[Journey] Scaling an Authority website to 10K a month (and beyond)

Dark Hat 007

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How was your traffic distributed? For what % of traffic did the top 5 content posts counted for before the drop

My niche is always 100% affiliates, yeah, 100%. So, my top 5 post were all affiliate.

Good KW research, I'm willing to bank on this, backlinks were social pages, nothing more.

All (KWs) just went into thin air, they keep updating "lost" on my ahref free account.

Well, I will add an article at least once every week while I start a new site and keep watching and praying... I've gotten the domain and I should do my KW research any time now.

This time, I'll have more info post that affiliates, although my aim is affiliate marketing though.
 

Kikerinka

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How long does it take your articles to rank please?
I've made an interesting analysis on this, I think during the first month of the journey. Looking at 100 older articles, and based on data from G. Analytics, I was checking how long it took them in average to rank & start getting some decent Google traffic.

Do not remember it now exactly (you should be able to find the analysis with all data if you check the first 10 pages of the journey), but I think it was about 6 months in average, with the shortest being 2 months and longest over the year...

Throughout the journey this hasn't changed much, though I feel that the average time for an article to rank has decreased a bit, maybe to 5 months :D. Still I need the patience like everyone else in this business :).
Thanks for you reply ! So I will write some article. Since my english is not my first langage, how do you suggest I get started ? In the beginning, did you translate your texts on translation tools like DeepL ? Or do you have some software to correct your grammar ?
Thanks again !
Do not use software to write the articles. Write them yourself, and use software/app just to check your grammar. This way you will also learn and improve your English. One step at a time, but it is better starting with "average" or even "below average" content than not starting at all :).

I also suggest you to start reading more in English, ideally some good books, but if you cannot find anything better you can read this journey from the start :D

does your site get hit by may 2022 update?
It did not, but many of my smaller sites got hit, losing 10%-70% of traffic.

All of the sites hit run Ezoic ads, though I am not sure if it was the cause, or just a coincidence. There is likely some causation though, because 2 similar smaller sites, on which I do not run Ezoic, did not get hit and didn't lose any traffic.

No backlinks built/bought on any of my websites, hence I believe the update had nothing to do with backlinks--either in positive or negative way.

My niche is always 100% affiliates, yeah, 100%. So, my top 5 post were all affiliate.

Good KW research, I'm willing to bank on this, backlinks were social pages, nothing more.

All (KWs) just went into thin air, they keep updating "lost" on my ahref free account.

Well, I will add an article at least once every week while I start a new site and keep watching and praying... I've gotten the domain and I should do my KW research any time now.

This time, I'll have more info post that affiliates, although my aim is affiliate marketing though.
First of all, I am glad to hear that this failure has not broken you, and that you are going to start a new project! Sure enough you've learned some important lessons with this one, and will do better.
Maybe you can even transfer some of the old content to the new domain?

What I was asking about though was the traffic distribution among your posts. That means, for example if top 5 of your posts get 90% of traffic, or just 20%, meaning you have better distribution and more of your posts rank.

Websites that get 50%+ of their traffic just from a few posts are always risky and more likely to suffer serious drop in traffic. It is enough if few posts/keywords get hit and it results in huge loss of traffic. On a flip side, if you have, let's say 200 posts, and 150 of them rank, even if you lose ranking/snippets/whatever for 30-50 of them, you can still maintain decent chunk of your traffic and keep going...

This is something you should perhaps keep on your mind while working on the new website. In any case, I wish you good luck and hope you won't give up!


On a side note: I will be in the mountains again for the weekend, but Monday I'll be back and it is the 1st of August, so if nothing extraordinary happens I will post the monthly update for July.
 

Dontdh2k52

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Monthly update, January 2022

Analytics:
  • Visits: 700,321 (+40% vs last month, all time record).
  • Page views: 827,311
  • Average time on page: 6 mins, 43 seconds (+9 seconds vs last month).
Screenshots from G. Analytics:
View attachment 200774
- As expected in my niche, things started slow from 1st January, but then each week got better and better, and we ultimately broke 30K, 31K and also 32K session on a single day.

View attachment 200776
January 2022 vs January 2021, 100% growth year over year (less than 114% in December, but as I always say, this is completely expected as it reflects the publishing activity in the journey).

I am also super happy about average time on page growth from 6:11 to 6:43. It seems we made the content even better in 2021. No doubt those 32 extra seconds count for more ad impressions, better RPM for the website, and eventually for better earnings, and also for better rankings...


Earnings:

- Adthrive: $13,970 (- 1% vs last month).

- Product sales: $5,072 (+90% vs last month, gross sales, deduce approximately 6-7% PP fees to get real profit I can eventually transfer to my bank account. Out of it:
  • The BIG product (general one) generated $2,358 in revenue (compared to $1,188 last month). 58 sales of full version priced $39 (vs 28 last month), and 4 sales of "lite" version priced $24 (vs 4 last month). Sales of big digital product really exploded in January.
  • The many small specialized eBooks generated $2,714 in revenue (compared to $1,479 last month, a nice growth here as well).
- Affiliate program: $86. Six commissions, but once again there were some ridiculously small commissions like $5.70 or $8.70.
Not sure how it is possible since I do not link to products that should bring in such a small commission. Anyway, I cannot be bothered with this since the affiliate program plays a very minor role in this project...


- Total earnings from the website in January 2022: $19,128 (+14% vs last month).

- Expenses: $39 (VPS).

- Profit: $19,089.

- Best day during the month (in terms of earnings): 26th January 2022, $965
- Worst day during the month (in terms of earnings): 1st January 2022, $201

Adthrive screenshot
:
View attachment 200780
- Things grew nicely as month progressed. Actually the RPM isn't that bad, considering it was only $14.03 in January 2021.

Last year in January we made less than $6K from ads. This year almost $14K. If the trend for traffic, RPMs, etc stay on track, experiencing the $30K month (in total earnings) isn't completely unrealistic in 2022. We will see.


Work done in January: I haven't done any work on this website in January. Worked on my side projects, but since I will make a separate update for them later this week, I prefer not mixing things up. Will explain the work done on side projects in my update for side projects :).


Observations:
Sales of my BIG digital product went completely bananas in January.
View attachment 200785
- On many days we had multiple sales, including one day with 5 sales. Last year in January we made 23 sales of this product, this January 58 sales.

I am not sure what exactly should I credit for such a growth. Perhaps more factor contribute to it: better optimized landing pages (for sure you remember how hard I worked on this in first half of 2021), better sales page, new update to the product, more traffic to landing pages...

Anyway, it motivates me to make at least a brief update to more of my top selling products, at least writing that they were updated for 2022 (even changing one sentence is an update :)), since I feel it can help with sales, and want to give it a shot. It probably won't change much for a product that sells 1 copy/month, but for products selling 10+ copies/month it can make a difference.


- One article got trending in USA, India, and Germany simultaneously, delivering some record page views for any article on my website:

View attachment 200787
- I actually hoped it wasn't trending, and that it was ranking for some new keywords with high traffic potential. But it was only hope, not something based on a realistic hypothesis, because of course I knew then topic of the article, and how much traffic it can realistically attract on any normal day...

As you can see on the chart, it reached a peak of 2K page views on a day, but then it dropped sharply really. Yesterday it had "only" 138 page views, which can be a realistic daily average for this one.

Anyway, it made us $213 from ads only (from 1st do 30th January, I do not have data for 31st yet), and that's not bad when you consider I wrote the post in 90 minutes, and then simply forgot it. This again makes me think that writing content is really the best investment you can do for your website.

I made one mistake though--since it was quite a new post, and it didn't have a lot of visits when I made a last round of RPM optimization on the website, it wasn't really optimized.
It showed less ads than it should, plus did not link to my BIG digital product, though there is a slight match, and it could convert maybe at 1/4,000 - 1/5,000 page views. Hence by this mistake I theoretically lost about $117 on product sales, plus maybe $10-$20 on ad income.

Definitely going forward I have to pay more attention to articles that start trending, to make sure we benefit the most from the extra traffic they get (typically over a short period of time only).


- Towards the end of the month I individually checked articles from all content pushes, especially articles that were not ranking on Google when I checked this last time (in November 2021), and I was surprised by certain things. Look at this one for example:
View attachment 200792
- I published this one on 6th August 2020. It got some negligible direct traffic right from the bat, than in May 2021, but it really got first Google traffic only in late November 2021, and more than 30 hits (126 exactly) only in January 2022.

It means that it took this article 17 months to start ranking on Google. Currently no. 3 for the main keyword, and no doubt this one has a potential to bring it at least 500 views/month.


And check this one (here we'll need two pictures to demonstrate the point):
View attachment 200797View attachment 200798- Both pictures are for the same article, published on 25th September 2020. On the first picture you can see traffic from all sources, whereas the second one is filtered only to Google traffic.

As you can see, it took the article about 6 months to get some traffic from Bing, but really just in January 2022 it started to rank on Google for the target KW (currently on no. 8), which is visible as clear spike on both charts. So it took this one 15 months to start ranking on Google...

It seems we can never give up on an article. Some pieces of content start to rank on Google within two months, some in six months, but for some it may take more than a year. Not sure if you guys see this as good or bad news :D, but I see it mostly as good news...

Anyway, current stats for all main content pushes:
  • Content push no. 1 (May - October 2020): 339/345 articles ranking on Google, or 98%.
  • Content push no. 2 and 3 combined (February - April 2021): 122/131 articles ranking on Google, or 93%,
  • Content push no. 4 (September - November 2021): 65/100 articles ranking on Google, or 65%. Nearly half of those 65 are in very early stages though (below 50 PV/month from Google), and they will grow a lot in the next months no doubt...
* Please note that I have published more articles on the website since the start of the journey, but articles that were scheduled or published outside of the main content pushes I do not track actively. It can be roughly 30-60 extra articles, and I do not collect such data for them...


Plans for next month:

I will likely work mostly on my side projects in February (update on their progress coming later during this week), but I may do some work on my authority website as well, mainly:
  • Checking top 200 articles making sure they are all optimized properly for ads and monetized with a product (if there is any fit).
  • Evaluate my Bounce Rate improvement experiment (check my last month's update for details on this one), and take action accordingly.
  • Briefly update a few best-selling products on the website, just making sure they look up-to-date for the visitors, which can improve conversions.
  • Schedule 4 new posts for March (I have scheduled articles only until the end of February).

So that's it for today's update guys. Hope you enjoyed it, and thank you for your support and for following this journey for such a long time :). As always, any questions, do not hesitate to ask!
Good job.
 

Kikerinka

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Monthly update, July 2022

Analytics:
  • Visits: 656,411 (-7% vs last month).
  • Page views: 777,493 (maybe lucky sevens indicate something good ahead, we will see :))
  • Average time on page: 6 mins, 43 seconds (-2 seconds vs last month, I expected a bigger drop here since I slightly upped the ad layout (more ads in longer posts) + enabled video ads on all devices, but it seems this change hasn't had basically any impact on the average time on page, which is a good sign that visitors aren't bothered with the video ads + more ads in longer posts).

Screenshots from G. Analytics:
analytics_july_2022.png
- The traffic was relatively stable week over week. As I expected, it dropped when compared to June, almost reflecting the trend from last year, when traffic dropped by 6% from June to July (compared to 7% this year).

Considering the heat waves, overall negative trend in my niche, and the fact that after two years of restrictions everyone wants to enjoy the summer, I am happy with the traffic for July.

analytics_july_22_vs_july_21.png- Year over year growth. It is interesting is that it dropped just by 1.7 percentage point from last month year over year growth (June 2022 vs June 2021, which was 28.73%), because all months before it was dropping by ten percentage points or more. I haven't had time to dig deep into details and understand why this changed, nevertheless happy about the development.


Earnings:

- Adthrive: $13,485 (-19% vs last month). It is a big drop, but I totally expected it. As we discussed here before with @Escehas , RPM really sucked for July, and it almost resembled levels from January. It sort of reflects the uncertainty in the world and various events I prefer not dive into much here.

Just for interesting comparison:
  • July 2022 RPM for my website with Adthrive was $17.34, with video ads enabled.
  • January 2022 it was $16.89, with video ads disabled.
  • July 2021, that means the same month last year, it was $20.05, with video ads disabled.
  • January 2021 it was $14.05, with video ads disabled.
That means that while last year RPM grew by $6 from January to July, this year it grew by $0.45 only, and I had a more aggressive ad layout on. Which in fact means that the real RPM likely dropped this year (for advertisers who made no changes to their ad layouts).

Obviously I am the last person in the world with the right to complain, making this much money almost passively. But just for the record, if the growth of RPM remained the same like in 2021, we'd make $4.6K more just from ads, and the overall earnings would be totally different.

Anyway, it is as it is and the only wise thing to do is to accept the situation, and try to get more traffic, which is another way improving earnings, when we cannot expect it to happen through higher RPMs...

- Product sales: $2,303 ( -30% vs last month, gross sales, deduce approximately 7-8% PP fees to get real profit I can eventually transfer to my bank account. Out of it:
  • The BIG product (general one) generated $1,095 in revenue (compared to $1,236 last month).
  • The many small specialized eBooks generated $1,208 in revenue (compared to $2,052 last month).
The drop in product sales continues. One month it has to stop though. So maybe the next one :). I also got some strange refund requests, like people asking for a refund 30-60 days after the purchase. In the past this happened super rarely, like once in a year. This month alone I granted three such refunds.

To me it indicates that more and more people struggle with money, and obviously one of the easiest way to improve your bank account balance is asking for as refund for a digital product that offers risk-free money back guarantee.

It doesn't even matter if you like the product, and perhaps it helped you in a big way... Yet when you struggle with money badly you explore all options and do not look left and right. Let's see if the trend continues n August, I really hope it doesn't :).

- Affiliate program: $54, two conversions.

- Total earnings from the website in July 2022: $15,842 (-21% vs last month).

- Expenses: $39 (VPS).

- Profit: $15,803.

- Daily average: $511 (vs $663 in May, a big drop here).

- Best day in the month (earning wise): 18th July, $790. We were far from another $1K day this month :).
- Worst day in the month: 23rd July, $246

Adthrive screenshot:
adthrive_july_2022.png

- I already "complained" enough about low RPM, so won't repeat myself here. Based on the communication with Adthrive I think the RPM will drop even further in August. I expect it to be around $15.50-$16.50 range. We'll see if my prediction was correct in one month time.


Observations & work being done on the website in July 2022:

- After many months of basically just collecting money from this website, I worked on it quite a bit in July. Implementing the 380 new keyword ideas from the KW research I did last month, based entirely on my own data from Google Search Console (check my last monthly update for details on this), I made changes to roughly 150 existing articles on the website.

Depending on the exact KW idea & the article in question, I did one of the following changes:
  • Changing one of the headings and randomly adding KW (in a meaningful way) to the article once or twice (a quick change, took 3-5 minutes to do).
  • Adding a short section (up to 100 words) into one of the existing parts of the article, again it was important that the change is meaningful and doesn't have an impact on the quality of the text for the reader (medium change, 5-10 minutes to do).
  • Added an entirely new section to the article (typically 300+ words), with the heading of the section reflecting the keyword idea I tried to implement in the post (most time demanding, roughly 15-20 minutes for implementing one such KW idea).
Summing it up, I likely added about 15-20K words of text alone to the website in this way.

What's more, I wrote 17 new articles, each one focusing on one or two new keyword ideas. I did this when I saw big potential in a keyword/topic idea, which in my book for this particular website means a post that has a realistic chance of bringing 1K+ visits/month minimum (in cases of some of these keywords it is likely 5K+ visits/month).
I have 10 other articles on my list to write (for 10 other KW ideas), and will do that in August.

As we all know it takes time (more often than not 6 months +) to see results of your work in IM. But I sincerely believe we will reap a good reward for my July efforts, maybe as soon as in October/November...


- I want to share with you something interesting about these new posts though, something I think I haven't shared yet. We will look at 2 new articles from the batch, and I will explain a certain phenomenon on them. Let's start with no. 1:

new_article_no_1.png
- I published this article on 15th of July, and as you can see it started getting Google traffic basically from day 1, but in about 10 days it ended.

What happened is that Google gave me something I internally call a "grace period", which is basically a short window they allow you to rank with a brand new article, in the case that the query isn't covered by many other websites.

This is an article for a very specific query, which is covered in a separate article just by one authority website in my niche (in a shitty article compared to mine), and in one Quora post. I do not use SERP robot or other rank tracker, but obviously for the first few days I had to be up there in top 3 for the query, perhaps behind this authority website and Quora.

Then the grace period ended and I fell out of index, to experience G. Sandbox for some time like anyone else has to expereince. Now I am nowhere to be find in top 100 for this post :).

However, based on the good signals Google collected during the grace period (check the massive average time on page), I should get out of Sandbox quicker with this one, and I have zero doubt than when I do get out of it, I will rank no. 1 for the query and related long tails, and the article will get good traffic (likely in thousands of page views per month).

Let's have a look at second interesting case:
new_article_no_2.png
- I published this one on 25th July. As you can see, also this one entered the grace period, and started to get Google traffic from day one.

Again it is an article for a very specific query. In this case though, there isn't really any website covering the query, except of one Reddit thread which somehow covers it. Now the article is still in the grace period, and I see it on position no. 1 for the search query. Reddit was pushed to no. 2.

With 99% of probability within 2 weeks it won't be in the index at all, and again will have to pass the "sandbox period". But the fact that I am no. 1 already in grace period means that I will no doubt be no.1 once the article exists the Sandbox, and again we can see an interesting traffic potential here (though just 10% of traffic is from US, this query is more popular in other countries).

The grace period is an interesting phenomenon, and I wonder how many of you have experienced it, and if it happened to you with smaller websites also. Please share your experience with it if you have any. Thanks :).

To me it happened only with my authority website, and only when I targeted some queries nobody else was (or very few pages did). For example, from this batch of 17 new articles it happened to 4 of them. Two are still in the grace period, and for two it already ended and they are nowhere to be seen on Google :).


Plans & Expectations for August 2022

- Last year the income from the website grew by almost $1K from July to August, and I hope it will follow similar trend. The uncertainty in the world and ad industry is still huge though, and it is hard to predict what will happen.

In any case, I hope to publish at least the 10 new articles for remaining keyword ideas on my list, and then I will perhaps do some work on my side projects (will post an update for them later this month). We will see...

That's it for July 2022 update guys. Was a much shorter one than last month, because I wasn't in such a reflective mood today like I was on 1st of July :D. Anyway, hope you enjoyed it, and as always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask.
 

mirrorer

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Keep going. You're website is easily worth $~700,000 (15kx50x monthly) You're just 30% away from your first million usd (asset) ;)
 

OLS_

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Great to read your update! I keep my fingers crossed that the RPM will rise again soon.

It's a pity that AdThrive only values English-language sites. And this even though german content means almost 100% Tier 1 traffic (visitors from Germany, Switzerland and Austria). I'm from Germany and would also like to have the chance to bring my site to such an ad management provider.
 

Escehas

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Monthly update, July 2022

Analytics:
  • Visits: 656,411 (-7% vs last month).
  • Page views: 777,493 (maybe lucky sevens indicate something good ahead, we will see :))
  • Average time on page: 6 mins, 43 seconds (-2 seconds vs last month, I expected a bigger drop here since I slightly upped the ad layout (more ads in longer posts) + enabled video ads on all devices, but it seems this change hasn't had basically any impact on the average time on page, which is a good sign that visitors aren't bothered with the video ads + more ads in longer posts).

- I want to share with you something interesting about these new posts though, something I think I haven't shared yet. We will look at 2 new articles from the batch, and I will explain a certain phenomenon on them. Let's start with no. 1:

View attachment 219949
- I published this article on 15th of July, and as you can see it started getting Google traffic basically from day 1, but in about 10 days it ended.

What happened is that Google gave me something I internally call a "grace period", which is basically a short window they allow you to rank with a brand new article, in the case that the query isn't covered by many other websites.

This is an article for a very specific query, which is covered in a separate article just by one authority website in my niche (in a shitty article compared to mine), and in one Quora post. I do not use SERP robot or other rank tracker, but obviously for the first few days I had to be up there in top 3 for the query, perhaps behind this authority website and Quora.

Then the grace period ended and I fell out of index, to experience G. Sandbox for some time like anyone else has to expereince. Now I am nowhere to be find in top 100 for this post :).

However, based on the good signals Google collected during the grace period (check the massive average time on page), I should get out of Sandbox quicker with this one, and I have zero doubt than when I do get out of it, I will rank no. 1 for the query and related long tails, and the article will get good traffic (likely in thousands of page views per month).

Let's have a look at second interesting case:
View attachment 219956
- I published this one on 25th July. As you can see, also this one entered the grace period, and started to get Google traffic from day one.

Again it is an article for a very specific query. In this case though, there isn't really any website covering the query, except of one Reddit thread which somehow covers it. Now the article is still in the grace period, and I see it on position no. 1 for the search query. Reddit was pushed to no. 2.

With 99% of probability within 2 weeks it won't be in the index at all, and again will have to pass the "sandbox period". But the fact that I am no. 1 already in grace period means that I will no doubt be no.1 once the article exists the Sandbox, and again we can see an interesting traffic potential here (though just 10% of traffic is from US, this query is more popular in other countries).

The grace period is an interesting phenomenon, and I wonder how many of you have experienced it, and if it happened to you with smaller websites also. Please share your experience with it if you have any. Thanks :).

To me it happened only with my authority website, and only when I targeted some queries nobody else was (or very few pages did). For example, from this batch of 17 new articles it happened to 4 of them. Two are still in the grace period, and for two it already ended and they are nowhere to be seen on Google :).


Plans & Expectations for August 2022

- Last year the income from the website grew by almost $1K from July to August, and I hope it will follow similar trend. The uncertainty in the world and ad industry is still huge though, and it is hard to predict what will happen.

In any case, I hope to publish at least the 10 new articles for remaining keyword ideas on my list, and then I will perhaps do some work on my side projects (will post an update for them later this month). We will see...

That's it for July 2022 update guys. Was a much shorter one than last month, because I wasn't in such a reflective mood today like I was on 1st of July :D. Anyway, hope you enjoyed it, and as always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask.
Yes, I have seen this behavior with a lot of my articles. At first, there's a sudden increase of traffic almost immediately after posting the article and then it either goes to zero or it gets very low traffic. A few days later (or a week, month), the traffic goes up again and stays there with no more fluctuations.
Here is an example of a very recent article that I posted:
traffic-pattern-1.jpg
Then, this is another example of an article that I posted months ago and which is doing great:
traffic-pattern-2.jpg
Both had that decline and then the rise. No idea why Google does this, but as long as I am ranking, I don't really care.

Also, thank you for the detailed traffic and earnings analysis, it helps far more than you think.
In March, when I started to make some changes to the website, it was because of the information and the energy that I got from your posts, so I am actually happy to say that last month, I did reach a milestone. It was the best month in terms of earnings (and traffic I think), finally getting past 7K. It could have been even better, but Adthrive held me back. Eh, let's try again.
 

molcho

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I did not know about this phenomenon, but I have now looked into it and can confirm it. Within a short period of time, I found five articles where exactly this happened.
Here is an example of an article that was put online on 4 December and generated traffic in the two weeks that followed. Then, for about three months, almost nothing happened and a maximum of nine hits per week. After that, the traffic increased steadily. I set the ad to weekly impressions because this makes the difference clearer.
1659422850750.png
 

Kikerinka

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Keep going. You're website is easily worth $~700,000 (15kx50x monthly) You're just 30% away from your first million usd (asset) ;)
Thanks mate :). Actually it is typically priced at last 12 months average, which would be something around $19K-$19.5K right now. Which means that with 48 multiple, the website would be worth $900K-950K on the market.

As I said though, I do not plan to sell this website in the foreseeable future, and I won't regret the decision even if the earnings drop somehow over the next 12 months, due to the situation in the world.

If i may ask please, how many total posts you have in your main website?

Thank you.
Currently 1109 pages (articles) published. Some of them are sales pages/thank you pages/about pages etc, so roughly 1K articles meant to attract organic traffic from Google :).
Great to read your update! I keep my fingers crossed that the RPM will rise again soon.

It's a pity that AdThrive only values English-language sites. And this even though german content means almost 100% Tier 1 traffic (visitors from Germany, Switzerland and Austria). I'm from Germany and would also like to have the chance to bring my site to such an ad management provider.
I totally agree with you, and one can look at this from different angles.

First of all, if I was a German (or German speaking person), it would be an interesting business opportunity to start such an ad management company for German speaking countries.

Sure enough it would never grow as big as Adthrive, and entry criteria would have to be different (maybe something like 20K PV/month, 70% traffic from top 3 German speaking countries), but at the same time it can be laser-targeted and an interesting model for both advertisers and publishers.

Secondly, you may try to pitch the idea to some ad management companies, to give your website a shot in their network, for example for 6 months and see the results themselves.

Remember that market is struggling right now, and one of the ways of keeping their profits at the same level for ad management companies is accepting new sites to their network. Hence I feel they may be more willing to do such experiments now as they were for example 1 year ago :).

I encourage you to give this a shot, and sincerely hope you will find someone interested in taking your website onboard!

Yes, I have seen this behavior with a lot of my articles. At first, there's a sudden increase of traffic almost immediately after posting the article and then it either goes to zero or it gets very low traffic. A few days later (or a week, month), the traffic goes up again and stays there with no more fluctuations.
Here is an example of a very recent article that I posted:
View attachment 220039
Then, this is another example of an article that I posted months ago and which is doing great:
View attachment 220040
Both had that decline and then the rise. No idea why Google does this, but as long as I am ranking, I don't really care.

Also, thank you for the detailed traffic and earnings analysis, it helps far more than you think.
In March, when I started to make some changes to the website, it was because of the information and the energy that I got from your posts, so I am actually happy to say that last month, I did reach a milestone. It was the best month in terms of earnings (and traffic I think), finally getting past 7K. It could have been even better, but Adthrive held me back. Eh, let's try again.
Mate this is amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing your success with me and with the community here :). $7K is great, and based on the fact that you continue publishing I have high hopes for you to break $10K/month soon!

Thanks also for sharing the screenshots, so now we know the "grace period" is the real thing. I will hope my new articles get back to results as soon as your articles do :)


I did not know about this phenomenon, but I have now looked into it and can confirm it. Within a short period of time, I found five articles where exactly this happened.
Here is an example of an article that was put online on 4 December and generated traffic in the two weeks that followed. Then, for about three months, almost nothing happened and a maximum of nine hits per week. After that, the traffic increased steadily. I set the ad to weekly impressions because this makes the difference clearer.
View attachment 220041
Thank you Molcho, if what you see with this article is any indication of how much the eventual traffic beats the traffic from the "grace period" (120/day vs 25/day), I have a lot to look forward few months from now on, since some of the articles got 40PV/day right in the "grace period" :).

We will see, and I will go and read your update now (got notification for it in my alerts).
 

OLS_

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I totally agree with you, and one can look at this from different angles.

First of all, if I was a German (or German speaking person), it would be an interesting business opportunity to start such an ad management company for German speaking countries.

Sure enough it would never grow as big as Adthrive, and entry criteria would have to be different (maybe something like 20K PV/month, 70% traffic from top 3 German speaking countries), but at the same time it can be laser-targeted and an interesting model for both advertisers and publishers.

Secondly, you may try to pitch the idea to some ad management companies, to give your website a shot in their network, for example for 6 months and see the results themselves.

Remember that market is struggling right now, and one of the ways of keeping their profits at the same level for ad management companies is accepting new sites to their network. Hence I feel they may be more willing to do such experiments now as they were for example 1 year ago :).

I encourage you to give this a shot, and sincerely hope you will find someone interested in taking your website onboard!
Thank you for encouraging me. Currently I do not have enough visitors, but things are developing positively and maybe in some time I really give it a try.
 

Kikerinka

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Thank you for encouraging me. Currently I do not have enough visitors, but things are developing positively and maybe in some time I really give it a try.
You're welcome. I really hope things will develop positively for you. You've been around this journey for long enough, so hopefully things start to click together for you and you see some big results :). With a lot of traffic from Germany & Switzerland, some ad network may be interested...

Just noticed he got banned again. Too funny.

Let's see if we can spot him again next time.
This time he got as far as never before, reaching 1K posts, 1K reaction score, premium membership... Yet the end result is the same again--ban for multiple violations :D

And well, maybe he's closer right now than we think ;).

How do you generate content ideas?
Several ways, KW research using free methods on Google search, then my own data from Google Search Console, and at the beginning of the journey using Content Gap tool from Ahrefs.

P.S. Sorry to all who I haven't replied to PM yet, I've been very busy these days, but hopefully tomorrow I will reply to everyone.
 

Escehas

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Mate this is amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing your success with me and with the community here :). $7K is great, and based on the fact that you continue publishing I have high hopes for you to break $10K/month soon!

Thanks also for sharing the screenshots, so now we know the "grace period" is the real thing. I will hope my new articles get back to results as soon as your articles do :)
Thank you very much for your words of encouragement. I am not going to reach 10K anytime soon due to the nature of my niche, the still slow posting schedule (less than 20 articles a month) and the recession, but I'll get there eventually!
I have been trying to get some writers to help me, but I would need people with a degree to do a decent job and those want at least $300-$400 per article, which is absolutely insane.
Also, you were right, the RPM for August is sad..
 

Ingroval

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Monthly update, July 2022

Analytics:
  • Visits: 656,411 (-7% vs last month).
  • Page views: 777,493 (maybe lucky sevens indicate something good ahead, we will see :))
  • Average time on page: 6 mins, 43 seconds (-2 seconds vs last month, I expected a bigger drop here since I slightly upped the ad layout (more ads in longer posts) + enabled video ads on all devices, but it seems this change hasn't had basically any impact on the average time on page, which is a good sign that visitors aren't bothered with the video ads + more ads in longer posts).

Screenshots from G. Analytics:
View attachment 219932
- The traffic was relatively stable week over week. As I expected, it dropped when compared to June, almost reflecting the trend from last year, when traffic dropped by 6% from June to July (compared to 7% this year).

Considering the heat waves, overall negative trend in my niche, and the fact that after two years of restrictions everyone wants to enjoy the summer, I am happy with the traffic for July.

View attachment 219933- Year over year growth. It is interesting is that it dropped just by 1.7 percentage point from last month year over year growth (June 2022 vs June 2021, which was 28.73%), because all months before it was dropping by ten percentage points or more. I haven't had time to dig deep into details and understand why this changed, nevertheless happy about the development.


Earnings:

- Adthrive: $13,485 (-19% vs last month). It is a big drop, but I totally expected it. As we discussed here before with @Escehas , RPM really sucked for July, and it almost resembled levels from January. It sort of reflects the uncertainty in the world and various events I prefer not dive into much here.

Just for interesting comparison:
  • July 2022 RPM for my website with Adthrive was $17.34, with video ads enabled.
  • January 2022 it was $16.89, with video ads disabled.
  • July 2021, that means the same month last year, it was $20.05, with video ads disabled.
  • January 2021 it was $14.05, with video ads disabled.
That means that while last year RPM grew by $6 from January to July, this year it grew by $0.45 only, and I had a more aggressive ad layout on. Which in fact means that the real RPM likely dropped this year (for advertisers who made no changes to their ad layouts).

Obviously I am the last person in the world with the right to complain, making this much money almost passively. But just for the record, if the growth of RPM remained the same like in 2021, we'd make $4.6K more just from ads, and the overall earnings would be totally different.

Anyway, it is as it is and the only wise thing to do is to accept the situation, and try to get more traffic, which is another way improving earnings, when we cannot expect it to happen through higher RPMs...

- Product sales: $2,303 ( -30% vs last month, gross sales, deduce approximately 7-8% PP fees to get real profit I can eventually transfer to my bank account. Out of it:
  • The BIG product (general one) generated $1,095 in revenue (compared to $1,236 last month).
  • The many small specialized eBooks generated $1,208 in revenue (compared to $2,052 last month).
The drop in product sales continues. One month it has to stop though. So maybe the next one :). I also got some strange refund requests, like people asking for a refund 30-60 days after the purchase. In the past this happened super rarely, like once in a year. This month alone I granted three such refunds.

To me it indicates that more and more people struggle with money, and obviously one of the easiest way to improve your bank account balance is asking for as refund for a digital product that offers risk-free money back guarantee.

It doesn't even matter if you like the product, and perhaps it helped you in a big way... Yet when you struggle with money badly you explore all options and do not look left and right. Let's see if the trend continues n August, I really hope it doesn't :).

- Affiliate program: $54, two conversions.

- Total earnings from the website in July 2022: $15,842 (-21% vs last month).

- Expenses: $39 (VPS).

- Profit: $15,803.

- Daily average: $511 (vs $663 in May, a big drop here).

- Best day in the month (earning wise): 18th July, $790. We were far from another $1K day this month :).
- Worst day in the month: 23rd July, $246

Adthrive screenshot:
View attachment 219934

- I already "complained" enough about low RPM, so won't repeat myself here. Based on the communication with Adthrive I think the RPM will drop even further in August. I expect it to be around $15.50-$16.50 range. We'll see if my prediction was correct in one month time.


Observations & work being done on the website in July 2022:

- After many months of basically just collecting money from this website, I worked on it quite a bit in July. Implementing the 380 new keyword ideas from the KW research I did last month, based entirely on my own data from Google Search Console (check my last monthly update for details on this), I made changes to roughly 150 existing articles on the website.

Depending on the exact KW idea & the article in question, I did one of the following changes:
  • Changing one of the headings and randomly adding KW (in a meaningful way) to the article once or twice (a quick change, took 3-5 minutes to do).
  • Adding a short section (up to 100 words) into one of the existing parts of the article, again it was important that the change is meaningful and doesn't have an impact on the quality of the text for the reader (medium change, 5-10 minutes to do).
  • Added an entirely new section to the article (typically 300+ words), with the heading of the section reflecting the keyword idea I tried to implement in the post (most time demanding, roughly 15-20 minutes for implementing one such KW idea).
Summing it up, I likely added about 15-20K words of text alone to the website in this way.

What's more, I wrote 17 new articles, each one focusing on one or two new keyword ideas. I did this when I saw big potential in a keyword/topic idea, which in my book for this particular website means a post that has a realistic chance of bringing 1K+ visits/month minimum (in cases of some of these keywords it is likely 5K+ visits/month).
I have 10 other articles on my list to write (for 10 other KW ideas), and will do that in August.

As we all know it takes time (more often than not 6 months +) to see results of your work in IM. But I sincerely believe we will reap a good reward for my July efforts, maybe as soon as in October/November...


- I want to share with you something interesting about these new posts though, something I think I haven't shared yet. We will look at 2 new articles from the batch, and I will explain a certain phenomenon on them. Let's start with no. 1:

View attachment 219949
- I published this article on 15th of July, and as you can see it started getting Google traffic basically from day 1, but in about 10 days it ended.

What happened is that Google gave me something I internally call a "grace period", which is basically a short window they allow you to rank with a brand new article, in the case that the query isn't covered by many other websites.

This is an article for a very specific query, which is covered in a separate article just by one authority website in my niche (in a shitty article compared to mine), and in one Quora post. I do not use SERP robot or other rank tracker, but obviously for the first few days I had to be up there in top 3 for the query, perhaps behind this authority website and Quora.

Then the grace period ended and I fell out of index, to experience G. Sandbox for some time like anyone else has to expereince. Now I am nowhere to be find in top 100 for this post :).

However, based on the good signals Google collected during the grace period (check the massive average time on page), I should get out of Sandbox quicker with this one, and I have zero doubt than when I do get out of it, I will rank no. 1 for the query and related long tails, and the article will get good traffic (likely in thousands of page views per month).

Let's have a look at second interesting case:
View attachment 219956
- I published this one on 25th July. As you can see, also this one entered the grace period, and started to get Google traffic from day one.

Again it is an article for a very specific query. In this case though, there isn't really any website covering the query, except of one Reddit thread which somehow covers it. Now the article is still in the grace period, and I see it on position no. 1 for the search query. Reddit was pushed to no. 2.

With 99% of probability within 2 weeks it won't be in the index at all, and again will have to pass the "sandbox period". But the fact that I am no. 1 already in grace period means that I will no doubt be no.1 once the article exists the Sandbox, and again we can see an interesting traffic potential here (though just 10% of traffic is from US, this query is more popular in other countries).

The grace period is an interesting phenomenon, and I wonder how many of you have experienced it, and if it happened to you with smaller websites also. Please share your experience with it if you have any. Thanks :).

To me it happened only with my authority website, and only when I targeted some queries nobody else was (or very few pages did). For example, from this batch of 17 new articles it happened to 4 of them. Two are still in the grace period, and for two it already ended and they are nowhere to be seen on Google :).


Plans & Expectations for August 2022

- Last year the income from the website grew by almost $1K from July to August, and I hope it will follow similar trend. The uncertainty in the world and ad industry is still huge though, and it is hard to predict what will happen.

In any case, I hope to publish at least the 10 new articles for remaining keyword ideas on my list, and then I will perhaps do some work on my side projects (will post an update for them later this month). We will see...

That's it for July 2022 update guys. Was a much shorter one than last month, because I wasn't in such a reflective mood today like I was on 1st of July :D. Anyway, hope you enjoyed it, and as always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask.
Impressive! Your journey is going up well.
 

Kikerinka

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I have been trying to get some writers to help me, but I would need people with a degree to do a decent job and those want at least $300-$400 per article, which is absolutely insane.
Also, you were right, the RPM for August is sad..
I can feel you with this one. There is one specific sub-niche of my main niche where I face a similar situation. I am no expert in the sub-niche (a very technical one), and do not feel ready to write quality articles for it. But I know the search volume is there, and a big one for some topics.

If I wanted someone else to write the articles, however, first of all I will find it hard to even hire a qualified person, and I'd likely need many of them, since this sub-niche has many varied topics and one person is typically an expert in maybe 2-3 of them at best. And secondly, they would ask for an outrageous sum of money :).

My solution is that I simply do not cover this sub-niche on my authority website....

And with RPM: For me so far it is at July's levels. Which is not so bad considering it is the start of the month, and it should get better as the month progresses. We will see.
Impressive! Your journey is going up well.
Thanks, it is dong well, and I have learned to accept that it cannot go up all the time :)

Yet another explosive monthly report! So inspiring!
Thanks mate, nice to see that you keep following :)
 

Escehas

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And with RPM: For me so far it is at July's levels. Which is not so bad considering it is the start of the month, and it should get better as the month progresses. We will see.
You're doing much better than me. I got like $14 RPM, while it's usually $23-$24. And my traffic is 90% US + English speaking countries. I am starting to wonder whether Mediavine will do better since I get almost half the usual.
 
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