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).
Gross income was $22,895
February 2021 (only 28 days)
Gross income was $22,863
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:
- 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!
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.
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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?
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.