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

Good to see your site still going relatively strong. What happened with Sartre? Interested to know because I saw him posting a lot about AI stuff and even marketing a service of his own where he builds sites with 100% AI content.
It seems you're not much around the forum lately :). He basically disappeared, and none of his AI sites he sold for $10K/13K with a guarantee of actually getting to Mediavine got in. In such a case, he promised a full refund to his clients. But he decided to call it a day instead.

There was a very interesting thread here in the first half of May, with a lot of speculation when it comes to what has happened to him, but some members also came with interesting facts/ideas based on their research on Sartre and his websites, and his real identity. The thread grew like crazy (something I haven't seen for a long time here with any thread), and I posted there too. Sadly mods closed the thread after a few days...

BTW, I am also still eagerly anticipating your update :)

Cool man, following along on your journey.

Thanks, enjoy it :)
 
It seems you're not much around the forum lately :). He basically disappeared, and none of his AI sites he sold for $10K/13K with a guarantee of actually getting to Mediavine got in. In such a case, he promised a full refund to his clients. But he decided to call it a day instead.

There was a very interesting thread here in the first half of May, with a lot of speculation when it comes to what has happened to him, but some members also came with interesting facts/ideas based on their research on Sartre and his websites, and his real identity. The thread grew like crazy (something I haven't seen for a long time here with any thread), and I posted there too. Sadly mods closed the thread after a few days...

BTW, I am also still eagerly anticipating your update :)

Ah I see, so it was like he just tried to make a quick buck before leaving. I always had the impression that his service was too good to be true even though the cost of purchasing an AI site from him would be out of reach for someone like myself.

I don't spend time on BHW much these days as most of the threads that I'm subscribed to haven't had much if any updates other than yours. I'm actually much more active on Jon Dykstra's Fat Stacks forum these days. I paid for an annual subscription a while back and that's now my first reference point when it comes to a community for this business we do.

Regarding the update I'm not sure I'll be posting one soon. I've set myself the goal of getting to the $1000 /mo mark by year end and that's when I want to be able to share my progress.

Although I'll give you a bit of detail into what's been going on with the $10k /mo case study site I have.

Last month was my highest earning month so far. I managed $694 across all revenue sources so I'm almost there.

Mediavine session RPM is also slowly picking up. Last month it was at $11 which is better than any EPMV I ever achieved with Ezoic (highest being $5.46 in June of last year).

I've also started going for more competitive keywords with higher search volume, be it informational or buyer guide related. However I think my website doesn't have enough authority to rank for these terms so I'm in the process of getting some investment for digital PR link building which will be outsourced to an agency, and HARO as well.
 
Ah I see, so it was like he just tried to make a quick buck before leaving. I always had the impression that his service was too good to be true even though the cost of purchasing an AI site from him would be out of reach for someone like myself.

I don't spend time on BHW much these days as most of the threads that I'm subscribed to haven't had much if any updates other than yours. I'm actually much more active on Jon Dykstra's Fat Stacks forum these days. I paid for an annual subscription a while back and that's now my first reference point when it comes to a community for this business we do.

Regarding the update I'm not sure I'll be posting one soon. I've set myself the goal of getting to the $1000 /mo mark by year end and that's when I want to be able to share my progress.

Although I'll give you a bit of detail into what's been going on with the $10k /mo case study site I have.

Last month was my highest earning month so far. I managed $694 across all revenue sources so I'm almost there.

Mediavine session RPM is also slowly picking up. Last month it was at $11 which is better than any EPMV I ever achieved with Ezoic (highest being $5.46 in June of last year).

I've also started going for more competitive keywords with higher search volume, be it informational or buyer guide related. However I think my website doesn't have enough authority to rank for these terms so I'm in the process of getting some investment for digital PR link building which will be outsourced to an agency, and HARO as well.
Thank you a lot, that's actually enough for me. Nice to see that you are getting closer to $1K/month mark, and that you have a clear strategy moving ahead. The RPM sucks overall lately, but no doubt it will improve over the year, as it always does towards the end of it.

I've heard of the forum you mentioned, but since I'm too busy with all sorts of things I'll stay just on BHW. At least you'll have one reason to come here once in a while :D.

Take care and see you around!
 
Mini update, June 2023:
adthrive_june_2023.png

* The picture is slightly different as I normally post. Since Raptive/Adthrive now uses GA4 in their dashboard, the complete data display with some delay, and in the "Earnings report" - the one I usually post a screenshot of here, I cannot see yet the 30th June. For that reason I post this screenshot instead. Anyway, I hope it is clear from the picture that in June 2023 we made $10,105 from ads displayed on the website (and as always some change from digital products).

- Once in a while (like once in month or two) I get this email from Ahrefs that shows the keywords for the website on different positions in SERPs. Needless to say, I do not trust these tools much, and do not use them. But, if what they sent me at least somehow mirrors the reality, maybe the expected summer drop in traffic/earnings won't be that bad:
ahrefs_mail.png
Of course, the situation in the world is difficult now, and whether we talk about RPM or traffic patterns in niche like mine, this year things are hard to predict... Statistically (based on data from previous years), July is the second worse month of the year for the website, and we see about 20% drop of earnings. But this year many things hasn't really followed the standard patterns, so let's see.


- What I will write now may surprise many of you, but this month, for the first time after a very long time, I was actually pondering the option of selling my authority website. Not necessarily selling it right now, but in the foreseeable future, like next year.
This consideration has nothing to do with the leak of information, or threats I received, or the surge of AI, or proclaimed end of blogging, or anything of that sort..

It's just that I've been in this niche for so long. If I count both offline and online, it is over 15 years now. When I first entered this niche as a small business (offline), I had no idea where it would take me, and how much it would change my life... It took me to some dark places too, true. But mainly it has brought to my life experiences, people, and resources I would have never dreamed of back in 2008, when like every young dreamer I simply wanted to run a successful business, with no realistic plans or financial goals on my mind whatsoever.

15 years on, I cannot say that I do not like the niche anymore. The thing is just that now I am personally invested in different kind of projects and endeavors, that have absolutely nothing to do with this niche. Sure, I can still go on and somehow squeeze the 4 new articles/month and keep it going. It isn't too much work. Maybe the quality isn't as it once was, when I was deep into this journey and many times writing "in the zone", often almost producing a work of art clothed in a form of an informational article. That level of passion for the project isn't there anymore. But the new articles are still pretty decent, and likely better than articles any other website in this niche produces nowadays.

But, on the other hand, there is also this option of selling the site, and simply close this long chapter of my life for good, with gratitude for all it gave me (and also accepting what it took from me, because everything in life is a trade-off) and focus 100% on the endeavors that are my 1st priority now.
I may also become a tax resident of a different country in a foreseeable future, and if I make this sale, I have to plan it carefully and perhaps not wait infinitely, to also sell it in a "setup" in which I won't pay 50% of the sale to broker, tax office, etc...

I haven't made the final decision about it yet, and I may eventually keep the website. But surely, things are very different as they were just few months ago, when someone asked me here whether I do not plan on selling the site. Then I answered (like I'd done 20 other times before that in this thread) that I do not plan to sell it whatsoever. Now, however, I am not so sure anymore :).

Just to make things clear, this doesn't mean that I'd quit internet marketing or building content-rich websites. I still consider "authority website" an amazing business model, better than anything else I know. But I may focus on another website(s), that are a much better match (or complement if you want) to the endeavors that I want to devote myself to in this period of my life.

Lately I've been experimenting a bit with affiliate programs (on my smaller sites), on a small scale. And I can see that you do not necessarily need a website with a traffic potential of 500K+ monthly visitors to make decent money, like $3K+/month. Sometimes maybe you can have just a few articles with higher ticket affiliate products where you funnel traffic from other posts on your website (those you actually rank for, because you don't rank for those with higher ticket items), and it can make for some interesting numbers at the end of the month... Sure, I didn't dive into this deeply (and just for the record I definitely do not have another website making me $3K/month :)), but I can see the potential is there.
Any case, in the meantime I will keep updating this thread, and 99% I'm not selling the website in 2023. So stay tuned for further updates :).

That's it for now, good luck to all of you guys, and as always any questions do not hesitate to ask!
 
@Kikerinka If you sell your money site, please create a new journey about one of the new projects :)
I may actually do it even earlier (or even if I eventually won't sell the authority website), for the purpose of having some structure like I had in my journey here (during the first year). Because I plan to do quite a big content push on one website, and it is not a type of content that's quick or easy to create (may easily take me 4+ hours for one article). The likely timing for this will be November/December this year, but it depends on how some other things evolve in my life until then...

How much is the revenue ebooks these days?
Around $1.5K. Very little considering the traffic... There were a couple of days when sales of 1 particular product really picked up, probably related to some "event" in my niche (which I haven't explored on further), so I hoped for better days ahead, but then it dropped again to almost zero.

The most concerning thing for me though is the drop of "general digital product" sales, which had only 3 sales in June... That's very little considering that in June 2022 we sold 35 copies of it, plus 9 copies of "lite version". June 2023 we sold only 3 copies + 2 copies of lite version... Speaking in terms of income, that's over $1,200 difference in income just with this one product.

During winter, I may actually try to rethink the strategy with these products, and perhaps even experiment with a totally different pricing model, or even try something like offering them for download for free, like first 40% of the eBook for free, so people see for themselves the content inside, and have to pay less (like 50% o original pricing) for the rest of the content.
In the past I would never try such a model, but with sales being as they are at the moment, I do not really have much to lose here :).

Also, I want to devote some time to really digging into the numbers and check the results for relevant keywords and what other people/sites are offering, trying to understand better the entire situation with digital product sales in my niche. I had a good idea of it some time ago, but of course things change quickly. Anyway, it isn't my focus at the moment, so this task has to wait too...
 
Around $1.5K. Very little considering the traffic... There were a couple of days when sales of 1 particular product really picked up, probably related to some "event" in my niche (which I haven't explored on further), so I hoped for better days ahead, but then it dropped again to almost zero.

The most concerning thing for me though is the drop of "general digital product" sales, which had only 3 sales in June... That's very little considering that in June 2022 we sold 35 copies of it, plus 9 copies of "lite version". June 2023 we sold only 3 copies + 2 copies of lite version... Speaking in terms of income, that's over $1,200 difference in income just with this one product.

During winter, I may actually try to rethink the strategy with these products, and perhaps even experiment with a totally different pricing model, or even try something like offering them for download for free, like first 40% of the eBook for free, so people see for themselves the content inside, and have to pay less (like 50% o original pricing) for the rest of the content.
In the past I would never try such a model, but with sales being as they are at the moment, I do not really have much to lose here :).

Also, I want to devote some time to really digging into the numbers and check the results for relevant keywords and what other people/sites are offering, trying to understand better the entire situation with digital product sales in my niche. I had a good idea of it some time ago, but of course things change quickly. Anyway, it isn't my focus at the moment, so this task has to wait too...

Interesting to hear that. At least you still have a trickle of income from your products.

I wanted to venture into creating my own eBooks to sell on my main website and wanted to take a few pointers from the strategy you've used in the past. I've come up with ideas for a number of different books but have settled on 4 which I want to write and have all published by the end of the year.

These books relate to products that people use in my niche so I think selling well written books on how to take care of these products should be a good money maker. I'm using blog posts that I've written to make up the bulk of the eBook content, adding in a few complementary chapters here and there to make it more complete.

I think you should look into setting up proper sales funnels for each book you sell. You could probably draw in more sales by creating a lead magnet for your book and then upselling the eBook once the person is deeper down the sales journey.

Personally, I intend to sell each eBook as a tripwire for a heavily discounted price of $7. The books would normally cost $39 a copy. Then I can upsell a bundle of the the remaining three eBooks combined for a total of around $89 because the products in my niche kind of go hand in hand with each other. Maybe you should look into that as a strategy to boost sales. It could work well in combination with an email list that you market the upsell to in case the person doesn't buy after downloading the lead magnet.
 
Hello Kikerinka

It's been a while since I've been on the subject. 2023 remains a complicated year, I think. The decision to sell is never an easy one, because it means parting with something that brings us pleasure, and stress too, much more than we can imagine.

Selling is not the end of one adventure, but the beginning of another!

I'm having a lot of trouble monetizing my site properly, so I'm going to work on it this summer or simply sell it.

Bear in mind, too, that income from the sale of this site could give another dimension to your life projects.
Given the figures you're currently getting, the site must be worth between $300 and $500,000 right now?

What would you do if you had that kind of money in your account?

Weigh up the pros and cons, and you'll soon have the answer to whether you really want to sell, or whether you're just tired of the business.
 
Interesting to hear that. At least you still have a trickle of income from your products.

I wanted to venture into creating my own eBooks to sell on my main website and wanted to take a few pointers from the strategy you've used in the past. I've come up with ideas for a number of different books but have settled on 4 which I want to write and have all published by the end of the year.

These books relate to products that people use in my niche so I think selling well written books on how to take care of these products should be a good money maker. I'm using blog posts that I've written to make up the bulk of the eBook content, adding in a few complementary chapters here and there to make it more complete.

I think you should look into setting up proper sales funnels for each book you sell. You could probably draw in more sales by creating a lead magnet for your book and then upselling the eBook once the person is deeper down the sales journey.

Personally, I intend to sell each eBook as a tripwire for a heavily discounted price of $7. The books would normally cost $39 a copy. Then I can upsell a bundle of the the remaining three eBooks combined for a total of around $89 because the products in my niche kind of go hand in hand with each other. Maybe you should look into that as a strategy to boost sales. It could work well in combination with an email list that you market the upsell to in case the person doesn't buy after downloading the lead magnet.
You have an amazing idea, and everything well planned. If things are as you say--that products in your niche go hand in hand, one with the rest, then I think your system can work, especially because you already have the traffic.
However, as it is always the case, you need to test it out to really see :).

I kind of feel that with eBooks or digital products so many things come into play:
  • Your position in the SERPs, whether people read your content first or saw something else before, which can impact their buying decision.
  • General availability of the information you try to sell online (be it in the form of blogs, videos, or other forms of content freely accessible to the people).
  • How necessary really the product is for the user. In the past when everything looked bright and people were blinded by low interest rates and cheap credit cards, they bought whatever they liked. Now I feel they buy more only what they really need. They also shop around more, check options, etc.
  • The trust of your brand, and the easiness of the shopping process (I kind of feel that PayPal as my payment option also turns me down a bit, considering that people nowadays are used to different forms of paying for products)...
Any case, in my niche products do not go one with another. In 99% of cases, the person buys just one specific product, fitting for their situation. For that reason, I cannot apply your strategy. But I will definitely try something during winter months, to try to revive the sales a bit. Of course, it is also very important that I can track everything properly, which I am not so sure about with GA4 :-/. In Universal Analytics I could track everything with a relatively simple setup... Anyway, looking forward to hear more about your eBooks and how the sales are doing :)

Hello Kikerinka

It's been a while since I've been on the subject. 2023 remains a complicated year, I think. The decision to sell is never an easy one, because it means parting with something that brings us pleasure, and stress too, much more than we can imagine.

Selling is not the end of one adventure, but the beginning of another!

I'm having a lot of trouble monetizing my site properly, so I'm going to work on it this summer or simply sell it.

Bear in mind, too, that income from the sale of this site could give another dimension to your life projects.
Given the figures you're currently getting, the site must be worth between $300 and $500,000 right now?

What would you do if you had that kind of money in your account?

Weigh up the pros and cons, and you'll soon have the answer to whether you really want to sell, or whether you're just tired of the business.

Hey Bruce, nice to see that you are still alive :D. I am still waiting for your journey thread too :).
I share your sentiments. At the same time, my personal philosophy is not being attached to anything in life, be it a person, a property, a dream, or a project.

Now that doesn't mean that you cannot love a person, or even a project you work on. In true love there is no room for attachment, but that is something 95% of people would never understand....
Not being attached simply means that you do not build your identity on it, your ego. Also it means having a deep understanding that nothing in your life is permanent, and absolutely everything has its beginning and its end... And that all ownership is illusory in a true sense...

Of course, it is easy philosophizing about such things, and hard living the philosophy in your everyday life and relationships :). Nevertheless I try, and if I one day part ways with this website of mine, I'll be fine.

Now to your other question, the $500,000 question. Definitely I have some ideas. I would likely also try to acquire a new website from a portion of that money (let's say something in the range of $100K - $200K), a website in the niche that fits better with my current endeavors, and can be somehow connected with them, complement them. From the rest I'd put a part into financing my offline projects and a part into some investments.

Take care my friend and stay tuned to see whether I eventually will see the site :)
 
Music to my ears.
Yeah, you've been an expert when it comes to this model. Little traffic and high earnings ;)

Damn, that's a lot. How many words do you reckon?
It isn't that much about number of words to be honest.

First of all, the articles will have many different elements on them (think pictures, videos, some charts, and some other elements I do not want to elaborate on in order to not give away too much information about the niche). Just to choose them or prepare them takes time. Of course, I should get better in the process as time passes and I publish more, but it will still take time.

Secondly, I'll have to do a research for these too... Not that I do not have a knowledge of the subject, but I will try to be precise, and in order to do that I'll have to search/verify some information.

I think in an optimal case, the final article may have about 2-2.5K words of content. But it will still take me over 4 hours to do it, due to the reasons I specified :).
If I eventually start the journey, I think I will do something like 30 articles/month challenge. Maybe, just maybe, extend it to 2 months, depending how it goes. But this won't be earlier than mid November for sure...
 
and digital products sold slightly better
Hello. What products type you sell? What payment gateway you use or you promote affilate offers?

For digital products very hard to connect payment gateway for now
 
Hello. What products type you sell? What payment gateway you use or you promote affilate offers?

For digital products very hard to connect payment gateway for now
Dunno if you've gone through the whole journey, but it is surely worth the hassle. Kikerinka gave all the information about the products sold on the website throughout the journey. I don't think they will be able to give you more information aside from what was already given without giving away important details about the niche and whatnot.
 
Hello. What products type you sell? What payment gateway you use or you promote affilate offers?

For digital products very hard to connect payment gateway for now
Hello mate, to promote affiliate offers you do not need any payment gateway. The vendor takes care of the order process. You only send them traffic, and collect money for the referrals :).

For digital products, I sell mostly eBooks. Use PayPal, which really sucks these days but I've been with them for many years and never had a problem with an account like the kind some people face (their funds locked etc). Of course, this depends a lot on the country of your origin, and what you actually want to sell. I believe though that if you sell something 100% legit--be it digital or physical product, you will always find a payment processor to use...
Dunno if you've gone through the whole journey, but it is surely worth the hassle. Kikerinka gave all the information about the products sold on the website throughout the journey. I don't think they will be able to give you more information aside from what was already given without giving away important details about the niche and whatnot.
Thanks mate, nice to see you around again :)

intrested
Interested in what? :D . Perhaps in increasing your post count!

Small update from my latest experiments with higher ticket affiliate products:
amz_experiments_12th_july.png
- This is unrelated to my authority website, but it is something I experiment with on some of my other projects (which one day, should I sell my authority website, I hope will give me at least some passive income each month).

Actually I do not rank for any keyword for a product of this price range. It is more about playing with traffic that you get for some low competition keywords, funneling it eventually to posts where you promote some higher-ticket offers.

Of course, you cannot expect huge amount of clicks or conversions in such a scenario, but if the products have high value, and there is at least some relevance, even a click here or there and a conversion here or there can make for some nice change...

Take care all, and have a nice weekend!
 
Mini update, July 2023:
raptive_july_2023.png


- To my surprise, in July we haven't seen a typical summer income drop. For comparison, in July 2021 the earnings dropped by 18% (compared to June 2021). In July 2022 they dropped by 20% when compared to June 2022.

This year, we actually made slightly more, both from ads (as you can see on the picture) and from digital product sales. The traffic also didn't drop, it was almost identical to June. Maybe you remember that chart I posted from Ahrefs email in my last monthly update?

Well, actually it made some sense, because I got a ranking boost for articles in a certain category. These articles do not belong to the highest traffic pages on my website. However, with the cumulative effect of some extra traffic to hundred+ of them, it kind of made up for the traffic loss due to seasonality that we've seen on many other articles on the website (even this year). A few example of the growth:
article1_rank_boost.png
article2_rank_boost.png

article3_rank_boost.png

The thing is that while these articles do not belong to highest traffic articles on my website (many of those that got a boost have just 100-600PV/month), they belong to the highest RPM articles on the site.

For example, the one from the 2nd picture above is the 4th on the list of highest RPM articles (filtered by a minimum of 500 PV/month):

RPM_by_page.png
It is really an RPM monster, because with relatively low engagement time of 1 minutes 25 seconds, it is still all the way up there. Just for a simple Math, this one grew from about 1,200 monthly page views in June to 2,400 in July. With the crazy RPM it has, this article alone made us $70 extra in July from ads, when compared to its June earnings.

Now imagine that I got such a boost for over 100 articles. Sure, most of them had much less page views, but even if each one brought in extra $10 in average in ad income due to the growth in traffic, with 100 such articles you easily have $1K extra in ad earnings. With 200 such articles you have $2K extra in ad earnings. That's where the magic happens with big websites :). And it sort of explains while I didn't earn $8K from ads as expected, but over $10K again..

- Speaking about work, I was again 99% focused on different projects (online and offline). I haven't really done anything on the website this month, except of scheduling a few articles to get posted in August, with my present schedule of 1 article/week. However, I am kind of low on keywords, and in August will likely spend some time playing around in Search Console, trying to find at least 12 new ideas for articles, to be covered with topics until November. BTW, my method of KW research based on data from GSC still works, and virtually all new articles I post start getting decent traffic (at least in hundreds of page views monthly) within 1-2 months of publishing.


- Now let's talk a bit about the situation with Ezoic. I know many of you guys have your websites with them, and I have some websites on their network too. Just for the record, my current ad income from Ezoic is roughly two hundred dollars monthly. So it isn't that important to me. However, I've read/seen on YT a lot of speculation, and certain things others say that do not really make sense in my opinion. Hence my thoughts:

Many people say there will be an alternative to Ezoic, if it gets bankrupt (which quite frankly isn't unlikely). To be honest, I do not think so. What Ezoic tried to do over the years wasn't something unique, though it may seem so to the outsiders.

Their concept basically consisted in trying to offer smaller sites (including very small sites) comparative RPMs to sites that sit on big networks like Mediavine/Raptive. This was done mostly with programmatic bidding and ad placement based on big data analytics. And of course also on placing MANY ads on each page.

Of course, with so many websites on your platform, you cannot offer the same service to the content creators as those big networks can, meaning that they install the ads on your website and take care of everything, so you just focus on building your traffic. Hence they went for the other route instead, creating a relatively complex platform with many options (that gave many publishers a headache, which is demonstrated by many threads here on BHW too), and let the publishers/content creators to setup the ads on their websites on their own.

Of course this sounds great in a mind of a programmer/geek, but for 90% of publishers it isn't a solution they are looking for. They want to push a button or install a plugin and see the ads on their website, instead of spending hours settings things up and then still encountering many problems, like their website not working or showing errors. And I am not even speaking about sites on which one ad covers another, or there are so many ads that you basically do no see the content, as I've witnessed on countless sites running Ezoic.

With such a visitor experience you can only dream of getting some premium deals with advertisers, from any niche, or even some long term relationships...

In my opinion, the concept was doomed to fail from the beginning. But of course, they tried to keep the ball rolling as long as possible, as any other IT startup/company would.

But was this really something unique?
I do not think so. Since the start of this journey, I got emails from at least 15 different ad management companies that tried to do something similar like Ezoic. Some niche specific some not, some based in Europe, some in Asia, and of course some in US. For sure I posted a few names here over the years...

If I go back now and check their websites, most of them do not exist anymore. That's the thing, because at the end there must be positive ROI for everyone involved, and if you take onboard basically any websites of any quality (like Ezoic did and still does), the advertisers won't see the ROI, which will mean the RPM will drop or they will leave the platform. There is a reason why Mediavine or Adthrive/Raptive have such strict entry criteria, and why you can earn great RPMs on them. Because there is a lot of control in place, and advertisers know it. When you have a platform with over 100K websites like Ezoic had, there cannot really be any control in place... But of course you need such a quantity if you want to generate certain volume, to pay for the staff and technology and everything. And that's where the problem arises, and that's why virtually all these companies cease to exist sooner or later.

If Ezoic bankrupts, do not dream of some new Ezoic. It will really be a time to return to Adsense, and try even harder to make your website a brand and worth those premium partnerships and high RPMs. Or you can focus on other monetization methods ;).


- So that's about it for this update. July wasn't an easy month for me, on a personal level. However, I really like looking at these numbers once in a month, and doing the update here. It helps me see things from perspective... I know many people struggle in the world. With wars, famine, drought, or simply with money. You name it.

Yet I am still here after more than 3 years of this journey, perfectly healthy and making over $10K/month almost passively, from an informational website I can be proud of, website that helps people in my niche.

Maybe things do not always go my way in life, but deep down I know I am not someone with a right to complain about anything. Sometimes it is easy to forget it in a heat of a difficult moment or a difficult day, but deep down it is important to always preserve this conviction, and the gratitude for everything in life... These monthly updates definitely helps with that. Maybe that's the real reason why I still keep posting them?, though I also hope some people still enjoy reading them, and find them inspirational :).

Take care guys, good luck with your projects, and enjoy the summer! As always, any questions, do not hesitate to ask.
 
Mini update, July 2023:
View attachment 274083


- To my surprise, in July we haven't seen a typical summer income drop. For comparison, in July 2021 the earnings dropped by 18% (compared to June 2021). In July 2022 they dropped by 20% when compared to June 2022.

This year, we actually made slightly more, both from ads (as you can see on the picture) and from digital product sales. The traffic also didn't drop, it was almost identical to June. Maybe you remember that chart I posted from Ahrefs email in my last monthly update?

Well, actually it made some sense, because I got a ranking boost for articles in a certain category. These articles do not belong to the highest traffic pages on my website. However, with the cumulative effect of some extra traffic to hundred+ of them, it kind of made up for the traffic loss due to seasonality that we've seen on many other articles on the website (even this year). A few example of the growth:
View attachment 274084
View attachment 274091

View attachment 274092

The thing is that while these articles do not belong to highest traffic articles on my website (many of those that got a boost have just 100-600PV/month), they belong to the highest RPM articles on the site.

For example, the one from the 2nd picture above is the 4th on the list of highest RPM articles (filtered by a minimum of 500 PV/month):

View attachment 274093
It is really an RPM monster, because with relatively low engagement time of 1 minutes 25 seconds, it is still all the way up there. Just for a simple Math, this one grew from about 1,200 monthly page views in June to 2,400 in July. With the crazy RPM it has, this article alone made us $70 extra in July from ads, when compared to its June earnings.

Now imagine that I got such a boost for over 100 articles. Sure, most of them had much less page views, but even if each one brought in extra $10 in average in ad income due to the growth in traffic, with 100 such articles you easily have $1K extra in ad earnings. With 200 such articles you have $2K extra in ad earnings. That's where the magic happens with big websites :). And it sort of explains while I didn't earn $8K from ads as expected, but over $10K again..

- Speaking about work, I was again 99% focused on different projects (online and offline). I haven't really done anything on the website this month, except of scheduling a few articles to get posted in August, with my present schedule of 1 article/week. However, I am kind of low on keywords, and in August will likely spend some time playing around in Search Console, trying to find at least 12 new ideas for articles, to be covered with topics until November. BTW, my method of KW research based on data from GSC still works, and virtually all new articles I post start getting decent traffic (at least in hundreds of page views monthly) within 1-2 months of publishing.


- Now let's talk a bit about the situation with Ezoic. I know many of you guys have your websites with them, and I have some websites on their network too. Just for the record, my current ad income from Ezoic is roughly two hundred dollars monthly. So it isn't that important to me. However, I've read/seen on YT a lot of speculation, and certain things others say that do not really make sense in my opinion. Hence my thoughts:

Many people say there will be an alternative to Ezoic, if it gets bankrupt (which quite frankly isn't unlikely). To be honest, I do not think so. What Ezoic tried to do over the years wasn't something unique, though it may seem so to the outsiders.

Their concept basically consisted in trying to offer smaller sites (including very small sites) comparative RPMs to sites that sit on big networks like Mediavine/Raptive. This was done mostly with programmatic bidding and ad placement based on big data analytics. And of course also on placing MANY ads on each page.

Of course, with so many websites on your platform, you cannot offer the same service to the content creators as those big networks can, meaning that they install the ads on your website and take care of everything, so you just focus on building your traffic. Hence they went for the other route instead, creating a relatively complex platform with many options (that gave many publishers a headache, which is demonstrated by many threads here on BHW too), and let the publishers/content creators to setup the ads on their websites on their own.

Of course this sounds great in a mind of a programmer/geek, but for 90% of publishers it isn't a solution they are looking for. They want to push a button or install a plugin and see the ads on their website, instead of spending hours settings things up and then still encountering many problems, like their website not working or showing errors. And I am not even speaking about sites on which one ad covers another, or there are so many ads that you basically do no see the content, as I've witnessed on countless sites running Ezoic.

With such a visitor experience you can only dream of getting some premium deals with advertisers, from any niche, or even some long term relationships...

In my opinion, the concept was doomed to fail from the beginning. But of course, they tried to keep the ball rolling as long as possible, as any other IT startup/company would.

But was this really something unique?
I do not think so. Since the start of this journey, I got emails from at least 15 different ad management companies that tried to do something similar like Ezoic. Some niche specific some not, some based in Europe, some in Asia, and of course some in US. For sure I posted a few names here over the years...

If I go back now and check their websites, most of them do not exist anymore. That's the thing, because at the end there must be positive ROI for everyone involved, and if you take onboard basically any websites of any quality (like Ezoic did and still does), the advertisers won't see the ROI, which will mean the RPM will drop or they will leave the platform. There is a reason why Mediavine or Adthrive/Raptive have such strict entry criteria, and why you can earn great RPMs on them. Because there is a lot of control in place, and advertisers know it. When you have a platform with over 100K websites like Ezoic had, there cannot really be any control in place... But of course you need such a quantity if you want to generate certain volume, to pay for the staff and technology and everything. And that's where the problem arises, and that's why virtually all these companies cease to exist sooner or later.

If Ezoic bankrupts, do not dream of some new Ezoic. It will really be a time to return to Adsense, and try even harder to make your website a brand and worth those premium partnerships and high RPMs. Or you can focus on other monetization methods ;).


- So that's about it for this update. July wasn't an easy month for me, on a personal level. However, I really like looking at these numbers once in a month, and doing the update here. It helps me see things from perspective... I know many people struggle in the world. With wars, famine, drought, or simply with money. You name it.

Yet I am still here after more than 3 years of this journey, perfectly healthy and making over $10K/month almost passively, from an informational website I can be proud of, website that helps people in my niche.

Maybe things do not always go my way in life, but deep down I know I am not someone with a right to complain about anything. Sometimes it is easy to forget it in a heat of a difficult moment or a difficult day, but deep down it is important to always preserve this conviction, and the gratitude for everything in life... These monthly updates definitely helps with that. Maybe that's the real reason why I still keep posting them?, though I also hope some people still enjoy reading them, and find them inspirational :).

Take care guys, good luck with your projects, and enjoy the summer! As always, any questions, do not hesitate to ask.
You are making good progress, keep it up.
 
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