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Going from February to March in 2021 came with a big uptick in revenue, so we were hoping to see something similar this year. Even with that being said, we weren’t expecting to hit close to $40,000 this early in the year.
In March of 2022, we ended up with a total revenue of $39,444.58. For reference, last month we made $28,895.92.
Part of the reason for the revenue increase was an uptick in overall traffic. RPMs have also continued to climb, which is great to see.
Now before I jump into the details, here are my usual disclaimers:
- First, I’m not a one-man show. I work as part of a small, four-person team.
- Second, all of the revenue and traffic figures below exclude anything tied to passiveincomeunlocked.com and the Passive Income Unlocked YouTube channel. I keep these separate, as I don’t want the totals to artificially inflate what we’ve built with our niche sites from the ground up.
Changes and Updates in March
There’s not much to report here, but I’ll touch on a couple of things.
First, we continued to work on adding internal links throughout our sites. We are doing this using the manual method I outlined in this video.
We’ve finished going through all of the posts on three of our sites (the ones with the most related content), and ended up adding internal links pointing to roughly 70% of the posts on each of those sites.
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We aren’t forcing links by any means, so if there’s not a good placement for a link, we simply don’t add one. All this means is that we have a need to add more related content to our sites in the future.
We still have two sites left to attack (about 25% done on each so far), which don’t have nearly as much related content. For those two sites, we’re going to focus on clusters of related posts, rather than targeting every post on each site.
We also applied for Mediavine for site #5, which finally crossed the traffic threshold, but more on that in the next section.
Next, let’s jump into the numbers.
Sites and Posts
As I mentioned above, we finally cleared Mediavine’s 50,000 sessions threshold for site #5. This took roughly 1.5 years, which is a bitter longer than our last couple of sites.
With this particular site, we did a bit of an experiment, which we believe led to the longer timeframe. Basically, we chose a really broad niche and published articles on any random topic within that niche.
We didn’t target clusters of topics like we have in the past, instead just focusing on anything that was low competition. We also outsourced 100% of the writing.
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While these things likely stunted the growth of the site, we learned a lot from changing our approach and are happy we tested it. We have shifted our approach with this site back to our typical approach, so we fully expect it to continue growing.
Here is a breakdown of the numbers for all of our sites:
Our overall traffic took a nice jump in March, but a couple of our sites were actually down year-over-year.
The sites that were down were the ones that were hit by the Google algorithm update back in November of last year (at least I think it was in November). They’re not doing poorly by any means, but it’s still discouraging to see a year-over-year drop.
As I’ve said in the past, one of the biggest benefits of building multiple websites is that it’s unlikely for all of your sites to experience a significant drop at the same time. Not all sites will continue to grow month-over-month or year-over-year, so having multiple sites can help to soften the blow when one heads in the wrong direction.
As I’ve mentioned in previous reports, our focus this year is to strengthen our existing sites, so we’ll see if our efforts pay off and not only increase the sites that are doing well, but also help the other sites get back on track.
Here’s a breakdown of the total pageviews for March of 2022:
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As I mentioned above, we saw a big jump in revenue going from February to March. Part of this was due to having three additional days in the month. Another part was the higher RPMs due to March being the third month in the quarter.
Of course, as you can see in the traffic screenshot above, our traffic increased as well, which always helps.
Here’s a breakdown of the revenue totals by month:
As usual, the majority of our revenue came from display ads. This is one area where we are not very well diversified, so we’ll likely put more focus on creating additional income streams at some point in the future.
Here is a breakdown of our ad revenue from Mediavine in March. NOTE: the “Live On” date represents the date that each site was launched with Mediavine ads, not the date it was created:
As you can see in the the Mediavine screenshot above, site #1 is still bringing in the biggest chunk of revenue. However, you’ll also notice that My Backyard Life and site #2 (listed third) are starting to catch up.
Those sites will likely pass site #1 in monthly revenue over the next 2-3 months. The last site listed was the one that was hit hardest by the algorithm update last November, so we’re not quite sure where that one will land by the summer months.
By next month, we’ll hopefully have site #5 listed in the Mediavine screenshot as well. We’ve already passed Mediavine’s initial approval process, so it should just be a matter of time before that site is up and running.
After display ad revenue, our next largest revenue source is from Amazon Associates. In March, we made $1,490.03 from our US account, and a small amount of revenue from the UK and Canada ($177.88).
Here is a screenshot showing our Amazon Associates revenue from the United States:
Other Revenue Sources
We also made a small amount of money from the following:
- Print on demand: $38.49
- Other affiliate programs: $12.75
- Digital products: $51.35
Our expenses for March were a bit lower than past several months, coming in at a total of $6,793.70. As usual, the bulk of our expenses can be attributed to outsourced content.
Here’s a breakdown:
- Rocket (hosting): $100.00
- Shutterstock (stock images): $169.00
- iStock (stock images): $133.27
- Upwork (writing service): $142.14
- Textun (writing service): $4,151.00
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- Content Pit (writing service) – use PIU10 for 10% off your first order: $0.00
- Google Workspace (business email): $27.60
- SendOwl (digital sales platform): $15.00
- PayPal (fees): $8.19
Total Expenses = $6,793.70
If you take our total revenue of $39,444.58 and subtract out our expenses of $6,793.70, we’re left with a net profit of $32,650.88 for the month.
Future Plans & Goals
In March, we continued to attack internal linking on our sites, and that will continue going into April. As I mentioned above, we finished going through three of our sites and are about 25% through the other two.
What I didn’t mention was that site #6 (our case study site) already had internal links in 100% of the posts, as internal linking is a big part of that cases study.
We’re now moving on to the next task on our list for improving our existing content, and that is to add multiple images to more posts. As I’ve mentioned in this video about adding images to your posts, we don’t add images to our posts when we publish them, with the exception of a featured image.
Our strategy has always been to simply publish each post with a featured image, then go back and add multiple images to the posts that are performing well after a few months. This not only saves us a ton of time, but money on stock images as well.
While we’re not changing this strategy, we are going to try to increase the number of posts that have multiple images in them, as this can lead to higher RPMS, better engagement, etc. This will be a slow process that we just pick away at over time.
To make close to $40,000 in a month this early in the year is almost hard to believe for us, but going into the spring and summer, we expect that number to climb even higher.
This year will be interesting for us, as we’re putting our focus on strengthening our existing sites, instead of creating additional ones. We think this is the right move, as it’s difficult to give each site the proper amount of attention if you just keep adding more and more of them to your portfolio.
Another big benefit of focusing on our existing sites is that we’re investing our time and money into sites that are already generating a return, instead of sites that have the potential to generate a return down the road. It’ll be interesting to see how this impacts our overall growth trajectory.
Whatever the case, this year is off to a great start, and we can’t wait to see what the warmer months have in store.