Best month ever, that's how I can call April 2016. Read on my income report #8 to find out what made the month so great. What Happened In April April was…
January – February 2021 Income Report: Taxes 🤕, Personal Life Gets Priority 🔝, Website Updates📈
Winter has passed so quickly that I barely noticed it ❄❄❄💨 It’s all thanks for going away from seasonality in my online business! Having a stable income throughout the year was one of my core goals forever and finally, I achieved it this winter 😎
Welcome to my first bi-monthly income report of 2021!
I am now doing bi-monthly income reports because it saves me time ⏳ and reduces the amount of identical content in my blog 😴
Rather than creating yet another boring IR, I better spend time on writing other posts that are hopefully more interesting than money reports 🤞🏻
So read my income report #65-66 to find out what happened in January-February 2020.
Low Season became High 🎢
Winter used to be a gloomy period for me. My websites used to be in niches that were seasonal with a high period in summer.
But this time, it was not the case 😊 I successfully fixed it!
I did a deseasonalizing of my online business by buying a season-agnostic site (🦄 Website) and working hard on winter content for my 🐪 Website (former Mother 🐘 Website).
It worked so well that I barely noticed the winter 🎉👍
Tax season 💸
It’s time to do taxes 😫😅😆
My income for 2020 exceeded the threshold of $30,000 CAD and it means that I may need to file GST/QST a.k.a sales taxes.
However, it’s not clear whether I really need to do it since:
- the majority of my “clients” are from the US;
- I do not collect any sales taxes.
I suspect that I don’t but I need to make sure. So, I am currently investigating the matter 🕵️♀️
BTW, if you are a website owner from Canada and looking for info about how to file taxes, I collect all the info I find in this post.
Website updates 🎈
To refresh your memory about what the website nicknames mean, read here.
Unicorn 🦄 Website
Well, it got hit by January 2021 update and has not recovered since that 😭 The traffic went by 30% compared to the previous period 😭😭😭
From what I see, at least two things happen to it:
- Imbalance between commercial and info content
- Missed opportunities on featured snippets
The commercial content means posts with Amazon products. My main goal with this website is to diversify my revenue away from Amazon so I do not plan to fix problem #1 (at least for now).
Meanwhile, scoring featured snippets, it’s something I do plan to work on.
However, I may not see the results any time soon 😭 I got the impression that Google reassesses featured snippets on a once-in-awhile basis, which seems to be once every few months.
Anyway, here’s what I am doing in order to score them and hopefully, to recover from the hit. Given the success of 🐪 Website (see below), I am confident that I can fix this one too 💪
Apart from doing my own link building, I have signed up for ABC Plus from authority.builders. It’s expensive but also sooo convenient! And everybody who tried the service claim that it was efficient.
Updating old content
A big chunk of work is to update old posts with outdated info.
The niche of 🦄 Website is very dynamic and the information gets outdated often, unfortunately.
On the plus side, Google really likes it when I update old posts and rewards with quick increases in ranking 👍
Also, apart from fixing the text, I add extra content in the form of videos. These are either somebody else’s videos or my own ones 📹
It greatly helps with ranking and traffic 👍
Improving old posts formatting
I have tons of How-to posts where steps are formatted as regular paragraphs with a number at the beginning.
My research showed that Google prefers when such articles have Ordered Lists instead. So, I am converting paragraphs into ordered lists.
Getting rid of old content
Based on the experience I had with 🐪 Website (more on it below), I decided to.. get rid of some content 😱 I mostly removed posts that do not have any traffic and are not related to my main money-making verticals.
Formatting new posts in optimal way
I make sure that the new posts are formatted in an optimal way by using all suitable HTML elements (Ordered Lists, Lists, etc).
Camel 🐪 Website (Former Mother 🐘 Website)
You may remember that I renamed Mother 🐘 Website to Camel 🐪 Website at the beginning of the year.
This website is on the roll! 🤩
Content can break it or make it
At last, I am so happy to see that after years (really, years! 😬😅) of struggle, my efforts are paying off 🤩
In the middle of 2020, I finally understood what was holding the website from ranking.
Did you know that sometimes, in order to move forward, you need to delete a part of old content even if it’s ranking well and bringing revenue? 😱
I did not 🤷♀️ But once I tried doing that, the results followed 👍
Now, in retrospective, it makes sense. Google does not like generic websites unless they are huge with high authority. And some keywords can be extremely “sticky” and can “clog” ranking of other keywords.
After deoptimizing for the “sticky” keywords, the main content I wanted to rank went up 🚀 In total, the traffic grew by 34% compared to the last year:
Based on this fix, I managed to convert the website from seasonal to two-seasonal 😂 Winters are no longer low-season, nope 😜
In February, the traffic reached the all-time high 🤩
The number of GA sessions finally exceeded 50,000 and it meant that I was eligible to apply for Mediavine, the next after Ezoic tier of ad monetization platform.
And I did.
It is my third time (third!!! 😱) attempt with two previous applications turned down 😭 I hope that this time, I’ll finally succeed 🤞
LivingOfCloud (this blog)
Unfortunately, my resources for this blog are getting scarce.
Between prepping for personal stuff (more on it later), link building, recovering from Google updates, pushing the YouTube channel, I am having less and less resources and energy for sharing my experience here 😟
As you can see, it’s already mid-March and I only now post my income report 🙄
This is what I posted here during the last two months:
👉 February 2021 News Roundup📰: What’s New In SEO & Affiliate Marketing
👉 January 2021 News Roundup📰: What’s New In SEO & Affiliate Marketing
👉 My Business Year 2020 In Review: Successes 🎉 Struggles😣 And Plans For The Next Year 📝
What’s included in this part are the sites that are currently either on hold, at the very beginning of the growth, or the ones that I did not work on during this period.
It makes no sense to write about them every month so I won’t! 😛
Personal life 👩🏻
Personal life was intense in January-February 😏
One of my longest personal goals finally came into fruition 🌷 I cannot share any extra details because nothing is official yet as I am still waiting for the last step to complete.
Initially, I thought that I would have at least one more year before this project getting into active state, especially given the pandemic. However, it got an unexpected development and now, the whole year 2021 won’t be as I planned it 🙈😅
I will have to travel in late spring / early summer. Then, during the summer and maybe early autumn, I will be busy with the project, which means… no time for my online business 😭
I will be stepping away for at least three months 🤷♀️
But I do not want to lose my team, at least not the core members who are doing content creation.
Fortunately, this part of my business is relatively well outsourced and does not require my daily attention 👍 The only thing I need is the content plan with briefs.
So currently, I am working day and night preparing enough content to cover the summer months 😫
Also, I am afraid that I will have to put my LOC blog on pause 🤷♀️ I am not even sure if I will be able to release the next income report 😔
Now, back to business!
The revenue in January-February was given that it was winter, which was supposed to be a low season. Not anymore 😉
Let’s look at the income numbers in the details.
💵 All numbers are in USD 💵
|Baby Elephant 2||$86.07|
My top three income sources (in the highest revenue order):
- Ezoic, which is great for display ads 🤗 (read my review)
- Amazon Affiliate (still 🤷♀️)
- Other ad platforms and affiliates (this is mostly for 🦄 Website)
Now that I have reached a certain level of income, I feel like I should also post proof of it. I am myself having a hard time believing these numbers!
Here’s the proof from Ezoic:
Here’s the stats chart from Amazon; I used a new Consolidated Summary report showing the earnings from all the Amazon stores in a chosen currency (USD):
In January-February, the expenses were highest in the last 12 months. It’s because I was actively building backlinks on two websites. I shelled off $500 for ABC Plus from authority.builders 😬 and paid for other backlinks.
I pay for many services on an annual basis. However, in my income reports, I spread these expenses on a per monthly basis as if I were paying for them every month. It should give a better understanding of my expenses each month.
💵 All numbers are in USD 💵
Expenses minus content
|Tailwind (a tool for Pinterest)||$29.98|
|Mailshake (cold outreach mailer)||$72.17|
|GSuite (paid Gmail)||$11.87|
|GeneratePress (a WP theme)||$5.00|
|SerpRobot (a SERP tracking tool)||$19.96|
For SEO, I use Surfer SEO. It’s a tool for keyword research, on-page optimization, content planning, and many other tasks. It allows me to greatly streamline my content research ♥
I use MailShake for cold email outreach. When you are building white-hat links in an efficient way, it’s a must to use a tool for that.
On the WordPress setup side, I use a premium WP theme GeneratePress since it’s fast and highly configurable.
I also use a few premium WP plugins:
- AAWP to insert Amazon Affiliate links and create comparison tables; read my review
- Ad Inserter Pro to insert ads into pages
My virtual assistant (VA) is my right hand. My business would simply die if I didn’t have one! Well, not I have two of them and all my VA hires came from onlinejobs.com.
I’ve also got a graphic designer, from onlinejobs.com as well. The graphic designer creates Pinterest images and makes video content.
Given the nature of our business, content is an investment in the business. I decided to track it separately since it’s an important part of future success.
Here, I will give you a breakdown for (almost) each website. Each content expense includes content editing, management, and formatting.
|Baby Elephant 2||$234.55|
For content, I have in-house writers who I found myself on various platforms including ProBlogger and Upwork.
Also, once in a while, I use the services of a writing agency called ContentPit. If you want to try them out, I have a promo code for you: LOCPROMO10 👈👈👈 The code will give you a 10% word bonus for the same price for new customers 🤗
Here are my totals for January-February 2021.
💵 All numbers are in USD 💵
Total revenue $10,740.11 minus general expenses $2,555.14 minus content expenses $3,181.68 makes a net profit of $5,075.62. This number should be divided by two since it’s for both January and February.
Here is a chart with my revenue vs expenses history for the last 14 months. I used the 14-month timeline instead of the 12-month one to show you how these months performed compared to the last year (click on the image to enlarge):
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