August 2022 Niche Site SEO Income Report

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Written By Jamie
Founder of increasing.com, and here to give you the info you need to either start your making money online journey, grow and improve your niche sites, and build the most meaningful and fulfilling life for you.

Our niche site portfolio earned record numbers in August 2022 (by $21 over our previous best, lol), but this is due to very volatile one-off deals and very unpredictable affiliate programs, so unfortunately most of the increases are an aberration, rather than the new standard.

Nevertheless, our total SEO niche site earnings in August 2022 were: $36,568.18.

** I also want to say these are revenues, not profits. We spend a LOT on these sites, and have not been profitable for the majority of our existence. Whereas some have very profitable models where they write all their own content, we have not followed that route, and a writing team, VAs, and full-time and part-time employees work on these sites.

We’ve survived the July Product Review Update, but with the Helpful Content Update ushering itself in, who knows what will happen. As of 3rd September when writing this, we’ve seen no real change across our portfolio, but it could all get messy over the next week.

We have goals to hit just under $40,000 in revenue in September 2022, so if we can maintain the current levels, we only need to add around $3,500 in monthly revenue. But that’s no easy feat.

The total breakdown for the earnings was:

  • $3555 in direct sponsorship (+$2555)
  • $8967 in ads (+$1349)
  • $24046 across Amazon Affiliates and other affiliate programs ($4145)
  • Published 24 new articles + republished 5 existing articles
  • Total page views: 310,489 (+46791 or +15.12%) [Czechia/Seychelles traffic may overstate increases however]
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What Happened in August?

Generally we saw modest traffic increases across the board, leading to an extra $1349 in earnings.

However, we’ve been quite aggressively moving our affiliate links away from Amazon, so despite an overall increase in affiliate commissions, our Amazon earnings are down. Apparently, there are secret rate increases you can get on Amazon if you’re earning $10K+ per month — so maybe the play would have been to stick with Amazon to get better rates, but this is the way we’ve gone.

As a result, we increased our affiliate earnings – but unfortunately most of this came from a few very large sales that do not happen very often. So I can’t say that this is the new normal — this level of sales is not likely to repeat itself in September.

So, we’ll really have to dig deep to find where we can drive another $3500 on top of current earnings to hit our $40,000 goal in September.

Another nice extra was an uptick in direct sponsorship earnings. We earned $3555 in direct earnings for sponsored posts and hosting ads on our site, which was $2555 more than last month. Again, these can be fickle and unpredictable earnings however, so you can’t count on these being the same every month.


Executing On Last Month’s Goals

In last month’s income report, we said that in August we would focus on:

  1. Sorting email capture (and ideally monetization) on all our major sites.
  2. Improving social media.
  3. Fully train up our VA.
  4. Work out how to be less profitable!
  5. Start hitting our content output numbers.

Here’s how we fared:

Sorting email capture (and ideally monetization) on all our major sites

We’re implementing email pop-ups at the moment, but I still haven’t settled on which to use. Thanks everyone for the tips on Twitter on the tools you use – I’ll research each in more depth to pick over the next few days.

Improving social media

We’re still not doing anything on social media. I have Tweethunter for my own personal twitter account because it helps with threads, and apparently you can use it for unlimited twitter accounts – so I’ll need to implement this into the post-publish checklist and create threads.

Fully train up our VA

We finally found a great VA after having to part ways with a few before. She’s got fantastic attention to detail, and when creating images for our articles, really goes the extra mile to make sure they look great. For example, even creating slight blurred effects around the cut-out products on the background so they contrast better.

Work out how to be less profitable!

We failed to increase our spending – and you can see it with the drop in output. The three new writers we hired (and hopefully hiring another this week) collectively wrote around 5 posts this month, so that was a lot of time investment in a set of writers who thus far have not been cranking out content. We have a one-per-week minimum so I will be closely monitoring this.

Start hitting our content output numbers

We’re really far off our content output numbers. We want to put out 100-120 posts a month, and while variables such as firing and hiring a new VA, and having a ton of un-published drafts, played a part in our drop from 58 published posts in July to just 24 in August, we still need to do much better than this.


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August 2022 Overview

The format for these has changed a bit. Instead of a site-by-site breakdown, we’re going to keep it general across the portfolio.

Hopefully this is more helpful, as we can talk more about higher-level strategy for growing sites, rather than being bogged down in the weeds with each site.

These are our new goals for this month:

Goal 1: Publish 100 posts in September

We published only 24 posts in August, though we did republish 5 posts (these can take 1-2 days each, as they’re very high-quality).

This partly down to training a new VA to do formatting, with many of the articles she formatted being ready to publish, but being published in the first few days of September instead.

So, it’s weighted down in August, even though the work was done then.

Nonetheless, we published almost 60 articles in July, so to publish below 30 is a huge downturn in output.

We’re aiming to post 100 articles in September.


Goal 2: Create more systems

We’ve become much more organised in the last 6 months, but we’re far from perfect. My goal in September is to create the following systems:

1. Video guides for our writers for (and improve our current templates):

  • Writing informational content to hit featured snippets
  • “Best” buyer’s guides
  • VS articles
  • Single product reviews
  • Alternatives articles

2. Create a linkbuilding system we can execute from October onwards based on which seems for best on each site:

  • Guest posting
  • Acquiring keyword-specific links from similar-topic info posts to commercial posts
  • Acquiring smaller sites to redirect into our larger ones (also acquiring their content)

3. Implement a writer feedback system for saving feedback to track growth and learning over time, and be more efficient and effective with helping writers.

4. VA task system — currently we just put articles in the VAs task list, but we have high-value tasks to complete, such as adding “top picks” blocks in affiliate content. We need a place where we can dump these ideas, and then formulate them into a system based on which actions add the most value.

5. Better system for hiring and onboarding writers — we have a job ad template, and we have a good writer onboarding docs system, but both can still be tweaked and improved an extra 10-15%. The writer guidelines can be tweaked for post-Helpful Content Update extras, the onboarding docs are currently slideshows and can be turned into Loom videos, and we can improve our hiring job ad template also, which would empower other members of the team to hire their writers without my micromanaging.

6. Better affiliate link tracking — we’ve kept this too informal so far. So, we don’t know exactly what articles are driving sales, or which locations. We will organise this so we can measure banner performance, which articles are driving which sales and traffic to prioritise these, and more.

7. Implement new internal link system — the team are already great at building internal links, but I’ve recently spent a few hours drawing up a slideshow on some of the more technical extras. I’ll teach this to the team this month to see where we can improve our articles as per our site architecture.

If all of this gets done in September, it’ll be huge progress in our goal to hit $100,000 per month niche site earnings by the end of June 2023.


Goal 3: Master outsourcing for low-priority sites

We have a dozen sites, but only actively work on a few of them. Most barely make any money, and have been largely ignored and then hit by Google algorithm updates.

However, I was lucky enough recently to speak with Jon Dykstra of Fatstacksblog fame, and we exchanged ideas about our respective strategies:

  • I took him through our low-output, high-revenue affiliate article strategy.
  • He talked me through his processes for his high-output content strategy and how he publishes thousands of articles every year, that rank.

His ideas around high-velocity content production were super impactful, and I learned so much that I want to try implementing. Most importantly, it would mean that we could work on and grow our smaller, largely neglected sites without too much time investment. And we’re very short on spare time!

So, I want to try the outsourcing style, and will trial this on our smaller, lower-risk sites. I’m going to spend an afternoon doing keyword research for a bunch of low search volume, low-competition informational terms, and outsource all of them to a content writing hub like WriterAccess or similar, and report on our results.


Goal 4: Hit featured snippets

We’ve never been good at hitting snippets – mainly because we don’t write that much informational content. The snippets we do have are mainly around “best” keywords and other commercial intent.

But, I ran our sites through Ahrefs with the following filters:

  • Our site’s keywords
  • Position: top 5
  • SERP: contains a featured snippet
  • Filter: our site does not have the featured snippet

And our sites have the following opportunities:

  • Site 1: 191 snippets to hit
  • Site 2: 100 snippets to hit
  • Site 3: 15 snippets to hit
  • Site 6: 16 snippets to hit

So we’ll spend probably a week just optimising for these, and do a case study of the ROI of our week’s time for a blog post, and probably a video on our YouTube channel. So subscribe to our email list and YouTube if you’re interested in the results.

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Next Month’s Focus

August was our best ever month – and we’re super happy about this. We’ve overdelivered in a few areas compared with our expectations, so this is great.

But, we’ve driven a lot of revenue increases without seeing the same relative increase in page views. Yes, we’ve grown, but without a large page view increase, it feels like we’re just maximising what we can make with our existing viewership.

What this means is, soon we’re going to hit a point at which we can’t earn any more. To create more growth potential, we have to be driving new page views and users, so there’s a focus on putting out more content and ranking it, as well as driving new readers from email, social media, and other avenues.

Our goal for the month is $40,000. We need to find another $3,500 to reach it, in addition to retaining all our existing revenue (unlikely, as we delivered above expectations in August).

So, it’s a very ambitious goal, but we have to be on our A-game to do it. I like a challenge, so let’s go for it.

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Jamie
Founder of increasing.com, and here to give you the info you need to either start your making money online journey, grow and improve your niche sites, and build the most meaningful and fulfilling life for you.

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