In September-October, the world kinda got back to normal while waiting for the important date: November 3 when the US elections were held ❎ Amazon ran its Prime Day in…
March – April 2021 Income Report: Legal Action ⚖, Ezoic Premium 🤑, Cloudways Broke My Heart 💔
Oh my, is it May already? 🙀 Time flies so fast especially when you are crazy busy! 😱 March-April was a very interesting period, during which sooo much good and bad happened! 😆😫😨🤯😭😜
Welcome to my second 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 #68-70 to find out what happened in April-May 2021.
Personal life gets priority: LOC blog is on pause ⏸
As I have mentioned already, my personal life is getting top priority during this summer and fall… and maybe for the rest of 2021, too 🤷♀️😅
It means that I will have little time to work on my business.
However, pausing all the work is not desirable because I do not want to lose my employees and I do not want to lose the momentum the business is having 💨
It means that I have to laser focus only on what’s really essential and to cut off less important parts of my business ✂ This blog is unfortunately one of them 🙁
So, after this post, I am putting LivingOffCloud on pause 😞
I may do one or two posts about my personal project (I bet you are dying to know what it is 😉😆). But apart from that, I am not really sure when I will resume blogging.
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Legal action ⚖
Yeah… In April, I was hit with a legal action against one of my websites… 😩
I cannot share details about it since it’s still in process. I can only say that it was issued against my Baby 🐘 Website, the one that was a passive earner requiring near-zero efforts to bring about 25% of my revenue 😭
It seems that I do not need to pay anything (a sigh of relief 😸) but it will negatively affect my revenue 🙁 In March, the site made $3,500 in ads only 😭
The day when I received the email was one of the most stressful days in my business life 😨
After reading “This Written Notice being served on you in accordance with Rule…”, I got kinda paralyzed for a minute. Then, I grabbed my hubby along with some cookies and cans with strong cocktails and headed over to our local beach to do stress-eating and stress-drinking 🍶🍪🍥 It helped…
I tried to fight against the case 🤺 but it did not seem to help. I have also put some remedies in place but not sure if they will work well…
While feeling super-stressed about the event, I also feel… a bit proud of myself 🙊😮😁 I have reached that point in my entrepreneurship that I am big enough to be considered for legal action! 🦚 😅
My discovery of the century: Ezoic Premium 🎢
I have been always wondering… Why do all the successful people whose blogs I read regularly (for example, Spencer from NichePursuits and John Dykstra from FatStacks) sit on Ezoic and do not try to move to other ad platforms?
In April, I got the answer! 🎉
It‘s because of the Ezoic Premium!
These top bloggers all use Ezoic Premium and thus, they get much better ad rates:
Ezoic Premium is an invite-only program that provides participating publishers with improved monetization, advanced features, api access, more timely reporting, discounted Site Speed Accelerator and expert advice.
It is not free but you’d pay a flat rate in terms of the number of websites (but not in terms of the revenue). It means that the more websites you get on Ezoic Premium, the better your revenue will be.
I got into Ezoic Premium in April 🎉
Usually, you have to wait until Ezoic invites you to their Premium program.
I was waiting for it, too.
However, once I saw that I would be losing 25% of my income (see above the legal action 😭), I decided to take the matter into my own hands! I reached out to my account manager about Ezoic Premium… and I got accepted!
It increased my ad revenue by about 30%.
It’s still not enough to compensate for the lost income but at least, the loss is a bit smaller now 😅
This was an example how difficulties make me only move forward 😅 never give up, never surrender 💪
Cloudways broke my heart 💔
In April, I moved my 🦄 Website (my biggest website) away from Cloudways because they dropped the ball 😠 Multiple times 😡 In a hard way 🤬
It turned out that their support sucks 🤷♀️
My site has been crashing since January 2021. First, it was once a month and then, it started crashing every week 😱
Each time, I asked support what the reason was… and each time, the reason was different. Following the recommendations of the support agents, I improved the login security, checked for the Admin Ajax problem, cleaned the DB, and did many other things that were good in general… but totally useless when it came to eliminating the regular crashes 😡
The support had no idea why it was happening 🤯 They kept saying that the server load was too heavy… but when I asked them to show me where they saw it in the logs, they couldn’t 🤷♀️😒
In March, I got fed up with the regular crashes (it’s very bad for SEO 😭) and the lack of support. So I wrote an upset review on TrustPilot and moved to a different hosting platform.
The next day after the migration was done and I flipped the DNS switch, I got… a phone call from the Cloudways customer support 😮
Turned out that they had a meeting about my account 😮 the product team is aware of all my issues and plan to address them 😮😮 they assigned me an account manager who will be leading my case 😮😮😮
My new account manager said that he would go through all my tickets and would deal with them one by one. “Everything will be investigated carefully,” he said 🤨
soooooooooo… I flipped the switch back 🙊🙈
Since then, my server crashed one more time and I complained one more time. The account manager found a plausible reason. It seemed that their own tools were crashing my server 🤯
I warned him that if my server crashes one more time, I’d be sooo out! 💸
A few days passed and my site did crash again 😠 And I received zero comments from the manager 😒
So, I did what I promised and migrated out 🤷♀️
Once I changed the hosting platform.. .surprise-surprise, the server magically stopped crashing 😂 Meanwhile, Cloudways is still asking me to come back 😂
But I have not totally cut ties with them. I still have three other websites on Cloudways. They work fine and do not crash… yet 🙄 If they start crashing without a reason, too, I will move out completely.
The thing is that Cloudways offers a great toolkit with powerful servers for cheap. It’s too bad their support sucks 😭
Website updates 🎈
To refresh your memory about what the website nicknames mean, read here.
Unicorn 🦄 Website
This site has been a puzzle for me 🧩😩
In my last income report, I mentioned that it got hit by the Google update in January 2021.
Well… The traffic has been only going down since that 😳😳😳
I have done pretty much all the improvements I could have thought of:
- Optimized the article text for featured snippets
- Disavowed bad backlinks
- Tackled some external duplicate content
- Fixed the website speed by moving to a non-crashing hosting platform (see above about Cloudways)
- Ramped up link building: in total, I built 11 high-quality backlinks during March-April
- Updated endless number of old posts
- Posted an endless number of new posts
- Improved the speed even more by moving to Ezoic Leap
But nothing seems to be helping 🤷♀️😫 I am really puzzled by this 🧩
Either I have been targeting the wrong issues… 🤔 or I just need to give Google some time to absorb all my changes 🤷♀️
While waiting for the latter, I decided to work on the former ⚒ Since Ezoic Premium comes with a free website review, I have scheduled it for my 🦄 Website.
I also plan to continue removing irrelevant content to make the core topic relevance stronger 🏛
All this happens in a very unfortunate time because I soon won’t be able to spend that much time fixing the website 😣
Camel 🐪 Website (Former Mother 🐘 Website)
This website is literally on fire 🔥 In a good sense 🤩
Its traffic just goes up and up and Google seems to be in total love with it 🥰😆
In March, I signed the website with Mediavine, an ad platform that is similar to Ezoic but caters to some particular niches (while Ezoic is open for pretty much any niche).
This immediately doubled my ad income from the website 🤑
It had been my dream for almost two years to get into Mediavine. They rejected me twice… And the third time, I got in 🎉
However, the website traffic grew even more in April 😮😦😲
So I decided to be bold and to go further 🙈
I applied to AdThrive, the next tier of the ad publishing platform.. And I got approved as well 🤯😏
Now, I am switching from Mediavine to AdThrive 🙈😁 The switch should happen in July. I am not sure how much it will my ad revenue… But it should go up 🚀
“But Nadya, why don’t you want to go with Ezoic Premium? You’ve just parised it in this post!” you may ask.
Yes, true, I do not go with Ezoic Premium because I want to explore all other ad platforms. I am curious 🤷♀️ All the top bloggers I wrote about above, they have already tried Adthrive and Mediavne… and I haven’t! I want to experience it too 😊
Diverging away from Amazon
I continue pushing this site toward non-Amazon affiliate products.
During this period, 🐪 Website made almost $100 in non-Amazon commissions 😏
They came from different platforms so I will show only one screenshot here:
LivingOfCloud (this blog)
As I mentioned above, this blog is gradually getting paused. I need to focus on the important parts of my business 🤷♀️
This is what I posted here during the last two months:
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! 😛
Baby 🐘 Website joined this category unfortunately 😢 because of the legal action I mentioned above ☝ I have a mitigation plan in place but who knows how long it will take to work 🤷♀️ 😢
Personal life 👩🏻
Personal life was intense in April-May 😏
As I already mentioned, one of my longest personal goals finally came to fruition 🌷 I cannot share more details because it’s way too personal at the moment and I have been quite sensitive about it 🤧
The project got delayed a bit compared to the timeline I mentioned in my previous income report.
Now it looks like I will have to travel in the middle of summer (coming soon! 😅) ✈ Then, during the rest of the summer and during autumn, I will be busy with the project 🐝
This means… I won’t no time for my online business 😭
I will be stepping away for at least two months 🤷♀️
But I do not want to lose my team, at least not the core members who are busy with the content pipeline.
Fortunately, a big 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 my “vacation” 😫
As I mentioned above, 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 April-May was awesome and I even achieved my unspoken goal of reaching $10,000 per month 🤯 I was dreaming about it… But I was sooo sure that it’s un-accomplishable that I did not dare to add it to my list of goals for 2021 🙄
Well, while I am not sure if I reach my yearly revenue goal of $100,000 given everything I wrote about above, at least I’ve reached a 5-digit number revenue per month 😎
So compared to the previous period, my income simply doubled in March – April 😝 April 2021 has become the biggest month ever in my online business 🎉 and March 2021 was the second biggest 😜
Let’s look at the income numbers in detail.
💵 All numbers are in USD 💵
|Baby Elephant 2||$62.25|
My top three income sources (in the revenue order):
- Ezoic, which is great for display ads 🤗 (read my review)
- Mediavine, which is also great for display ads 🤗
- 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 a proof of it.I myself am having a hard time believing these numbers! 🤯
Here’s the proof from Ezoic:
Here’s the proof from Mediavine:
Here’s the stats chart from Amazon; I used the Consolidated Summary report showing the earnings from all the Amazon stores in a chosen currency (USD):
With a high revenue, come high expenses 🤷♀️
In April-May, the expenses were the highest I have had ever, as well 🤷♀️. It happened because I was actively building backlinks on two websites.
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)||$5.94|
|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 for 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 assistants (VA) are my right hand. My business would simply die if I didn’t have one! Well, now 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||$0.00|
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 April-May 2021.
💵 All numbers are in USD 💵
Total revenue $21,032.27 minus general expenses $2,616.76 minus content expenses $4,314.46 makes a net profit of $14,101.06. This number should be divided by two since it’s for both April and May.
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 to the last year (click on the image to enlarge):
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