September has finished and that means…another income report.
I’m changing the format around to speed these up. It’s been taking hours to compile these income reports each month and, frankly, more time than I really want to spend. As such, I’m not going to ramble on about each category in detail. I’ll simply post the sections with a picture, then summarize briefly at the end.
Note, I’ve been trying out Disqus’ new advertisement platform. They’ve taken a page from “Outbrain’ and Taboola where they show related ads above the disqus comment section. I figured what the hell, let’s try the ads out on my sites with disqus. So far, I’m not impressed.
Perhaps part of the problem is that only a fraction of the viewers end up scrolling to the very bottom to the comments. But based on what I’ve seen, for this to be worth it, you need major impressions. I’m talking about like 50,000, 100,000 visitors a day to make it worth it. Entertainment sites, news sites, and large high traffic blogs might benefit, but small to medium sized niche sites — no way. And if you get that many impressions, you are better off using Taboola than Disqus — or Amazon CMP ads.
I’ll be removing these ads from my sites. The money is not worth it, given how spammy they look.
Proof of Disqus Earnings
September Disqus Earnings: $33.65
September Direct Advertising Earnings
Proof of Direct Earnings (via paypal)
Last month’s take was 0 because I did not sell any ad spots. This month, I did not sell any new ad spots, but simply received a regular payment from one client who pays in advance for 2 months, every second month. The other amount (two 100 dollar payments) is from a client who’s finishing off paying for a $400 service he bought 4 months ago. I’ve usually been selling new ads for $1000 – $1500 or so a month (not counting the regular 1100 I get every 2 months), so it’s a very slow time for my advertising right now. I’m not sure if it’s seasonal or the market has changed. In part it’s because I’ve stopped offering my service for $400 and have likely lost at least $400 to $800 a month because of this. But it’s not worth my time. Things may pick up over the next few months though.
August Direct Advertising Earnings: $1300
September Adsense Earnings
Proof of Adsense earnings:
August Adsense Earnings: 516 CAD = $393 USD
September Media.net Earnings
Proof of Media.net Earnings
Overall, I earned about $100 less this month than last month. This is due to a couple reasons. 30 days this month instead of last month’s 31 days. Also, the penguin update that happened the third week of September did shake up ONE of my sites a bit — at least for 5 days. This resulted in about 50% of the traffic for about 5 days, which did cut my Media.net earnings by at least $10-15 a day for that period. So, technically I could have earned MORE this month via media.net if not for those two things.
Again, my best month so far with Amazon. Every month has been better than the last so far.
This month I finally broke the $8k per month barrier with my Amazon! Last month was $7800, and the month before was in the high $6000’s, so Amazon has been my biggest success so far and is my biggest earner right now.
I’ve also been working Amazon the hardest, tying to optimize earnings and I’ve had 3 sites really come to life over the past 3 months that I never had before. These ‘new’ sites have quintupled my Amazon income this year. I’ve also taken a direct hand in producing content for one of my key sites. Because of the actual content is something I know a lot about, there is simply no way a freelance writer can do a better job. As such, I’ve produced quite a lot of content this month targeting products to increase Amazon earnings.
My goal is to produce a lot of targeted content in preparation for the Christmas month. I’ve found that my Amazon has typically DOUBLED during December because of all the Christmas buying. This has always been the case every year for the past five years. I’m hoping that my Amazon earnings will double during December. As such, I want to get as much quality content out (targeting Amazon products) as possible over October and early November. This will, I hope, really show an increase in earnings come December!
I’m hoping to bring in $15,000 or $20,000 just from Amazon affiliate sales during December!
Here’s the summary of the total earnings for July 2016, compared to last month (green means earned more, red means earned less)
Affiliate Offers income: $273 (vs $241in August)
Disqus Earnings: $33
Direct Advertising income: $1300 (vs $0in August)
Adsense Earnings:$393 (vs $494 in July)
Media.Net Ad Income: $6326(vs $6436in August)
Amazon Affiliate Income: $8,254 (vs $7,872 in August)
Total Online Earnings for September
(vs $15,043 in August)
(vs 14,298.79 in July)
(vs $12,226 in June)
(vs $14,498 in May)
(vs. 9,438.7 in April)
The Final Word
Well, it’s my best month so far and the first time I’ve cracked the $16,000 barrier — nearly $17,000 in fact.
I think there might have been one month back in late 2010 or early 2011 when I made roughly this amount. But that was when I had my hundreds of hubpages, my hundreds of mini sites, two adsense accounts, amazon, and multiple very successful affiliate programs going on. It’s been so long that I can’t remember the exacts, but I might have been $16,000 or $17,000 for ONE month at that period, but it was not a regular thing. I think my Adsense checks totaled in around 8000 to 10,000 usually. Everything ‘extra’ was made by my amazon and a couple affiliate programs, which may have added up to another 2000 to 4,000.
The thing is, I probably could have earned MORE money this month. There was a penguin update (Penguin 4) the last week of September (after more than 2 years of no such update by Google). The impact, from what I read, has been pretty minimal. My sites were fine…except for one site — my new case study site. The main page that was ranking the key earning term lost first page ranking (in fact, it lost all ranking), though the rest of the site was fine and still ranked. However, this resulted in losing about 50 percent of the traffic.
I had done a few aggressive anchor text links from some of my related sites which may have tripped off the new penguin flag — or it could have been the update shuffle going on. However, I went back and edited the links from my other sites to remove keyword heavy anchor texts and reduced the number of links (note, I only had about 4-5 sites linking to it). 5 Days later, the search ranking returned. Penguin 4 is suppose to be the LAST penguin update where Google made the algorithm part of their core algorithm with the updates happening live and in real time, rather than a once every two year thing. Whatever the case, my ranking did return (perhaps it was just a shuffle).
However, this did result in 5 days of lost earning potential. I probably lost over $500 from that on Amazon and Media.net. I’ve also been doing some split testing the past 2 weeks on one of my authority sites, trying to increase amazon earnings by changing the format of the posts, call to action buttons, etc. However, some technical issues caused problems where the split tested pages were taking 40 seconds to load. This dropped earnings on those pages. Again, this probably costed me a couple hundred dollars.
Anyways, the point being that I lost more money by doing this. However, it’s important to split test to maximize your conversions. I’ll be doing some posts in the future on how to split test media.net/adsense and how to split test amazon.
Looking Back at Six Months
But I can confidently say that this is probably my highest earning month in my entire history of earning online. And so far, it’s been a very consistent thing.
Now since I started posting these income reports back in April, it’s been six months of reporting. In April, I earned $9,438. Six months later, I’ve earned $16,579. I’ve increased my earnings by 56.9% in just six months. In one year, I’ve increased my earnings by 100% at least (I’d have to calculate it, but I was making around $6000-$7000).
That’s a pretty good increase and I hope, through my detailed case studies, provides some encouragement for my readers who can see what is possible online. In the grand scheme of things, I’m certainly not Patt Flyn or some of these others who are making 100,000+ a month. But I’m not a global brand name either and I’m a one man, small scale operation. I don’t even have a ‘product’ I’m selling, which is how some people who report huge income totals per month, reach that figure.
Which brings me to my major new focus over the next six months….
Creating a Real Physical Brand Through a Line of Products
Besides the online stuff, I’ve been working with my brother to launch our own brand of products. I feel this is the best way to see a dramatic increase in earning potential. It’s quite possible to make 10, 20, 30,50, or $100,000 a month with a successful line of products.
Setting up a product line has taken months (we’ve been wanting to do this for over a year in fact), but we are on the cusp of launching things. When you count the two full years we’ve spent building up a popular authority site in the niche, it’s taken years in fact.
The idea is to use our SEO/website knowledge to help give us a competitive advantages with our own brand. We have an authority site which we can use to promote our new products (products are currently in production) and we have plans to create a number of satellite sites: an affiliate review site, and 4 or 5 sites that we aim to make into drop shipping sites selling the category of products — including our own, but also other products in the niche.
The end results is this:
We use our authority site to help push our new brand of products (youtube, our facebook page, our newsletter, and directly on our posts)
We will create a product ‘review’ site which reviews products in the niche but will also push our own products in addition to 3rd party products (to capture search traffic)
We will create 4-5 drop shop sites that sell the top products in the niche
We will have our own dedicated websites + shopify store for our brand. This too will have content and will be affiliated with our main authority site. But we want a separate website entity for the brand and store
The biggest challenge we’ve found is to source production of the actual product/s. We are NOT interested in producing generic white-labelled shitty products from a random Chinese factory as is the case for 99 percent of the crap you find on Amazon right now.
We want to build a real, legit brand. Not some half-baked private label crap. Amazon, frankly, has become so flooded with FBA shit that I think you need a real product that differentiates you from the masses. And this is by building up an actual brand — not white labeling Chinese products. I’m not saying there’s no money there — but it’s becoming harder and harder to compete in that space now. Building a real brand is the way to go.
We’ve decided to look locally and line up factories ourselves, in our location. However, it’s been quite a challenge dealing with the locals, trying to actually FIND factories that can produce our specific goods (it’s not easy with this product),and trying to make the deals happen. Frankly, the local factories have been a) hard to find — there is no real ‘map’ or method of finding the factories. and b) many of them don’t actually want to product goods for us…or anyone.
It’s taken a good year about but things are finally there. At one point, my brother actually had to fly up into a city, directly go into a factory, meet the owner and the family, and still get a solid ‘no.’ He had to bag, cajol, plead…and even refuse to leave the factory until the company agreed to produce our product. So the biggest challenge is actually to get a supplier, at least for our type of product.
We now have a relationship with a number of factories, each producing different goods. The idea here is to launch not a single product, but an entire line that covers 2 different categories with probably 10 to 13 different products between each of those.
We still have to work out the distribution channel (i.e. how we are going to ship out the product…we will probably ship out locally ourselves and via an international FBA service) but next year we will start selling on Amazon via their FBA program once we test how our sales go.
For the sales channel, we have this already: our authority website which ranks #1 for all the product terms. We also have a newsletter, youtube, and other indirect ways of marketing our product for sales. And, as stated, we are creating some additional websites that we will use to sell our product and more.
It’s taking a lot of time (and thousands of dollars) to actually get the designs done. This includes hiring designers to create your ‘look’ and your design logos. Besides the cost, there is the time you spend checking over the designs, giving feedback, etc. We are still working on the final designs for the products.
All in all, this is a LONG term project, not a get rich quick scheme. But in six months, 1 year, or 2 years — it could be interesting to see what this becomes.
One thing we’ve found that once you start looking at this, then you need to start structuring your business properly. For example, if you see in the US via Amazon, especially if you are not American and don’t live there, you need to incorporate a US company for tax reasons. You also need to set up proper tax structures by creating an offshore company that owns your US Company, with the offshore company having it’s own bank account. But you need to choose a country where you don’t pay any corporate or person income taxes if those earnings are not earned in the country hosting the company.
Frankly, this stuff is complicated, but it’s something you need to do. I’ll talk more about how to set this stuff up properly in the future.
Anyways, that’s it for today. I’ll have a proper post announcing our new project this month and will make that into a separate case study.
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.