As promised, here is the next income report covering last month (May 2016). This is my SECOND public income report so far. You can read my first income report (for April 2016) here.
The Month of May
This was an interesting month. I monetized a new site via the Amazon affiliate program back around April 17th and it’s paid back in a big way.
My big social authority website, I started to monetize via Amazon affiliates about 9 months ago, and due to the huge authority it has in the niche (remember, this site was started back late 2013 and my and my brother launched a big social authority strategy Feb 2014), it ranks for any keyword roughly related to this fairly large niche. I started writing product reviews and product best lists about a year from now. This is paying off big now.
I’m also launching some new sites and will be doing some new case studies for some new money making opportunities I have not yet pursued. I’ll talk about this at the end of the article.
So it was a great month as you’ll see.
Keep in mind that almost all of this is PASSIVE INCOME. That means I get paid even if I’m not working. I’m also NOT directly spending any money to make this money. So, for example, I’m not spending $5000 a month in Facebook advertising or Google Adwords or something to get traffic and make money on that traffic.
All this traffic comes FREE from google search, Facebook, pinterest, direct, and other sources.
The one exception is the Selling Services I do for one of my sites (in which I do a service that takes hours in exchange for money). But this usually only brings in 400 to 800 a month, so it’s not a consistent thing.
‘The Direct Advertising is pretty much passive income. People email me about putting up ads, and I give them the price, then if they are interested, I put up their ads with links on my site.
Mostly the same here. Despite what I said last month about making an effort to improve this part of my earning, I never got around to working on adding offers to some of my key sites. I signed up with a few affiliate programs with CJ and another network.
The kicker is that many of these offers would likely do very well on one of my best earning sites. However, I have to a) find the right offers and b) go through dozens of pages and insert the links in key areas.
The truth is, I’ve been busy working on some new projects and monetizing a few new sites, so I did NOT do this. Hence this part of my income did not improve.
No change here. I have not added ANY new clickbank offers to my sites.
CJ: $0 (the report wasn’t loading, but so minimal we can count it as $0)
Lead Program: $164
Another Lead Program: $75
There’s been a small increase, due to one of the lead programs doing a bit better. But again, I did not put any affiliate offers onto my main site/s. I plan too, but we’ll see if I get around to it.
Total Affiliate Offers Revenue: 346.44
Direct Advertising Income
I sell ad space on a couple of my sites directly. The rates I sell each ad spot on the site/s range between $200 for the cheapest to $800 for the premium spot.
I count what I took in for the month directly, but because these ad spots are booked out, the clients pay the money to book a spot months from now. However, I just count whatever money is sent over by the clients this month as part of the month’s earnings to make life easier here.
Overall, revenue was pretty outstanding from selling ads (and my service) on two of my sites. Double, actually, of what I thought it would be this month.
This is a revenue I can continue to grow. One of the sites is maxed out already, but the other site has a lot of ad space I can continue to sell. I also am grooming 4 new related sites that I hope to sell ad space on in a year or two.
So, this revenue can likely grow, over time.
Direct Ads: I’ve been selling ads for two of my sites. I have also set up 4 new sites, but they are probably a year or so away from being prime time for ad selling (the traffic is not there yet as is the site design / layout / content). Keep in mind that all sales reported this month are often selling the ad spots for a few months from now, NOT for this month. I presell all spots.
Selling Services: Some of these payments are related to the same site, but for a service that I offer the clients. Unlike the ads, I actually have to do a bit of work for that payment — about 4 to 8 hours per $400. I sold about 2 of these ($800) during the month. However, I’ve just lumped it under the total earnings here (unlike last month).
I don’t like this because it takes a lot of my time to actually perform this service and I want to eliminate it completely.
The problem is, I keep on having people ask me to do it — I can usually sell one or two of these services a month, so I’ve been accepting the service. However, I have about 6 of these now to perform over the next 6 months.
Total Direct Ad Sales: $4,110
Amazon Affiliate Revenue
I’ve been focusing most of my efforts on improving my Amazon Affiliate revenue and my media.net revnue. But mostly, my Amazon revenue.
I have a couple new sites that seem to be doing well with Amazon and show good potential in the future. These are new additions to my amazon affiliate revenue and added a significant amount.
My site built on an expired domain is showing promise and making some money. Not huge, but in time the earnings will go up as traffic improves. It’s killing it with social traffic right now too. And, I have blands of launching my own physical product in the niche over the next few months to make more money.
I also have a brand new site that’s just about a year oldthat’s absolutely killing it on Amazon right now. I’ll be doing a case study of this new site next week.
Finally, my big authority site is smashing it on Amazon. Both me and my brother are busy creating content (when we have time) targeting Amazon. Our huge authority in the niche — both social, search, and reputation — pretty much means that we can rank on the first page for all terms related to that niche, and very high for terms that are in related but not the same niches. We’ve been targeting amazon for about 6 to 8 months now and the results are paying off — the site is earning $850 USD a month now. I expect in 6 months, we can bring it up to $2000 a month with amazon alone.
Due to the increase in Amazon sales from the three points above, my referral commission rate moved from 8.25% to 8.50%. Amazon moves your commission rate up depending on how many items sold via your links. I have been able to push my total amazon sales into the highest level (*more than 3100 amazon products sold per month), which gave me another .25 percent commission. This adds up to 200-400 more bucks a month!
Here’s the May 2016 earnings for Amazon
The revenue is broken down into advertising fees (i.e. commissions on products you refer), Amazon bounties (special amazon affiliate offers you get paid per referral for), and Amazon CPM ads.
If you compare the total Amazon revenue of May to the previous month of April, there is a big increase. I took in $5,219 for May just from Amazon affiliates.
Here was April’s earnings to compare May to:
So I earned $1574.27more in May than I did April.
I’m VERY happy with my Amazon earnings right now. In fact, last month (May 2016) was my highest Amazon earnings I’ve ever had. My only other $5000 or more month was back in the pre-pengin days back in May 2011 when I made $5,056:
The past 12 months, my highest month was in December 2015, which made me $3928:
However, this 3928 was from the Christmas month which is always the best Amazon revenue month; typically I always do TWICE as much in December as I do the other for any other regular month (a nice christmas earnings bonus).
But it’s KILLER that my Amazon affiliate earnings are now breaking $5000 a month now in the regular months. This could mean December 2016 could be a 10,000k plus Amazon month!
I expect my Amazon earnings to go up over the next 6 months as:
my new amazon affiliate site (not yet talked about here) starts to get more traffic
my expired domain site start to get more traffic and ranking, and my main big authority site starts to get more content targeting amazon
my big authority site gets more review articles targeting products
I test out some amazon optimization strategies with how I show the links
Total Amazon Affiliate Earnings for May 2016: $5,219.68
Media.net Earnings for May
For the month of May, I was really hoping to see a skyrocket of my Media.net earnings.
I added two new sites to Media.net — one in April and one half way through May.
The first site is making a killing with Amazon, but it’s also bringing a cool 5 to 12 bucks a day with Media.net.
The site I added Media.net to half way through may was a site that’s in the same niche as my best earning Media.net site, and a site that was getting about 1800-2000 visitors a day. I had grand expectations with this and I’ve been grooming it to be a potential Media.net superstar for about a year.
I initially tried to get it accepted into Media.net about a year ago and they rejected it due to some of the content they didn’t want to be associated with (about a taboo topic).
The thing was this site ranked for many of the same topics as my best media.net site since the topics were somewhat related. This site had a lot of authority in the searches and I exploited this by creating content about the same topics that may best media.net site ranked for.
However, since Media.net rejected it, I had to replatform the site to get it accepted into Media.net which included changing the content around from the origional topic (which brought in 70 percent of the traffic), adding about 50 new articles for the new niche topics, and a domain name change with a 301 redirect from the old domain name.
Alas, this has so far reset the traffic significantly for that site and the site has not yet panned out on earnings expectations. I maintain that in about 6 months or a year, I can make as much with this site as I do with my best earning site, but it may take some time and more content to get there.
Certainly, this site won’t provide the dramatic meida.net earnings boost I was hoping for, at least immediately. This also brings in a new case study that I will be covering shortly: A 301 Domain Name Redirect Case study. I’ve done domain name redirects for 3 sites over the past year, and in every situation, there has been some interesting observations that are worth talking about.
You’ll see the earnings were nearly the same as last month — about $15 more (April was $4,804.29).
So no increase here. I did NOT test any new optimization strategies out for Media.net. There are a few things I need to do to optimize media.net for a few sites that may bring up the earnings a bit.
My new site will be re-gaining some of it’s traffic this month. Hopefully by the end of June it will have about 1500-2000 impressions a day again. After the domain name redirect, it dropped from 2000 to 200. Because of this and due to some of the content topics it did rank for not converting well, the site did not add any revenue, something I hope to show.
But I feel this month (June) should see some improvements.
I’m also launching brand new experiement which may radically show huge media.net earnings if it works. More on that later.
Total Media.net Earnings for May: $4823.20
Total Online Earnings for April
Ok, here’s the summary of the total earnings
Affiliate Offers income: $346 (vs $214 in April)
Direct Advertising income: $4,110 (vs $775 in April – note that, this figure is just what I take in for upcoming months for the ad spots. I sold out a lot more this month then last month)
Amazon Affiliate Income: $5,219.68 (vs $3,645.41 in April)
Media.Net Ad Income: $4823 (vs $4,804.29 in April)
Total Online Earnings for May : $14,498 USD
(vs. 9,438.7 in April)
The Final Word
So it’s been a GREAT month so far. I took in $14,498 USD and made$5,060more dollars in May than I did the previous month of April, where I earned $9,438.
The takeaway here is that I earned over $10,000 USD of PASSIVE INCOME this month directly from Media.net and Amazon Affiliates with an additional $350 on top of that from affiliate programs.
My direct advertising revenue, on the other hand, is semi-passive income (I mean, I have to answer an email, take the money from the client, then click a few buttons to put up the ad and keep track of the ads that need to go up each month), and also brought in over $4000 this month for ads sold this month and for upcoming months, which is great and a nice income booster.
I want to note that these earnings are nothing to do with authorityincome.com or anything this site has made — the revenue shown on this report from money made OUTSIDE of the make money online / internet marketing niche.
(authorityincome.com is NOT a money making blog for me. Considering the amount of time I take away from real money making projects to write huge posts on this site, it’s actually LOSING me money becuause of this).
I haven’t covered my expenses yet, but they are significantly lower than what I earn. My only ‘real’ expense during the month that I ‘need’ to keep my business running is web hosting. I pay $300 a month on hosting services. However, I make a point of adding lots of content to my top sites to keep the active, and I need content for new websites / projects. As such, I spend money for outsourcing, anywhere from $500-$2000 a month. Again, should I not outsourc content, my earnings would remain the same (though this is not a good idea if you want to show your sites as being alive and active to Google).
Sometimes I spend money on a programmer and web design, but this has not been consistent over the months. This has ranged anywhere from 400 to 2000 a month in the past. I would probably say my CURRENT monthly expenses from my online stuff which includes hosting and outsourcing is about $1500 a month on average which includes random expenses such as buying wordpress plugins, other online services, hiring logo designers, and so on.
I could spend a lot more with outsourcing content; so potentially my monthly ‘costs’ could be $2000 or $3000 or $4000 for some months if I really ramp up my content for a brand new project, and $500-700 other months when I am not creating a new project / experiment.
Things Compared to Last Month
I had a better Amazon earning month. Media.net was the same. Affiliate Offers were about the same. So a significant improvement was from my direct advertising income. But, this income is for ads sold for upcoming months, and the revenue can vary. It could be that June would be $1000 or $500 or $1500 for that.
How Things Look This Upcoming Month (June)
Can I maintain this $14,000 level for June?
As $2000-$3000 of that came from direct ad sales, and this amount can vary depending on the month; I won’t be able to boost a month like in June or July unless my Amazon kicks in $2000-$3000 more than it does (a possibility) or my Media.net jumps up by 60-120 dollars more a day — a possibility IF my new site gets it’s traffic back since the 301 redirect I did on it.
I will also be putting on Adesense back on to some brand new sites that I only have media.net on. I have a new adsense account coming and there is a significant chance that I can double or triple earnings on those sites if I add Adsense.
Anyways, it was a good month for May.
Even better, with nearly $15,000 in revenue in a single month, I’ve now, at least this month, equaled what I used to make waay back in 2010 and 2011 when I was averaging about 12-13k a month.
But this time, I’m doing it WITHOUT Adsense and with a handful of high quality authority sites, rather than hundreds of shitty mini sites that were Made For Adsense.
I’m not having to hawk someone else’s affiliate program or some BS Make Money Online program I’m selling either to generate this money.
From the ashes, rises a better phoenix!
If I Can Do It, You Can Too
The point of these income reports, and this entire blog, is not to boast about how much money I’m making. No, it’s to show you that it still is possible to make money online — in some cases, a lot of money.
And you don’t necessarily need to create a physical product or hawk an affiliate program or even use Adsense. By focusing on a few core sites about topics that have some commercial intent in them (i.e. people will buy something and people are looking for information), you can make a full time income online — EVEN in 2016.
And you can start from scratch too (I did, a couple years ago). The key element is that it takes some time (at least a year, maybe two years) and a lot of fucking targeted work (i.e. doing the RIGHT stuff that will have results).
But it’s possible folks. It’s possible. I hope, through these reports, you see that!
Moving forward into June and July, I have some brand new projects that I am going to announce here. I’m pushing myself into a completely new direction: creating a brand of real products to sell.
I want to get into products and manufacturing in a big way — this is the best way to build a business for the long term and you can leverage your online presence / websites to build an actual business if you sell your own physical products.
This is exciting, but it’s time consuming. It’s also costly and requires thousands of dollars up front to commission a product, test it, then make a large order of the product. Then there is dealing with how you want to sell it: via your own ecommerce store, through Amazon via FBA, or a combination of both. But it’s also THE way to go, I feel, turning your online business into a physical one. You can make serious, serious money by selling your own products, and those sales, especially if your product is on Amazon, can take a life of it’s own that has nothing to do with your websites, your google traffic/ranking, and such.
So here are some upcoming projects / case studies:
Buying Facebook Traffic and Making Money via Ads on that traffic.
Creating a Physical Product Line for my Big Authority Site (i.e. a BRAND of products) and sell via our website / Amazon. Currently working on product creation with manufacturers.
Create an Amazon FBA product line for 1-2 of my sites. I’m working on the research and product development NOW.’
BenK has been around blogging in the SEO/Internet Marketing sphere since 2010 when he quit his job to pursue a self employed career of making a crazy online income with the dream of doing absolutely nothing to make good money.However, he soon found that dream was a lie; making an online living took a lot of hard work -- more work than he spent at his 9 to 5.In the 5 years he's been an Internet Marketer, he's:*made a full time income at nearly 20k a month, lost it, then work his way back up
*been banned from adsense twice, regained it, then banned again
*had hundreds of sites deindexed
*rebuilt everything from scratch in two years
*moved to Thailand where he now lives on a beach, living off of websites and blogging about internet marketing the RIGHT way.AuthorityIncome.com is his new blog where he shares his strategies, thoughts, and opinions on making a LONG TERM income through websites.