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 to 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?
July is generally a difficult month for people with online businesses. Online revenue numbers are down for most people, and I am no exception.
As a result, I didn’t focus much on the numbers during the month because I knew this could erode my motivation.
I am still not to the point where I check my numbers only once per month, but I’m working on myself to get there.
These website are covering an extremely wide range of topics which makes it very difficult to properly monetize them, because the audience is not targeted.
I have tried pushing broad affiliate offers for a few months, but didn’t see any positive results.
However, in the middle of last month, I was contacted by an account manager at Sovrn.
For those of you who are not familiar with it, Sovrn is one of these display networks that put each ad impression through a live auction system.
As a result, many advertisers are competing for your ad space, and you can get some pretty interesting revenue.
After a few days to get my websites approved in their system and to get the technical part setup, I am now using them for some of my websites.
The interesting part is that you can setup a “passback tag” that allows you to load ads from another source in the very rare case that they don’t have any ads for you.
I’ve been running with them for about a week in July, and I am already seeing better CPM than I was seeing on Adsense.
August will be the first full month running their ads, so I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
In July, most of my time was spent working on my niche sites.
The system is now running smoothly with my writers, and I am publishing about 42 new articles each week on my portfolio of niche sites.
The traffic is slowly building up, and it’s pretty exciting to see the growth month over month.
The following graph doesn’t give an accurate picture of what’s happening, but we can still take a look:
The traffic decrease compared to previous month is only due to my 2 year old niche site losing traffic in July.
Almost all my other sites have seen an increase in traffic.
Regarding the decrease in revenue… Well, that’s no surprise. As I explained before, July is generally a slow month for online businesses, so I’m not paying much attention to that number.
It will be much more interesting to see the revenue in August.
Let’s take a look at the traffic numbers for all my new niche sites (excluding the traffic from my 2 year old site):
As you can see, the number are increasing nicely, and a few sites are clearly stealing the show: Site 3, Site 7, Site 9, and Site 23.
Even though every site is still receiving less than 200 visitors per month, what’s really exciting is the trend, and I can already tell you that it gets even better in August.
Then let’s take a look at a graph showing the revenue numbers for all my niche sites:
Nothing crazy here: the numbers are still pretty small.
We will probably have to wait another couple of months to get actionable data from this graph.
Finally, here is a new graph that I decided to add this month: it shows the revenue per visitor for all my new niche sites:
This graph is going to become my most important source of data regarding my niche sites.
Tracking visitors’ number is nice, but when all is said and done, it’s only a vanity metric. You can get 1000 visitors to your site and feel good about it, but if none of these visitors is making you money, that’s pointless.
The revenue per visitor is much more interesting to me, as it shows me more accurately on which site I should focus my time and effort.
Let’s say I have 2 sites: Site 1 received 1000 visitors and made $10, and Site 2 received 10 visitors and made $10.
Even though the 2 sites made $10 each, the revenue per visitor on Site 2 is much higher.
So it’s telling me 2 things: first, I should work on increasing traffic to Site 2; second, I should tweak Site 1 to try to increase my revenue per visitor.
I made absolutely no change to Dukeo in July.
As I explained in previous months, this website is currently making very little money, so I am not going to put a lot of effort in it.
However, I am keeping it active as a journal to document my results every month.
Let’s be clear: these income reports are for you, as much as they are for me.
They give you an opportunity to see what’s happening behind the curtain, and they also allow me to take decision regarding my strategy for all my websites going forward.
For those who are interested, here is a graph showing the traffic to this blog in July:
There has been a decent increase since last month, mostly because I realized that I had a batch of articles in Draft mode, that I never got the chance to publish before.
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.
- Display Advertising: $48.66
- Adsense: $47.58
- Sovrn: $21.64
- Affiliate: $3.80
- Promotion: -$62.88
- Hosting: -$48.38
- Net: $10.42 (Difference: -$4.85)
- Sites: 24 (Difference: +0)
- Amazon: $68.89
- Adsense: $4.99
- Content: -$2,982.00
- Hosting: -$86.60
- Net: -$2,994.72 (Difference: +$236.12)
- Adsense: $43.53
- Aweber: $8.70 (List Building: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need)
- Hosting: -$48.38
- Net: $3.85 (Difference: +$15.85)
- Aweber: -$69.00
- Hosting: -$48.39
- Net: -$117.39 (Difference: -$0.08)
Net: -$3,097.84 (Difference: +$247.04)
This has been one of my worst months this year in terms of income, along with January.
My viral sites and Dukeo are barely making money at this point, and my niche sites are costing me a lot because of all the content I am currently publishing.
Let’s take a look at how things are going this year so far:
July has been another difficult month, mostly because I am piling up the losses.
When you see this kind of numbers, it’s difficult to stay motivated and keep moving forward, but when I started working on niche sites, I knew I was getting into a slow game.
August is going to be all about the niche sites again.
When you think about it, it’s been only 4 months since these websites went live.
While 4 months is a lot in internet time, it is not that long in SEO time.
Patience is the name of the game.
See you next month.