May 2017 Income Report: Elephant 🐘 Website Paid Off, Guest Posting, Freelancers
In this blog, I write about what I am doing to create various income streams that come from online endeavors. The monthly income reports detail my results.
Why am I sharing my income publicly? I hope to gain trustworthiness with you and to keep some degree of accountability for myself.
The reports motivate me. I tend to forget my small achievements… and reports like this one won’t let me do it 🙂 Apart from that, they help me to remember how much I have already invested. It’s a motivation to push even harder!
Read on May 2017 Income Report, which is my income report #21.
What Happened In May
May was a great month on both business and personal sides of my life 😊
Elephant 🐘 Website Paid Off
In May, an important milestone was reached: Elephant 🐘 Website got paid off! Woo-hoo! 💃🏻💃🏻💃🏻
I got back all the money spent on it including the price I paid for it and all the extra expenses for writing new articles and paying VAs.
When I say “Elephant 🐘 Website,” I really mean just one website which I bought and not a constellation of websites that grew around it later (as you remember, I now have an Elephant 🐘 Website family.) It’s the Mother Of Elephants 🐘 we are talking about here 😉
It took me a bit less than 20 months to make the website pay for itself. When I bought it, the price multiplicative was 21 meaning that I would get my money back in 21 months after buying it.
In reality, it happened 1 month earlier and this also includes the extra expenses I paid for like ordering new articles and paying to VAs.
I am double happy because, as you know, the website has gone through quite a string of troubles during the last year 2016. First, its Adsense income got hit by changing the ads to the responsive type, which turned out to be buggy. Then, it got a competitor. After that, it got hit by an algorithmic Penguin 🐧 penalty. As you saw from my income reports, this affected the revenue a lot bringing it down by 50% and more from the values before the troubles started.
However, the website’s pulled it off thanks to my efforts during these 20 months and also thanks to the new Amazon rates.
Let’s see how the revenue got distributed during the pay-off period and where the money came from.
The first chart shows a comparison between the projected revenue (blue columns) and the real one (green columns). You can see clearly my euphoria during the last year summer and my misery in December, January, February.
As you can see, I am reverting a negative trend and getting back to the original levels of revenue. At least for the high season… The nature of the traffic has changed significantly (I will talk about it below) and this may still keep the off-season revenue low.
The next chart shows the breakdown of the revenue in terms of where the money comes from. The website has two sources of income: Adsense (yellow) and Amazon affiliate (blue).
The revenue has heavily shifted from Adsense to Amazon affiliate. The shift represents the changes in the traffic. The traffic coming for two main keywords is very Adsense-oriented and this is the traffic I lost. Meanwhile, I have added a lot of Amazon-oriented articles and it resulted in the uptick in the Amazon sales.
But the problem with the traffic driving Amazon sales is that it is seasonal. Spring/summer is the high season and fall/winter is the low season. I am getting a lot of it now but what will happen in autumn? Probably a bit drop. I need to work on improving backlinks for the main keywords that are responsible for the Adsense money stream.
Here are some stats for the website content for these 20 months:
|Number of articles published||25|
|Total word count published||21,850|
|Amount of money paid||$246|
The numbers above do not include the numbers for guest posting; it’s purely the content numbers.
Turns out that on average, I was posting 5 articles of 874 words each every 4 months and it cost me $9.85 a piece.
1.25 article a month… I am surprised to see the number since it seems a bit low. 21k words in total, it’s something some niche webmasters publish on one website in one month. Meanwhile, I had an impression that I was a publishing machine that was constantly editing and uploading new content!
…oh right, I recall now I wrote a lot of content myself. It consisted mostly of short paragraphs I added to the existing articles and I did not count the number of words I added. Also, I almost did not work on the website during the last summer. This all affected the numbers above and helped to keep the ROI better 🙂
Guest Posting Progressing
As you remember, I am building the backlinks for Elephant 🐘 Website by doing guest posting.
In May, it got bumped up! I got do-follow links from 2 websites. It gave me 4 backlinks in total and two of these links were for my major keywords. Apart from that, I got two more leads (positive replies) that I plan to close in June. Another lead I got way back in March got warmed up again (the blogger replied on a follow-up of a follow-up) and it hopefully will also get closed in June.
I wonder what’s your experience with it guys? Do you see a faster turn around?
Hiring Freelancers; Can Upwork Help?
In May, I did a hiring round for writers. I increased the amount of money to pay from 1c a word to 1.5c a word. It resulted in more interviews conducted… but in the end, the quality of writers seem to stay the same as before. I ended up with hiring two writers and am already thinking of getting rid of one of them.
After listening to the Authority Hackers podcast episode about hiring writers, I realized I made a few mistakes in my hiring process and more importantly, in the job ad.
My job ads never had any info about the expected amount of work. This should include a number of articles/words per week. Why I have to do it is that writers like predictability in terms of expected work load and long term projects. Meanwhile, my ads were very vague about both points.
Another mistake I made was that if an applicant I reached out to (at the moment this is how I prefer to do hiring) did not reply before a certain date, I should forget about them. Same thing about the test article. If they messed up with test article deadlines, the chances are they will mess up with the job deadlines.
I do all my freelance sourcing through Upwork.
Can Upwork help you with a hiring process?
As I mentioned in my previous income report, I got contacted their support team in April suggesting to use their “a Talent Service Team who can help find a trustworthy, qualified freelancer, free of charge.”
And I did. I spoke on a phone with a lovely Michelle. She listened to my complaints, sympathized me, and then reassured me that now I am in good hands and she will take care of my problems.
Michelle told me that she would reach out to freelancers on my behalf in the next 1-3 business days. Then, everything will be rosy and pink. She would provide me the shortlist of the applicants and it would be up to me to invite them for the interview.
To confirm her words, she sent me an email with the procedure she just described.
It was almost 2 weeks ago. Since that email, I have not heard from her at all. 4 days ago I sent a follow-up asking how the things are going. Still no reply.
What I did get though was a survey about how the Upwork recruiter performed. I could not help but tell the truth. The recruiter did not perform at all.
So, can Upwork help you with the hiring process? Looks like not.
In May, I did not back up any purchase order. There were too few of them (2 or 3) and nothing looked interesting. Plus, I still have a bunch of purchase orders that have not yet paid. Currently, there are 15 contributions that are in progress.
I do not think any of the orders paid back in full in May.
If you do not know what Kickfurther is, you can read about it here.
Ethereum Is On Rise, Woo-hoo!
As you remember, a while ago I invested some money in a virtual currency Ethereum. Recently, starting in February-March, Ethereum started going up and up in price. In May, it grew even more. Look at this chart, quite impressive!
I bought ethers about a year ago, and the exchange rate was right in the beginning of that chart. Since that, it grew, like what, by more than 20 times?
Yes, May was a good month 😜😜😜 (and I should have invested more.)
Personal Life Was Good Too
In May, my personal life was quite good as well 🙂
I went on vacation and traveled to the U.S. Sam and me, we visited NYC and Boston. This time, we did not fly but took a train. It was fun!
I did not try to work too much during the vacation but rather decided to enjoy free time. It worked perfectly well. Each day I was spending 2 hours max on my business and the rest was dedicated to vacation activities. I did not do anything special but cycling though the city (both cities) and it was way enough for me.
Also, in the end of May, I met with one of the readers of my blog who’s also doing niche websites (hi Yevgeniy!) We decided to collaborate on buying some expensive niche website course. The deal will close in June and I will write about it in the June income report (since it will be an expense.)
Ok, now let’s go back to the business!
In May, I again worked with freelance writers and a VA. I got a lot of content delivered and that’s why my writing expenses were higher than usual.
|Outsourced writing||$101.83||Ordered new articles|
|Outsourced VA||$59.08||Worked with my VA|
|E-marketing tools||$36.81||Paid for stock photos, cheap access to AhRef tool and proxies for Domain Hunter Gatherer|
|PBN domain registration||$0.00||No PBN domain expenses|
|PBN hosting||$42.90||Paid for Easy Blog Networks, an awesome solution for PBNs (read my review) and Bulk Buy Hosting (here's my review)|
|Domain registration||$0.00||No non-PBN domain expenses|
|KickFurther||$0.00||Did not re-invested anything|
|Misc||$4.62||Not sure what it is|
It’s still a high season for Elephant 🐘 Website and its family so the income is good. Elephant 🐘 Website again hit a this-year income record of more than $1,000 and it reminded of old good days last year when it was a norm for it…
On the downside, Horse 🐎 Website is still experiencing bumps on the road because of a new competitor site that has been outranking it. “Thanks” to that, the traffic and income went down.
Read here to find out what website nicknames mean.
|Amazon by Elephant Website||$888.13||Revenue from the 1st website I bought (and 2 other websites in the same niche)|
|AdSense by Elephant & Horse Websites||$452.88||Revenue from the 1st & 2nd websites I bought (and 2 other websites in the same niche)|
|Amazon by Rat Website||$57.99||Revenue from the website built by Human Proof Designs; check their website to see if you can get a ready made niche website for yourself|
|Ads by Rat Website||$0.40||I monetize Rat Website through media.net|
|Amazon by Honeybee Website||$0.00||Revenue from the website I am building myself with a PBN|
|ClickBank||$82.18||Recurring and new sales for Easy Blog Networks and Ultimate Azon theme for WordPress|
|Bulk BuyHosting||$52.20||Some affiliate sales for Buy Bulk Hosting, a solution for PBN hosting|
|TheHoth||$7.40||Some affiliate sales for TheHoth, internet marketing solutions offering|
|Kickfurther||$24.72||Online investments paid back; read more in my post about Kickfurther|
|Interest||$4.37||Stashed extra money from fat summer months on a high earning saving account and earned interest|
Here are my totals for May 2017.
Total income $1,660.27 minus total expenses $245.24 makes a net profit of $1,415.03.
Here is the chart with my revenue vs expenses history for the last 12 months. The chart does not include a big investment I made in June 2016 when I bought some cryptocurrency.
June 2017 Plans
June will be a busy month.
First of all, I am moving again! The movers are scheduled for June 30. It means that at least one week will be spent on packing boxes, carrying boxes, unpacking boxes. I have already booked another vacation plus there will be a bunch of holidays in the end of the month. So it should be enough time to prepare for the moving… but I’m not sure I will have much time to work on my second job. In addition, the last time I moved a year ago, I did not have the internet at home for 2 weeks 😨 Hope this time it will go smoother.
While not busy with moving, I will keep doing guest posting for Elephant 🐘 Website. Maybe it will be the last month and then I will pause it. The goal here is to close the opportunities I got in May.
Then, I should start keeping a close eye on Horse 🐎 Website. If its traffic is indeed down because of the new competition, I will need to do something about it. Have not done anything about it in May.
And of course, in June, I will try to write about my experience in the blog! Since I am not sure when I will post the next post… stay tuned by subscribing to my emails!
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