So, I earned $470 in affiliate income in July. That may not sound like much, but that’s 65% of my display ad income. In my book, that’s pretty good. That’s almost twice my historical average!
Well – it’s kinda good. Because I think you should target 100%. In other words, you should make as much from affiliate income as advertisements. That’s what my math in the Race to 100 Blog Posts is based on.
The truth is I’m just not that focused on revenue right now. Almost all the affiliate income is from Amazon Affiliates, which pays a paltry 3-4% commission on average, and the cookie only lasts for 24 hours. Plus everyone has monetized with Amazon. It’s a little spammy now, kind of like an Avon makeup party.
So for not really being focused on revenue, I’m happy with an extra $500 for doing – well, nothing. That’s the goal of blogging anyway, isn’t it?
YOU NEW TO THESE PARTS, STRANGER?
New to My Income Reports?
If this is your first time visiting one of my Income Reports, welcome! (Here’s a strong, firm handshake). Let me explain how they work.
I report how much income I made or lost every month. These reports help me analyze and track my progress, and they (hopefully) help you benchmark your own performance. I don’t have to worry about boasting about my income because as of now, my income is non-boastable!
I don’t disclose actual URLs. Like a good journalist, I keep my sources safe.
New to FLUB?
If you’re visiting FLUB for the first time, sit down and stay a while! This is my blog about blogging, or more specifically, about my journey to create a six-figure income stream through info blogging. I’ve been doing this since April 2021, so I’m still a greenhorn!
With the exception of FLUB, none of my websites are in the how-to-make-money-online niche. I’m reporting straight from the front lines.
Income Report Table for June 2022
|Niche||Size (Posts)||Type||Ads||Affiliate||Digital Products||Physical Products|
|Website 1||Transportation||100-199||Info blog||$502||$237 (?)||–||N/A|
|Website 2||Transportation||200-299||Info blog||$212||$232||$71||N/A|
|Website 3||Travel||30-99||Info blog||$3||–||–||N/A|
|Website 4||Outdoor Recreation||30-99||Info blog/ magazine||–||–||–||–|
|FLUB||Online Business||0-29||Info blog||–||–||–||N/A|
|Hosting||Content||Labor (Other)||Software Subscriptions||Advertising||Other|
- N/A = Non-Applicable, Not Offering
- ( – ) = Not Monetized (Yet)
- $0 = Attempted Monetized, Haven’t Make a Dime
- (?) = Reporting Questionable
REFLECTIONS ON THIS MONTH
Where I Came From
To be honest, I’ve spent a lot of July NOT blogging. It’s beautiful weather out here. I’ve been kayaking, climbing, biking, seeing friends, visiting family, and doing the other things I love.
Call me lazy. The truth is this is partially why I started a blogging side hustle in the first place. Isn’t it great to have an income stream that prints money even when you’re taking time off?
I did publish “Don’t Name Your Blog After Yourself – The Remix.” It’s an interesting thought experiment in blog branding, not just picking your URL. I highly recommend it (and Part 1) if you’re a newcomer.
Where I’m Going
I spent about $400 this month on content, exclusively on Upwork contractors.
That’s a lot less than last month (over a $1,000, which is why I posted a net loss in June). And that’s because the Writers are self-straining.
Usually, I can get 3-10 articles out of a Writer. Because I always have Writers compose from their personal expertise, I can only get as much content as they have experience. Unless someone is a Subject Matter Expert, they’ve usually exhausted the good stuff after 10 articles.
Despite all the headaches, I’d rather pay real humans for their stories than regurgitate the internet with an AI writer or content scraper.
To be honest, I’m looking forward to taking a break from editing. I’ll need to hire more Writers within a month or two, but it’s nice to step away from all the emails and revisions.
How I Make Money Online
My Content Strategy
- I specialize in info blogging. I build authority niche websites with a focus on evergreen content written by people with hands-on experience.
- At present, I don’t drive traffic to my websites other than organic SEO and a very, very limited presence on social media platforms, namely Pinterest. I’ve done virtually no active backlink building or guest posting. Therefore, I don’t expect significant traffic to a website for 6-18 months after launch.
- I’m working on too many websites. I drip content (1x post per week) onto every website, but I’ll publish at least 2 posts per week on sites I’m actively growing. About half the content is outsourced to freelance writers.
My Monetization Strategy
I hope to average 500 views per post per month with an average EPMV of $40 from all revenue sources. This month, EPMV was superb! But I’m having trouble hitting that 500 views per month per post threshold. I’m hoping I’m just still in the Google Sandbox.
I earn a few hundred dollars a month from Amazon (which I also have a love-hate relationship with), and spare change here and there from other affiliate partners. But I feel like I’ve barely tapped the potential of affiliate marketing.
I am becoming firmly convinced that it’s only worth hawking products that sell for at least $100. Commission rates on a $20 pillow or $30 headphones just aren’t worth the hassle of maintaining affiliate relationships (not to mention tracking all the links!)
If you can market a product that sells for over $500, even better! That’s where I’ve had the best luck. I prefer selling quasi-necessity goods rather than purely uxury goods.
I did have an interesting experience with Ezoic this month. Ezoic introduced its Accelerator Program and scheduled a call with me. I thought the call would be more of a site audit. Well, was I surprised!
Reading between the lines, Ezoic is trying to retain customers. It’s well-known that AdThrive and Mediavine command the best ad rates in the U.S. (as of now). I suspect Ezoic is trying to keep its larger customers from defecting.
So the Accelerator Program (sans VIP perks like assisted video creation) is basically a contract with Ezoic that you’ll stay with them in exchange for waived Premium fees. It’s an interesting proposition: Am I willing to sign on for 36 months in exchange for 12 months of waived fees? Or calculated another way, am I willing to commit in exchange for an equivalent 33% Premium fee discount?
I declined. Three years is a long time. The opportunity cost could be far, far larger than the fee savings. I’m too early in my blogging journey to commit past my horizon line, which is only 6 months.
Thanks to the call, I did find out I’d been shooting myself in the foot by not enabling AdSense mediation on Ezoic. With mediation, Ezoic can basically run advertisement auctions to the highest bidder. So I went back to AdSense, got my sites approved, and enabled mediation. We’ll see if it works!
I’ve just dipped my toe into this field. I sell a few digital downloads via Etsy, and while each one may only make $10-$30 a month, if I can build up a portfolio of at least 50 digital products, that’s not a bad income! And it’s wholly passive.
Unfortunately … I didn’t release any digital products this month. And honestly, I probably won’t until I can hire a Graphic Designer. I’m just not into that stuff. And as a blogger, you can’t wear all the hats and expect to scale. So I’m putting digital products on the back burner until I find someone who lives and breathes Photoshop.
Strategies I Haven’t Used (Yet)
- Email marketing. I have a confession to make. While I’ve been passively growing my email list through newsletter subscribers … I don’t even have a newsletter :/ I just stockpile email addresses in subscriber lists.
- Social media marketing. I’m not on Facebook, Twitter, Tiktok, Whushmygush, or whatever other social media platform is currently blowing up. I’m a member of several blogging/content creator groups, and everything I see about becoming a social media pop star makes it look exhausting.
- Pay-per-click. I’m a firm believer that paid traffic should never be sent to your general site or blog post, but to a targeted landing page with a high-value call-to-action. I don’t have a high-value CTA right now, so no need for paid traffic.