Well guys, here we are.
We’ve come to the end of yet another month and I keep getting closer to that ever-elusive $10,000 per month mark.
Although it doesn’t look like I made that much progress in regards to income in August, the truth is that I increased my PASSIVE income from Google AdSense by about 39%. In fact, there was absolutely no consulting income at all in August, so when you consider that, it was actually a very good month.
One announcement I need to make before getting into the meat of this income report is that I’ve decided to start live-streamed webinar chats with all of my followers every Friday at 12:00 CST.
My plan is to focus on one topic related to online business/internet marketing each week and then have time for Q&A at the end of each live chat.
If you’re interested in being reminded about these live chats, please input your first name and best email address below so that I can send you the reminders.
Before I dive too deeply the income report, if this is your first time on my website let me explain why I write a detailed income report each month that outlines the money I made (or lost) each month.
I’m doing this for a number of reasons:
1) I strive to be transparent about what it takes to make money online.
2) These reports help me keep track of my own progress.
3) These reports hold me accountable.
In short, I don’t create these to gloat about my earnings. I create them to help you understand the true “earning curve” of online business. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s dive into the report.
How did the Income Report Turn Out This Month?
|PRODUCT OR SERVICE||REVENUE||EXPENSES||NET INCOME|
|Aweber Email Platform||$5.70||$5.70|
|Siteground Web Hosting||$50.00||$50.00|
|ShutterstoWebsite 5 Images||$115.00||$115.00|
|Udemy Course Sales||$133.91||$133.91|
|Partners and Affiliates Revenue|
|Website 3 Partners and Affiliates||$0||$0|
|Website 2 Partners and Affiliates||$0||$0|
|Website 4 Partners and Affiliates||$141.86||$141.86|
|OHP Partners and Affiliates (Excluding listed above)||$225.50||$225.50|
|Website 1UB Partners and Affiliates||$312.70||$112.70|
|Personal VLOG Channel||$9.46||$9.46|
|OHP YouTube Channel||$54.11||$54.11|
|Website 3 Media.net Ad Revenue||$2.18||$2.18|
|Website 4 Media.net Ad Revenue||$11.20||$11.20|
|Website 1UB Media.net Ad Revenue||$285.78||$285.78|
|Google Adsense Revenue|
|GNG Adsense Revenue||$1.68||$1.68|
|OneHourProfessor.com Adsense Revenue||$1.97||$1.97|
|Website 4 Adsense Revenue||$28.87||$28.87|
|Website 2 Adsense Revenue||$16.36||$16.36|
|Website 3 Adsense Revenue||$389.50||$389.50|
|Website 1 Adsense Revenue||$6,831.44||$6,831.44|
|Google Drive Storage||$2.09||-$2.09|
|Adobe Photoshop Account||$10.61||-$10.61|
|Gmass Email Software||$12.95||-$12.95|
|Intuit Quick Books||$16.99||-$16.99|
|Meet Edgar Social Media Platform||$49.00||-$49.00|
|ConvertKit Email Software||$179.00||-$179.00|
|Freelance Labor Expenses|
|Freelance Research and Labor||$306.30||-$306.30|
|Revenue By Channel||Website 1||Authority Website - Website 3||OHP Website||Authority Website - Website 4||News Website - GNG||Website 2||Consulting||Udemy||YouTube|
Discussing This Month’s Income Outliers
Every month I have income that streams in from multiple sources and quite frankly, a lot of that is pretty regular. However, each month I tend to see a few line items that are drastically different from the prior month. In this section, I only discuss the items that have increased or decreased significantly.
There were four items that jumped out to me this month:
- Google Adsense Income: As mentioned in my intro, my Google AdSense income for the month of August increased by 39%. I’ll discuss exactly what my strategy was in Website 1ub website update below as that is where th bulk of the income increase came from.
- Website 4 Earnings: I’m really proud at how much money this website earned this month. Compared to the month of July, I was able to increase my income by about 111%. Now, I don’t expect that growth rate to continue, but how cool would it be if I could increase the income every month by that much? I’ll explain more about how I was able to increase the income in Website 4 update below.
- OHP Website Earnings: Again, the One Hour Professor website ended up making a significant amount of money in the month of August. I mentioned a few months back that I thought that my affiliate income would increase for Thrive Themes because they were launching a new product and it looks like my hypothesis was correct.
- Consulting: Although the first three updates above were positive, this one is negative. In the month of August, I had absolutely no consulting whatsoever. I’m doing some things that I’ll talk about in the OHP update below that may end up bringing me a few more clients here and there, but in August there was no consulting revenue to mention. If you’re interested in my consulting services, I do have some availability at the moment. Contact me by clicking here. Note: My consulting starts at $150 USD/hr.
Discussing This Month’s Expense Outliers
Similar to the income I make every month, there are certain expenses that I consider “fixed”. As I did in the income area, I’m only going to discuss the outliers or new items added as expenses.
There are two items that I think are worth discussing this month:
- Deadline Funnel: This is a newcomer to the income report and something that I think will continue to be an expense month after month moving forward. Deadline Funnel is a really cool plug-in you can put on your website to have a countdown timer in various places. This should be good for my Authority Website Course funnel, but we’ll see what happens. My idea is to first funnel people to my post about the Truth About Online Business, and then they get a free mini course. From there, they’ll be pitched on the full Authority Website course.
- Namecheap: I had a big expense with Namecheap this month because I renewed a few of my domain names for 3 to 4 years. I usually only do this on a year-to-year basis, but these are the domain names that I don’t think I’ll be getting rid of anytime soon.
Website 1 Update: As I mentioned in my last income report, one of my goals for the month of August was to further optimize this website to increase ad revenues.
A lot of it stemmed from the fact that Google has lifted their limit on the amount of display ads that people can include on their website pages, so I decided that I’d try a few things to make more money.
I’m happy to report that this was incredibly successful.
I was able to increase the revenue on this website by 39% in Google Adsense from the prior month and there were three main things I did to increase his revenue:
- Increase Number of Google Adsense Ad Units: I increased the number of ad units in my blog posts from three units, to five units. While this may seem like a lot, most of my posts tend to be somewhere in the 800 to 1200 words range and about 75% of my readers come from mobile devices. Because of this, I found that the ads weren’t too overwhelming. That being said, I am not going to add more ads on my pages. I know I could make more money, but I also realize I’m starting to put revenue above user experience and that’s not a good thing. It’s hard to balance the two, but I feel like my current setup is okay.
- Add a “Matched Content” Ad Unit: You know those “You may also like” boxes you see at the bottom of blog posts on most websites? That’s exactly what this ad unit is, but it’s run by Google. I really like this ad unit because it mixes ads with content you’ve written pretty seamlessly. Not every website has the chance to add this ad unit, but from what I can see it’s a really nice way to make some extra money each month. In the month of August, this ad unit increased my revenue by $142.32. Not too bad for 5 minutes of work!
- Reduced Number of Media.net Ad Units: The other thing I did to optimize the website revenue this month was to look at what I was earning per thousand impressions on both Google AdSense and Media.net. After my review, I realized that Google AdSense did a lot better so I removed many of the Media.net ads that I used to have and just put Google ads in their place. This small change made a huge difference.
Active Campaign Email Platform Migration: I’m happy to report that in the month of August I was able to completely finish migrating from ConvertKit over to Active Campaign. I talked a lot in my last income report about why I was doing this and how excited I was, and after actually doing it I have to say that I’m not disappointed in any results whatsoever.
Simply put, Active Campaign is just a better email platform and there are so many different possibilities with this platform that ConvertKit never offered.
I’m really excited to continue using Active Campaign and I know that this migration is going to allow me to do much more complex auto response sequences as well as funnels for my readers across all of my websites.
Consulting Update: I’ve come to realize that although consulting isn’t a completely passive income channel, it’s something that I thoroughly enjoy.
I just heard back from an individual that I did a lot of consulting with in the June and July and he’s telling me that his website is already getting somewhere between 50 to 100 visitors per day. In this particular case, I actually built the website for him and helped with the SEO and overall strategy, but I have to say that these are some really good results compared to some of the things that I’ve started myself.
He still has a lot of work to do in the form of link building which will eventually get him more traffic, but I’m happy to see that someone was able to replicate if not surpass my initial success when starting a website.
If you’re interested in my consulting services, shoot me an email. Note: My consulting starts at $150 USD/hr.
Udemy Update: At this point, I’ve decided to pull my “Creating a Successful Authority Website” course off of Udemy altogether. I did this because some of the sales that were coming in were from people getting the course for as low as $10 and it just doesn’t fly with me.
I spent around $800 to create this course and at least 30 hours of labor to get it done.
That said, I did have a nice bit of income come into my Udemy account from other courses, but in the future, I’ll be selling the Authority Website course exclusively on One Hour Professor.
OneHourProfessor.com Website Update:
My goals for this website in August as follows;
- Put “Courses” Tab on Website
- Complete a Deadline Funnel Integration
- Revising Funnel for the Authority Website Course
I was able to complete goals number two and three, but actually just forgot to work on goal number one. These two tasks took quite a bit of time this month and although my deadline funnel integration didn’t go as smoothly as I would’ve hoped, it looks like now it’s in place.
As I mentioned in the intro, moving forward I will host a live chat every Friday at 12:00 CST. I’m doing this for two reasons;
First, I legitimately enjoy connecting with aspiring online entrepreneurs and find it fun to connect with all my readers. For such a long time, I was inadvertently hiding behind this website and never able to actually meet my readers unless they emailed me.
This gives me the opportunity to connect with many more people and learn more about what people are working on and what struggles they have.
Second, and this goes hand-in-hand with me pulling my course off of Udemy, I want to get more people enrolled in my course. Although the revenue is nice, the main reason is because I want to be responsible for helping people be successful in this area.
I have a ton of knowledge and I’ve been keeping it all bottled up in my head, but getting people into my course (and subsequent Facebook community) will allow me to connect and help more people.
Authority Website THQ Update: This was an interesting month for the THQ website. Revenue for the website increased, but the actual traffic was down.
To be honest, I’m actually really happy about this. The reason is because right now I have a writer working really hard to create a bunch of content that should make my website better than all of my competitors.
My thought is that once this content is up on the website, Google will take notice and increase my rankings.
Obviously, an increase in rankings means that I’ll increase the amount of traffic that I’m getting. Pair that with the fact that I’ve found a way to increase my revenue per 1000 visitors and it seems like I got a pretty good thing going.
Here’s a breakdown of some key metrics for the THQ authority website:
There are a few key things that you’ll notice in the figures above:
- Although the traffic was down for the month, the income increased. Also, this is a pretty sizeable revenue increase considering traffic was down by roughly 5,500 people.
- To be honest, I don’t even pay attention to my back links throughout the month. But to go from 203 back links to 218 in a single month without any effort whatsoever is a very positive sign in my mind. I feel like it might make sense to do additional back linking once I have added all of the new content that my writer is working on, but that’s something to consider for the future.
Authority Website Website 4 Update:
Another good month for my Website 4. As I mentioned earlier, I had a revenue increase of 111% month over month and I feel like this website is starting to hit its stride. However, one issue that I am realizing more and more is that I’ve niche down a little bit too much on this website.
But I do have some plans to try to increase the revenue here.
First, I’m going to try to rank for the hardest keyword related to this niche. This particular keyword has just over 100,000 searches per month, but obviously it’s pretty competitive because of this. That being said, my website is now ranking for so many terms related to that main keyword and I’m hoping that Google will understand this and possibly give me a boost in the rankings because of it.
I really have no idea if this is going to work, but I’m going to build out a page or two on the website and do some internal linking to try to show Google that the page is authoritative. We’ll see what happens.
Second, I’m going to focus on creating a good autoresponder for this website. As of right now I do have an email list for the website and I have been getting sign-ups, but all I’ve done is send one email after that.
I’ve done very little with my subscribers and I feel like there’s definitely an opportunity to monetize them more efficiently. My thinking is that I’m going to point them to informational articles that most of them can relate to and then I’m going to pitch them on some of the affiliate products that I think that they’ll enjoy.
I’m really not 100% sure how well this will work, but I know that even if I get one extra sale per month it’s going to be more passive income in my pocket, so it definitely make sense to put forth the effort.
Beyond all of the efforts to further monetize, I did learn something interesting about this website in the last month.
You see, one of the biggest issues that I’ve had with this website is that it has a low CPM (Earnings per 1,000 visitors) when compared to my other websites. I think there are a lot of reasons for this, but the main one is the fact that this is an Amazon affiliate website and the cost of most products in the niche are under $100.
As I did with my analysis of Website 1ub website, I spent time this month looking at the earnings per 1000 visitors on this website for Google AdSense, Media.net, and also with Amazon native shopping ads.
For those that aren’t familiar, Amazon native shopping ads are basically display ads that will show products related to the content that the viewer is reading.
For example, if you had a website about cameras, the Amazon native shopping ads would likely show 3 to 4 different cameras that the user may click on and purchase. Now, you don’t get paid if someone clicks on the image. Instead, you get paid when someone buys something, but Amazon has such a high conversion rate that this can be pretty lucrative.
The interesting thing is that my Amazon native shopping ads RPM for this website is over $5.00 while both Google AdSense and Media.net have a RPM under $2.00.
Because of this I thought it would make sense to put a few more of the Amazon native shopping ads within my content to encourage purchases. After all, the RPM for these ads is more than double what Google AdSense or Media.net can provide me.
I swapped out ads in all of my blog posts from Google Adsense to Amazon native shopping ads hoping to see an increase in revenue.
But what I got was the exact opposite.
When I put the ads inside of my blog posts (right around 50% of the way through the posts) I did get more clicks over to Amazon but I got a lot less purchases. This is the complete opposite of what I would think would happen, and this only sense I can make of it is that people saw the ads, clicked on them, got distracted by Amazon and then didn’t purchase anything at all.
Meanwhile, my website and a bunch of “best of” product review type of posts that were never read fully and the user was never convinced to purchase anything at all.
After I saw a drop in purchases, I got rid of the Amazon native shopping ad halfway through my post and put it on the bottom of my blog posts (which is where I had it before) and I started to see an increase in purchases and affiliate income again.
This was a good learning experience for me. Though all of the data and numbers showed one thing, they couldn’t account for how writing influenced purchase behavior.
I personally recommend that all of you reading this take some time to test Google Adsense vs. Media.net vs. Amazon native shopping ads (if Amazon makes sense for your niche). You never know which will make more money until you test. But keep in mind, you’ll probably need at least 10,000 monthly visitors to make this worth it. If you’re under that traffic threshold, focus your time on getting more traffic.
From what I’ve learned, each of these display ad types have their positives and negatives and sometimes Media.net can even outperform Google AdSense. It all depends on what your niche is and what advertisers are willing to pay.
Here are my statistics for this website so far:
There are a few key things that you’ll notice in the figures above:
- Sessions increased again this month by 28% and all that I’ve done is have my writer create one blog post per week. That’s it, there was no other “special sauce” to make this happen, it was just Google rewarding my site even further.
- Income is starting to become respectable for this website and though I don’t think I’ll have another 111% increase in September, I’m pretty confident that I’ll make even more money.
YouTube Channel Update:
At this point, this channel is more of a hobby than anything else. I’m really not 100% sure if I’m going to continue to do it because it’s kind of a time suck and even though it doesn’t take much work to do, I might be better off focusing on other areas.
Website 5 Update: I’ve got to admit that I’m a little shocked that this website has gotten absolutely no traffic whatsoever. As of right now, I have 26 published posts on the website for pretty low competitive keywords and all of the articles are over 1000 words. But unfortunately, I’ve gotten literally no love from any search engines.
In the month of September, I’m going to start doing link building to this website.
I’m confident that after doing this link building, in a similar way that I did the link building to Website 4, that I’ll begin to get some traffic. I don’t really expect to see significant traffic to this website for at least five more months, but I am surprised at how little has happened so far.
Here are my statistics for this website so far:
There are a few key things that you’ll notice in the figures above:
- I’ve gotten ZERO visits so far. This is astonishing to me because the content that’s on the website is pretty good. I personally believe in the idea of the Google sandbox and I think this is a testament to the fact that it does actually exist. To write over 26,000 words and not have a single visitor come to your website from is pretty alarming. So, for those of you that are starting out and writing is much as possible but not seeing the results, realize how important link building actually is.
- I do have a single referring domain to the website but that’s just some random website that crawls thousands of websites and for some reason gave me a back link. It’s not contextual and it’s definitely nothing that Google is going to reward me for.
Every month, I’m going to reflect back and tell you a few different lessons that I’ve learned. My hope is that the lessons each month will be a cautionary tale for you that makes it so that you don’t make the dumb mistakes that I do along the way.
- CPM is a great metric to measure success of websites: One of the metrics that I’m focusing more and more on is my CPM (Revenue per 1,000 visits). I’m doing this because it’s a great way to understand what websites are worth focusing on at any given time. I should also note that when I do a CPM analysis, I’m taking into account ALL of the revenue sources related to the website (not just display ads) and dividing that by the total number of visitors. I think that this is a much more accurate depiction of how much money websites make because display ads are only one component of revenue for my websites. I highly recommend that you do this for your website(s) as well. It’s as simple as adding all of your revenue together and then dividing it by the total number of unique visitors you got for a given month. From what I can see, most of my websites fall in the $10-$15 range per 1000 visitors though Website 1ub exceeds that.
- Getting a Website Started Seems Harder Than Ever: Now that I’ve created a handful of websites I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what to expect when starting out. That being said, I’ve never had a website get absolutely no traffic with as much content as I have on Website 5 and I find this pretty alarming. I’m personally not in a panic because I know exactly how I’m going to be link building for this website, but I can imagine how frustrating this would be for somebody just starting out if it’s their first website.
- Testing Different Display Ads Pays Off – Big time: I’ve done testing before to swap out different ads in different places on my websites to try to find a good mix that brings me the most revenue. So, the idea of testing different display ads isn’t new, but the one problem that I had before is I kept too many Media.net ads on my website. After all, this is a tactic many people say to do when you have display ads on your website because it “looks better”. However, this month I decided I was going to do it my way and just used data to determine what my highest CPM was and put more ad units of that type. Obviously, it paid off.
- Don’t be Afraid to add a FEW more Ad Units: I started reading up on why Google got rid of their limit of three display ads per page and found that even they admitted this doesn’t always make sense because of mobile devices. You see, in most cases it’s likely that your website is getting 60 to 70% of your users viewing your website from a mobile device. Because of this, they don’t see all the content on one page at any given time and they have to scroll to continue to read. Mobile ads are perfect for this exact reason. When people are scrolling on their mobile phones, they tend to accidentally click on ads that they didn’t mean to click on and although it might be frustrating to them, each of those clicks will put money in your pocket. So, don’t be afraid to add one or two more ad units on your blog posts using a free plugin like Ad Inserter to manage the whole process. The key is to make sure that you don’t completely ruin the user experience while increasing your revenue.
Did I Meet my Goals for August?
Finish the THQ Content Revisions and Redesign (FAIL)
I definitely wasn’t able to completely finish the THQ website revisions, but that’s mostly because my writers didn’t all work out. After hiring four different people, there was only one that I really enjoy working with and think does a good job, so as of right now she’s my exclusive writer.
Post 20 Articles to CK (SUCCESS)
I was able to get 26 pieces of content up on this website in August and I’ll admit that I’m pretty happy with that number. I feel like this content is really well written and have no doubt that once I’ve done some back linking, I’ll start to rank for some of the terms and traffic will be on its way.
Sell More OHP Courses (FAIL)
Although I did fail at this and sold no courses whatsoever, I do feel like my course funnel is in a pretty good place compared to what it was a month ago. I tested some Facebook strategies to try to sell the courses and failed miserably, so we’ll see how live Q&A’s convert instead.
Goals for September
Finish the THQ website
At the current rate of how quickly my writer is creating content, I really think that I’ll be able to complete the revisions on the THQ website and effectively finish the redesign that I’ve been working on for the last few months. I know I missed this goal in August, but I think repeating it in September makes sense as it’s so important.
Put Courses Tab on OHP Website
Albeit a small goal, this is something I absolutely have to figure out on the OHP website this month. People aren’t going to enroll my courses if they can’t even find them. My original idea was to have people read the entire “Truth about online business” story prior to signing up for a mini course because I wanted them to be invested in the content already. I’m starting to realize that maybe that wasn’t the best approach and I just need to make sure that people are aware that I have a free mini course for them.
Sell More OHP Courses
In the month of August, I spent a lot of time studying and trying different Facebook advertising techniques but nothing seemed to work. This is what led me to the idea of just doing live chats every Friday to try to get people into my funnel. I have no idea if people will want to buy after viewing the mini course, that’s something that I’m sure I’ll find out more of as people go to the funnel, but in this particular month I’m going to have a live chat every single Friday at 12:00 CST CST to try to attract more people into my funnel. Although this isn’t a passive income stream, I’m hoping that a lot of people join and I can build a pretty solid community.
Start Link Building to Website 5
This month I’m going to begin link building to Website 5. I don’t know how successful I’ll be in doing so, but I’m going to replicate what I did with Website 4 and that was pretty successful, so hopefully this link building campaign is too.
What are your goals for the month? What questions do you have? Let me know in the comments below!