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Last month caught us off guard, as we ended up reaching almost $50,000, which was our new high. In previous years, we typically saw a big jump going from April to May (not March to April), so we were definitely curious to see if we would still see that jump again this year.
In May of 2022, we ended up with a total revenue of $62,212.86, which was easily our highest month ever. For reference, last month we made $49,870.56.
Our sites are off to a fantastic start this year. However, that continuous climb in traffic and revenue looks to be coming to an end.
Google released a core algorithm update in May, and three of our sites were affected by it. I’ll jump into this further below, but long story short, I anticipate a drop in traffic and revenue going into June.
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
Not much changed as far as what we worked on going from April to May, so I’m going to focus on the algorithm update for this month’s income report.
The core algorithm update was announced on May 25th, and in this case, three of our sites were affected. We haven’t looked into it yet (and likely won’t bother), so we’re not quite sure what drove the drop in traffic.
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The drop was pretty substantial across two of those three sites, as you can see in the screenshots below. These drops will definitely impact our traffic and revenue going into June.
For us, this drives home the importance of having multiple sites. While an update could theoretically wipe out a large chunk of traffic across all of our sites in one shot, in reality, that’s very unlikely to happen.
By having multiple sites, each bringing in a good amount of traffic and revenue, we’re able to weather these algorithm updates fairly well.
Next, let’s jump into the numbers.
Sites and Posts
Last month, I mentioned that we’ve decided to scale back site #5 to 4 posts/week to bring it in line with sites #1-4. I also mentioned that we decided to scale site #2 up to 7 posts/week, since that site has been taking off like crazy.
In May, we decided to take this a step further and scale site #1 and My Backyard Life to 7 posts/week as well. We made that decision late in the month, and we won’t actually put this into effect until July, as we’ll need to order those additional articles in June.
Our goal here is to basically double down on the sites that are performing well. We’ll be posting more content around topics that are bringing in traffic on those sites.
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We’re going to keep site #3 at 4 posts/week, as it has now been hit by two algorithm updates in a row. While we’re not about to give up on this site, we also think it makes sense to put more focus on the sites that are performing better.
Here is a breakdown of the numbers for all of our sites:
Traffic was up big again in May, coming in just shy of 1.5 million total pageviews. However, with the algorithm update, we’ll likely see a big drop in June.
Here’s a breakdown of the total pageviews by month:
Our revenue increased significantly yet again in May, jumping over $10,000 from April. While it’s great to see a chart like this, we’re not looking forward to seeing what happens in June after the algorithm update last month.
Here’s a breakdown of the revenue totals by month:
Here is a breakdown of our ad revenue from Mediavine last month. NOTE: the “Live On” date represents the date that each site was launched with Mediavine ads, not the date it was created:
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After display ad revenue, our next largest revenue source is from Amazon Associates. Last month, we made $1,649.23 from our US account, and a small amount of revenue from the UK and Canada ($125.74).
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: $58.66
- Other affiliate programs: $14.28
- Digital products: $86.90
Our expenses for last month came in at a total of $8,231.38. 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): $65.20
- Textun (writing service): $4,119.50
- Passion Posts (writing service) – use LAKPFDZ2J0 for 10% off your first order: $2115.00
- Content Pit (writing service) – use PIU10 for 10% off your first order: $1,471.55
- Google Workspace (business email): $29.00
- SendOwl (digital sales platform): $15.00
- PayPal (fees): $13.86
Total Expenses = $8,231.38
If you take our total revenue of $62,212.86 and subtract out our expenses of $8,231.38, we’re left with a net profit of $53,981.48 for the month.
Future Plans & Goals
I’ll keep this short and sweet, as nothing has changed from the last update. Our focus is simply to continue posting articles at a high rate, while improving the content on our existing sites.
Algorithm updates sucks, but they’re simply a part of life as a blogger or publisher. If you build a website, you have to expect that you’ll be hit by one sooner or later.
The best thing you can do is to diversify in as many ways as possible, whether that’s multiple traffic sources, multiple sites, or simply taking your earnings and investing them into index funds, etc.
At the end of the day, if you build a site without doing anything shady, these algorithm updates should only be a small bump in the road. Don’t let the thought of getting hit by one deter you from building a site with an recurring income stream.