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May โ€“ June 2020 Income Report: Fighting Racial Inequality๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿฟ, Pinterest Traffic Drop๐Ÿ“Œ, Website Updates๐Ÿ“ˆ

In May โ€“ June, the world went crazy ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Well, maybe not the world โ€” but the US for sure. From the murder of George Floyd to the civil unrest to even more unrest to the pandemic spiraling out of control ๐ŸŒ€๐Ÿ˜ต And the US is where, probably, the most of your income comes from and where I definitely make the most of my money ๐Ÿ˜ซ

All this had direct impact on my earnings ๐Ÿ˜ญ Add the May Google Update, Pinterest traffic crash ๐Ÿ˜ญ, some black hat SEO ๐ŸŽฉ, aaaaand the upcoming end of high season to the mix and you will get the state of my business during this period that could have been more lucrative than that ๐Ÿ™„

However, this did not prevent me from moving towards my revenue goal for the year 2020! ๐Ÿ˜› I talk about it at the end of the post.

Thatโ€™s saidโ€ฆ

Welcome to my third bi-monthly income report of 2020!

I am now doing bi-monthly income reports because it saves me time โณ and reduces the amount of identical content in my blog ๐Ÿ’ค

Rather than creating yet another boring IR, I better spend time on writing other posts that are hopefully more interesting than money reports ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป

So read my income report #57-58 to find out what happened in May-June 2020.

Civil unrest in the US โœŠ how we can fight racial inequality ๐Ÿ‘ต๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿฝโ€๐Ÿฆฐ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿฟ

I am sure that you know that on May 25, an ordinary black man named George Floyd was killed by a white police officer in front of a small horrified crowd. This event sparked protests that are still going on but had a peak in June.

Why am I writing about it here?

Apart from the fact that this is an outrageous example of racial inequality ๐Ÿคฌ it also affects our business.

It affected the traffic and revenue of all niche sites that have visitors from the US. On the niche website forums, I saw many were worrying about the May-June traffic drop. 

Well, Americans got other things on their minds instead of splurging on online shopping ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

Montreal also had two protests in the response to the horrible May 25th event.

I did not go (hello pandemic!) but instead, I did what I could given the circumstances.

Donating to Artists Against Racism

I donated 30% of my business income I made from May 25 to a local charity Artists Against Racism that fights racism by creating educational materials for children โ™ฅ

From my point of view, itโ€™s one of the best ways to fight racism and the best one to go with during the pandemic.

The charity is a registered Canadian entity. So if you are looking for ways to make an impact, go ahead and donate.

Pinterest traffic collapse ๐Ÿ“Œ

If you are subscribed to my newsletters, you should remember how in May, I complained about a crash of my Pinterest traffic ๐Ÿ˜ญ

If you are not subscribed then you should because, in my emails, I often share some private bits that I do not disclose publicly. Itโ€™s my personal private conversational corner ๐Ÿ˜‰



Since that, it only got worse ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ

On the plus side, only two of my sites were relying on Pinterest. On the downside, almost 100% of the traffic died ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Hereโ€™s the Pinterest traffic for the first site, Mother ๐Ÿ˜:

Pinterest traffic drop for Elephant 1

Hereโ€™s the Pinterest traffic for the second site, Baby ๐Ÿ˜:

Pinterest traffic drop for elephant 2

What happened is that Pinterest changed the algorithm and my strategy did not fit well with the changes. 

Tailwind (an authority in the Pinterest world!) warned us in February that Pinterest now values fresh content more than ever. I did not listen to the advice (and even did not include their post in my February news roundup ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธ) and it came to bite me in the ass in May.

In June, I developed a new Pinterest strategy but the results are yet to be seen ๐Ÿ˜’

Website updates ๐ŸŽˆ

To refresh your memory about what the website nicknames mean, read here.

Unicorn ๐Ÿฆ„ Website

This is the site I bought in April. It is the biggest website in my fleet as well as the most expensive among the sites I ever bought ๐Ÿ™ˆ

Given that, itโ€™s no wonder the site is my prime focus. I have been actively improving it trying to increase revenue.

One of the reasons why I bought it was that I saw many low hanging fruit opportunities I could capitalize on ๐Ÿค‘

In order to make my work efficient, I needed to include it in my current production pipeline. This means using the same content strategy and the same plugins.

Since itโ€™s in a niche that is totally different from all my other sites, I needed to find a new content writer for it. And I did, in June.

Apart from that, the website became a target for black-hat SEO and I had to spend some time on disavowing bad backlinks.

I manually disavowed over 5600 links in two days ๐Ÿคฏ and wrote a post about my process. Check it out if you need to manually disavow the links!

Currently, the site requires a lot of babysitting ๐Ÿ™„ but I hope to reduce the amount of attention I pay to it in the next few months.

Mother ๐Ÿ˜ Website

This website has now become my second focus. I keep working on increasing traffic and pumping money into the content ๐Ÿ’ธ

As I mentioned above, the Pinterest traffic crashed in May ๐Ÿ˜ญ but the organic traffic was mostly stable. It did not suffer from the May Update. It only got affected by the unrest in the US as well as the upcoming end of the high season ๐Ÿ™„

However, the traffic still went a bit down at the end of June. I suspect it is either due to the end of the high seasonโ€ฆ or a black-hat SEO attack ๐Ÿ˜ฃ A few days ago, I did a disavow session (found 390+ bad backlinks) so we shall see if it helps ๐Ÿ™

Organic traffic for elephant 1

Baby ๐Ÿ˜ Website

Despite its name (Baby ๐Ÿ‘ถ), this site has been a steady mature adult that brings a hefty paycheck every month without any babysitting ๐Ÿ‘ (not like some other horn-owning sites ๐Ÿ˜‘๐Ÿ˜†)

However, it got quite affected by the Google Update in May and the organic traffic dropped by 30% ๐Ÿ˜ญ 

The consequent updates that Google made in June made the situation slightly better. But itโ€™s still far away from what it was before May 5 ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

Organic traffic for elephant 2

Baby ๐Ÿ˜ Website 2

Meanwhile, I got yet another Baby ๐Ÿ˜ Website ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜‚

Itโ€™s now time for it to get out of the Other Websites category and shine on its own!

It is in the same niche as the first Baby ๐Ÿ˜ with a narrower focus. I have been just pumping money into its content using the same strategy as for its sibling (a convenient way to scale!) for a few months already.

After the first Baby ๐Ÿ˜ traffic dropped in May, I stopped doing that in fear that this one will follow the fate of the other.

However, it did not seem to be the case ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ Maybe because the site is too small and Google does not take it too seriously yet.

The traffic did drop in June, however, after I implemented some UI improvements. Once I reverted the changes, the site got back on the roll!

My goal here is to grow yet another mature adult that brings money without babysitting ๐Ÿ˜ Currently, it brings just a few dollars a month.

Organic traffic for elephant 3

LivingOfCloud (this blog)

In this blog, I was not very active recently. All my focus has gone to my new website ๐Ÿ™„ However, I hope that thanks to the things I am doing with it, I will have more material than ever for this blog!

This is what I posted here:

๐Ÿ‘‰ 20+ Tips And Tricks About How To Manually Disavow Backlinks (Plus My Spreadsheet Template!)
๐Ÿ‘‰ LivingOffCloud SEO & Affiliate Marketing News Roundup๐Ÿ“ฐ: June 2020 Edition
๐Ÿ‘‰ LivingOffCloud SEO & Affiliate Marketing News Roundup๐Ÿ“ฐ: May 2020 Edition

Other websites

Whatโ€™s included in this part are the sites that are currently either on hold or at the very beginning of the growth, or the ones that have just been acquired.

It makes no sense to write about them every month so I wonโ€™t! ๐Ÿ˜›

Got lost in my Elephants ๐Ÿ˜, Rats ๐Ÿ€, and other creatures? Read here to find out what the website nicknames mean

Personal life ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿป

In May-June, I was not working very hard ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ˜‚

Summer has been a traditionally low working season for me. What I prefer to do instead is to roam outside, preferably in some body of water ๐ŸŠโ€โ™€๏ธ or at least on a bike ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜

I bet you are no different and you also prefer to enjoy beautiful weather rather than being confined inside in front of your computer ๐Ÿ˜‰

The pandemic did not change that. In fact, the number of the COVID-19 active cases in Quebec (and Canada) is still going down despite everybody and their dog being outside crowded in parks and on beaches โ›ฑ

My birthday was in June and we went to our local beach for a picnic:

Me on a local beach for a picnic

Our local restaurants reopened on June 22 so we ate out to celebrate Canada Day:

Eating chips and dips

We got some tasty but very expensive drinks (almost $30CAD ๐Ÿ˜ฏ):

Tasty drinks to celebrate Canada day

Revenueโž•

The revenue was not bad but could have been definitely better.

The ad rates dropped because of the pandemic and turmoil in the US. Amazon affiliate sales went down as well because some parts of the US opened up after the quarantine.

Still, my new ๐Ÿฆ„ Website brought in some handsome numbers and allowed me to get the second-best earning period ever ๐Ÿ‘

Numbers

Got lost in my Elephants ๐Ÿ˜, Rats ๐Ÿ€, and other creatures? Read here to find out what the website nicknames mean

Letโ€™s look at the income numbers in the details.

All numbers are in USD.

Website Amount
Mother Elephant $2,984.29
Baby Elephant $4,300.19
Baby Elephant 2 $7.01
Unicorn $3,716.36
Rat $107.10
LivingOffCloud $525.24
Other websites $3.24
Total $7,590.21

My top three income sources (in the revenue order):

  1. Ezoic, which is great for display ads (read my review ๐Ÿค—)
  2. Other ad platforms (this is mostly for ๐Ÿฆ„ Website and should change starting from July! Iโ€™ve added the site to Ezoic! ๐ŸŽ‰)
  3. Amazon Affiliate (still ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ)

Income proof

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!

Hereโ€™s the proof from Ezoic:

Ezoic May - June_2020

Hereโ€™s the stats chart from Amazon.

Amazon US:

Amazon US May - June 2020

Amazon Canada:

Amazon CAN May - June 2020

Expensesโž–

In May โ€“ June, the expenses went up โ€œthanksโ€ to paying for content, tools, and outsourced labor for my new ๐Ÿฆ„ site.

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

Expense Amount
Tailwind (a tool for Pinterest) $59.92
Mailshake (cold outreach mailer) $52.67
GSuite (paid Gmail) $23.74
ActiveCampaign $15.30
GeneratePress (a WP theme) $5.00
AAWP $10.05
Ad Inserter Pro $2.99
Perfmatters (a WP plugin for site speed) $6.41
SerpRobot (a SERP tracking tool) $19.96
Other tools $132.09
Hosting $200.74
Domains $9.61
Virtual Assistant (outsourced formatting etc) $965.41
Digital marketing apprenticeship $0.00
Graphic design $0.00
Link building $0.00
Courses $0.00
Misc $96.28
Total $1,600.16

The hosting expense is high โ€œthanksโ€ to my new site that has dedicated hosting on CloudWays.

Tailwind (an app for Pinterest and Instagram) has been crucial to growing my revenue. If you wonder how I do Pinterest marketing, go ahead and read my post about it.

I use MailShake for cold email outreach. When you are building white-hat links in an efficient way, itโ€™s a must to use a tool for that (and GSuite to avoid your emails going directly into spam ๐Ÿ˜ฑ).

On the WordPress setup side, I use a premium WP theme GeneratePress since itโ€™s fast and highly configurable.

I also use a few premium WP plugins:

My virtual assistant (VA) is my right hand. My business would simply die if I didnโ€™t have one! My last VA hire is from onlinejobs.com.

Apart from having a VA, once in a while, I get a digital marketing apprentice. I find apprentices on Acadium (former GenM). If you have never heard of this service, read my review.

Content

Given the nature of our business, content is an investment in the business. I decided to track it separately since itโ€™s an important part of future success.

Here, I will give you a breakdown for (almost) each website. Each content expense includes content editing and management.

Website Amount
Mother Elephant $953.34
Baby Elephant $0.00
Baby Elephant 2 $235.04
Unicorn $1,264.68
Other Websites $0.00
Total $2,453.06

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 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.

Totals ๐Ÿ’ต

All numbers are in USD.

Here are my totals for May โ€“ June 2020.

Total revenue $11,643.43 minus general expenses $1,600.16 minus content expenses $2,453.06 makes a net profit of $7,590.21. This number should be divided by two since itโ€™s for both May and June.

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):

Profit, Revenue, and Expenses May 2019 - June 2020

Half-year milestone ๐Ÿšฉ

Since half of the 2020 year has passed already, itโ€™s time to see where I am regarding my 2020 yearly goal.

In my 2019 review, I set the revenue goal for 2020 at $40,000. If you take a look where I am now, you can see that I have already exceeded more than half of that number ๐Ÿ˜œ

Revenue + Expenses Per Year, 2016 - June 2020, USD

Yes, partially, it happened thanks to the incredibly good April. But even if I subtract the $6,000 I made in April, the half-year totals would still look good ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now, the goal is to not f***ck up the other half ๐Ÿ˜…


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Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. I will receive a small fee if you choose to buy after clicking on any of these links. Thank you if you do! ๐Ÿค—

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