Monthly Income Report May 2015

Steven16 responsesIncome Reports
Monthly Income Report May 2015

Welcome to my latest monthly income report.

A few months ago, I decided to restart publishing reports explaining how my business performed in the past month.

These reports allow you to take a look behind the curtain and see what is actually going on when someone is building an online business.

Transparency and honesty are some of the core values that I use as pillars to everything I build online. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for every single blogger out there.

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You see, a lot of bloggers are posting partial income reports.

In other words, they post about the money they made, but they conveniently “forget” to report the money they spend. It allows them to look like massive and overnight successes even if they are not breaking even yet.

I decided to be completely open with my readers, and to not hide any expense that I make to grow my online business.

I know that this will not make me look as glamorous and successful as some other people out there, but I don’t care. I want to show you what it TRULY takes to have an online business.

With that out of the way, let’s dive right into the report.

What happened last month?

The beginning of the month has been rocky to say the least.

As I explained in previous month’s report, I am now focusing 100% on growing niche sites.

Focusing on a single project and resisting the shiny object syndrome is really difficult for me because I get bored easily when doing the same thing over and over again.

The bright side is that I have put a routine in place that allows me to focus more easily and allows me to get a lot more done.

Niche Sites

Talking about the niche sites, at the beginning of the month, I ran into trouble with a couple of my writers and it resulted in being almost 10 days behind schedule.

That sucked.

Before I go any further, let’s take a look at the traffic chart for my niche websites together.

Niche Sites Goal

After getting so much behind schedule, I worked with my writers to streamline the content production process and we managed to catch up on the original schedule.

However, I didn’t follow exactly the plan that I set last month.

I initially wanted to grow the 10 niche sites that were started last month… But after discovering some more promising niches, I decided to launch even more new sites.

We ended up launching another 10 niche sites during May, bringing my portfolio of niche sites to 20.

I realize that constantly starting new sites and not expanding them is not a viable model for me because I need to grow the search traffic to these sites.

As a result, I will stop launching new niche sites when my portfolio will consist of 24 properties (which will happen in a few days).

I am currently doing keyword research on a massive scale so I can add roughly 30 articles to each site in the next 3 months.

This is going to be exciting.

Niche Sites Analytics

As I explained in the past 2 income reports, I have decided to NOT use Google Analytics for any of these sites.

Instead, I am using Clicky Analytics. They provide reports which I find a lot easier to analyze and data that is more in line with my needs. (I never used more than 3 or 4 reports on Google Analytics anyway).

I’m not going to write again about how I don’t trust Google to handle all that data about my sites, it’s up to you to have your own opinion.

But if you look at the traffic graph for my niche sites, you might agree with me.

I removed Google Analytics from my oldest niche site in March 2015, and ever since, the traffic has been growing tremendously.

May has even been the second highest traffic month for my first niche site (and it’s been online for the past 2 years).

Some of the traffic growth can be attributed to the seasonality of that site, but when I look at the numbers, it doesn’t account for ALL of it.

Switching from Google Analytics to Clicky has been one of my best moves for this project so far.

Dukeo

I haven’t really worked on Dukeo for the past month, apart from some tweaks on the pages layout here and there.

The biggest update to Dukeo is the link to start your blog, that I added in the header of the site.

That page is an easy step-by-step guide that allows people to get their own blog started in less than 1 minute.

Dukeo & SEO

As I explained last month, I revisited all the old posts on Dukeo to update the titles and URLs, but I didn’t do 301 redirects from the old URLs to the new ones because I wanted to dilute some link spam I received on the homepage.

Well, that didn’t turn out so well: the traffic has dramatically decreased, as you can see in the following chart.

I probably won’t have much time to publish new content on Dukeo during June, so I will just leave the site as it is.

It will give time for Google to pick up the changes I made to all the URLs and some articles might get better rankings.

What about the money?

Here is a breakdown of the money flow for my various projects.

Please keep in mind that these figures may not be 100% accurate due to various factors such as refund requests and network adjustments. The terms for each payment may also vary. As a result these numbers may differ from the actual payments issued and received.

Viral Sites

  • Adsense: $57.57
  • Display Advertising: $43.70
  • Affiliate: $4.40
  • Promotion: -$42.86
  • Hosting: -$40.70
  • Net: $22.11 (Difference: +$9.56)

Niche Sites

  • Sites: 20 (Difference: +10)
  • Amazon: $238.71
  • Content: -$2,685.00
  • Hosting: -$84.45
  • Net: -$2,530.74 (Difference: -$1,268.73)

Dukeo

Other

  • Aweber: -$69.00
  • Hosting: -$60.94
  • Net: -$129.94 (Difference: -$60.94)

Net: -$2,519.15 (Difference: -$231.39)

An interesting thing to note is that, if I hadn’t invested in some content for my new niche sites, I would have made some money last month.

I’m not talking big money here, but I would have been cash flow positive nonetheless. It’s something that didn’t happen a single time this year.

It shows how important it is to track your numbers!

These reports allow me to have a better understanding of where the money is coming from and going to. As a result, I trimmed down a lot of expenses that were simply not essential to keep the ball rolling.

Now, this is the fifth month in a row where I lost money.

To be honest, this sucks.

But the money I am spending is used to build some long-term assets, so even though I will probably keep losing money for several more months, I am convinced that things are going to get better over time.

Let’s take a look at a graph showing how things are going this year so far:

This chart could look depressing to a lot of people, but if you check the Income line, you will see that the number more than doubled between January and May.

Now, THAT’s encouraging!

What’s next?

Now that we took a look at what happened last month, what’s the big plan for June?

As I explained previously, all my focus is on the niche sites project.

I want to grow my new niche sites at a good pace, so will be working hand-in-hand with my writers to produce more content for these sites.

We will be testing different articles structures to see what brings the best results (highest ROI), and we will push forward as fast as we can.

Stay tuned for the next update!

PS: If you think that this income report could inspire at least one person you know, please share it with them.

PPS: How did your own online projects go last month? Did everything go as planned? Let me know in the comments below.

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16 Comments

  1. James

    Brilliant, honest, insight, Steven.

    1. Thanks James!

  2. Arbaz Khan

    It’s great to see that you are working hard on making the niche sites work even if you are facing losses in the beginning.
    As we all know – “Failures are stepping stones to success!”

    Keep working, Steven!
    I am hoping to see your income get bigger than the expenses in the coming months.

    1. When starting working on these niche sites, I knew that it would take some time to product content and gain rankings in search engines.

      I’m planting seeds, one at a time.

      The idea behind starting several niche sites at the same time is that even if only 1 of my sites takes of, I should be able to grow it enough to cover the expenses of all the other sites.

      It will probably take several more months before I’m able to turn a profit.

      Thanks for the nice words.

  3. Diane Corriette

    Thank you for sharing your progress. Really appreciate that.

    I am thinking about getting back into running a few niche sites. I think in the past I always picked niches that didn’t generate enough traffic. I have two years before my son leaves home for university and would love to have some niche sites earning me a regular income. My income comes mainly from consultancy and membership sites plus a bit of affiliate marketing right now but would love to get a few income generating niche sites going.

    1. It’s nice if you already have a diversified income. There is little risk that it will all disappear overnight.

      Let me know if you get started working on niche sites.

  4. Hi Steven,
    Thanks for being so open with your income report. I like how you are staying solid with your strategy and sticking it out – that is often one of the hardest parts of this game – patience, and perseverance. It is easy to go chasing the next bright shiny object when things are a little slow – but it is just momentum building. Stick with it, you are an inspiration.
    Regards,
    Bren Murphy

    1. Thanks for the nice words Bren.

      I’ve been long enough into the MMO niche to know that chasing the next big thing is not a long term strategy. Every project needs some time to grow. This is why I keep working on these niche sites even if I don’t see any return at the moment.

      The traffic to the niche sites is slowly, but consistently, growing at this point and that’s the only metric that matters to me during this first phase.

      I’m not going to lie, I’ve been really tempted more than once to get started on some other project, but I want to keep working on these niche sites for now.

  5. Hi Steven,

    The most precious quality of an online person is Transparency and that is what I can see in you.

    Keep up with your good works and way to go!

    – Abrar

    1. Thank you for the nice words Abrar.

      Honesty and transparency are essential to me. There is enough bullshit in this industry already.

  6. Ceo O.s. Jeremiah

    Keep going. It is well with you.

    1. Thanks Jeremiah

  7. It’s good to see you trying even after loss. I suggest you to do a great keyword research. Infact you can follow nichepursuits website and try to follow their 1st niche project.

    I followed the same from the start. They did for amazon affiliate. I did the same and failed. But I got the whole idea and applied the same for Google Adsense niche websites. I have number of websites. Even whenever I get an idea, I directly purchase the domain and start writing some content on it for long term purpose.

    As far as profits are concerned, It’s continuously increasing and I made close to $5.5K in May. Overall, the technique works. You will certainly get some good tips from that case study.

    1. Hey Satye, I’m glad to hear that you found a way to make it work for you. Congratulations on these profits.

      My plan is already set for the next few months already. I’m working consistently on these niche sites, and I see the traffic growing at a nice pace for some of these sites.

      Once phase 2 of my plan is complete, I’ll re-adjust my focus to put more work on the sites that are gaining traction.

      Keep me posted on your progress with Adsense.

  8. Andrew Mcmaster

    Hi Steven,

    I love your honesty here and you are right that a lot of bloggers post their earnings and leave out their expenditure. It is a real eye opener to look at these statistics.

    What I find interesting is that you are using clicky Analytics. How do you find this compared to Google Analytics?

    Great post and again thanks for the honesty.

    1. Hello Andrew,

      Thanks for the positive words. I think these bloggers are leaving out their expenses, not because they are dishonest, but because it would look less exciting for the readers if they realized that the guy made only $10 in the month. That’s not aligned with the ‘expectations’ that most people have when they read income reports… They just want to read about massive successes.

      My point of view is slightly different: I don’t write these income reports primarily for Dukeo’s readers. These income reports exist so I can keep track of my own progress. If nobody was reading this blog, I would still posts these monthly reports.

      I find Clicky Analytics way more user-friendly. Google Analytics has a ton of different reports… Most of which I never use. Clicky is simple, and it allows me to see how all my sites are doing at a glance. When you’re signed in, you can see general statistics for all your websites at the same time, and I love it. The premium version is totally worth it.

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