This is time for another edition of Dukeo’s monthly income report.
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 for everything I build online. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for every single blogger out there.
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?
Things picked up during August, but not at all where I was expecting.
I still spent most of my time working on my niche site, formatting and scheduling content.
I focused less on the daily stats as I was busy growing my sites, it allowed me to be a lot more productive as I was not constantly jumping from one thing to another.
This is where I had my biggest surprise in August.
As I mentioned last month, I switched some of my banners from Adsense to Sovrn close to the end of July, and I was already seeing a clear increase in revenue per visitor.
I was pretty excited to run it for a full month and see how the revenue from these sites would evolve.
Let’s just say that I wasn’t disappointed.
These sites were barely breaking even for the past 4 months, making between $10 and $20 per month. With a spending of $90 to $110, that was roughly 10% profit.
The main problem being that it was not scalable: I didn’t have any way to increase my traffic.
As a result, the best way to increase my profit is to increase the revenue per visitor.
I tried promoting affiliate offers on my viral sites without success a few months ago, so I didn’t see how to turn this around.
Well, after being contacted by an account rep of Sovrn and making the switch, my viral sites brought in $438.13 for a spending of $183.15.
In other terms, for each $1 that I spent on these sites, I made almost $2.40. Not too bad for just switching my banner ads from one network to another.
I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep running at this rate because the main traffic source I’ve been using so far is changing their rules and increasing drastically their prices.
However, it encouraged me to spend a little more time working on these sites in September to see what else I can do to either increase my traffic or increase the revenue per visitor.
More about this next month.
For yet another month, I spent most of my time working on my niche sites.
At this point it’s pretty much rinse and repeat.
I am doing extensive keyword research, getting content targeting these keywords,formatting the content, and scheduling it to keep my sites active.
The revenue is still nowhere close to the amount of money I am spending to get my content written.
The traffic is growing at a nice pace for a few of my 24 niche sites, doubling month over month.
To be honest, the waiting period to get sites to rank for my keywords is killing me and it’s starting to erode my motivation.
There are some morning when it’s tough to get to work on these sites when I see so little results. Keeping my eyes on the prize really is challenging.
On a positive note, in July only 3 of my niche sites brought in some sales, and in August 9 sites generated sales.
The revenue from my new niche sites went from $10 in July to $110+ in August.
While these numbers are still very small, the trend is encouraging, and this is what keeps me going.
Let’s take a look at the traffic numbers for all my new niche sites (excluding the traffic from my 2 year old site):
This graph is the one that keeps me working on my niche sites: the traffic to my 5 most popular niche sites is growing at a very encouraging pace.
As you can see, my most popular site (Site 3) even went from 182 visitors in July to 383 visitors in August. Nice trend!
I am not sure it will keep growing this fast month over month, but some other sites might pick up with it. Site 4 and Site 9 are showing particularly good signs.
Then let’s take a look at a graph showing the revenue numbers for all my niche sites:
As I said earlier, even though the revenue numbers are still small, the positive sign in this graph is that 9 of my sites generated sales in August.
I must be doing something right.
Now I just need the traffic to keep growing and the revenue should follow.
Finally, here is another graph that shows the revenue per visitor for all my new niche sites:
This is one of the most interesting graph for me.
It allows me to see which niche has the highest revenue per visitor.
This way I know on which site I should try to grow the traffic in priority, because each visitor is worth more money.
For example, even though Site 3 has the more traffic, it is not generating the most revenue.
This graph tells me that I should grow the traffic to Site 9 and Site 23, because each visitor on these sites is worth $0.25+.
While these numbers are not yet statistically significant because my traffic is so low, it gives me a rough idea that will get better defined as traffic increases.
I’ve put a little more effort in Dukeo than I was originally planning.
This year, I have pretty much left this blog on autopilot, simply posting my income reports and occasionally sending valuable information to my list subscribers.
Let’s take a look at the traffic numbers:
As you can see, the traffic increased a little compared to previous month. Nothing life-changing though. It was mostly due to me rewriting and republishing some of my old articles.
I made 2 major changes on Dukeo in August:
1. Resources Page
I have had a resources page on this blog for as long a I remember, but it was somewhat hidden with only a few links pointing to it here and there.
I’ve completely revamped this page, added all the products and services I use to grow my business, added some exclusive links to free trials, organised everything by categories, and added a navigation menu.
For easier access, I have also added a link to that page in the blog header.
If you like the information I provide on this blog, the best way to thank me is to use the affiliate links on my resource page when you want to purchase a product or service. It comes at no cost for you, and it will allow me to keep this blog running.
Dukeo’s visitors like this resources page so much that I went from making $3.00 from Dukeo last month, to making over $324.00 in August.
2. Banner Space
To increase the revenue on this blog, I am now making banner space available for everyone.
Up until now, I was using Adsense because I didn’t want to do any extra work for a blog that doesn’t even generate any money.
Well, I found out that selling my banner space directly to advertisers through BuySellAds wasn’t going to be much more complicated.
If you would like to buy some ad space on Dukeo, visit my Advertise page and use the coupon code “EarlyBird” upon checkout. You will get a 25% discount.
What about the money?
Here is a breakdown of the money flow for my various projects.
To make this report easier to understand, I’m using a simple color code: green numbers are positive, red numbers are negative.
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.
- Sovrn: $242.70
- Display Advertising: $119.79
- Adsense: $75.64
- Promotion: -$135.90
- Hosting: -$47.25
- Net: $254.98 (Difference: +$244.56)
- Sites: 24 (Difference: +0)
- Amazon: $130.17
- Adsense: $3.75
- Content: -$3,226.18
- Hosting: -$87.57
- Net: -$3,179.83 (Difference: -$185.11)
- Direct Ad Sales: $106.25 (25% OFF with coupon code “EarlyBird”)
- Adsense: $81.51
- HostGator: $50.00 (How to start a Blog in less than 5 minutes)
- Market Samurai: $46.56 (Keyword Research)
- Elegant Themes: $44.50 (WordPress Themes)
- Kontent Machine: $29.60 (Content Creation)
- Aweber: $8.70 (My List Building Guide)
- Namecheap: $4.80 (Domain Name)
- Hosting: -$47.25
- Net: $324.67 (Difference: +$320.82)
- Aweber: -$69.00
- Hosting: -$47.24
- Net: -$116.24 (Difference: +$1.15)
Net: -$2,716.42 (Difference: +$381.42)
Once again, it was a pretty bad month with a significant loss.
It’s important to keep in mind that the biggest chunk of that loss is the money I spent on content production for my niche sites.
All my other projects have been generating more money this month.
This explains the nice increase in gross revenue that you can see in the following graph:
August has been an odd month compared to the other months this year. Some of my projects started making more money with little to no effort on my part.
That’s the 8th month with a loss this year, but the number are actually motivating me a little more than previous months.
And believe me, there are some days when I need the extra push.
I am not going to give up on my niche sites just yet.
When I started working on these, I knew it was going to take time to see some results, and the holiday season in November and December could be a complete game-changer.
I gave myself until the end of the year to get these sites to generate some significant money, so I just have a few months to go.
In September, I am making some major changes to the way I’m working. I’ll tell you more about this next month.
PS: If you think that this income report could inspire at least one person you know, please share it with them.