Disclaimer: Some links in this post may be affiliate links. Making a purchase after clicking one of these links may result in a commission for me. Also, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

In last month’s income report, I mentioned that I expected our revenue to be down this month due to the bulk of our revenue coming from display ads and RPMs naturally dropping during the first month of a quarter.

We did end up slightly down, but much to my surprise, it was by an insignificant amount. In July, we made a total of $40,546.70. For reference, we made $41,028.45 in June.

Our traffic for July was a bit higher (details further down below), but again, not by a significant amount. In other words, the ad RPMs didn’t drop like expected. In fact, one of our sites saw an increase in ad RPMs in July, while another remained steady.

With the pandemic impacting the world over the past 18 months, RPMs have been all over the place and difficult to predict. My hunch is that this phenomenon is still in play with the RPMs to this day.

Whatever the case, we’re obviously very happy to see our numbers hold steady in a month where we were expecting to see a drop. We’ll be happy if we see the same next month, as the traffic will likely start declining on two of our sites that have quite a bit of outdoor content.

Now before I jump into the numbers, let me quickly go over my usual disclaimers. One, I don’t do this solo. Instead, I’ve built a small team of three others around me, and together, we divide and conquer. I think this approach is a big key to our success with building niche sites.

Two, all of the revenue and traffic figures below exclude anything tied to passiveincomeunlocked.com and the Passive Income Unlocked YouTube channel. I want to keep those separate, as I don’t want those totals to artificially inflate what we’ve built with our niche sites from the ground up.

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One Big Change Last Month

Before we get into the figures, I want to briefly go over one change we decided to make last month, which was a hosting change.

For all of our sites up to this point, we’ve always started with Bluehost, then moved them to a better host after they’ve reached a certain point (20,000 – 30,000) pageviews per month.

We’ve tried several hosts in the past, including Bluehost, Host Gator, WPX, and Kinsta, with Kinsta being the most recent one we were using. We were really happy with Kinsta, but the cost can be pretty substantial when you run high-traffic sites.

After seeing a recommendation from Jon Dykstra from Fat Stacks Blog in his mailing list, I decided to look into Rocket.net. After doing some research and peppering their sales team with questions, we decided to make the switch.

Rocket.net is considerably cheaper than Kinsta, with no noticeable loss in page speed. The big kicker is that they include Cloudflare Enterprise with all of their plans.

With Cloudflare Enterprise, not only will your site load quickly from all around the world, but you’ll get the security features that come included as well. As an example, since switching to Rocket, our spam comments have cut down from about 30-50/site/week to about 2-3/site/week.

As far as page speed, our sites are still getting as good, or better, scores with the Google PageSpeed Insights tool. What really matters though is how fast the sites load for actual users, and when we’ve tested our sites ourselves, the pages open almost instantly.

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We need to give it some time before I can fully recommend switching to Rocket, but as of right now, we’re very happy with both the cost and performance that we’re seeing.

Next, let’s jump into the numbers.

Our Sites

As of right now, we still have five sites. We do have ideas for 2-3 more, but we’re going to hold off on starting another site until we feel that site #5 has succeeded.

Speaking of site #5, we’re starting to see some nice traction on it. It is now at the 10k pageviews per month level and has gone up roughly 30% and 25% in each of the last two months.

As a reminder, site #5 is only 10 months old, and we took a different approach with it than with our other sites. Instead of targeting a subniche within a niche early on, we decided to write about anything and everything within a very broad niche, right from day 1.

On top of that, we have outsourced 100% of the content, which is not something I typically recommend. On our first four sites, we wrote the first 50-100 articles ourselves.

Nonetheless, we’re starting to see some good growth on the site and fully expect it to succeed.

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As far as our four income-generating sites, we stuck to our recent plan of posting roughly 4 posts/week/site in July.

Here is a breakdown of the numbers:

July 2021 Posts per Site Screenshot

Like last month, the vast majority of the posts in July were outsourced. We do still write some of the posts ourselves, depending on the topic or type of post, but for the most part, we like to focus our efforts in other areas instead.

Traffic

As I mentioned up above, our traffic was up slightly in July when compared to June. When we look at our four main sites individually, one dropped a decent amount, one stayed stead, and the other two jumped up quite a bit.

In the end, we’ve basically flatlined from May to July, but due to the seasonality on a couple of our sites, this is what we expected. We saw the same thing last year as well.

Here’s a breakdown of the total pageviews for July:

July 2021 Traffic Screenshot

If you look really closely, you can actually start to see a blue line at the bottom of the bar for July. That blue line represents site#5, which like I said, is right at the 10k pageviews/month mark now.

Income

As I mentioned in the intro, we made a total of $40,546.70 in July. This was our second highest month ever, with June being the highest.

Here’s a breakdown of the totals by month:

July 2021 Revenue Screenshot

As you can see, the vast majority of our revenue comes from display ads, with a small sliver of revenue coming from Amazon Associates.

For ads, we go through Mediavine. Not only are their RPMs excellent, but they’re always pushing the envelope and staying ahead of the curve when it comes to providing new tech to help you maximize your earnings.

Here is a breakdown of our ad revenue from Mediavine in July (the “Launch Date” represents the date that each site was launched with Mediavine ads, not the day it was created):

July of 2021 Mediavine Revenue

After display ad revenue, our next largest revenue source is from Amazon Associates. In July, we made $1,225.58 from our US account, and a small amount of revenue from the UK and Canada ($66.73).

Here is a graph showing our Amazon Associates revenue from the United States:

July 2021 Amazon Revenue

As I’ve mentioned in the past, we don’t add many affiliate links to our content, but the ones that we do add perform well. In July, our conversion rate on Amazon Associates was over 18%.

Aside from the income from Mediavine ads and Amazon Associates, we also made a small amount of income from the following sources:

  • Other Affiliate Networks: $6.40
  • Digital Product Sales: $11.80
  • Print on Demand Sales: $65.79

Expenses

Revenue means nothing without expenses, so next, let’s take a look at what it cost us last month to generate over $40,000 in revenue.

Here’s a quick breakdown of our expenses for July:

  • Hosting (Kinsta): $979.07
  • Hosting (Rocket – $1 First Month Promo): $1.00
  • Domain Renewal (Bluehost): $32.99
  • Images (iStock): $116.61
  • Keywords Everywhere: $10.60
  • Outsourced Content: $4,425.96
  • Google Workspace: $27.60
  • SendOwl: $15.00
  • PayPal Fees: $1.56

Total Expenses = $5,610.39

Net Profit

If you take our total revenue of $40,546.70 and subtract out our expenses of $5,610.39, we’re left with a net profit of $34,936.31 for the month of July.

Mailing List

As I mentioned in previous income reports, we’re currently using Mediavine’s built-in opt-in tool to collect email addresses. It works extremely well and is non-intrusive.

However, we still have not put together a plan for using these email addresses. For now, we’re just collecting them and sending out an automated recap of our posts from the previous week using MailPoet.

Here’s a breakdown of the current subscribers per site:

  • Site #1: 682
  • Site #2: 950
  • Site #3: 0
  • Site #4: 252
  • Site #5: 0

Future Plans & Goals

Our plans are still the same as last month, which is to continue posting 4 posts/site/week, continue collecting email addresses, and grow a YouTube channel on at least one of our sites.

In addition, we’ll continue to work on optimizing our old content by adding images and links, where appropriate.

Lastly, as I mentioned above, we do have some ideas for 2-3 new sites, but we’re going to hold off on those until site #5 is monetized.

Final Thoughts

July surpassed our expectations, and we couldn’t be happier about it. While we tend to aim too high and are okay with coming up a bit short, in this case, we expected a drop and didn’t really see one.

We don’t expect to see much of a change in traffic or revenue from July to August, and if that’s what ends up happening, we’ll feel good about it. One of the best things you can ask for with a niche site is a consistent return.

Whatever the case, as you can see, it’s absolutely possible to make a good amount of money with simple niche sites. I hope these reports help to motivate and inspire you to build and grow your own sites.

Let me know how your niche site journey is going in the comments below.

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    After spending several years struggling to find a reliable way to make money online, I finally developed a simple system that produces large and consistent results. My small team and I are now generating life-changing income for all of us by building simple niche websites using the basic steps covered on Passive Income Unlocked.

    6 Comments

    1. Hi Jeff,

      One of your site is almost 4 years old and one is almost 3 years old. But in earnings screenshot, Launch date is of 2019. How is that.

      • Jeff Reply

        Hi Abhilash,

        Good question. The launch date in that screenshot represents the date that each site started running Mediavine display ads. I just added a note to the post to clarify.

    2. Hello Jeff.
      I’m Stanley, a fan of Passive Income Unlocked and I regularly read contents here and keep up with the YouTube video.
      Let me start by saying thank you for uploading your income report, it’s actually motivational for new bloggers like me.
      My site is relatively new and I’m trying so so much to get things right.
      Don’t have much funds to outsource content yet and that’s why I’m keyed to this blog to get the necessary information needed to scale up blog growth.
      I must admit, it’s really been hard for me.
      My major hurdles are:
      Trying to get more content uploaded while maintaining quality, carrying out in-depth keyword research to get topics one can rank for with a new site,
      thinking of the proper time to start backlinking if it should come in alongside uploads or it should be delayed till one has a large batch of uploaded content,
      added with other things like pitching cold mails for guest posting and the likes.
      I try not to be overwhelmed by handling tasks one at a time.
      It’s been a whole lot Jeff.
      I currently have about 10 in-depth posts spanning about 2,500 words with some lengthy guides reaching up to 5,000 words.
      Working to get it to 100 uploaded posts by year end.
      Site is not monetized yet as I’m still focusing on getting more quality content.
      I might sound optimistic but deep down, I really want to get it right.
      I’ll appreciate any help or advise I can get from you Jeff.
      Thanks again for all you do at Passive Income Unlocked.
      Much love.

      • Jeff Reply

        Hi Stanley,

        First off, I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying the videos and posts, and I appreciate you sharing your story.

        It sounds like you’re trying to tackle quite a bit at one time. My first thought would be to really narrow down what’s important, then focus as much as possible on just that. For most blogs, that one thing will be producing content, which it sounds like you’re putting quite a bit of effort into already. Things like outreach and guest posting can wait. In fact, we don’t do them at all.

        Just remember that there’s no real timeline on any of these things. Having a goal is great, but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t hit it. Just focus on producing great content. Over time, you’ll start to see some progress, which will help to keep you going.

        Best of luck!

    3. Thanks a lot Jeff.
      I’ll keep pushing till I see progress like you said.
      And I’ll also head back here whenever I need more motivation☺️
      Much love.

      • Jeff Reply

        Sounds good. We all need a bit of motivation from time to time, especially early on. Hopefully, you’ll turn a corner in the near future and start seeing some nice growth, which always makes it easier to keep going.

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