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?
I realize that this income report has been long overdue, so I’m going to keep it brief and I’ll post a longer update in a week or two.
One of the most interesting parts of working online is the speed at which you can start, grow and pivot projects.
In September, I was faced with some unexpected events which forced me to reorganize some of my projects.
When I just started this whole “make money online” thing, I would totally freak out when something wouldn’t go as planned.
Now, I have a more relaxed approach.
There is ALWAYS something that doesn’t go according to the plan.
You can either fight against it and try to make it fit in your vision, or you can embrace it and adapt.
Adversity is an absolutely amazing opportunity to grow and evolve.
With that being said, let’s talk about my projects in more details.
After spending a lot of time reading about AI and self-learning systems, I decided to make some changes on one of my viral sites.
My biggest break-through was that a system doesn’t have to be initially complex to achieve a complex goal.
The basic idea is to have a website that learns which stories are the most shared, and give them more exposure on the site, because more shares equals to more eyeballs seeing ads on my pages which results in a higher income.
That part was quite easy.
It gets more complex when you want the website to track the visitors across the site, and see which funnel brings the most shares.
Let’s say a visitor visits Article A, then Article E, then Article B, then shares the article B. Did he share the article B because it was worth it, or was he “primed” to share because he read Article A and Article E before?
But following all the paths would result in an extremely complex system. So I am just recording if visitors visited an article before the one they actually shared. If they do, that “previous->next->share” relationship is recorded, and it increases the exposure of the “next” article in the sidebar and below the content of the “previous” article.
I also built a system that allows me to split test an unlimited number of titles for each article, and give more exposure to the ones that receive the most shares.
With both these tools in place, the website will slowly learn about the most efficient way to get more shares.
I’ll report more about this next month.
For various reasons, I had to let go of my main article writer for this project.
At first, I was a little disappointed and upset because I wasn’t able to add as much content as I wanted to my niche sites, but I took this as an opportunity to let the sites mature for a while (and save money at the same time).
Even though I see an upward trend in traffic and earnings for these sites, the growth is extremely slow. To be honest, this is kind of discouraging.
If I don’t see any significant increase next month, I’m probably going to do some big changes in my strategy for this project.
As you can see, the income increased compared to previous month. But it’s still 30% lower that my numbers during spring.
Hopefully, with the holiday season approaching, I’m going to see some nice results.
Let’s take a look at the traffic numbers for all my new niche sites (excluding the traffic from my 2 year old site):
During previous months, Site 3 had a pretty fast growth compared to other sites, but it started to plateau in September.
As you can see Site 4 is now the fastest grower month over month.
Then let’s take a look at a graph showing the revenue numbers for all my niche sites:
In September, I didn’t have any niche site making more than $15. Bummer.
I will probably have to do some restructuring to this entire project next month, because I can’t keep running at such a loss for another 6 months.
Finally, here is another graph that shows the revenue per visitor for all my new niche sites:
The revenue per visitor has been increasing for most of the sites, but the traffic numbers are still too low to give me any kind of actionable data.
There is not much to report about the blog because I didn’t publish any article beside my income report last month.
The traffic has been decreasing because I wasn’t so active on Twitter to promote some of my old content.
I did, however, send a few emails to my list to promote some special deals on web hosting to get started with a blog at a very low cost.
I ended up generating $150 in affiliate commissions with only a couple of emails. Not too bad in terms of return on time invested.
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: $356.29
- Display Advertising: $190.13
- Adsense: $129.75
- Promotion: -$189.34
- Hosting: -$48.00
- Net: $438.83 (Difference: +$183.85)
- Sites: 24 (Difference: +0)
- Amazon: $156.76
- Adsense: $5.22
- Content: -$750.00
- Hosting: -$27.49
- Net: -$615.51 (Difference: +$2,564.32)
- HostGator: $150.00 (How to start a Blog in less than 5 minutes)
- Adsense: $20.46
- Blast4Traffic: $15.46 (My Review)
- Aweber: $8.70 (My List Building Guide)
- Hosting: -$48.00
- Net: $146.62 (Difference: -$178.05)
- Aweber: -$69.00
- Hosting: -$48.00
- Net: -$117.00 (Difference: -$0.76)
Net: -$147.06 (Difference: +$2,569.36)
Since I didn’t spend much money on content for my niche sites, I ended up pretty close to making a profit.
My viral sites have been making almost $500 without adding any content. (This is the main reason why I spent a few days working on my new optimization system).
Dukeo made almost $150 profit with almost no work at all.
All that profit went into paying for the last batch of articles that I had to pay my writer for.
This is my first month this year with an income of over $1,000.
From this point, the idea is to keep the growth trend going on for my income while reducing my spending even more.
I’ve already started making changes to my niche sites to capitalize better on the money I spent up to that point.
The content I have on these sites is of higher quality that my direct competitors, so I will focus more on link building to increase the rankings of all my pages.
I gave myself 12 months to see if I can make some significant profit from my niche sites, and the holiday season could be a total game changer.
See you next month!