tracker of RPM and PPM over time. It’s a great idea and something I should have started much earlier!
As traffic and page views have increased over time, RPM and PPM have also increased. My target RPM is in the $60-$80 range and I am in the upper half of that for the past 4 months.
Page views, PPM and costs go hand-in-hand. I have been doing ads on Reddit and Facebook to increase traffic. Here’s the balance I need to strike: spend just enough to give me targeted traffic which will bring me more revenue, while maintaining PPM.
Niche Site 1 – Monetized through the Amazon Associates programme
Gross and Net Income graph
Nice increase in gross income, net income also rising nicely even as I spent some money on the EasyAzon link localisation plugin and a lot of money on Reddit and Facebook ads.
Traffic, RPM & PPM
A healthy RPM of $82.8 for August is above my target range, which is great. I am not sure I can maintain this level of RPM as I grow traffic though. If the new traffic I create is as buyer targeted as current traffic, the answer is a yes. However since I am increasingly relying on display advertisements, it all depends on how well I target those ads.
Niche Site 2
NS2 was started in June and is not a typical niche blog – it is a content curation site (not a million miles from sites like thisiswhyimbroke but with a unique spin).
While Niche Site 2 made money for the first time ever ($2.4), it is not doing as well as I would like on the traffic front. I worked on executing my plan of writing really shareable content, without worrying about SEO.
I must admit after a few months of trying that this has been a failure. So I am going to switch to what I am most comfortable with – the SEO method and organic traffic. However this also means I am going to ease up on the content creation for this one – I simply don’t see the results I want.
So watch this space – next month onward, if NS2 makes any money, I will report traffic and income for this site also.
Niche Sites 3,4
NS3 was started in July and doesn’t have affiliate links on it yet.
I have realised that I run the risk of spreading myself too thinly if I take on too many projects at the same time. So I am going to focus on Niche Site 1 and 4 and grow these as much as I can before turning my attention back to Niche Sites 2 and 3 (which I created recently).
Why Niche Site 4? Because even though its barely a month old and has one article on it, that one article just made it to the first page of Google SERPS for the target keyword! Simply amazing, isn’t it? I tried going with a part Exact Match Domain (EMD) and a new Top Level Domain (TLD) even though the SEO experts say it doesn’t work any more. Well its working beautifully for now!
NS2 and NS3 have some content and since Google makes us wait around 6 months before showing any traffic love, I am happy to wait for some time before working on these again.
Goals for September 2016
- Write one long high-quality article each for Niche Site 1 and 2
- Reduce bounce rate and increase session duration further on Niche Site 1
- Maintain $1000 revenue per month
- Profit growth over-proportional to traffic growth
$1000/mo in net income has been a psychological barrier for me for some time now. So while I would like to go even higher, for now I am going to set a realistic goal and try to maintain it for September 2016.
So how are your online money making or blogging ventures going? Half the fun of this Internet marketing journey is the people I have met on the way. I am a frequent visitor over on the Passive Income subreddit and I came across something that I really liked. A commenter said that the passive income seekers are a brotherhood, not people who need to feed off each other. How true!
Leave a comment, let’s talk!
Note: This article includes affiliate links. This means that if you click on one of these links and then go on to make a purchase, I may get a commission for referring you. It does not affect you in any way but if this information has helped you, it lets me make some passive income online!