January 2019 Income Report (Month 1/12)

January was a crazy month.

One of my articles jumped into 1st/2nd place for a handful of similar keywords and starting bringing in 1k-2k visitors a day. Unfortunately, it’s an informational article rather than a money article. But at least it’s being monetized via ads.

I didn’t do too much on the site this month. I managed to write and publish 5 shorter articles on the site. Informational pages that target low-hanging fruit (keywords).

I spent a decent amount of time reflecting on 2018 and deciding what to focus on in 2019 (personal, business, and affiliate-wise). Which is how I came up with this 10x challenge. I’m actually writing a weekly newsletter[link] about my progress too - going more in-depth about the strategies/tactics I’m using to grow my site every week. Don’t worry, I’ll post all that in these monthly progress updates also (excluding January).

This is a huge increase in traffic and revenue from last month. I doubt I’ll be able to replicate it this kind of progress next month. I feel like I got pretty lucky with that one article ranking really well.

I think I can do a better job of monetizing this traffic. Right now, a visitor is worth around $0.02. It’s pretty low because 90% of my traffic is going to an informational page.

I’m still working on trying to find affiliate programs for the few links that broke in December - looks like one of my better performing affiliate products no longer offers an affiliate program. Bummer.

The mass increase in traffic did well for my ad income though.

Worries & Concerns

The fact that one article is bringing in ~90% of my traffic is really worrying. If it even gets pushed down a few spots in the SERPs, I’ll be losing most of my traffic. Yikes.

But there’s nothing much I can do about that besides create more content and try to rank existing articles.

Thoughts Going Into February

re: reaching $5,000/month

I was thinking about what I need to do to reach $5,000/month given the information I have right now.

Towards the end of the month I was getting a consistent $15 ad revenue per 1000 visitors. Given that number, I would need to reach ~333k monthly visitors to get $5,000 in ad revenue. Luckily, I’ll also have affiliate revenue. Unfortunately, I don’t have consistent enough numbers to calculate the affiliate value of a single visitor right now. I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and assume that a visitor is worth $0.02 in affiliate income.

Going with these assumptions (1 visitor is worth $0.015 in ad revenue and $0.02 in affiliate income), I would have to reach ~142k/monthly visitors to achieve $5,000. This is also assuming that more of my affiliate articles start bringing in more traffic. Right now a visitor to my site is NOT worth $0.02 because 90% of users visit the informational post that has no affiliate links.

I’m curious to see how accurate my guess is going to be.

re: content strategy & competitors

I honestly haven’t given much thought about content strategy and that is going to be a main focus of mine going into February.

Looking into the personal finance niche, I noticed three broadly different types of sites:

1. Personal Finance Blogger Blogs: These are sites such as mrmoneymoustache.com and makingsenseofcents.com where the main draw is the personality behind the blog. These sites have huge social followings and much of their traffic comes from Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Lots of these types of sites, especially the smaller ones, make most of their money teaching others how to make money blogging.

2. Authority Sites: Think NerdWallet.com and BankRate.com. These sites publish in-depth guides and research. Most of them offer free/paid money management tools and lots of free calculators. Most of the traffic would be coming from organic SEO (I think).

3. Magazine-esque Sor these types of sites. But they also aren’t afraid to break into more “lifestyle-ly” type articles and topics.for these types of sites. But they also aren’t afraid to break into more “lifestyle-ly” type articles and topics.3. Magazine-esque Finance Sites: The best example would be thepennyhoarder.com. These type of sites focus on content quantity, publishing many times a day. Lots of these types of sites run Facebook ads to very optimized affiliate articles. Long-tail keywords are key

Anyways, knowing all that, I know that I don’t want to be in the first category. I want to build an asset that is sellable (or outsource-able). If the main reason people come to the site is to hear what I have to say on a topic, then it’ll be harder to sell later on.

I think I’ll be focusing more on the other two types of personal finance sites. I have the web development skills to build custom calculators and tools. Of course, competing with these big name brands is not feasible, so I’ll be experimenting with different angles until one sticks.

Right now, my site is mostly in category 3. I’ve written about many different random topics in personal finance.

In the next few days, I’m going to create a game plan in regards to content strategy. Do I just keep doing what I’m doing and throw in a few tools/calculators once in a while? Do I become a topical authority on a few different subtopics and focus on building out hub & spoke pages? Not sure yet.

Any thoughts?

re: link-building & promotion

I’ve built zero links last year and, according to semrush, I have zero links lol.

I’m making an effort this year to gain backlinks. The problem is that personal finance is such a competitive niche. If someone needs to link to a “how to” article or something informational, 90% of the time they would just link to the big names in the niche.

So I’ll have to be creative. I think creating custom tools and calculators is going to be the best method for me to gain backlinks. Personal finance is also a niche with lots of data, so I might throw around a few attempts of cool data visualizations.

re: outsourcing

With the current rate of monetization and luck with rankings, I’ll have to publish ~10x the amount of content I published last year. I’m a decent writer, but damn, I get bored and burnt out pretty fast.

I’m going to reinvest most of my websites earnings back into content. I just need to find a good writer or two.

I’m curious what you guys think of approaching freelance writers that are writing for competitors? I’d like to find a writer that is at least a little experienced in the niche.

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