Income Report – 1st Quarter, 2022

This is my 9th income report and the 1st income report for 2022. If you missed my previous ones, just click here to check them out.

I publish these quarterly.

So this is for the 1st quarter of 2022; Jan-March. (sorry it’s late).

Let’s get into the details.

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GROSS REVENUE – $67,312 (was $88,284 for Q4)

Generally speaking, my income does go up from month to month, but so far 2022 has been problematic. Plus Q4 is always the best quarter of the year, so Q1 will always be lower than Q4.

I did move my music site (musicnerdshq.com) to AdThrive from Ezoic.

Ezoic claims to be comparable in terms of revenue, but frankly, my experience is that they underperform. Plus my sites on Ezoic run slower than my sites on AdThrive (same theme and host and plugins).

So eventually, I’ll move my other 2 to AdThrive also once they get to 25,000 monthly page views which is AdThrive’s minimum for additional sites after the 1st (which require 100,000 page views).

I have still not been doing new videos on my Hot Tub YouTube channel I started in April of 2020, and have decided not to go back to that.

I did, however, start a new YouTube channel (and website) based around the challenges of divorce which I went through in 2021.

That website is https://divorcedparentsclub.com/ and the YouTube channel is https://www.youtube.com/channel/DivorcedParentsClub

Now, let’s break that down by month, category of income, and then by the website (remember, I have 7 websites, and a YouTube channel all earning). And I have 11 websites total.

Jan 2022

Gross income was $22,843

Feb 2022

Gross income was $20,959

March 2022 

Gross income was $23,509

Overall I’m still happy with those numbers. But my goal is to be well over $40k/month by the end of 2022. And I’d still like to sell 1 or 2 of my sites as well.

I just need to get the sites earning that aren’t currently.

Blogging Income by Category for Q1 2022

Ads on my websites – $39,541 (was $57,962 for Q3)

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s a drop in ad revenue of 32%! But again, Q1 is always the lowest of the year and Q4 is always the highest. But last year’s drop was only 20%. Whether that’s related to AdThrive (I was on Mediavine then) or other factors is as of yet unknown. But so far, as I said, 2022 has been inconsistent and frustrating.

Here’s what I did in Q1 for each site in terms of RPM:

Again, RPM is the number of dollars for every 1,000 visitors to my sites. Anything over $20 is considered great, and Q1 is always considered the worst quarter of the year due as advertisers spend a lot in Q4 and get new (lower) budgets in Q1.

Middle Class Dad – $23.99 (was 38.58) – 38% decrease

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $25.30 (was $50.23) – Almost 50% decrease

The Grocery Store Guy – $27.59 (was $42.20) – 35% decrease

Hot Tub Owner HQ– $28.68 (was $56.19) – 49% decrease

Music Nerds HQ – $17.95 (was $56.19) – 44.74% increase (largely due to switching from Ezoic to AdThrive)

Now let’s look at RMP on the sites I added Ezoic ads to last November:

RV Parenting – $28.63 (was $35.66 ) – 20% decrease

Dojo Life HQ – $11.16 (was $14.77) – 24% decrease

Not surprisingly, the RV site is the highest as the advertisers know that anyone who owns an RV or is thinking of buying one is on the wealthier side. But I do need to find ways to get the RPMs up on the other sites.

Also worth noting that despite overall lower RMPs compared to AdThrive, the drop from Q4 to Q1 was a lot lower and more like the drop I used to see from Mediavine.

AdThrive Ads breakdown by website

Middle Class Dad – $5,205 (was $8,971) – 42% decrease

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $5,608 (was $9,777) – 43% decrease

The Grocery Store Guy – $18,594 (was $25,577) – 27% decrease

Hot Tub Owner HQ – $6,923 (was $12,383) – 44% decrease

Music Nerds HQ – $1,790 (was $407.88) – 339% increase (switched ads from Ezoic to AdThrive plus traffic grew)

Now let’s look at the rest of my channels

Hot Tub Owner YouTube – $1,094. (was 1,572) – down 30%, partially seasonal but probably a lot because I paused doing videos as of May 2021. But hot tubs are somewhat seasonal so this may bounce back in Q2.

RV Parenting – $1075 (was $668.15) – 61% increase (only had ads part of Q4)

Dojo Life HQ – $345 (was $179.16) – 93% increase (only had ads part of Q4)

Amazon Associates Affiliate Income – $4,869 (was $6,103)

Here’s the Amazon breakdown by website:

Middle Class Dad – $200 (was $460) – 56% down

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $316 (was $626) – 49% down

The Grocery Store Guy – $22 (this site is currently almost exclusively monetized with ads and Instacart affiliate – (was $8.64) – 157% up

Hot Tub Owner HQ – $2583 (was $2,933 ) – down 12%

Hot Tub Owner YouTube – $1510 (was $1,843) – down 18%

RV Parenting – $195 (previously $101) – up 93.6%

Dojo Life HQ – $4 bucks (previously $0) – Pretty much nothing, but I don’t link to Amazon much on most of the posts

Music Nerds HQ – Pretty much nothing, but I don’t link to Amazon much on most of the posts

Rattlesnake HQ – $.90 (a new site I started with my brother (a rattlesnake expert) that so far hasn’t done much)

Other Affiliate Income – $5,123 (was $4,786) – 7% up

As traffic on a site grows, it’s natural that the revenue grows also. And unfortunately, the reverse is true also.

I still publish 2 posts per day at least 5 days a week across all my sites. But the vast majority of those lately have been on my 2 newer sites which aren’t earning anything yet. And my RV and Dojo sites continue to underperform.

But theoretically, each post is worth somewhere between $20-30 per month to me just from ad revenue. And then when you combine affiliate revenue that jumps to between $30-60 per blog post per month.

So again, theoretically, if I publish 10 blog posts a week, I should be growing my income by about $1,000-$2,000 per month. But again, right now, my focus is on my 4 new sites which aren’t earning anything yet.

The biggest challenge I faced is BetterHelp which is an online therapy affiliate program.

I was doing an average of $1,125 a month with them, but that dropped 50% in September for no clear reason. I did move some of my links over to the Marriage Helper affiliate program upon seeing that drop. but so far they have not done anything and even the 1 sale I generated of $400 didn’t produce a commission (and so far they haven’t given me a reason).

I moved my links back to Better Help and saw no improvement and ended up switching almost all to either Mend the Marriage (on ClickBank) or Online-Therapy.

Mend the Marriage I used a long time ago and had good results with. Then ClickBank shut down my account for no apparent reason and that’s when I found BetterHelp.

Eventually, ClickBank restored my account which is what allowed me to start using some of their programs again.

A couple of the individual brands that have affiliate programs that I use:

  • GQueues – A desktop/app task organizer program that I literally couldn’t live without
  • Project24 – The only blogging course I’ve ever purchased, and one I highly recommend in this article
  • Acabado WordPress Theme – The WordPress theme you’re seeing now. I love it and use it on all my sites
  • Name Cheap Domain registration & Hosting – Very inexpensive way to get started blogging!
  • RankIQ – A new program I bought in December. I need to do a whole article on it, but I get into some good detail below.

Click on any of those affiliate links to check them out.

Of course, as with all affiliate links, the cost doesn’t increase to the purchaser. The product creator pays me a commission from their revenue when someone buys through my link.

So affiliate links are a great way to say thank you to whoever referred you.

Sponsored Posts – $17,517 (was $17,180) – 2% up

I recapped sponsored posts in my previous income reports, but I’ll restate them again, here.

What is a sponsored post?

A sponsored post is basically a guest post that you get paid to publish.

In 99% of cases, the article isn’t optimized for SEO and will never generate traffic. They are short, sometimes poorly written, with bad grammar, and only designed to get the product or site owner a backlink.

They junk up your site, so for that reason, I backdate them a year so they don’t show up on my homepage. Basically, it was my sole method for generating revenue when I didn’t know any better.

While the money is good, I wish I never started doing them, and I only do them on this site and not any of my others.

It’s also not very passive since I have to physically paste their article in, do some minor editing & formatting, add an image, publish it, and then send them payment info in Paypal.

I look forward to my overall income being high enough to where I can stop doing these. And again, I only do them on this site and not my other sites. My goal is to stop doing them when my other income hits $35,000/month.

I have raised my rates and negotiate less, so the number I publish has gone down. The income hasn’t dipped by a lot though, but I spend less time on it. I also farmed out a lot of the email back and forth to my virtual assistant.

Consulting – $900 (was $1,200)

I started doing a little bit of consulting from my grocery website during Q3 last year. After all, I worked for Whole Foods Market for almost 25 years, so it’s something I have a lot of experience in.

It’s not something I really push or advertise extensively. But I do have a Calendly form embedded on the site so it’s easy enough to find for someone that really wants to book a Zoom, Skype, or phone call with me to discuss their project.

I’ve recently added a form for internet marketing consulting too as it’s obviously working for me too.

While I do recommend (and use) the Project 24 blogging & Youtube course, I do feel like I have insights unique to my journey that can help others too.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR WEBSITE?

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Blogging Expenses by Category for Q1 2022 – $10,308 (was $7,698)

Tailwind for Pinterest scheduling – $104.88 (but paid annually at $419.52)

I only do Pinterest currently with this site and not my other 6. With a full-time job and a wife and 3 kids, I don’t have time for more Pinterest.

On my newer sites, I just focus on Organic Google traffic.

But this site was created when I didn’t know as much and a lot of my articles were done with either poor search analysis or poor competition analysis.

So being on Pinterest allows me to get a lot of traffic to this site I wouldn’t otherwise get.

And Tailwind is essential if you want to be on Pinterest! It’s a little slow, and occasionally buggy. And like Pinterest itself, not 100% accurate on the analytics.

But you can’t really do a serious business with Pinterest without it. I will say, however, that over the past 6 months, I’ve gotten more serious about organic Google traffic and for the past few months, Organic Google traffic has reached about 65% of the total which is must better than it was a year ago.

CLICK HERE to check out Tailwind with my affiliate link

Big Scoots Website Hosting – $1,000.85 (was $356.55)

Big Scoots is still fairly new for me. I switched right at the end of Q1. And you can pay an extra $10/month for additional sites beyond the 10 the plan allows for, so it’s jumped up a little from when I first switched to them.

I also pay $17 extra per site now for 5 of my sites for Cloudflare which improves speed. So I do that for my highest traffic sites.

I had a lot of issues with BS in Q4, but they have all been resolved and I put off switching.

I used Siteground for years on all my sites, and I still think they are decent, especially when you’re starting and don’t have much money to spend. You can get started with Siteground for under $5.00/month.

Want to get started with them? CLICK HERE to check out Siteground with my affiliate link

If you can, pay for 3 years up front as when they renew, the price goes up a lot, and if you only pay for 1 year, your price might double at the start of year 2 and you may not be making that much yet.

But if you have more than 1 site and decent traffic (over 50k monthly page views), I would highly recommend Big Scoots.

CLICK HERE to check out Big Scoots with my affiliate link

ConvertKit email service provider – $110.25 (billed annually at $441)

Honestly, email is pretty frustrating. It certainly doesn’t pay for itself. In a way, I wish I’d never started a list (one of a few things I did because Pat Flynn said to do it that hasn’t panned out for me).

ConvertKit is the best of the 4 companies I’ve used (MailChimp, Mailerlite, Constant Contact). But they are also the most expensive, by far.

If you want to build a personal brand or offer a membership site or a course, ConvertKit is a great way to build that list and create drip campaigns.

It can also work really well if you’re doing affiliate marketing and using Facebook ads to drive traffic to landing page opt-in pages (which you can create in ConvertKit) and then drip them emails once they opt-in pushing them to a product or service.

I do not do list building on my other 3 sites and am not sure I ever will due to the expense and time involved in setting everything up initially.

CLICK HERE to check out ConvertKit with my affiliate link

Hired Writers & editor – $8,899 (was $6,935)

These days I have 7 writers (most come and go but I have a few mainstays). I also use a company called Get It Done For Me Virtual Services for all my virtual assistant needs.

That includes editing the articles the writers submit, checking for plagiarism (it does happen occasionally) and grammar and adding all but the main featured image into every article, and getting it ready to publish.

They use VAs based in the Philippians, and while I could hire one or more of them directly on the website Onlinejobs.ph for probably half of what I currently pay (about $100/week), I like having someone who understands the needs of a blogger I can give feedback to directly and don’t really have to train in any serious way.

And if they switch who they have working on my site, it’s on them to train the new people and make sure the editing schedule gets adhered to.

I also have started buying blog posts in bulk from a company called We Write Blog Posts.

They write great articles at a decent price (about 6 cents a word) and I could easily just hit publish once they upload them to my site. I don’t do that as I like to tweak them a little, but that’s personal preference more than necessity.

Logo expense – $100.

I pay $100 to a guy named Max for almost all my logos (MCD and Grocery are the exceptions). He’s great, quick, and for me, it’s well worth it for a professional logo. I hired him to do 1 for my newest site Divorced Parents Club.

NameCheap Domain Hosting – $44.85 (but paid annually per site)

It occurred to me this month that I wasn’t listing this expense.

Many hosts offer free domain registration, but it’s generally safer to host the domain name elsewhere. That way if your host goes down, and you had backups of your site(s) it would be (relatively) easy to move them to a new host quickly.

I started using NameCheap at some point in 2021.

RankIQ – $49 (per month)

CLICK HERE to check out RankIQ before the price goes up to $99/month.

I only got this in December, but the normal price for 1 quarter will be $147. It remains to be seen if this program can do everything it promises, but it looks promising so far.

RankIQ offers supposedly proven longtail keyword phrases in a wide variety of niches and shows you supposed search volume (notoriously inaccurate for most tools).

But also tells you the suggested word count based on the competition, shows you what words appear the most in the top-ranking posts (and you can download that list), and then gives you post title suggestions.

It also tells you how fast you should be able to rank for that phrase.

Then you can paste your article into the program and it will give you a grade as well as what the suggested grade needs to be to beat the competition. It was created by renowned blogger and blogging podcaster Brandon Gaille who I have listened to for years.

You can even request niches if he doesn’t have yours already!

CLICK HERE to check out RankIQ before the price goes up to $99/month.

Bottom Line Net Profit Before Taxes – $57,003. (was $80,584)

That’s a monthly average net profit of $19,001. So that is down 29%.

And that’s an annualized net profit, again, before taxes get paid, of $228,000.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR WEBSITE?

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In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s my interview on Income School’s YouTube channel!

What’s the #1 way to get started on a blog, YouTube channel, or other forms of internet marketing?

Project 24 (click to watch their video with all the details) is the only internet marketing course I’ve ever purchased, and it will be the only one I ever purchase.

It’s from the people over at Income School, and while they have a ton of great videos on YouTube, it was joining Project 24 that really started moving the needle forward.

I joined in April 2019, and that month, my income was $2,308.56

Compare that to June 2020 (last month at the time of this writing), and my income was $10,463.80. While I can’t say all of that 353% increase was due to what I learned in Project 24, a lot of it certainly was.

CLICK HERE to check out Project 24 with my affiliate link.

What do you get in Project 24?

A TON of different video module courses, the hub of which is their 60 steps to building a website. But then they also have courses (multiple videos in each one) on YouTube, search analysis/keyword research, monetization, and so much more.

And they add new courses a few times throughout the year.

Plus you get their WordPress theme, Acabado, totally free for as many sites as you want to use it on. And then there is their own internal forum where people like you and me constantly chime in to ask or answer questions (along with the whole Income School team).

Did I mention they have a weekly podcast for members only?

CLICK HERE to check out Project 24 with my affiliate link.

Want more detail on how I do what I do?

Watch this video I made that walks you through my processes step-by-step. I put it out on my hot tub YouTube channel, but while I mention that at the beginning, it’s not related to hot tubs at all; just blogging.


Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

Income Report – 4th Quarter, 2021

Income Report q4 2021 lg

This is my 8th income report and the 4th income report for 2021. If you missed my previous ones, just click here to check them out.

I publish these quarterly.

So this is for the 4th quarter of 2021; Oct-Dec. But I also do a year-end wrap-up at the bottom.

Let’s get into the details.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR WEBSITE?

CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute Paid Consultation with Me!

GROSS REVENUE – $88,284 (was $78,844 for Q3)

Generally speaking, my income does go up from month to month, but I won’t lie. 2021 was an inconsistent year for both traffic and income. My 3 of my 4 main sites struggles in the 4th quarter for traffic, and my kitchen site (1 of those 4) has struggled all year.

But that site and my hot tub site saw a lot of my articles that had been ranking #1 move to #2, and that had an impact on traffic and monetization.

December was surprisingly low for income as that’s usually the best month of the year. Nov and Oct were both better. 

My 4 main sites have ads from AdThrive.

I moved from Mediavine to AdThrive at the end of September 2021. As I mentioned last time, they promised me a 20% increase to switch, but so far that dollar increase is only 7.8% and since that is using Q4 numbers which are always higher, the actual increase is probably half that. But it is higher which is why I’m staying.

But are my RPMs at least 20% higher? We’ll look at that below.

I also added Ezoic ads to 3 of my newer sites. They claim to be able to compete with Mediavine and AdThrive on ad revenue but so far that hasn’t happened yet and my site speed is worse on those sites (and everything else (hosting, theme, and plugins) is the same.

So I may move them to Mediavine or AdThrive once they get to a higher level of traffic.

I have still not been doing new videos on my Hot Tub YouTube channel I started in April of 2020. But I plan to resume those later this month.

Now, let’s break that down by month, category of income, and then by the website (remember, I have 7 websites, and a YouTube channel all earning).

Oct 2021

Gross income was $30,018

Nov 2021

Gross income was $30,538

Dec 2021

Gross income was $27,728

Overall I’m still happy with those numbers. But I do plan to get the income consistently above $35k/month by the end of Q1 and then well over $40k/month by the end of 2022.

Blogging Income by Category for Q4 2021

Ads on my websites – $57,962 (was $45,103 for Q3)

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s an increase in ad revenue of 28.5%! But I did put ads on 3 more sites beginning in November. But those are only earning about $500/month combined right now. So most of that increase was indeed AdThrive.

Here’s what I did in Q4 for each site in terms of RPM:

Again, RPM is the number of dollars for every 1,000 visitors to my sites. Anything over $20 is considered great, and Q4 is always considered the best quarter of the year due to the amount of shopping that takes place in Nov & Dec.

The increase is mostly comparing AdThrive (used in all of Q4 on the 1st 4 sites here) to Mediavine (used for all but 1 week of Q3 on those same 4 sites).

Middle Class Dad – $38.58 (was 29.99) – 28.6% increase

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $50.23 (was $32.63) – Almost 54% increase

The Grocery Store Guy – $42.20 (was $34.49) – 22% increase

Hot Tub Owner HQ– $56.19 (was $38.82) – 44.74% increase

So as you see, AdThrive did make good on their promise to increase RPMs by 20% or more.

But how much of that would have happened anyway in Q4 with Mediavine just because of holiday traffic? We’ll have to wait and see Jan, Feb, and March to know for sure.

Now let’s look at RMP on my sites I added Ezoic ads to in November:

RV Parenting – $35.66

Dojo Life HQ – $14.77

Music Nerds HQ – $11.38

Not surprisingly, the RV site is the highest as the advertisers know that anyone who owns an RV or is thinking of buying one is on the wealthier side. But I do need to find ways to get the RPMs up on the other sites.

Ads breakdown by website

Middle Class Dad – $8,971 (was $7,870) – 14% increase

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $9,777 (was $7,003) – 39.6% increase

The Grocery Store Guy – $25,577 (was $18,434) – 38.75% increase

Hot Tub Owner HQ – $12,383 (was $11,794) – 5% increase

So the big takeaway here is that since AdThrive RMPs are far greater than 20% better than Mediavine, but the dollars are far less consistent, my traffic dips are the biggest thing for me to focus on in 2022.

Now let’s look at the rest of my channels

Hot Tub Owner YouTube – $1,572. (was 2,097) – down 25%, partially seasonal but probably a lot because I paused doing videos as of May 2021.

RV Parenting – $668.15

Dojo Life HQ – $179.16

Music Nerds HQ – $407.88 (growing much faster than the other 2 despite being the newest of the 3)

Amazon Associates Affiliate Income – $6,103 (was $6,275)

Basically flat and Q4 should have been higher since it’s a big shopping season. But if we dive in deeper below, you’ll see my hot tub YouTube revenue dip due to a traffic dip is the biggest culprit.

Here’s the Amazon breakdown by website:

Middle Class Dad – $460 (was $432) – 6.4% up

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $626 (was $534) – 17% up

The Grocery Store Guy – $8.64 (this site is currently almost exclusively monetized with ads and Instacart affiliate – (was $34) – 75% down

Hot Tub Owner HQ – $2,933 (was $2,927 ) – basically flat

Hot Tub Owner YouTube – $1,843 (was $2,183) – down 15.5%

RV Parenting – $101 (previously $65.90) – up 53.6%

Dojo Life HQ – Pretty much nothing, but I don’t link to Amazon much on most of the posts

Music Nerds HQ – Pretty much nothing, but I don’t link to Amazon much on most of the posts

Rattlesnake HQ – $126 (a new site I started with my brother (a rattlesnake expert) that so far hasn’t done much)

Other Affiliate Income – $4,786 (was $6,567) – 27% down

As traffic on a site grows, it’s natural that the revenue grows also. And unfortunately, the reverse is true also.

I still publish 2 posts per day at least 5 days a week across all my sites. But the vast majority of those lately have been on my 4 newer sites which aren’t earning anything yet.

But theoretically, each post is worth somewhere between $20-30 per month to me just from ad revenue. And then when you combine affiliate revenue that jumps to between $30-60 per blog post per month.

So again, theoretically, if I publish 10 blog posts a week, I should be growing my income by about $1,000-$2,000 per month. But again, right now, my focus is on my 4 new sites which aren’t earning anything yet.

The biggest reason for the dip here is BetterHelp which is an online therapy affiliate program.

I was doing an average of $1,125 a month with them, but that dropped 50% in September for no clear reason. I did move some of my links over to the Marriage Helper affiliate program upon seeing that drop. but so far they have not done anything and even the 1 sale I generated of $400 didn’t produce a commission (and so far they haven’t given me a reason).

I’ll be moving my links back to BetterHelp in a week if they don’t start doing better.

Then if BetterHelp doesn’t improve I may try a different marriage-related counseling or improvement affiliate program.

A couple of the individual brands that have affiliate programs that I use:

  • GQueues – A desktop/app task organizer program that I literally couldn’t live without
  • Project24 – The only blogging course I’ve ever purchased, and one I highly recommend in this article
  • Acabado WordPress Theme – The WordPress theme you’re seeing now. I love it and use it on all my sites
  • Name Cheap Domain registration & Hosting – Very inexpensive way to get started blogging!
  • RankIQ – A new program I bought in December. I need to do a whole article on it, but I get into some good detail below.

Click on any of those affiliate links to check them out.

Of course, as with all affiliate links, the cost doesn’t increase to the purchaser. The product creator pays me a commission from their revenue when someone buys through my link.

So affiliate links are a great way to say thank you to whoever referred you.

Sponsored Posts – $17,180 (was $18,000) – 4.5% down

I recapped sponsored posts in my previous income reports, but I’ll restate it again, here.

What is a sponsored post?

A sponsored post is basically a guest post that you get paid to publish.

In 99% of cases, the article isn’t optimized for SEO and will never generate traffic. They are short, sometimes poorly written, with bad grammar, and only designed to get the product or site owner a backlink.

They junk up your site, so for that reason, I backdate them a year so they don’t show up on my homepage. Basically, it was my sole method for generating revenue when I didn’t know any better.

While the money is good, I wish I never started doing them, and I only do them on this site and not any of my others.

It’s also not very passive since I have to physically paste their article in, do some minor editing & formatting, add an image, publish it, and then send them payment info in Paypal.

I look forward to my overall income being high enough to where I can stop doing these. And again, I only do them on this site and not my other sites. My goal is to stop doing them when my other income hits $35,000/month.

I have raised my rates and negotiate less, so the number I publish has gone down. The income hasn’t dipped by a lot though, but I spend less time on it. I also farmed out a lot of the email back and forth to my virtual assistant.

Consulting – $1,200 (was $750)

I started doing a little bit of consulting from my grocery website during Q3 last year. After all, I worked for Whole Foods Market for almost 25 years, so it’s something I have a lot of experience in.

It’s not something I really push or advertise extensively. But I do have a Calendly form embedded on the site so it’s easy enough to find for someone that really wants to book a Zoom, Skype, or phone call with me to discuss their project.

My income was way high in Q4 as I had 1 client that paid for $1,000 in sessions.

I’ve recently added a form for internet marketing consulting too as it’s obviously working for me too.

While I do recommend (and use) the Project 24 blogging & Youtube course, I do feel like I have insights unique to my journey that can help others too.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR WEBSITE?

CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute Paid Consultation with Me!

Blogging Expenses by Category for Q4 2021 – $7,698 (was $7,172)

Tailwind for Pinterest scheduling – $104.88 (but paid annually at $419.52)

I only do Pinterest currently with this site and not my other 6. With a full-time job and a wife and 3 kids, I don’t have time for more Pinterest.

On my newer sites, I just focus on Organic Google traffic.

But this site was created when I didn’t know as much and a lot of my articles were done with either poor search analysis or poor competition analysis.

So being on Pinterest allows me to get a lot of traffic to this site I wouldn’t otherwise get.

And Tailwind is essential if you want to be on Pinterest! It’s a little slow, and occasionally buggy. And like Pinterest itself, not 100% accurate on the analytics.

But you can’t really do a serious business with Pinterest without it. I will say, however, that over the past 6 months, I’ve gotten more serious about organic Google traffic and for the past few months, Organic Google traffic has reached about 65% of the total which is must better than it was a year ago.

CLICK HERE to check out Tailwind with my affiliate link

Big Scoots Website Hosting – $356.55 (was $326.70)

Big Scoots is still fairly new for me. I switched right at the end of Q1. And you can pay an extra $10/month for additional sites beyond the 10 the plan allows for, so it’s jumped up a little from when I first switched to them.

However, they have had a lot of outages in Q4 so I’m considering switching to Agathon.

Like BigScoots, they are a premium host at a premium price. But with the number of sites I have and total traffic approaching 500,000 monthly page views, I need a premium host.

I used Siteground for years on all my sites, and I still think they are decent, especially when you’re starting and don’t have much money to spend. You can get started with Siteground for under $5.00/month.

Want to get started with them? CLICK HERE to check out Siteground with my affiliate link

If you can, pay for 3 years up front as when they renew, the price goes up a lot, and if you only pay for 1 year, your price might double at the start of year 2 and you may not be making that much yet.

But if you have more than 1 site and decent traffic (over 50k monthly page views), I would highly recommend Big Scoots.

CLICK HERE to check out Big Scoots with my affiliate link

ConvertKit email service provider – $110.25 (billed annually at $441)

Honestly, email is pretty frustrating. It certainly doesn’t pay for itself. In a way, I wish I’d never started a list (one of a few things I did because Pat Flynn said to do it that hasn’t panned out for me).

ConvertKit is the best of the 4 companies I’ve used (MailChimp, Mailerlite, Constant Contact). But they are also the most expensive, by far.

If you want to build a personal brand or offer a membership site or a course, ConvertKit is a great way to build that list and create drip campaigns.

It can also work really well if you’re doing affiliate marketing and using Facebook ads to drive traffic to landing page opt-in pages (which you can create in ConvertKit) and then drip them emails once they opt-in pushing them to a product or service.

I do not do list building on my other 3 sites and am not sure I ever will due to the expense and time involved in setting everything up initially.

CLICK HERE to check out ConvertKit with my affiliate link

Hired Writers & editor – $6,935 (was $6,631)

These days I have 5 writers (I lost 3 but am hiring at least 3 more). I also use a company called Get It Done For Me Virtual Services for all my virtual assistant needs.

That includes editing the articles the writers submit, checking for plagiarism (it does happen occasionally) and grammar and adding all but the main featured image into every article, and getting it ready to publish.

They use VAs based in the Philippians, and while I could hire one or more of them directly on the website Onlinejobs.ph for probably half of what I currently pay (about $100/week), I like having someone who understands the needs of a blogger I can give feedback to directly and don’t really have to train in any serious way.

And if they switch who they have working on my site, it’s on them to train the new people and make sure the editing schedule gets adhered to.

I will say though, that I had an issue with spam links being added to my site and it appears to have come from one of their VAs.

I say appears as I can check the revision history in WordPress and all the links I’ve found so far (about 53) were added in a revision under their login.

Now whether the VA was unscrupulous and being paid by someone else to do that, whether their email or computer got hacked, or whether my computer got hacked remains to be seen. I wouldn’t want to make accusations without more proof.

Thankfully, they took the issue seriously and one of their techs is scanning all my sites for spam links.

I removed the ones I found (Viagra-type links), but there could be more. But the 2 sites I have that I don’t use them for didn’t have any, so I suspect it’s not my computer.

But I’m glad they responded well and will do whatever is needed to fix it and will do that on their dime.

Logo expense – $100.

I pay $100 to a guy named Max for almost all my logos (MCD and Grocery are the exceptions). He’s great, quick, and for me, it’s well worth it for a professional logo. I hired him to do 1 for a Middle Class Dad spin-off site called Middle Class Dad Money.

I have a lot of personal finance posts but they weren’t doing much on my old site.

Part of that is because the topic is YMYL (Your Money and Your Life) which can be hard to rank for without some authority or credentials in that space.

But Google also rewards sites for what is called “topical authority”, and on my original Middle Class Dad site, I cover so many different unrelated topics, Google may find it hard to know what my site is about.

So this is an experiment, basically, to see if focusing those same (and new) articles on a site that only covers that topic makes any difference.

NameCheap Domain Hosting – $44.85 (but paid annually per site)

It occurred to me this month that I wasn’t listing this expense.

Many hosts offer free domain registration, but it’s generally safer to host the domain name elsewhere. That way if your host goes down, and you had backups of your site(s) it would be (relatively) easy to move them to a new host quickly.

I started using NameCheap at some point in 2021.

RankIQ – $49 (per month)

CLICK HERE to check out RankIQ before the price goes up to $99/month.

I only got this in December, but the normal price for 1 quarter will be $147. It remains to be seen if this program can do everything it promises, but it looks promising so far.

RankIQ offers supposedly proven longtail keyword phrases in a wide variety of niches and shows you supposed search volume (notoriously inaccurate for most tools).

But also tells you the suggested word count based on the competition, shows you what words appear the most in the top-ranking posts (and you can download that list), and then gives you post title suggestions.

It also tells you how fast you should be able to rank for that phrase.

Then you can paste your article into the program and it will give you a grade as well as what the suggested grade needs to be to beat the competition. It was created by renowned blogger and blogging podcaster Brandon Gaille who I have listened to for years.

You can even request niches if he doesn’t have yours already!

CLICK HERE to check out RankIQ before the price goes up to $99/month.

Bottom Line Net Profit Before Taxes – $80,584. (was $71,672)

That’s a monthly average net profit of $26,861. So that is up 12.5%.

And that’s an annualized net profit, again, before taxes get paid, of $322,336.

Speaking of taxes, I did make quarterly payments to the IRS in 2021 since I no longer have a day job to take out taxes. But apparently, I didn’t file correctly (I just made payments on their website but didn’t file the correct paperwork.)

So I may be owing as much as $20k by April 15th!

So once you get into this income range, make sure you find a good CPA or tax person who can guide you. I love my tax person, but she’s not local and there’s a 2 hour time difference. Plus she’s a talker and I’m an emailer, so we didn’t connect as much as should have this year.

Don’t be like me!

And just for fun, let’s recap the year briefly

TOTAL REVENUE 2021 -$322,051

TOTAL EXPENSES 2021 – $31,599

NET PROFIT 2021 – $290,452

NEED HELP WITH YOUR WEBSITE?

CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute Paid Consultation with Me!

In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s my interview on Income School’s YouTube channel!

What’s the #1 way to get started on a blog, YouTube channel, or other forms of internet marketing?

Project 24 (click to watch their video with all the details) is the only internet marketing course I’ve ever purchased, and it will be the only one I ever purchase.

It’s from the people over at Income School, and while they have a ton of great videos on YouTube, it was joining Project 24 that really started moving the needle forward.

I joined in April 2019, and that month, my income was $2,308.56

Compare that to June 2020 (last month at the time of this writing), and my income was $10,463.80. While I can’t say all of that 353% increase was due to what I learned in Project 24, a lot of it certainly was.

CLICK HERE to check out Project 24 with my affiliate link.

What do you get in Project 24?

A TON of different video module courses, the hub of which is their 60 steps to building a website. But then they also have courses (multiple videos in each one) on YouTube, search analysis/keyword research, monetization, and so much more.

And they add new courses a few times throughout the year.

Plus you get their WordPress theme, Acabado, totally free for as many sites as you want to use it on. And then there is their own internal forum where people like you and me constantly chime in to ask or answer questions (along with the whole Income School team).

Did I mention they have a weekly podcast for members only?

CLICK HERE to check out Project 24 with my affiliate link.

Want more detail on how I do what I do?

Watch this video I made that walks you through my processes step-by-step. I put it out on my hot tub YouTube channel, but while I mention that at the beginning, it’s not related to hot tubs at all; just blogging.

Income Report – 3rd Quarter, 2021

Income Report q3 2021

This is my 7th income report and the 3rd income report for 2021. If you missed my previous ones, just click here to check them out.

I publish these quarterly.

So this is for the 3rd quarter of 2021; July-Sept.

Let’s get into the details.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR WEBSITE?

CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute Paid Consultation with Me!

GROSS REVENUE – $78,844 (was $82,637 for Q2)

Generally speaking, my income does go up from month to month, but there have been occasional dips as you see here.

The best month from this quarter was August – $27,133. But June from Q2 was over $31,000 so that was a great month and the traffic was higher for some reason.

I still have 4 sites with ads and affiliate revenue. I was using Mediavine for my ads but switched as of 9/22 to AdThrive with their promise of at least a 20% increase. So far that hasn’t happened and I feel a little taken advantage of. But I have a call with them next week so let’s see if they can sway me from feeling like I was sold a bait and switch.

So far I’m seeing increases between 2-6% and I probably wouldn’t have switched for that little an increase as my site speed plummeted after the switch too (something else I’m working on with them).

I am adding ads with Ezoic on 3 of my newer sites which are still under 10,000 monthly page views.

At their current level of traffic I should get at least $500 a month from those 3. But it will be at least another week before the ads get put on.

I have still not been doing new videos on my Hot Tub YouTube channel I started in April of 2020. But I plan to resume those later this month.

I fully stopped publishing on my Kitchen Appliance HQ site as of May 2021. I plan to sell the site. But I have struggled with the traffic on there due to some competition. So I don’t want to sell it until I can get some of that traffic back. And if I can’t, then I’ll add more articles to it to beef it up before selling.

Aren’t familiar with selling websites?

Generally you multiple somewhere between 25-40 times the amount a website earns per month to get the figure it would likely sell for. So a website earning $2,000 per month could potentially sell for $80,000.

Another good reason to start a website of your own!

Now, let’s break that down by month, category of income, and then by the website (remember, I have 4 websites, and a YouTube channel all earning).

July 2021

Gross income was $25,292

August 2021

Gross income was $27,133

Sept 2021

Gross income was $26,418

Overall I’m still happy with those numbers. I just want to get the traffic back on the kitchen site. The hot tub site is also starting to trend down for the season. But the grocery site is still rocking!

Blogging Income by Category for Q3 2021

Ads on my websites – $45,103 (was $44,946 for Q2)

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s an increase in ad revenue of less than half a percent over Q2. So not as big of a jump as I like to see. But with the move to AdThrive and going into Q4, the next income report should show a sizeable increase.

Here’s what I did in Q3 for each site in terms of RPM:

Again, RPM is the number of dollars for every 1,000 visitors to my sites. Anything over $20 is considered great, and Q4 is always considered the best quarter of the year due to the amount of shopping that takes place in Nov & Dec.

Middle Class Dad – $29.99 (was 30.52)

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $32.63 (was $32.52)

The Grocery Store Guy – $34.49 (was $33.8)

Hot Tub Owner HQ– $38.82 (was $39.48)

As you can see, the hot tub site earns the most per 1,000 visitors (by far).

Ads breakdown by website

Middle Class Dad – $7,870 (was $9,316)

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $7,003 (was $6,939)

The Grocery Store Guy – $18,434 (was $15,536)

Hot Tub Owner HQ – $11,794 (was $13,153)

Hot Tub Owner YouTube – $2,097. (was 2,673)

As you see, the hot tub channel (both) are trending down. For YouTube that’s likely due to my lack of activity. But in both cases, it may be a seasonal decline too.

Middle Class Dad has been trending down in traffic due to increase competition. But I have added some new articles over the past few months that I hope will boost it back up.

Amazon Associates Affiliate Income – $6,275 (was $7,209)

Again, if you’re keeping score at home, you’ll see that is a fair amount lower than Q2 (13% lower). That is mostly due to the traffic challenges I have with the kitchen site and Middle Class Dad combined with the seasonal decline for the hot tub channels.

Here’s the Amazon breakdown by website:

Middle Class Dad – $432 (was $795)

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $534 (was $779)

The Grocery Store Guy – $34 (this site is currently almost exclusively monetized with ads – (was $6.25)

Hot Tub Owner HQ – $2,927 (was $3,257)

Hot Tub Owner YouTube – $2,183 (was $2,317)

RV Parenting – $163 (previously $27)

Other Affiliate Income – $6,567 (was $7,576)

As traffic on a site grows, it’s natural that the revenue grows also. And unfortunately, the reverse is true also.

I still publish 2 posts per day at least 5 days a week across all my sites. But the vast majority of those lately have been on my 4 newer sites which aren’t earning anything yet.

But theoretically, each post is worth somewhere between $20-30 per month to me just from ad revenue. And then when you combine affiliate revenue that jumps to between $30-60 per blog post per month.

So again, theoretically, if I publish 10 blog posts a week, I should be growing my income by about $1,000-$2,000 per month. But again, right now, my focus is on my 4 new sites which aren’t earning anything yet.

Most of the affiliate revenue is from BetterHelp on my relationship posts on Middle Class Dad, BuyerZone on both Hot Tub channels and the Grocery site, and Instacart on the grocery site. But I also do some with Swim University’s products on my Hot Tub channels.

And I just signed up for the Marriage Helper affiliate program (after finding them after my wife asked for a divorce). So I think they have a great program and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do with them.

A couple of the individual brands that have affiliate programs that I use:

Click on any of those affiliate links to check them out.

Of course, as with all affiliate links, the cost doesn’t increase to the purchaser. The product creator pays me a commission from their revenue when someone buys through my link.

So affiliate links are a great way to say thank you to whoever referred you.

Sponsored Posts – $18,000 (was $19,315)

I recapped sponsored posts in my previous income reports, but I’ll restate it again, here.

What is a sponsored post?

A sponsored post is basically a guest post that you get paid to publish.

In 99% of cases, the article isn’t optimized for SEO and will never generate traffic. They are short, sometimes poorly written, with bad grammar, and only designed to get the product or site owner a backlink.

They junk up your site, so for that reason, I backdate them a year so they don’t show up on my homepage. Basically, it was my sole method for generating revenue when I didn’t know any better.

While the money is good, I wish I never started doing them, and I only do them on this site and not any of my others.

It’s also not very passive since I have to physically paste their article in, do some minor editing & formatting, add an image, publish it, and then send them payment info in Paypal.

I look forward to my overall income being high enough to where I can stop doing these. And again, I only do them on this site and not my other sites. My goal is to stop doing them when my other income hits $35,000/month.

I have raised my rates and negotiate less, so the number I publish has gone down. The income hasn’t dipped by a lot though, but I spend less time on it. I also farmed out a lot of the email back and forth to my virtual assistant.

Consulting – $750 (was $1,464)

I started doing a little bit of consulting from my grocery website during Q3 last year. After all, I worked for Whole Foods Market for almost 25 years, so it’s something I have a lot of experience in.

It’s not something I really push or advertise extensively. But I do have a Calendly form embedded on the site so it’s easy enough to find for someone that really wants to book a Zoom, Skype, or phone call with me to discuss their project.

My income was way high in Q2 as I had 1 client that paid for $1,000 in sessions (which they haven’t used all of yet).

I’ve recently added a form for internet marketing consulting too as it’s obviously working for me too.

While I do recommend (and use) the Project 24 blogging & Youtube course, I do feel like I have insights unique to my journey that can help others too.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR WEBSITE?

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Blogging Expenses by Category for Q3 2021 – $7,172 (was $11,526)

The decrease was because I ordered 50 articles for 1 new site last time and that alone was almost $5k.

Tailwind for Pinterest scheduling – $104.88 (but paid annually at $419.52)

I only do Pinterest currently with this site and not my other 6. With a full-time job and a wife and 3 kids, I don’t have time for more Pinterest.

On my newer sites, I just focus on Organic Google traffic.

But this site was created when I didn’t know as much and a lot of my articles were done with either poor search analysis or poor competition analysis.

So being on Pinterest allows me to get a lot of traffic to this site I wouldn’t otherwise get.

And Tailwind is essential if you want to be on Pinterest! It’s a little slow, and occasionally buggy. And like Pinterest itself, not 100% accurate on the analytics.

But you can’t really do a serious business with Pinterest without it. I will say, however, that over the past 6 months, I’ve gotten more serious about organic Google traffic and for the past few months, Organic Google traffic has reached about 65% of the total which is must better than it was a year ago.

CLICK HERE to check out Tailwind with my affiliate link

Big Scoots Website Hosting – $326.70 (was $296.85)

Big Scoots is still fairly new for me. I switched right at the end of Q1. And you can pay an extra $10/month for additional sites beyond the 10 the plan allows for, so it’s jumped up a little from when I first switched to them.

I do have a few sites I haven’t done anything with yet, so don’t think I have more than 10 sites I’m actually working on. I have 9 and I host my (soon to be ex) brother-in-law’s small business website.

They are a premium host with a premium price, but for me, they were worth it compared to all the hassles I experience with my previous host WPX.

I used Siteground for years on all my sites, and I still think they are decent, especially when you’re starting and don’t have much money to spend. You can get started with Siteground for under $5.00/month.

Want to get started with them? CLICK HERE to check out Siteground with my affiliate link

I moved to WPX as I wanted a faster host and one that I could grow with as my combined traffic was over 100,000 monthly page views. Siteground starts to get expensive after your initial policy renews, and I also felt their service had gone down, as had my site speed.

But if you have more than 1 site and decent traffic (over 50k monthly page views), I would highly recommend Big Scoots.

CLICK HERE to check out Big Scoots with my affiliate link

ConvertKit email service provider – $110.25 (billed annually at $441)

Honestly, email is pretty frustrating. It certainly doesn’t pay for itself. In a way, I wish I’d never started a list (one of a few things I did because Pat Flynn said to do it that hasn’t panned out for me).

ConvertKit is the best of the 4 companies I’ve used (MailChimp, Mailerlite, Constant Contact). But they are also the most expensive, by far.

If you want to build a personal brand or offer a membership site or a course, ConvertKit is a great way to build that list and create drip campaigns.

It can also work really well if you’re doing affiliate marketing and using Facebook ads to drive traffic to landing page opt-in pages (which you can create in ConvertKit) and then drip them emails once they opt-in pushing them to a product or service.

I do not do list building on my other 3 sites and am not sure I ever will due to the expense and time involved in setting everything up initially.

CLICK HERE to check out ConvertKit with my affiliate link

Hired Writers & editor – $6,631 (was $4,739)

These days I have 7 writers. I also use a company called Get It Done For Me Virtual Services for all my virtual assistant needs.

That includes editing the articles the writers submit, checking for plagiarism (it does happen occasionally) and grammar and adding all but the main featured image into every article, and getting it ready to publish.

They use VAs based in the Philippians, and while I could hire one or more of them directly on the website Onlinejobs.ph for probably half of what I currently pay (about $100/week), I like having someone who understands the needs of a blogger I can give feedback to directly and don’t really have to train in any serious way.

And if they switch who they have working on my site, it’s on them to train the new people and make sure the editing schedule gets adhered to.

Right now, if we’re talking posts under 1,700 words, they prepare 10 articles a week for me. But they also check old posts for rankings so I know if  I need to update them if they slip in the rankings. They also check for Twitter-embedded images no longer working as that’s what I use for a lot of my images. And if someone’s account gets suspended, the image stops working.

Lastly I use them for occasional one-off projects and as I mentioned above, they check my email for me and respond to the constant stream of requests for guest and sponsored posts.

Logo expense – $0.

I pay $100 to a guy named Max for almost all my logos (MCD and Grocery are the exceptions). He’s great, quick, and for me, it’s well worth it for a professional logo. But no new logos right now.

Bottom Line Net Profit Before Taxes – $71,672. (was $71,110)

That’s a monthly average net profit of $23,890. So just a tad higher than Q2.

And that’s an annualized net profit, again, before taxes get paid, of $286,688.

Q4 of 2021 will see my 3 sites that started last October (RV Parenting and DojoLifeHQ) and one I started this spring that’s doing well (Music Nerds HQ) starting to get traffic and earn some revenue as I’m adding ads from Ezoic on them now.

Rattlesnake HQ will hopefully be doing a little bit by the end of the year.

But I’m very happy with the growth.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR WEBSITE?

CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute Paid Consultation with Me!

In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s my interview on Income School’s YouTube channel!

What’s the #1 way to get started on a blog, YouTube channel, or other forms of internet marketing?

Project 24 (click to watch their video with all the details) is the only internet marketing course I’ve ever purchased, and it will be the only one I ever purchase.

It’s from the people over at Income School, and while they have a ton of great videos on YouTube, it was joining Project 24 that really started moving the needle forward.

I joined in April 2019, and that month, my income was $2,308.56

Compare that to June 2020 (last month at the time of this writing), and my income was $10,463.80. While I can’t say all of that 353% increase was due to what I learned in Project 24, a lot of it certainly was.

CLICK HERE to check out Project 24 with my affiliate link.

What do you get in Project 24?

A TON of different video module courses, the hub of which is their 60 steps to building a website. But then they also have courses (multiple videos in each one) on YouTube, search analysis/keyword research, monetization, and so much more.

And they add new courses a few times throughout the year.

Plus you get their WordPress theme, Acabado, totally free for as many sites as you want to use it on. And then there is their own internal forum where people like you and me constantly chime in to ask or answer questions (along with the whole Income School team).

Did I mention they have a weekly podcast for members only?

CLICK HERE to check out Project 24 with my affiliate link.

Want more detail on how I do what I do?

Watch this video I made that walks you through my processes step-by-step. I put it out on my hot tub YouTube channel, but while I mention that at the beginning, it’s not related to hot tubs at all; just blogging.

Income Report – 2nd Quarter, 2021

Income Report q2 2021

This is my 6th income statement and the 2nd income statement for 2021. If you missed my previous ones, just click here to check them out.

I publish these quarterly.

So this is for the 2nd quarter of 2021; April-June. 

Let’s get into the details. 

NEED HELP WITH YOUR WEBSITE?

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GROSS REVENUE – $82,637 (was $72,286 for Q1)

Generally speaking, my income does go up from month to month, but there have been occasional dips and spikes. Also, generally speaking, ad revenue goes down at the start of each quarter as advertisers generally start new budgets each quarter and start off small.

April was actually down from March, and May was about even with March. So it was actually June that really kicked in (details below). But Jan in Q1 was pretty low comparatively as the start of a new year always sees low ad revenue.

I still have 4 sites with ads and affiliate revenue, with ads coming from Mediavine. I did, however, start 2 new sites in October of 2020 and 2 more in Q2 of this year, so it will be interesting to see how they affect the revenue once they come fully online.

Of those 2 started last October, 1 is around 6,000 monthly pageviews and the other 2,500 monthly pageviews (interesting considering they were started around the same time and have a roughly equal number of articles on them (about 70 each).

So it will still be at least another 1-2 months before I can look at putting ads on them.

As of now, I have put a pause on my Hot Tub YouTube channel I started in April of 2020.

My wife told me at the end of April 2021 that she wanted a divorce. It knocked my socks off as it was a total surprise, and I just didn’t have it in me to keep publishing videos. I get into some of the details of her wanting a divorce in this article, in case you’re curious.

I will eventually start it back up again though.

But ultimately, as the saying goes, everything we say yes to means we have to say no to something else. So it’s been a nice break from YouTube which is a lot less “passive” than blogging.

I fully stopped publishing on my Kitchen Appliance HQ site as of May 2021. I plan to sell the site this fall, and figured it was a waste of time to keep adding posts which would take about 6-8 months to rank fully if I was going to be selling it before then.

However, I did have a big issue with a competitor stealing my posts.

They would basically cut and paste my whole article, including the titles and subheadings. Then they would change about every 5th word or so, just enough so Google wouldn’t see it as plagiarism.

Chances are they used one of the many free content spinning websites as often the grammar they used didn’t make sense and it sounded like it was written by a machine.

Unfortunately, at least with 2-3 of my big articles, Google outranked me with their versions of my articles. 

So for a time, I lost a lot of traffic on that site, going from 90,000 page views in Feb 2021, down to 76,000. The good news is, I scoured their site daily and eventually found 2 instances of direct theft.

One was a post they forgot to spin and the other was a custom image I created. I reported both to Google, and their site was eventually removed from Google. It still exists if you go there directly, but for all intents and purposes, it’s dead, and it does not look like any new content has been added in a while.

Yeah for me! June saw my traffic almost back where it had been before the theft – 89,000 page views.

The monthly revenue is currently around $3,000. So if I can get that up to maybe $4,000 by September or October, I should be able to sell the site for $140,000.

Aren’t familiar with selling websites?

Generally you multiple somewhere between 25-40 times the amount a website earns per month to get the figure it would likely sell for. So a website earning $2,000 per month could potentially sell for $80,000. 

Another good reason to start a website of your own!

Now, let’s break that down by month, category of income, and then by the website (remember, I have 4 websites, and a YouTube channel all earning).

April 2021

Gross income was $25,006

May 2021

Gross income was $26,247

June 2021

Gross income was $31,382

As you can see, the month-over-month increase was pretty good! Slow and steady wins the race.

Blogging Income by Category for Q2 2021

Ads on my websites – $44,946 (was $37,061 for Q2)

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s an increase in ad revenue of 20% over Q1! Now Q1 had been about 20% below Q4, so pretty much I matched Q4 in Q2. But given ad revenue is always highest in Q4, that’s pretty good!

Spring and summer are also the best seasons for hot tubs, so I have seen my ads on the hot tub site go way up.

Here’s what I did in Q2 for each site in terms of RPM:

Again, RPM is the number of dollars for every 1,000 visitors to my sites. Anything over $20 is considered great, and Q4 is always considered the best quarter of the year due to the amount of shopping that takes place in Nov & Dec.

Middle Class Dad – $30.52 (was 26.02)

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $32.52 (was $28.90)

The Grocery Store Guy – $33.80 (was $28.39)

Hot Tub Owner HQ– $39.48 (was $36.64)

As you can see, the hot tub site earns the most per 1,000 visitors (by far). And with the traffic boost in Q2, it is now close to the Grocery site in terms of total ad revenue. And it is way over the grocery site when you include affiliate income which is almost non-existent on the grocery site.

Ads breakdown by website

Middle Class Dad – $9,316.45 (was $6,913)

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $6,939.75 (was $7,162.88)

The Grocery Store Guy – $15,536.67 (was $14,184.18)

Hot Tub Owner HQ – $13,153.29 (was $8,801.79)

Hot Tub Owner YouTube – $2,673. (was 1,871 )

Amazon Associates Affiliate Income – $7,209 (was $7,021)

Again, if you’re keeping score at home, you’ll see that it didn’t really go up a lot compared to Q1.

Here’s the Amazon breakdown by website:

Middle Class Dad – $795 (was $817)

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $779 (was $889)

The Grocery Store Guy – $6.25 (this site is currently almost exclusively monetized with ads – (was $14)

Hot Tub Owner HQ – $3,257 (was $3,324)

Hot Tub Owner YouTube – $2,317 (was $1,960)

RV Parenting – $27.00 (no previous)

Other Affiliate Income – $7,576 (was $5,660)

As traffic on a site grows, it’s natural that the revenue grows also.

While it isn’t an exact science, I try and publish 2 posts per day at least 5 days a week across all my site. Of course, currently, that includes 4 new sites that haven’t been active long enough to really be making income yet. So that is more of an investment in the future.

But theoretically, each post is worth somewhere between $20-30 per month to me just from ad revenue. And then when you combine affiliate revenue that jumps to between $30-60 per blog post per month.

So again, theoretically, if I publish 10 blog posts a week, I should be growing my income by about $1,000-$2,000 per month. But again, right now, my focus is on my 4 new sites which aren’t earning anything yet.

But I did do a month-over-month increase of $6,000 comparing the 3 months of Q1 to the 3 months of Q2, so it is working.

Most of the affiliate revenue is from BetterHelp on my relationship posts on Middle Class Dad, BuyerZone on both Hot Tub channels and the Grocery site, and Instacart on the grocery site. But I also do some with Swim University’s products on my Hot Tub channels.

A couple of the individual brands that have affiliate programs that I use:

Click on any of those affiliate links to check them out.

Of course, as with all affiliate links, the cost doesn’t increase to the purchaser. The product creator pays me a commission from their revenue when someone buys through my link.

So affiliate links are a great way to say thank you to whoever referred you.

Sponsored Posts – $19,315 (was $20,464)

I recapped sponsored posts in my previous income reports, but I’ll restate it again, here.

What is a sponsored post?

A sponsored post is basically a guest post that you get paid to publish.

In 99% of cases, the article isn’t optimized for SEO and will never generate traffic. They are short, sometimes poorly written, with bad grammar, and only designed to get the product or site owner a backlink.

They junk up your site, so for that reason, I backdate them a year so they don’t show up on my homepage. Basically, it was my sole method for generating revenue when I didn’t know any better.

While the money is good, I wish I never started doing them, and I only do them on this site and not any of my others.

It’s also not very passive since I have to physically paste their article in, do some minor editing & formatting, add an image, publish it, and then send them payment info in Paypal.

I look forward to my overall income being high enough to where I can stop doing these. And again, I only do them on this site and not my other sites.

Consulting – $1,464 (was $907)

I started doing a little bit of consulting from my grocery website during Q3 last year. After all, I worked for Whole Foods Market for almost 25 years, so it’s something I have a lot of experience in.

It’s not something I really push or advertise extensively. But I do have a Calendly form embedded on the site so it’s easy enough to find for someone that really wants to book a Zoom, Skype, or phone call with me to discuss their project.

I’ve recently added a form for internet marketing consulting too as it’s obviously working for me too.

While I do recommend (and use) the Project 24 blogging & Youtube course, I do feel like I have insights unique to my journey that can help others too.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR WEBSITE?

CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute Paid Consultation with Me!

Blogging Expenses by Category for Q2 2021 – $11,526.88 (was $5,162)

I get into why the big increase happened below in the paying writers section.

Tailwind for Pinterest scheduling – $104.88 (but paid annually at $419.52)

I only do Pinterest currently with this site and not my other 6. With a full-time job and a wife and 3 kids, I don’t have time for more Pinterest.

On my newer sites, I just focus on Organic Google traffic.

But this site was created when I didn’t know as much and a lot of my articles were done with either poor search analysis or poor competition analysis.

So being on Pinterest allows me to get a lot of traffic to this site I wouldn’t otherwise get.

And Tailwind is essential if you want to be on Pinterest! It’s a little slow, and occasionally buggy. And like Pinterest itself, not 100% accurate on the analytics. 

But you can’t really do a serious business with Pinterest without it. I will say, however, that over the past 6 months, I’ve gotten more serious about organic Google traffic and for the past few months, Organic Google traffic has reached about 65% of the total which is must better than it was a year ago.

CLICK HERE to check out Tailwind with my affiliate link

Big Scoots Website Hosting – $296.85 (was $207.90)

Big Scoots is still fairly new for me. I switched right at the end of Q1. And you can pay an extra $10/month for additional sites beyond the 10 the plan allows for, so it’s jumped up a little from when I first switched to them.

I do have a few sites I haven’t done anything with yet, so don’t think I have more than 10 sites I’m actually working on. I have 8 and I host my (soon to be ex) brother-in-law’s small business website.

They are a premium host with a premium price, but for me, they were worth it compared to all the hassles I experience with my previous host WPX.

I used Siteground for years on all my sites, and I still think they are decent, especially when you’re starting and don’t have much money to spend. You can get started with Siteground for under $5.00/month. 

Want to get started with them? CLICK HERE to check out Siteground with my affiliate link

I moved to WPX as I wanted a faster host and one that I could grow with as my combined traffic was over 100,000 monthly page views. Siteground starts to get expensive after your initial policy renews, and I also felt their service had gone down, as had my site speed.

But if you have more than 1 site and decent traffic (over 50k monthly page views), I would highly recommend Big Scoots.

CLICK HERE to check out Big Scoots with my affiliate link

ConvertKit email service provider – $110.25 (billed annually at $441)

Honestly, email is pretty frustrating. It certainly doesn’t pay for itself. In a way, I wish I’d never started a list (one of a few things I did because Pat Flynn said to do it that hasn’t panned out for me).

ConvertKit is the best of the 4 companies I’ve used (MailChimp, Mailerlite, Constant Contact). But they are also the most expensive, by far.

If you want to build a personal brand or offer a membership site or a course, ConvertKit is a great way to build that list and create drip campaigns. 

It can also work really well if you’re doing affiliate marketing and using Facebook ads to drive traffic to landing page opt-in pages (which you can create in ConvertKit) and then drip them emails once they opt-in pushing them to a product or service.

I do not do list building on my other 3 sites and am not sure I ever will due to the expense and time involved in setting everything up initially.

CLICK HERE to check out ConvertKit with my affiliate link

Hired Writers & editor – $10,814.90 (was $4,739)

That looks like a huge jump, but I tried something new this last quarter.

I spent $4,809 hiring the Content Warrior team to write 50 articles for one of my new sites. So if you remove that, the figure really would be about $6,000. Still up from Q1, but I do have 3 other new sites, so I hired more writers from Upwork to keep up with demand.

I still generally pay 2 cents a word for most of my writers. But the ones that consistently crank out the content quickly without needing a ton of editing, I do pay a little more. In short, my time is worth something and if I can pay someone a little more which saves me time, it’s worth it.

How did Content Warrior do?

Well, honestly it was a mixed bag.

It was great from the standpoint that they input the articles, with images, directly into WordPress. But it wasn’t quite the “just hit publish” quality level they promised. And if I had just hit publish, I bet half those posts would never do anything.

But they did require a little less editing than my normal process. But it should given they charge more than twice what I normally pay. I am considering trying them again though, so I’ll keep you posted.

I am also still waiting on 2 re-writes I requested over 3 weeks ago.

I use the company Get It Done For Me Virtual Services to edit my posts and prepare them for publishing.

They use VAs based in the Philippians, and while I could hire one or more of them directly on the website Onlinejobs.ph for probably half of what I currently pay (about $100/week), I like having someone who understands the needs of a blogger I can give feedback to directly and don’t really have to train in any serious way.

And if they switch who they have working on my site, it’s on them to train the new people and make sure the editing schedule gets adhered to.

Right now, if we’re talking posts under 1,700 words, they prepare 10 articles a week for me.

I don’t publish quite that many as I have so many other tasks to juggle, and I only publish posts that are as good as they can be as I’m picky.

Here’s what they do to prepare the posts for me for final editing, main image, and publishing:

  • Run through Copyscape to ensure none of my writers are plagiarising
  • Use Grammarly to check spelling & Grammar (which I use the free plan for also)
  • Insert images throughout the post above each subheading (I like using embedded Twitter images)
  • Insert a relevant YouTube video above the final subheading
  • Insert answer targets at the top and below each subheading if the writers didn’t include them

I have 6 writers I’m using, which is down from the 8 I had previously.

Most came from an ad I ran on the Problogger job board, and 2 are on Upwork, and 1 is independent. They all have pros and cons; some are super fast, and others super thorough, and both of those have merit for different reasons.

I don’t just tell the writers the title of the articles and hope for the best though.

Instead, I give them an outline with the title, subheadings, internal links I want added, and I also spell out what I think the searcher intent is.

Not sure what I mean?

Figuring out searcher intent is KEY to writing the article that the Google searcher is looking for. Check out my ultimate SEO guide to learn more about how I do this, and all of the SEO tips and tricks I use (which are all free).

Just click that link to read it here on my site.

Logo expense – $200.

I pay $100 to a guy named Max for almost all my logos (MCD and Grocery are the exceptions). He’s great, quick, and for me, it’s well worth it for a professional logo. 

Bottom Line Net Profit Before Taxes – $71,110. (was $67,124)

That’s a monthly average net profit of $23,703.

And that’s an annualized net profit, again, before taxes get paid, of $284,440.

Q3 of 2021 will see my 2 sites that started last October (RV Parenting and DojoLifeHQ) starting to get traffic and earn some revenue, hopefully being in full gear by Q4.

The 2 newest sites, Music Nerds HQ and Rattlesnake HQ will hopefully be doing a little bit by the end of the year.

But I’m very happy with the growth.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR WEBSITE?

CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute Paid Consultation with Me!

In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s my interview on Income School’s YouTube channel!

What’s the #1 way to get started on a blog, YouTube channel, or other forms of internet marketing?

Project 24 (click to watch their video with all the details) is the only internet marketing course I’ve ever purchased, and it will be the only one I ever purchase.

It’s from the people over at Income School, and while they have a ton of great videos on YouTube, it was joining Project 24 that really started moving the needle forward.

I joined in April 2019, and that month, my income was $2,308.56

Compare that to June 2020 (last month at the time of this writing), and my income was $10,463.80. While I can’t say all of that 353% increase was due to what I learned in Project 24, a lot of it certainly was.

CLICK HERE to check out Project 24 with my affiliate link.

What do you get in Project 24?

A TON of different video module courses, the hub of which is their 60 steps to building a website. But then they also have courses (multiple videos in each one) on YouTube, search analysis/keyword research, monetization, and so much more.

And they add new courses a few times throughout the year.

Plus you get their WordPress theme, Acabado, totally free for as many sites as you want to use it on. And then there is their own internal forum where people like you and me constantly chime in to ask or answer questions (along with the whole Income School team).

Did I mention they have a weekly podcast for members only?

CLICK HERE to check out Project 24 with my affiliate link.

Want more detail on how I do what I do?

Watch this video I made that walks you through my processes step-by-step. I put it out on my hot tub YouTube channel, but while I mention that at the beginning, it’s not related to hot tubs at all; just blogging.

Income Report – 1st Quarter, 2021

This is my 5th income statement and the 1st income statement for 2021. If you missed my previous ones, just click here to check them out.

I publish these quarterly.

So this is for the 1st quarter of 2021; Jan-March. It’s important to let you know that generally in the blogging world, January especially is pretty slow.

That’s especially true coming off of November and December which are usually the biggest months (for dollars, not necessarily traffic) for bloggers.

Let’s get into the details.

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GROSS REVENUE – $72,286 (was 78,364 for Q4)

Generally speaking, my income does go up from month to month, but there have been occasional dips and spikes especially dips following the holiday season.

January was down for income by 18.73% (although traffic was almost flat).

I still have 4 sites with ads and affiliate revenue, with ads coming from Mediavine. I did, however, start 2 new sites in October of 2020 that is getting close to starting to take off. Both have a little over 50 posts on them as we type.

So hopefully they’ll be making revenue by Q3. And I am about to launch a new site later this month called Music Nerds HQ.

As of now, my wife and I have put a pause on the new YouTube channel we started in October called RV Parenting (which is also 1 of the 2 new websites). We were publishing regularly but just weren’t able to get traction. Most likely that’s because of how competitive YouTube is for RV’ers; especially husband and wife teams.

My hope is that as the website takes off (which does promote the YouTube channel) that we can resume it if the old videos start to pick up.

But ultimately, as the saying goes, everything we say yes to means we have to say no to something else.

So while sometimes it’s fun to do something just for the fun of it, in the blogging/YouTube world, I think it’s important to cut out what’s not working and double down on what is.

Plus, unlike blogging, YouTube isn’t really “passive”.

With a couple of exceptions, I have stopped publishing on my Kitchen Appliance HQ site. Why? Because I plan to sell that in Q3 or Q4 of this year. So in order to value it, I have to multiply the monthly net revenue by a number around 30.

So I want all the posts that have been published to have time to rank (often 6-8 months). So I figure by August I’ll pretty much know what the max expectancy is of the site and I can price it accordingly.

If I was selling it right now, at a multiplier of 30, I would get about $80,000. But I’m hoping that by August, I can ask about $150,000 for it.

I have 159 posts on there, and currently average 899 monthly page views per post, with an RPM (revenue per 1000 page views) of $34.77. That would put the monthly gross around $4,970.

The only problem I’m having is with a disreputable site that keeps copying my posts and changing the words just enough to avoid Google accepting a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown request. I wouldn’t care except they have outranked me a few times with what is essentially my own post.

They even copy my titles and subheadings! But I guess that kind of thing goes with the territory. Annoying though!

Aren’t familiar with selling websites?

Generally you multiple somewhere between 25-40 times the amount a website earns per month to get the figure it would likely sell for. So a website earning $2,000 per month could potentially sell for $80,000.

Another good reason to start a website of your own!

So here’s looking forward to Q3!

Now, let’s break that down by month, category of income, and then by the website (remember, I have 4 websites, and a YouTube channel all earning).

January 2021

Gross income was $22,895

February 2021 (only 28 days)

Gross income was $22,863

March 2021

Gross income was $26,527

As you can see, the month-over-month increase was pretty good!

Blogging Income by Category for Q1 2021

Ads on my websites – $37,061 (was 46,401 for Q4)

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s a decrease in ad revenue of 20% over Q4! And while that might seem bad, that’s pretty normal coming after the holiday season.

In fact, according to Adpushup, Jan, Feb, and March can see ad revenue decreases of 30-50%. So I’ll take my 20% decline.

The Kitchen site is lowest currently (some traffic loss from that content spinner I mentioned), and Grocery continues to do the best. However, my hot tub site is growing the fastest.

Again, here’s looking forward to Q2 and Q3!

Here’s what I did in Q1 for each site in terms of RPM:

Again, RPM is the number of dollars for every 1,000 visitors to my sites. Anything over $20 is considered great, and Q4 is always considered the best quarter of the year due to the amount of shopping that takes place in Nov & Dec.

Middle Class Dad – $26.02 (was 35.49)

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $28.90 (was $38.49)

The Grocery Store Guy – $28.39 (was $39.29)

Hot Tub Owner HQ– $36.64 (was $47.52)

As you can see, the hot tub site earns the most per 1,000 visitors (by far). So eventually, as my traffic grows (it’s still the smallest of my 4 sites by a little bit), it will become the top ads earner.

That’s due in large part to the demographics of who visits a site about hot tubs. Boomers with money, if I just say it like it is. And advertisers want to be in front of people like that.

Ads breakdown by website

Middle Class Dad – $6,913 (down from $7,802.81)

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $7,162.88 (up from $9,294.59)

The Grocery Store Guy – $14,184.18 (way up from $18,743.47)

Hot Tub Owner HQ – $8,801.79 (way up from $10,560.95)

Hot Tub Owner YouTube – $1,871 (up from 2,108)

Amazon Associates Affiliate Income – $7,021 (up from $7,523)

Again, if you’re keeping score at home, you’ll see that it didn’t really go down a lot compared to Q4 which is great considering the holiday season is when most people spend a lot on Amazon.

My YouTube channel, linked to the hot tub site, did almost $900 on Amazon just last month alone, so that’s quite a bit better than it was doing in Q4.

Here’s the Amazon breakdown by website:

Middle Class Dad – $817 (down from $1,048)

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $889 (down from $1,180)

The Grocery Store Guy – $14.00 (this site is currently almost exclusively monetized with ads – (down from $44)

Hot Tub Owner HQ – $3,324 (down from $3,985)

Hot Tub Owner YouTube – $1,960 (up from $1,264)

Other Affiliate Income – $5,660 – up 29% (up from $4,377)

So the bump in affiliate income coming after Q4 was nice to see. But part of that is just a traffic increase.

As I mentioned, the traffic doesn’t necessarily go down in Q1; just the ad revenue. Now if a site had a lot of seasonal posts the traffic would go down, but aside from about 5 posts, I don’t really have a lot of seasonal content.

But I publish at least 10 posts a week across all the sites.

If each of those gets around 900 page views per month, then it’s natural to see a large traffic bump every month as the posts published 6-8 months ago start to take off.

Of course, not every post is a winner, but except for the kitchen site, all my sites (except the 3 new ones) get over 1,000 page views per month per article.

So 40 new articles per month would ideally mean going up 40,000 page views across all sites combined. But the reality is not quite that good. But I did go up 27,000 page views from Feb to March.

Most of the affiliate revenue is from BetterHelp on my relationship posts, BuyerZone on both Hot Tub channels and the Grocery site, and Instacart on the grocery site.

A couple of the individual brands that have affiliate programs that I use:

Click on any of those affiliate links to check them out.

Of course, as with all affiliate links, the cost doesn’t increase to the purchaser. The product creator pays me a commission from their revenue when someone buys through my link.

So affiliate links are a great way to say thank you to whoever referred you.

Sponsored Posts – $20,464 (was $17,219)

I recapped sponsored posts in my last income report, but I’ll restate it again, here.

What is a sponsored post?

A sponsored post is basically a guest post that you get paid to publish.

In 99% of cases, the article isn’t optimized for SEO and will never generate traffic. They are short, sometimes poorly written, with bad grammar, and only designed to get the product or site owner a backlink.

They junk up your site, so for that reason, I backdate them a year so they don’t show up on my homepage. Basically, it was my sole method for generating revenue when I didn’t know any better.

While the money is good, I wish I never started doing them, and I only do them on this site and not any of my others.

It’s also not very passive since I have to physically paste their article in, do some minor editing & formatting, add an image, publish it, and then send them payment info in Paypal.

I look forward to my overall income being high enough to where I can stop doing these. And I only do them on this site and not my other 3 sites.

Consulting – $907 (was $774)

I started doing a little bit of consulting from my grocery website during Q3. After all, I worked for Whole Foods Market for almost 25 years, so it’s something I have a lot of experience in.

It’s not something I really push or advertise extensively. But I do have a Calendly form embedded on the site so it’s easy enough to find for someone that really wants to book a Zoom, Skype, or phone call with me to discuss their project.

I’ve recently added a form for internet marketing consulting too as it’s obviously working for me.

While I do recommend (and use) the Project 24 blogging & Youtube course, I do feel like I have insights unique to my journey that can help others too.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR WEBSITE?

CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute Paid Consultation with Me!

Blogging Expenses by Category for Q1 2021 – $5,162. (was $4,275)

Tailwind for Pinterest scheduling – $104.88 (but paid annually at $419.52)

I only do Pinterest currently with this site and not my other 6. With a full-time job and a wife and 3 kids, I don’t have time for more Pinterest.

On my newer sites, I just focus on Organic Google traffic.

But this site was created when I didn’t know as much and a lot of my articles were done with either poor search analysis or poor competition analysis.

So being on Pinterest allows me to get a lot of traffic to this site I wouldn’t otherwise get.

And Tailwind is essential if you want to be on Pinterest! It’s a little slow, and occasionally buggy. And like Pinterest itself, not 100% accurate on the analytics.

But you can’t really do a serious business with Pinterest without it. I will say, however, that over the past 6 months, I’ve gotten more serious about organic Google traffic and for the past few months, Organic Google traffic has reached about 65% of the total which is must better than it was a year ago.

CLICK HERE to check out Tailwind with my affiliate link

Big Scoots Website Hosting – $207.90 (was $149.97 under WPX)

I switched from WPX to BigScoots at the start of March 2021.

Big Scoots is twice the price of WPX but I was just having too many problems with WPX:

  • Frequent daily outages of my sites (1-5 minutes each)
  • They denied the outages (but I have spoken with many others who saw it too on their sites)
  • A decline in customer service

In short, with everyone home in 2020 and a huge increase in web-based apps (Instacart & Zoom just to name 2), their servers likely just got overwhelmed and they couldn’t keep up.

BUT instead of admitting it and putting together a plan to fix it, they seemed bent on just pretending the problem wasn’t there.

I was paying $49/month, and unfortunately, BigScoots is double that.

I used Siteground for years on all my sites, and I still think they are decent, especially when you’re starting and don’t have much money to spend. You can get started with Siteground for under $5.00/month.

Want to get started with them? CLICK HERE to check out Siteground with my affiliate link

I moved to WPX as I wanted a faster host and one that I could grow with as my combined traffic was over 100,000 monthly page views. Siteground starts to get expensive after your initial policy renews, and I also felt their service had gone down, as had my site speed.

But if you have more than 1 site and decent traffic (over 50k monthly page views), I would highly recommend Big Scoots.

CLICK HERE to check out Big Scoots with my affiliate link

ConvertKit email service provider – $110.25 (billed annually at $441)

Honestly, email is pretty frustrating. It certainly doesn’t pay for itself. In a way, I wish I’d never started a list (one of a few things I did because Pat Flynn said to do it that hasn’t panned out for me).

ConvertKit is the best of the 4 companies I’ve used (MailChimp, Mailerlite, Constant Contact). But they are also the most expensive, by far.

If you want to build a personal brand or offer a membership site or a course, ConvertKit is a great way to build that list and create drip campaigns.

It can also work really well if you’re doing affiliate marketing and using Facebook ads to drive traffic to landing page opt-in pages (which you can create in ConvertKit) and then drip them emails once they opt-in pushing them to a product or service.

I do not do list building on my other 3 sites and am not sure I ever will due to the expense and time involved in setting everything up initially.

CLICK HERE to check out ConvertKit with my affiliate link

Hired Writers & editor – $4,739. (was $3,810)

This has gone up as I’ve hired more writers as I found my publishing schedule was a little slow. After all, if you figure it takes up to 8 months for a post to bring in traffic, and most will bring in about $30 bucks a month, the more content (as long as the quality is there) the better.

You’ll never get ahead putting out only a few posts a month.

I use the company Get It Done For Me Virtual Services to edit my posts and prepare them for publishing.

They use VAs based in the Philippians, and while I could hire one or more of them directly on the website Onlinejobs.ph for probably half of what I currently pay (about $100/week), I like having someone who understands the needs of a blogger I can give feedback to directly and don’t really have to train in any serious way.

And if they switch who they have working on my site, it’s on them to train the new people and make sure the editing schedule gets adhered to.

Right now, if we’re talking posts under 1,700 words, they prepare 10 articles a week for me.

I don’t publish quite that many as I have so many other tasks to juggle, and I only publish posts that are as good as they can be as I’m picky.

Here’s what they do to prepare the posts for me for final editing, main image, and publishing:

  • Run through Copyscape to ensure none of my writers are plagiarising
  • Use Grammarly to check spelling & Grammar (which I use the free plan for also)
  • Insert images throughout the post above each subheading (I like using embedded Twitter images)
  • Insert a relevant YouTube video above the final subheading
  • Insert answer targets at the top and below each subheading if the writers didn’t include them

I have 6 writers I’m using, which is down from the 8 I had previously.

Most came from an ad I ran on the Problogger job board, and 2 are on Upwork, and 1 is independent. They all have pros and cons; some are super fast, and others super thorough, and both of those have merit for different reasons.

I don’t just tell the writers the title of the articles and hope for the best though.

Instead, I give them an outline with the title, subheadings, internal links I want added, and I also spell out what I think the searcher intent is.

Not sure what I mean?

Figuring out searcher intent is KEY to writing the article that the Google searcher is looking for. Check out my ultimate SEO guide to learn more about how I do this, and all of the SEO tips and tricks I use (which are all free).

Just click that link to read it here on my site.

Logo expense – $0.

I did just pay for a new logo for my new Music Nerds HQ site launching shortly. But that expense will hit in April.

Bottom Line Net Profit Before Taxes – $67,124 (was $74,089)

That’s a monthly average net profit of $22,374.

So, after the major expenses, that’s an annualized net profit, again, before taxes get taken out, of $268,495.

Q2 of 2021 will see continued ads growth on the Hot Tub site and my 2 sites that started last October (RV Parenting and DojoLifeHQ) will be starting to get traffic, but won’t likely get ads or much revenue until Q3.

And the music nerds site I just started won’t start doing anything until Q4.

But I’m very happy with the growth.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR WEBSITE?

CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute Paid Consultation with Me!

In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s my interview on Income School’s YouTube channel!

What’s the #1 way to get started on a blog, YouTube channel, or other forms of internet marketing?

Project 24 (click to watch their video with all the details) is the only internet marketing course I’ve ever purchased, and it will be the only one I ever purchase.

It’s from the people over at Income School, and while they have a ton of great videos on YouTube, it was joining Project 24 that really started moving the needle forward.

I joined in April 2019, and that month, my income was $2,308.56

Compare that to June 2020 (last month at the time of this writing), and my income was $10,463.80. While I can’t say all of that 353% increase was due to what I learned in Project 24, a lot of it certainly was.

CLICK HERE to check out Project 24 with my affiliate link.

What do you get in Project 24?

A TON of different video module courses, the hub of which is their 60 steps to building a website. But then they also have courses (multiple videos in each one) on YouTube, search analysis/keyword research, monetization, and so much more.

And they add new courses a few times throughout the year.

Plus you get their WordPress theme, Acabado, totally free for as many sites as you want to use it on. And then there is their own internal forum where people like you and me constantly chime in to ask or answer questions (along with the whole Income School team).

Did I mention they have a weekly podcast for members only?

CLICK HERE to check out Project 24 with my affiliate link.

Want more detail on how I do what I do?

Watch this video I made that walks you through my processes step-by-step. I put it out on my hot tub YouTube channel, but while I mention that at the beginning, it’s not related to hot tubs at all; just blogging.

Income Report – 4th Quarter, 2020 – & Year End Wrap Up

This is my 4th income statement and the final income statement for 2020. If you missed my previous ones, just click here to check them out.

I publish these quarterly.

So this is for the 4th quarter of 2020; Oct-Dec. Virtually all of 2020 was a challenge for a lot of people all over the world. And while it was certainly unusual for me, my family, and my online business efforts, it has been my best year in many, many ways.

As you know if you read my 3rd quarter report, I was able to quit my day job in September and then head out on the road for a month with my family in our RV in October. It was a dream come true. I was also interviewed on the Income School YouTube channel while on the road. Check out that interview below.

Let’s get into the details. The 2020 yearly recap will follow the quarterly results.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR WEBSITE?

CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute Paid Consultation with Me!

GROSS REVENUE – $78,364

Generally speaking, my income does go up from month to month, but there have been occasional dips and spikes.

Quarter 4 was up 71% from quarter 3. Quarter 3 had a gross income of $45,794. Remember too that I have 4 sites with ads from Mediavine, so a good check of the revenue was just from ads on those 4 sites (details on that below).

Lastly, the YouTube channel I started for the hot tub site late April 2020 is doing really well too. I started a new YouTube channel in October, but it’s still struggling to get going, so no revenue there yet.

I also started 2 new websites in Q4 and am slowing down or stopping publishing on some of the older ones. 

My intention is to sell 2 of my existing sites in Q3 of 2021, and hopefully, those new sites will be earning something by then.

Aren’t familiar with selling websites?

Generally you multiple somewhere between 25-40 times the amount a website earns per month to get the figure it would likely sell for. So a website earning $2,000 per month could potentially sell for $80,000. 

Another good reason to start a website of your own!

So here’s looking forward to 2021!

Now, let’s break that down by month, category of income, and then by the website (remember, I have 4 websites, and a YouTube channel all earning).

October 2020

Gross income was $21,211

November 2020

Gross income was $27,477

December 2020

Gross income was $29,675

As you can see, the month over month increase was pretty good! All 3 months were also a fair amount better than any of the 3 previous months.

Blogging Income by Category for Q4 2020

Ads on my websites – $46,401

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s an increase in ad revenue of 86% over Q3! Not quite the 123% increase I saw between the previous quarters, but great nonetheless.

The grocery site has grown the fastest and is doing great on ads, but all sites are doing over $3,000/month each. Of course, I do expect that to drop off in Jan 2021 when ad revenues are traditionally low. But even with the January blues, ad revenue this month should still be well over $2,000 per site.

Again, here’s looking forward to 2021!

Here’s what I did in Q4 for each site in terms of RPM:

Again, RPM is the number of dollars for every 1,000 visitors to my sites. Anything over $20 is considered great, and Q4 is always considered the best quarter of the year due to the amount of shopping that takes place in Nov & Dec.

Middle Class Dad – $35.49 (was 27.56)

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $38.49 (was $25.12)

The Grocery Store Guy – $39.29 (was $31.27)

Hot Tub Owner HQ– $47.52 (was $34.19)

As you can see, the hot tub site earns the most per 1,000 visitors. So eventually, as my traffic grows (it’s the smallest of my 4 sites by a little bit), it will become the top ads earner. 

That’s due in large part to the demographics of who visits a site about hot tubs. Boomers with money, if I just say it like it is. And advertisers want to be in front of people like that.

Ads breakdown by website

Middle Class Dad – $7,802.81 (down from $4,517.31)

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $9,294.59 (up from $4,467.35)

The Grocery Store Guy – $18,743.47 (way up from $10,440.94)

Hot Tub Owner HQ – $10,560.95 (way up from $5,480.07)

Hot Tub Owner YouTube – $2,108 (up from 1,117)

Amazon Associates Affiliate Income – $7,523 (up from $3,302)

Again, if you’re keeping score at home, you’ll know that’s also up quite a bit from Q3.

Q3 saw Amazon at $3,302, so Q4 went up by 128%. My YouTube channel, linked to the hot tub site, did almost $500 on Amazon just last month alone.

Here’s the Amazon breakdown by website:

Middle Class Dad – $1,048 (down from $289)

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $1,180 (up from $571)

The Grocery Store Guy – $44 (this site is currently almost exclusively monetized with ads – (up from $21)

Hot Tub Owner HQ – $3,985 (up from $1,962)

Hot Tub Owner YouTube – $1,264 (up from $457)

Other Affiliate Income – $4,377 – up 25% (up from $3,515)

I use a number of other affiliate networks with small, but varying degrees of success.

I generate very small amounts of revenue from the following affiliate networks:

  • Max Bounty
  • FlexOffers
  • Commission Junction/CJ
  • Share a Sale
  • Impact Radius

Most of the affiliate revenue is from BetterHelp on my relationship posts, BuyerZone on both Hot Tub channels and the Grocery site, and Instacart on the grocery site.

A couple of the individual brands that have affiliate programs that I use:

Click on any of those affiliate links to check them out.

Of course, as with all affiliate links, the cost doesn’t increase to the purchaser. The product creator pays me a commission from their revenue when someone buys through my link.

So affiliate links are a great way to say thank you to whoever referred you.

Sponsored Posts – $17,219 (was $12,759)

I recapped sponsored posts in my last income report, but I’ll restate it again, more succinctly, here.

What is a sponsored post?

A sponsored post is basically a guest post that you get paid to publish.

In 99% of cases, the article isn’t optimized for SEO and will never generate traffic. They are short, sometimes poorly written, with bad grammar, and only designed to get the product or site owner a backlink.

They junk up your site, so for that reason, I backdate them a year so they don’t show up on my homepage. Basically, it was my sole method for generating revenue when I didn’t know any better.

While the money is good, I wish I never started doing them, and I only do them on this site and not any of my others.

It’s also not very passive since I have to physically paste their article in, do some minor editing & formatting, add an image, publish it, and then send them payment info in Paypal.

I look forward to my overall income being high enough to where I can stop doing these. And I only do them on this site and not my other 3 sites.

Consulting – $774 (was $193)

I started doing a little bit of consulting from my grocery website during Q3. After all, I worked for Whole Foods Market for almost 25 years, so it’s something I have a lot of experience in.

It’s not something I really push or advertise extensively. But I do have a Calendly form embedded on the site so it’s easy enough to find for someone that really wants to book a Zoom, Skype, or phone call with me to discuss their project.

I’ve recently added a form for internet marketing consulting too as it’s obviously working for me.

While I do recommend (and use) the Project 24 blogging & Youtube course, I do feel like I have insights unique to my journey that can help others too.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR WEBSITE?

CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute Paid Consultation with Me!

Blogging Expenses by Category for Q4 2020 – $4,275. (was $5,935)

Tailwind for Pinterest scheduling – $104.88 (but paid annually at $419.52)

I only do Pinterest currently with this site and not my other 5. With a full-time job and a wife and 3 kids, I don’t have time for more Pinterest.

On my newer sites, I just focus on Organic Google traffic.

But this site was created when I didn’t know as much and a lot of my articles were done with either poor search analysis or poor competition analysis. So being on Pinterest allows me to get a lot of traffic to this site I wouldn’t otherwise get.

And Tailwind is essential if you want to be on Pinterest! It’s a little slow, and occasionally buggy. And like Pinterest itself, not 100% accurate on the analytics. 

But you can’t really do a serious business with Pinterest without it.

CLICK HERE to check out Tailwind with my affiliate link

WPX Website Hosting – $149.97

This went up as I upgraded with WPX to allow for more than 5 websites. 

I was paying $24.99/month, and unfortunately, the next level up is double that. But I needed that as I was launching my 2 new sites, and also host sites for my brother and brother-in-law respectively.

I used Siteground for years on all my sites, and I still think they are decent, especially when you’re starting and don’t have much money to spend. You can get started with Siteground for under $5.00/month. 

Want to get started with them? CLICK HERE to check out Siteground with my affiliate link

I moved to WPX as I wanted a faster host and one that I could grow with as my combined traffic was over 100,000 monthly page views. Siteground starts to get expensive after your initial policy renews, and I also felt their service had gone down, as had my site speed.

So after 2 months of investigation, I settled on WPX and overall have been very happy. 

So if you have more than 1 site and decent traffic (over 50k monthly page views), I would highly recommend them.

CLICK HERE to check out WPX with my affiliate link

ConvertKit email service provider – $110.25 (billed annually at $441)

Honestly, email is pretty frustrating. It certainly doesn’t pay for itself. In a way, I wish I’d never started a list (one of a few things I did because Pat Flynn said to do it that hasn’t panned out for me).

ConvertKit is the best of the 4 companies I’ve used (MailChimp, Mailerlite, Constant Contact). But they are also the most expensive, by far.

If you want to build a personal brand or offer a membership site or a course, ConvertKit is a great way to build that list and create drip campaigns. 

It can also work really well if you’re doing affiliate marketing and using Facebook ads to drive traffic to landing page opt-in pages (which you can create in ConvertKit) and then drip them emails once they opt-in pushing them to a product or service.

I do not do list building on my other 3 sites and am not sure I ever will due to the expense and time involved in setting everything up initially.

CLICK HERE to check out ConvertKit with my affiliate link

Hired Writers & editor – $3,810. (was $5,417)

I was surprised myself to see this had gone down. However, I have lost 3 writers and not replaced them, and I’m not adding any new posts to the kitchen site other than a few I have already written I haven’t published yet.

I changed editors right before the start of Q4 and now use the company Get It Done For Me Virtual Services.

They use VAs based in the Philippians, and while I could hire one or more of them directly on the website Onlinejobs.ph for probably half of what I currently pay (about $100/week), I like having someone who understands the needs of a blogger I can give feedback to directly and don’t really have to train in any serious way.

And if they switch who they have working on my site, it’s on them to train the new people and make sure the editing schedule gets adhered to.

Right now, if we’re talking posts under 1,700 words, they prepare 10 articles a week for me.

I don’t publish quite that many as I have so many other tasks to juggle, and I only publish posts that are as good as they can be as I’m picky.

Here’s what they do to prepare the posts for me for final editing, main image, and publishing:

  • Run through Copyscape to ensure none of my writers are plagiarising
  • Use Grammarly to check spelling & Grammar (which I use the free plan for also)
  • Insert images throughout the post above each subheading (I like using embedded Twitter images)
  • Insert a relevant YouTube video above the final subheading
  • Insert answer targets at the top and below each subheading if the writers didn’t include them

I have 6 writers I’m using, which is down from the 8 I had previously.

Most came from an ad I ran on the Problogger job board, and 2 are on Upwork, and 1 is independent. They all have pros and cons; some are super fast, and others super thorough, and both of those have merit for different reasons.

I don’t just tell the writers the title of the articles and hope for the best though.

Instead, I give them an outline with the title, subheadings, internal links I want added, and I also spell out what I think the searcher intent is.

Not sure what I mean?

Figuring out searcher intent is KEY to writing the article that the Google searcher is looking for. Check out my ultimate SEO guide to learn more about how I do this, and all of the SEO tips and tricks I use (which are all free).

Just click that link to read it here on my site.

Logo expense – $100.

Having paid for 2 logos in Q3, I realized how much better they were than the ones I was creating, so I got the same guy to do 1 more for me. I found them on 48 Hour Logo and I liked the process (different designers submit designs and I pick the one I like the best at a set price of $120.

Now some of the logos submitted were pretty bad and looked like something I could have done in about 2 minutes using Photoshop. But there were enough good submissions for me to feel good about recommending them.

Bottom Line Net Profit Before Taxes – $74,089 (was $39,859)

That’s a monthly average net profit of $24,696.

So, after the major expenses, that’s an annualized net profit, again, before taxes get taken out, of $296,355, or an increase over Q3’s net profit of 86%. The previous increase was 72% so we’re heading in the right direction!

Q1 of 2021 will see continued ads growth on the Hot Tub site especially and ads added to the hot tub YouTube site, although they feel flat despite my adding new videos each week.

I also need to think of ways to add monetization to the grocery site aside from ads.

But I’m very happy with the growth.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR WEBSITE?

CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute Paid Consultation with Me!

2020 Recap

Total Gross Revenue – $167,484

Total Expenses – $14,065

Total Bottom Line Profits – $153,418

Final thoughts

As you can see, 2020 was a banner year for me despite the obvious challenges my family and all families have faced this year.

I started 2020 earning a gross of $6,116, and last month grossed $29,675. That means over the course of 2020, my overall gross revenue increased by 385%!

Adding more than 1 website was key to that, and also jumping onto YouTube (although I don’t feel like that’s crucial for success if you’re hesitant).

Now, I’m no genius. So if you want to do what I’m doing, there’s no reason you can’t!

And again with how 2020 has gone so far, there’s really no better time than now to take your future into your own hands and take control of your destiny.

Here’s my interview on the Income School YouTube channel as promised!

What’s the #1 way to get started on a blog, YouTube channel, or other forms of internet marketing?

Project 24 (click to watch their video with all the details) is the only internet marketing course I’ve ever purchased, and it will be the only one I ever purchase.

It’s from the people over at Income School, and while they have a ton of great videos on YouTube, it was joining Project 24 that really started moving the needle forward.

I joined in April 2019, and that month, my income was $2,308.56

Compare that to June 2020 (last month at the time of this writing), and my income was $10,463.80. While I can’t say all of that 353% increase was due to what I learned in Project 24, a lot of it certainly was.

CLICK HERE to check out Project 24 with my affiliate link.

What do you get in Project 24?

A TON of different video module courses, the hub of which is their 60 steps to building a website. But then they also have courses (multiple videos in each one) on YouTube, search analysis/keyword research, monetization, and so much more.

And they add new courses a few times throughout the year.

Plus you get their WordPress theme, Acabado, totally free for as many sites as you want to use it on. And then there is their own internal forum where people like you and me constantly chime in to ask or answer questions (along with the whole Income School team).

Did I mention they have a weekly podcast for members only?

CLICK HERE to check out Project 24 with my affiliate link.

Want more detail on how I do what I do?

Watch this video I made that walks you through my processes step-by-step. I put it out on my hot tub YouTube channel, but while I mention that at the beginning, it’s not related to hot tubs at all; just blogging.

Income Report – 3rd Quarter, 2020

This is my 3rd income statement. If you missed my previous ones, just click here to check them out.

I publish these quarterly.

So this is for the 3rd quarter of 2020; July-Sept. Those months of 2020 have been pretty challenging for much of the world. Luckily, being homebound has meant people have plenty of time to surf the web looking for solutions to their problems.

So many websites, including mine, have done well during this time. Being homebound also gave me more free time to work on the sites as I formerly had an almost 2-hour daily commute. Then I switched to part-time in July 2020 as my company’s sales started lagging. But did I make enough to finally quit my day job??

Let’s get into the details.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR WEBSITE?

CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute Paid Consultation with Me!

GROSS REVENUE – $45,794

Generally speaking, my income does go up from month to month, but there have been occasional dips and spikes.

Quarter 3 was up 79% from quarter 2. Quarter 2 had a gross income of $25,594. My ad revenue went up a lot both due to traffic on my grocery site skyrocketing, but also I just put ads on the hot tub site at the end of Q2, so those numbers went up a lot also.

Lastly, the YouTube channel I started for the hot tub site late April 2020 is doing really well too.

So here’s looking forward to Q4!

Now, let’s break that down by month, category of income, and then by the website (remember, I have 4 websites, and also recently started a YouTube channel for one of those others).

But in Q3, I have started 2 new websites and a new YouTube channel. I’m not ready to talk about those in detail yet, but will in 2021 income reports as they start to gain traction.

Eventually, I plan to sell both this site and my kitchen site.

Aren’t familiar with selling websites? Generally you multiple somewhere between 25-40 times the amount a website earns per month to get the figure it would likely sell for. So a website earning $2,000 per month could potentially sell for $80,000. 

Another good reason to start a website of your own!

July 2020

Gross income was $11,860

August 2020

Gross income was $14,606

September 2020

Gross income was $19,327

As you can see, the month over month increase was pretty good! All 3 months were also a fair amount better than any of the 3 previous months.

Blogging Income by Category for Q3 2020

Ads on my websites – $24,905

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s an increase in ad revenue of 123% over Q2!

As I mentioned above, in Q2, I was able to add my 3rd website (all about grocery stores and my experience working for Whole Foods Market 20+ years) and my 4th website (all about hot tubs) to Mediavine who controls all the ads on my sites.

The grocery site has grown the fastest and is doing great on ads. The hot tub site got added in mid-June, so it’s now contributing over $2k/month.

Again, here’s looking forward to Q4!

One thing that’s interesting to look at is the RPM, or revenue for every 1,000 visitors to my sites. 

Using Google Adsense for your ads, you’d be lucky to earn $6.00 per 1,000 visitors. Here’s what I did in Q3 for each site in terms of RPM:

Middle Class Dad – $27.56 (was 24.11)

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $25.12 (was $19.77)

The Grocery Store Guy – $31.27 (was $20.50)

Hot Tub Owner HQ– $34.19 (was $26.49)

As you can see, the hot tub site earns the most per 1,000 visitors. So eventually, as my traffic grows (it’s the smallest of my 4 sites by a little bit), it will become the top ads earner. 

That’s due in large part to the demographics of who visits a site about hot tubs. Boomers with money, if I just say it like it is. And advertisers want to be in front of people like that.

Ads breakdown by website

Middle Class Dad – $4,517.31 (down from $5,003.68)

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $4,467.35 (up from $2,621.93)

The Grocery Store Guy – $10,440.94 (way up from $2,716.63)

Hot Tub Owner HQ – $5,480.07 (way up from $811.43)

Hot Tub Owner YouTube – $1,117 (up from 0)

Amazon Associates Affiliate Income – $3,302

Again, if you’re keeping score at home, you’ll know that’s also up quite a bit from Q2.

Q2 saw Amazon at $2,184, so Q3 went up by 51%. Ironically, this site, Middle Class Dad, seems to be decreasing in Amazon sales, but my other sites keep getting better and better.

But I also rarely add new articles to this site, but that will be changing for the remainder of 2020 when I plan to add 30 more articles in preparation to sell the site.

My YouTube channel, linked to the hot tub site, did almost $300 on Amazon just last month alone.

Here’s the Amazon breakdown by website:

Middle Class Dad – $289 (down from $570.94)

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $571 (up from $407.74)

The Grocery Store Guy – $21 (this site is currently almost exclusively monetized with ads)

Hot Tub Owner HQ – $1,962 (up from $1,194.57)

Hot Tub Owner YouTube – $457 (up from $11 bucks)

Other Affiliate Income – $3,515 – up 523%!

I use a number of other affiliate networks with small, but varying degrees of success.

I generate very small amounts of revenue from the following affiliate networks:

  • Max Bounty
  • FlexOffers
  • Commission Junction/CJ
  • Share a Sale
  • Impact Radius

But the biggest difference in Q3 came from adding BetterHelp affiliate links to my relationship posts on this site. BetterHelp does online therapy so it was a perfect option during the pandemic.

We’ll see if it holds up over time though.

A couple of the individual brands that have affiliate programs that I use:

Click on any of those affiliate links to check them out.

Of course, as with all affiliate links, the cost doesn’t increase to the purchaser. The product creator pays me a commission from their revenue when someone buys through my link.

So affiliate links are a great way to say thank you to whoever referred you.

Sponsored Posts – $12,759

This is almost the exact same dollar amount that I had in Q2; just up slightly. So the good news is that all the increase from Q3 over Q3 is coming from truly passive income; articles I have already written, edited and published (in most cases long prior to Q3).

I recapped sponsored posts in my last income report, but I’ll restate it again, more succinctly, here.

What is a sponsored post?

A sponsored post is basically a guest post that you get paid to publish.

In 99% of cases, the article isn’t optimized for SEO and will never generate traffic. They are short, sometimes poorly written, with bad grammar, and only designed to get the product or site owner a backlink.

They junk up your site, but for that reason, I backdate them a year so they don’t show up on my homepage. Basically, it was my sole method for generating revenue when I didn’t know any better.

It’s also not very passive since I have to physically paste their article in, do some minor editing & formating, add an image, publish it, and then send them payment info in Paypal.

I look forward to my overall income being high enough to where I can stop doing these. And I only do them on this site and not my other 3 sites.

Consulting – $193.60

I started doing a little bit of consulting from my grocery website during Q3. After all, I worked for Whole Foods Market for almost 25 years, so it’s something I have a lot of experience in.

It’s not something I really push or advertise extensively. But I do have a Calendly form embedded on the site so it’s easy enough to find for someone that really wants to book a Zoom, Skype, or phone call with me to discuss their project.

Blogging Expenses by Category for Q3 2020 – $5,935.

Tailwind for Pinterest scheduling – $104.88 (but paid annually at $419.52)

I only do Pinterest currently with this site and not my other 3. With a full-time job and a wife and 3 kids, I don’t have time for more Pinterest.

But Tailwind is essential if you want to be on Pinterest! It’s a little slow, and occasionally buggy. And like Pinterest itself, not 100% accurate on the analytics. 

But you can’t really do a serious business with Pinterest without it.

CLICK HERE to check out Tailwind with my affiliate link

WPX Website Hosting – $74.97

I used Siteground for years on all my sites, and I still think they are decent, especially when you’re starting and don’t have much money to spend. You can get started with Siteground for under $5.00/month. 

Want to get started with them? CLICK HERE to check out Siteground with my affiliate link

I moved to WPX as I wanted a faster host and one that I could grow with as my combined traffic was over 100,000 monthly page views. Siteground starts to get expensive after your initial policy renews, and I also felt their service had gone down, as had my site speed.

So after 2 months of investigation, I settled on WPX and overall have been very happy. 

So if you have more than 1 site and decent traffic (over 50k monthly page views), I would highly recommend them.

CLICK HERE to check out WPX with my affiliate link

Note, this will go up in Q4 as I had maxed out how many sites I could have and I wanted to add 2 more.

ConvertKit email service provider – $110.25 (billed annually at $441)

Honestly, email is pretty frustrating. It certainly doesn’t pay for itself. In a way, I wish I’d never started a list (one of a few things I did because Pat Flynn said to do it that hasn’t panned out for me).

ConvertKit is the best of the 4 companies I’ve used (MailChimp, Mailerlite, Constant Contact). But they are also the most expensive, by far.

If you want to build a personal brand or offer a membership site or a course, ConvertKit is a great way to build that list and create drip campaigns. 

It can also work really well if you’re doing affiliate marketing and using Facebook ads to drive traffic to landing page opt-in pages (which you can create in ConvertKit) and then drip them emails once they opt-in pushing them to a product or service.

I do not do list building on my other 3 sites and am not sure I ever will due to the expense and time involved in setting everything up initially.

CLICK HERE to check out ConvertKit with my affiliate link

Hired Writers & editor – $5,417. 

This expense doubled in Q3 as I started cranking out more content, added more writers and added an editor to speed up the process of publishing them.

The editor (who I recently let go) was a big help in general as they added images, ran the articles through Copyscape to check for copyrite infringement, and touched them up enough where I could usually do final edits and add a main featured image in under 30 minutes.

I stopped using him as twice he went about a week of not doing anything and then cranked out a week’s worth of work in 2 days and the work was sloppy and subpar due to how quickly he was working.

I let him know the 1st time, that my work flow requires him doing at least 1 article per day 5-7 days a week. And that for the future, if he had any issues preventing that to let me know ahead of time.

He didn’t so, I had to move on and find someone more consistent. I’m in the process of hiring that person now (a company actually) so I’ll have more to say in the next income report.

But right now, I have 8 writers I feel good about.

And that enables me to write and publish about 2-3 articles per week on my other 3 sites. I don’t add to this site often but may start to ramp it up again. But having writers has enabled me to grow my other 3 sites much faster than I would have been able to do myself.

In Q3, I also hired an editor to help speed up that process, so you’ll see that expense, and the tool I use to manage that, in my Q3 report. But I’m in the process of switching my editor to another company that will increase the cost a little.

Logo expense – $228.

I decided to get a professional to design a new logo for my kitchen site and also to do a logo for one of my 2 new sites. I found them on 48 Hour Logo and I liked the process (different designers submit designs and I pick the one I like the best at a set price of $120.

Now some of the logos submitted were pretty bad and looked like something I could have done in about 2 minutes using Photoshop. But there were enough good submissions for me to feel good about recommending them.

Bottom Line Net Profit Before Taxes – $39,859

That’s a monthly average net profit of $13,286.

So, after the major expenses, that’s an annualized net profit, again, before taxes get taken out, of $159,436, or an increase over Q2’s net profit of 72%. The previous increase was 38% so we’re heading in the right direction!

Q3 will see continued ads growth on the Hot Tub site especially and ads added to the hot tub YouTube site. I also need to think of ways to add monetization to the grocery site aside from ads.

But I’m very happy with the growth.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR WEBSITE?

CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute Paid Consultation with Me!

Final thoughts

As you can see, it’s taken me almost 4 years to reach a full-time income.

And I finally quit my day job in early September 2020 so I could focus on this full-time. Now to be fair, I gave them notice through 9/22 so I’ve only been at this full-time a short while and I’ve been doing the work in an RV traveling with my family for most of the time since.

But full-time blogger I am (why did I type that like Yoda??)

Now, I’m no genius. So if you want to do what I’m doing, there’s no reason you can’t!

And again with how 2020 has gone so far, there’s really no better time than now to take your future into your own hands and take control of your destiny.

What’s the #1 way to get started on a blog, YouTube channel, or other forms of internet marketing?

Project 24 (click to watch their video with all the details) is the only internet marketing course I’ve ever purchased, and it will be the only one I ever purchase.

It’s from the people over at Income School, and while they have a ton of great videos on YouTube, it was joining Project 24 that really started moving the needle forward.

I joined in April 2019, and that month, my income was $2,308.56

Compare that to June 2020 (last month at the time of this writing), and my income was $10,463.80. While I can’t say all of that 353% increase was due to what I learned in Project 24, a lot of it certainly was.

CLICK HERE to check out Project 24 with my affiliate link.

What do you get in Project 24?

A TON of different video module courses, the hub of which is their 60 steps to building a website. But then they also have courses (multiple videos in each one) on YouTube, search analysis/keyword research, monetization, and so much more.

And they add new courses a few times throughout the year.

Plus you get their WordPress theme, Acabado, totally free for as many sites as you want to use it on. And then there is their own internal forum where people like you and me constantly chime in to ask or answer questions (along with the whole Income School team).

Did I mention they have a weekly podcast for members only?

CLICK HERE to check out Project 24 with my affiliate link.

Income Report – 2nd Quarter, 2020

This is my 2nd income statement. If you missed my 1st income statement, just click here to check it out.

As I mentioned in that one, I’ll be publishing these quarterly.

So this is for the 2nd quarter of 2020; April-June. Those months of 2020 have been pretty challenging for much of the world. Luckily, being homebound has meant people have plenty of time to surf the web looking for solutions to their problems.

So many websites, including mine, have done well during this time. Let’s get into the details.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR WEBSITE?

CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute Paid Consultation with Me!

GROSS REVENUE – $25,594

Generally speaking, my income does go up from month to month, but there have been occasional dips and spikes.

Quarter 2 was up 37% from quarter 1. Quarter 1 had a gross income of $18,657. I was able to get ads on my 3rd and 4th websites during this time although especially in the case of the 4th site (my hot tub site), the ad revenue had only barely been going when Q2 ended.

My YouTube channel has earned a few pennies, but I should be eligible for ads on it sometime in the next 2 months.

So here’s looking forward to Q3!

Now, let’s break that down by month, category of income, and then by the website (remember, I have 4 websites, and also recently started a YouTube channel for one of those others).

April 2020

Gross income was $6,787.08

May 2020

Gross income was $8,343.65

June 2020

Gross income was $10,463.80

As you can see, the month over month increase was pretty good! All 3 months were also a fair amount better than any of the 3 previous months.

Blogging Income by Category for Q2 2020

Ads on my websites – $11,154.54

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s an increase in ad revenue of 106% over Q1!

As I mentioned above, in Q2, I was able to add my 3rd website (all about grocery stores and my experience working for Whole Foods Market 20+ years) and my 4th website (all about hot tubs) to Mediavine who controls all the ads on my sites.

The grocery site has grown the fastest and is doing great on ads. The hot tub site got added in mid-June, so it only barely contributed to the ad income.

Again, here’s looking forward to Q3!

One thing that’s interesting to look at is the RPM, or revenue for every 1,000 visitors to my sites. 

Using Google Adsense for your ads, you’d be lucky to earn $6.00 per 1,000 visitors. Here’s what I did in Q2 for each site in terms of RPM:

Middle Class Dad – $24.11

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $19.77

The Grocery Store Guy – $20.50

Hot Tub Owner HQ– $26.49

As you can see, the hot tub site earns the most per 1,000 visitors. So eventually, as my traffic grows (it’s by far the smallest of my 4 sites), it will become the top ads earner. 

That’s due in large part to the demographics of who visits a site about hot tubs. Boomers with money, if I just say it like it is. And advertisers want to be in front of people like that.

Ads breakdown by website

Middle Class Dad – $5,003.68

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $2,621.93

The Grocery Store Guy – $2,716.63 

Hot Tub Owner HQ – $811.43 (got added mid-June)

Amazon Associates Affiliate Income – $2,184.35

Again, if you’re keeping score at home, you’ll know that’s also up quite a bit from Q1.

Q1 saw Amazon at $948.67, so Q2 skyrocketed by 130%. Ironically, this site, Middle Class Dad, seems to be decreasing in Amazon sales, but my other sites keep getting better and better.

My YouTube channel, linked to the hot tub site, should also eventually do pretty well on Amazon.

Here’s the Amazon breakdown by website:

Middle Class Dad – $570.94 (down 6% from Q1)

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $407.74 (up 59% from Q1)

The Grocery Store Guy – $0 (this site is currently almost exclusively monetized with ads)

Hot Tub Owner HQ – $1,194.57 (up 1281% from Q1 as the traffic started to kick in)

Other Affiliate Income – $564.30

I use a number of other affiliate networks with small, but varying degrees of success.

I generate very small amounts of revenue from the following affiliate networks:

  • Max Bounty
  • Clickbank
  • FlexOffers
  • Commission Junction/CJ
  • Share a Sale
  • Impact Radius

As I mentioned last time, I got suspended from Clickbank in June 2020 for high refunds.

They never even told me which product I was promoting that was getting high refunds. They also never gave me a warning. I just tried to log in one day and got a vague message my account had been suspended.

Anyway, I did make some decent money from Clickbank, but I don’t want to work for a company that would treat their partners that way, so I’m not likely to be back when the 90 days are up.

A couple of the individual brands that have affiliate programs that I use:

Click on any of those affiliate links to check them out.

Of course, as with all affiliate links, the cost doesn’t increase to the purchaser. The product creator pays me a commission from their revenue when someone buys through my link.

So affiliate links are a great way to say thank you to whoever referred you.

Sponsored Posts – $12,101.16

This is almost the exact same dollar amount that I had in Q1. So the good news is that all the increase from Q2 over Q1 is coming from truly passive income; articles I have already written, edited and published (in most cases long prior to Q2).

I recapped sponsored posts in my last income report, but I’ll restate it again, more succinctly, here.

What is a sponsored post?

A sponsored post is basically a guest post that you get paid to publish.

In 99% of cases, the article isn’t optimized for SEO and will never generate traffic. They are short, sometimes poorly written, with bad grammar, and only designed to get the product or site owner a backlink.

They junk up your site, but for that reason, I backdate them a year so they don’t show up on my homepage. Basically, it was my sole method for generating revenue when I didn’t know any better.

It’s also not very passive since I have to physically paste their article in, do some minor editing & formating, add an image, publish it, and then send them payment info in Paypal.

I look forward to my overall income being high enough to where I can stop doing these. And I only do them on this site and not my other 3 sites.

Blogging Expenses by Category for Q1 2020 – $240.12

Tailwind for Pinterest scheduling – $104.88 (but paid annually at $419.52)

I only do Pinterest currently with this site and not my other 3. With a full-time job and a wife and 3 kids, I don’t have time for more Pinterest.

But Tailwind is essential if you want to be on Pinterest! It’s a little slow, and occasionally buggy. And like Pinterest itself, not 100% accurate on the analytics. 

But you can’t really do a serious business with Pinterest without it.

CLICK HERE to check out Tailwind with my affiliate link

WPX Website Hosting – $24.99

I used Siteground for years on all my sites, and I still think they are decent, especially when you’re starting and don’t have much money to spend. You can get started with Siteground for under $5.00/month. 

Want to get started with them? CLICK HERE to check out Siteground with my affiliate link

I moved to WPX as I wanted a faster host and one that I could grow with as my combined traffic was over 100,000 monthly page views. Siteground starts to get expensive after your initial policy renews, and I also felt their service had gone down, as had my site speed.

So after 2 months of investigation, I settled on WPX and overall have been very happy. 

So if you have more than 1 site and decent traffic (over 50k monthly page views), I would highly recommend them.

CLICK HERE to check out WPX with my affiliate link

ConvertKit email service provider – $110.25 (billed annually at $441)

Honestly, email is pretty frustrating. It certainly doesn’t pay for itself. In a way, I wish I’d never started a list (one of a few things I did because Pat Flynn said to do it that hasn’t panned out for me).

ConvertKit is the best of the 4 companies I’ve used (MailChimp, Mailerlite, Constant Contact). But they are also the most expensive, by far.

If you want to build a personal brand or offer a membership site or a course, ConvertKit is a great way to build that list and create drip campaigns. 

It can also work really well if you’re doing affiliate marketing and using Facebook ads to drive traffic to landing page opt-in pages (which you can create in ConvertKit) and then drip them emails once they opt-in pushing them to a product or service.

I do not do list building on my other 3 sites and am not sure I ever will due to the expense and time involved in setting everything up initially.

CLICK HERE to check out ConvertKit with my affiliate link

Hired Writers – $2,243.50

I forgot to include this in my Q1 report and my initial version of this post.

Hiring out writers is still somewhat new to me. I began experimenting with it in the fall of 2019 with mixed results. At this point, I’ve tried iWriter, We Write Blog Posts, Text Goods, and hiring on both the Upwork platform and ProBlogger job board.

In the end, I got very mixed results from iWriter at a great price. But ultimately I was spending almost as much time editing those posts as it would have taken me to write them from scratch.

TextGoods and We Write Blog Posts were both significantly better (but not without some issues), but also much higher priced. Great if you have good income and you just want to crank out content. But I’m still growing and their prices are twice as much as the other services I tried.

In the end, my current staff of writers is a mix of ones I found on ProBlogger and Upwork. 

My best writer, by far, is on Upwork and cranks out awesome posts at 2 cents a word. I have had the occasional issue with plagiarism from some of the other writers, and these days run all posts through Copyscape to check.

After all, most writers you hire won’t be experts in your niche. So they’ll be Googling your topic and reading other blog posts. Then the less scrupulous ones might cut and paste small sections from other articles and not even take the time to re-write them.

I’ve also had bad or mediocre writers from both platforms too.

But right now, I have 6 writers I feel good about.

And that enables me to write and publish about 2-3 articles per week on my other 3 sites. I don’t add to this site often but may start to ramp it up again. But having writers has enabled me to grow my other 3 sites much faster than I would have been able to do myself.

In Q3, I also hired an editor to help speed up that process, so you’ll see that expense, and the tool I use to manage that, in my Q3 report.

Bottom Line Net Profit Before Taxes – $23,110.38

So, after the major expenses, that’s an annualized net profit, again, before taxes get taken out, of $101,415.22, or an increase over Q1’s net profit of 38%.

Q3 will see continued ads growth on the Hot Tub site especially and ads added to the hot tub YouTube site. I also need to think of ways to add monetization to the grocery site aside from ads.

But I’m very happy with the growth.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR WEBSITE?

CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute Paid Consultation with Me!

Final thoughts

As you can see, it’s taken me almost 4 years to reach what could definitely be a full-time income.

My personal goal is to hit $10,000/month for at least 3 months in a row before I consider leaving the safety and security of my day job. June was my 1st month hitting that. But if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. And to be patient.

Now, I’m no genius. So if you want to do what I’m doing, there’s no reason you can’t!

And again with how 2020 has gone so far, there’s really no better time than now to take your future into your own hands and take control of your destiny.

What’s the #1 way to get started on a blog, YouTube channel, or other forms of internet marketing?

Project 24 (click to watch their video with all the details) is the only internet marketing course I’ve ever purchased, and it will be the only one I ever purchase.

It’s from the people over at Income School, and while they have a ton of great videos on YouTube, it was joining Project 24 that really started moving the needle forward.

I joined in April 2019, and that month, my income was $2,308.56

Compare that to June 2020 (last month at the time of this writing), and my income was $10,463.80. While I can’t say all of that 353% increase was due to what I learned in Project 24, a lot of it certainly was.

CLICK HERE to check out Project 24 with my affiliate link.

What do you get in Project 24?

A TON of different video module courses, the hub of which is their 60 steps to building a website. But then they also have courses (multiple videos in each one) on YouTube, search analysis/keyword research, monetization, and so much more.

And they add new courses a few times throughout the year.

Plus you get their WordPress theme, Acabado, totally free for as many sites as you want to use it on. And then there is their own internal forum where people like you and me constantly chime in to ask or answer questions (along with the whole Income School team).

Did I mention they have a weekly podcast for members only?

CLICK HERE to check out Project 24 with my affiliate link.

Income Report – 1st Quarter, 2020

Well, here I am creating my very first blogging income report for my website. I used to see Pat Flynn do this and always wondered why in the world would he share that and why in the world would anyone care?

But I wasn’t motivated (significantly) by how much money he was making.

No. I wanted the freedom and the flexibility to work when I wanted and from wherever I wanted while helping others. I also wanted more time with my family and less commuting.

Those were my motivations.

I’ve come a long way since then, and have since started 3 other websites too. My perspective on almost everything has shifted too. But I realize that for those just starting out in blogging, it can be helpful to know where to focus your time and energy.

After all, there are a million gurus in internet marketing all telling you to do different things.

And if you do all those things (you know, the supposed get rich quick schemes), you’ll likely just waste a lot of time and a lot of money and not get the results you want. If I’ve figured out anything, it’s that:

  • There’s nothing as important as just hitting publish on content you created (or hired writers to create)
  • You aren’t going to find some magic secret that all the gurus know that you don’t which will make things accelerate super fast
  • Find what is actually driving traffic to your website and double down on those actions
  • Eliminate any actions that aren’t driving traffic to your website (even if the gurus say you should keep doing it)

I’m going to publish income reports quarterly rather than monthly.

So this is for the 1st quarter of 2020; Jan-March. I’ll break down both income and expenses so you can see where I generated income, and what I spent money on to do that.

GROSS REVENUE – $18,657.72

Generally speaking, my income does go up from month to month, but there have been occasional dips and spikes.

2019 was 179% better than in 2018, for example. But month over month, the increase varies between 2% and 20% with somewhere around 9% growth being about average.

Of course, I started this site in 2016 and made virtually nothing for a long time.

I made nothing in 2016, and for all of 2017, I made $1,643.56, and the bulk of that was doing contract work for an internet startup company called BublUp. They found me through this website, but the work wasn’t directly tied to my site.

Now, let’s break that down by month, category of income, and then by the website (remember, I have 4 websites, and also recently started a YouTube channel for one of those others).

January 2020

Gross income was $6,116.91

February 2020

Gross income was $6,032.05

March 2020

Gross income was $6,508.76

Blogging Income by Category for Q1 2020

Ads on my websites – $5,407.65

I use Mediavine for the ads that appear on all 4 of my websites.

They are a great company, the ads are easy to implement, and their customer service is great. It used to be a little easier to get started with them. However, they did recently change to where they now require a minimum of 50,000 monthly sessions (not page views which will be slightly higher) to qualify.

That’s lower than AdThrive which is the other premium ad broker out there, who I believe requires 100,000 monthly sessions.

Personally, I would avoid ever using Google AdSense. You just won’t ever make much money with them. And it’s not nearly as easy to add them as it is a premium ad broker.

As an example, the last month I had AdSense ads on this site, I made $86.20 in ad revenue.

Then my first full month with Mediavine was $479.58. And it didn’t take more than a few months for that to triple. If you don’t have 50,000 monthly sessions, I would probably start using Ezoic when you’re at 10,000 monthly sessions. 

Then switch to Mediavine when you hit 50,000.

If you have under 10,000 monthly sessions, you won’t generate hardly anything in ad revenue anyway, so you’re better off just waiting and focusing on content creation and driving traffic to your website.

Ads breakdown by website

Middle Class Dad – $4,381.52

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $1,026.13

The Grocery Store Guy – $0 (got approved at the end of March, but will have some impressive Q2 numbers)

Hot Tub Owner HQ – $0 (got approved at the end of May, but will have some impressive Q3 numbers)

Amazon Associates Affiliate Income – $948.67

Admittedly, Amazon isn’t a great affiliate program, it’s just easy.

The commission rates keep dropping, and honestly, in a few years, they might not even have an affiliate program. Unfortunately, other companies follow them, so you’ll also see low rates on other trusted online retailers like Walmart and Home Depot too.

But, EVERYONE knows, likes, and trusts Amazon.

That means if you recommend something from Amazon, if it solves a problem that person is having, they are likely to click over and buy it. And they are FAR more likely to do that compared to if you were linking to the same item on some website they have never heard of.

So while other internet marketing gurus are losing their shirts over the March 2020 commission rate cut, I’m just proceeding like normal. I’ll still look for new programs out there.

But if the conversion rate (the percentage of people who click over and then actually buy) is 2-3 times higher with Amazon that with other companies, unless you find a company with 10% commissions or better, it’s probably not worth moving away from Amazon.

Here’s the Amazon breakdown by website:

Middle Class Dad – $604.98

Kitchen Appliance HQ – $257.19

The Grocery Store Guy – $0 (this site is currently almost exclusively monetized with ads)

Hot Tub Owner HQ – $86.50 (was still somewhat low traffic. It is now the biggest Amazon payout)

Other Affiliate Income – $858.04

I use a number of other affiliate networks with small, but varying degrees of success.

When I first realized I could monetize my blog, I signed up for every program under the sun. That was a mistake. Instead, take the time to really understand the problems of your audience/readers, and what the best solution is for them.

I generate very small amounts of revenue from the following affiliate networks:

  • Max Bounty
  • Clickbank
  • FlexOffers
  • Commission Junction/CJ
  • Share a Sale
  • Impact Radius

All of those are brokers, meaning they represent many different companies with affiliate programs.

Very few companies actually run their own affiliate program by themselves. So you have to first join one of the above companies. Then you have to find individual programs in their system. And in most cases, you have to then apply to each individual program.

I got suspended from Clickbank in June 2020 for high refunds.

But of course, I’m just promoting their products, so I don’t understand why they penalized me (and they didn’t explain). Since I promoted several Clickbank products, they didn’t even tell me which product it was that had high refund requests (and I wasn’t even seeing more than 1 refund a month).

So I’ve moved my links over to other networks and won’t likely be back if that’s how they treat the people keeping them in business.

I never even had a warning or notice that refunds were high, and didn’t do anything other than recommending products in my articles. And a suspension is for 90 days. 

90 days would be a loss of revenue of at last a couple hundred bucks, and my links would still be sending them sales for which I would get nothing.

So goodbye, Clickbank!

A couple of the individual brands that have affiliate programs that I use:

Click on any of those affiliate links to check them out.

Of course, as with all affiliate links, the cost doesn’t increase to the purchaser. The product creator pays me a commission from their revenue when someone buys through my link.

So affiliate links are a great way to say thank you to whoever referred you.

Sponsored Posts – $12,108.13

I only do sponsored posts on this website as I want my other 3 sites to be more passive. 

For that reason, I also don’t use Pinterest for my other 3 sites either as that’s a lot of work. I might eventually hire that out though.

What is a sponsored post?

A sponsored post is basically a guest post that you get paid to publish. Now it could also be a situation where a company mails you a product to review and the compensation is in the free product and not by direct compensation.

But you’re still being compensated.

Of course, with Google, it’s against their policy to pay for or sell backlinks. But really, that’s what these companies want. So it’s a tricky balance. Often a sponsored post is not great quality. They are usually short also (somewhere between 500-1000 words).

In 99% of cases, the article isn’t optimized for SEO and will never generate traffic. 

So just know all of that if you decide to go down this route. I wish I hadn’t, and I will eventually cut it off once my overall revenue gets above a certain level.

But as you see, it is a decent chunk of change.

People email me with sponsored post requests. Once your blog gets a domain authority score of 15-20, you’ll likely start getting hounded by people too. Domain Authority is a score created by MOZ. Ahrefs has its own version too.

How much they are willing to pay you for your time and blog’s authority varies, but a good starting place is between $1-$2 for your domain authority score number.

In other words, if your website’s domain authority is 17, you could charge somewhere between $17 and $34 per article you publish (with them writing it).

Now to be in compliance with the FTC, you do need to acknowledge somewhere on your site that you are being compensated, and then you need to be able to identify the sponsored posts (I put them all in 1 category that I then identify in my TOS).

But remember, you aren’t being paid to give someone a backlink; you’re being paid for your time and website’s authority to promote a product, service, or company.

Blogging Expenses by Category for Q1 2020 – $240.12

Tailwind for Pinterest scheduling – $104.88 (but paid annually at $419.52)

Again, I only do Pinterest currently with this site and not my other 3. With a full-time job and a wife and 3 kids, I don’t have time for more Pinterest.

But Tailwind is essential if you want to be on Pinterest! It’s a little slow, and occasionally buggy. And like Pinterest itself, not 100% accurate on the analytics. 

But you can’t really do a serious business with Pinterest without it.

CLICK HERE to check out Tailwind with my affiliate link

WPX Website Hosting – $24.99

I used Siteground for years on all my sites, and I still think they are decent, especially when you’re starting and don’t have much money to spend. You can get started with Siteground for under $5.00/month. 

Want to get started with them? CLICK HERE to check out Siteground with my affiliate link

I moved to WPX as I wanted a faster host and one that I could grow with as my combined traffic was over 100,000 monthly page views. Siteground starts to get expensive after your initial policy renews, and I also felt their service had gone down, as had my site speed.

So after 2 months of investigation, I settled on WPX and overall have been very happy. 

So if you have more than 1 site and decent traffic, I would highly recommend them.

CLICK HERE to check out WPX with my affiliate link

ConvertKit email service provider – $110.25 (billed annually at $441)

Honestly, email is pretty frustrating. It certainly doesn’t pay for itself. In a way, I wish I’d never started a list (one of a few things I did because Pat Flynn said to do it that hasn’t panned out for me). But I don’t want to knock Pat; he’s awesome and the whole reason I started my blog.

But his business model is very different than mine (or most bloggers), so what works for him doesn’t work for everyone.

ConvertKit is the best of the 4 companies I’ve used (MailChimp, Mailerlite, Constant Contact). But they are also the most expensive, by far.

If you want to build a personal brand or offer a membership site or a course, ConvertKit is a great way to build that list and create drip campaigns. 

It can also work really well if you’re doing affiliate marketing and using Facebook ads to drive traffic to landing page opt-in pages (which you can create in ConvertKit) and then drip them emails once they opt-in pushing them to a product or service.

I do not do list building on my other 3 sites and am not sure I ever will due to the expense and time involved in setting everything up initially.

CLICK HERE to check out ConvertKit with my affiliate link

Other expenses

Of course, there are lots of other expenses, or expense items I write off on my taxes.

For example, my wife and I decided in 2020 to build me my own tiny home/office. So that’s a business expense. We also deduct a portion of our utilities, property taxes, etc since my business is home-based.

On my kitchen site, I do occasionally buy products to review (hello new Traeger pellet grill!), and guess what? That becomes a business expense.

Then, of course, there’s stuff like internet bills, etc. But the above represent the bulk of the primary expenses directly related to blogging.

As you can see, it’s pretty small compared to the overall income generated.

Then there are taxes too. I’ve never paid quarterly before, but I’m probably close to where I’ll need to start doing that too, unfortunately.

Bottom Line Net Profit Before Taxes – $18,417.60

So, after the major expenses, that’s an annualized net profit, again, before taxes get taken out, of $73,670.40.

Not bad, and in reality, with the growth of my other sites, and hopeful growth of my YouTube Channel, I will end 2020 WELL above that.

Not bad as I approach the 4th anniversary of starting my website!

Final thoughts

As you can see, it’s taken me almost 4 years to reach what could definitely be a full-time income.

My personal goal is to hit $10,000/month for at least 3 months in a row before I consider leaving the safety and security of my day job.

I do know, however, I could have hit those numbers a lot faster had I done things differently.

What would have sped things up?

  • Not waste time publishing my posts on social media (Pinterest excepted)
  • Focus on following 1 system instead of listening/following a bunch of different gurus who all have different systems
  • Remember that NOTHING is as important as just writing quality articles and publishing 1-3 times a week, after doing good search analysis on what you are writing about
  • Not spend so much time tweaking the website (at the expense of publishing content)
  • Don’t focus on trying to make money when your traffic is under 25,000 page views a month
  • Ignore the constant emails looking for a guest post
  • Batch similar tasks and do them on a set schedule (ie: Pinterest every Monday)
  • Focus on 1 task at a time
  • Use a planner/organizer/task list and know what the top priorities are for each day

If you are just getting started, I can’t recommend the blogging course Project 24 highly enough!

It’s from the people over at Income School, and while they have a ton of great videos on YouTube, it was joining Project 24 that really started moving the needle forward.

I joined in April 2019, and that month, my income was $2,308.56

Compare that to May 2020 (last month at the time of this writing), and my income was $8,343.65. While I can’t say all of that 261% increase was due to what I learned in Project 24, a good portion of it certainly was.

What do you get in Project 24?

A TON of different video module courses, the hub of which is their 60 steps to building a website. But then they also have courses (multiple videos in each one) on YouTube, search analysis/keyword research, monetization, and so much more.

And they add new courses a few times throughout the year.

Plus you get their WordPress theme, Acabado, totally free for as many sites as you want to use it on. And then there is their own internal forum where people like you and me constantly chime in to ask or answer questions (along with the whole Income School team).

It’s the only blogging course I’ve ever bought, and the only one I ever will buy.

CLICK HERE to check out Project 24 with my affiliate link.